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The preparation of this work was undertaken at the suggestion of the late 
Harvey W. Scott. Having prepared a history of the city twenty years ago, and 
being famihar with the whole history of Oregon and Portland, the publishers 
were anxious to secure his services in bringing out a later and more extended 
review of the still greater city. But the hands of the great editor were fully 
occupied ; and great cares pressed upon his time and strength. Deeply interested 
in this, as in all other things making for the history and development of the city, 
he had done so much to build up, he turned to the undersigned and urged him to 
undertake the task of which this book is the result ; and at the same time pledging 
the assistance of his advice and counsel. His invaluable assistance was not to 
be realized. Already overburdened with great work he hoped to accomplish, his 
assistance could not be given beyond the generous grant and authority to use any 
and all of his many contributions to the history of Portland and Oregon. 

To secure the assistance of scholars with experience in particular lines of in- 
vestigation, it was deemed important to create an advisory board. And for that 
purpose a board of five gentlemen — to wit : Harvey W. Scott, Frederick V. Hol- 
man, president of the Oregon historical society, William D. Fenton, vice-presi- 
dent of the society, George H. Himes, assistant secretary of the society, and Dr. 
George F. Wilson, a leader in his profession, were selected. To these gentle- 
men the author is indebted beyond any words to express his obligation. Mr. 
Himes, has been a most efficient and enthusiastic aid on many topics ; and has 
placed his great collection of material in the rooms of the historical society at 
the service of the author. Mr. Holman's monograph on Dr. John McLoughlin, 
is the last word on that great character. And to Joseph R. Wilson, D. D., for 
his like service on Marcus Whitman, and to Mr. John Gill for his sketch of Jason 
Lee, both the author and the subscribers to this work are under obligations that 
cannot be expressed in words or measured by dollars. We have in these sketches 
of these three great pioneer men, the fairest, most complete and satisfactory rep- 
resentation of them ever put in print. 

To Mr. Fenton the history is indebted for his faithful review of the life and 
services of "Father Wilbur;" and for much important matter relating to laws and 
lawyers. And to Dr. Wilson obligations are many for the chapter on the medi- 
cal profession, and medical college, and for first hand information about Schwat- 
ka's exploratory expedition to Alaska, of which Dr. Wilson was the surgeon. 

Acknowledgement is freely made for valuable assistance from many others. 
To Mrs. Eva Emery Dye for her chapter on Oregon city ; to and 

to General Thos. M. Anderson for much of the chapter on Vancouver; to Colonel 
Henry E. Dosch for most of the chapter on the Lewis and Clark Exposition, 
to Mr. W. D. B. Dodson of the Evening Telegram for the report on the Oregon 
boys in the Spanish war; to W. S. U'Ren for the account of direct legislation; 



to Dr. J. R. Cardwell for horticultural items; to Daniel McAllen for origin of 
Lewis and Clark Exposition; to Miss Anna Cremen for accounts of Catholic in- 
stitutions and original papers relating to Oregon militia; to Mrs. S. A. Brown for 
account of night school and women's union ; to Mr. D. D. Clarke for report on 
Bull Run water system; and to Mr, R. P. Blossom for original facts about first 
settlers of the city. 

And while every possible precaution has been taken to secure accuracy of 
statement, it is not to be expected that the work wdll be wholly free from errors. 
Investigation shows that the original sources of information, especially where they 
are founded upon personal statements, are often confused and contradictory. 
The aim and intention has been to show, that in the great purposes to be achieved 
by the settlement of Oregon and Portland, and the organization and development 
of society and civic institutions, there has been and is a unity in the history and 
progress of -the country. That is a greater purpose in any history than exact- 
ness in the statement of unrelated facts. And in expressing this final word, it 
is a pleasure to be able to state that the citizens of Portland have not only given 
this work a more liberal and enthusiastic support than any of its predecessors in 
this field of research, but have also supported the History ■ with more liberality 
and enthusiasm than has been given to similar undertakings by the same Pub- 
lishers in the cities of Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and other like places, where 
other histories have been brought out. And for all this we here express our sin- 
cere gratitude. 

Joseph Gaston. 

, -■ v^ - - I ■'•■-) 


3n iWemoriam 


Men yet living, men not yet old, have seen the Oregon country develop from 
smallest beginnings to its present greatness (1905). But its present greatness 
is only the promise of its future. 

Portland is at the point of natural communication and exchange between the 
interior and the sea. To this fact Portland owes her existence. This city has 
done a mighty work already and is now just getting forward to the stronger posi- 
tion which the future is to give her. 

Our life, in Oregon, once isolated, is now under the influence of world-wide 
conditions. Markets, manners, customs, habits, opinions, faiths are brought under 
this all pervading control. Our industrial processes, our social usages, our re- 
ligious creeds are all subject to the same law of influence and variation. These 
changes come by almost imperceptible gradations, but become very marked from 
one generation to another. 

Pioneer life is now but a memory. It will soon be but a legend or tradition. 
Once we had but a little world of our own. We shall have it no more. The 
horizon that once was bounded by our own border enlarges to the horizon of 

Just now, we are having in Oregon a material development such as we never 
hitherto have known. It is well; we all rejoice at it and all try to promote it; 
and yet we should not become so fully occupied with it as to overlook the greater 
importance of the other side of life — that is, right development of thought, feel- 
ing, character. 

The story of the toilsome march of the wagon-trains over the plains will be 
received by future generations almost as a legend on the borderland of myth, 
rather than as veritable history. Mystery was in the movement, mystery sur- 
rounded it. It was the effort of that profound impulse which for a time far pre- 
ceding the dawn of history, has pushed our race to discovery and occupation of 
western lands. 

It is only through industry, stimulated by the instinct for accumulation of 
property, that the individual or a people can get forward. Nature made the 
Oregon country a paradise ; yet for the native Indian it was no paradise, but 
only a sort of dog-hole in which he dwelt in darkness, because he had not the 
principle of growth within himself. 

As a geographical expression, the west has ever been indeterminate. The 
east has been treading on the heels of the west, yet never has overtaken it. Lat- 
terly, the west has taken ship on the Pacific and through one of the movements 
of history has overtaken the east. America has put a new girdle around the 
earth and the west has moved on till it has reached the gateway of the morning 



over by the Orient. Men of Oregon, of Washington, of California, of Idaho, 
of Montana, of Utah, of Colorado, responding to the call of the country, have car- 
ried the west on over seas. 

It is probable that nothing else has contributed so much to the help of man- 
kind in the mass, either in national or moral aspects, as rapid increase of human 
intercourse throughout the world. Action and reaction of peoples upon peoples, 
of races upon races, are continually evolving activities and producing changes in 
the thought and character of all. This intercourse develops the moral forces as 
rapidly as the intellectual and material. Populations are stirred profoundly by 
all the powers of social agitation, by travel, by rapid movements of commerce, by 
daily transmission of news. 

The United States has a frontage on the Pacific as well as on the Atlantic 
ocean. We must expand in the direction of the Pacific, where the future de- 
velopment of our country lies. Over there is China. Over there is India. Over 
there are the regions which the energy of the world is now beginning to develop. 
This is one of the great movements of history, without any one in particular 
bringing it about. It is irresistible; it is one of the onward movements of man- 



The Land of Myster}' — The Proposition of Columbus — The Dreams of Navi- 
gators — The Fabled Strait of Anian — De Fuca's Pretended Discover)- — 
Maldonado's Pretended \'oyage — Low's Remarkable Map — Mscaino and 
A^ilar Reach the Oregon Coast in 1603 — California an Island — Captain 
Cook's Voyage and Death — Beginning of the Fur Trade — Spain Drives 
England Out of Xootka Sound, and Then Makes Treat}' of Joint Occu- 
pancy — Gray Discovers the Columbia River 17 


1634— 1834. 

The Landward Movement West — Two Differing Minds of Civilization, and 
Two Differing and Independent Movements of Population, Move West- 
ward — The French Catholic on the One Side, and the English Protestant 
on the Other — La Salle. Hennepin. Marquette, Jonathan Cars-er, Mac- 
kenzie, Pike, Astor, Ashley. Bridger, Bonneville and Wyeth 31 


1774— 1814. 

The Evolutionary and Political Movements — The Pioneer American Pushing 
West — The Revolutionan.- Break-up — George Rogers Clark and Old \'in- 
cennes — Thomas Jefferson the Great Colonizer — The Lewis and Clark 
Expedition — and Capture of Old Astoria 48 


The Antecedent Geological Preparation of the Country — The Native Indians 
— The Fur Trade and Traders — The Hudson Bay Company. McLoughlin. 
Ogden — Indian Ideas on Land Tenure — The Possession of the Land, the 
Bottom of All Troubles Between Whites and Indians 62 

1834— 1842. 

The Native Indian — How the Hudson Bay Company Managed Him — The 
Flathead Mission — The Era of Evangelism — The First Missionaries and 
Priests — Jason Lee. Marcus Wliitman — Blanchet and De Smet — The In- 
dian's Fate and Future — The "Jargon" Language 7^ 



The Oregon Trail — What Started the Emigration — The Far-reaching Influence 
of the Movement — Lists of Emigrants — The Character of the Emigrants . . 92 

1818— 1844. 

Joint Occupancy with England — Free Trade to Oregon — No Man's Land — 
The Hudson Bay Company Plays to the American Settlers — The Pro- 
visional Government 105 

1774 — 1846. 

The Title to the Country — Titles by Discovery — Paper Titles of Spain, France 
and England — Title by Contiguous Settlement and Possession — The Ques- 
tion in Politics and in Congress — The Treason of President Polk — Oregon 
Saved by American Settlements 134 


1842— 1848. 

The Oregon Hall of Fame — Who Saved Oregon, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas 
Benton, Hall J. Kelley, Lee, Whitman, McLoughlin, Meek — Abernethy, 
Matthieu, Saved by All the Settlers Pulling Together 146 


1843— 1847. 

Founding a City — Hall Kelley 's Plat — Precedent Efforts — Naming the Town 
— Rival Towns with Map — Deep Sea Navigation Controls Location — 
Tomahawk Claims — Townsite Titles — William Johnson Was Here First 
— First Houses — First Ships and Owners — Preachers, Teachers, Doctors, 
and Lawyers 193 


1847— 185 1. 

The Townsite Proprietors — Map of the Claims — First Preachers — Gold Dis- 
covered in California— Teachers, Doctors and Lawyers — First Steamboats 
and Builders — First Stores and Shops — First Saw Mill — List of Those 
Persons Living Here in i852^List of Old Pioneers Now Living 
( Nov. loth, 1910) 206 


1850— 1868. 

The First Ferry — The First Wagon Road — The First City Election — Land 
Titles, and Litigation Thereon — Judges, Matthew P. Deady and George 
H. Williams Decide the Laws Made by the Provisional Government Are 
Binding — The Public Levee — General Condition of the Country in 1856, 
by H. W. Scott, of the Advisory Board 220 



1849— 1858. 

The Hudson Bay Company Offers to Sell Out — Organization of Territorial 
Government — Lane Reaches Oregon City — The First Census of Oregon — 
The Territorial and State Seals — Effect of the California Gold — Cost of 
Goods — Character of Clothes — Territorial Progress — Discovery of Gold 
in Oregon — Organization of State Government — State Officials, Notices of .231 


1850— 1893. 

The Growth in Shipping, Population, Buildings, Newspapers, and Public 
Works — The First Cargo of Wheat Shipped Foreign, i868^The Great Fire 
of 1873 — Salmon Packing and Export Commences — The Express Com- 
panies — The Telegraph Lines Come — The First Mails, Delegate Thurston, 
and Postal Business 238 


1850 — 1910. 

Portland Water Transportation — The Lot Whitcomb, and Other Steamboats 
— Nesmith's Account of the First Ship — Judge Strong's Account of the 
First Boats — The Effect of Gold Discoveries in Eastern Oregon — The 
Bridge of the Gods, and Other Obstructions to Navigation — The Great 
Territory to Be Developed — The Formation of the First Great Oregon 
Monopoly — The Oregon Steam Navigation Co. — The Northern Pacific 
Railroad Buys Controlling Interest in O. S. N. Co. and Then Fails — 
Ainsworth Picks Up the Old Stock for a Trifle — D. P. Thompson Un- 
covers Great Profits of O. S. N. Co. — The Jay Gould Scarecrow — Ains- 
worth Sells Co. to Henry Villard — The Oregon Steam Navigation Com- 
pany — The Father of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company — River 
and Ocean Steamers and Sail Vessels 258 


1863 — 1910. 

Development of the Oregon Railroad System — First Money Subscribed, and 
First Surveys — The Land Grants, and Land Grant Companies — Schemes 
of the Californians, and Contest for the Land Grants — The Oregon Rail- 
road and Navigation Company — The Portland, Dallas and Salt Lake Prop- 
osition — Notices of Leading Actors in the Work — The Land Grant Law- 
suit — Lands and Values — The Last Lands Granted by Congress in Aid of 
Railroads — The Advent of Electric Railroads — List of Roads and Mileage 
in Operation, 1910 — The Portland City Street Railway System 280 

1864 — 1910. 

Steamboats and Shipping — Growth and General Improvements — Exports of 
Produce, Lumber and Gold Dust — First Cargo of Wheat, and Present 
Crop — Manufacture and Export of Flour — Review of City's Growth of 
Commerce — Manufacture and Export of Lumber — Manufacture of Furni- 
ture — Manufacturers of Iron and Steel — Manufacture and Export of Beer 
and Hops 309 


185 1 — 1910. 

The City Government — The Charters — The Succession of Mayors — The Pres- 
ent Organization — The Public UtiHties — Development of the City 336 


1825 — 1910. 

Wheat, Flour, and Dairying — Sheep, Wool, and Woolen Manufactures — 
Horticulture and Export of Fruit — Live Stock and Meat Consumption .... 347 


The First Schools in Old Oregon — The First Schools in Oregon — The First 
Schools in Portland — Organization of the Public Schools — History of the 
Public Schools — Tabitha Brown's School — Denominational and Private 
Schools — Colleges and Universities — Libraries, Reading Rooms and 
Museums 365 


1834 — 1910. 

The First Churches — The Development of the Churches — The Groups of 
Great Preachers — The Founding of Sectarian Schools — The Steady Growth 
of Religious Work — Notable Characters, Roberts, Wilbur, Blanchet, Scott, 
Atkinson, Fierens, Lindsley, Morris, Christie and Stephen Wise 407 


i860 — 1910. 

The Kind Hearts and Willing Hands — Portland's Benevolences — Hospitals, 
Homes, and Noble Women 447 


1839 — 1910. 

The Pioneer Newspaper, with Much Local History — ^The Pioneer Printers — 
Fleming, Craig, et al. — The Oregonian — Various Other Newspapers and 
Their Editors 481 


Pioneers Days, Legal Tender — The Great Gold Discovery — The Beaver 
Money Mint — ^The First Bank and Banker — The Vicissitudes of the Banks 
— The Present Banks — The Foreign Banks — Financial Institutions — The 
Financial Situation 5^1 


1850 — 1910. 

Doctors and Medical Education — Dentists and Dental College — Sanitoriums 
— Health and Sanitation — Parks and Play Grounds 536 



1845— 1910. 

The Lawyers that Laid Foundations — The Laws They Made — Their Services 
to the State — Legislation by the People 545 


1858 — 1910. 

The First Military Company — The Indian Wars — The Grand Army of the 
Republic — Portland's Part in the War with Spain 568 


1874— 1905. 

The First Portland Exposition — The Old Mechanics' Fair — The Merchants 
and Manufacturers Exposition — The Lewis & Clark Exposition — Styles of 
Architecture — The Great Flood 583 

The Benefactors — The Literary People — Historians, Poets and Story Tellers 590 


The Exposition of the City — Its Commanding Position — The Resources that 
Sustain It — Its Great Future 609 


1850 — 1910. 

The Social Life — Economics, Prices, and Wages — Economics, Morals and 
Politics — The Political and Economic Drift — The Lesson of It All 623 

1825 — 1910. 

Vancouver — First White Settlement in Old Oregon — The Governor of the 
Vast Wilderness — The Character of Old Vancouver — ^The Disputed Hud- 
son's Bay Company Title — Modern Vancouver — Great Prospects in the 
Future — The Home of Great Enterprises 641 


Historical Sketch of Oregon City by Eva Emery Dye, Author of "McLough- 
lin and Old Oregon." "McDonald of Oregon." and "The Conquest." 650 


"Westward the course of Empire takes its way; 
The four first acts already past; 
The fifth shall close the drama with the day; 
Time's noblest offspring is the last." 

— Bishop Berkley. 

Prophecies: "Fixity of residence and thickening of population are the prime 
requisites of civilization; and hence it will be found, that, as in Egypt where 
great civilization was developed in a narrow valley hemmed in by deserts, and in 
Greece limited to a peninsula bounded by the sea on one side, and mountains on 
the other, when the Caucasian race, startfng from India and pursuing its western 
course around the earth, shall reach the shores of the Great Pacific ocean, it 
will dam up in the strip of country between the Rocky mountains and the 
sea, and there in the most dense population, produce the greatest civilization on 
the earth." (Vestiges of Creation, 1838, anonymoiis, supposed to be written by 
Robert Chambers of Edinburgh, Scotland.) 

The French naturalist, Lacepede, and one of Napoleon's ministers, writing to 
Jefferson in 1804 said: "If your nation can establish any easy communication 
by rivers, canals and short portages between New York and a city that must 6e 
built at the mouth of the Columbia, what a route for the commerce of Europe, 
Asia, and America." 

"The city carrying on a trade with the islands of the Pacific, and the people 
about the shores of the ocean, commensurate with its wants, must advance in 
prosperity and power unexampled in the history of nations. From the plentitude 
of its own resources, it will be enabled to sustain its own operations, and will 
hasten on to its own majesty, and to a proud rank on the earth." {Hall J. Kel- 
ley, in his prospectus for a city where University park, Portland, is now located, 

"I say the man is alive, full grown, and is listening to what I say, who will 
yet see the Asiatic commerce traversing the North Pacific ocean — entering the 
Oregon river — climbing the western slope of the Rocky mountains — issuing from 
its gorges — and spreading its fertilizing streams over our wide extended Union ! 

The steamboat and the steam car have not exhausted all their wonders. They 
have not yet found their amplest and most appropriate theatres — the tranquil 
surface of the North Pacific ocean, and the vast inclined plains which spread east 
and west from the base of the Rocky mountains. The magic boat, and the 
flying car are not yet seen upon the ocean, and upon the plain, but they will be 
seen there; and St. Louis is yet to find herself as near Canton as she is now to 
London, with a better and safer route by land and sea to China and Japan than 
she now has to France and Great Britain." {Extract from, an address by Thomas 
H. Benton, U. S. Senator, at St. Louis, October ip, 1844.) 



"The work now formally inaugurated, shall, in its completion, be made the 
servant and promoter of your future growth, prosperity and wealth, until here 
on the banks of the Willamette, shall arise a city, which, holding the keys (md 
being the gateway and handmaid to the commerce between the Atlantic and the 
Indies, shall rival Venice in its adornment and Constantinople in its wealth." 
(Extract from address of Joseph Gaston at ground breaking ceremonies for 
construction of Oregon Central Railroad, April 15, 1868.) 

"I tell you my friend if you have any money to invest, to purchase lots here 
in Portland, or good lands nearby, and hold on to them, for this will be the great 
city of the Pacific coast." {Advice given by James J. Hill to a friend, at Port- 
land, May 2, ipio.) 

The history of nearly every American state or city, has been largely the his- 
tory of the men and women of the state or city. But the history of Portland, 
Oregon, is more than that. Produced by the evolutionary forces of the domi- 
nant race of man, pursuing its irresistible course around the earth from farthest 
east to the confines of the west at the sundown seas, and there from natural 
causes and superhuman forces, selecting, and converging at the gateway of a 
continent and the seaport to the unobstructed highway to all nations uniting the 
civilization of the ancient east to the all conquering powers of the youthful west, 
we are to write the history of a city, unusual, unique and extraordinary among 
all American communities. Portland is more than a population of so many thou- 
sands ; more than its great and growing commerce ; more than the gateway to 
the Pacific; and more than the lives of all its leading men. Its foundation and 
existence stand for a principle; it is the result and fruit of evolutionary forces 
which could not be turned aside ; and it has been, and must continue to be the 
nerve center towards which and from which tend all the historic ideas and in- 
fluences which turned the tide of dominion from Russia and Great Britain, and 
made Portland, Oregon, in fact and truth, unconsciously, the guiding star of that 
empire which westward took its predestined and irresistible way. 

About the time that portentous events were concentrating continental forces 
at the neck of woods where the great city on the Willamette and Columbia was 
to be, we find national affairs on the other side of the Atlantic to be in a very 
incoherent condition. George III, with all his follies and blunders, was passing 
down from the British throne through the cloud of insanity, while his unspeak- 
able son, George IV, with all his vices and crimes against common decency, had 
taken his place. Austria was still at the head of that Holy Roman Empire, 
which Voltaire sarcastically remarked, had ceased to be an empire, to be 
Roman, or to be holy. 

Alexander II, the grandson of the great Empress Maria, was on the throne 
of all the Russias. He had been the main force in the overthrow of the great 
Napoleon, whom he treated with great consideration after his downfall. Spain 
was dwindling to its decadence as a world power; Italy, to use the phrase of the 
great Austrian, Metternich, was but a geographical expression ; and France, 
after Napoleon had passed its title to Oregon over to President Jefferson, was 
still in that ferment left behind by the Revolution, by Napoleon, and by the 
on and off reign of Louis XVIII, who is remembered most by his brilliant epi- 
gram — "Punctuality is the politeness of Kings." 

From this perspective we get our start for Oregon and Portland. Port- 
land stands alone in its founding and development. In less than sixty years it 
has arisen from an unbroken forest, uninhabited save by wild beasts and native 
Indians, separated from its native hearthstones by two thousand miles of unpeopled 
deserts, plains and mountains, to a city and seaport, one hundred and ten miles 
from the ocean, that ships more lumber than any other city in the world, more 
wheat than any other city in America, except New York, and handles more 
money every day than any other city in the nation of its class. While in wealth 
it stands without a peer, man for man, yet its growth and development of all 


the agencies of educational, social, moral and religious culture is even greater 
than its material prosperity. The history of such a city, is worth recording. 
And to the busy citizen as well as the student of humanity, the narrative of this 
history will be found more interesting than a romance, and more instructive than 
the record of any other city in this great nation. 

What should this history contain? What will the intelligent new comer of 
1912 want to know about the city he settles in? What will the graduates of 
our high schools in 1950 want to know about Portland? What will the student 
of history plodding over the dusty past, one hundred years hence, desire to learn 
about the origin and development of Portland, Oregon? 

In preparing this work it has been kept in view that everything should go 
in which would show how a city came to be located at this point on the Pacific 
coast, the great facts which led up to its selection, the influences and factors 
which promoted the building of the city, and the character and labors of the 
men and women who have contributed to the great work, moulded its character, 
inspired its aims and ideals and left their impress on its institutions and prog- 
ress. Facts, experiences, character, biographies and accomplished results have 
been sought for in all directions and much that has never been before, is now 
given to the public. Very much material matter and many incidents of a very 
interesting character have been lost by deaths and the inevitable destruction by 
lapse of time. But enough remains to show clearly the hopes, aims, ambitions, 
and true character of the sturdy pioneers who through Herculean labors and in- 
describable privations trailed their long weary way across two thousand miles of 
trackless plains, rugged mountains and desert wastes to lay broad and deep the 
foundations of a new state and a great city. 

This must also be to a certain extent, a history of the contest of ideas as well 
as the development of commerce, civilization and new states, which was tried 
out on this page in this great valley, and in the foundation of this city, and can't 
be left out. And striving to apprehend the aspirations and the heroic self-sac- 
rifice of the men and women who founded this great northwest empire, if I 
shall be able to write a single line that will inspire in our young men and women 
the spirit which actuated their pioneer fathers and mothers, I shall feel that 
I have rendered a valuable service to the city and the state. 

But no real history of the city would be complete, or present the picture of 
Portland now before us today, which did not include so much of the voyageurs, 
sea-rovers and bold mountain explorers as shows the world-wide panorama of 
thought, interest, speculation and national aggrandizement which concentered 
on the Pacific Northwest for more than a century to unravel the mystery which 
hovered over the land in which our lives have been cast. The history of Port- 
land is intertwined with the grandest feats of land and sea discovery which have 
been achieved since Columbus struck the Island of San Salvador in 1492. And 
the very existence of the city as an American community has grown out of the 
shrewdest diplomacy of the two greatest nations of the globe ; and was not only 
made possible, but actually forced by the uplifted hands and patriotic labors of 
a mere handful of bold border spirits who "called the blufif" so to speak of the 
greatest mihtary and commercial power of the world; and with prescient minds, 
strong common sense and invincible courage, set up an independent state and 
government, and won the game in winning beyond controversy the rich territory 
now organized into three great states of the American union. The achievements 
of the pioneer heroes of Oregon are absolutely without parallel or equal in the 
history of states or nations. Not founded upon conquest or baptized in blood; 
not purchased by a compromise or pronounced by great commercial interests we 
trace the foundations of our city and state to the noble and unselfish labors and 
sacrifices of men and women proud in giving to all others the equal rights de- 
manded for themselves, and ennobling and sanctifying their work by laying broad 


and deep the foundations of virtue, sobriety, education and Christianity for them- 
selves, their children and their descendants and successors for all time to come. 
With such a beginning, with the growth and development already achieved, 
with an invincible position and natural advantages which cannot be reversed or 
diminished, Portland is entitled to be called the "City of Destiny" — a destiny 
assured to be the greatest city of the Pacific coast of North America. 

Joseph Gaston. 

History of Portland 


1506 — 1792. 

The Land of Mystery — The Proposition of Columbus — The Dreams 
of Navigators — The Fabled Strait of Anian — De Fuca's Pre- 
tended Discovery — Maldonado's Pretended Voyage — Low's 
Remarkable Map — Viscaino and Aguilar Reach the Oregon 
Coast in 1603 — California an Island — Captain Cook's Voyage 
and Death — Beginning of the Fur Trade — Spain Drives England 
Out of Nootka Sound, and Then Makes Treaty of Joint Occu- 
pancy — Gray Discovers the Columbia River. 

The settlement of Old Oregon, consisting of all the United States territory 
west of the Rocky mountains, north of California, being the result of a long 
series of explorations by sea and land covering three hundred years from 1506 
to 1806, is an interesting and necessary chapter to any history of the city of 
Portland. The settlement of this last and then most distant portion of the 
United States was the result of a world-wide racial impulse to move westward 
on isothermal lines, supported by the American spirit to go west, take possession 
of new lands and colonize the North American continent. That impulse and 
that spirit lias never halted or slept since the united colonies repudiated George 
the III at Bunker's Hill ; and even now is so actively pouring American settlers 
into the British province of Alberta that the Fourth of July is duly celebrated 
at the principal town in the province. And while it seems necessary to the com- 
pleteness of the story to include all such movements of men or population as 
sustains the proposition of an evolutionary movement, yet it is not intended to 
burden the record with accounts of the many tentative and abortive efforts at 
exploration, or of those that were merely for trade. But the meritorious work 
of such men as Heceta and Viscaino of Spain, La Salle and Marquette of 
France, Cook and Barclay of England, Mackenzie of Canada, and Gray, Carver, 
Lewis and Clark of the United States is material and important, and cannot be 
left out. 

Two hundred years before Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, 
the Venetian traveler and explorer, Marco Polo had penetrated the Chinese 
empire from the west and returned to his home by a sea voyage from the east 
coast of Asia. Polo's published account of his travels was the great sensation 
and wonder of that age, and was discussed by learned men all over Europe and 
formed the basis of many new conjectures about the geography of the earth. 
Columbus himself had some education in geometry, astronomy, and navigation, 
and at an early age took to the sea. He had read Polo's narrative and was 



familiar with all the various theories of the earth which it had inspired. And 
revolving these over in his mind for years, he came to the conclusion and put 
forward the proposition that by sailing directly westward from Europe he could 
reach the east coast of Asia in the latitude of Cipango (Japan) as it was then 
known. And in this view he was supported by the learned Italian, Toscanelli, 
of Florence, who on learning of the proposition of Columbus wrote him a letter 
heartily encouraging the project. And to demonstrate to Columbus that he 
could reach the east coast of Asia by sailing west, Toscanelli sent him a map of 
the world proposed by the learned Greek geographer, Ptolemy, who taught at 
Alexandria about 125 years after Christ, which map was altered and amended 
to correspond to the descriptions of Marco Polo. On this map the eastern coast 
of Asia was outlined in front of the western coasts of Africa and Europe, with 
a little ocean between them, in which was placed the imaginary islands of Ci- 
pango and Antilla. 

In taking up this proposition, Columbus was met with a storm of opposition 
and persecution, which would have crushed any other man. The church de- 
nounced the scheme as heresy, and for nearly twenty years the great man 
traveled, begged and toiled for recognition and favor from those who could 
give aid, and at last found a good priest who sympathized with his grand idea, 
and through whose influence, Queen Isabella of Spain was induced to recall 
a former refusal of aid. 

How Columbus finally induced Queen Isabella to support his enterprise with 
money and two small ships while a third ship was added by himself and friends, 
and how on August 3, 1492, he sailed out of Palos harbor with one hundred 
and twenty men in the three little ships — Santa ]\Iaria, Pinta and Nina — is 
an oft-told story and familiar tale. This exploratory voyage, all things consid- 
ered, is the greatest enterprise ever planned and carried out by the genius and 
energy of a single man. The voyage itself was not a great affair, the little 
vessels of still less account, the use of the compass was then but little under- 
stood; the seamen were all ignorant and superstitious to the limit; but when 
we consider the weakness of such an outfit to venture out upon a vast and un- 
known ocean and brave all the terrors pictured by the imagination in addition 
to the real dangers of the sea, and then place over and against them all the 
glory and grandeur of the achievement in practically adding to the use and en- 
joyment of the race of man, a new world as large, useful and beautiful as the 
one already enjoyed, our minds are unable to grasp and no words can fully ex- 
press the greatness of the achievement, or the honor, praise and obligation which 
mankind owes to the name of Christopher Columbus. 

After seventy days sailing westward, Columbus struck Cat island in the 
West Indies. It was inhabited by red men. The people of Hindostan (India) 
were red. Columbus believed he had reached India — the east coast of Asia ; 
and he called the natives Indians. The name stuck, and thus all the natives of 
America came to be called Indians. Columbus made three subsequent voyages 
from Spain to the West India islands, but never reached the mainland, and 
died in ignorance of his great discovery of a continent equal to the old world 
and separated from it by two great oceans. 

It may seem irrevelant to go back over four hundred years to begin this 
narrative about the city of Portland, but it must be remembered that it was 
Christopher Columbus who started and steered the tide of the Caucasian race 
across the Atlantic which finally overran the American continent and halted 
here on the Willamette to build the greatest city of the Pacific coast. And be- 
lieving that the readers of this book will take a genuine interest in the man who 
discovered America, and will be glad to have a lifelike, truthful portrait of his 
face, we have, at much trouble and expense, procured from the Marine Museum 
at Madrid, Spain, and here print the best likeness ever made of the great man. 

When we look into the books of geographical discovery, we find that the site 
of the city of Portland was for a long period of time the center of a great un- 


(The greatest tribute paid to this greatest man is the follow- 
ing from the pen of Oregon's poet — Joaquin Miller.) 

Behind liim lay the gray Azores, 

Behind the Gates of Hercules; 
Behind him not the ghost of shores. 

Behind him only shoreless seas. 
The good mate said: "Now. we must pray. 

For lo. the veiT stars are gone. 
Brave Adm'r'l speak: What shall I say?" 
"Why say, 'Sail on! sail on! sail on!' " 

"My men grow mutinous day by day; 

My men grow ghastly wan and weak." 
The sti ut mate thought of home: as spray 

Of salt wave washed his swarthy clieek. 
"What shall I say. brave Adm'r'l. say. 

If we sight naught but seas at dawn?" 
'Sail on! sail on! sail on! sail on!' " 

They sailed and sailed as the winds might blow. 

Until at last the blanched mate said: 
'Wliy, not even God would know 

Should I and all my men fall dead. 
These veiy winds forget their way. 

For God from these dread seas is gone; 
Now speak, brave Adm'r'l. speak, and say — " 

He said: "Sail on! sail on! sail on!" 

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate: 
"This mad sea shows its teeth tonight. 

He curls Ills lips, he lies in wait. 
With lifted teeth as if to liite ! 

Brave Adm'r'l say but one good word: 
"Vlliat shall we do when hope is gone?" 

The words leapt as a leaping sword: 
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! sail on!" 

Tlien. pale and worn, he kept his deck. 

And peered through darkness. Ah. that night 
Of all dark nights! And then a speck. 

A light! A light! A light! A light! 
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled! 

It grew to be Time's burst of dawn. 
He gained a world: he gave that world 

Its grandest lesson: "On. sail on." 


known region of myths and mystery. To see how that idea got abroad in the 
world, it will be necessary to go back to the opening of the Fifteenth century 
and follow the current of geographical exploration around the world. 

The proposition of Columbus to find a short cut to Asia by sailing west from 
Spain was not to perish with his death. It was the good fortune of the Italian 
navigator, Americus Vespucius, who after Columbus' death, made four voy- 
ages to America and finally discovered the mainland of the continent near the 
equator. And like Columbus he too returned to Spain and died poor at Se- 
ville in 15 12, without knowing he had discovered a separate continent. In his 
letter to the King of Portugal, in whose services he had sailed to the new 
world, he writes July 18, 1500: "We discovered a very large country of 

But the half discovered secret of all the ages was not to remain hidden from 
the eyes of man. Other courageous spirits followed in the wake of Columbus 
and Vespucius. Sebastian Cabot, an Englishman, discovered the coast of Lab- 
rador in 1497, and on a third voyage, entered Hudson's bay in 1517 before 
Hudson died. In 1498, Vasco de Gama under the patronage of the king of 
Portugal, doubled the Cape of Good Hope and opened a new route to the 
Indies. This same king in 1501 sent Gasper Cortereal with two vessels to 
explore the northwestern ocean. In 1512 the Spanish navigator Juan Ponce de 
Leon discovered the Gulf of Mexico. In 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed 
the Isthmus of Panama where President Taft is now digging a canal, and dis- 
covered the mighty Pacific ocean. It was a revelation second only to the dis- 
covery of Columbus. What must have been the wonder of those wandering 
Spaniards as they looked down from the mountain tops to the vast ocean glitter- 
ing in the morning sun. 

The discovery of the Pacific ocean was a great event, and had been accom- 
plished by the first land journey to the interior. It then began to dawn upon the 
sea-rovers that there was another ocean to be crossed to reach the riches of 
India. And from this discovery all the country south of the Isthmus of Pan- 
ama was given up to the Spanish. And while the title to South America was 
thus accorded to Spain, the Spaniards did not abate one jot or title of their 
claim to North America also. And in the year 1539, Ferdinand de Soto, one 
of Spain's most distinguished soldiers, gathered an army of six hundred men 
in the Island of Cuba, and with two hundred horses and a herd of swine, sailed 
for the western coast of Florida, where he arrived on the 30th of May, and on 
landing his men, was attacked by the natives, being the first opposition made 
by the Indians to the occupation of the new world by the white man. From this 
landing point, De Soto forced his way westward against repeated attacks from 
the Indians until he reached and discovered the Mississippi river at the point 
where the north boundary line of the state of Mississippi intersects the river. 
Under this title of discovery, Spain held the territory down to the year 1820. 

It may be supposed that on account of this activity of the Spanish in the 
south, the commercial and colonizing projects of the English were confined to 
the North Atlantic sea coast. And consequently we find Martin Frobisher, 
an English navigator, in 1576-8 making three voyages to America, giving his name 
to Frobisher's strait, but not finding a northwest passage to Asia. Frobisher 
was followed by another Englishman — John Davis, in 1587-9 in three voyages, 
who gave his name to Davis strait. In 1570, Francis Drake, afterwards the 
great Sir Francis, boldly following the route of Magellan around the south end 
of South America, and pouncing upon the Spanish merchant vessels ladened 
with gold and silver from the mines of Peru, attempted to get back to Eng- 
land by following up the Pacific coast past California and Oregon and going 
through a mythical northeast passage to the Atlantic ocean. All these navi- 
gators, and many more that we have not time to notice, were trying to find the 
"Strait of Anian," which was reputed to be the short cut through North Amer- 


ica, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on a straight route from Europe 
to Asia. 

How this mythical strait idea ever got possession of the minds of the sea rov- 
ers of that age, has never been satisfactorily explained, and its real origin will 
probably never be discovered. But that the idea did get possession of the minds 
of many navigators, causing vast expenditures of money and the loss of many 
lives, there is ample proof. Many of the old maps of that period show the 
strait connecting the two oceans, and one of these maps made by one Conrad 
Low in 1598, and printed in his Book of Six Heroes, is almost a perfect map of 
what all the world now knows of Bering Strait, and even showing the Yukon 
river under the name of Obila. And yet all these maps were purely imaginary; 
California being platted close up to where our late hero Dr. Cook crossed hun- 
dreds of miles of ice to reach the north pole. And to show how the mythical and 
mysterious had taken possession of men's minds in that age, and finally located 
Oregon in the very core of all this fanciful geography and imaginary wilder- 
ness of myths ; we may refer to a few examples of these grand stories of the 
bold sea rovers. In 1592 one Juan de Fuca, claiming to have been born a Greek 
in the Island of Cephalonia, reported that while in the employ of the Spanish 
viceroy of Mexico, he sailed north along the Oregon coast, and discovered an 
entrance into the land between 47 and 48 degrees latitude ; and entering there- 
in with his ship, he sailed through the strait for twenty days and came out on 
the Atlantic coast. Now when De Euca's report was analyzed by subsequent 
navigators, a great majority disbelieved the whole story, did not believe that he 
even found the Strait of Fuca, as we know it ; while those who admit that he 
might have found the strait to which his name is attached, all concur that he 
simply sailed into the strait, kept his course north and came out into the Pa- 
cific ocean again, having simply sailed around Vancouver island. The British 
government had ofifered a reward of one hundred thousand dollars to any ship 
that should discover and report a navigable route for ships from the Atlantic 
through to the Pacific ocean. This stimulated hundreds of sea captains to look 
for such a passage, and still believing in the mythical Strait of Anian, the 
search was kept up for two hundred years, and practically all the voyages to 
America for the first sixty years after its discovery was to find the short route 
to Asia across North America. All sorts of imaginary countries were re- 
ported; Cabot reported that the north of America is all divided into islands. 
In 1610 the English navigator, Henry Hudson, searched the whole Atlantic 
coast from the river that bears his name north to the great inland sea of Hud- 
son's bay, looking for the passage through the continent. And about the 
same time on the Pacific coast we get a first-class sensation from Spanish 
sources. One Lorenzo Maldonado, gave it out for a fact that he had in 1588, 
actually sailed through the Strait of Anian from the Atlantic to the Pacific 
ocean in thirty days, during the months of November and December, starting 
in at latitude 78 north and coming out at 75 north. Such a voyage would have 
started from the north end of Baffin's bay, passed through Jones sound, and 
come out on the Pacific side in the middle of the Arctic ocean, which at the 
date named, would all have been solid immovable ice. On hearing this story, 
and examining his maps, the Spanish authorities denounced Maldonado as an 
embustero, which is doubtless where we get the name of our latter day "booster." 

Another one of the geographical myths of that age was the belief that Cali- 
fornia was an island. A Spanish navigator by the name of Nicholas Cordoba, 
investigated the subject in 1615, and after exploring the Gulf of California and 
talking the matter over with his fellow sea captains, reported that California 
was in fact an island, and printed a long document describing the country as 
"a far extended kingdom of which the end is only known by geographical con- 
jectures which make it an island stretching from the northwest to southeast, 
forming a Mediterranean sea, adjacent to the incognita contracosta de la Flor- 
ida. It is one of the richest lands in the world, with silver, gold, pearls, etc." 

: i<! "i ') S \ 5 






In 1748, one Henry Ellis, published in London, a summary of the voyages 
and explorations to find a northwest passage across America to China and in 
which he gives the story of a Dutchman sailor who having been driven to the 
coast of California, had found that country to be either an island or a penin- 
sula, according as the tide was high or low. Before 1750, the Russians had 
crossed Asia and arrived on the coast of Bering strait, and made such discov- 
eries as proved the existence of our Alaskan possessions, and greatly nar- 
rowed the northern mystery — they had discovered the real strait which sep- 
arated America and Asia. And as embodying the geographical knowledge of 
this region at that time, have printed Jeffrey's map of 1768, which shows the 
location of Oregon under the name of New Albion, which was the name Drake 
gave the Oregon coast in 1579. This is the first map to give any hint of the 
great river of Columbia, which is here put down on imaginary lines by both 
French and Russians as "River of West." 

But as time passed on and explorers and navigators converged from north 
to south and compared their observations, it was made plain that there was no 
Strait of Anian or any other navigable strait or water passage across the con- 
tinent. The east coast lines had been followed from Hudson's bay south to the 
straits of Magellan and thence along the west coast north to the Bering sea, 
and no strait found. The result of this conclusion was, to start explorations 
overland, first from Canada and afterwards from Missouri territory, which 
finally developed the emigration to Oregon. And as this fact became fixed in 
the minds of men, we see the then ruling powers of the world taking steps to 
establish claims to the country by more open and assertive action. 

The first attempt to get on to the coast north of California, was made by 
Bartolome Ferrulo, sent out in two small vessels by the Spanish government in 
1543. It seems to be certain that Ferrulo did get north of 42° north latitude 
and near enough to the Oregon coast to observe birds, driftwood and the out- 
flow of a river. But he made no landing, and did not see the land on account 
of the fogs during the month of Februar}\ The next navigator on the Oregon 
coast was Francis Drake in the year 1579. Drake's claims to be the discoverer 
of Oregon are certainly better than those of De Fuca, and may with good 
reason be accepted as the fact. Drake had come around into the Pacific by 
way of Cape Horn, and prepared for any feat or fortune, had captured and 
robbed a number of Spanish merchant ships, returning from Peru and Mexico. 
He was to all intents, a pirate on the high seas ; and knowing full well that 
if any Spaniard able to capture him fell in with his ship, he would get a short 
shrift off the taffrail, he laid his course north close to the coast, where there 
were neither ships nor men, hoping to find a passage east across the continent to 
the Atlantic ocean ; or failing in that, to cross over to Asia and get back to 
England by the way of Good Hope, clear of Spanish ships. In the first printed 
account of this voyage, it is claimed Drake reached 42° north, which would be 
on the southern boundary of Oregon, where it is claimed the ship got fresh 
water, and to get which, the ship and crew must have reached the main land. 
From here Drake again sailed northerly along the coast until he reached 48° 
north, which is about the entrance to the Straits of Fuca. From this point 
Drake turned back, keeping close in, and finally reached what we now know 
as Drake's bay on the coast of California. It is claimed, and it may be true- 
that Drake thought he could find a passage across the continent by water and 
get east to the Atlantic and England with his plunder without risking a fight 
with any Spanish ship. If that was so, Drake with all his admitted great 
ability, must have believed in the Strait of Anian myth. But Francis Fletcher, 
Drake's nephew, who accompanied those pirates as chaplain, piously praying for 
their success, published in 1628 an account of that voyage which shows that 
they must have been well up towards Alaska before they turned back from the 
extreme cold. 


It seems necessary to state these particulars of Drake's discovery, as they 
throw hght upon the claim the British government afterwards set up to Ore- 
gon. If Drake, on that voyage, did actually reach Oregon, then according to 
the international law of that period, the English had a right to Oregon from 
discovery. But the British government never claimed anything for Drake or 
that voyage. Why? Drake was at that time a pirate, and outlaw, and no rights 
could be founded on the acts of such. There can be but little doubt that the 
character of Drake's expedition was well known to the British government. 
After wintering at Drake's bay, Drake struck out across the Pacific ocean and 
reached England by the Cape of Good Hope route in September, 1588, after an 
absence of two years, being the first Englishman to sail around the earth. His 
return to England created a great sensation. His sailors were reported to be 
clothed in silks, his sails were damask, and his masts covered with cloth of 
gold. Queen Elizabeth hesitated long before recognizing the really great ex- 
ploration of a free-booter. But finally she honored him with knighthood, and 
approved all his acts. 

Drake was the first explorer to give a name to the country — New Albion — 
which may be found for the first time on the map of Honduis made in 1595. 

The next exploring expedition to the Oregon coast was made by Sebastian 
Viscaino, and Martin Aguilar, who were sent out by the Spanish viceroy in 
Mexico, with two small vessels to explore the northwest coast of America. 
Leaving Monterey, California, in January, 1603, they sailed northerly and fall- 
ing in with bad weather were separated in a gale. The scurvy broke out on both 
ships, and many of the men died from the disease. But Aguilar's ship finally 
reached the land near Cape Blanco, Oregon, and found a river thereabouts, 
either Coos bay or the Coquille. Father Ascension, the chaplain, of the ship, 
says in his account of it, that they "found a very copious and soundable river 
on the banks of which were very large ashes, brambles and other trees of Cas- 
tile ; and wishing to enter it the current would not permit it." The same priest 
obtained a report from the pilot of the other ship that "having reached Cape 
Mendocino with most of the men sick, and it being mid-winter and the rigging 
cruelly cold and frozen so they could not steer the ship, the current carried 
her slowly towards the land, running to the Strait of Anian, which here has its 
entrance, and in eight days, we had advanced more than one degree of lati- 
tude, reaching 43° north in sight of a point named San Sebastian near which 
enters a river named Santa Anes." It seems to be clear that both these Spanish 
ship captains reached substantially the same point on the Oregon coast; and 
Viscaino named the point, Cabo Blanco de San Sebastian, which name has re- 
mained as the name until this day as our Cape Blanco, about half way between 
Coos bay and the mouth of Rogue river. 

Thus we see that in iii years after Columbus discovered land on the east 
side of the continent, the coast of Oregon on the west side of the continent 
was clearly made out and designated by names. And these discoveries of Drake, 
Viscaino and Aguilar, practically closed the era of myths and mysteries so far 
as the sea coast was considered. For while the belief of a Strait of Anian, or 
some passage for ships across the continent was for a period after that believed 
in or hoped for, there was no further fabricated reports of the discovery of 
such a passage. 

And now we find a long lapse in the spirit of exploration and discovery 
on the northwest coast of America. Not only Spain, but all other nations 
practically abandoned the coast of old Oregon for nearly one hundred and 
seventy years. Every motive which had moved Spain to exploration in the 
fifteenth century was still unsatisfied. The conversion of the souls of the na- 
tives was the great proposition of the church — and the church was Spain — was 
still beckoning the faithful missionaries to the unpenetrated forests of the far 
north. The taking possession of any possible inter-oceanic ship passage grew 
more important as the commerce of Spain on the Pacific increased from year 


to year. And yet Spain failed to move again until the year 1774, only two 
years prior to the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia. In that long 
interval of inertness, which can only be explained by Spain's surfeit of gold and 
plunder from Mexico and Peru, we find no more of other European powers to 
take advantage of the opportunity. But in 1773 the Spanish government moved 
by the reports that the Russians were not only making settlements on the east 
coast of Siberia, but were taking possession of the seal islands on the west 
coast of America, organized a strong expedition to set sail in 1774, with chaplains- 
missionaries to the heathen, surgeons to battle with the scurvy, and eighty men 
to man the ship and fight the enemies if necessary, with a years supplies, left 
Monterey, California, to take possession of the whole coast of North America, 
north of California clear up to the point where the Russians might possibly 
have made an actual settlement. This expedition was under the command of 
Juan Perez, who proved himself an able seaman and capable commander. Perez 
was instructed by his government to go north to the sixtieth degree of north 
latitude and take possession and explore the whole coast to that extent. It 
seems certain from his report that he reached 55 degrees north before turning 
back, and at which point he had friendly intercourse and much trade with the 
Indians. At one time there were twenty-one canoes with over two hundred 
Indians around his ship with dried fish and furs to barter for knives, iron, 
beads and other trinkets. This expedition practically surveyed the whole coast 
from what is now the southern boundary of Alaska down to the California 
line; and as far as any rights can attach to the mere finding or discovery of 
new lands Perez had made good the title of Spain to the whole coast from the 
California line up to Alaska. 

Determined to make good the claim to the northwest coast, Spain followed 
up the voyage of Perez with another the next year under the command of 
Bruno Heceta, with four vessels, chaplains, missionaries, one hundred and six 
men and supplies for a year. They left Monterey on May 21st, 1775, coasted 
northerly and made their first landing July 14th, 1775 on the coast of what is 
now Jefiferson County in the state of Washington about seventy-five miles 
south of the entrance to the Straits of Fuca. Here Heceta erected a cross and 
took possession of the country in the name of the king of Spain. And this 
was the first time European people had set foot on the coast of old Oregon, 
and made proclamation and record of intent to hold the land. From this point 
Heceta coasted southward and on August 17th, discovered a bay with strong 
currents and eddies, indicating the mouth of a great river or strait. The place 
was subsequently named by the Spaniards, Ensenada de Heceta, and which has 
been identified as the mouth of the Columbia river. 

We have now given all of the Spanish exploration of the northwest 
•coast as is necessary to show the title by right of discovery. It must be 
admitted that it was a right founded wholly on the consent of other na- 
tions, who were in the same business of claiming everything in the real estate 
line they could find, that had not already been appropriated by others. 
When we consider the character of the ships those old mariners went to sea 
in, and braved all the dangers of the deep, it would seem that they were en- 
titled to something better than wild land that had no appreciable value. One 
of the ships, not, however, entitled to be dignified as a ship, (with which Heceta 
made that voyage along the northwest coast in 1775,) was only thirty six- 
feet long, twelve feet wide and eight feet deep. What would the sailors 
of today say if asked to go upon a voyage along an uncharted coast for a year, 
where there was no help except from savage Indians, in case of misfortune. It 
was just about the time Heceta and his men were beating around among the 
rocks of Destruction island and fighting the Indians of Mount Olympus on the 
Washington coast, when General Warren and the continental militia were pour- 
ing hot shot into the British at Bunker Hill. There were fighting men and heroes 
in those days on both sides of America. 


An now we come down to a period one hundred and ninety-nine years 
after Drake discovered the coast of Oregon and named it New Albion, and 
find George III of England taking decisive steps to claim this country, or as 
much of it as was left unclaimed by the Spaniards. In 1776, the famous navi- 
gator. Captain James Cook was dispatched to the Pacific coast with instructions 
to search for a passage eastwardly through North America to Europe, either 
by Hudson bay, or by the Northern sea then recently discovered by Captain 
Hearne, or by the sea north of Asia; and in such search he was instructed to 
explore all the northwestern regions of America. His instructions were to 
strike the Coast of New Albion at '45 degrees north, which was supposed to 
be north of any discoveries then made by the Spanish. This was Cook's third 
and last voyage around the world, and he had left England without knowing 
what the Spanish navigators had accomplished before that time. And he was 
specially instructed "to take possession, with the consent of the natives, in the 
name of the king of Great Britain, of convenient situations, as you may dis- 
cover, that have not already been discovered, or visited by any other European 
power, and to distribute among the inhabitants, such things as will remain as 
traces and testimonials. You are also on your way thither strictly enjoined 
not to touch upon any part of the Spanish dominions on the western continent 
of America, unless driven thither by unavoidable accident, in which case you 
are to stay no longer than shall be absolutely necessary, and to be very careful 
not to give any umbrage or offense to any of the inhabitants or subjects of his 
Catholic majesty. And if in your further progress to the northward, as here- 
after directed, you find any subjects of any European prince or state upon 
any part of the coast, you many think proper to visit, you are not to disturb 
them, or give them any just cause of offense." 

Now, it is clear from these instructions, that Cook was bound to respect 
the claims of Spain set up as prior discoveries of the Oregon coast, and the 
British government was bound by these instructions — Cook was to take posses- 
sion of such lands as had not been discovered or visited by any other European 
power. He reached the Sandwich islands in February, 1778, and sailing from 
the islands, came in sight of the Oregon coast on March 7, 1778. He speaks 
of the coast as "New Albion" in his log, using the name given it by Drake 
nearly two hundred years before. At noon of March 7, the ship's position was 
44° 33' north by 236° and 30' east from Greenwich, and Cook's orders were to 
strike the coast at 45° north, so that he was showing good sailing qualities. 
The location on the Oregon coast reached first thus by Cook, is practically 
about the entrance of Yaquina bay. In his log, he describes the land fairly 
well as of "moderate height, diversified with hill and valley, and almost every- 
where covered with trees." Cook laid his course north up the coast and after 
passing a headland, foul weather set in and he named the point Cape Foul- 
weather, which name has stayed with the headland to this day. Cook held to 
his course up the coast with continued stormy weather, until March 29, pass- 
ing both the mouth of the Columbia river and the straits of Fuca, without see- 
ing either opening, and then turned into what he named Hope bay on the west 
coast of Vancouver island, and finding an extension of the bay into the land, 
gave it the Indian name of Nootka sound. Here he explored the country and 
traded with the Indians. Cook gave names to Capes Foulweather, Perpetua 
and Gregory, all of which have been permanent except the last, which is now 
known as Arago. He traded with the same Indians as did Perez, and found 
silver spoons and other trinkets of European origin among them, and rightly 
concluded that they had been visited by more than one navigator on the coast, 
and did not pretend to take possession of the country, although he remained at 
Nootka on the coast of Vancouver island for a month, making repairs to his 

On April 26, Cook resumed his cruise northward surveying the coast line 
as best he could, keeping a sharp lookout for a ship passage eastwardly across 

:l ■J'\..< 

. >, L.l !^ 'X- i-^ * 




the continent, for the discovery of which the British government had offered a 
reward of twenty thousand pounds. But he found no Strait of Anian, or any 
other strait ; and coasted around northwesterly reaching Bering sea, and finally 
the coast of Asia, and after satisfying himself that there was no passage from 
the Pacific eastwardly. to the Atlantic, he sailed for the Sandwich islands, which 
he reached February 8, 1779. Here he met with great trouble from the natives, 
and in attempting to recover a small boat they had stolen from his ship, he 
was violently attacked by a multitude, brutally killed with clubs before his men 
could rescue him, and carried away and eaten by the cannibals. He had made 
three voyages of discovery around the globe, had discovered the Sandwich 
islands and many other lands. 

Captain James Cook was the greatest of all the navigators and explorers of 
unknown seas, and in every respect a very great man. His services to mankind 
were so highly esteemed that when Franklin was in Paris as representative of the 
United States, he was empowered to issue letters of marque against the Eng- 
lish, but in doing so, inserted an instruction that if any of the holders of such 
letters, should fall in with vessels commanded by Captain Cook, he was to be 
shown every respect and be permitted to pass unattacked on account of the bene- 
fits he had conferred on mankind, through his important discoveries. 

Cook is described as over six feet high, thin and spare, small head, forehead 
broad, dark brown hair, rolled back and tied behind, nose long and straight, high 
cheek bones, small brown eyes and quick and piercing, face long, chin round 
and full with mouth firmly set — a striking, austere face, showing his Scotch 
descent, and indicative of the man most remarkable for patience, resolution, 
perseverance and unfaltering courage. 

The irony of fate which snuffed out the life of a great and good man, and 
deprived him of the honor and credit of opening to the w^orld a great region 
filled with unexampled wealth, yet even in this last fateful voyage, gave to the 
commercial world a clue to vast wealth which was eagerly snapped up by citi- 
zens of four great nations. In Cook's brief stay at Nootka sound, he got in 
barter, a small bale of very fine furs from the Indians. These furs reached 
China after the death of Cook, and their extraordinary quality at once so caught 
the attention of all vessels trading to Canton, that the news of it spread rapidly 
to England, Spain, Portugal and the United States. In consequence of this 
information there was a sort of gold mine stampede to the new found El Do- 
rado in the fur bearing haunts of the north Pacific, w^hich set in toward the 
northwest seven years after Cook had sailed away. This was the beginning 
of the great fur trade from which the Hudson Bay Company made so many 
royal millionaires in England. 

Following up this discover}^ of rich furs in the northwest, we find Captain 
James Hanna, an Englishman, coming over from China in a little brig of sixty 
tons, with twenty men. He reached Nootka sound in August, 1785, and he 
had no sooner anchored his little ship than the Indians attacked him. He gave 
them a hot reception, drove them off, and then they obligingly turned around 
and offered to trade. The sea rover accommodated them, and in exchange for 
a lot of cheap knives, shirts, beads and trinkets, the natives handed over five 
hundred and sixty sea otter skins, which would be worth at this day a quarter 
of a million dollars, but for which the thrifty trader actually got twenty thou- 
sand dollars. This was the beginning of the great fur trade in Old Oregon, 
Alaska and California. 

The next navigator to visit this region after Hanna. was the famous French 
explorer, La Perouse, who was sent out by the French king to examine such 
parts of northwestern America as had not been explored by Captain Cook, to 
seek an inter-oceanic passage, to make observations on the country, its people and 
products, to obtain reliable information as to the fur trade, the extent of the 
Spanish settlements, the region in which furs might be taken without giving 
offense to Spain, and the inducements to French enterprise. But while the 


commander of the expedition, like Cook, lost his life on this voyage, it was in 
many respects one of the most valuable of all the exploring expeditions to this 
region. La Perouse was accompanied by a corps of scientific observers able 
to report in full the value of the country, and their observations and the report 
of the voyage, make up four volumes with a book of maps, and really gave to 
the world the first scientific knowledge of this vast region. The expedition 
had also another very decisive feature as showing at that time what other na- 
tions than England thought of the ownership of the country. La Perouse was 
instructed to ascertain the extent and limits of the rights of Spain, and no 
reference was made whatever to any rights of England, clearly showing that 
in the estimation of other nations, England had no rights on the Pacific coast 
as against Spain or any other power. 

Following La Perouse in 1786, three fur trading expeditions were dis- 
patched to the northwest coast. One of these under the command of Captains 
Meares and Tipping, with the ships, Nootka and Sea Otter was fitted out in 
Bengal and traded with the Indians in Prince Williams sound and the Alaskan 
coast. A second expedition was fitted out by English merchants at Bombay, 
sailing under the flag of the East India Company, reached Nootka sound in 
June, 1786, and secured six hundred sea otter skins, not as many as they 
hoped for, because the Indians had promised to save their skins for Captain 
Hanna who had given them a thrashing, and who returned in August. This 
expedition from Bombay is remarkable for more than its six hundred sea otter 
pelts. It left behind, at his own request, the first white man to reside on the 
northwest coast of America — one John McKey — who being in bad health, 
chose to take his chances with the Indians, the chief promising him protec- 
tion. McKey lived for over a year with the Indians, taking a native woman 
for a wife, was well treated but endured many hardships, kept a journal of his 
experiences, and gave to the world, through Captain Barclay, who carried him 
away to China, the geographical fact that Vancouver island was not a part of 
the mainland. 

The third expedition of that year was two ships fitted out in England in 
1785, but did not reach the Pacific coast until 1786. It was sent out by what 
was called King George's Sound Company, an association of British merchants 
acting under licenses from the South Sea and East India monopolies, and was 
commanded by Nathanial Portlock and George Dixon, both of whom had been 
with Cook on his last voyage. They reached the coast of Alaska in July, 1786, 
then drifted south intending to winter at Nootka, but from bad weather and 
other causes failed to find harbors and sailed to the Sandwich islands where 
they wintered. They returned to the coast in 1787 and repeated their cruise 
of drifting southward from Alaska. Portlock and Dixon named several points 
on the coast in this cruise, secured two thousand, five hundred and fifty sea 
otter skins which they sold in China for $54,857, while the whole number of 
otter pelts secured by the other fur traders, — Hanna, Strange, Meares and Bar- 
clay down to the end of 1787 was only 2,481 skins. Captain Barclay reached the 
coast at Nootka in June, 1787, coming out as the commander of the ship Im- 
perial Eagle, which sailed from the Belgian port of Ostend under the flag of 
the Austrian East India Company, making another nation engaging in the fur 
trade. Barclay went no further north than Nootka, got eight hundred otter 
skins and then sailed southward, discovering Barclay sound; continuing his 
voyage south, passing the Strait of Fuca without seeing it, he sent off a boat 
to enter a river, probably the Quillayute — with five men and a boat-swain's 
mate, where they were attacked by the Indians and all killed. These were 
probably the same savages that gave Heceta and his men such a battle in 1775. 
Mrs. Barclay had accompanied the captain on his voyage, and is entitled to the 
distinction of being the first white woman to land on the soil of old Oregon. 

Following up Captain Barclay's careful survey of the coast, the Spanish 
government sent north in 1788 another exploration to find out what the Rus- 


sians were doing on the coast; it had been reported that the Russians had four 
settlements, coming down as far south as Nootka, and it was feared that the 
Russians might come still farther south, as probably they did. This Spanish ex- 
pedition consisted of two vessels, commanded by Martinez, and de Haro, for 
•each of which important coast points have been named. This expedition shows 
clearly enough that Spain was asserting her title to the coast against all the 
world as far up as 60 degrees north. 

And now we reach the date when citizens of the United States for the first 
time, show an interest in the country we write this book about. Here for the 
first time do the "Bostons" and the "King George" men (as the Indians named 
them) come in contact as explorers, traders and rivals for the great northwest. 
For the year 1788, the history of this vast region is made up of the movements 
of the American captains, Kendrick and Gray in command of the ships Lady 
Washington and Columbia, and the British captains, Meares in command of 
the Felice and Douglas in command of the Iphegenia. All these old sea cap- 
tains were exceedingly polite to each other, accepting various favors, the Ameri- 
cans firing a salute on the launching of Meares new schooner, but each man 
kept a sharp lookout for "the main chance." 

Captain Gray, the first American citizen to set eyes on the coast of Ore- 
gon, hailed the land near the boundary between California and Oregon, August 
2., 1788, and coasted north, keeping in close to the shore. Two days after sight- 
ing land, ten natives came off in a canoe and gave the strangers a friendly 
greeting. On the 14th of August, Gray crossed over the Tillamook bar and 
anchored in thirteen feet of water near where the town of Bay city is now lo- 
cated. The Indians appeared to be friendly, furnishing large quantities of fish 
and berries without payment, and trading furs freely for iron implements, tak- 
ing what was offered in exchange, and also furnishing wood and water as de- 
sired. Gray thought he had entered the mouth of the great "River of the 
West" ; which Jonathan Carver had figured out on his map of the northwest, 
made ten years prior, from conversations he had with Indians on the Mis- 
sissippi river, near where St. Paul is located. But remaining a few days in the 
Tillamook bay to recuperate his men from scurvy, he got into a hot fight with 
the Indians about a cutlass one of them had stolen from his servant Lopeze. 
Poor Lopez a native of the Cape Verde islands, was killed, three sailors badly 
beaten, barely escaping with their fives, the captain had to drive the savages 
away with the swivel gun, killing many of them, and naming the place "Mur- 
derer's Harbor." The speculators who are now so noisily "boosting" that 
beautiful sheet of water for a fashionable summer resort, will hardly adopt its 
first white man's name as an attractive historical suggestion. Tillamook bay 
may be considered the first harbor on the coast of Oregon entered by a white 
man's ship ; and all the more appreciated is the fact that the ship was American, 
and that its captain was the discoverer of our grand river, Columbia. 

Leaving Tillamook and proceeding north up the coast, the navigators found 
nothing new in adventure or discovery. They did not even see the entrance 
to the Straits of Fuca, although Haswell, the ship's second officer, wrote at the 
time, "I am of the opinion that the Straits of Fuca do exist, though Captain 
Cook positively asserts they do not, for at this point the coast takes a bend 
that may be the entrance." It is surprising that so important a geographical fea- 
ture of the northwest coast should not have been discovered sooner than it was. 
And it is a painful disappointment that the name of the discoverer, Captain 
James Barclay should not have been attached to the strait, instead of that of 
the Greek imposter, De Fuca. It is some satisfaction, however, to know that 
the first man to sail through the great strait was an American — Captain 
Robert Gray, and making a remarkable and most happy coincidence, in that 
his ship was named Lady Washington in honor of the wife of the man who was 
at the date of that memorable voyage through the strait, inaugurated the first 
president of the United States. 


From this time on, the fur trading vessels to the north Pacific rapidly in- 
creased. The profits of the fur trade were so enormous that men and money 
rushed into it from every maritime nation. It was typical of and the fore- 
runner of the California gold craze which came along about sixty years later. 
The only difference being, so far as the argonauts were concerned, was that in the 
rush to get furs all had to go in ships and brave the perils of the sea ; while 
in the mad rush to California tens of thousands made their way overland from 
the Missouri river by ox teams. But on reaching these two era-marking El Do- 
radoes, we see another wholly dissimilar plan to get the gold. The fur trading 
sea captains did not hunt for any furs or descend to the menial labor of digging 
gold from mother earth. They took the lordly and aristocratic way of work- 
ing the heathen savage to catch the furs on land and sea, and then trading him 
out of his pelts with bad whiskey, shoddy shirts, and glass beads. But the 
CaHfornia miner for gold had to get in and dig for himself to get gold. In- 
dians there were in plenty in California, but no lordly son of the forest would 
ever demean himself with the base work of using a pick and shovel. And 
here we see the two races face to face, opposed. One will hunt, and shoot, 
and fish, and kill, and starve before he will work. The other will work and 
trade, and cheat and rob, before he will starve. 

At the same time that Gray and Kendrick were out here from Boston, two 
English ships, the Felice and Iphegenia, already noticed, were here for furs. 
The Englishmen had come prepared to build a small vessel on the coast and mak- 
ing their headquarters at Nootka, erected there the first house built north of 
California. This house built 122 years ago was two stories high, with a de- 
fensive breast work all around it and a cannon mounted on top of it. Cap- 
tain Kendrick of the Columbia, also built a house, but whether before or after 
the erection of the English house the record does not show. Being inquired of, 
the Indian chief, Maquinna, and all his sub-chiefs, who were in native posses- 
sion of the land at Nootka, answered that they sold no land to the British cap- 
tains, and that the American Captain Kendrick was the only man to whom they 
had ever sold any land. So that so far as getting the Indian title to lands was 
concerned, history shows that the Americans were the first and only people to 
recognize the Indian title to lands on the Pacific coast. The Englishmen who 
built the house, above described, got in all the furs they could and prepared ^ to 
leave for China in September, 1788. They tore down the house they had 
erected, put part of the materials on board the ships, and gave the balance to 
the Americans. In other respects, they were not so liberal. They strongly 
urged the Americans not to remain on the coast and brave the winter storms, 
avoided carrying any letters from the Americans to China, declared they had 
not got more than fifty otter skins when they had in fact, thousands. But the 
Americans stayed and wintered at Nootka. 

With the opening of the spring of 1789, the two American ships pushed 
their work of exploration to new locations and other tribes of Indians, getting 
in large lots of furs, before the English or Spanish ships could reach the 
coast, and during the summer, surveying the Straits of Fuca. By the middle 
of June, the Englishmen, had returned from China, and immediately engaged in 
trade for furs. But prior to the arrival of the English ships, two Spanish 
vessels reached Nootka under command of Lieutenant Martinez and Captain 
Haro, who came prepared to assert and enforce the rights of Spain to the 
country. Finding the English ships had two sets of papers, one English and 
one Portuguese, prepared to sail under two different flags, the Spaniards 
promptly arrested the Englishmen, and thereby hangs the tale of a good-sized 
tempest in a teapot settlement at Nootka sound. Back and under the whole 
trouble was the strife to get furs from the Indians. The Spaniards had never 
made any settlement in the country or left a single priest to convert the heathen. 
Neither had the English. But the Spaniards claimed the country by right of 
discovery, and if now by asserting that right vigorously they could put the Eng- 

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lishmen out of the fur trade, it would be good business. And so the Spaniards 
pushed their advantage to the limit of sending the English captains down to 
San Bias as prisoners or pirates. Spain claimed the right to found a settle- 
ment and build a fort. The English claimed the same rights, and it was clear 
there could not be two sovereignties in the same territory. The upshot of 
the whole matter was the making of a compromise treaty of which we will give 
a copy in the chapter on title to the country. 

But as the Spaniards were very poor business men, they never got much 
out of the fur trade. Besides that, otter pelts were not near so attractive as 
the ingots of gold and silver, they were squeezing out of the Mexicans and 
Peruvians. And as a matter of fact it is no more than justice to the priests, 
and ought to be said, that the church used its influence through the priests to 
protect the Indians as far as possible from the evils of the rum traffic and 
outrageous robbery by fur traders in getting the fruits of their labor for mere 
trifles. A single example may be given to show how ignorant the natives were 
of the value of otter skins, when they gave Captain Cook on his survey of 
Queen Charlotte island, two hundred sea otter skins, worth at that time eight 
thousand dollars, for an old iron chisel not worth a dollar. 

The Americans had decided to send Gray with the Columbia back to Boston 
when the quarrel between the English and Spaniards was at its height; and to 
that end, with the furs taken by Kendrick and Gray, he — Gray, returned to 
Boston at the close of 1789. The joint expedition of the two ships had not been 
greatly profitable, but the Boston merchants were not discouraged, and re- 
solved to outfit the ship and send Gray out again. 

Accordingly the Columbia sailed out of Boston harbor on the 28th of Sep- 
tember, 1790, for its second voyage to the coast of Old Oregon, and arrived 
at Clayoquot on the west coast of Vancouver island on the 5th of June, 1791. 
After a rest for a few days, the ship, proceeded to the eastern side of 
Queen Charlotte island, on which and the opposite main land coast she re- 
mained until September, exploring and trading with the Indians, going as far 
north as the present extreme southern end of Alaska. Gray returned to Clayo- 
quot on the 29th of August, having had only indifferent success in getting furs, 
and then went into winter quarters near an Indian village, and during the win- 
ter, built a small sloop and lived on the ducks and geese so plentiful and fat. 
The next spring (1792) brought a lot of traders from France, Portugal, Eng- 
land, and the United States. There were twenty-eight vessels on the north- 
west coast in the spring of 1792 at one time. Five of them came expressly 
to make geographical explorations. The others brought out government com- 
missioners or supplies for garrison, and national vessels. But it is no part 
of our purpose to follow the movements of any of these ships. 

We return again to Captain Gray in winter quarters at Clayoquot. In Feb- 
ruary, 1792, the Indians that had all along been so friendly to Gray, formed a 
plot to seize the ship and kill every man but a Kanaka servant boy. The plot 
was detected and defeated by the mistake of the Indians in trying to bribe this 
Kanaka to wet the powder in all the fire arms on a certain night. By moving 
the ship, preparing for defence and firing the cannon into the woods, the at- 
tack was prevented. On the 23d of February the sloop which Gray had built — 
the first American ship built on the coast — was launched and named the Ad- 
venture, and on April 2, both of Gray's ships sailed out for their spring har- 
vest of furs. The two vessels parted company at Clayoquot, Gray and the Co- 
lumbia going southward. On the 29th of April, Gray met the Englishman, 
Vancouver, just below Cape Flattery, and gave him some account of his dis- 
coveries and among other things told him about having been off the mouth of 
a river in latitude 46 degrees north where the outgoing flood was so strong as 
to prevent him from entering the river after nine day's effort. After meeting 
Vancouver he ran into what is now called Gray's harbor, and remained there 
trading with the Indians, and got into a fight with them, until the loth of May, 


when he weighed anchor, sailed out and southward to the point where he had 
struck the outflow of the great river, and then on May ii, 1792, succeeded in 
saiHng in over the bar and up the river for twenty-five miles — and named the 
river after his ship — "The Columbia," — our great Columbia. 

From the log book of the Columbia, we take the following extracts : "At four 
o'clock in the morning of the nth, we beheld our desired port, bearing east- 
southeast, distant six leagues. At eight A. M. being a little to the windward of 
the entrance of the harbor, bore away, and ran in east-northeast, between the 
breakers, having from five to seven fathoms of water. When we were over the 
bar, we found this to be a large river of fresh water, up which we steered. 
Many canoes came alongside. At one P. M. came to, with the small bower, in 
ten fathoms, black and white sand. The entrance between the bars bore west- 
southwest ten miles ; the north side of the river, distant a half mile from the 
ship, the south side of the same, two and a half miles distant, a village on the 
north side of the river, west by north, distant three quarters of a mile. Vast 
numbers of the natives came alongside ; people employed pumping the salt 
water out of our water-casks in order to fill with fresh, while the ship floated 
in. So ends." 

"No, not so ends, Oh, modest Captain Gray of the ship Columbia (says Mrs. 
Victor), the end is not yet, nor will it be until all the vast territory, rich with 
every production of the earth, which is drained by the waters of the new found 
river shall have yielded up its illimitable wealth to distant generations." 

And to this Yankee skipper from Boston, the American, Robert Gray, more 
honors — came in the exploration of the northwest — than to any other man. He 
was not only the first to sail a ship through the Straits of Fuca, — the discoverer 
of the Columbia river, but he was the first American to circumnavigate the 
globe under the national flag, which he did in 1790, by the way of Good Hope, 
trading his furs to the Chinese at Canton for a cargo of tea. 

Here our record of the explorations of the northwest from the seacoast 
comes to a close. We have given enough to enable the reader to follow the 
story and see how these explorations gradually concentrated to the point of 
discovering the river which drains the empire which is building this city. The 
foundation of our title to the whole northwest clear up to the Alaskan boundary, 
and the natural selection of this point for the central and chief city of all this 
vast region will be better understood when reading future chapters after having 
read this chapter through. 


1634— 1834. 

The Landward Movement West — Two Differing Minds of Civili- 
zation, and Two Differing and Independent Movements of Pop- 
ulation, Move Westward — The French Catholic on the One 
Side, and the English Protestant on the Other — La Salle, Henne- 
pin, Marquette, Jonathan Carver, Mackenzie, Pike, Astor, 
Ashley, Bridger, Bonneville and Wyeth. 

The settlement of the west, northwest and southwest, from the earliest times 
proceeded from the Atlantic to the Pacific on two separate and characteristically 
different lines. 

First: The French from the Canadas, succeeded by the English Canadians. 
Second: The English from the colonies, succeeded by the American rebels of 
the colonies. These currents of differing populations, ideas and ideals im- 
pinges one against the other, first in the wilderness of Old Fort Du Quesne, 
where the city of Pittsburg now stands, resulting in war between France and 
England, and finally on the Columbia, a half century later, between the United 
States and England, for possession of Old Oregon, of which this city is the 
most strategic point. 

In this chapter will be sketched the men and movements which seem to have 
been in their inception, more devoted to fur trading, or religious interests, than 
to the political aspect of permanent settlements. Having, in tracing the de- 
velopment and conclusion of the seacoast exploration of the northwest, gone 
only so far as that exploration resulted in locating and pointing out, as its final 
result, the great interior water way line across the continent, that was to locate 
and build this city. While it may be true that the discovery of the Columbia 
river had some influence in deciding the title to the country, yet the city would 
have been located and built at this point, no matter what nation had secured the 
tributary territory. But now, we come to a chapter which presents the dramatis 
personae of the great work of civilization in the settlement of this vast region 
by the white race; and which wrought the mould and cast the future giant 
which is to rule the commerce of the great Pacific. From the timid and ten- 
tative adventurings out from the Atlantic sea coast into the unknown western 
wilderness, two distinct and diverse lines of thought and purpose characterize 
two separate and independent movements of population to take possession of 
the vast unknown West. And that these diverse lines of thought and sepa- 
rated independent movements of people, did as surely and definitely converge 
upon, select and build up this Oregon people and Portland City, as did the 
many sided sea-rovers exploration of unknown seas, finally converge upon and 
select the great Columbia river, will be the thought and conclusion of this chapter. 



The French being in possession of Canada, were the first to make the 
plunge into the boundless wilderness. And this final and successful effort to 
get into the interior of the continent, was made only after a long and bitter war 
with the Iroquois Indians, who had destroyed the previously established Catho- 
lic missions along Lake Huron, and driven back the French to the gates of 
Quebec. Protection being finally guaranteed to the Jesuits, and a regiment of 
French soldiers being sent out to overcome the Indians, the five nations finally 
made a peace which assured an end of further hostilities. Starting from Old 
Fort Frontenac, at the outlet of Lake Ontario as early as 1665, we find the 
faithful pirest, Allouez, braving all the dreaded dangers of the unknown, and 
following up through the chain of Great Lakes, and finally reaching Lake Su- 
perior, with Marquette, establishing the mission of St. Mary, the first settle- 
ment of white men, within the limits of our northwestern states. Following 
this, various other Missions were established, and explorations made. Fired 
by rumors of a great river in the far distant west, Marquette was sent by the 
superintendent. Talon, to find it. Marquette was accompanied on this explora- 
tion of the trackless wilderness by Joliet, a merchant of Quebec, with five 
Frenchmen and two Indian guides. Leaving the lakes by the way of Fox river, 
they ascended that stream to the center of the present state of Wisconsin, where 
they carried their canoes across a portage, until they struck the Wisconsin river. 
Here the Indian guides, fearful of unknown terrors in the wilderness beyond, 
refused to go farther, and left the white men to make their own way alone. For 
seven days the Frenchmen floated down the Wisconsin, and finally came out on 
the mighty flood of the Mississippi — the "Great River" — for such is the mean- 
ing of the name. With the feelings of men who had discovered a new world, 
they floated down the great river, charmed and delighted with the wondrous 
scene, passing through vast verdant meadow-land prairies, covered with un- 
counted herds of bufifalo, with the unbroken silence of ages they passed the 
outpouring floods of other rivers — the Des Moines, the Illinois, the Missouri, 
the Ohio, and on down to the Arkansas. Here they landed to visit the- as- 
tonished natives on the shore, who received them with the utmost kindness, 
and invited them to make their homes with them. And it was from these In- 
dians, as we shall see further along, that was bred the first man who crossed the 
continent from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean, and gave an intelligible 
account of his trip. But leaving the Arkansas, Marquette and his companions 
floated on down the Father of Waters, until greeted by a diflferent climate, by 
cottonwoods, palmettos, heat and mosquitos. Marquette was satisfied that to 
follow the river they must fall into the Gulf of Mexico; and fearful of falling 
into the hands of the Spaniards, reluctantly turned the prows of their canoes 
up stream and made their way back to Canada over the same route. Leaving 
Marquette at Green bay on Lake Michigan, Joliet carried the news back to 
Quebec. Shortly after this Marquette's health gave way, and while engaged 
in Missionary work among the Illinois Indians, died May 18, 1675, 3-t the age 
of thirty-eight. He had fallen at his post, and his self-appointed work of en- 
lightening and blessing the benighted American Savage, and unselfishly con- 
secrated his life to the highest and noblest impulses of the human soul. No 
higher or greater encomium of praise or honor could have been bestowed on 
any man. 

And now we strike a different character, Robert Cavalier de La Salle, a 
dashing young Frenchman who had shown great energy and enterprise in ex- 
plorations of Lakes Ontario and Erie, was roused to great interest and re- 
solved at once that he would explore the course of the great river to its outlet in 
the ocean, wherever that might lead them. Leaving his Fort Frontenac, and his 
fur trade, he hurried back to France to get a commission from the government to 
explore the Mississippi river. Nothing could be done in those days by the French, 
Spanish or English, without government license. It was different on the 
American Colonial side of the line after the Battle of Bunker Hill. La Salle 


got his commission; returning to Canada, accompanied by the ChevaHer Tonti, 
an Italian veteran, as his Heutenant, he made haste to build a small sloop with 
which he sailed up the Niagara river to the foot of the rapids below the great 
falls. Transporting his stores and material around the falls, he began the first 
rigged ship that ever sailed the Great Lakes. In this ship of sixty tons, which 
he named the Griffin, with a band of missionaries and fur traders, La Salle 
passed up Lake Erie, through the strait at Detroit, across St. Clair, and Lake 
Huron, through the Straits of Mackinaw, into Lake Michigan, and finally came 
to anchor in Green bay in the present state of Wisconsin, October, 1679. From 
this point, after sending the ship back for fresh supplies, La Salle and his com- 
panions crossed Lake Michigan, to the mouth of St. Joseph's river in the pres- 
ent state of Michigan, where Father Allouez had established a mission, with 
the Miami Indians, and where La Salle now added a trading post which he 
called the Fort of the Miamis. Here the party labored and waited in vain for 
a year, the return of their ship, which had been wrecked, and lost on its way 
back to Lake Erie. Tiring of his troubles in camp, and vexatious of delay, 
with a few followers they shouldered their muskets and packed their canoes 
and set out on foot from St. Joseph in December, 1679, tramping around the 
southern end of Lake Michigan, and across the frozen prairie to the head 
waters of the Illinois river, finding which they floated down the river to Lake 
Peoria, where the city of Peoria now stands. There they got into trouble with 
the Indians, large numbers of whom inhabited that part of the country. They 
had every imaginable kind of trouble with the Indians, with half-hearted fol- 
lowers, and open deserters. But La Salle, well named, "the lion hearted," was 
equal to every danger and emergency, and kept his grand ship of enterprise 
and exploration afloat under circumstances that would have overwhelmed any 
other man. But receiving no news from St. Joseph, and knowing nothing of the 
loss of his ship, and destitute of the tools, implements or supplies to enable 
him to go forward and compass the great scheme of exploration to the mouth 
of the great river, he resolved to return to Canada with only three men, pain- 
fully and tediously making their way by land across the vast wilderness from 
the heart of the present state of Illinois to Frontenac, in Canada, where the 
city of Kingston now stands, taking sixty-five days of foot-sore travel to ac- 
complish the trip. But before leaving Peoria lake. La Salle detached one of 
his men, Tonti, who had only one arm, and the priest. Father Hennepin to 
make further explorations of the country in his absence. Hennepin was to 
explore the upper Mississippi, and Tonti, the Illinois country. Hennepin has 
always had credit of being the first white man to explore the upper portion of 
the river. He claimed to have gone up the Mississippi from the mouth of the 
Illinois to the falls of St. Anthony, where St. Paul now stands ; and when he 
returned to France, he published an account of such explorations. But the 
correctness of Father Hennepin's story has been disputed by the historian. 
Sparks, who, after receiving the report of Hennepin says : "These facts, added 
to others, are perfectly conclusive, and must convict Father Hennepin of hav- 
ing palmed upon the world, a pretended discovery, and a fictitious narrative." 

Leaving Father Hennepin, and coming back to his one armed co-laborer, 
Tonti, we find that the Illinois promptly banished him on the departure of La 
Salle, so that he had to take refuge at the old camp on Green bay. And from 
which point, Tonti sent back to Canada, a dismal report of all his troubles, and 
the destruction of the fort at Peoria, and the probable death of La' Salle at the 
hands of Indians. But La Salle was not dead. The lion-hearted hero of the 
great American wilderness was alive and equal to the great reverses of his for- 
tune. On reaching his old home and establishment at Frontenac, he found it 
plundered and all his property and fortune wrecked, stolen, lost and ruined. But 
the dauntless man refused to be defeated. To raise money in a wilderness, and 
outfit a new expedition, seemed an impossibility. There are a thousand promoters 
of all sorts of schemes in this city today, where there is forty million dollars of 


money. But if all these thousand promoters were boiled down into one man (he) 
they could not do in Portland what La Salle did in the wilderness of Canada two 
hundred and thirty years ago. With his eloquence of speech, his courage, his des- 
perate determination to succeed and his refusal to accept defeat, he gathered a 
new party of men, he procured supplies for a year, he laid in arms and ammuni- 
tion to fight Indians, if fight he must, and again sallied forth to claim and con- 
quer the mightiest empire of rich land on the face of the earth, for his God and 
his king. The grandeur and heroism of the man is simply paralyzing. 

With his new company of men and ample supplies, he returned, collected to- 
gether his old men, went on to Peoria lake, to find his fort destroyed and all the 
Indian camps in ruins, and the ground covered with the bones and corpses of the 
slain Illinois who had been literally wiped out by the merciless Iroquois. Then 
La Salle constructed a barge — not a ship with sails as he had told the Indians — 
but a barge like what may be seen in Portland harbor loaded with wood or ties 
to-day and with this comfortably outfitted, he floated down the Illinois from 
Peoria lake to the "Father of Waters" and thence day after day on down, down, 
down, until he came to the point where the great river divides into three branches 
to discharge its vast flood into the Gulf of Mexico. The party divided. La Salle 
followed down the Western outlet, D'Autray the East, and Tonti, the Central. 
They came out on the great gulf where not a ship had ever disturbed its waters, 
and where there was no sign of life. The three parties assembled, and re-united, 
proceeded to make formal proclamation, April 9, 1682, of the right of discovery 
of all the lands drained by the mighty river, and the ownership of the same by 
the king of France. They erected a cross as a signal that the country was devoted 
to the religion of the Holy Roman Catholic church ; and buried a tablet of lead 
with the arms of France; and erected a slab on which were engraved the arms 
of France and the inscription : 


The Frenchmen fired a volley, sang the Te Deum and then La Salle raised 
his sword and in the name of his king, claimed all the territory drained by the 
Mississippi. A region "watered by 1,000 rivers and ranged by 1,000 warlike 
tribes ; an empire greater than all Europe, passed that day beneath the sceptre 
of the king of France by this feeble act of one man," And now we can see on 
what slight and trivial circumstances the titles to continental empires of land 
turned in the easy going times 228 years ago. When Columbus discovered 
America, Pope Alexander VI. of bad repute, gave the whole of it to Spain, 
and that disposition of the continent was acquiesced in for a long time. When 
Hermando Soto discovered the Mississippi river in 1539, he claimed the river 
and all the regions that it drained for the king of Spain. How the Holy Father 
ever settled the matter between the two loyal Catholic nations has probably 
never been ascertained. 

The sad fate of so great a man as La Salle should not be omitted from 
this record. Gathering up his followers, being unable to take his barge back, 
he turned his canoes up stream and for many months paddled his way back; 
stopping to build a fort at where the city of St. Louis now stands, and organ- 
izing the Illinois Indians into an effective force to withstand the attacks of 
the Iroquois, and hold the country for France. Of all the explorers of the 
west, La Salle seems to have been the only man who appreciated or tried to 
organize and utilize the nations in reclaiming the wilderness for the purposes 
of civilization. 

After thus rapidly bringing the Illinois Indians to his support and the 
defence of the interests of France, he returned to Canada to find his friend 
and supporter. Governor Frontenac recalled to France and the weak and fool- 


ish old man, La Barre, in his place. And this man wholly unable to compre- 
hend the great work La Salle had accomplished, treated him with cruel in- 
gratitude, denouncing him as an imposter. He ridiculed the explorer's story 
of his explorations as a base fiction, saying the country was utterly worthless 
even if he had found such a country. Stung with mortification and exasper- 
ated by insult, La Salle at once sailed for France to lay his case before the 
king in person. The king met La Salle for the first time, and the great ex- 
plorer made the speech of his life, detailing with a passionate eloquence, the 
grandeur of the great river, the beauty of the great countries it passed through, 
the value of the forests, and the future of its commerce; and captured the 
king and court of what was then the most powerful government on the earth. 
Too much could not be done for him. What did he want? He should have 
anything he asked for. He asked for ships and men to found a colony at 
the mouth of the great river. They were granted. The ships, the men, and 
women with them. The ships were good enough,. but their commander turned 
traitor to^ La Salle, and the colonists to found a new state, were the scum of 
all France. They sailed for the Mississippi, but on the way, the Spanish captured 
one of the ships, and the other missed the mouth of the great river, and landed 
at Matagorda bay in the territory of what is now Texas. The ships sailed 
away leaving La Salle and his worthless colonists. They started a settlement 
where the town of Lavaca now stands. Sickness broke out among them, and 
they died off like sheep. Of the one hundred and eighty men and womten 
who landed from the ship, one hundred and thirty-five perished within six 
months. La Salle made two efforts to get away from the doomed settlement 
and find the Mississippi, but failed. Then made the third attempt and got 
as far as the Teche river in what is now St. Laudry county in the state of 
Louisiana, where he was brutally murdered by the mutiny and treason of three 
of his men, firing upon him from an ambush. And the murderers, quarreling 
over the spoils of their leader, hastily suffered the same retributive fate at 
the hands of their associates ; while one Jontel, the narrater of these bloody 
deeds, and only five others of all that ship's load of people, ever lived to reach 
the great river. La Salle was killed on the 19th of March, 1687. And the 
good priest, Anatase who had faithfully followed to the last sad end, dug 
his grave, buried him, and erected a cross over the remains of the greatest 
land explorer the world ever saw, at the place where the town of Washington 
in Louisiana is now located. 

La Salle had literally given his life to his king, to France, and to the ex- 
tension of the Catholic religion. According to the supposed law of nations 
two hundred years ago, La Salle had given France a good title to all the lands 
drained by the Mississippi river. And as it turned out in the current of his- 
torical and political events, that title was made good to France by the sub- 
sequent action of President Thomas Jefferson ; thus showing what a great 
work and a great gift La Salle had conferred on his country. From that ter- 
ritory, and founded upon the title which the acts and labors of La Salle had 
given to France, and for which the United States paid France fifteen million 
dollars more than a hundred years ago, the following American states have been 
peopled and organized : Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, 
Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Indian Terri- 
tory, and parts of Montana and Colorado. 

But we must not forget that this was not all of the empire which the dis- 
coveries of La Salle conferred on France. La Salle had claimed all the lands 
drained by the Mississippi. In addition to the states named above, this claim 
covered Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of 
Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi. France had aready claimed 
the whole of lower and upper Canada, and for two hundred and thirty years, 
running from 1524 down to 1753, had held exclusive possession of the same, 


and from La Salle's advent on the Mississippi, had held a like exclusive pos- 
session of the whole of the Mississippi valley for more than seventy years. 

The relation and connection of this city of Portland with this chapter of 
the life of the great La Salle consists in the influence which these acts of the 
explorer gave to the extension of American settlements and exploration towards 
the Pacific northwest. It may be adverted to now, and enlarged upon here- 
after, that the French nation and the French people have always been, 
whenever occasion offered, friends of American ideas and institutions 
on the American continent as against other nations. And this friendship has 
more than once been effective to confer great benefits not only on the United 
States, but also on the people of Oregon. 

In 1753, England, by virtue of the possession of the colonies on the Atlantic 
coast, and especially the colony of Virginia, put forth a claim to all the terri- 
tory west of Virginia. The first public assertion of this claim by England was 
when Dinwiddie, colonial governor of Virginia, on the 30th of October, 1753, 
sent a young man named George Washington over the Alleghany mountains 
to the forks of the Ohio to find out what the French were doing in that region. 
Young Washington, then only twenty-two years of age, took along with him 
an old soldier that could speak French, engaged a pioneer guide and struck 
out into the vast wilderness. Reaching an Indian camp twenty miles below 
where the city of Pittsburg now stands, he held a pow-wow with the red men, 
and they furnished him an escort and guides to go up the Allegheny river and 
find the Frenchmen. This was then in the middle of a bad winter. But nothing 
could stop Washington. He foimd.the French prepared to hold the country 
by military force if necessary. He 'got their reply to Dinwiddie's letter, and 
returned to Williamsburgh, the then capital of Virginia. Washington Irving 
has drawn out the story of this first expedition of George Washington in his un- 
surpassed style and adds : "This expedition may be considered the foundation 
of Washington's fortunes ; from that moment he was the rising hope of Virginia." 

To make a long story short, this was the challenge to France, and the pre- 
lude to the war which raged for six years on American soil to decide whether 
France with the Catholic or England with the Protestant Episcopal faith should 
rule America. It is one of the remarkable things of history that this war so 
decisive and far-reaching in its results should have been begun under the leader- 
ship of this young Virginian surveyor; and that it had hardly been closed by a 
treaty which gave nearly all of America to the English, until the colonies them- 
selves, under the leadership of this same Virginian surveyor, should have dis- 
puted the rights of England and successfully made good their claim by a sub- 
sequent treaty which gave to Washington's work, nearly everything the Eng- 
lish had wrested from the French; and thus verifying the prophecy of the 
French statesman, Count Vergennes, "The colonies (said he) will no longer 
need the protection of the English; England will call on them to contribute 
toward supporting the burdens they have helped to bring on her, and they will 
answer by striking for Independence." 

By the treaty of Paris, made February loth, 1763, the whole of upper and 
lower Canada and all of Louisiana claimed by La Salle, east of the Mississippi 
river, had been ceded to England, and the island and city of New Orleans and 
all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi had been ceded to Spain. By this 
treaty French rule disappears from America, but French influence remained 
actively fomenting discord between the colonies and England. 

Having thus traced out the impulse given to the exploration of the west 
by the French, we turn to the American colonies and find that no sooner than 
the treaty of Paris had been signed, that the hardy pioneers of the border poured 
over the Alleghany mountains into western Pennsylvania, western Virginia, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee. The only Englishman we find in this flood of im- 
migration is Jonathan Carver, who left Boston in June, 1766, intending to 
penetrate the western wilderness to the head of the Mississippi river. It is 

' Vj» ,v 

i .V 'fQ^K. 




"^ ^f 57-\^ *• 



true that there are many accounts in early history of explorations to the far 
west which do not give any certain information, and which have a flavor of 
mystery if not fiction, but which it is not necessary to notice here. Carver's 
trip to the head-waters of the Mississippi is a veritable historical fact, and for 
many reasons, is of very great importance in any history of Oregon or the 
North Pacific. Carver was a captain in the British provincial army, and from 
necessity a man of education and ability to comprehend the facts coming under 
his observance. His exploration extended to a point about fifty miles west 
of where the city of St. Paul stands. Here he met the Dacotah Indians and 
lived with them for seven months, studying their language and learning all he 
could fro'm them about the country to the westward. These Indians drew 
maps for him as best they could on birch bark, which though meagre and rude 
in drawing, Carver found to be correct when he had an opportunity to ex- 
plore for himself. These Indians told Carver of the Rocky mountains ; pointed 
to their location farther west, telling him they were the highest land in all the 
world they knew, and told him that four great rivers ran down from those 
mountains in every direction. This was true. From their description. Carver 
made a map which we insert in this book. On this map Car^^er shows our 
Columbia as the river of the west, although the natives gave him the name 
of Oregon in connection with the country or the river, and it is not certain 
which. But it was from these Dacotah Indians and through Carver, we get 
the word Oregon as the name of the Old Oregon Country, and the name of our 
state. Gallons of ink and reams of paper have been wasted in trying to solve 
the origin and mystery of this name ; and still it goes back to those unlettered 
sons of the forest. Carver, undoubtedly tried his best to catch their meaning, 
and the true name of every thing, and it is very probable that he did, for he 
was with them for seven months, and certainly had their utmost trust and 
confidence. It must be accepted as a mere designation, name of a place or coun- 
try without any known reason or signification for it, just as thousands of 
other places have names without rhyme or reason. 

Carver's idea in this exploration, besides studying the Indians, was to cross 
the continent and ascertain its breadth from east to west between the forty- 
third and forty-sixth parallels of latitude, after which he intended to have the 
British government establish a post somewhere on the straits of Anian. In 
his first promised support, the supplies never reached him ; and when after- 
wards he revived the scheme with a wealthy member of the British parliament, 
their plans were upset by the breaking out of the American rebellion and 
the war for Independence. The British government had sanctioned the Carver 
plan, which was to take fifty men and ascend the Missouri river to its head- 
waters, cross over the Rocky mountain divide and then descend the river of the 
west to the Pacific ocean, and build a fort at some strategic point. And it is 
perfectly clear from this chapter of Carver's that the British did not intend 
to respect the rights of Spain under the treaty of Paris to the country west of 
the Mississippi. England was even then within three years after signing the 
treaty of Paris making .plans and taking steps to drive Spain out of her possessions 
west of the Mississippi, just as they had driven France out of Canada. But 
now they were counting without their host. In driving France out of Canada, 
they had Washington and the colonists to help ; but now they were to have 
Washington and the colonists to oppose them. 

We cannot realize that at the opening nineteenth century the interior of 
the North American continent, now so familiar to every reader of public journals, 
was less known to the world than is the heart of Africa today. French fur 
traders had penetrated its wilderness depths to the base of the Rocky moun- 
tains ; but what they found, or what they knew, they jealously kept to them- 
selves, so that there could be no inducement to other venturesome spirits to 
go searching for peltries and poaching on their preserves. In addition to this 
trade reason, they had been able to make doubly sure the silence of the Indian, 


as to what the rivers and forests contained. Of all the people brought in 
contact with the American Indians, the French were the most successful in 
getting and holding his good will. 

Indians had no doubt crossed the continent from the Ohio river to the Pa- 
cific ocean. M. La Page du Pratz, in his history of Louisiana, gives a long ac- 
count of an Indian having become endued with a burning desire to find 
out from whence came the American Indians, crossed the continent from 
Natchez on the Mississippi to the Pacific ocean and then returned. And there 
may have been others. We have authentic history to prove that Sacajawea 
(the blind woman of the Lewis and Clark expedition) crossed the mountains from 
the valley of the Snake river to the Mississippi, and remembered the country 
well enough to guide that expedition back over the same route. But explorations 
of this kind prove nothing to our purpose — the development of the country. 

We come now to the first white man that ever crossed the Rocky moun- 
tains from the east to the west for a great purpose, and set foot on the shores 
of the Pacific ocean. He was neither French, English, or American — but Scotch, 
and Alexander MacKenzie was his name. He was a native of Iverness, knighted 
by George III, for distinguished services, migrated to Canada, and entered the 
service of a fur trader in the year 1779, while yet a young man. and while the 
British were in the midst of their fight with Washington and his rebels. This 
Scotchman possessed every qualification to make him a successful leader and 
governor of men; a fine mind, clear head, strong muscular body, lithe and active, 
great resolution, invincible courage, tireless and patient energy, with the capacity 
to comprehend and manage all sorts of conditions of men. Remaining in the 
fur trade for five years as a hired man, saving his wages, and, biding his time, 
he cut loose for himself, and became a partner in the Great Northwest Fur 
company, which to distingush it from others, was known as the Canada com- 
pany ; for many years the most prosperous and aggressive of all the fur traders. 

The great interior of northwest America, was at that time but little known. 
In fact, nothing was known of this vast region beyond the incomprehensible 
accounts of roving Indians and the meagre reports of adventuresome trappers. 
It was just such a state of incomprehension and imperfect knowledge of a 
vast country filled with great riches, as appealed to the keen apprehension and 
profound mind of Alexander MacKenzie, and he resolved to find out the great 
secrets which the boundless forests beyond Canada contained. To prepare him- 
self for this self-appointed task, he studied astronomy enough to find his way 
in untraveled regions, by the guidance of the stars, and to take care of him- 
self and men in all sorts and conditions of circumstances in distant explorations 
by land. 

The trappers and fur traders had gradually worked west and north from 
the upper end of Lake Superior until they had reached the western end of 
Lake Athabasca, where Peace river coming west from an opening in the Rocky 
mountains, discharges its waters into channels which carry it to the Arctic ocean. 
MacKenzie knew that up to that point, clear back to the Mississippi, there 
was no Strait of Anian, or water course from the east side of the Rocky moun- 
tains to the Pacific ocean, and that if he would follow that water, then run- 
ning due north, it would take him either into the great frozen sea of the north, 
in which case he would find the Strait of Anian if there was one, or the water 
would turn west at some point short of the Arctic sea, and carry them to the 
Pacific. So, that with a birch bark canoe, four Canadians (two with their 
wives) and two smaller canoes with English Chief, and Indian, and his family, 
and followers of MacKenzie set out on June 3rd, 1789, to float down with the 
current of great Slave river into Great Slave lake and thence on down, down, 
north, wherever the waters took them until they had solved the great mystery 
of the unknown Arctic. Passing from one lake to another, hunting, fishing, 
trapping as they went, the adventurous party finally in the month of July, 
found themselves in the Arctic ocean where they chased the whales and paddled 


around miles and miles of icebergs, under a starless sky, and a never setting 
summer sun. This expedition was one of the most important in the annals of 
discovery. MacKenzie had proved the non-existence of the Strait of Anian, 
and established the fact for all time that no such passage way across the con- 
tinent existed, and found that the water shed to the north was wholly separate 
from the water shed to the west. They had suffered no hardships or hair- 
breadth escapes, and they had found a great waterway to the north in the 
same month that Captain Robert Gray had sailed through the Straits of Fuca 
for the first time, two thousand miles to the southwest. 

After an absence of one hundred days, MacKenzie returned with his party 
to his starting point, loaded with fine furs and having found both coal and 
iron, ore at great Bear lake. MacKenzie was not satisfied with his first venture, 
regarding as something of a failure that which was in fact a great success. 
He had penetrated the mystery to the north, and put an end to the quest for 
the Strait of Anian which the sea captains had believed in and vainly sought 
to find for nearly three hundred years. It was one more dark corner of the 
mystery which enshrouded the Oregon country cleared up. And we see how 
the enlightening agencies of exploration and discovery were gradually creeping 
in on the core of the mysterious region, "Where rolls the Oregon." 

But MacKenzie was not satisfied. Such a man is never satisfied as long 
as there are other regions to explore and other obstacles to overcome, and 
other duties to be performed. Three years after this trip to the north we 
find him again at the old starting point at the mouth of Peace river. But this 
time instead of floating down with the water, he resolved to go up stream, 
follow the river to its fountain head and find, if possible a pass through the 
Rocky mountains, and a stream on the west side that would carry him down 
to the Pacific ocean as had Peace river and his own MacKenzie carried him 
to the Arctic ocean. And so on the loth day of October, 1792, five months 
after Captain Gray had found and entered the Columbia river, MacKenzie 
starts westward for an exploration to find this river. In ten days MacKenzie 
had reached the most western post of the Northwest Fur company at the base 
of the Rocky mountains. Here the natives and trappers received their big chief 
with great eclat amidst the firing of gims and general rejoicing of the people; 
and many was the bottle of good old Scotch emptied on that auspicious 
occasion. There were three hundred natives and sixty professional trappers 
and hunters congregated here. MacKenzie not only treated them liberally to 
rum and tobacco, but he preached them a good sermon as to the proper man- 
ner they should demean themselves for their own good and that of the white 
man. From this point MacKenzie kept on west for sixty miles until he reached 
the point named Fort York, and to which men had been sent the previous 
spring to prepare the ground and timbers for a new post, which was to be 
their winter quarters previous to their last plunge into the wilderness, over 
the mountains and down to the Pacific ocean the next spring. This Fort York 
came to be called York factory under the Hudson Bay company ownership, 
and from which point all the travel, messengers and officers as well as em- 
ployes of the H. B. Co., came over the mountains on their way to Vancouver 
on the Columbia. And Ebberts, Octchen, Baldra and all the old Hudson Bay 
men of Oregon were perfectly familiar with that route and could give many 
interestmg tales of its surprises and dangers. 

Here MacKenzie put in the winter of 1792-3; and by spring had all things 
in readiness for the final advance to the Pacific. With one canoe, twenty-five 
feet long, four and three-quarters feet beam, and twenty-six inches hold, seven 
white men and two Indian hunters and interpreters with arms, ammunition, 
provisions and goods for presents weighing in all about three thousand pounds, 
these explorers started for the Pacific ocean on mountain streams. The canoe 
was so perfectly made, and so light that two men could carry it over portages 
for miles at a time without stopping to rest. Where is the white man boat 


builder that could equal that canoe carved out of a great cedar tree by the 
untutored red men? 

On the 9th day of May, 1793, the little party left Fort York, pointed their 
little vessel up stream and was off for the great Pacific. Before them every- 
thing was in _ its native wildness ; unpolluted streams, untouched forests, and 
verdant prairies covered with buffalo, elk, deer and antelope. Nothing could 
have been more exciting or entrancing to these lovers of the woods . and waters 
of our primeval forests. With paddle and pole they propelled their craft up the 
swift _ flowing mountain stream day after day against every manner of ob- 
structions and difficulties. Rocks beset their way on every side, beavers dammed 
the streams, perpendicular cliffs and impassable cataracts compelled them to 
take boat, provisions and everything from the stream and carry all around ob- 
structions for miles, to gain calm water on upper levels. Rain and thunder 
storms were frequent, and the men worn out by unexpected and exhaustive 
toils, openly cursed the expedition with all the anathemas of the whole army 
in Flanders or any other place. But the great soul of MacKenzie was un- 
moved. He reminded them of the promise to be faithful and remain with him 
to the end. He patiently painted in glowing colors the glory of their success — 
and he opened a fresh bottle and all went merry again — merry as wedding bells. 
On the 9th of June, they were nearing the broad flat top of the Rocky 
mountains in that latitude. They were short of provisions, and had to eat 
porcupine steaks and wild parsnip salads or starve. Here they found a tribe 
of wild Indians who' had never seen white men before. They were now surely 
beyond the limits of all previous explorations. Assured at length of the peace- 
ful intentions of the explorers, the Indians ventured near enough to talk to the 
interpreters. They exhibited scraps of iron, and pointed to the west. Further 
efforts elicited from them the fact that their iron had been purchased from 
Indians further west who lived on a great river, and who had obtained the iron 
from people who lived in houses on the great sea — white men like these — and 
who got the iron from ships large as islands that come in the sea. And now 
we see these children of the forest beset by the white men behind and before — ■ 
and there is no longer any secret the white men does not find out, and the 
fateful terrors of these white men have followed them to their land-locked 
mountain retreat. Terror as it was to the Indian, it was a god-send to Mac- 
Kenzie. He could now, from these incoherent descriptions of places, rivers, 
mountains, and marshes, reckon that he could reach the great river, which he 
at once supposed to be Carver's Oregon or Columbia, in ten or twelve days, 
and from the great river, reach the sea coast in a month. MacKenzie got the 
Indian that told him the story to draw a map on a piece of birch bark, which 
proved to be a very good map of the region to be traversed. The Indian made 
the river run into an arm of the sea, and not into the great ocean. MacKenzie 
was sure the Indian was either mistaken or deceiving him. But he was doing 
neither. MacKenzie did not know of the existence of Frazer river. He did 
not know of Gray's discovery of the Columbia, but he did know of Carver's 
reported account of the "Oregon River of the West" running directly into the 
ocean, and this was the only great river he supposed could exist on the west 
slope of the Rocky mountains. He recalled Carver's prediction that from the 
"Height of Land" flowed four great rivers, one the Mississippi to the Gulf of 
Mexico, another south into the California sea, another north into the icy sea, 
and the fourth west into the Pacific. MacKenzie had been down the north 
river to the icy sea, and he was sure he would now go west to the "Oregon 
River," and find his Indian map maker mistaken. 

On the 1 2th of June, 1793, MacKenzie crossed the narrow divide of the 
Rocky mountains and found it only eight hundred and seventeen paces (about 
half a mile) between the headwaters of Peace river and the headwaters of the 
Frazer. From there on to the Frazer the stream was a succession of torrents, 
cascades and little lakes, making traveling very bad. But not a word was said 


about turning back. The voyagers had imbibed some of the spirit of the 
intrepid and irresistable leader as well as much of the spirit they carefully 
packed from one portage to another as a most previous treasure; and on the 
17th day of June, 1793, after cutting a passage through drift wood and under- 
brush for a mile and dragging their canoe and goods through a swamp, they 
landed on the margin of the Frazer river of British Columbia. Simon Frazer 
for whom the river was named, after this route had been opened by MacKenzie, 
afterwards passed over it and pronounced it the worst piece of forest traveling in 
North America. We here include a copy of the map the explorer made of 
this region, which not only shows by the dotted line his course from the Frazer 
river across to Salmon bay on the Straits of Georgia. MacKenzie did not 
follow the Frazer to its mouth in the Straits of Georgia, or he would not have 
dotted in the lower course of the river as entering the ocean down by our 
Saddle mountain near Astoria. But this mistake arising wholly from making a 
short cut across the land to the ocean instead of following the river to its 
mouth, was confirmed by Lewis and Clark who also supposed that MacKenzie 
had been upon the upper waters of the Columbia. Simon Frazer made the same 
mistake when he first saw the Frazer, and remained thus mistaken until 1808 
when he followed the river down to its mouth in the Straits of Georgia, three 
hundred miles north of the mouth of the Columbia. 

Having given important facts developed by the explorations of the French 
and Canadians, we 'may now turn our attention to the Americans. The next 
year after Lewis and Clark started with their world-renowned expedition to 
the Pacific coast. Lieutenant Zebulon Pike of the United States army was ordered 
by the U. S. government to explore the sources of the Mississippi river, 
and established friendly relations with the Indians whose territory had but 
lately been included within the boundaries of the new born republic. Taking 
twenty men from his military camp near St. Louis, and a keel-boat — no steam- 
boats on the great river in those days — seventy feet in length. Pike ascended 
the Mississippi to its source and hoisted there the United States flag. This ex- 
ploration, and this act of Pike's determined the point to which distance north 
the United States could, under treaty of peace with England, claim and main- 
tain the northern boundary of this nation east of the Rocky mountains. Pike 
had not only settled that disputed point but he had made known the course of 
the river itself from St. Louis to its fountain head. Pike made other important 
explorations and discoveries among which is the mountain peak in Colorado, 
which bears his name. He also mapped the sources of the Platte, the Kansas 
and the upper reaches of the Arkansas rivers. 

And now we reach a period when private enterprise enters the field, primarily 
for furs and trade with the Indians, yet making important discoveries, beneficial 
to the nation and useful to the western pioneers and especially to the emigrants 
to Oregon. 

In 1808 the Missouri Fur Company was organized at St. Louis, by Manuel 
Lisa, a Spaniard. During the years 1809 and 10 Lisa sent out numerous parties 
and established trading posts at important points coming as far west as the 
head waters of Snake River; and here Alexander Henry, in charge of the post, 
erected the first house built within the Oregon country not given up to the 
British. In consequence of the hostility of the Indians and its great distance 
from the base of supplies, it was abandoned in 1810. 

The next year after Lisa's venture. Captain Jonathan Winship of Brighton, 
Massachusetts, organized a trading expedition to the Columbia river by the 
way of Cape Horn, and two ships were secured, one of which the O'Cain, was 
commanded by himself, and the other the Albatross, was commanded by his 
brother Nathan Winship. They sailed from Boston July 6th, 1809, and the 
Albatross reached the mouth of the Columbia river May 25th, 1810, being 
over ten months on the way. The ship was provided with a complete outfit, 
and to her original company of twenty-five white men, were added twenty- 


five Kanakas, picked up at the Islands, and being the first of those islanders im- 
ported into the United States. For want of charts which did not exist on the 
Columbia one hundred years ago, and from ignorance of the channel and the 
stiff current of the spring floods, the passage up the Columbia was beset with 
much trouble and delay. But after ten days cruising around on the broad river, 
Winship selected Oak Point on the south side of the river for a suitable place 
for a settlement. This was so called from the oak trees growing there, and 
it is located opposite the place called Oak Point landing in the state of Wash- 
ington. Here Winship cleared a tract of land, prepared it for a garden and 
planted it with a variety of seeds ; and set his men to work cutting logs 
for a house for a dwelling and trading post and they had the structure well 
up to the roof when the rising waters of the river overflowed their garden, 
house location and all, and compelled their removal to a point farther down the 
Columbia. Here the party stayed in a temporary camp until July i8th, 1810, 
when they sailed from the Columbia river, and having learned at Drake's bay 
of Astor's contemplated adventure to the river gave up the project of making 
a settlement on the Columbia. Winship's garden at Oak Point, was the first 
cultivation of the soil in Oregon for garden or agricultural purposes, and his 
was the first attempt to construct a house in Oregon by civiHzed men. 

On the 23d of June, 1810, John Jacob Astor, the founder of the wealthy 
Astor family of New York, a native of Heidelberg, Germany, and a citizen 
of the United States, then residing at New York city, organized the Pacific 
Fur Company ; and while a private corporation in name, it was nothing more 
than a general partnership. Astor had been very successful in the fur trade 
in the regions east of the Rocky mountains, and this latest venture was planned 
on a scale far more extensive _ than any other American enterprise. A ship 
was to be dispatched from New York to the Columbia river at regular inter- 
vals with all the necessary goods for the Indian trade and supplies for a fort 
and corps of outfield trappers. And after discharging cargo at the fort and 
station to be established at the mouth of the Columbia, the ship was to take 
in the furs there on hand and then proceed up the northwest coast visiting all 
the stations of the Russian Fur Company, cultivating their friendship, trading 
for their furs, and after securing a ship's cargo, proceed to Canton, China, 
sell their furs, and take in a cargo of tea and China goods for New York city. 
It was a grand scheme, and here was the commencement of the present vast 
ocean-going commerce of the city whose history we are now recording. It 
is worth considering that from this humble commencement of one or two ships, 
handling only the pelts of fur bearing animals, just one hundred years ago, 
when I write this paragraph, that commerce has developed into an importing 
and exporting trade of nearly fifty millions of dollars, and of which Astor's 
big item of pelts does not now amount to more than one hundredth part of 
one per cent. 

But the enterprising German was not to have easy sailing. Knowing full 
well the great influence, wealth and success of the Northwest Fur Company of 
Canada, and that said company had no trading posts west of the Rocky moun- 
tains, south of the headwaters of Frazer river, Astor made known to them 
his plans and invited them to join him in his new enterprise, offering them a 
third interest in his company. But instead of receiving this friendly offer in 
the spirit in which it was tendered, the Canadians pretended to take the matter 
under advisement in order to gain time, and then hastily sent out a party under 
the lead of their surveyor, David Thompson, with instruction to occupy the 
mouth of the Columbia with a trading post of their own, and to explore the 
river to its headwaters, and seize all advantageous positions. But fully aware 
of this treacherous return for his friendly offer, Astor prosecuted his enter- 
prise with renewed vigor. He associated with him as partners, Alexander 
Mackay, Duncan MacDougal, Donald MacKenzie, David and Robert Stuart 
and Ramsey Crooks, all men of experience, taken from the Canadians, and with 

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President Jefferson's secret agent at 

St. Louis and New Orleans 

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them John Clarke of Canada, and Wilson P. Hunt and Robert MacLellon, 
citizens of the United States. The Mackay named above, had accompanied 
Alexander MacKenzie in both his previously described voyages of discovery. 

The articles of co-partnership provided that Mr. Astor, as head of the com- 
pany, should remain at New York and manage its affairs, and supply vessels, 
goods, supplies, arms, ammunition and every other thing necessary to the success 
of the enterprise at first cost, providing that such advances should not at any 
one tinie require an outlay of more than four hundred thousand dollars. The 
stock of the company was divided into one hundred shares of which Astor held 
fifty. The business was to be carried on for twenty years; Astor to bear all 
the losses of the first five years, after that, losses to be borne ratably by the 
partners; but if not profitable for the first five years, it might be dissolved at 
the end of that period. The chief agent of the company on the Columbia was 
to hold his position for five years, and Wilson Price Hunt was selected for 
the first term. Four of the partners, twelve clerks (among whom was Gabriel 
C. Franchere who wrote a narrative of the voyage) five mechanics, and thirteen 
Canadian trappers, were to go to the mouth of the Columbia by the way of 
Cape Horn and the Sandwich islands and commence work until Hunt, the 
chief agent, with his party, should go overland to the same point. The ship 
Tonquin, two hundred and ninety tons burthen, commanded by Jonathan Thorne, 
a lieutenant of the U. S. navy, on leave, was made ready for the trip and 
sailed for the mouth of the Columbia on the 8th day of September, 1810. The 
ship carried a full assortment of Indian trading goods, supplies of provisions, 
timbers and naval stores for a schooner -to be built on the Columbia for coast- 
wise trading, tools, garden seeds, and everything else, to start a self-sustaining 
settlement. And as our good friend, John Bull, was then dogging the infant 
republic to pick a quarrel for the war of 1812, and Mr. Astor had got an inti- 
mation that his ship designed for peaceful commerce, and settlement in distant 
Oregon, might be intercepted by a British privateer, the secretary of the Navy 
sent Captain Isaac Hull, with the U. S. frigate Constitution, to escort the Ton- 
quin beyond danger. The Tonquin reached the Columbia on the 22d of March, 
181 1, and anchored in Baker's bay. This first ship had sad luck in getting into 
the river on this first voyage to start the mighty current of commerce that was 
to ebb and flow from the great river of the west, for eight of the crew were lost 
in examining the shores and bays of the river to mark out its channel. On 
the 1 2th day of April, the ship's launch, with sixteen men and supplies crossed 
over the river from Baker's bay to Point George, and there and then com- 
menced a settlement on the present site of the city of Astoria, and gave it the 
name it bears in honor of the projector of the enterprise. It was nine months 
after the arrival of the Tonquin before Hunt, with a remnant of his party, 
reached Astoria; having been harassed by the bitter opposition of the Canadian 
Fur Company, which had contrived to send a party ahead of him and arouse 
the opposition of the Indians to him, and which party under the lead of David 
Tliompson, reached Astoria in a canoe, flying the British flag just ninety days 
after the American flag had been hoisted on Point George. 

We have given this much of the founding of the first American settlement 
in Oregon, and the fortunes of the first commercial venture to open commerce 
with this state and the future city of Portland, and the struggles of the brave 
and invincible men, who did this pioneering, so that those now here in great 
prosperity from that feeble beginning of trade, and those who go down to sea 
may see how the great work was started, and all the more appreciate and honor 
the sturdy men who started it. Persons who would like to read the whole story 
of Astor's venture to the Columbia and the betrayal and loss of his 
property at Astoria, will find it most interesting reading and fully and graphically 
portrayed in Franchere's narrative, and in Washington Irving's Astoria. Mr. 
Elwood Evans, in his history of the northwest, fairly and justly sums up the 
character of Astor's enterprise as follows : 


"The scheme was grand in its aim, magnificent in its breadth of purpose, and 
area of operation. Its results were naturally feasible and not over anticipated. As- 
ter made no miscalculation, no ommission ; neither did he permit a sanguine hope 
to lead him into any wild or imaginary venture. He was practical, generous, 
broad. He executed what Sir Alexander MacKenzie urged as the policy of 
British capital and enterprise. That one American citizen should have in- 
dividually undertaken what two mammoth British companies had not the 
courage to try, was but an additional cause which had intensified national preju- 
dice into embittered jealousy on the part of his British rivals." 

The war of 1812 with England breaking out soon after, and before any 
sufficient effort could be made to prove the practical success of the enterprise, 
and while Mr. Hunt was absent to Alaska on a trading expedition with the 
Beaver — a second ship that Astor had sent out with supplies and men — two of 
Astor's partners, MacDougal and MacTavish, turned traitor to the enter- 
prise and sold it out to the Canadian Company for fifty-eight thousand dollars, 
property which had cost Astor over two hundred and fifty thousand together 
with a large amount of furs that had been accumulated. They not only be- 
trayed and robbed their partner of his property in the absence of his American 
agent, but they conspired to turn the fort and all its property and advantages 
over to the British government, prohibiting the young American employees 
from raising the stars and stripes over their own fort. The whole disgraceful 
chapter of treachery and dishonesty to Astor and enmity to the United States 
ending with the seizure of the fort by the British man-of-war. Raccoon, on 
December i, 1813. 

This chapter of perfidy to Astor and seizure of an American fort, and com- 
mercial post, practically put an end to all American settlement in Oregon for 
thirty years. There were independent American trappers who sold their furs 
to the Hudson Bay company which succeeded the Canadian company, but 
there was not a single American trading post, merchant or establishment in all 
Oregon, that dared fly the American flag until Joe Meek led off at Champoeg, 
in an appeal to "Rally around the flag boys." 

But while the American enterprise was thus crushed out west of the Rocky 
mountains, the hardy pioneers were pushing out from St. Louis, to the east 
side of the Rocky mountains. In 1823, General William H. Ashley, led an ex- 
pedition across the plains. He met with resistance from the Indians, and lost 
fourteen men in battle. In 1824 Ashley discovered a southern route through 
the Rocky mountains, led his expedition to Great Salt lake, explored the Utah 
valley, and built a fort. Two years later a six-pounder cannon was hauled from 
the Missouri river across the plains and over the mountains, twelve hundred 
miles to Ashley's fort. A trail was made; many loaded wagons passed over 
it, and within three years Ashley's men gathered and shipped back to St. Louis 
over two hundred thousand dollars worth of furs. Ashley was a native of 
Virginia, commenced selling goods and trading in the west before he was eight- 
een years of age, and manufactured saltpeter for powder before he went into 
fur trading to the west. The Indians in the employ of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, made war on him, on the upper Missouri, and he gathered an army of 
border men and drove the Indians, Hudson bay men and all over into Montana. 
Jim Bridger — whose portrait we give on another place — is another St. Louis 
contribution to the winning of the west by the fur trading route. Bridger was 
another old Virginia boy, born in 1804. When ten years old, his father and 
mother having died, the boy began earning a living for himself and sister by 
working on a flat boat. Stories from the wilderness west stirred the lad, and 
when he was eighteen, he joined a party of trappers and took to the Rocky 
mountains, and continued in a wandering, trapping, exploring life for twenty- 
five years. He discovered Great Salt lake in 1824; the south pass in 1827; 
visited Yellowstone lake and the Geysers in 1830; founded Fort Bridger in 
1843; opened the overland route by Bridger's pass to great Salt lake; a guide 



Ji^ iV^'V; 

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to the United States exploring expedition under General Albert Sidney John- 
son in 1857; aided G. M. Dodge to locate the line of the Union Pacifiic railroad, 
and acted as guide to the army in the campaign against the Sioux Indians, 
1865-6; and received honorable burial at his death, and a handsome monument 
over his remains in Mt. Washington cemetery by the people of Kansas city. 
In every respect Bridger was a typical pioneer American, plunging into the 
depths of the wilderness for the excitement of it, and to gratify a curiosity to 
see what was in the great beyond. He was the friend of the emigrants to 
Oregon, and wandered far out of his way to warn them against marauding 
savages and guide them on their course. He was never lost. Father De Smet 
pronounced Bridger one of the truest specimens of the real Rocky mountain 
trapper. Bridger's peak was named in his honor; and in the capital building 
of the State of Minnesota is the painting of a trapper in full dress, of which 
Bridger was the original. He aided Dr. Whitman in his first trip to Oregon, 
and in return, the Doctor cut an iron arrowhead out of Bridger's shoulder, 
which had been fired into him by a Blackfoot Indian. Nevertheless, the trap- 
per retained no grudge against the red race, and took a Shoshone woman for 
a wife. 

There were many others engaged in pioneering into the western wilderness 
toward Oregon for furs and Indian trade. There were the four Sublette 
brothers, all able energetic men in their manner of life. Captain Sublette 
served with Ashley, and brought him out. He had a rare faculty of managing 
the Indians, but when he had to fight them, they always got the worst of it. 
Sublette was the first man to tame the Blackfeet. After a desperate fight with 
them at Pierre's hole, renowned among the Rocky mountain men as the greatest 
battle with the Indians, the Blackfoot submitted to Sublette and helped him 
celebrate a sort of Roman triumph on his return to St. Louis with a pack of 
Indian ponies, a mile long, laden with peltries. One of the Sublettes drifted as 
far west as California, as one of the forty-niners, and there got into a fight 
with a grizzly bear, killed the bear but died afterwards from the wounds in- 
flicted by the beast. 

And about this time we find two men floating through the history of Ore- 
gon, whose careers were quite as much that of diplomats as fur trading ex- 
plorers. Russell Famham, was a New Englander, had been a clerk for Astor, 
and dropped into St. Louis about the opening of the war of 1812. Famham 
visited Indians and fur traders and made confidential reports to Astor. One 
of his forest trips took him up to the British boundary line in the territory of 
Minnesota. On returning to civilization, he was arrested as a British spy, 
but on being identified as an Astor man, was released. Famham conferred 
with Wilson P. Hunt, and found his way to the Pacific, still confidentially 
looking out for the interests of Mr. Astor. After the ruin of the Astoria en- 
terprise, Farnham undertook to carry an account of it to Astor by crossing over 
to Siberia in the ship Pedler, and then making his way across Siberia, Russia 
and Europe to catch a ship going to New York. Of this trip, Elihu Shephard, 
the pioneer historian of St. Louis says : 

"On entering Siberia, Farnham crossed the eastern continent to St. Peters- 
burgh, where the American minister to the Russian court presented Farnham 
to Emperor Alexander, as the bold American who had traveled across his em- 
pire. The Emperor received him with great kindness and consideration, and 
sent him on his way to Paris. After great exposure to dangers, toils and suf- 
ferings, such as no other man voluntarily submitted himself to for his country- 
men, he reached New York, delivered his papers to Astor, apprising him of his 
losses and the ruin at Astoria, and then made his way back to St. Louis, where 
he was received as one risen from the dead." 

And about this time there were scores of adventurous spirits pushing out 
from St. Louis to all points ranging from the headwaters of the Missouri down 
to Santa Fe. and on to California. Kit Carson was probably the most noted 


of these hunters and Indian fighters. The most notable venture was made by 
Captain Bonneville, of the U. S. army on leave, who led a party of one hun- 
dred and ten men in 1832 into Utah, Nevada and Oregon. Want of experi- 
ence in the business he had undertaken resulted in many errors and severe 
losses which were increased by the active and unrelenting opposition of the 
Hudson Bay Company, already established in this field. Bonneville had pro- 
jected his expedition on the basis of making scientific observations as much as 
for trade. And the government had given him a furlough for two years on 
the condition that he should not only pay all the expenses of his expedition, 
but also that he must provide suitable maps and instruments, and that he should 
be careful to find out how many warrior Indians there were in the regions he 
might explore, and ascertain the nature and character of these natives, whether 
warlike or disposed to peace, their manner of making war and their instru- 
ments of warfare. Proceeding on this basis, Bonneville got as far west as the 
present city of Walla Walla, with twenty wagons in the year 1832. Bonne- 
ville found out a good deal about the country all of which is most charmingly 
written up by Washington Irving; but he lost his entire investment in gootls 
from the opposition and sharp practices of the Hudson Bay Company. 

In the same year another successful expedition was started to Oregon by 
Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth, of Massachusetts. This was next to Astor's, 
the second purely commercial venture to Oregon by American citizens. 
At the same time he started his party overland to Oregon, he dispatched a ship 
from Boston ladened with goods, estimating that the ship would reach the Co- 
lumbia river about the time the overland party would reach the Willamette 
valley. The ship was never heard from afterwards, and the overland party 
reached Fort Vancouver on the 29th of October, 1832. It was Wyeth's plan 
to take salmon from the Columbia, salt or dry them for the Boston market, 
trade for all the furs he could get, and in that way get a return cargo for his 
ship and do a profitable business. The loss of the ship defeated his first ex- 
pedition. But it brought out some men who took root and grew up with the 
country. John Ball was one of them, and he is the man that opened the first 
school (at Vancouver) in all the vast region of old Oregon in January, 1833. 
The school was not a success, but it was a starter. Then Solomon H. Smith, 
another one of the Wyeth party, in March, 1834, opened a school at old Van- 
couver under an engagement with Dr. McLoughlin, chief factor of Hudson 
Bay Company, to teach for six months. Smith expected to teach an English 
school, but found a great confusion of tongues. The pupils came in all speak- 
ing their native tongues and each dififerent from the other, Cree, Nez Perce, 
Chinook, Klickitat, etc; and the only boy who could understand the English of 
the teacher rebelled off hand. Dr. McLoughlin coming into the school in the 
midst of the difficulty proceded to enforce the law himself, and gave the little 
rebel such a thrashing as secured perfect discipline thereafter. Smith taught 
this school of twenty-five Indian boys for eighteen months in which time they 
learned to speak English well and the rudiments of the primary branches of 
a common school education. They had but one copy of an arithmetic in the 
whole school, and of this each pupil made a complete copy which was used 
afterwai'ds by other pupils. And so education started in the land where there 
are now more colleges, high schools and universities to the population than in 
any other region in the United States. 

Wyeth's first expedition was a financial failure, but not disheartened, he re- 
turned to Boston overland and renev/ed his efforts to establish direct trade be- 
tween the Columbia river and his home city. And having procured the ship 
May Dacre and filled her up with all sorts of goods and supplies for this coun- 
try, the ship sailed for the Columbia via Cape Horn while Wyeth again en- 
listed a party of two hundred men and started overland from Independence, 
Missouri on April 24, 1834. With that party came the first missionaries to 
Oregon — Jason and Daniel Lee. On his way across the continent, Wyeth 


stopped and erected Fort Hall in which he stored his trading goods for the in- 
terior. He and his party reached Fort Vancouver about the same time his 
ship came into the Columbia and proceeding down to the lower end of Wapato 
island (now called Sauvies island) Wyeth established a salmon fishery and 
built a trading house which he named Fort William. The salmon fishery was 
not much of a success, but it was the commencement of salmon packing on the 
Columbia, an industry that brings in many million dollars yearly to this city. 
Wyeth proceeded to lay out a town with streets, blocks, parks, etc., which was 
the first candidate for the great city of this region. A half a cargo of salmon 
was caught, dried and salted, the ship sailed for Boston in 1838, and never re- 
turned to the Columbia. Disheartened with disease on the island and his 
commercial failure, Wyeth returned to Massachusetts. While Wyeth's expe- 
ditions were disastrous to himself financially, they were of immense value to 
the United States. He prepared a memoir to Congress, setting forth the 
character and resources of the country which secured the attention of the 
American people, and from that day on it was but a question of time and 
courage upon the part of the few settlers that here should be an American state 
and not a British province. 


1774— 1 8 14. 

The Evolutionary and Political Movements — The Pioneer Ameri- 
can Pushing West — The Revolutionary Break-up — George 
Rogers Clark and Old Vincennes — Thomas Jefferson the Great 
Colonizer — The Lewis and Clark Expedition — and Capture of 
Old Astoria. 

If the reader cares to go back into history far enough to find out how our 
people got started west, he will find that the same blood which moved out of 
and west from the dark forests of Germany, crossed over the North sea from 
Schleswig to the shores of Britain and over-run the country we now call Eng- 
land, and then crossed over the North Atlantic during the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries to the poverty stricken soil of the east coast of America, and 
there began over again the same development, more or less warlike, to capture 
the Continent of North America as their ancestors had utilized in the conquest 
of the British island. Do not imagine for a moment that this is a far-fetched 
suggestion, having no connection with the Oregon of the twentieth century. 
The blood and brains which planted civilization in England, just as surely 
planted the same forces in the wilds of America, and then pushed on westward 
to the Alleghanies, to the Ohio, to the Mississippi, to the Rocky mountains, and 
finally to Oregon. And as the new life and surroundings of old England de- 
veloped out of the Teutonic blood which came to its shores as robbers — new 
laws, customs and a higher civilization, so likewise did the new world of 
America develop out of these descendants from ancient Germany, still newer 
laws, higher ideals and a more perfect civilization which over-run the wilder- 
ness west and conferred upon Oregon, the perfect flower and fruit of all the 
trials, struggles, sacrifices and labors of the race from its cradle in the Black 
Forest of Germany to its favored home by the sundown seas. 

And as the Englishman was dififerent from his German ancestor, so like- 
wise was the American different from his English ancestor. And as the Ger- 
man pushed across seas westward, and the Englishman pushed across seas 
westward, so also the American pushed on, and on, until he reached a west 
that is merged in the east. These peoples carried their laws and their civiliza- 
tion, such as it was, with them. It was part of their blood, love and spirit. 
The Roman historian, Tacitus, who wrote about eighteen hundred years ago, 
and who was celebrated for his profound insight into the motives of human 
conduct and the dark recesses of character, describes the ancient German an- 
cestors of the English, as a nation of farmers, pasturing their cattle on the 
forest glades around their villages and plowing their village fields. They loved 
the land and freedom ; and freedom was associated with the ownership of land. 



They hated the cities, "and Hved apart, each family by itself, as woodside, 
plain, or fresh spring attracts him." That description written only a hundred 
years after the birth of Christ, would be a good description of the American 
pioneer from the Atlantic to the Pacific; and of thousands of families in Oregon 

And so we follow up the heart and core of this great movement of a con- 
quering race, to find it building here on the banks of two rivers, uniting in one 
household the beautiful Willamette with the mighty Columbia, to show our 
readers they have the grandest foundation history in all the western world. 
A history they should not only know themselves, but one they should delight 
to teach to their children. 

For these reasons this narrative will now take up those movements of popu- 
lation westward which have more of the political and governmental interest 
and direction than the commercial enterprises described in the preceding chap- 
ter. Even before the revolutionary war began, from 1774 to 1776, the pio- 
neers of Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina commenced drifting over 
the Alleghany mountains into what is now West Virginia, Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee. And during that war, these pioneers in the Ohio valley rendered a 
great service to their brethren who under the lead of Washington, was making 
heroic resistance to the British soldiers. But during the war, as a matter of 
necessity, all emigration to- the west ceased. Nobody knew what the outcome 
would be. Washington could spare no able bodied men to go west as long as 
he had a vindicative foe in his front. And the pioneers already in the west 
had all they could do to maintain their homes and position against the Indian 
savages, set on by the Canadian British. 

But even then the leaven was working in the minds of the great leaders of 
the people, who were to lay the foundations of this mighty nation, to take and 
hold the valley of the Mississippi. More than once the question was put to 
Washington as to what he would do if he was finally defeated and driven back 
by the British army ; and more than once he pointed to the Alleghanies as a 
sure defense behind which he could lead his veterans, and there forever defy 
all the hosts of King George, and build up an army and a people which would 
swarm back over the mountains and drive the hated English into the Atlantic 
Ocean. • It was to the west, the west, the vast wilderness west, the exhausted, 
starved, tattered and torn veterans of the Continental army turned their wan- 
ing hopes to find a haven of peace and safety from taxation without represen- 
tation. Fortunate it was for America, and for humanity, that our colonial 
ancestors had for their leaders the three greatest men ever produced in any one 
age of the world. 

Washington, the all-wise leader, whose great soul could not be moved by 
great success or still greater defeat ; Franklin, the diplomat, whose profound 
wisdom and humanity moved the whole civilized world, and whose genius com- 
pelled even his enemies to serve his cause ; and Thomas Jefiferson, the seer, 
prophet, and greatest colonizer of all the world. With three such men, sup- 
ported by the self-sacrificing and invincible soldiers of the Continental army, 
success of the King was an utter impossibility. Our forefathers had right, jus- 
tice, the sea and the land, yea also the mountains on their side. They would 
not fail. No ! as well the tall and pillared Alleghanies fall — as well Ohio's giant 
tide roll backward on its mighty track. 

For freedom's battle once begun. 
Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son. 
Is ever won. 

The idea of a great western movement to hold an empire of rich land for 
the teeming millions of men that were to come after them, was the idea of 
George Washington and Thomas Jefiferson. These two men did not always 


agree. And at least one of them was a little jealous of Washington's great 
name and fame. But on the western movement they did agree. Of all the 
great leaders of the rebellion against the British king, Washington only had 
been west of the Alleghanies and knew something of the great possibilities of 
the Ohio valley. Jefferson knew of it only from pioneer reports and French 
newspapers, which he could read and translate for himself. But he was con- 
tinually reading and thinking, and dreaming of the vast illimitable west, away 
west, west, west to the Pacific ocean. At that time while' Washington was lead- 
ing the Continental soldiers and straining every nerve to beat back the British 
arms, Jefferson was stirring up trouble for the British by inciting the Vir- 
ginians to support George Rogers Clark in his plans against the British in the 
Ohio valley. In driving the French out of Canada, the British had come into 
possession of old Vincennes on the Wabash and other fur trading stations 
and French forts south of the great lakes. The British general, Hamilton, 
(known in western Indian war literature as the "hair buyer," from his alleged 
practice of buying the scalps of murdered pioneers from the Indians) was in 
possession of the fort at Vincennes with a garrison of eighty British soldiers 
and a contingent of Indian allies. Clark was then in November, 1778, in 
Kentucky, as a pioneer Indian fighter, and hearing through one Frances Vigo, 
an Italian fur trader, that in the next spring Hamilton intended to attack their 
American settlers in Kentucky, he (Clark) resolved to forestall his foe and 
set to work enlisting a force of men to march upon Vincennes during the win- 
ter, and surprise and capture Hamilton and his whole outfit. To carry out 
this dare-devil exploit, Clark had to rely v/hoUy on his own resources which 
were practically summed up in the individual person, George Rogers Clark and 
his brains, courage and energy. He had not heard from or received any aid 
from his friends and abettors in Virginia for a year ; and there was but a scant 
supply of powder and lead in all the settlement in Kentucky for any purpose. 
But with Clark to resolve was to act ; and so he set to work enlisting men and 
building boats and soon had a little army on its way down the Ohio with their 
trusty rifles. Leaving a party of his force to patrol the river and look out for 
an attack in his rear, he marched the rest of his men overland to the old French 
fort of Kaskaskia. Here his confident demeanor and captivating address cap- 
tured the French and half-breeds, and especially the Creole girls, and all 
united to secure additional recruits to his banner — the banner of George Rog- 
ers Clark, for there was not at that time, a single American flag in all America, 
west of the Alleghany mountains. After a few days rest, and by these means, 
Clark had gathered together a motley band of one hundred and seventy Ken- 
tuckians, half-bred French, Creoles and stragglers that looked anything 
else than a military force to attack a fort defended by trained soldiers amply 
supplied with cannon of that period, and full supplies of muskets and ammu- 
nition. On the 7th of February, 1779, Clark marched his little army out of 
old Kaskaskia, the whole village escorting and encouraging the men, and the 
good Jesuit priest Gibault, adding his blessing and absolution on all those brave 
men. It was in the depth of winter and icy cold, in addition tO' which a con- 
tinued downpour of rain flooded the whole country and made an inland sea of 
the Wabash river, which they had to cross at one place with only a few canoes, 
most of the men wading in ice cold water up to their arm-pits and carrying 
their guns and powder horns over their heads. But they finally reached their 
goal. To such men, nothing was impossible. Clark reached Vincennes with- 
out informing the town or fort of his approach. He surrounded the town in 
the night and after a short, sharp and decisive attack the British general, 
Hamilton, surrendered. Clark paroled the men, but sent Hamilton under 
guard, to Virginia, where he was kept in jail at Richmond for two years. Taken 
altogether, this exploit of George Rogers Clark, was the most reckless, dar- 
ing, dangerous and successful military expedition in the whole course of the 
revolutionary war, or of any war. And in its results, it accomplished more for 


the United States than any other one military movement or battle in the war. 
For without this successful venture of Clark, the British would have held the 
Mississippi valley until the end of the war, and by the treaty of peace, England 
would have most surely secured every thing west of the Alleghany mountains. 
The success of Clark enabled our peace commissioners, Franklin, Jay and 
Adams, to claim that Clark had driven the British out of the Mississippi val- 
ley and successfully held it. So that the boundary line between the American 
possessions and the English was established on the line of the great lakes 
west to the headquarters of the Mississippi river, instead of at the Alleghany 
mountains. By this grand coup in the v>^estern wilderness, Clark added to 
the United States all the territory out of which has been carved and populated 
the seven great states of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Michi- 
gan, Wisconsin and half of Minnesota. This was the first great advance of 
the American flag from the inhabited portions of the original colonies, moving 
westward. And it was wholly and purely a movement to secure more terri- 
tory, and wholly based on political reasons and not influenced by any com- 
mercial motive or interest. 

It has been the puzzle of historical writers for more than a century, to ac- 
count for the attitude of Washington to George Rogers Clark. Washington 
was personally acquainted with Clark and his family of which none stood higher 
in old Virginia. Washington must have known, and did know, the splendid 
military abilities of Clark. No man was a better judge of what other men 
could accomplish than Washington. With the exception of Greene, Wash- 
ington had not a single general under his command that equaled George 
Rogers Clark ; and no one of all nis major generals, Greene not ex- 
cepted, accomplished as much for his country as Clark. Then why did 
Washington keep him in the western wilderness with a mere handful of rifle- 
men to be called out as the desperates straits of defense against Indians or 
British might require ? The only answer to that long unanswered question 
is, that of all men possible to be sent or kept in the west to hold in check 
the British and their Indian allies, and hold the valley of the Mississippi for 
any possible result of the war, George Rogers Clark was the first choice — the 
man that could be trusted and who was equal to the momentous importance 
of the position. Clark amply vindicated the confidence of Washington; he 
discharged the great trust and responsibility imposed on him with "such dis- 
tinguished ability as to immortalize his name in American history, and in the 
annals of those who have covered their names with glory in defense of liberty 
and just laws. And the pity of it all is, that his great services to his country, 
and to his nation, were never appreciated, recognized, rewarded or honored ; and 
that one of the grandest of our national heroes, and one of the nation's greatest 
benefactors should have died in poverty and neglect. 

On the 4th day of March, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as the 
third President of the United States. Jefferson had not taken a prominent 
part in the successful rebellion which had severed the colonies from the mother 
country. He had not taken a part in making the constitution under which 
the people were organized into a nation of free men ; and he had been anything 
but a harmonious prime minister of Washington's cabinet. It looked to the 
historian as if Jefferson's fame would be limited to his leading part in draft- 
ing the immortal Declaration of Independence. But there was seething in his 
active brain, a great idea; the idea of extending the nation's boundaries from 
ocean to ocean. Having a natural taste for scientific studies, he longed to know 
what the great unfathomed west of the Rocky mountains might contain. The 
first opportunity he had to set anything in motion that might bring him any 
knowledge upon the subject came to him while he was representing the United 
States at Paris, in 1786. Jefferson gives an account of it in his autobiography as 
follows : 


"While in Paris in 1786, I became acquainted with John Ledyard, of Con- 
necticut, a man of genius, some science, and of fearless courage and enter- 
prise. He had accompanied Captain Cook in his voyage to the Pacific, had 
distinguished himself on several occasions by an unrivaled intrepidity, and pub- 
lished an account of that voyage with details unfavorable to Cook's deportment 
towards the savages and lessening our regrets at his fate. Ledyard had come 
to Paris in the hope of forming a company to engage in the fur trade of the 
western coast of America. He was disappointed in this, and being out of 
business, and of a roaming, restless character, I suggested to him the enter- 
prise of exploring the western part of our continent by passing through St. 
Petersburgh to the Pacific coast of Siberia, and procuring a passage thence in 
some of the Russian vessels to Nootka sound, from whence he might work his 
way across the continent to the United States ; and I undertook to have the 
permission of the Empress of Russia solicited. He eagerly embraced the 
proposition, and Baron Grimm, special correspondent of the Empress, solicited 
her permission for him to pass through her dominions to the western coast of 
America. But this favor the Empress refused, considering the entei-prise entirely 
chimerical. But Ledyard would not relinquish it, persuading himself that by 
proceeding to St. Petersburgh, he could satisfy the Empress of its practicability 
and obtain her permission. He went accordingly, but she being absent on a 
visit to some distant part of her dominions, he pursued his course across Russia 
to within two hundred miles of the Pacific coast, when he was overtaken by 
an arrest from the Empress, brought back to Portland and there dismissed." 

This shows how much farther ahead in the outlook towards Oregon Jeflfer- 
son was, compared with all others. He had started Ledyard to cross the 
American continent six years before Gray had discovered the Columbia river, 
and five years before MacKenzie had crossed the Rocky mountains. It is not 
only a matter of intense interest to go back and see the men who were racking 
their brains and exploiting their ideas about this Oregon of ours before any- 
body knew there was such a place, but it is also due from us to render just 
honors to those men who not only took the long look ahead, but followed 
up their great thoughts by practical statesmanship to secure this country to 
this nation, and for our habitation and use. 

When Jefferson became president on March 4, 1801, he supposed that the 
vast territory known as Louisiana belonged to Spain. The Pope had given it 
to Spain. De Soto had claimed it for Spain, La Salle had claimed it for France 
and France had ceded all its rights to the country to Spain. And upon this 
presumption, Jefiferson had planned to open negotiations as early as practicable af- 
ter becoming president to purchase, or in some other way obtain the title to Louisi- 
ana for the United States. And he did not go about this great business in a 
hap-hazard way. He knew perfectly well the excited state of feeling that ex- 
isted throughout the whole country west of the Alleghany mountains. Irri- 
tated by the exactions of the Spanish traders at New Orleans, and feeling their 
whole future depended on the conditions on which they could ship their prod- 
uce to market by the great rivers, the pioneers of the west were ready to 
volunteer and drive the Spaniards out of the country by force of arms, just as 
they had been ready to follow George Rogers Clark in 1793-4 to drive out 
the Spaniards and turn Louisiana over to the French. Therefore, to prepare 
himself as president of the United States, to meet and control any emergency 
which might arise in this delicate and great national business, as soon as he 
became president he sent a secret agent to old St. Louis to find out the state 
of feeling among the Spanish at that frontier town. Jefferson desired to know 
the political sentiments of those old world pioneers at St. Louis, and especially 
their feelings towards the people of the United States. Trouble must come 
sooner or later from that foreign flag flying in the heart of the great Mississippi 
valley. For just as certain as George Rogers Clark with one hundred and 
seventy men had captured the British General Hamilton and his fort and forces 


at old Vincennes, that surely would some other western fillibustering Clark 
arise and gather an army and drive the Spaniards out of St. Louis. The man 
selected for this secret mission to St. Louis, was John Baptiste Charles Lucas. 
Lucas was a Frenchman that had studied law in Paris ; had some acquaintance 
there of Franklin and Adams while they were representing America during 
the revolutionary war; and having come to America after the war, made the 
acquaintance of Albert Gallatin, Jefferson's secretary of the treasury, who in- 
troduced him (Lucas) to the president. Lucas was an ardent supporter of 
republican principles ; he could speak the Spanish as well as the French lan- 
guage, and everything pointed him out as the man capable of serving Jefferson 
and his adopted country. Lucas undertook the confidential mission to- St. 
Louis, and after sounding the drift of personal and poHtical feeHng at that 
point, proceeded to New Orleans on the same mission, making his confidential 
reports to the president only. Upon this information the president was pre- 
pared to act, and did act as the sequel showed. He was prepared for war if 
the French had not backed down and offered to sell out before he had even 
time to submit an ultimatum. 

That the services of Lucas in this national crisis were of great value, and 
highly appreciated by the president, is shown from the facts that when Lucas 
became a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania in 1803, the Jefferson ad- 
ministration most heartily supported him and secured his election; and after 
Louisiana was formally ceded to the United States and a territorial govern- 
ment established in Missouri, the president appointed Lucas a United States 
district judge in that territory where he was heartily welcomed by the people. 
For although old St. Louis had a Spanish governor and Spanish soldiers, the 
majority of the townspeople were French and under the influence of the great 
fur traders, Pierre Laclede, August Chouteau and others, and already disposed 
to support an American president and American principles. 

It is not therefore surprising, that after all this careful preparation to deal 
diplomatically with the Spanish king for the purchase of Louisiana, that the 
president and the whole country with him should have been alarmed beyond 
expression to find that Spain did not in fact own Louisiana ; but that the great 
province had been secretly ceded to France two years before the publication of 
the event. This discovery produced intense excitement throughout the whole 
country, and especially to President Jefferson. It could not be divined what 
purpose France had in view in taking back Louisiana by a secret treaty and 
everybody assumed that sooner or later the nation would be forced into a war 
with an old friend. Writing to Livingston, the American minister at Paris, 
April 18, 1802, Jefferson says: "Every eye in the United States is now fixed 
on the affairs of Louisiana. Perhaps nothing since the revolutionary war has 
produced more uneasiness throughout the nation, and in spite of our temporary 
bickerings with France, she still has a strong hold on our affections. The ces- 
sion of Louisiana to France completely reverses all the political relations of 
the United States, and will form a new epoch in our political course. There 
is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and 
habitual enemy. That spot is New Orleans, through which the produce of 
three-eighths of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will 
ere long yield more than half of our whole produce, and contain more than 
half of our inhabitants. France placing herself in that door assumes to us 
the attitude of defiance." 

Jefferson read the future as if by inspiration. The great water ways pour- 
ing their traffic down to New Orleans at the least possible expense, and build- 
ing up in the great valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers an empire of 
population. He thought, as everybody else thought, that the trade of even 
Pittsburgh only four hundred miles west of the Atlantic port of Philadelphia 
must of necessity float down the Ohio and Mississippi, and go out to the world 
by the way of New Orleans. And also all the traffic west and south of Pitts- 


burgh must go the same way. We of this day cannot comprehend the con- 
sternation with which that view struck the president and all of the people of 
the west. We could understand it if England or Japan should now in our day 
capture Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia and proceed to levy import 
and export taxes on every pound of Oregon produce or goods which goes out 
or comes in over the Columbia river bar. The steam railroad had not been 
invented at that day, and no one could then see any future for the great west 
except through nature's outlet by the great river to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Jefferson has been by many rated as a philosopher, a scientist, a 
dreamer or schemer rather than a practical statesman. But the facts show 
that when the great occasion came he was always equal to it. He met this 
secret treaty move between Spain and France, with both energy and wisdom. 
He instructed his minister to Paris, Robert Livingston, to ascertain at the 
earHest moment what France proposed to do with the island of New Orleans, 
as the city was then called. And as matters developed, in January following 
his letter to Livingston he appointed James Monroe, minister extraordinary 
to France, with instructions to push the French court to a decision. And in 
his letter of instructions to Monroe, he reminds him that the French are hard 
pressed for money to complete the conquest of St. Domingo, and that these 
circumstances have prevented the French from taking possession of Louisiana. 
Everything seems to have been considered fair in love or war in those days as 
well as now, and Thomas Jefferson proposed to make the most of it for his 

On February 3, 1803, Jefferson writes again to Livingston, "We must 
know at once whether we can acquire New Orleans or not." The westerners 
were clamoring for New Orleans and for war. The same sort of people that 
rallied to the appeal of Andrew Jackson ten years later and gave the British 
such a terrible thrashing below New. Orleans, were now ready to fight the 
French if they dared to come and take the country they had bought from Spain. 

So anxious and so terribly was Jefferson wrought up over the condition 
of affairs that he tells Monroe in the letter quoted : "On the event of your 
mission depends the future destinies of this republic. If we cannot by a pur- 
chase of Louisiana insure ourselves a course of perpetual peace, then as war 
cannot be distant, we must prepare for it." The future destiny and owner- 
ship of this Oregon country was dangling in the balance right then and there. 

There can be no doubt that Napoleon (then ruling France) purposed to 
take possession of Louisiana. A military force of twenty thousand men was 
on the eve of embarking; and Napoleon had decided to plant this force as a 
colony at the mouth of the Mississippi river; the strategic point to wield at 
his pleasure the commerce and civilization of the Atlantic ocean. A petty 
quarrel with England about the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean sea de- 
ranged his plans, and he formed another chain-lighting-resolve — he would rival 
Julius Caesar by the invasion and conquest of England. But to do this he 
dared not send his veterans to New Orleans ; for England, mistress of the seas, 
might capture his men and ships afloat and wrest New Orleans from France. 
The great Napoleon dropped his scheme as quickly as he had formed it ; and 
as he badly needed money for other schemes, he turned around and offered 
Louisiana for sale to the American Tninister. "Never in the fortunes of man- 
kind," says John Quincy Adams, "was there a more sudden, complete and pro- 
pitious turn in the tide of events than this change in the purposes of Napoleon 
proved to the administration of President Jeft'erson." So convinced was Liv- 
ingston of the bad faith of France at that time, that when Monroe reached 
Paris, Livingston declared that nothing but force would do; "We must seize 
New Orleans by military force, and negotiate afterwards." What then was 
his surprise and astonishment when he proposed to purchase the trading post 
of New Orleans, to find the French minister offering to sell him the vast terri- 
tory of Louisiana, New Orleans, the great rivers and everything else that 

5 ( 








t W^. :?%''.' '■'7'^'''' \ 

........ .. . 


France claimed in America. The whole tone of France changed at once, and 
the bargaining for an empire of land went merrily as a marriage bell. Six- 
teen million dollars was the price agreed upon for Louisiana territory; the, 
largest real estate transaction in the world from the beginning of the human 
race. It conveyed all the lands in, the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, 
Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, three-fourths of Wyoming, North Dacotah, South 
Dacotah, half of Colorado, Oklahoma, Indian territory, Utah, half of Minne- 
sota and most of Montana; five hundred and sixty-five million acres at a price 
of about one dollar and a half per square mile of land. Napoleon was greatly 
pleased with the sale he had made, and said to the American minister. "This 
accession of territory strengthens forever the power of the United States; 
and I have given to England a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble 
her pride." And the most curious thing in the whole transaction was that 
President Jefferson borrowed the money from English bankers to pay France 
when it was perfectly plain that Napoleon would use the whole sum fighting 
England, taking a most outrageous advantage of the stupidity of the English 
ministry. On the 20th of December following, formal possession of the 
Province of Louisiana, was taken by the American commissioners, Wm. C. 
Claiborne and General James Wilkinson, and the tri-colored flag was pulled 
down to wave no more forever over American soil. 

President Jefferson was now free to pursue his life long desire to know 
what was in the far west. He had now cleared away all obstacles; he had 
added to the national domain territory enough to make thirteen more great states ; 
he had opened the way now to find out what was in the far off Oregon country. 
Oregon had been in his mind ever since he had started Ledyard across Asia to reach 
and explore it. And that is the reason this history of the Louisiana purchase is 
pertinent to the history of the city of Portland. Without Louisiana, the United 
States could never reach Oregon, and without Oregon, there would be no 
American Portland. 

Accordingly at the next session of Congress after the treaty of purchase 
from France on January 18, 1803, Jefferson sent a confidential message to 
congress containing a recommendation for an exploring expedition to the west, 
and congress promptly passed an act providing the necessary funds to make 
the exploration. The president lost no time in organizing the expedition 
known in all the histories as the Lewis and Clark expedition, appointing his 
private secretary. Captain Meriwether Lewis to the chief command and cap- 
tain Wm. Clark, a brother of General George Rogers Clark, as second in com- 
mand. As a matter of historical fact, the president had already, before he 
knew of the signing of the treaty of cession at Paris, perfected arrangements with 
Captain Lewis to go west and organize a strong party to cross the continent to 
the mouth of the Columbia river. This is proved by the fact that Lewis left 
Washington city within four days after the news was received by the president, 
that the treaty had finally been executed. A large part of the year was spent 
in making preparations for the journey, and the president was so anxious for 
the safety and success of the men, that he prepared with his own hands the 
written instructions which were to govern their conduct. We make the fol- 
lowing extract from these instructions to show the nature of them, and the 
great care the President was taking to have success assured, and the natives 
treated with justice and consideration. *Tn all your intercourse with the na- 
tives," says Jefferson, "treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory man- 
ner which their own conduct will admit; allay all jealousies as to the object of 
your journey ; satisfy them of its innocence ; make them acquainted with the 
extent, position, character, peaceable, and commercial dispositions of the United 
States; of our wish to be neighborly, friendly, and useful to them, and of 
our disposition to hold commercial intercourse with them, and to confer with 
them on the point most convenient for trade and the articles of the most de- 
sirable interchange for them and for us." 


The purchase of Louisiana and the great exploring expedition which fol- 
lowed the purchase is unique and unexampled in the history of mankind. After 
more than a century of enlightenment, consideration and development of this 
vast region, the momentous influences and consequences of that great transac- 
tion, are not fully comprehended to this day. Vast regions and great nations, 
even those with more or less of what we call civilization, have in the history 
of the world, passed under the dominion of overwhelming military power, and 
lingered in decay or gone down to oblivion. But here is an Empire of natural 
wealth in a vast region claimed and owned by the then foremost military power 
on the globe, quietly, speedily and with a friendly hand passing over to the 
youngest member of the family of nations, to be by it, in its inexperience in 
government, ruled and developed for the happiness and blessing of mankind. 
Not only does this ruling military power of the world, led and ruled by the 
most successful and brilliant soldier in the history of mankind, turn over this 
empire of rich territory to the keeping of the young republic of the west, but 
a greater power than the wealth and resources of the land goes with it — the 
power to rule two great oceans and dictate the peace of the world. Of the 
two master minds that wrought this great work, one has been denounced as 
an infidel, and everything that was dangerous to the well being of his fellow- 
man ; while the other condemned throughout the world as an unprincipled 
adventurer to whom fickle fortune gave for an hour the evanescent glory of 
accidental success. Shall we dare say, that these two men did not consider 
the welfare of their fellow-man in this great transaction? Shall we say they 
wrought wiser than they knew ? Or shall we concede that there is a Divinity 
that shapes our ends? 

So that in tracing the steps of this unorthodox president in the great task 
of acquiring almost half the territory of the United States, and setting up 
therein, the ways, means and influences' of education and civilization, we may 
form some opinion of his real character and great work. Neither President 
Jefferson nor anybody else outside of the native Indians knew anything about 
the vast region which had been acquired. Exploration of it by competent ob- 
servers was necessary to find out what the wilderness was worth. Captains, 
Lewis and Clark, organized their party of twenty-seven men and one Indian 
woman in the winter of 1803, and made their start for Oregon in the follow- 
ing spring of 1804. There were no steamboats in those days, and the ascent 
of the river from St. Louis to the Mandan Indian village on the Missouri 
river, almost one thousand miles as the river runs, above St. Louis, paddling 
and poling their boats up stream occupied nearly five months time. Of course 
the party stopped along the river to hunt game for their subsistence. But as 
game was everywhere in plenty, this could not have delayed them very much, 
which shows what a slow toilsome undertaking these men had entered upon. 
And it shows the vast changes in the country in a hundred years, where now 
railroad trains running on both sides of the river will whisk the traveler over an 
equal distance in one day. 

On this up-river trip the volunteer explorers from Ohio and Kentucky 
found many animals they had never seen before. The vast numbers of buf- 
falo, the antelope, mule deer, coyote, and prairie dog were all new to these 
men, and excited the wonder of both leaders and privates. With all the In- 
dian tribes the explorers held councils, telling them of the changes of governors 
and of President Jefiferson who was so anxious for their welfare. The In- 
dians professed to be pleased with this news, and as the explorers distributed 
gifts, purported to come from the great father at Washington, the natives 
agreed to everything. They always did that when there was anything to be 
had by being good. It is scarcely possible that the Indians at that day had any 
idea of a government, or the exercise of control by one man over a vast popu- 
lation, traveling as they did wherever they pleased. 

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■i-S.TOK. L.»;.'?OX 



, — ^ 






















• ^ 



As the cold weather of the approaching winter came on the party con- 
cluded to stop at the Mandan villages, and prepare for housing up until the 
spring of 1805, and here they built logs huts and the usual stockade familiar 
to the pioneers of the Indian country in the west, and which they named fort 
Mandan. The Mandans proved to be good neighbors, and not only helped 
provide game for the party, but invited them to their dances, which were nu- 
merous, fantastic and devoid of lady partners. Game had to be hunted, and 
generally supplies could be had within a day's pony ride, but sometimes the 
men had to go out for several days at a time ; but in all their hunting forays, 
were never molested by the Mandan Indians. Their journals show that in 
one of these hunting excursions they killed thirty-two deer, eleven elk and a 
Bufifalo ; on another hunt they killed forty deer, sixteen elk and a buffalo ; 
showing that for winter quarters, that was a fine game country. But as snow 
came on, most of the game left for the mountains, showing that the wild ani- 
mals, know that they are safer in the rough mountains in the winter weather 
than out on the bleak plains. 

In the spring of 1805, after sending back ten of the men who had enlisted 
to go only to the first winter quarters, and who carried back with them the 
record of their exploration, thus far, with some specimens of pelts and plants, 
Lewis and Clark broke camp and struck out through the boundless plains, 
due west from Fort Mandan. The party now numbered thirty-two persons 
all told. Sergeant Floyd, had died on the way up river, and was buried on 
the bluffs where Sioux City is now located. Three men had joined the party 
at Mandan, including the French trapper, Chaboneau, together with his Sho- 
shone wife — Sacajawea, now represented in the bronze statue in the Portland 
city park. They were now far beyond Jonathan Carver's explorations, and 
in a country never before trod by the foot of a white man. But few Indians 
were seen; but the whole country literally swarmed with wild game, vast 
flocks of sage hens, prairie chickens, ducks of all kinds, cranes, geese and swan, 
and vast herds of big game, buffalo, elk, antelope, white and black tail deer, big 
horn sheep, and so unfamiliar with the race of men as to be easily approached, 
great herds of elk would lie lazily in the sun on the sand bars until the party 
was within twenty yards of them. 

On the Yellowstone river, Clark encountered on the return voyage, a herd 
of buffaloes, wading and swimming across the stream where it was a mile 
wide, and so many in the herd that the exploring party had to draw up in a 
safe place and wait for an hour for the herd to pass before they could proceed. 
The party of course had to live on meat as their mainstay, and they got it fresh 
every day without going out of their course to find it, and they generally ate 
up one buffalo, or an elk and one deer, or four deer a day. And here for the 
first time, they struck that terror of the rocky mountains, — the grizzly bear. 
No other traveler or explorer ever gave any account of this bear prior to what 
we hear from Lewis and Clark. The grizzly was the terror of the Indians. 
They had never been able to devise any means of trapping him, and they had 
no guns to fight him with ; and their only safety from him, was in flight. The 
first accounts given to the people of the United States of this monster bear wers 
printed in the early school books, and were extracts from the journals of this 
expedition. The summer trip up the Missouri in their little boats was very 
pleasant. But the fall season of the year was rapidly approaching before they 
had reached the Rocky mountains, and they were warned by early frosts that 
great expedition was now necessary to enable them to pass over the mountains 
and strike some branch of the Columbia to float westward upon before the 
deep snows shut them in or out for the winter. Lewis and Clark crossed the 
Rocky mountains about three hundred miles north of the point where the Oregon 
trail crosses. And here they found their salvation in the sturdy little Indian 
woman, Sacajawea. They got to a point that their white man's reason could 
not guide them, but Sacajawea had been there when a child, and she "pointed 


the way" to the Columbia's headwaters, and to safety and success. And by her 
aid as an interpreter, and her kinship to the Shoshones, the party was enabled 
to procure horses from a band of wandering Shoshones, and by "caching" their 
boats, and packing their goods and blankets on the ponies, they got out of the 
labyrinth of mountains, crossed over the great divide, struck the middle fork 
of the Clearwater, and made their way down to where the city of Lewiston 
now stands. 

Here they got canons from the Nez Perce Indians, and floated down the 
Snake river to the Columbia, and on down the Columbia to where Astoria now 
stands, and paddled around Taylor's point and crossed over Young's bay and 
built log huts at a point named Fort Clatsop, where they went into winter 
quarters until the spring of 1806. 

With the troubles and experiences of the exploring party, during the long 
rainy season of 1805-6 at Fort Clatsop, we have no concern. The men put in 
their time hunting, fishing, mending their clothes, making moccasins for the 
long tramp homeward in the spring, and in making salt by the seaside out of 
the Pacific ocean water, and some remains of the old furnace in which they placed 
their kettles to evaporate the salt water, being still in existence after the lapse 
of one hundred and four years. As early in the spring of 1806 as it was prac- 
ticable to travel, the party started on their return to the states. Whether the 
expedition, as a party, ever camped on the present site of Portland, is un- 
certain. The probability is very strong that they did camp on the river flat 
in front of the town of St. Johns, which is a suburb of this city, and it is 
certain that members of the party came up the river as far as Portland town- 
site. On their return up the Columbia, the explorers camped at the mouth of 
the White Salmon river on the north side of the Columbia, and there it was 
that Tomitsk (Jake Hunt), the Klickitat Indian, pictured on another page, 
saw the explorers, the first white men he had ever seen, when he was a little 
boy, eleven years of age, making Tomitsk one hundred and fifteen years old 
now, and probably the oldest Indian on the Pacific coast. 

The party pursued their way back over the mountains, and down the Mis- 
souri river without loss, or anything specially eventful, arriving at St. Louis 
in September in 1806, having been absent from civilization for two years and 
four months. Their safe return caused great rejoicing throughout the west. 
"Never," says President Jeflferson, "did a similar event excite more joy through- 
out the United States. The humblest of its citizens had taken a lively interest 
in the issue of this journey and looked forward with impatience to the informa- 
tion it would bring." The expedition had accomplished a great work, for it 
opened the door not only into the heart of the far west, but to the shores of 
the great Pacific, and laid the foundation of a just national claim to all the re- 
gions west of the Rocky mountains, north of the California line, up to the Russian 
possessions. There is no other expedition like it, or equal to it, in the history 
of civilization ; and every member of it down to the humblest returned to their 
hprnes as heroes of a great historical deed. The president promptly rewarded 
the two leaders with just recognition, appointing Captain Lewis, governor of 
Louisiana territory, and making Captain Clark, governor and Indian agent of 
Missouri territory. The only regretable circumstances of the whole great work, 
was the untimely death of Sergeant Floyd, which took place, as before stated, 
before the expedition got fairly started on the way. A great monument has 
been erected to his memory at the location of his burial near Sioux City, Iowa. 
The only miscarriage of justice, was the neglect of the brave and patient little Indian 
h.eroine, Sacajawea, who received no reward whatever. Both Lewis and Clark, 
so far as words could go, recognized the great services of the woman to the 
fullest extent, but gave no reward. The services of Sacajawea was equal to 
that of any of the whole party, and much greater than those of most of the 
party. She had not only paddled the canoes, trudged where walking was neces- 
sary, and in every event, done as much as a man, and that too with her infant 


■' ■■ ^ 



* - -SPA , '^ "^- 



Yet alive, one hundred and fifteen years old; saw the Lewis and Clark party in 1806. 

\ v^> n\<['H Yv'^.X 


babe on her back, but she had rendered that greater service which no one else 
could render — she had made friends for the party when they were in dire 
straits in the mountains, and secured from her tribe assistance in horses and 
provisions which no other person could have commanded ; and when in doubt 
as to what course they should take, to reach safety towards the headwaters of 
the Columbia, Sacajawea pointed out the route through the mountain defiles. 
And it was left to the noble women of this city, and to their great honor they 
nobly performed the duty, of raising to this Indian benefactress of the great 
northwest, the first and fitting monument to perpetuate her name and unselfish 
labors — the heroic size bronze statue of the woman at Lewis and Clark exposi- 
tion, and now standing in the city park. 

Many persons have entertained the idea, that, with the exception of the 
leaders, who were educated, and came from distinguished families in old Vir- 
ginia, the rank and file were rough and inconsequential characters, picked up 
around St. Louis. This is a great mistake; for they were nearly all of them, 
men of great natural force and ability, and selected by their leaders because 
of their inherent force of character. As the author of this history was personally 
acquainted with one member of the party, and with the family of another 
member of the party, the following sketches of them are given as fair samples 
of the whole force, and which will show our reader what character of men it 
was that braved the dangers of the unknown wilderness, and risked their lives 
in the most dangerous and arduous toils to navigate wild streams and scale 
frowning mountain barriers to uncover and make known to the world this 
old Oregon of ours. 

Patrick Gass: This member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was un- 
doubtedly the most vigorous and energetic character of the entire party; and 
notwithstanding some excesses in living outlived all his compatriots. Gass was 
the son of Irish parents, born near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1771, and 
died at Wellsburgh in the state of West Virginia, April 30th, 1870, nearly one 
hundred years old. The Gass family moved from Chambersburgh, when the 
boy was a mere child carried in a creel on the sides of a pack horse, and settled 
near Pittsburgh. There were no schools in those days in the frontier settlements, 
and Patrick Gass grew up as other boys of his day, schooled to hardships and 
dangers, ready and eager for adventure of any sort. He was not long in find- 
ing an opportunity and joined a party of Indian fighters under the lead of the 
celebrated Lewis Wetzel, and had his experience in Indian warfare in Belmont 
county, Ohio, where the author of this book subsequently first saw the light of 
day forty years afterwards. Like other young fellows at that time Gass made 
trips down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, in "flat boats" in 
trading expeditions, returning home by ship to Philadelphia and thence to Pitts- 
burgh with freight teams. 

Gass learned the carpenter's trade ; but when war was threatened with France 
in 1799, he joined the army and was ordered to Kaskaskia, Illinois, and while 
at that station, met Captain Meriwether Lewis who was hunting for volunteers 
for the great expedition to the Pacific. With the aid of Lewis, he rnanaged 
to get released from his enlistment in the army, and safely made the trip from 
St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia and return to the Ohio. He kept a 
journal of his great trip, which shows he had by his own efforts, picked up 
some book education, and his journal was the first account published, of the 
expedition. When the war of 1812 broke out, he again joined the army and 
served along with the writers grand-father at the battle of Lundy's Lane, 
where he was severely wounded. The remainder of his Hfe was spent at and 
near Wellsburgh, West Virginia. In 183 1, at sixty years of age, he was married 
and lived a happy life thereafter, having seven children born to him. At ninety 
years of age when the southern rebellion broke out, he volunteered to fight for 
the union of the states, but of course his age precluded an acceptance of his 
patriotic offer. Soon after this event he became converted to the Christian 


(Campbellite) faith, and was baptized by immersion in the Ohio river in front 
of the town of Wellsburgh, the entire population of the town turning out to 
honor the event; and thereafter the soldier of three enUstments and two wars; 
the hero of the great expedition across the continent, faithfully upheld the 
banner of the cross. I am thus particular in making this record to preserve 
a suitable account of two of the most important and capable subalterns of the 
Lewis and Clark expedition, not only because they were upon, or very near the 
site of this city, one hundred and five years ago, rendering great services to 
their country and to Oregon, but also because we were all from Ohio. The 
writer was personally acquainted with Patrick Gass, having met the venerable 
old patriot at Wellsburgh, Virginia in 1857. He was then at eighty-six years 
of age a very bright and interesting man, and gave me a brief account of his 
great trip across the continent to the Pacific ocean, and of his trouble in pre- 
serving his journal of that trip. 

George Shannon : The writer was personally acquainted with the Shan- 
non family, whose name and fame is cherished as a part of the heritage of 
"Old Belmont County" Ohio; and with Wilson Shannon, youngest brother 
of George Shannon, who was twice elected governor of Ohio, minister to Mexico, 
one of the argonauts tO' California in 1849, practicing law in San Francisco, 
and territorial governor of Kansas. Like Gass, Shannon was Protestant Irish, 
of splendid stock, his father a brave soldier of the revolution, and a leader 
among men. George was sent to school in Pennsylvania and ran away from 
school to join the Lewis and Clark expedition. After returning from the Pacific 
coast, he entered the university at Lexington, Kentucky, graduated, studied law 
in Philadelphia, married Ruth Snowden Price at Lexington in 1813, was made 
a judge of the state circuit court at Lexington, and rendered honorable service 
as a judge for twelve years; removed from Lexington to St. Charles, Missouri, 
where he was again placed on the judicial bench, and died suddenly while hold- 
ing court at Palmyra, Missouri, in 1836. He was unquestionably the man of 
the most talent, culture and ability of all who made that world renowned trip 
across two thousand miles of unexplored mountains, plains, deserts and wilder- 
ness. Several decendants of the Shannon family now reside in this city. 

It would seem, that as far as natural justice and common sense could in- 
fluence the settlement of the proposition, that the discovery of the Columbia 
by Gray and the exploration of the country by Lewis and Clark, ought to 
have given the United States a clear title to Oregon as against England. In 
all the contentions between the so-called civilized nations, the Indian title to the 
land has never counted for anything. And the equities in favor of their title 
will be discussed in the chapter on the title of this country. But this seems 
to be the right place to consider the movement of the British in seizing Astoria 
on December 12th, 1813. 

Astoria was not in 1813, a U. S. government post. The United States had 
never established or asserted any right or ownership to the place, notwith- 
standing Captain Gray, a citizen of the United States and flying the flag of 
his country on his ship, had discovered and made known the river on the banks 
of which Astoria was located twenty-one years before it was taken by the 
British gunboat. Astoria was the private enterprise of Astor's Fur company, 
and four thousand miles distant from its owner. The British war vessels had 
come around Cape Horn into the Pacific ocean to prey upon American com- 
merce; and hearing that Astor, an American citizen, had a valuable property 
and supposedly two or three hundred thousand dollars worth of valuable furs 
at Astoria, one of them sailed into the Columbia river to rob him. It was true 
that the Astor company, as an American enterprise, had the American colors 
flying over their stockade fort. But that was the right of any American citizen. 
The motive of the British was robbery, pure and simple; for they well knew 
there were no American guns or soldiers there to oppose their schemes. But, 
while they seized the so-called fort, they failed to bag the game. For be- 


Private in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, publishing the first 

account of it. 

■ ij- 


fore the British ship reached the Columbia, Astor's Canadian partners had 
treacherously sold him out for a trifle to the Canadian Fur Company, a British 
subject institution; and Captain Black, the commander of the ship did not dare 
to rob a British subject. As this was from its inception an outrage on private 
persons, and in no sense war upon the U. S. government, it could give Eng- 
land no title to the land on which the trading post was located. And hence 
England gained nothing by the capture, in equity, morals or good conscience. 
But, nevertheless, England pulled down the American flag, floating over the 
Astoria stockade, and put up the British flag, changed the name of the place 
from Astoria to Fort George, and held undisputed possession of the same until 
the execution of the treaty of Ghent, December 20th, 1814; in which treaty 
the British agreed to surrender Astoria to the United States, without delay. 
Here and then, the title to the country was left up in the air, to be decided by 
future events. The Canadian Fur Company, succeeded by the Hudson Bay 
Company, was in practical possession of the country, and control of the Indians, 
and was working it for the last dollar it would produce in furs. The fur com- 
panies did not want American farmers or permanent settlers here in this coun- 
try. And as we have now reached the point when the Americans began to 
take notice of the country as a place of settlement for homes, this chapter may 
be closed, and a view taken of the Indians, the trappers, and the fur traders 
which connects the wilderness barbarism of the past with the commercial de- 
velopment of the present. 


The Antecedent Geological Preparation of the Country — The 
Native Indians — The Fur Trade and Traders — The Hudson 
Bay Company, McLoughlin, Ogden — Indian Ideas on Land 
Tenure— The Possession of the Land, the Bottom of All Troubles 
Between Whites and Indians. 

The city of Portland was founded in an Indian counti-y. Its citizens had 
to hastily arm and rush to the defense of out-lying settlements against the 
raids of infuriated savages. The native Indians were the first customers of 
the first merchants in this pioneer region, and their presence not only largely 
influenced the pioneer establishments of commerce, but it markedly influenced 
the lives and character of the pioneers themselves. 

And, before there were Indians, there were here in old Oregon, many 
species of wild beasts that passed away from the face of the earth so many 
long ages ago, that the mind of man can have no comprehension of the time. 
Of the sabre-toothed tiger, the most destructive beast that ever trod the earth; 
of the mammoth, the grandest beast that has left behind perfect evidence of his 
existence, and of the great reptiles, seventy feet in length, we have now no repre- 
sentatives except the fossil remains preserved in the rocks or given up from 
the perpetual ice cap of Siberia. Great herds of the mammoth roamed over 
the plains of eastern Oregon, Washington and Idaho, browsing upon palm trees 
and other tropical vegetation which is now covered over with volcanic outflows 
and ice-cap drift four or five thousand feet deep. And long before those 
tropical forests fed the mammoth, and harbored his enemy, the sabre-toothed 
tiger, the site where Portland now stands was a spot in the bottom of the Pacific 
ocean a thousand miles from any existing land. The great Rocky mountain 
back-bone of the continent was even submerged under the one time almost 
universal sea of waters. The first to emerge from that universal sea, was the 
Bitter Root range; the next to emerge was the Blue mountains of eastern Oregon 
and Idaho, and the Sierra Navadas in California. Their first uplift did not give 
them the elevation above sea level which we now see. But in the uplifted 
mountains there were veins of gold, silver, copper, and iron, and streams of 
water. The intermediate and off coast waters of these ancient times were 
shallow seas. There were many islands in the Pacific then which are now 
submerged. Then following this stage of the evolutionary development of the 
habitable globe, we find the whole north temperate zone of the earth over- 
taken by a catastrophe which cannot be understood or explained, but which en- 
veloped the whole region of North America down probably to thirty seven de- 
grees of north latitude, in an ice cap or continental wide glacier five or six 
thousand feet deep. How much of the north Pacific ocean this ice-cap covered, 
or how long it existed can only be imagined. But,' when from a relapse to 
former conditions, or change of seasons, this vast ice covering commenced 



to slowly melt away, the face of the earth covered by it shows that the ice 
drifted slowly southward, grinding down the elevated ground, scarring the 
solid rock formations with deep stria, and filling up the valleys and lowlands 
with vast deposits of gravel, sand and clay. In this way was the outcrop of 
gold bearing rock veins ground off and the gold dust and nuggets of gold 
carried down and deposited in valleys from which it was recovered by American 
miners in California and Oregon in recent times. Subsequent to this glacial 
age of the earth, the water-shed west of the Rocky mountains passed through 
more than one submergence to, and elevation from, the depths of the ancient 
Pacific ocean. And with each one of these elevations appeared the outlines 
of subsequent appearing mountain ranges, and the disappearance one after an- 
other of the inland seas and sounds which covered eastern Oregon and the Willa- 
mette valley. Those mighty changes in the land and the sea greatly affected 
the flora and the fauna of the regions involved. We find in the rock graves, 
and in the vast drift deposits not only the remains of animals already men- 
tioned, but other and later species; and especially the httle three-toed fossil 
horse discovered by Professor Thomas Condon of the Oregon university, and 
being the first discovery of the fossil horse contributed by the geology of the 
globe. And in the elevation which finally dried up the inland seas, and which 
extended from the Blue mountains in Oregon far down into Nevada and 
California, we can imagine the grandest volcanic display of mighty forces which 
ever took place on the entire globe. In that mountain range upheaval, the 
earth's crust was so extensively broken along the line of the Cascade range, 
that there must have been, between the British line on the north and the Shasta 
peak on the south, not lessn than twenty volcanoes in active operation belching 
forth vast deposits of lava and volcanic ashes at the same time for a period of 
several years. The ancient inland sea was not only dried up, but its great basin 
was filled up with the lava outflows from these volcanic mountains, and the re- 
mains of ancient forests, seas, meadow lands and all their teeming Hfe of wild 
animals was covered up thousands of feet deep. And subsequent to this great 
volcanic upheaval, but without volcanic violence came the uplift of the coast 
ra^ge in Oregon, which dried up the Willamette valley sound and made dry land 
where Portland now stands. But prior to the uplift which made the Portland 
townsite dry land, the earth surface forces of nature had entered upon the 
vast work of constructing the Columbia river water way. Thousands of years 
before Portland and the Willamette valley had emerged from ocean's waves, 
the mighty Columbia had been carrying down millions upon millions of bould- 
ers, gravel and sand and depositing the same in the winding estuary this side 
of the Sandy river. So that when W. S. Ladd undertook to bore an artesian 
well on the Laurelhurst tract of land now inside of Portland city limits, he bored 
down for twelve hundred feet through the debris which had been carried 
down by the river and deposited in the deep waters of the ocean, among which 
debris were the trunks of, large trees. The construction of the Columbia river 
was the most important of all the great events in the selection and building of 
the city of Portland. The river is the life of the city. Without the. river, the 
city, any city might have been here or any where else. The work of erosion 
by grinding out a channel, miles wide and thousands of feet deep, and thousands 
of miles in length, through wide-extended fields of lava rock, with rolling 
boulders and pebbles from the distant reaches of the water-shed behind the Sel- 
kirk, Sawtooth and Blue mountain ranges of mountains, down through Idaho, 
British Columbia, eastern Washington, and eastern Oregon, carrying a deep 
cut through the Cascade and Coast Range mountains to the ocean, may have 
required a hundred thousand years. But it was done. The grand and incom- 
prehensible work of nature is before us, is building our city, is feeding and 
clothing millions of people, and nowhere else on the face of the globe is there 
to be found such a marvelous display of the destructive forces of nature em- 
ployed to make a great region the comfortable home of the human race. 


And now we reach that development of the surface of the earth when it 
is possible for man to subsist in this region. And we find the Indian. Where 
did he come from? He was not created here. He was not evolved here. 
For not a single bone of him has ever been unearthed from the ancient sedi- 
mentary or rock deposits hereto described. From all the discoveries and in- 
vestigations of science, this species of man must have started in Europe or 
Asia Minor. There is but one specie of man, and he could have had but 
one origin. There are different races of men which have been produced by 
environment and they each interbreed with the others. Different species of 
animals are not fertile with other species. This proves the one origin of all 
men. How then did the Indian get to America? How did he get to Portland, 
Qregoin? He may have come over from the east coast of Asia on the last 
lingering floes of the glacial ice-cap, or he may have drifted across in some 
unfortunate canoe or elementary boat set afloat in the Pacific streams of Si- 
beria. But how he reached this region is not so important as his character 
when the white man found him here. 

One hundred years ago the Indian owned this whole country. He might 
well have sung with Robinson Crusoe : 

"My right there is none to dispute ; 
From the center all round to the sea, 
I am lord of the fowl and the brute." 

He was to some extent a weaver, basket maker, canoe builder, stone ax and 
mortar maker, was expert in taking fish with a spear, and wild animals with 
the bow and arrow, whose skins he dressed for clothes and bedding. He was 
purely a child of nature, harbored no selfishness but the satisfaction of his 
immediate wants, and was quick to see the utility value of such articles of 
civilized life as would more efficiently serve the purposes of his simple wants 
than the simple instruments he then possessed. He believed in a great spirit 
who had made the heavens and the earth, and who had given the land and 
the water to all his children in common. He was the original socialist — the man 
who lived a socialist, fought for his lands as a socialist, and died in the belief 
that the white man robbed him of his God-given birthrights. 

From this basis, and from small beginnings, the city of Portland has grown. 
The Indian had no more idea of the money value of his skins than a five year 
old child ; as witness the instance already mentioned of his giving eight thou- 
sand dollars worth of sea otter skins for an old chisel that did not cost a dollar. 
In the grasp of the Indian mind he could catch more otter, but he might never 
have another opportunity to get a chisel, which would be more useful to him 
in carving a canoe out of a log than the stone ax he had made himself. But 
as lightly as it was esteemed by the Indian in the beginning of his bartering 
with the white man, the fur trade was a veritable gold mine. From the time 
that Captain James Hanna came over from China in a small brig of only sixty 
tons in the year 1785, as the pioneer fur trading ship to the northwest Pacific 
coast, down to the time of the discovery of the Columbia river by Gray, the 
number of fur trading ships numbered about fifty, and the value of the furs 
obtained from Indians in exchange for goods and trinkets of very trifling value 
must have amounted to millions of dollars. A dollar's worth of goods or trinkets, 
beads, fish hooks, and the like, would in the trade for furs, which would be 
sold in China and the proceeds invested in tea, silks or rice shipped to London 
or New York, bring twenty-five dollars as an average profit. Often three 
or four hundred dollars worth of goods would be sent out from the ship, or 
distributing depot, to the Indians, or trapper's camp, and there traded for furs 
that would sell in China for three or four thousand dollars. Bright colored 
calicoes, blankets, hats, axes, knives, kettles, beads, brass ornaments, and tobacco 
would be changed for furs at the rate of one dollar for ten or twenty, owing 


to the distance from the ship. The tobacco came from Brazil, a soggy mo- 
lasses smeared leaf, twisted into a rope an inch in diameter, and sold by the 
inch of rope. Millions of dollars of this sort of trade was transacted in the 
trade region, of which this city is now the distributing point, for nearly fifty 
years, without a dollar of gold or silver coin or money — currency of any kind. 
The first merchants were fur traders ; and their first customers were Indians. 
The first organized effort to transact a mercantile business in the region 
of which Portland is now the distributing center, after the failure of Astor at 
Astoria, came from the great English corporation known as the Hudson Bay 
Company. It is true that the Northwest Fur Company, commonly called the 
Canadian Fur company had some stations and transacted some business in the 
Columbia river valley for a few years, after Astor's wreck; but it was soon 
absorbed and driven out by the Hudson Bay people. And as this latter com- 
pany did so long rule this region and to a marked extent shape its future, it 
will be material to this narrative and interesting to the reader to give the origin 
and Oregon career of this first great organized trading monopoly of the Pacific 

The Hudson Bay Company was a British corporation created May 2, 1670, 
by royal charter from Charles II, by the grace of God King of England, Scot- 
land, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, etc., which declared : 

"Whereas our dear entirely beloved cousin, Prince Rupert, Count Palatine of 
the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria and Cumberland ; George, Duke of Albermarle ; Will- 
iam, earl of Craven ; Henry, Lord Arlington ; Anthony, Lord Ashley ; Sir John 
Robinson, and Sir Robert Vyrner, knights ^nd baronets. Sir Peter Colleton, baro- 
net; Sir Edward Hungerford, knight of the bath. Sir Paul Neele, Sir John Grif- 
fith, Sir Philip Carteet, and Sir James Hayes, knights, and John Kirke, Francis 
Millington, William Prettyman and John Portman, citizen and goldsmith of 
London, have, at their own great cost and charges, undertaken an expedition 
for the Hudson's bay in the. northwest parts of America for a discovery of a 
new passage into the South sea (Pacific ocean), and for the finding of some 
trade for furs, minerals and other commodities, and by such, their undertak- 
ings have already made such discoveries as to encourage them to proceed far- 
ther in pursuance of their said design, by means whereof there may probably 
arise great advantage to us and our kingdom. 

"And Whereas. The said undertakers, for their further encouragement to 
the said design, have humbly besought us to incorporate them, and grant unto 
them, and their successors, the whole trade and commerce of all those seas, 
straits, and bays, rivers, lakes, creeks and sounds, in whatever latitude they 
shall be, that lie within the entrance of the straits commonly called Hudson 
straits, together with all the lands, countries and territories, upon the coasts and 
confines of the seas, straits, bays, lakes, rivers, creeks and sounds aforesaid, 
which are not now actually possessed by any of our subjects, or the subjects of 
other christian prince or state. 

'Wow know ye. That we, being desirous to promote all endeavors that may 
tend to the public good of our people, and to encourage the said undertaking, 
have of our special grace, and mere motion, given, granted, ratified and confirmed 
unto our said cousin. Prince Rupert, (and the other nobilities and persons 
named) all and singular the most extensive rights of a private corporation, 
and also the sole trade and commerce of all those seas, straits, bays, rivers, 
lakes, creeks and sounds, in whatsoever latitude they shall be, together with all 
the lands and territories upon the countries, coasts and confines of the seas, bays, 
lakes, rivers, creeks and sounds aforesaid, together with the fishing of all sorts 
of fish, whales, sturgeons, and other royal fishes in the seas, bays, rivers, within 
the premises, and the fish therein taken together with the royalty of the sea 
upon the coasts, and all mines, royal as well discovered as not discovered, of 
gold, silver, gems and precious stones, to be found or discovered with the terri- 
tories, limits and places aforesaid, and that the land be from henceforth reckoned 


and reputed as one 'of our colonies in America, called Rupert's land. And 
also, not only the whole, entire and only liberty, use and privilege of trading 
and traffic to and from the territories, limits and places aforesaid, but also the 
whole and entire trade and traffic to and from all havens, bays, creeks, rivers, 
lakes, and seas into which they shall find entrance or passage by water or land 
out of the territories, limits, and places aforesaid, and to and with all the na- 
tives and people, inhabitants or which shall inhabit within the territories, limits 
and places aforesaid, and to and with all other nations inhabitants any of the 
coasts adjacent to the said territories aforesaid. And do grant to the said 
company, that neither the said territories, limits, and places hereby granted, nor 
any part thereof, nor the islands, havens, ports, cities, towns, and places thereof, 
or therein contained shall ever be visited, frequented, or haunted by any of the 
subjects of us contrary to the true meaning of this grant; and any and every 
such person or persons who shall trade or traffic into any of such countries, 
territories, or limits aforesaid other than the said company and their successors, 
shall incur our indignation and the forfeiture and loss of all their goods, mer- 
chandise and other things whatsoever which shall be so brought into this realm 
of England or any dominion of the same country, to our said prohibition." 

In all this monopoly of trade and commerce in all the vast region from 
Hudson bay west to the Pacific ocean, the charter conferred upon the company 
and its governors and chief factors, the sovereign rights of civil and military 
government of the region. Some people protest against the corporations and 
monopolies in the United States at the present day, not one of which has the 
sanction or support of the government, but every one of which is under the 
ban of the law. But here was a monopoly of all the trade in a region a thou- 
sand times greater in size than the country whose king created the monopoly, to 
which was given the right over the lives and liberties of the natives and sub- 
ordinates of the chartered corporation. And all this by the grace of his most 
christian majesty. King Charles II. The kings of England two hundred and 
fifty years ago, had little conception of the rights of the common people. The 
whole government was run for the benefits of the king's favorites and relations ; 
and it is no wonder that Macaulay should have said of this king: "That 
honor and shame to him were scarcely more than light and darkness to the 

Those who have not made some investigation of the subject have no idea of 
the vast powers and dominions of this great English corporation. From the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, three thousand miles, and from the Arctic ocean down to 
where the southern boundary is now located — a full two thousand miles, the 
undisputed sway of all living things for a half century, and over half of that 
region for more than a century. We are now all of us accustomed to think of 
organized governments with legislatures and laws, sworn officers and courts of jus- 
tice, in connection with territorial expansion. That has been the rule under all 
the western extensions of American enterprise and settlement. But here in 
this great fur company we see an English king and his cousins and courtiers 
organizing in a private room, a private company, with all the powers of a respon- 
sible state government in America, and handling over to that private company 
a region larger than all Europe, to be ruled and exploited for their own private 
and exclusive use and profit for an unlimited period of time ; and without any 
limitations or restrictions in favor of any other people or person on the face 
of the globe. Picture if you can, this vast empire of natural wealth in land, 
and all that the richest land will produce, six million square miles in extent, 
diversified with beautiful lakes, grand rivers, mountain ranges, fertile prairies, 
great forests, of matchless timber, millions of wild animals, and peopled by 
probably one hundred thousand native Indians, and you may have some idea 
of the sort of a monopoly that was set down to exploit old Oregon and all 
the region east and north of it except Alaska. 


If we turn to Mitchell's geography, printed in 1842, we find Oregon terri- 
tory described as the most western part of the United States ; and contains an 
area greater than that of the whole of the southern states, with an Indian popula- 
tion of eighty thousand. So that the dominions of the Hudson Bay Company 
must have been all told, larger than the whole of the United States in 1842, 
with a much larger Indian population than is here set down. These facts as to 
the vast dominions and unrestricted sovereign powers of the Hudson Bay 
Company, are given as an all sufficient reason to explain the anxiety of the 
early pioneers of Oregon as to the course of this great corporation towards 
these early settlers. These pioneer families of civilization could not believe that 
any King Charles could sell out this great country to a private monopoly trading 
company to be held for all time as a game preserve to produce pelts for London 
profits. And hence their early and unrestrainable resentment. 

The original capital stock of the Hudson Bay Company was $52,500. And 
upon that capitalization the company declared dividends of fifty per cent, per 
annum. In 1690 the stock was trebled, and annual dividends of twenty-five 
per cent was paid. And in 1720 the stock was again trebled and on that capi- 
talization the dividends averaged nine per cent, per annum. And by the time 
the Americans commenced to open farms in the Willamette valley, the capital 
of the company had been gradually raised up to two million dollars, on which 
the company was paying dividends annually varying from ten to twenty per cent, 
and the shares of the stock were selling at a premium of over one hundred per 
cent, after paying a payroll of three thousand skilled white men operating boats, 
posts, ships and a net work of one hundred and fifty trading posts reaching from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific. Its vast business was divided up with two depart- 
ments, and eight districts as follows : 

Post — Fort Vancouver; locality, Oregon territory; department, Oregon; 
district, Columbia; Indians, 200. 

Post — Umpqua; locality, Oregon territory; department, Oregon; district, 
Columbia; Indians, 800. 

Post — Cape Disappointment ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; 
district, Columbia; Indians, 100. 

Post — Chinook Point ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; dis- 
trict, Columbia; Indians, 100. 

Post — Coweeman ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district, 
Columbia; Indians, 100. 

Post — Champoeg ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district, 
Columbia; Indians, 150. 

Post — Nisqually ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district, 
Columbia ; Indians, 500. 

Post — Cowlitz ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district, 
Columbia; Indians, 250. 

Post — Fort Colville; locality, Oregon territory; department, Oregon; dis- 
trict, Columiba ; Indians, 800. 

Post — Pend d'Reille Lake ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; 
district, Columbia ; Indians, 400. 

Post — Flatheads ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district, 
Columbia ; Indians, 500. 

Post — Kootenai's; locality, Oregon territory; department, Oregon; district, 
Columbia; Indians, 500. 

Post — Okanogan ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district, 
Columbia; Indians, 300. 

Post — Walla Walla ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; dis- 
trict. Snake Co. ; Indians, 300. 

Post — Fort Hall ; locality, Oregon territory ; department, Oregon ; district. 
Snake Co. ; Indians, 200. 


Post — Fort Boise; locality, Oregon territory; department, Oregon; district, 
Snake Co. ; Indians, 200. 

Post — Fort Victoria; locality, Vancouver island; department, Western; dis- 
trict, Vancouver island; Indians, 5,000. 

Post — Fort Rupert; locality, Vancouver island; department, Western; dis> 
trict, Vancouver island ; Indians, 4,000. 

Post — Nanimo; locality, Vancouver island; department, Western; district, 
Vancouver island ; Indians, 3,000. 

Post — Fort Langley; locality, Indian territory; department, western; dis- 
trict, Frazer river; Indians, 4,000. 

Post — Fort Simpson ; locality, Indian territory ; department, Western ; dis- 
trict, Northwest coast; Indians, 10,000. 

Post — Fort Simpson ; locality, Indian territory ; department Western ; district, 
Northern Tribes; Indians, 35,000. 

Posts — Kamloops and Fort Hope; locality, Indian territory, department, 
Western; district, Thompson river; Indians, 2,000. 

Posts — Stuart Lake, McLeod Lake, Frazer Lake, Alexandria, Fort George, 
Baibnes and Connolly Lake ; locality, Indian territory ; department. Western ; dis- 
trict. New Caledonia; Indians, 12,000. 

Considering time and circumstances the Hudson Bay Company was the most 
perfect commercial organization ever operated on the American continent. 
No phase of its vast business was neglected. No element of success, no matter 
ho^ small or questionable was forgotten. There was a local governor residing 
in America with headquarters at York factory, with jurisdiction over all the 
establishments of the company, together with sixteen chief factors, twenty-nine 
chief traders, five surgeons, eighty-seven clerks, sixty-seven postmasters, five 
hundred voyageurs, besides sailors on sea-going vessels, and over two thousand 
common servants engaged in trapping, mechanic arts, and farming. And be- 
sides this army of skilled white men, all armed for war, if war was necessary, 
was the vast population of native Indians who were at all times subservient to 
the company, furnished nearly the whole of its business in the furs caught and 
traded for goods. No exact amount can of course be given if its wide extended 
business, reaching from Hudson bay to the Pacific ocean, but an accounting by 
the company to its stockholders for four years commencing with 1834 and end- 
ing 1838 is interesting, as showing the vast business done, as follows: 

1834 1835 1836 1837 Total 

Beaver 98,288 79,908 46,063 82,927 307,186 

Martin , 64,490 61,005 5^,749 156,118 334,362 

Otter 22,303 15,487 8,432 15,934 62,156 

Silver fox 1,063 910 471 2,147 4,592 

Other foxes 8,876 8,710 1,924 822,086 342,361 

Muskrat 649,192 1,111,616 160,906 738,549 2,660,263 

Bear 7,457 4,127 1,715 8,763 22,062 

Ermine 491 491 

Fisher 5,296 2,479 1.327 6,115 15.11/ 

Lynx 14,255 9,990 3.762 31.887 59.894 

Mink 25,100 17,809 12,218 27,150 82,277 

Wolf 8,484 3,722 307 7,301 19,544 

Badger 1,000 698 201 754 2,662 

Swan 7,918 4,703 12 6,660 19.233 

Raccoon 713 522 99 585 1,191 

Making a grand total of twenty-three million, four hundred and eighteen 
thousand, one hundred and nine animals destroyed in four years. If we mul- 
tiply those figures by ten, we get an approximate estimate of the total destruction 
of animal life by this great company in the forty years of its hey-day of pros- 


perity. Think of the great natural wealth of a region that could stand the de- 
struction of two hundred and thirty millions of wild creatures by a single fur 
company in forty years. 

As may readily be seen, the power and influence of this company over the 
condition and future relations of the country it ruled over was absolute and in- 
vincible. It was operated for profits solely. The young men were encouraged 
to take wives from among native women for no other purpose than to give them 
power and influence with the Indians, to get their furs and prevent anybody else 
from getting them. Alcholic liquors were used to a certain extent, and by some 
factors more than others. Chief Factor Dr. McLoughlin of the Oregon depart- 
ment has a record of great care and prudence not only in handling the natives^ 
but in not demoralizing them with stimulants. And when we consider the wide 
extended power and influence of this company, the wonder is that the American 
emigration to this country ever got a foothold at all. 

Such was the beginning of trade and commerce in the Columbia river valley. 
Many people hastily conclude that such a trade was a trifling matter. But such 
a conclusion is not based upon a consideration of the facts. The fur trade is now 
foreign to the great mass of our people. But not so ninety years ago. It was 
a great business then, and it is a great business yet. The city of St. Louis is 
now the headquarters of the fur trade of the United States ; and it will strike the 
reader with surprise to learn that there are over five hundred thousand people in 
the United States who now, today, make their living trapping and dressing the 
furs and skins of wild animals. 

And no matter how much we may condemn the Hudson Bay Company for 
holding the country solely for furs, and working the Indian to discourage Ameri- 
can fur traders, there is a silver lining to even that cloud, as we shall see later 
on. The Hudson bay men got along with the Indians, prevented bloody wars, 
like those that ravaged the Ohio valley and visited upon the pioneer settlers on 
the Ohio a thousand more terrors than ever troubled the pioneer Oregonians, by 
skillfully turning the sexual instinct of the race to the work of peace with the 
savages, and profits to the corporation. The company encouraged its employees 
to take wives from among the native women. There was but little thought 
and less solemnity in but very few cermonials of that kind. But it served the 
purposes of the company, satisfied the instincts of nature and formed a bond of 
confidence and peace between the two races camping in the wilderness. To the 
phlegmatic John Jacob Astor, or the more refined Wilson Price Hunt, or the 
still more select Lieutenant Bonneville, all of whom tried their fortunes at fur 
trading in this region, such a proposition as promiscuous marriages with the na- 
tives would have appeared as an impracticable proposition. In the settlement of 
the Ohio, and in fact of all the Atlantic state regions, intermarriages with the na- 
tives as a custom was looked upon with horror ; notwithstanding the romantic 
unions of Pocahontas and others equally well authenticated. When the Hudson 
bay traders organized their company, they found the Canadian Frenchmen al- 
ready in the business of taking furs from the St. Lawrence to the head of the 
great lakes. The Frenchman set the pace with the Indians. And whatever he 
might have been on the boulevards of Paris, he was not at all fastidious in the 
wilds of America, when it came to living with, camping with and managing wild 
Indians, to trap for furs and put the good francs in his pocket. And we very 
soon see in the history of the French in the fur trade of North America, that the 
trapper's wife was nearly always a native woman. The custom worked well with 
the French. They profited in the fur trade and in the main preserved the peace 
with the Indians ; and the Hudson Bay Company adopted the tactics of their 
rivals for a rich trade and eventually drove them from the field. 

The Hudson Bay Company produced many forceful, useful and distinquished 
men. They had not the culture of the colleges, or the polish of so-called polite 
society. But they accomplished far more for mankind and for civilization than 
all the college men who have walked in their steps since their day. 


They governed a wilderness empire filled with more natural wealth than any 
other equal territory in the world. They successfully managed a population of 
two hundred thousand wild Indians, which but for their tact, perseverance, and 
courage would have been two hundred thousand murdering savages. And while 
it is true they did not look forward to the fruits of labor which might bestow 
upon them offices, honors and distinctions, which the wilderness could not con- 
fer, they sacrificed pride and ambition to faithfully and loyally serve their em- 
ployer, looking only to the present and to their salary for reward ; and still none 
the less, performed so great a work in moulding and controlling the character 
and natural bent of the Indians as to make the eventual settlement of the country 
an easy conquest over native savagery. The gradual and comparatively easy 
substitution of civilization in all the vast territory once ruled by the Hudson Bay 
Company, as compared with the stern and relentless warfare which greeted and 
decimated the Scotch-Irish and Virginian pioneers who settled the Ohio valley 
sixty years prior, is little less than a miracle in the development of the west. If 
any one will turn to the history of the settlement of the states of Ohio, Kentucky 
and Tennessee and see with what nameless horrors, indescribable tortures and 
devilish savagery the Indians in that country fought the white settlers, they will 
see that the old Oregon Indians were peaceful men, by comparison. All the 
Indian wars of Oregon put together v/ould not make three years actual warfare. 
And in all of it, so far as can be learned, there were but few prisoners 
put to torture by the Indians. But from the time Daniel Boone crossed over the 
Alleghany mountains and settled on the lonely wilds of Kentucky in 1769, down 
to the great battle with the Indians October 5, 1813, when their great leader and 
hero Tecumseh was killed, over forty years, there was almost continuous war- 
fare with the Indians of the Ohio valley. Warfare, characterized by all the 
horrible tortures which the devilsh ingenuity of the savage could imagine, and 
of which slow burning at the stake, with burnings arrows thrust into the eyes of 
the helpless victims was the least horrible. 

Let the impartial reader contrast the settler's experience in the Ohio valley, 
with the Indian wars of Oregon, and then thank such a man as John McLoughlin 
and Peter Skene Ogden that our pioneer fathers and mothers of Oregon were 
spared the trials and sufferings which their fathers and mothers passed through 
in reclaiming Ohio, Missouri and other eastern states from their savage foes. 

The Indians of the vast Hudson bay provinces did not lack the courage or 
the brains of the Indians of the Ohio valley. Neither did they lack natural re- 
sources to make effective opposition to the advances of the white man. They 
were simply managed and kept quiet until effective opposition was impracticable. 
The men who did this great work for Oregon, no matter what their motive was, 
deserve a large space in the history of this state and of this city. It cannot be 
pretended that they managed the Indians for the purpose of making them accept 
the rule of the white man in the establishment of civil society. It may be truly 
said they builded wiser than they knew, but for all they performed, all they ac- 
complished, and all their labors to tame the red man, let us give them generous 
recognition and deserved honors. And while it is not within the purview of this 
history to give extended biographical notice in this volume, yet for the purpose 
of more perfectly showing the kind and character of men who ruled this vast 
region of old Oregon, in that age and era of thought and development which is 
wholly unlike and altogether foreign to the thought and civilization of the present, 
we give one example of a man who is of all others, the most perfect type of those 
who served the vast work of the Hudson Bay Company, and swayed the des- 
tinies of the Indian population of this region — Peter Skene Ogden. And for 
this purpose we make liberal use of a very able and painstaking address delivered 
before the Oregon Historical Society by Mr. T. C. Elliott of Walla Walla: 

"Peter Skene Ogden was born in the city of Quebec, in the year of 1794, the 
exact date not yet having been traced. His father was then a judge in the ad- 
miralty court at Quebec and a leading U. E. Loyalist of Canada. His mother 


was Sarah Hanson Ogden from Livingston Manor near New York city, a sister 
of Captain John Wilkinson Hanson, of the British army. His grandfather was 
Judge David Ogden, of Newark, N. J., a graduate of Yale college in the class of 

"judge Isaac Ogden, the father of Peter Skene, graduated from Kings col- 
lege, now Columbia university of New York city. During the revolution the 
family split, Isaac and two other brothers becoming royalists. Isaac lost his 
property by confiscation and fled to New York, and from there to England, in 
1783, but in 1788 was by King George III appointed to a judgeship in Canada. 
Soon after the birth of Peter Skene, he was promoted to be puisne judge at 
Montreal, and removed there. Of the two brothers who espoused the side of 
the colonies, Abraham became a close adviser to General Washington, and his 
house at Morristown was the headquarters at one time. He was a prominent 
attorney, and was appointed district attorney for New Jersey by President Wash- 
ington. The other, Samuel, purchased land in northern New York, and colonized 
it, and founded the city of Ogdensburg. _ 

"Peter Skene was educated in a private family, but early in hfe began his 
career in the fur trade as a clerk in the office of John Jacob Astor, at Montreal. 
He also began the study of law and acquired some knowledge of legal phrases. 
But in 181 1, at the age of seventeen, obtained a position as clerk with the North- 
west Company, probably through his brother, who was a prominent attorney for 
that company. He was located until 1718 at Isle a La Crosse fort m southern 
Athabasca. This locality takes its name from the game of La Crosse, which the 
Indians there were playing, when first discovered. He participated in many ex- 
citing events in the region of Isle a La Crosse. Ross Cox gives a very interesting 

description of him there. t- /- r \ 

"In 1818 he was transferred to the Columbia, and arrived at tort George (As- 
toria) in June. On the way he had an encounter with the Indians at the Walla 
Walla river, and perhaps assisted in the building of the fort of that name that 
summer. He spent two years with trapping parties in the Cowlitz and Chehalis 
and Willapa neighborhoods, with headquarters at Fort George, and the next two 
years at the interior forts of Spokane and Flathead. In the fall of 1822, he went 
to Canada, and that winter to London ; called there by the ill health of his father 
and the merger of the two fur companies. In the summer of 1823, he returned 
to the Columbia in charge of the fall express from York factory on the Hudson s 
bav He had by this time acquired an interest in the company. 

■^ * * * * * * 

"In the fall of 1824 he was at Spokane house when Governor Simpson and Dr. 
McLoughlin arrived from across the mountains and was assigned to take charge 
of the Snake country brigade, which started on the annual trading and trapping 
expedition in December of that year. They reached the Snake country by the 
Bitter Root valley and Gibbon pass, in the dead of winter. Here remained m 
charge of the Snake brigade for five seasons, and the sixth season that of 1829- 
-^o led the brigade along the eastern side of the Sierras to the gulf of California. 
During this period he explored many localities not before known to white men 
especially central and southern Oregon, and Nevada and western Utah, and 
suffered many hardships and dangers. His name had been permanently attached 
to the river and city in Utah, and the Humboldt river was called Ogden s river 
for many years. He named Mount Shasta on one of his expeditions. He had 
been promoted to be chief trader in 1824. 

"Returning from California in the fall of 1830 he found himself named to 
command the expedition to the coast of British Columbia, where the Yankee 
vessels were getting too much trade, but the sickness of the servants at i^ort Van- 
couver delayed the expedition until April, 1831. That year he bui t the fort at 
the Nass river, near to where Port Simpson is now located. The following years 
he located a post on Milbank sound, and in 1834 attempted to enter the Stikine 
river to build a fort within the thirty mile limit, but tl:e Russian-American Fur 


Company officials objected, and he thought best not to force a passage. That 
fall he returned to Fort Vancouver. 

"The following spring he was promoted to a chief factorship, the second on 
the Columbia, and placed in charge of the New Caledonia district, with six forts 
under his charge, with Headquarters at Fort St. James on Lake Stuart. There 
he remained until the spring of 1844, and was eminently successful in the man- 
agement of the district, bringing in furs to the value of $ioo,0(X) to Fort Van- 
couver every spring. He was during this time, made a member of the board of 
management of the Columbia district, which met at Fort Vancouver every year. 

"In 1844, he crossed the mountains on a year's leave of absence, and visited 
Canada and Europe, and returned in the summer of 1845, in charge of the Warre- 
Vavasour party, to the Columbia, in behalf of the British government. From 
that time he became the factor closest to the confidence of Colonial Governor, 
Simpson, and in many ways succeeded Dr. McLoughlin, who retired from Fort 
Vancouver in 1846. After James Douglas moved to Victoria in 1849, Mr. Ogden 
was in full charge of the Columbia up to the time of his death. The year 1852 
he spent in Canada and New York and vicinity, and visited Washington to pre- 
sent claims of the company for advances during the Cayuse war, and assisted 
Governor Simpson in business matters there. Returning by way of the Isthmus 
of Panama in the winter of 1853, he was a passenger on the Tennessee, which 
was wrecked on the California coast, near Telegraph Rock, in March, and by 
some exertion or exposure, then contracted or aggravated some disease that 
caused his death. He died at the home of his favorite daughter, Mrs. Archibald 
McKinlay of Oregon city, in September, 1854, at the age sixty years. The Rev. 
St. Michael Fackler, officiated at his burial in the Mountain view cemetery of that 
city, where his grave may be seen, a wild rose bush its only adornment, and the 
shining peak of Mt. Hood, his only monument. 

"Peter Skene Ogden was twice married to native women .(according to fur 
company custom.) His first wife was a Cree, and his second a Spokane woman. 
The latter resided with him for several years at Fort Vancouver, and afterward 
at Oregon city, where a house was built for her on the McKinlay donation claim. 
During his last illness, Dr. McLoughlin visited Mr. Ogden, and urged him to 
have a legal ceremony performed, but Mr. Ogden refused saying that his open 
support of, and companionship with this wife for many years counted for more 
than any mere words a clergyman might utter. 

* * * *** * * ^** * 

"The service for which Peter Skene Ogden is best known in Oregon was 
his ransom of the survivors of the Whitman massacre in December, 1847. It is 
probable that no other man, with the possible exception of Dr. Robert Newell, 
of Champoeg, could have accomplished this rescue. The Indians had known Mr. 
Ogden for more than thirty years, and knew that he always kept his word, and 
they trusted him. But he was careful to make them no promises, and not to 
upbraid them for what their Indian nature had made inevitable. He himself 
was not so very fond of the 'Missionarying,' as he called it, but had great ad- 
miration for Mrs. Whitman. He was known to the Indians during his later 
years as the Old White-Head. During his management at Fort Vancouver, he 
came to be generally known by the whites as Governor Ogden. He never be- 
came a citizen of the United States, but described himself in his will as of Mon- 
treal, Canada." 

There are few instances in history where a man has filled so large a page 
in dealing with the native races of men as that of Peter Skene Ogden. And 
ther are none where greater patience, successful management and supreme cour- 
age were manifested. Dr. John McLoughlin whose great career will be set forth 
in another chapter, occupied a higher station than Ogden, and he had a greater 
part in managing the business of the company, but he says he was not so greatly 


tried in the open field, the deep forest on dangerous missions over extensive and 
successful explorations, and for these reasons he occupies relatively a different 
position in the evolutionary program of old Oregon, and is for the reasons,stated 
a more perfect type of the real Hudson bay trapper, director, captain and pioneer. 

The land question was at the bottom of all the troubles with the Indians. And 
the land question will be at the bottom of all the trouble among the Americans. 
The Hudson Bay Company did not seek to monopolize land for cultivation or sale. 
It only sought to preserve the wilderness as a vast fur bearing game preserve. 
This disposition of the land coincided exactly with the ideas of the Indian, and 
as the company brought goods and trinkets for exchange for his furs, the Indian 
was happy and welcomed that sort of a white man to his tepe and his confidence. 
But not so with the American. He came hunting new^ lands for farms and 
homes, clearing away the forest and driving away the game — the natural food 
support of the Indians. With the single exception of Penn's experiment in buying 
the lands of the Indian in Pennsylvania, the contest between the white man and 
the Indian on the American continent has been one of opposition and violence, 
and the cause of the trouble, the possession of the land. 

All the Indians from the Atlantic to the Pacific were possessed with the 
same socialistic idea of land ownership. And while neighboring tribes would 
war with each other for favorite hunting grounds, yet to- the white man all of 
them presented the same unyielding front on the land question. This view of 
the land question was never more forcibly or clearly set forth than by the Indian 
chief Tecumseh, of the territory of Indiana. When General Harrison was ap- 
pointed govenor of Indiana territory in 1801, he tried to secure a permanent 
peace with the warlike Indians of that region, of which Tecumseh was the great 
warrior and leader. And to promote this end, he invited Tecumseh and other 
chiefs to visit him at old Vincennes. Tecumseh accepted the invitation and was 
attended by a number of other chiefs. The governor proposed to hold the con- 
ference on the portico of his residence, but Tecumseh declined to meet there, and 
proposed a nearby grove, saying: "The earth is my mother, and on her bosom 
will I repose." And in the speech following, Tecumseh said "that the Great 
Spirit had given this great island (America) to his red children and had put the 
whites on the other side of the water. The whites, not contented with their 
own, had taken that of the red men. They had driven the Indians from the sea 
to the lakes, and the Indians could go no further. The whites had taken upon 
themselves to say that this land belongs to the Miamis, this to the Delawares, and 
so on. The Great Spirit intended the land as the common property of all." 

"Since the peace we formerly made," he continued, "you have killed some 
Shawnees, Winnebagoes, Delawares and Miamis, and you have taken our land 
from us. and I do not see how we can remain at peace if you continue to do so. 
You try to force the red people to do some injury. It is you that are pushing 
them on to do mischief. You endeavor to make distinctions. You wish to pre- 
vent the Indians from doing as they wish to do — unite and to consider their land 
as the common property of the whole. By your distinction of Indian tribes in 
alloting to each a particular tract of land you want them to make war with one 

"Brother, this land that was sold to you was sold only by a few. If you con- 
tinue to purchase our lands this way, it will produce war among the different 
tribes. Brother, you should take pity on the red people, and return to them a 
little of the land of which they have been plundered. The Indian has been hon- 
est in his dealings with you, but how can we have confidence in the white people? 
When Jesus Christ came on earth, you killed him and nailed him to the cross. 
You thought he was dead, but you were mistaken. You have many religions, 
and you persecute and ridicule those who do not agree with you. The Shakers 
are good people. You have Shakers among you, but you laugh and make light 
of their worship. You are counseled by bad birds. I speak nothing but the truth 
to you." 


And as Tecumseh reflected the ideas of all the Indians, east of the Rocky- 
mountains, so we find also the same ideas prevailing among those west of the 

At the council with the Indians at Walla Walla to secure a treaty for the In- 
dian title to their lands, several chiefs spoke freely, showing, that they not only 
well understood the position of the land question, but their great fear of giving 
up their lands. Lawyer, the old Nez Perce chief spoke first, describing how the 
Indians in the eastern states were driven back before the white men, and then 
went on as follows : 

"The red man traveled away farther, and from that time they kept traveling 
away further, as the white people came up with them. And this man's people 
(pointing to a Delaware Indian, who was one of the interpreters) are from that 
people. They have come on from the Great Lakes where the sun rises, until they 
are near us now, at the setting sun. And from that country, somewhere from 
the center, came Lewis and Clark, and that is the way the white people traveled 
and came on here to my forefathers. They passed through our country, they 
became acquainted with our country and all our streams, and our forefathers 
used them well, as well as they could, and from the time of Columbus, from the 
time of Lewis and Clark, we have known you, my friends ; we poor people have 
known you as brothers." 

Governor Stevens. — "We have now the hearts of the Nez Perces through 
their chief. Their hearts and our hearts are one. We want the hearts of the 
other tribes through their chiefs." 

Young Chief, of the Cayuse. — (He was evidently opposed to the treaty but 
grounded his objections on two arguments. The first was, they had no right to 
sell the ground which God had given for their support unless for some good 
reasons.) — "I wonder if the ground has anything to say? I wonder if the ground 
is Hstening to what is said? I wonder if the ground would come alive and what 
is on it? Though I hear what the ground says. The ground says: Tt is the 
Great Spirit that placed me here. The Great Spirit tells me to take care of the 
Indians, to feed them aright. The Great Spirit appointed the roots to feed the 
Indians on.' The water says the same thing. 'The Great Spirit directs me. Feed 
the Indians well.' The grass says the same thing. 'Feed the horses and cattle.' 
The ground, water and grass say, 'The Spirit has given us our names. We have 
these names and hold these names. Neither the Indians or whites have a right 
to change those names.' The ground says, 'The Great Spirit has placed me 
here to produce all that grows on me, trees and fruit.' The same way 
the ground says, 'It was from me man was made.' The Great Spirit, 
in placing men on the earth desired them to take good care of the ground and 
to do each other no harm. The Great Spirit said, 'You Indians who take care 
certain portions of the country, should not trade it off except you get a fair 
price.' " 

"The Indians are blind. This is the reason we do not see the country well. 
Lawyer sees clear. This is the reason why I don't know anything about this 
country. I do not see the offer you have made to us yet. If I had the money 
in my hand I should see. I am, as it were, blind. I am blind and ignorant. I 
have a heart, but cannot say much. This is the reason why the chiefs do not 
understand each other right, and stand apart. Although I see your offer before 
me, I do not understand it and I do not take it. I walk as it were in the dark, 
and cannot therefore take hold of what I do not see. Lawyer sees, and he takes 
hold. When I come to understand your propositions, I will take hold. I do 
not know when. This is all I have to say." 

General Palmer. — "I would enquire whether Pe-pe-mox-mox or Young Chief 
has spoken for the Umatillas? I wish to know farther, whether the Umatillas 
are of the same heart? 

Owhi, Umatilla Chief. — "We are together and the Great Spirit hears all that 
we say today. The Great Spirit gave us the land and measured the land to us, 



this is the reason I am afraid to say anything about the land. I am afraid of the 
laws of the Great Spirit. This is the reason of my heart being sad. This is the 
reason I cannot give you an answer. I am afraid of the Great Spirit. Shall I 
steal this land and sell it, or what shall I do? This is the reason why my heart 
is sad. The Great Spirit made our friends, but the Great Spirit made our bodies 
from the earth, as if they were different from the whites. What shall I do? 
Shall I give the land which is a part of my body and leave myself poor and desti- 
tute? Shall I say I will give you my land? I cannot say so. I am afraid of 
the Great Spirit. I love my life. The reason why I do not give my land away 
is, I am afraid I will be sent to hell. I love my friends. I love my Hfe. This 
is' the reason why I do not give my land away. I have one word more to say. 
My people are far away. They do not know your words. This is the reason 
I cannot give you an answer. I show you my heart. This is all I have to say." 

As explanatory of the trouble which led to the Whitman massacre, and to 
the wars with the Oregon Indians, Mrs. Victor in her history of the Indian wars 
of Oregon says, page 29, "The real cause of ill feeling between the Indians and 
their Protestant teachers was the continued misunderstanding, concerning the 
ownership of land, and the accumulation of property. No one had appeared to 
purchase the lands occupied by the missions ; nor had any ships arrived with In- 
dian goods and farming implements for their benefit, as had been promised." 

Both the missionaries and the settlers had located in the Indian country and 
proceeded to build houses and cultivate the land as if the Indian had no title. 
That indeed was the way the white man had viewed the question from the first 
settlement in America. They who came from civilized Europe in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries found the American continent peopled by tribes with- 
out cuhivation, Hterature and refinement, or fixed habitations. They considered 
the Indians mere savages, having no rightful claim to the country of which they 
were in possession. Every European nation had deeemd it had secured a lawful 
and just claim to any part of the American continent which any of its subjects 
had discovered, without any regard to the prior occupation and claims of the 
Indians. And even in much later times, and by the highest court this view was 
affirmed as good law, by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1810, delivering the 
opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States (Cranch's Reports, Vol. 6, 
page 142) held, that the Indian title to the soil is not of such a character or 
validity as to interfere with the possession in fee, of the disposal of the land as 
the state may see fit. 

It takes a long time to correct an erroneous principle of fundamental law, 
and a still longer time to beat down a race prejudice. The nation has had to 
spend billions of dollars and sacrifice almost millions of lives to extinguish the 
heresy that neither the black man or the red man had any rights the white man 
was bound to respect. And while our Nation has finally arrived at the full stand- 
ard of giving justice and equity to all men, without respect of persons, the great 
nations of Europe are still enforcing their ideas of two hundred years ago upon 
the weaker peoples of Asia and Africa to maintain privilege and power by taxa- 
tion without representation. The decision of the Supreme Court in 1810 did 
not pass unchallenged. Justice Story in his exposition of the Constitution, page 
13, says: "As to countries in the possession of native tribes at the time of the 
discovery, it seems difficult to perceive what right of title any discovery could 
confer. It would seem strange to us, if, in the present times, the natives of the 
South Sea islands should by making a voyage to and discovery of the United 
States, on that account set up a right to this country. The truth is, that the 
European nations paid not the slightest regards to the rights of the native tribes. 
They treated them as barbarians that they were at liberty to destroy. They 
might convert them to Christianity, and if they refused to be converted, they 
might drive them from their homes, as unworthy to inhabit the country. Their 
real object was to extend their own power and increase their own wealth, by 


acquiring the treasures as well as the territory of the New World. Avarice and 
ambition were at the bottom of all their enterprises." 

Seventy-five years after this criticism by Justice Story, Theodore Roosevelt 
in his Winning of the West, treats this question somewhat differently, saying, 
"Looking back, it is easy to say that much of the wrong doing (to the Indians) 
could have been prevented, but if we examine the facts to find out the truth, we are 
bound to admit that the struggle (between whites and Indians) was really one 
that could not possibly have been avoided. Unless we were willing to admit that 
the whole continent west of the Alleghanies should remain an unpeopled waste, 
the hunting grounds of savages, war was inevitable. And even had we been will- 
ing and had refrained from encroaching on the Indians lands, the war would 
have come, nevertheless, for then the Indians themselves would have encroached 
on ours. The Indians had no ownership in the land as we understand that term. 
Undoubtedly the Indians have often suffered terrible injustice at our hands. The 
conduct of the Georgians towards the Cherokees, and the treatment of Chief 
Joseph and Nez Perces in Oregon, may be mentioned as indelible blots on our fair 

But what has all this to do with the history of Portland? A very great deal. 
It throws light on the great drama of settlement of this regio^n of Old Oregon, 
of which Portland is the center and chief city. It explains the massacre of Dr. 
Marcus Whitman and family, about which more has been written than any 
other one subject in the history of the Northwest. 

The Americans made a great mistake in assuming when they came to this 
country, that the Indians had no rights to the land which they ought to respect. 
The missionaries who came professing to be the best friends to the Indians, 
were as much to blame as those who made no pretense of religion. It was a 
fatal mistake to think the Indians had no ideas on this first of all questions. 
They knew nothing of the practice of European nations or of the decisions of 
courts. All the guide they had was the light of nature, and that first and great- 
est of all laws — self-preservation. The Indian never troubled himself to inquire 
into what he could not comprehend. He did not launch into conjecture or give 
rein to imagination. His puerile mind followed the glimmering light which had 
led his forefathers. He saw that he must, like the deer and the buffalo, live on 
the land; and that if another man crowded him off it he must die. Here he was 
where his ancestors had lived untold ages. He knew no other place. He was 
familiar with the Hudson Bay man, who wanted nothing but the furry skins of 
dead animals. He understood that proposition. The H. B. man deprived him of 
nothing, but bought the pelt he had for sale, and that was a positive gain. But 
the American was a different man. He came preaching peace and good will to 
all men, but he took up land, raised crops, built mills, bred domestic animals, 
sold the produce of the land for money to put in his pocket. There was no gain 
to the Indian in that, but a positive loss, — the loss of land. And worse, than this ; 
where there was one American in 1842, there were hundreds in 1843; and then 
hosts more coming. He had heard from the wandering Iroquois how the white 
man came as flocks of wild geese come and covered the prairies of Indiana, Il- 
linois and other states. The Indian was terrified at the thought of losing his land, 
him home, his mother; and so he acted. 

We are now able to give for the first time in history, the first authentic 
account of the first great Indian council held west of the Rocky mountains by 
the Indians, of old Oregon. We print on another page the photograph of 
Timotsk, an aged Indian, a chief of the Klickitats, who was a member of that 
council. This council was held near where Fort Simcoe is located in the Yakima 
valley. Indian messengers had been sent out by the Cayuses to all other tribes 
in the Columbia river region, and chiefs had come in from the Nez Perces, 
Spokanes, Shoshones, Walla Walla, Wascoes, Umatillas, Cayuses, Klickitats 
and Yakimas. Timotsk says they were in council for "A whole moon ;" that is 
about a month; and that there wer^ about fifty chiefs in attendance. They talked 


from day to day as to what course they should pursue against the white men. 
The burden of all their fears and complaints were against the Americans; and was 
summed up in the belief that these white men would come more and more 
every year and finally take all their lands and hunting grounds from them ; that 
they were even now killing ancl driving away all the deer, and that after a while 
the Indians would have nothing to eat and must die. The Yakimas, Cayuses, Wal- 
la Wallas and some of the Spokanes advocated killing off all the Americans at 
once. The Nez Perces, Wascoes, Umatillas and Klickitats opposed this course, 
saying that the white men had good guns to fight with and would easily kill off 
the Indians who had but a few guns and must fight mostly with bows and ar- 

After this council broke up, Timotsk came down to Vancouver and got em- 
ployment of Dr. McLoughlin as a boatman in which work he continued for many 
years. He speaks of McLoughlin as a good man, a father to everybody, whites 
and Indians alike. As soon after this council had broken up and the measles broke 
out among the Indians at the Whitman mission. Dr. Whitman and family were 
massacred, 'Whitman would have been killed all the same if no sickness had oc- 
curred, as he was blamed by the Indians for going back over the mountains and 
bringing more white men out to Oregon. The Cayuses made it plain at the coun- 
cil that they would go on the war path and kill all the whites they could. And 
that is what they did do. 

During the Indian war of 1855 and 56 Portland was the supply point for all 
the forces in the field against the Indians in the Columbia river valley. Volun- 
teers and U. S. Regulars were frequently marching through the streets on their 
way to the front. A general military camp and headquarters was maintained in 
East Portland and the U. S. officers with the Oregon volunteer officers, Colonels 
Nezmith, Kelly and Cornelius, were frequently seen on the streets marching the 
volunteer forces through the streets armed with muskets, yagers, shot guns, 
etc., and clad according to their own private wardrobes, making Portland look 
exceedingly warlike. Little Phil Sheridan, then a Lieutenant, but afterwards the 
greatest cavalry leader of the Union army, that ended the Rebellion, was among 
the fighters of the early day, but his budding greatness and national fame was 
then never imagined. 


1834 — 1842. 

The Native Indian — How the Hudson Bay Company Managed 
jjiyyi — The Flathead Mission — The Era of Evangelism — The 
First Missionaries and Priests — Jason Lee, Marcus Whitman — 
Blanchet and De Smet — The Indian s Fate and Future — The 
"Jargon" Language. 

The mind of the native Indian possessed no ideas on the subject of religion 
except the single belief in a great spirit. And in the light of modern discoveries 
in science that might not be classed within the tenets or principles of any form 
of religion. The American Indian was the best specimen of the child of nature, 
the earth has ever produced. His instincts, passions and affections were but little 
above those of the forest bred animals around him on which he made war for 
his own subsistance. That he had attained to such simple arts as ministered 
to the bare necessities of his existance or aided the strength of his hands or the 
fleetness of his limbs in obtaining food and clothing shows some evolution of the 
mental faculties, but no enlargement of his moral or reflective nature. The 
Indians of the northwest coast of America were scarcely up to the average of 
Indians of the Atlantic coast and Mississippi valley. As a race they did not possess 
that vigor of constitution which characterized the tribes that rallied under the 
call of Pontiac and Tecumseh. They had but little reasoning powers and in a 
general way accepted everything they saw with their own eyes, or were told by 
the white men, to be facts until they found out to the contrary. To this lack of 
mental force and reflective faculties was added the inherent passion for alco- 
holic stimulants which has demoralized the native races of every land and coun- 
try. It is both probable and reasonable, that if intoxicating liquors could have 
been kept entirely away from the Indian, he could have been perfectly con- 
trolled by just white men, taught the rudiments of education and Christianity 
and made a law-abiding self-supporting people. But long before the Mission- 
aries reached this region the free fur traders of the coasting vessels, and free 
trappers and fur traders coming west from St. Louis, had debauched the Indian 
with whiskey and utterly poisoned his mind against all white men. The United 
States had spent five hundred millions of dollars in suppressing Indian wars 
and defending frontier settlements, which might have been saved and prevented 
entirely, if the same policy had been enforced in all intercourse with the natives 
which characterized the dealings of the Hudson Bay Company with the Indian. 
The policy of the United States government, so far as a policy could express 
the mind of the people, was intended to be just to the Indian. If wars came, and 
they did come — they had to be suppressed. But the error was in allowing ir- 



responsible men to go into the wilderness with fire water to debauch the Indian, 
rob him of his peltries, ruin his wife and scatter corrupting diseases. It was 
inevitable that the weaker race would go down, or take an inferior position be- 
fore the all-conquering Saxon. The Acts of Congress show that throughout the 
whole period called "The Century of Dishonor," the American people through 
their representatives in Congress provided ample means and necessary regula- 
tions (sufficient for honest men) to deal justly and humanely with all the 
Indian tribes. But it was the dishonesty of politics, the infernal corruption and 
dishonesty of Indian agents and their train of henchmen and hangers-on, rob- 
bing the Indians of the bounties of the government and corrupting and poison- 
ing every element of their primitive life and ways, pushed on year after year 
for generations of men that wrought the monumental shame that disgraced the 

Why were there no Indian wars in the dominions of the Hudson Bay 
Company, a region as large as the United States? Because that company was a 
business government managed upon business principles and could not afford to 
have wars. If they allowed the Indians to have whiskey they would not go out 
and hunt for furs. And besides that, if the Indian got drunk he was incapacitated 
for work and business. If an Indian committed some offense the company did 
not go out and shoot down the first Indian met. The company did not wage war 
on Indian women, or allow white men to debauch Indian wives. A stolen article 
had to be returned, and a tribe harboring a thief was cut off from trade. If an 
Indian murdered a white man, his tribe was told that they had nothing to fear, 
but the murderer must be hunted up and surrendered for punishment. Justice 
was demanded, and nothing more than justice. And in all the vast empire the 
Hudson Bay Company ruled, there was no mountain fastness too far away, 
no forest deep enough, nor rocky cave dark enough to hide the felon from their 
justice, and not one single red man but the criminal himself, had anything to 
fear. Under this just and inexorable policy, criminals were tracked for thousands 
of miles and brought back for punishment. And had the United States adopted 
and rigidly enforces such a policy as this against both Indian and white men, 
and offered reasonable recompensation and provision for lands needed! for 
settlement, there would have been but few wars or troubles with the Indians. 

For the errors and mistakes of- public administration, the crimes and in- 
justice of Indian agents, and the outrages of lawless border men, there was sure 
to come sooner or later a reaction against the injustice to the Indian and the 
dishonor of the nation. And revived and stimulated by the preaching of such 
evangelists as Peter Cartwright, and Lorenzo Dow, who traversed the western 
States in every direction, and more powerfully influenced public sentiment thart 
any other agency, religious people were aroused to action and moved to make 
liberal provision for sending missionaries to distant Oregon to convert the 

And about that time, in the year, 1832, occured the incident of the four na- 
tive Indian chiefs going to St. Louis to get "the white man's book of Heaven." 
This pathetic advent from distant wilderness appealed forcibly to the sentimental 
feelings of all classes of people. There are several versions of the story. In one 
case it was the Flathead Indians of the Bitter Root mountains; in another the 
Nez Perces, of the Columbia; going in one story to the Catholic Priests of St. 
Louis, and in another to Captain Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 
There is no doubt of the truth of the occurrence; and that these pious seekers 
of the gospel did reach St. Louis and spend a winter there, where two of them 
died, another dying on his way back to the mountains, while the remaining 
chief lived to return and report to his people. 

This incident was heralded far and wide through the press, published in 
every pulpit and powerfully wrought up the feeling of religious people who felt 
condemned for the neglect of the poor heathen in the American wilderness. 
Hall J. Kelley, who will be fully noticed later on, took up the subject, as it was 


in line with the agitation he was carrying on, and published a pamphlet on the 
necessity of immediate action. 

As a consequence of all this agitation, the Missionary Board of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal church was importuned to establish a mission among the Flat- 
head Indians at once. A call was issued for volunteer missionaries for this work 
in distant Oregon. In answer to that call, Jason Lee formerly of Stanstead, 
Canada, and his nephew Daniel Lee, appeared and offered themselves for this 
work. Jason Lee had formerly been engaged in this line of work in the British 
Provinces. He had all the qualifications for the labors, trials and dangers for 
such a field of missionary effort. In fact no man could have been found probably 
who was as well prepared for such a trying and responsible trust. Lee was ac- 
cepted by the Methodist Board and later on made a member of the Conference 
in 1833. He was now thirty years of age, tall, powerfully built, rather slow and 
awkward in his movements, prominent nose, strong jaws, pure blue eyes, with 
a vast store of reliable common sense. Such was the first man sent out to old 
Oregon, to preach the gospel to the heathen. 

By October 10, 1833 three thousand dollars had been provided for an out- 
fit; and in March 1834, Lee left New York for the west, lecturing on his way; 
and taking with him his nephew, Daniel, together with two laymen, Cyrus Shep- 
hard of Lynn, Mass. and Philip L. Edwards, and adding Courtney M. Walker 
of Richmond, Mo. At Independence, Mo. the missionary party fell in with 
Nathaniel J. Wyeth, then starting on his second trading expedition to the 
Columbia river, and were afterwards joined by the fur trader Sublette, going 
to California, and his party; and as they filed out westward on the 28th day of 
April, 1834, the party numbered all told, seventy men, and two hundred and fifty 
horses. Such was the first missionary expedition to old Oregon. 

The Missionary party reached Old Fort Hall, which was some forty miles 
north of the present town of Pocatello, Idaho, on the 26th day of July, and held 
there the next day, being Sunday, the first public service of the Protestant 
churches ever held west of the state of Missouri and Missouri river, Jason Lee 
conducted this service and preached to a congregation made up of Wyeth's men, 
Hudson Bay fur hunters, half breeds and Indians, all of whom conducted them- 
selves in a most respectful and devotional manner. It was a wonderful sight, a 
grand and solemn sight ; the rough and reckless children of the forest, of various 
tongues and customs, gathered from the four quarters of the globe, a thousand 
miles distant from any civilized habitation, in the heart of the great American 
wilderness, listening to the message of Christ from this young man, and rever- 
entially bowing their heads in prayer to the Almighty maker and Preserver of all 
men and things. 

From Fort Hall (then only in process of construction by Capt. Wyeth) the 
party proceeded on to the Columbia river, being assisted by Indians sent along 
with them by Thomas McKay, a fur trading captain in the employ of the H. B. 
Co. On coming down the river in boats and canoes, most of which were wrecked, 
the missionary party lost nearly all of their personal effects. Rev. Lee reached 
Fort Vancouver in September in a bedraggled condition, and was very kindly 
received by Chief Factor. McLoughlin, who promptly supplied all his personal 
wants. The Lees had carefully noted all the conditions of the upper Columbia 
river country as they passed through it, and having heard much of the beauty 
of the Willamette valley, came on west to see it as probably the best location for 
a mission. After resting a few days with Dr. McLoughlin, the mission party 
proceeded down the river in boats furnished by McLoughlin, to the ship May 
Dacre, which had arrived from New York with the household goods of the 
party, and was then tied up at the bank of Sauvies Island (then called Wappato 
island) about twenty miles below this city. From Wappato island, and with 
horses and men to assist them, the Lees proceeded to hunt a location in the Wil- 
lamette valley, and taking the trail made by the fur hunters, crossed the hills 
back of this city into a what is now Washington county, passing out into 










I— I 





Tualitin plains by the point where Hillsboro is now located, and on by where 
the town of Cornelius is located, crossing- over the Tualtin river at Rocky Point 
where the first flouring mill in Washington County was constructed ; from 
thence ascending the northwest end of the Chehalem mountain ridge and follow- 
ing the ridge five miles eastwardly, they found themselves on Bald Peak from 
which point they could see the great Willamette valley spread out before them 
for sixty miles south. Oregon was then all a wild wilderness country. Elk and 
deer were everywhere as tame almost as sheep. 

From the Chehalem mountains, the party descended into the Chehalem valley, 
and passing along by the little prairie where the prosperous town of Newberg 
and its Quaker College is now located, the party swam their horses across the 
Willamette river, and crossing in a canoe kept on south to the farm of Joseph 
Gervais, where they stayed all night with the hospitable Frenchman, and for 
whom the town of Gervais has been named. The next day they selected a tract 
of land two miles above the Gervais farm on the east side of the river and sixty 
miles south of Portland for the site of their mission ; and where they built their 
first mission house. Returning to Vancouver, Dr. McLoughlin furnished a boat 
and boatman to move the household goods from the ship and transport them up 
the Willamette river to the mission point ; seven oxen were loaned with which 
to haul timbers to build houses at the mission, eight cows with calves were 
furnished to supply milk and start stock ; and by the 6th of October, 1834, Jason 
Lee and his party were all safely landed at their mission home in the Willamette 
valley — the first Protestant mission in the United States, west of the Rocky 
mountains from the North Pole down to the Isthmus of Panama. 

It will be asked by the reader, why did not Lee answer the pathetic call of 
the Flathead Indians and establish a mission among them. If Lee had been 
moved wholly by sentimental consideration he would have gone to the 
Flatheads. But while Jason Lee was first, last, and all the time an evangelist and 
servant of his God, he was at the same time eminently a man of safe practical 
common sense. With nothing but his own light and resources to guide him, he 
must shoulder all the responsibility of his position, and take that course which 
would secure success in this great experiment, or be blamed for a failure. He 
had noted carefully the conditions of an experiment with the Flatheads, six 
hundred miles from sea coast transportation, surrounded by unfriendly Indians, 
and exhausted by continuous wars with the vengeful Blackfeet. The out- 
look was not inviting. And the very fact that he had become the friend of 
the Flatheads, if he had decided to locate there, would have aroused the en- 
mity of the Blackfeet and other tribes, and not only cut off from him the friend- 
ship and access to other tribes, but might have resulted in the destruction of 
himself, supporters and innocent victims he had sought to help. More than that, 
the Willamette was the wider field, with the greater outlook to the future. Lee. 
saw, then, as we see now, that the Willamette valley was more important to the 
future than all the valleys of the Rocky mountains. His decision was based upon 
the practical common sense and the great interests he had come to serve, and has 
been a thousand times over vindicated by the development of the country, and 
by the vast results of his work. 

Let us now for a few moments, look in on this young missionary to the 
Oregon Indians as he builds his first log cabin, three thousand miles distant 
from the comfortable and luxurious homes of the people who sent him out here 
from the state of New York. As he stood there on the virgin prairie alongside 
the beautiful Willamette gliding silently to the sea, the hills, the waving grass 
and silent woods, with native men, all innocent of the great work of civilization 
ahead. He was facing the great responsibility, and he must commence his work 
with the humblest means. Before a sheltering house could be raised, he must 
sharpen his axes, his saws, and break his half wild oxen to the services of the 
yoke and the discipline of a driver. Napoleon might easily win the greatest 
battles, but he would have failed utterly to make a wild ox pull in a yoke, as 


Jason Lee did. But the great work had to be done; and these men resolutely 
went at it and built a house in thirty days from the standing trees. Logs were 
cut, squared and laid up, a puncheon floor from split logs put in, doors were hewn 
from fir logs, and hung on wooden hinges, window sashes whittled out of split 
pieces with a pocket knife, a chimney built of sticks, clay and wild grass mixed; 
two rooms, four little windows, and tables, stools and chairs added little by 
little from the work of patient hands. And thus was started the first Christian 
mission west of the Rocky mountains. 

While the Methodists were first in the Oregon missionary fields, the Pres- 
byterians were not idle spectators of the movement. On the contrary they were 
deeply moved by the story of the four Flathead chiefs, and attended the farewell 
services to Jason Lee and joined in the prayers for his success. But being a 
more conservative people, they moved slower and with more careful preparation. 
The history of the American Board of Foreign Missions published in 1840 re- 
cites that the Dutch Reformed Church of Ithaca, New York, resolved to sustain 
a mission to the Indians west of the Rocky mountains. Rev. Samuel Parker, Rev. 
John Dunbar and Samuel Allis were selected to go west and explore the country 
for a suitable site for a mission. These explorers left Ithaca in May, 1834, but 
arriving at St. Louis too late to join the annual caravan across the plains, Parker 
returned home. But in the following spring (1835) Parker repeated his effort 
and this time with success ; reaching St. Louis in April where he found Dr. 
Marcus Whitman, who had been appointed to accompany him, waiting his com- 
ing. These two men proceeded at once by steamboat from St. Louis to Liberty 
which was then the frontier town of Missouri from which the Rocky mountain 
fur trading expeditions then started. The caravan made up of the trappers and 
hangers-on of Fontenelle. The captain, and capitalist of the expedition, got ofif 
on the 15th of May, 1835, and reached Laramie in the Black Hills on the 
1st of August. 

And here at Laramie, Dr. Whitman made a showing of the reserve force and 
ready ability which great exigencies might bring out. Hearing that he was a 
doctor and near to a man of God, both natives and trappers flocked to see him, 
and secure his favor and services. From the back of Captain Jim Bridger, who 
afterwards discovered Salt Lake, and built Fort Bridger, Dr. Whitman, cut out 
an iron arrow head three inches in length which a Blackfoot Indian had planted 
there ; and from the shoulder of another hunter he extracted an arrow imbedded 
in the flesh which the man had carried there for two years. This exhibition of 
his skill excited the wonder of the Flatheads and Nez Perces gathered there, 
and all joined in clamorous pleadings that Whitman, or other men like him be 
sent to their tribes to teach and preach. 

At this juncture of afifairs, it appears that there must have been some sort 
of friction between the Rev. Parker and the successful Doctor. For without any 
very good reason ever given to the public, Dr. Whitman left the missionary 
party and returned to the States for the purpose of obtaining other assistants 
and joining the overland train of fur traders in the spring of 1836. Mr. Gray in 
his history of Oregon (p. 108) states the reason for Whitman leaving Parker and 
returning to the states (to be) the fact that Parker could not abide the frontier 
ways and manners of Whitman who evidently believed in "doing in Rome as 
the Romans did," while Rev. Parker carried the etiquette of his cultured home 
town to the rough ways of the Rocky mountaineers. And as Gray is something 
of a partizan for Whitman, there is doubtless a foundation for this explanation ; 
that Whitman went back to New York to get rid of Parker and make a new 
start with more congenial associates. 

However, Parker went on with the natives. Flatheads and Nez Perces, be- 
ing on the same route with Bridger's party of sixty men for eight days. As they 
proceeded, Parker studied the Indians and taught them the ten commandments, 
and in due time, reached Walla Walla, October 6, where he was feasted by the 
Hudson Bay agent with roast duck ,bread, butter and milk, the first he had seen 


after leaving the Missouri river . From Walla Walla, Parker proceeded to Fort 
Vancouver where he arrived October i6, and was welcomed and hospitably enter- 
tained by Dr. John McLoughlin. Parker visited the mouth of the Columbia, the 
Willamette valley, and many points in the upper Columbia, going- as far north 
as Fort Colville, and making a careful study of the Indians and selecting 
eligible sites for missions. He selected the site of Wailatpu (near where the 
town of Walla Walla is now built) for a mission, and which Dr. Whitman 
settled and improved; and where he lost his life and sacrificed his noble wife. 
Parker was in may respects a level headed sensible man. But he like all the rest 
erred in their judgment of the Indian character. Parker summed up his obesrva- 
tions, declaring that the "unabused, uncontaminated Indians would not suffer 
by comparison with any other nation that could be named, and that the only ma- 
terial difference between man and man, was that produced by the knowledge and 
practice of the Christian religion." But he thought there was a great difference 
between the Indians along the Columbia river and those inhabiting the Rocky 
mountains. The former would load their visitors with presents, while the latter 
would beg the shirt off a man's back. Parker returned to the States by seas voy- 
age by the way of the Sandwich islands, reaching Ithaca, New York, in May, 
1837, having traveled twenty-eight thousand miles. 

We return now to Dr. Whitman. His separation from Parker and return to 
the states must not only be explained to the satisfaction of the Church, but he 
must vindicate his course to his friends and maintain a reputation by renewed 
zeal and energy in the cause in which he had enlisted. And so we find him or- 
ganizing forces to establish two missions beyond the Rocky mountains; one 
among the long neglected Flatheads who were the prime movers of the whole 
missionary movement to Oregon, and one to the Nez Perces, who it seems were 
in all the investigations found to be a very interesting people for a missionary 
field. And the more effectually to arouse interest in the Indians, Whitman re- 
sorted to the expedients of Columbus and Pizarro, and carried back from the 
mountains two likely Indian boys to show the conservative Presbyterian Mis- 
sionary board the inviting material he would have to begin work upon. And 
with what he had seen, and from common sense suggestions he decided that it 
was families he must take to Oregon, and not single men; if he was to make 
a success of his missions. And so he set the example by taking a good woman for 
a wife, to accompany him to the wilderness, the fateful fortune as it turned out 
to be, fell to the lot of Miss Narcissa Prentiss, of Prattsburgh, New York, whom 
he married in February, 1836. Mrs Whitman is described as a person of good 
figure, pleasant voice, blue eyes, and unusually attractive in. person, and manner, 
well educated and refined. Having secured one attractive and engaging woman 
for the mission to the wilderness it was easier to secure another, and so Dr. 
Whitman speedily enlisted the Rev. H. H. Spalding, a young Presbyterian 
minister who had then recently married Miss Eliza Hart, a farmer's daughter 
of Oneida County, New York. Mrs. Spalding had accomplishments, too, if not 
so well educated, she could be eminently useful as she was ; for she had been 
taught to spin, weave cloth, make up clothing as well as an accomplished cook 
and housekeeper. Both of these ladies might have stood for models for all that 
was noble, good and of good report in any community, and were thoroughly 
imbued with that spirit of self-sacrifice which must come to any person who 
undertakes to teach and serve the ignorant and benighted natives of any race. 
Spalding, the man and preacher, hesitated to commit himself to the dangerous 
enterprise, pleading the delicate health of his wife; but the wife, the greater 
hero of the twain, asked only for twenty-four hours prayerful consideration, 
and then went into the expedition with all her heart, not even returning from 
Ohio to see her parents. To this party. Whitman, was able to enlist the services 
of William H. Gray, of Utica, New York, a bright, active, energetic young man 
of some education, and large natural abilities with great courage and forceful 
purposes in life. Mr. Gray wrote a history of Oregon after he had spent most 


of his life out here that must not be overlooked by any student who wants to 
know the whole history of the prominent actors in this northwest. 

Dr. Whitman was furnished by the missionary board with necessary tools, 
implements, seeds, grain, and clothing for two years. At Liberty, Missouri, he 
bought teams, wagons, some pack animals, riding horses and sixteen milk cows, 
and these were all under the charge of Gray and the two Indian boys who were 
now going back to their homes with Whitman. By hard work and energetic 
pushing the party got across the Missouri and out on the plains in time to join 
a company of one Fitzpatrick for company and mutual protection. 

Here then was the first attempt of white women to cross the great Ameri- 
can desert, as the plains of Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming were then called; 
and scale the Rocky mountains and penetrate the wilderness of old Oregon. It 
was indeed on the part of these two women an act of the greatest heroism, re- 
quiring more than ordinary courage and self-sacrifice. While thousands of 
women and children followed after them, it was these two women who pointed 
the way, set the pace and showed the world that women could accomplish the 
great and hazardous trip. Presbyterian writers and historians have seized up- 
on these facts to show that these two young Presbyterian women from the state 
of New York, were the real pioneers of civilization in old Oregon ; and well they 
might so claim, for it may be set down as a fact that no country is ever civilized 
until it has received the humanizing touch and gracious benediction of the love 
and self-sacrifice of consecrated woman. 

It is not within the purview of this history, or the object of this chapter to 
follow out the movements and settlements of- this little party of devoted mission- 
aries. It is enough to our purpose to say; that after a long toilsome and tedious 
journey, full of dangers and trials of every- description, they reached their 
promised land, that they founded a mission at Wailatpu where Whitman col- 
lege is now located near the city of Walia. Walla, that they labored and toiled, 
taught and prayed for the Indians, as no^ others had ever done before or since, 
and that they were rewarded in the end by the base treachery of those they 
sought to save and bless, and finally murdered by the infuriated savages they 
had fed, clothed and taught the lessons of love and affection of the founder of 
Christianity. We give this picture of these devoted men and women, to show 
by contrast and example, the characters of the teachers and the native inborn 
weakness and barbarism of those they sought to lift up in the human scale. We 
will let the characters of Lee and Whitman stand as substantial representatives 
of the whole Protestant missionary effort to the Indians of this country ; and 
from their experience and good or ill success draw what conclusions seems to be 
reasonable as to the real character of these Oregon Indians. And to throw further 
light upon the picture, and enable the reader to more perfectly understand the 
Indian character we will give the experience of the Catholic priests and mission- 
aries in dealing with and teaching these same Indians, although they may have 
labored with other and different tribes. 

The first efforts to introduce the services of the Catholic religion into the 
the regions of old Oregon were put forth by the French Canadians of the Wil- 
lamette valley in July, 1834, just about the time Jason Lee was holding the 
first Protestant church services in the territory of old Oregon, at old Fort Hall. 
There is no evidence of any relation between these two competing, if not op- 
posing, religious movements. Nobody in all the Oregon region, so far as the 
historical record shows, knew that Jason Lee was on his way out here to preach 
the gospel and organize Protestant Episcopal institutions. The movement of the 
French Canadians seems to have been purely local, and originated from the 
natural desire of those people to have once more the rehgious services of the 
church in which they were born and reared in at distant Montreal. These Cana- 
dians at that time, sent a request to J. N. Provencher. Catholic bishop of the 
Red River settlements, asking that religious teachers be sent to Oregon. The 

11. i5 -' — 


^■y^^X LISEAR^ 







arrival of Lee, a few months afterward increased the anxiety of these faithful 
Catholics, and in February 1835 a second letter was dispatched to Bishop 
Provencher for religious instructors. To these letters, Provencher rephed send- 
ing the reply to Cfiief Factor McLoughlin, regretting that no priests could at 
that time be spared from the work in the east, but that an effort would be made 
to secure priests from Europe. And as early as the matter could be brought 
about, the Hudson Bay Company was asked for passage for two catholic 
priests from Montreal to Oregon. To this mission the archbishop of Quebec 
appointed Rev. Francis Norbert Blanchet, whose portrait appears on another 
page, and gave him as an assistant the Rev. Modeste Demers, from the Red 
River settlement. The trip to Oregon was uneventful, until the party reached 
the Little Falls of the Columbia, where, in descending the rapids, one of the 
boats was wrecked and nearly half the company drowned. The priests were re- 
ceived at Fort Colville with the same friendliness as had greeted the Protestant 
missionaries in eastern Oregon ; and during a stay of four days, nineteen natives 
were baptized, mass was said and much interest taken in the services. The ap- 
pearance of the priests in their dark robes, the mystical signs of reverence, and 
unconcern for secular affairs, undoubtedly impressed the savages. Blanchet 
summed up his labors for the winter of 1838-9, at one hundred and thirty-four 
baptisms, nine funerals and forty-nine marriages. He not only married the unmar- 
ried Indians, but he re-married those that the Protestant ministers had united, to 
the great disgust of the Methodists ; and withdrew many from the temperance so- 
ciety and prayer meetings, organized by the Methodists — and right there the re- 
ligious war commenced. During the year 1840, the rivalry between the Catholics 
and Methodists was pushed with bitterness on both sides. 

But the really great religious success among the Indians, was accomplished 
by Peter John De Smet ; a member of the Jesuit order who came out in the 
spring of 1840; and being the first religious teacher to answer the petition of 
the Flatheads with "the white man's book of heaven," was by them received 
with great rejoicing. And within two weeks after he had reached that tribe in 
the Bitter Root mountains, had taught two thousand of them some of the 
prayers of the church, and admitted six hundred to the rite of baptism. De 
Smet was a man of great natural force, tact and persuasiveness, and having been 
sent out by the Jesuit order at St. Louis, he was greatly surprised to hear that 
Blanchet and Demers were already in western Oregon. Returning to St. Louis 
for more religious teachers, De Smet prosecuted his work in Oregon with 
great vigor and success. He even went to Europe for assistance, which he suc- 
ceeded in obtaining, apparently pursuing his apostolic crusade among the Indians 
very much like St. Paul did in Asia Minor. 

Here now is the proposition. What permanent good did these men accom- 
plish for the Indian? Two Protestants — Jason Lee and Marcus Whitman, and 
two Catholics, Frances N. Blanchet and Peter John De Smet. They gave to 
each the entire influence of their respective creeds and churches. And each 
and all of them, were singularly and remarkably well qualified for the work 
they had undertaken ; and each man, put his whole soul, mind and body into the 
work he had freely devoted his life to serve. And what effect has it had 
upon the mind and condition of the Indian. The Indian is here yet sub- 
sisting partly upon the bounty of the government, and partly by the shiftless, 
precarious labor of his hands. One in a hundred rises above his fellows in mental, 
moral or financial acquirements. But the general average of listless inactivity 
of mind and body is about the same. Religious teaching is still patiently pressed 
upon the Indian; but with the exception of Father Wilbur's work among the 
Yakimas, the results are insignificant. And yet very much the same might be 
said of religious teaching among the whites. But what has been the uplift to 
the Indian? We are presenting a question of evolution. This book is present- 
ing that question in variuos ways. 


When the missionaries came to Oregon, the Indian that could, 

"Find tongues in trees, books in running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything," 

accepted them as ministers of the Great Spirit, keepers of the "Book of Heaven," 
and superior beings. He took the white man as a friend, but found him too often 
to be a despoiler of his wives, a trader in fire water, that robbed him of his 
peltries and appropriated his hunting grounds. And although the ministers of re- 
ligion treated him kindly and justly as far as their personal intercourse went, 
they did not and could not stay the tide of immigration which over-ran the coun- 
try, seized his lands and drove away the wild animals that had furnished him food 
and raiment. He had gained a little knowledge, but had lost his freedom in the 
forest and his home on the earth the Great Spirit had given him in common with 
all his children. 

The reasoning power of the Indian was limited to what he saw or felt. The 
novelty of the sacred rites and mystical signs, the commands of virtue and the 
teachings of the missionaries were good enough as long as there were no more 
white men coming; no fears of being driven from the land, and no fears but 
that they would possess the country in the future as their fathers had in the past. 
They had learned from the Iroquois and the Blackfeet how the white men had 
swarmed into the Mississippi valley and driven the Indians back from the beau- 
tiful Ohio and the rich lands of Illinois. And it took no reasoning power to 
satisfy them that if the white man was not stopped from coming over the moun- 
tains to Oregon they too must give up their lands and homes, or die. They ap- 
pealed directly to Whitman and other Protestant missionaries to stop the white man 
from coming, and were told that more and more white men would come with 
their wives and children, cattle and horses. They saw that the priests did not 
bring men to take up more farms, and for that reason were more friendly to 
the Catholics. They had held their councils, and resolved to kill all the whites 
and drive back the human tide. And if they had possessed a leader like Pontiac 
or Tecumseh. or like Joseph who arose as a great leader after the country was 
settled, they could have exterminated the white settlers, and would have done so 
as mercilessly as they massacred Whitman and his family. 

And when they resolved to fight the white man they threw away his religion, 
and all his teachings of morality. And now today, seventy years after the great 
Indian revivals wrought by De Smet, trere are fewer professed Christians among 
the Indians of old Oregon than ever before. But by comparison with the white 
man this is not much to the discredit of the Indian. The number of professing 
christians among the white people of Oregon today are much less in proportion 
to population than seventy years ago. This was practically a prohibition com- 
munity seventy years ago, but now Portland has four hundred and nineteen retail 
liquor shops, spends thousands of dollars on prize fights, and kills a man every 
day or so with automobiles. 

The substantial uplift of any community is a slow and tedious work; and of 
a race a still slower and more tedious task — a work of evolution in which a 
thousand seen and unseen elements of change must take part. The factors un- 
dermming the strength of the man, community or race, are innate and always at 
work ; while the forces that demoralize, or openly oppose the development of 
man's faculties and the uplift of the social fabric, are always present in some 
form ready to be set in motion. The Rev. Elkanah Walker, who was one of the 
first Protestant missionaries among the Oregon Indians, and who faithfully 
labored for their improvement for many years, in the last sermon he preached 
in his life, in the little Union church at the town of Gaston, discussed this mat- 
ter from his experience with both the white and red man; and summed up the 
whole matter in this sententious sentence: "It takes a very, very long time to 
make a white man out of an Indian ; but the descent of the white man into an 
Indian is short and swift." 


In all the contentions between Protestants and Catholics in this Indian coun- 
try, and between the partizans of American Colonization and the occupancy of 
the Hudson Bay Company, the Whitman massacre has ever been a subject of 
most bitter crimination. And no persons of humane feeling- can read the record 
of the horrible butchery of Whitman and his wife, children and the others killed, 
without being wrought up to intense bitterness, not only against the savages, but 
against white men who may have known of the possibility of murder, and took 
no step to prevent it. It seems clear that the chiefs of the Hudson Bay Company 
did warn Whitman of his danger at the distant and unprotected station. Whit- 
man was himself, recklessly careless of the safety of himself and family. The 
Indians were permitted free access to all his premises, and no preparation for 
protection or defense from harm was provided. The Hudson Bay people did 
not trust the Indians. They had substantial barricades and stockade forts well 
supplied with arms for defense ; and at all times required the Indians to remain 
on the outside of protective defenses. McLoughlin never forgot the native 
ferocity of the savage when aroused. To the careless observer, the Indians about 
the trading stations, and missionary stations were peaceful and harmless; yet 
behind all this was the racial instinct of the savage, developed by ages of conten- 
tion with wild beasts in the contest for existence. And with the first blow of 
the tomahawk on the head of the unsuspecting victim — Marcus Whitman — and 
the sight of blood, the savage gave tongue to demoniac yells that harked back a 
hundred thousand years, when the naked savage man fought with clubs, the 
savage beast. 

We here finally reach our bearings in the quest for the rightful ownership of 
the wilderness of Oregon. Whether it suits our wishes or our preconceived 
views or not, we are compelled to face the proposition that the white man, black 
man, red man and yellow man, are all on this globe on equal land tenures. That 
they have all sprung from a single original pair and though now found in diverse 
races, they have fought for and conquered their positions on the face of the 
globe, not only in competition with wild beasts, but also wild men. That this 
tremendous evolutionary programme, so far as it has related to the possession 
of land on which to live and grow, has never been settled in any other way than 

"The good old rule, the simple plan. 

That they should take who have the power. 
And they should keep who can." 

The coming of the white man was inevitable, and the subjection of the Indian 
equally so. Our pioneers but followed nature's impulse, justified by the entire 
history of mankind. And if the inspiration of a higher humanity, and the pre- 
cepts of Christianity can be used to enforce justice and inculcate charity to the 
poor benighted children of the forest that we found in the possession of this 
beautiful land, it is our bounden duty to see that while we enjoy all the beauty and 
glory of these grand rivers and gorgeous mountains, that the remnant of the na- 
tive race be made as comfortable and enlightened as their mental and moral de- 
velopment will permit. 

As a suggestive item in connection with the history and development of events 
in this vicinity, the photographic likeness of an aged Indian, still alive, is given 
on another page. Timotsk is now about one hundred and fifteen years of age. 
While able to go about on his pony, his sunken eyes — almost imperceptible, 
withered hands and white hair, betoken his great age. With his parents he 
camped here on the site of this city, before Lewis and Clarke reached this coun- 
try. He remembers seeing the exploring party as they returned east and when 
they were camped at the mouth of White Salmon river, and says he was nine 
snows old at that time. As one of the chiefs of the Klickitats he took part in 
several great councils to determine what course should be taken by the Indians 
against the whites; and his family, or claji in that tribe always refused to go 
to war against the whites, but sought employment of them, Timotsk himself, 



working on the boats and about Vancouver, while troubles were going on in the 
upper country. 

And as another matter of interest in Indian life, part of the Chinook Dic- 
tionary is given in the form of conversational phrases. The "Chinook Jargon" 
is a made up language, composed of some Indian words picked up by Capt. 
Cook, and other navigators, to which was added many words of the Hudson 
Bay Company, and a still larger number by the Protestant missionaries. It was 
the sole means of conversation with the Indians for many years, and is still used 
to some extent with the older members of the different tribes, having been in 
use all over the country west of the Rocky mountains all the way up to Alaska. 


Conversational Phrases. 


Good morning. 

Good evening. 

Good day. 

How do you do? 

Come here. 

How are you? 

Are you sick? 

Are you hungry? 

How did you come? 

Are you thirsty? 

What ails you? 

Would you like something to eat? 

Do you want work? 

To do what? 

What do you want me to do? 

Cut some wood. 


How much do you want for cutting that 

lot of wood? 
One dollar. 
That is too much. I will give half a 

No! Give three quarters. 
Very well ; get to work. 
Where is the ax? 
There it is. 

Cut it small for the stove. 
Give me a saw. 
I have the saw ; use the ax. 
All right. 
Bring it inside. 
Where shall I put it. 

Here is something to eat. 
Here is some bread. 
Now bring some water. 
Where shall I get it? 
In the river there. 
Make a fire. 


Klahowya, six? 



Chahco yahwa. 
Kahta mika? 
Mika sick? 

* Nah olo mika? 
Kahta mika chahco? 

* Nah, olo chuck mika? 
Kahtah mika? 

Mika tikeh muckamuck? 
Mika tikeh mamook? 

Iktah mika mamook? 

Mamook stick? 


Kan see dolla spose mika mamook kon- 

oway okoke stick? 
Ikt dolla. 
Hyas markook, nika potlatch sitkum 

Wake, six ! Potlatch klone quahtah. 
Kloshe kahkaw; mamook alta. 
Kah lahash? 

Mamook tenas, spose chickamin pah. 
Potlatch lasee. 
Halo lasee ; is'kum lahash. 

Lolo stick kopa house. 
Kah mika marsh okoka? 

Yahkwa mitlite mika muckamuck. 
Yahkwa mitlite piah sapolil. 
Klatawa is 'kum chuck. 
Kah nitka iskum? 
Kopa ikhol yahwa. 
Mamook piah. 



Boil the water. 

Cook the Tneat. 

Wash the dishes. 

What shall I wash them in? 

In that pan. 

Come again tomorow. 


Come here, friend. 

What do you want. 

I want you to do a little job in the 

Come very early. 
At six o'clock. 
Oh, here you are ! 
Carry this box to the steamer. 
Take this bag also. 
What will you pay? 
A quarter? 
Very well ; and something to eat ? 

It is pretty heavy. 

Is that man your brother ? 

He can help you, too. 

I will give him something, too. 

Can you carry it? 

Is it very heavy? 

Oh, no ! We shall do it. 

Are you tired? 

How far is it, this ship? 

Not much farther. 

That is all. 

Do you understand English? 

No, not very much. 

Will you sell that fish? 

Which of the? 

That large one. 

What is the price of it? 

I'll give you two-bits. 

I'll give you half a dollar. 

No, that is not enough. 

Where did you catch that trout? 

In Skamokaway river. 

Are there many fish there? 

Not many; too much logging. 

Well, I won't buy it today. 

What do you think of this country? 

It is very pleasant when it does not 

Not always ; it is worse when it snows 
and freezes. 
How long have you lived here? (how 

many years?) 
Many years ; I forget how many. 
I was born at Skipanon. 
Did you get your wife here? 

Mamook liplip chuck. 

Mamook piah ohoke itlwillee. 

Wash ohoke leplah. 

Kopa kah? 

Kopa ohoke ketling. 

Chahco weght tomolla. 


Chahco Yahkwya, six. 

Iktah mika tikeh? 

Spose mika mamook tenas mamook 

tenas sun? 
Chahco elip sun. 
Chahco yahkwa tahkum tintin. 
Alah ! Mika chahco. 
Lolo okoka lacasett kopa piah ship. 
Lolo weght lesac. 
Iktah mika potlatch? 
Ikt kwahtah? 
Kloshe kahkwa; pee tenas mucka- 

Hy'as till okoke. 

Yahka nah mika kahpo okoke man? 
Yahka lolo lecassett kopa mika. 
Nika potlatch weght yahka. 
Nah, skookum mika lolo okoke. 
Hyas till okoke? 
Wake ! Nesika mamook. 
Mika chahco till? 
Koonsee siah, okoke ship. 
Wake siah alta. 

Kumtux, mika boston wawa. 
Wake hiyu. 

Mika tikeh mahkook okoke pish? 
Klaxta ? 
Okoke hyas. 

Konsee chickamin tikeh? 
Nika potlatch mox bit. 
Nika potlatch situm dolla. 
Wake, okoke hiyu. 
Kah mika klap okoke opalo? 
Kopa Skamokaway ikhol. 
Nah hiyu lepish yahwa? 
Wake; klaska mamook hiyu stick alta. 
Abba, wake tikeh iskum okoke sun. 
Iktah mika tumtum okoke illahee? 
Hyas kloshe yahkwa spose wake snass. 

Wake kwonesum. Chahco weght pes- 

hak spose cole snass pee selipo. 
Konsee cole mitlite yahkwa mika? 

Hiyu cole; kopet kumtux konsee. 
Chee tenas nika kopa Skipanon. 
Nah, mika iskum nika kloochman 
yahkwa ? 


No; she is a Tillamook woman, I mar- Wake; Tillamook kloochman, yahka. 

ried her at Nehalem. Nika malleh yahka kopa Nehalem. 

How many children have you? Konsee tenas mika? 

We have three boys and one little Klone tenas man nesika pee ikt tenas 

girl. likp ; ho. 

I will send you some things for them Nika mamook chahco iktas Kimta nika 

when I get home. ko nika illahee. 

The brief examples above, together with the phrases following words in 
the Chinook-English vocabulary, illustrate the use of the jargon as completely 
as possible in so limited space and of such a condensed idiom. The absence of 
the minor parts of speech and inflected forms, makes the combinations of words 
in sentences either circuitous or bluntly direct. The following version of the 
Lord's prayer shows the lack of adaption of the jargon to any but the simplest 
use, yet it also has a pathos in its rudeness and poverty. How incomplete, even 
in our english, is the idea we get from the words "Thy Kingdom Come!" 

A "grace" to be said at table, and a hymn, are taken from Lee & Frost's 
"Ten Years in Oregon." 


Intercourse by signs was universal among the Aborigines, the code of sig- 
nals was much the same from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 

Major Lee Morehouse tells of being at Washington, D. C, with a party 
of Indians from Oregon and Washington, attending a great council of rep- 
resentatives from all parts of the country. Languages were different and the 
gathering clans were cold and morose, until somebody made an attempt at 
an address in the sign language, which put everybody at ease, for all under- 

Certain chants and songs were widely known, also. The Omahas knew at 
once the "stick-bone" gambling song of the Indians of Vancouver island, upon 
hearing it sung by a student of Indian music. It was the same as their own. 


From Lee & Frost's "Ten Years in Oregon." 

O Sohole Isthumah, etokete mikah ; toweah etokete itlhullam Mikah min- 
chelute copa ensikah. Kadow quonesum minchtcameet ensikah, Uminsheetah 
conawa etoweta copa mikah, emehan. O God, good art Thou ; this good food 
Thou hast given to us. In like manner always look kindly upon us, and give 
all good things to us, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen. 


From Lee & Frost. 

Aka eglahlam Ensikah 

Mika ishtamah emeholew 
Kupet mikam toketa mimah 

Mika quonesim kadow 
Mikah ekatlah gumohah 

Mika dowah gumeoh 
Konawa etoketa tenmah 

Mika ankute gumtoh. 


Mikah minchelute insikah 

Ankute yukumalah ' 

Konawa edinch ag-uitquah 

Quonesim ponanakow 
Mika guimin chelute emeham 

Yokah wawot gacheoweet 
Ukah ensikah quotlanchkehah 

Mikam toketa kanneoweeb. 

(The hymn and the "grace" are a jargon of Chinook, Wasco, Klickitat, and 
other up-river tribes.) 


Here we now unite in singing 

Glory, Lord, unto thy name, 
Only good, and worthy praising, 

Thou are always. Lord, the same. 
Of the sun. Thou are creator. 

And the light was made by thee ; 
And all things, good, yea every creature, 

At the first Thou made'st to be. 

We, oh Lord, are all thy children ; 

In the past we wicked were ; 
We are all most deeply wretched, 

Always blind and in despair. 
Thou did'st give thy Son, our Saviour, 

He to us instruction gave, 
Knowing this we now are happy ; 

Thou art good and Thou wilt save. 


Nesika Papa klaxta mitlite kopa Sahalee, kloshe kopa nesika tumtum mika 
nem. Nesika Hiyu Tikeh chahco mika ilahee ; Mamook Mika kaloshe tumtum 
kopa okoke illahee Kahwa kopa Shalee. Potlach konaway sun nesika mucka- 
muck; pee Mahlee konaway nesika mesahchee, kahkawa nesika mamook kopa 
klaska spose Mamook mesahchee kopa nesika. Wake lolo nesika kopa peshak, 
pee marsh siah kopa nesika konaway mesahchee. Kloshe kahkwa. 

Our Father who dwellest in the above, sacred in our hearts (be) Thy name. 
We greatly long for the coming of thy Kingdom. Do Thy good will with this 
world, as also in the heaven. Give (us) day by day our bread, and remember not 
all our wickedness, even as we do also with others if they do evil unto our- 
selves. Not bring us into danger, but put far away from us all evil. So may it 


The Oregon Trail — What Started the Emigration — The Far-reach- 
ing Influence of the Movement — Lists of Emigrants — The Char- 
acter of the Emigrants. 

"None started but the brave; none got through but the strong." — Miller. 
A song for the men who blazed the way, 

With hearts that would not quail, 
They made brave quest of the wild northwest. 
They cut the Oregon trail. 

A cheer for the men who cut the trail ! 

With souls as firm as steel ; 
And fiery as wrath they hewed the path. 
For the coming commonweal. 

— RoBERTus Love. 

It is an old and trite saying, that roads and highways are an indication of 
civilization ; and the better the road or highway, the more of civilization. But 
what shall be said of a great movement of educated and intelligent people, with- 
out forecasting preparations, without preliminary investigations, and without maps 
or guides, which moves out into apparently boundless desert-like plains, to cross 
snow clad mountains, unbridged rivers, through two thousand miles of wilder- 
ness inhabited only by wild beasts and wilder men? The reader may search the 
whole history of the world in vain to find a parallel or even a suggestive ex- 
ample for the pioneer emigration to Oregon. The travels of the Jewsi to find 
the promised land, where kind Providence sent the manna and quails for sub- 
sistance, and fire-works by night for cheer and comfort, was but a picnic, com- 
pared with the journeyings of our pioneers for two thousand miles through a 
hostile Indian country offering every imaginable delay and obstruction. The 
celebrated march of Xenophon with his ten thousand Greek soldiers from the 
Tigris to the Black sea, celebrated in song and story as the most remarkable 
military exploit in the world, dwarfs to littleness by comparison with the 
achievements of the pioneer men and women of this state, burdened with little 
children, domestic animals and household goods, in their long and laborious 
struggle to reach the promised land of Oregon. 

If the reader will stop to contemplate the size of the movement its origin- 
ality, boldness, dangers, trials and want of support from the government, whose 
mission was being executed without orders, he will be lost in wonder at the 
success finally secured. 

The first thought of the new-comer from a foreign shore, or the boy and 
girl justout of school, wanting to know about this great movement, will be — 
the road. But there was no road; not a wagon road, or a railroad, or a 


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steamboat or a sailboat, or a cow path, on the whole way from Independence, Mis- 
souri to Portland, Oregon, when our pioneers pulled up stakes in Missouri, Iowa 
and other border states and started out on a jaunt of two thousand miles. 
There was not an automobile or a flying machine in all the world, and only 
a few hundred miles of railroad. 

Those bold pioneers built their own bridges and ferries, crossed deserts, 
scaled mountains and floated down wild streams, all out of their own resources, 
as they went along. The world never had before 1843, ^^d never will have 
again, the likes of the old Oregon trail. The trail did not, as many people 
believe, follow the route of the Lewis and Clarke expedition to Oregon, thirty- 
eight years prior to the making of the trail. The pioneers selected the route and 
made their own road from day to day. No surveyor or civil engineer preceded 
them. No guide or map furnished them the direction. Very few of them, if 
any, knew why they went in one direction or another. The Platte river 
furnished a general course from the Missouri river to the mountains ; but beyond 
that, there was no distinctive mark to guide them. Fifteen or twenty men 
preceded the caravan on every day's travel and selected the courses, removed 
what obstructions they could, and prepared the way to cross streams. The 
great lumbering caravan, with its wagons, horseback men and women, and the 
thousands of cattle followed, conquering and to conquer. In one sense the 
pioneer emigration was national and military ; because it decided the title to 
Oregon by actual settlement. And it cost the nation nothing, but added more 
in power and influence than all the battle ships afloat, that cost a hundred 
millions. •■■• 

Without organization, without preliminary efforts or solicitation, without 
public meetings to arouse enthusiasm, vyithout advertised rewards, without dis- 
tresses in the past or hoped for bounties in the future, and without public an- 
nouncement the pioneers quietly began to gather on the west bank of the Mis- 
souri river in the last days of April. Day after day the wagons came in from 
various parts of Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas, while a few came up the river 
in the little steamboats of that early day. The travelers camped around the 
town of Independence and pitched their tents upon the prairie, and day by day 
the host increased, and all was bustle and eagerness to be on the way. Nothing 
now was lacking but grass. 

Grass! Did you ever think of it? The Creator of the heavens and the 
earth, covered three-quarters of the globe with water, and the remainder with 
grass. It was not Spitzenberg apples, or oranges, Lambert cherries or Tokay 
grapes, but grass that he caused to spring up to support all living creatures ; for 
as the scriptures truthfully declare "all flesh is grass." And so the great caravan 
of Oregon pioneers had to wait on the banks o fthe Missouri river for the grass 
to grow before they could turn a wheel towards the goal of all their hopes. It 
was the grass that must feed the teams to haul the wagons, that must feed the 
milk cows for support of men, women and children, and it was the grass to 
feed the buffalo and antelope to furnish beef and venison to feed the pioneers, 
on their long and toilsome journey. 

The first notable emigration started for Oregon from Independence, Mis- 
souri, in 1843. A smaller company had come over the summer before. The 
caravan of 1843 numbered over one thousand persons, men, women and children; 
and about five thousand domestic animals. And the making of the Oregon trail, 
or at least the hunting for a practicable route by the outriders sent forward each 
day in advance of the train of wagons, fell to the lot of the emigration of 1843. 
There had been a few traders' wagons over the route as far west as Fort Hall, 
which was the easy part of the whole distance, but nothing west of that point in 
the shape of anything better than an Elk or Indian trail. 

All readers of the past fifty years are famiUar with the advice of the later 
day Benjamin Franklin — Horace Greeley — who advised all the young men to 
"go west and grow up with the country." But the Oregon emigration of 1843 


was too much for even the optimistic Greeley. "For what" wrote Greeley in 
his great paper, the New York Tribune, July 22, 1843, "do they brave the desert, 
the wilderness, the savages, the snowy precipices of the Rocky mountains, the 
weary summer march, the storm-drenched bivouac, and the gnawings of famine? 
This emigration of more than one thousand persons in one body to Oregon wears 
an aspect of insanity." 

And that is what it did look like to the great mass of people of the United 
States. And although no political sentiment moved the pioneers, yet the move- 
ment was big with political consequences; and vital to all the commercial and 
military interests of the nation at large ; and should have had adequate support 
from the national congress, but did not get even the poor compliment of recog- 
nition by any department of the government. 

This first caravan was followed by others in succeeding years. Fourteen 
hundred people in 1844 followed the trail made in 1843; ^"d three thousand 
men women and children came over in 1845. Probably the largest emigration 
in any one season came over the trail in 1852. Ezra Meeker, who has been in- 
strumental in getting a congressional appropriation to put up suitable monu- 
ments on the old trail, was in the caravan of that year, and has given us a vivid 
description of it. He says : "The army of loose cattle and other animals that 
accompanied this caravan five hundred miles in length, added greatly to the 
discomfort of all. It will never be known the number of such, or of the emi- 
grants themselves. A conservative estimate would be not less than six animals 
helping pull each wagon, and eighteen loose animals to each one laboring. There 
were an average of five persons to each wagon ; and during four days that we 
stopped sixteen hundred wagons passed by ; making eight thousand persons 
and nearly thirty thousand domestic animals passing in that four days. We 
knew from the dates inscribed on Independence rock, and elsewhere, that there 
were wagons three hundred miles ahead of us, and that the throng had con- 
tinued to pass the river for more than a month after we had crossed, so that it 
does not require a stretch of imagination to say the column was covering five 
hundred miles of trail at one time." 

Jesse Applegate came to Oregon with the train of 1843, ^^^ took a 
prominent part in its conduct and became one of the most useful and influential 
citizens of the state. In a contribution to the Quarterly of the Oregon Historical 
Society, ten years ago, he gives the following graphic picture of the daily routine 
of the emigrants on the trail : 

"It is four o'clock A. M. ; the sentinels on duty have discharged their rifles 
• — the signals that the hours of sleep are over — and every wagon and tent is 
pouring forth its night tenants, and slow kindling smokes begin to rise and float 
away in the morning air. Sixty men start from the corral, spreading as they 
make through the vast herd of cattle and horses that make a semi-circle around 
the encampment, the most distant perhaps two miles away. 

"The herders pass to the extreme verge and carefully examine for trails 
beyond, to see that none of the animals have strayed or been stolen during the 
night. By five o'clock the herders begin to contract the great moving circle, 
and the well trained animals move slowly towards camp. In about an hour 
five thousand animals are close up to the encampment, and the teamsters are 
busy selecting their teams and driving them inside to be yoked. The corral is 
a circular pen, three hundred feet in diameter, formed with wagons conected 
strongly with each other, the front end of one wagon being chained to the rear 
end of the wagon in front. It is a strong barrier that the most vicious ox 
could not break, and in case of an attack by Indians would be a strong in- 

"From six to seven o'clock is a busy time; breakfast is to be eaten, the tents 
struck, the wagons loaded, and the teams hitched to their respective wagons. 
All know when at 7 o'clock, the signal of march sounds, that those not ready 

Passed over the old trail with an ox-team the second time in 
1906. setting up markers along the trnil. 


to take their proper places in the Hne of march must fall into the dusty rear 
for the day. 

"There are one hundred and twenty wagons. They have been divided into- 
thirty divisions or platoons of four wagons each, and each platoon is entitled to 
lead in its turn. The leading platoon will be the rear one tomorrow, and will 
bring up the rear unless some teamster, through indolence and negligence, has lost 
his place in the line. It is within ten minutes of seven; the corral, until now 
a strong barricade, is opened, the teams being attached to the wagons. The 
women and children have taken their places in them. The pilot, an old trapper 
and hunter, stands ready to mount and lead the way. Ten or fifteen young 
men, not on duty for the day, form a cluster ready to start on a buffalo hunt, 
well armed, and if need be ready for a brush with the unfriendly Sioux. The 
hunters must ride fifteen or twenty miles to reach buffalo, shoot and cut up 
half a dozen for fresh beef for the whole train the next day. The cow drivers 
are rounding up the cows at the rear of the train for the day's drive. 

"It is on the clock strike of seven; the rush is to and fro; the whips crack, 
the loud commands to the oxen, the wagons creak and move, and the train is 
again on its slow and toilsome journey, as if every thing was moved by clock 
work. The loose horses follow next the wagons, guided by boys, but know that 
when noon comes they can graze on the grass. Following the horses come the 
cattle, lazy, selfish, unsocial, grabbing at every bunch of grass, straying from the 
trail, blocking the passageway, the strong thrusting out of the weaker ones, 
and seemingly never getting enough to eat. Some of the teamsters ride the 
front of their wagon, others walk alongside of the teams, and all of them in- 
cessantly whoop and goad the lazy ox who seems to know that no good thing 
was ever accomplished in a minute." 

Such was the life of the pioneers on the trail. No such a picture of human 
life was ever at any time in any part of the earth exhibited before. Abraham, 
the father of the faithful, as he four thousand years ago moved his people out 
upon their annual stock grazing excursions to the plains of Mesopotamia, with 
his flocks of Angora goats, fat-tailed sheep, asses and camels, numerous wives, 
and dark eyed maidens, doubtless could have put up a good show; but the 
Missourians would have "had to be shown" before they would have yielded 
the colors. 

But it was not all fun, or hard work or excitement. There were serious 
phases, and sad, pathetic scenes. The caravan made and enforced its own laws; 
and without such proper regulations the train would have been stranded in hope- 
less anarchy. There was the selected council of experienced and responsible men, 
which was a court to all intents and purposes, and before it was brought every 
offender to be tried by the common law of decency and even handed justice. 
This council exercised both legislative and judicial powers. If an offence was 
found to be without an applicable rule or punishment, a law was forthwith enacted 
to meet all such cases. The council held its sessions when the train was not 
moving — Sundays and rest days. It considered the caravan as a whole in the 
aspect of a state or commonwealth, and as such it had first consideration. The 
common welfare being cared for, the council would then, as a court, take up and 
decide disputes between individual members of the train, hearing both the ag- 
grieved complainant and the offender, and by counsel when desired, and then 
deciding every case upon its merits. See what a training school here in the 
heart of the wilderness, as the lumbering caravan dragged its slow length across 
plains, mountains and deserts. Some of the improvised judges became dis- 
tinguished legislators and statesmen in Oregon, and young men who appeared 
before that pioneer court arose to judicial honors in the states they helped to build 
in the Columbia river valley. Burnett, distinguished in Oregon, became gov- 
ernor of California. Nesmith was a judge, congressman, and U. S. senator 
from Oregon. Applegate was a legislator and helped make the constitution 


of the state. John McBride was legislator, congressman, and afterwards chief 
justice of Idaho. And many others might be named. 

All sorts of incidents of human life break the monotony of the march. Sud- 
denly a wagon is seen to pull out of the train and ofif to the wayside. The only 
doctor in the train (Marcus Whitman) goes off with it. Many are the inquiries 
of the unusual event ; and grave fears expressed of the danger of leaving a lone 
wagon behind in an Indian country. The lumbering caravan moves slowly on, 
passes behind the bluffs and out of sight, and the anxiety and fears for the lone 
wagon left behind increase. The train halts for the night, forms its defensive 
circle, fires are lighted for the evening meal and the shadows of the night are 
creeping down upon the camp — when, behold the lone wagon rolls into camp, 
the doctor smiling and happy — it was a newborn boy — mother and child all right 
and ready for the continued journey. 

Applegate, in the article mentioned, speaking of Dr. Whitman, who had 
been over the trail once before, says his constant advice was "travel, travel, 
TRAVEL ; nothing else will take you to the end of your journey ; nothing is 
wise that does not help you along; nothing is good for you that causes a mo- 
ment's delay." And Applegate adds his testimonial as follows : "It is no dis- 
paragement to others to say, that to no other individual are the emigrants of 
1843 so much indebted for the successful conclusion of their journey as to Dr. 
Marcus Whitman." 

The watch for the night is set ; the flute and violin have ceased their sooth- 
ing notes, the enamored swain has whispered his last good night, or stolen the 
last kiss from his blushing sweetheart, and all is hushed in the slumber of the 
camp of one thousand persons in the heart of the great mountains a thousand 
miles from any white man's habitation, with savage Indians in all directions. 
What a picture of American ideas, push, enterprise, courage, and empire build- 
ing. Risking everything, braving every danger, and conquering every difficulty 
and obstruction. We are a vain, conceited, bumptious people, boasting of our 
good deeds and utterly ignoring our bad ones. But where is the people who 
have accomplished such a work as these Missourians and their neighbors from 
Iowa, did in literally picking up a commonwealth in pieces, on the other side of 
the continent and transporting it two thousand miles to the Pacific coast and set- 
ting it down here around and about this Portland townsite in the Willamette 
valley, and starting it off in good working order at Champoeg, with all the state 
machinery to protect life and property and promote the peace and happiness of 
all concerned, and all others who might join in the society. In is something to 
be proud of. 

To accomplish this result the pioneers who founded the city of Portland 
passed through every phase of human experience. Toils, labors and dangers 
beyond number or description ; joys, sorrows, pains, suffering and death. The 
unmarked graves by the wayside of those who fell in the march to Oregon were 
thousands. The dust and heat at times were intolerable. Think, if you can, of 
a moving mass of humanity and dumb brutes, often mixed in inextricable con- 
fusion, moving along in a column twice as wide as Portland street. Here and 
there were drivers of the loose cattle lashing them to keep moving. Young girls 
riding astride ponies with a younger child behind, and all packed, jammed into 
a roadway, too narow for a tenth of its travelers through mountain defiles, and 
all looking ahead as if the next turn of the trail would bring them the promised 
land. To all this was added to the train of 1852, the panic and scourge of the 
Asiatic cholera. This was the largest train ever started to Oregon, and it suf- 
fered proportionately. This caravan was in fact made up of many trains from 
different localities in the border states. Mrs. M. E. Jones of North Yakima, 
relates that forty persons of their train died of cholera in the Platte valley in 
one day. A family of seven person from Hartford, Warren county, Iowa, all 
died of cholera in one day and were buried in one grave. While camped with 
a sick brother, above Grand island on the Platte, Ezra Meeker states he saw six- 

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teen hundred wagons pass in three days, and a neighboring burial place grew 
from one to fifty-two fresh graves in those three days. 

The sad recital is ended, and the victory won. The grizzled pioneers un- 
hitched their oxen from the wagons and hitched them up to the plow. They 
laid away their weapons of warfare and builded a state, and, quoting Sam Simp- 
son, a pioneer's son : 

"But the pictures of memory linger, 

Like the shadows that turn to the east. 
And will point with a tremulous finger 

To the things that are perished and ceased; 
For the trail and the foot-log have vanished. 

The canoe is a song and a tale. 
And flickering church spire has banished, 

The uncanny red man from the vale ; 
And the wavering flare of the pitch light. 

That illumes your banquets no more. 
Will return like a wandering witch light, 

And uncrimson the fancies of yore — 
When you dance the "Old Arkansaw" gaily, 

In brogans that followed the bear. 
And quaffed the delight of Castaly, 

From the fiddle that wailed like despair; 
And so lightly you wrought with the hammer. 

And so truly with axe and with plow. 
And you blazed your own trails through grammar, 

As the record must fairly allow ; 
But you builded a state in whose arches. 

Shall be carven the deed and the name. 
And posterity lengthens its marches, 

In the golden starlight of your fame." 

What started this two thousand mile emigration, that crossing the plains 
and the mountains, settled the Willamette valley and founded the city of Port- 

The answer may be to get land, and lots of it, for the emigrant. That was 
doubtless a moving reason for thousands. But it was not the real fact that 
started the stone to roll. The land was here in plenty, as good as could be found, 
but not so much better than millions of acres which the emigrants passed over 
in the Platte valley, as to justify the long and perilous journey to Oregon to get 
a chance for it, and not knowing what government might control it. The land 
was in the possession of the Indians, it could not run away, and there would be 
plenty of time to get it after the government title was settled. 

But something out of the ordinary set the frontier to thinking about it, and 
from thinking they were moved to action. What was that original exciting 
cause ? 

It was for the glory of God and the salvation of souls that Columbus ap- 
pealed to Queen Isabella for ships and money to discover a new world. It was 
the motive power of religion that moved everything down to the period of the 
rebeUion of the American colonies against old England. It was religion, the 
right to worship God according to the dictates of an untrammeled conscience 
that huddled the Puritans on to the Mayflower and sent them starving, sicken- 
ing, and dying across the stormy ocean to the bleak and unhospitable shores of 
New England. The religionists that worshiped according to the dictates of 
kings and popes, drove away with bitter persecution, the religionists who wanted 
to make their own creeds and sit under their own vines and apple trees. And 
so they came to America. 


Now when the four Flathead Indians in 1832, traveled over the mountains 
and plains fifteen hundred miles, to find Captain William Clarke, who had been 
out here a quarter of a century before, to get "the white man's book of heaven," 
that fact did not greatly excite Clarke, or the frontiersmen of St. Louis. Old 
St. Louis was not much celebrated for its piety. The fur traders, and the river 
men, comprising about the entire population, had no religion of their own worth 
mentioning; and the forlorn natives returned to their distant homes without the 
bible and without religious teachers. But the fact of their visit and the purpose 
of these Indians being published in the religious and other newspapers of the 
day, reached the eyes and ears of the religious people of New York and New 
England; and behold the great fire the little spark kindled. 

The first public notice of this event that we have been able to find is the 
letter of Mr. William Walker, agent and interpreter at the Wyandotte Indian 
mission, printed in the Christian Advocate and Journal of New York, March 
I, 1833. M^- Walker says: "Immediately after we landed in St. Louis, I pro- 
ceeded to the office of General Clarke, superintendent of Indian affairs, to pre- 
sent our letters of introduction from the secretary of war. While in his office 
and transacting business with him, he informed me that three chiefs from the 
Flathead nation, west of the Rocky mountains, were at his house and were 
sick, and that one, the fourth, had died, a few days ago. 

"Never having seen any of these Indians, but often heard of them, I was 
prompted to step into an adjoining room to see them. I was struck with their 
appearance. General Clarke related to me the object of their mission, and it 
is impossible for me to describe my feelings while listening to his narrative. 
I will relate it briefly : Some white men had passed through their country 
and witnessed their religious ceremonies that they faithfully performed at 
stated periods. These men informed them that their mode of worship was 
wrong and displeasing to the great spirit. They also informed them that the 
white people away over toward the rising sun had the true mode of worship- 
ing God, and that they had a book containing directions, so that they could 
hold converse with him ; and all who would follow the directions given in this 
book would enjoy the favor of the great spirit in this life, and after death be 
received into his country to live forever. Upon receiving this information, the 
Indians called a great council, and appointed four of their chiefs to go to St, 
Louis to see their great father, General Clarke, and learn the whole truth 
about it. And on their arrival. General Clarke being sensible of his responsi- 
bility, gave the chiefs a history of man from the creation down to the advent 
of Christ ; explained to them the moral precepts of the Bible ; informed them 
about Jesus of Nazareth, his death, resurrection and ascension, and the rela- 
tion he bears to man as mediator ; and that he would judge all men in the end." 

This letter was printed broadcast in the papers of the eastern states, but 
no mention of it is made in the west. The western people had but little con- 
fidence in christian Indians, or making christians out of Indians. But Zion's 
Herald, Pittsburgh Journal, Nezv York Observer, and other papers gave it large 
circulation. And on March 9, 1833, Wilbur Fisk, president of the Wesleyan 
university, issued a proclamation calling upon the Methodists everywhere to 
rally to the appeal of these Flathead Indians, saying in his address : "We are for 
having a mission established there at once. I propose the following plan : Let 
two suitable men, unencumbered with families, and possessing the spirit of the 
martyrs, throw themselves into the Flathead nation, live with them, learn their 
language, preach Christ to them, and, as the way opens, introduce schools, agri- 
culture, and the arts of civilized life." 

In the pursuance of this proclamation of the Methodist university, and the 
wide extended religious enthusiasm which it aroused Revs. Jason and Daniel Lee, 
Messrs. Walker and Edwards were sent out by the Methodists in 1834; Rev, 
Samuel Parker by the Presbyterians in 1835, and Dr. Marcus Whitman, Rev, 
H. H. Spalding, and Wilham H, Gray, by the Presbyterians, in 1836, Revs. Elk- 


anah Walker and Gushing Ealls in 1838, and the Lausanne party of fifty Meth- 
odist missionaries and laymen that came around Cape Horn in 1839. All of 
these people were from the state of New York, and they were all educated in- 
telligent persons, and at once on reaching this country set to work writing letters 
back to their friends and to newspapers fully describing the advantages of the 
country for settlement. 

On this missionary movement the Methodists expended nearly two hundred 
thousand dollars, and the Presbyterians must have spent fully one fourth as 
much. And while they, all of them, came out to teach the Indians, they, each and 
all, soon saw that they could not maintain their positions in this country if they 
placed their sole dependence upon the natives. That the beautiful and pathetic 
story of the Flatheads could be applied to the other Indian tribes with very little 
hope of success. And consequently, the sequel shows, that very soon after these 
missionary men and women got here they were actively convassing by corres- 
pondence in every direction to get recruits to come out from the states to settle 
in the country as farmers and home builders, independent of any Indian refor- 
mation. Zion's Herald of April 27, 1837, contains a two column letter from 
Jason Lee showing the advantages of the country for settlement. In the summer 
of 1838, Jason Lee returned to the states overland, and before starting he drew 
up a memorial to congress which was signed by the American settlers. From 
that memorial, we take the following extract : 

"A large portion of the territory from the Columbia river south to the Mexi- 
can line, and extending from the sea coast to the interior for 300 miles, is either 
well supplied with timber or adapted to pasturage and agriculture. The fertile 
valleys of the Willamette and the Umpqua are varied with prairies and wood- 
lands, and intersected by abundant lateral streams affording facilities for ma- 
chinery. Perhaps no country of the same latitude can be found with a climate 
so mild. The ground is seldom covered with snow, which remains but a few 
hours. We need hardly allude to the commercial advantages of the territory for 
trade with China, India and the west coast of America. Our interests are iden- 
tical with those of the country of cur adoption. We flatter ourselves that we are 
the germ of a great state." 

Here was this Methodist preacher, born and reared in the British province of 
Canada, coming over to the land of the stars and stripes, and becoming as true 
and tried a citizen of the United States as was ever born under its flag, voicing 
the sentiments of all the Americans in old Oregon — about two dozen all told — 
and proclaiming themselves to be the germ of a great state. Could the imagina- 
tion of a Poe or a Byron, have drawn a longer bow ? And yet they made good 
that hopeful prophecy. They did not do it all, but they did all they could. They- 
started the ball to rolling. 

Within twenty-four months after Lee and his little band prepared the above 
memorial to congress, which Lee himself carried east in 1838, and delivered in 
person at Washington city, Daniel Webster, then secretary of state, wrote to 
Edward Everett, the American minister to London, as follows : "The owner- 
ship of Oregon is likely to follow the greater settlement, and the larger amount 
of population." 

The conduct of the great Daniel Webster — "the god-like Daniel" — in this 
Oregon controversy was open to severe criticism. If he was not actually op- 
posed to making a fight for Oregon, his lukewarmness in the cause was utterly 
disgusting. But it only shows how much more determined and vigilant the 
Americans in Oregon had to be. It is a safe proposition to assert that the 
"boosting" for this country from 1835 to 1840, was done almost wholly and solely 
by the missionaries. Of course there were other Americans here, such men as 
Col. Joe Meek — who were just as sincerely the defenders of the flag and the 
rights of Americans as were the missionaries. But these men had not the ad- 
dress or the facilities to reach and arouse the people of the states. Very few 
if any letters were written back to the states except by the missionaries. And 


as to those men who were making their living- trapping for furs, they did not 
want any settlers here of any kind. They wanted the country left as a game 
preserve just as the Hudson Bay Company wanted it. And but for the active 
efforts of the missionaries, the people of the extreme west who furnished the 
emigrants, to come in and save the day, would not have learned in time to come 
here and form a state organization under American auspices. 

But all the credit and glory does not belong to the missionaries. There is 
another man who has never had his just deserts from any historian for his work 
for Oregon. And although he was not a missionary, he was a religious en- 
thusiast, that might well have his name inscribed alongside of the heroic de- 
fenders of American rights to Oregon. And while he did not preach from the 
house tops, he scattered his appeals for settlers in Oregon, and for the propaga- 
tion of the gospel as thick as forest leaves. Hall J. Kelley of Three Rivers in 
the state of Massachusetts commenced agitating the Oregon question in 1815 and 
kept on incessantly advocating the settlement of this country for more than forty 

The list of his books, pamphlets, circulars, letters, public lectures, memorials 
to congress, and miscellaneous writings on the Oregon question would fill a page 
in this book. It will not be claimed that he was always wise, judicious, or prac- 
tical in his propaganda for settlement and education or religious teaching in this 
wild west region. He was hardly an acceptable co-laborer in the cause, for the 
peculiarity of his temperment did not harmonize well with those who did not 
always coincide with his views. But he was tireless, incessant and courageously 
persistent. He secured a hearing by his perseverance, and he made the claims 
of Oregon known to thousands of men, who, but for his work and his omni- 
present pamphlets would never have known anything about this country. He 
had ability too; and wrought practical works. While here in Oregon, and very 
much disabled by a long spell of sickness, he made a survey of the Columbia 
river to Astoria that was of real value, and it was the first survey of the river by 
an American. And that his numerous published articles, given to the public 
before any of the missionaries came to Oregon, were the first public statements 
to call attention to the feasibility of settling Oregon by overland emigration 
there can be no dispute. The public meetings held to raise funds to send the 
missionaries to Oregon had Kelley's writings on the subject before them. And 
his constant agitation of the subject for so many years unquestionably interested 
many persons and led them to investigate the claims of Oregon. And so we con- 
clude, that it was a religious motive in the beginning, which gathered the seeds 
of information about this country and planted them in the fertile soil of Iowa 
and Missouri, where they sprang up and bore fruit, a thousand fold, in brave 
men and noble self-sacrificing women, who, taking their lives in their hands, 
toiled and struggled along the two thousand miles of dusty rocky mountain way 
over the old Oregon trail, and settled and saved this country to the American 

The far-reaching influence of the frontier emigration to Oregon in 1843-4 
and 5 has never been fully comprehended. Had the nation secured what it had 
a just right to claim, the British government could have been shut out of the 
west coast of America, and its power limited to the east side of the Rocky moun- 
tains north of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude. Then in that case, the 
Pacific ocean would have been practically an American (United States) lake. 
For we would have had everything from the northern boundary of Mexico clear 
up to the Arctic ocean. But as it is, England now holds Vancouver island in 
front of United States territory and three hundred and fifty miles of frontage, 
on the Pacific ocean, with many good harbors. On this frontage and 
in these harbors, British battle ships are posted as a menace to American 
commerce, and as a protection to the piratical Canadian seal fishery poachers. 
This menace, and the friction thereby imposed may be borne for a long time ; 
but sooner or later, an American Jackson will go into the presidential chair, and 


then the first infraction of tariff laws or sailors rights will see an inglorious 
British backdown, or a lively scrimmage for possession of the whole coast. As 
it is now, the proximity of the British ports to American centers of trade and 
population, with all the differences in tariffs, foreign labor laws, diverse popula- 
tions, British control of navigable channels between the American Pacific coast 
states and the American territory of Alaska, and British control of competing 
transcontinental railroads, is a continually disturbing factor in Pacific coast 
commerce and a menace to the prosperity of Portland and other American 
Pacific seaports. 

The Oregon pioneers saw all these points of possible trouble, clearly. Sena- 
tors Benton and Linn of Missouri, and Semple of Illinois, foresaw the whole 
story, and made their battle for the whole coast from Mexico up to Alaska. 
The presidential election which placed James K. Polk in the White House, was 
fought upon this platform. It was everywhere in the air. The pioneer wagons, 
the plains across, had emblazoned on their canvass tops, "Fifty-four, forty or 
fight." The great mass of the people were ready for the contest with old 

The pioneers who organized the provisional government at Champoeg in 
May, 1843, were fully awake to the warlike temper of the two nations. There 
were two sessions of the Oregon legislative committee, which adjourned to wait 
and hear what news the emigration of 1844 would bring from the states. The 
British subjects in Oregon were quite as anxious to hear the news as the Ameri- 
cans. Dr. McLoughlin was not insensible to the strained relations between the 
United States and England on the Oregon question ; and it is said added another 
bastion to old Fort Vancouver to resist a possible attack from Americans — 
although the explanation given was that there was danger of an uprising from 
the Indians. The British war ship Modeste, entered the Columbia, came up the 
river and anchored in front of Fort Vancouver. Congressman Wentworth of 
Illinois declared in congress in January, 1844: "I think it is our duty to speak 
freely and candidly, and let England know that she never can have an inch of 
Oregon, nor another inch of what is now claimed as the United States territory." 
And Sir Robert Peel of the British parliament responded to the challenge of 
Wentworth, by saying: "England knows her rights and dares maintain them." 
But at the last minute President Polk backed down and sold the Oregon pioneers 
out to the Hudson Bay Company. It was the most disgraceful chapter in the 
diplomacy of the United States. And this is the reason why the merchants and 
manufacturers of this city are not now, this day, supplying all the traders and 
consumers of the whole coast north of Portland clear up to the Arctic ocean 
with Oregon manufactures and produce. 

As the emigrants of 1843 not only made the old Oregon trail, but also sub- 
stantially decided the future political status of Oregon, by bringing here a body 
of forceful men who were possessed of the necessary courage, intelligence and 
enterprise to execute all necessary movements locally to hold the country, it 
seems to be not only meet and proper, but due their services and memory, that 
their names be preserved here as a part of the record of this city, and a precious 
heritage of their descendants. No complete record of those who composed the 
emigration of 1843 is in existence. J. W. Nesmith, a young man from Maine, 
who was elected orderly sergeant, with the duties of adjutant, made a roll of 
all the male members of the caravan of 1843 who were capable of bearing arms, 
which included all above sixteen years of age. This roll was preserved by Nes- 
mith until long after he had become United States senator from the state of 
Oregon. And thirty-two years after he had made that "roll of honor" he read 
it before the Oregon Pioneer Association at its third annual reunion in 1875, 
and there requested all the survivors of that roll to answer to their names, as 
present for duty, and only thirteen responded. There were undoubtedly many 
more still alive in the state at that time who were not present at that reunion. 


The names on Nesmith's old roll, embracing those capable of bearing arms 
in the emmigration of 1843, ^re as follows : Jesse Applegate, Charles Applegate, 
Lindsay Applegate, James Athey, William Athey, John Akinson, William 
Arthur, Robert Arthur, David Arthur, Amon Butler, George Brooke, Peter H. 
Burnett, David Byrd, Thomas A. Brown, Alexander Blevins, John P. Brooks, 
Martin Brown, Orris Brown, George Black, J. P. Black, Samuel Black, Layton 
Bane, Andrew J. Baker, John G. Baker, William Beagle, Levi F. Boyd, WilHam 
Baker, Nicholas Biddle, George P. Beale, James Braidy, George Beadle, Thomas 

Boyer, Boardman, Louis Bergerin, William Baldridge, Feudal C. Cason. 

James Cason, William Chapman, John Cox, Jacob Champ, L, C. Cooper, James 
Cone, Moses Childres, Miles Carey, Thomas Cochran, L. Clymour, John Copea- 
haver, J. H. Coton, Alfred Chappel, Daniel Cronin, Samuel Cozine, Benedict 

Constable, Joseph B. Chiles, Ransom Clark, John G. Campbell, Chapman, 

James Chase, Solomon Dodd, William C. Dement, W. P. Dougherty, William 
Day, James Duncan, Jacob Dorin, Thomas Davis, Daniel Delaney, Daniel Delaney, 
Jr., William Delaney, William Doke, J. H. Davis, Burrill Davis, George Dailey, 
John Doherty, V. W. Dawson, Charles H. Eaton, Nathan Eaton, James Etchell, 
Solomon Emerick, John W. Eaker, E. G. Edson, Miles Eyres, John W. East, 
Ninowon Everman, Nineveh Ford. Ephraim Ford, Nimrod Ford, John Ford, 
Alexander Francis, Abner Frazier, William Frazier, William Fowler, William J. 
Fowler, Henry Fowler, Stephen Fairly, Charles E. Fendall, John Gantt, Chiley 

B. Gray, Enoch Garrison, J. M. Garrison, W. J. Garrison, William Gardner, 

Goodell, S. M. Gilmore, Richard Goodman, Major William Gilpin, Gray, 

B. Haggard, H. H. Hide, William Holmes, Riley A. Holmes, Rickard Hobson, 
John Hobson, William Hobson, J. J. Hembree, James Hembree, W. C. Hembree, 
Andrew Hembree, A. J. Hembree, Samuel B. Hall, James Houck, W. P. Hughes, 
Abijah Hendrick, James Hayes, Thos. J. Hensley, B. Holley, Henry H. Hunt. 
S. M, Holderness, L C. Hutchins, A. Husted, Joseph Hess, Jacob Howell, William 
Howell, Wesley Howell, G. W. Howell, Thomas E. Howell, Henry Hill, Will- 
iam Hill, Almoran Hill, Absolom F. Hedges, Henry Hewett, William Hargrave, 
A. Hoyt, John Holman, Daniel S. Holman, B. Harrigas, Calvin James, John B. 
Jackson, John Jones, Overton Johnson, Thomas Kaiser, J. B. Kaiser, Pleasant 

Kaiser, Kelley, Kelsey, Solomon King, W. H. King, A. L. Lovejoy, 

Edward Lennox, E. Lennox, Aaron Layson, Jesse Looney, John E. Long, H. A. G. 
Lee, F. Lugur, Lewis Linebarger, Isaac Laswell, J. Loughborough, Milton Little, 

Luthur, John Lauderdale, McGee, Wm. J. Martin, James Martin, Julius 

Martin, McClelland, F. McClelland, John B. Mills, Isaac Mills, William A. 

Mills, Owen Mills, G. W. McGarey, Gilbert Mondon, Daniel Matheney, Adam 
Matheney, J. N. Matheney, Josiah Matheney, Henry Matheney, A. J. Nastine, 
Justin McHaley, Jacob Myres, John Manning, James Manning, M. M. McCar- 
ver, George McCorcle, William Mayes, Elijah Millican, William McDaniel, D. 
McKissic, Madison Malone, John B. McLane, William Manzee, John Mclntire, 
Jackson Moore, W. J. Matney, J. W. Nesmith, W. T. Newby, Noah Newman, 
Thomas G. Naylor, Neil Osborn, Hugh D. O'Brien, Humphrey O'Brien, Thomas 
A. Owen, Thomas Owen, E. W. Otie, M. B. Otie, Bennett O'Neil, A. Olinger, 
Jessee Parker, William G. Parker, J. B. Pennington, R. H. Poe, Samuel Payn- 
ter, J. R. Patterson, Charles E. Pickett, Fredrick Prigg, Clayborne Payne, Mar- 
tin Payne, P. B. Reading, S. P. Rogers, G. W. Rodgers, William Russell, James 
Roberts, G. W. Rice, John Richardson, Daniel Richardson, Philip Ruby, John 
Ricord, Jacob Reid, John Roe. Solomon Roberts, Ensley Roberts, Joseph Rossin, 
Thomas Rives, Thomas H. Smith, Thomas Smith, Isaac W. Smith, Anderson 
Smith, Ahi Smith, Robert Smith, Eli Smith, Samuel Smallman, William Sheldon, 
P. G. Stewart, Nathaniel K. Sitton, C. Stimmerman, C. Sharp, W. C. Summers, 

Henry Sewell, Henry Stout, George Sterling, Stout, Stevenson, James 

Storey, Swift, John M. Shively, Samuel Shively, Alexander Stoughton, 

Chauncey Spencer, Hiram Straight, D. Summers, Cornelius Stinger, C. W. 
Stringer, Lindsey Tharp, John Thompson, D. Trainer, Jeremiah Tetler, Stephen 


Tarbox, John Ummicker, Samuel Vance, William Vaughn, George Vernon, 
James Wilmot, William H. Wilson, J. W. Wair, Archibald Winkle, Edward 
Williams, H. Wheeler, John Wagoner, Benjamin Williams, David Williams, 
William Wilson, John Wilhams, James WiUiams, Squire WilHams, Isaac Will- 
iams, T. B Ward, James White, John Watson, James Waters, William Winter, 
Daniel Waldo, David Waldo, William Waldo, Alexander Zachary, John 

What did all these men come away out here to Oregon for in the year 1843? 
The dangers, toils, troubles and vicissitudes of the journey have already been 
described. It is an interesting question in this history, for these men not only 
made Portland possible but were by labors and influences a part of Portland 
in every sense of the word, and one of them (A. L. Lovejoy) helped name the 
town. Their original personal reasons for coming to Oregon was not to op- 
pose the British and hold the country for the United States, although that senti- 
ment was prominent in all their thoughts and they were ready to serve the 
country in that respect. Home, comfort, independence and business were their 
first thoughts. But why should they leave established homes in the Mississippi 
valley, and come to Oregon, where the work of home building must be done all 
over again? 

A few facts will answer this question satisfactorily. All the western states 
had then, prior to 1843, but recently passed through the worst bank and money 
panic in the history of the country, resulting in widespread financial distress 
to everybody. The farmers were rich in all farm productions and the neces- 
saries of life which the farm could produce. But the banks had failed every- 
where. There was no money in circulation to do business with. The era of 
speculation preceding the panic, founded on "wild cat" bank paper, had left 
everybody in debt with nothing but unsalable lands and farm produce to pay 
with. There was not a mile of railroad west of the Allegheny mountains at 
that time, and all surplus produce had to be sent down the rivers to New Or- 
leans and take such prices as might be offered. Jesse Applegate, one of the 
pioneers named above, just before starting for Oregon, sold a steamboat load 
of bacon and lard for one hundred dollars, which was used for fuel to make steam 
on Mississippi steamboats, and started for Oregon without trying to sell his 
land at all. The writer of this book remembers perfectly well seeing the farm- 
ers of Central Ohio in Morgan county building flatboats, called "broad horns," 
and loading them with farm produce, wheat, flour, corn, corn meal, bacon, lard, 
soft soap, honey, cider, salt, dried apples, beans, maple sugar, and whiskey, and 
then floating the cargo down the Muskingum river into the Ohio and down the 
Ohio into the Mississippi, and down that river to New Orleans, where the cargo 
was traded for groceries. New Orleans sugar, and molasses, and such other 
necessaries of life that could be had with possibly ten or fifteen per cent, of the 
proceeds in Spanish silver coin ; and then after unloading the cargo, break the 
boat up and sell it for lumber, and shipping the purchased goods back on the 
little steamboats of that day. 

It was this great money panic in the west, and the want of a market for their 
produce, that set them to thinking. They got their idea that Oregon with a 
mild climate and rich lands, was on the sea coast, and that there would be an 
outlet to the markets of the world, and for that reason, its future was more in- 
viting and reliable than that of what they then considered "the overcrowded 
west." Senator Linn of Missouri, had then already, in 1840, introduced in con- 
gress a bill to give every able bodied male person one thousand acres of land. 
This proposition was of course known to all the frontiersmen, and had settled 
their minds in favor of Oregon as far as the land question was concerned. 

What sort of people were these bold emigrants? To begin with, they were 
nearly all farmer folks, brought up to hard work on western farms. With 
more than average intelligence and education for the meager opportunities the 


frontier west afforded, they were wide awake, alert, and practical, and confident 
of their rights to come into this disputed territory and claim its lands. They 
understood the risks which they were taking in what most of the world would 
have called a fool-hardy enterprise. And these very risks, and all the common 
dangers and labors of the venture tended to knit them together in a common 
brotherhood, with a unity of purpose, and serving and laboring on a common 
level. Making not overmuch professions of piety or religion, they were yet one 
of the most noteworthy body of respectable, moral and law abiding people that 
could have been collected in so short a time and in so small a field in all the 
western states. The offences against honesty, honor, common decency, and good 
order while on the trail, were trifling; and their conduct after reaching Oregon 
was beyond criticism. Not one of the pioneer men fell down as a drunkard, 
defaulter, law-breaker, or oppressor of his fellow-man. The emigration under 
review furnished no divorce scandals, no inmates to the peniteniary, or insane 
asylum, and we have yet to hear of one who became an object of public charity. 
They were honest, modest, conscientious, industrious, sober, patriotic, public 
spirited men and women ; and made and constituted the backbone, heart, and 
brains of the future state. Some of them were honorably ambitious for public 
esteem and station, and were honored and esteemed according to their merits. 
But in not one single instance was politics or office holding adopted as a trade 
or profession as it is in these latter times. And for that reason, as well as the 
worth and works of those pioneers, the public business was transacted with an 
eye single to the welfare and prosperity of the community, and evenhanded 
justice was given to all as long as the lives and numbers of these pioneers re- 
mained a controlling force in the community. The pioneer and first judges of 
the territory and state were the best judges the state has ever had. The first 
governors were also the ablest and most efficient the state has ever had ; and 
both judges and governors took pride in serving the state and laboring for the 
interests of the people for the honor of the service, and one half of the salary 
paid such officials at the present day. The lust for money, the pride of sta- 
tion, the rush for business, and the selfishness of competition, had not then 
eaten out the best that was in mankind, and left the empty shell of outside pre- 
tensions. We have vastly more of the conveniences of life; vastly more of the 
agencies of instruction, and education ; and vastly more of productive agencies 
of business ; but we have also in even a greater ratio, all the demoralizing agen- 
cies of vice, crime, poverty, and insanity. If our pioneers were not distinguished 
for the greatness that is now the strife of men and money, they were appre- 
ciated for that better part which sought each other's welfare with true and 
honest hearts : 

"Labors of good to man 
Unpolished charity, unbroken faith, — 

Love, that midst grief began, 
And grew with years and faltered not in death." 


1818— 1844. 

Joint Occupancy with England — Free Trade to Oregon — No Man's 
Land — The Hudson Bay Company Plays to the American Set- 
tlers — The Provisional Government. 

It does not appear that either the executive department of the government, 
or the congress of the United States, ever took any official notice of the great 
achievement of Captain Robert Gray in the discovery of the Cohimbia river. 
The action of President Jefiferson in sending the Lewis and Clarke expedition 
to the Pacific coast in 1805, was very largely the act of Jefferson himself. And 
while congress did make an appropriation for the expedition, it never otherwise 
sought to secure to the country any positive or immediate benefits therefrom. 
It was assumed by American business men — Astor, Wyeth, Winship and Bonne- 
ville — that because of Gray's discovery, and the Lewis and Clarke exploration, 
that old Oregon must of right belong to the United States, and therefore it was 
open to American settlement. And even after Astor's unfortunate adventure, 
and the loss of his property and the capture of his fort by the British, our 
congress took no action to assert its paramount rights to this country. 

In the treaty with Great Britain made by secretary of state, John Quincy 
Adams, in 1818, in the third article of said treaty: "It is agreed that any 
country that may be claimed by either party on the northwest coast of America 
westward of the Stony (Rocky) mountains, shall together with its harbors, 
bays and creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within the same, be free and 
open for the term of ten years from the date of the signature of the present 
convention, to the vessels, citizens and subjects of both powers. It being well 
understood that this agreement is not to be construed to the prejudice of any 
claim which either of the two high contracting parties may have to any part of 
the said country; nor shall it be taken to affect the claim of any power or state 
to any part of said country; the only object of the high contracting parties in 
that respect being to prevent disputes and differences." 

The provisions of the above article were renewed between the two nations in 
1827, and continued in force down to the 28th day of April, 1846, three years 
after the formation of our provisional government at Champoeg, when, in pur- 
suance of a resolution of congress. President James K. Polk notified the British 
government that the period of joint occupancy of the Oregon territory had been 

When the venerable John Quincy Adams, who had as secretary of state under 
President James Monroe, negotiated the treaty of 1818, and afterwards as 
president of the United States in 1827, renewed that treaty, was called on as a 
member of congress in 1846 to explain the treaty, said: (Feb. 9, 1846.) 



"There is a very great misapprehension of the real merits of this case, 
founded on the misnomer which declared that treaty to be a treaty of joint 
occupation. It is not a convention of joint occupation. It is a convention of non- 
occupation — a promise on the part of both parties that either of the parties will 
occupy the territory, for an indefinite period; first, for ten years; then until the 
notice should be given by the one party or the other that the convention shall be 
terminated, that is to say, that the restriction, the fetters upon our hands, shall 
be thrown off which prevents occupation." 

Here then is a treaty that deliberately renounced the right of the American 
emigrants to come here and establish homes. They might come and catch fish, 
trap wild animals for furs and trade with the Indians, but they must not hoist 
the American flag, they must not open farms, they must not build homes or 
school houses, or do anything to establish a settlement. Oregon was a country 
for free trade, but not for free settlement. England, Spain, France, Russia, and 
everybody else had the same rights in Oregon as the Americans. Oregon is 
thus distinguished as the first and only free trade country that now belongs to 
the union of states. 

And while this treaty of 1818 tied the hands of the respective governments, 
it did not provide for the arrest of independent movements of traders or set- 
tlers. It left the question of occupancy and final disposition of the country right 
where Daniel Webster, secretary of state under President Tyler, predicted it 
would be when he wrote to the American minister at London (Edward Ever- 
ett) in 1840, saying: "The ozvnership of Oregon is likely to follow the greater 
settlement and the larger population." 

We are thus particular to point out the facts_showing the exact legal and po- 
litical status of the country, so that the reader may get a clear idea of the mag- 
nitude of the work achieved by the early Oregon pioneers. Oregon was from 
1818 down to 1846 practically and substantially in the position of being. 

NO man's land 
and open to the application of 

"The good old rule, the simple plan, 

That they should take who have the power. 
And they should keep who can." 

And now we reach the point when the pioneers coming in from Iowa and 
Missouri commence to drive stakes, and settle down to hold fast to something. 
A little band coming in the autumn of 1842 found here Robert Newell, Joseph 
L. Meek and a few other Americans scattered around, less than a hundred all 
told, and twenty-five or thirty Missouri people. This was the nucleus of the 
American state to be. There was no law except what the Hudson Bay Company 
chose to enforce through their justices of the peace appointed by the British 
government in Canada, and their jurisdiction extended no further than enforcing 
penalties for violation of criminal laws. 

These lonely settlers in the far distant wilderness of Oregon were loth to 
assume the great responsibility of establishing a government to govern them- 
selves ; especially when they were opposed by an equal number of Canadians 
opposed to government, which opposition was backed up by the all-powerful 
Hudson Bay Company with unlimited resources for effective opposition. 

They therefore earnestly sought from the American congress, some recogni- 
tion, some aid, some encouragement, and the following petition by Lot Whit- 
comb and thirty-five other American settlers was sent to congress in 1839; says 
the petition : 

"We flatter ourselves that we are the germ of a great state, and are anxious 
to give an early tone to the moral and intellectual character of our citizens — 
the destiny of our posterity will be intimately affected by the character of those 
who emigrate. But a good community will hardly emigrate to a country which 


promises no protection to life or property. We can boast of no civil code. We can 
promise no protection but the ulterior resort of self defense. We do not pre- 
sume to suggest the manner in which the country shall be occupied by the gov- 
ernment, nor the extent to which our settlement should be encouraged. We 
confide in the wisdom of our national legislators and leave the subject to their 
candid deliberations." 

There were two other memorials like this sent to congress, but the happy 
well-paid congressmen were deaf to all appeals from distant Oregon. 

And what was the position of the Hudson Bay Company all this time? All 
of its interests lay in the direction of an unsettled country. It was here to 
trap fur bearing animals, and to trade with the Indians for furs. It did not 
want the country settled by either Americans or any other people. As long as 
there were no settlers, the Indians would obey their orders and would be happy 
and content in the forest with their ways of living. To bring settlers that would 
convert the country into farms, build towns, start saw mills and establish herds 
of domestic animals would destroy the business of the fur company and drive 
it out. It was but natural that the company should oppose emigration and set- 
tlements. And in doing so it became the ally of the first American settlers. 
Whether consciously or unconsciously, cannot now be determined. With its 
power and influence with the Indians, its wealth and organization, and its 
knowledge of the country and means for bringing colonists from either Canada 
or the home country, it could have quickly and easily throttled all attempts to 
establish American settlements by establishing those devoted to the support of 
the British claim to the country. But to do so would have put in jeopardy the 
profits and future existence of the company as a business paying institution. 
The managers of the company in England undoubtedly expected and relied upon 
Chief Factor John McLoughlin and others to discourage settlements in Oregon ; 
believing that without business support and encouragement the Americans 
would be starved out. Fortunate it was for the Americans that John McLough- 
lin was not built on the narrow gauge pattern of his employers in London. His 
great heart and humane sympathies would not permit him to view with cold 
blooded indifference the suffering and destitution of men and women who had 
risked their lives and everything else in the great struggle to reach Oregon. 
He helped them as much as he could, and not be unceremoniously kicked out 
before the first few Americans had secured a foothold on the Willamette valley. 
As it was, for this open handed aid to the Americans, he lost his position and a 
salary of twelve thousand dollars a year. With the most hopeful view of the 
case the Americans had the narrowest chance in the world to secure a foothold 
and establish an American settlement. Had they not succeeded Oregon would 
certainly have become a British province. With McLoughlin's opposition ex- 
erted against them, as his British employers desired it to be exerted, the 
Americans, unsupported by congress as they were, could never have succeeded. 
The tacit support of John McLoughlin given in the name of humanity, undoubt- 
edly decided the fate of Oregon in favor of the American settlers. 

We now reach the point where the Americans in Oregon were compelled to 
act. To retreat, they could not. To go forward and establish a government l-or 
mutual protection was the only alternative of common sense and brave men. 
And when we stop and take a look at the surroundings of this handful of 
Americans, away out here two thousand miles from any friendly encouragement, 
and wholly neglected and ignored by the American president and congress, with- 
out arms or means of defense, without money or funds of any kind to maintain 
an organization, their resolution to organize a government and found an Ameri- 
can state seems absurd and chimerical to reason. And yet to sentiment and 
patriotism, it is the grandest chapter in the history of civilization. The region 
to be claimed and governed for their native land was as large as a dozen states 
they had left behind them. They were confronted and opposed on one hand by 



the-most powerful commercial organization then existing in the world ; and on 
the other hand by eighty thousand savages ready to kill, slay, burn, and utterly 
destroy them. And as nearly all the meetings, and legislative sessions of the 
provisional government, which we shall describe, were held within the territory 
which this history is to record, the history of this government is a necessary 
part of this work. 

The first steps to organize a government came from the Methodist mission- 
aries, who called a meeting of the inhabitants of the Willamette valley to be held 
at the American mission house, located near the Willamette river a few miles 
below the site of the state capitol, on February 17, 1841. At this meeting, 
Jason Lee acted as president and Gustavus Hines as secretary ; and resolutions 
were adopted recommending that a committee of seven be elected to draft a 
constitution and code of laws for the government of the settlements ; and that 
all settlers north of the Columbia river not connected with the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, be admitted to the protection of our laws on making application. 

This meeting adjourned over to the next day when a larger meeting was held 
at the same place, at which David Leslie acted as chairman and Sidney Smith and 
Gustavus Hines as secretaries. A committee was then chosen to frame a con- 
stitution and code of laws ; and Rev. F. N. Blanchet, Rev. Jason Lee, David Don- 
pierre, Gustavus Hines, Mr. Charlevon, Robt. Moore, J. L. Parrish, Etienne 
Lucier and William Johnson appointed such committee. 

That meeting adjourned to meet again on June i, 1841, at the new building 
near the Catholic church in French Prairie. 

This third meeting met near the Catholic church according to adjournment, 
and Rev. Blanchet requested to be excused from serving on the committee to 
draft a constitution and code of laws. 

The meeting passed a resolution directing the committee to confer with the 
commodore of the American squadron, and with John McLoughlin, chief factor 
of the Hudson Bay Company, about forming a constitution and code of laws; 
and then adjourned to meet on the succeeding October. 

No meeting was held in October, and the subject of organization was dropped 
until February 2, 1843. Thus far the movement had been managed by the 
Methodist missionaries. And in the next meeting we see an evident intention to 
change the management. 

The next meeting, called to be held at the "Oregon Institute," a Methodist 
institution, was held February 2, 1843, ostensibly for the purpose of taking steps 
to protect the cattle from wild animals. Dr. J. L. Babcock appears as chairman, 
and W. H. Willson as secretary. A committee of six, consisting of W. H. 
May, Beers, Gervais, Barnaby, Willson and Lucier, were appointed to call a gen- 
eral meeting on the first Monday of March, next, at the house of Joseph Ger- 
vais for the purpose of making war upon bears, wolves, panthers, etc., and re- 
port business. 

The meeting in March was duly held and well attended and has passed into 
history as "The Wolf Meeting." The committee appointed at the former meet- 
ing, reported a resolution to take steps to destroy the wolves, bears, and panthers ; 
that bounties for scalps be offered as follows : for a small wolf, fifty cents ; for a 
large wolf, $3.00; for a lynx, $1.50; for a bear, $2.00, and for a panther $5.00; 
and that no one (except Indians) be paid bounties unless they first subscribe 
$5.00 to the bounty fund. 

The object of this war upon the wild animals was simply a ruse to get the 
French Canadians in the valley to join with the Americans in forming a gov- 
ernment. The settlers having no religious affiliations had already left the Meth- 
odist missionaries in the background in order to coax the French Catholics to 
come in and help organize. 

And after providing for the exterminating of the wolves, the meeting passed 
a resolution to appoint a committee of twelve persons to take into consideration 
the propriety of taking measures "for the civil and military protection of this 


colony." Here then was the germ of the future state. On this committee was 
appointed Dr. J. L. Babcock, Dr. White, James O'Neill, Robert Newell, Etienne 
Lucier, Joseph Gervais, T. J. Hubbard, C. McRoy, William H. Gray, Sidney 
Smith and George Gay. 

Following this meeting, the Canadian citizens of Oregon drew up and signed 
a memorial, which they delivered to be read at the next meeting for organiza- 
tion May 2, 1843. ■ This next meeting was the turning point in the movement 
for a provisional government, and we give its proceedings as fully as can be 
gathered from the imperfect record made of it, and from the statements of those 
who took an active part in it. 

It was now apparent in the proceedings at the time, and from the acts of the 
men concerned thereafter, that there was somewhere in motion an active irre- 
pressible force in favor of organizing a government. This force, when devel- 
oped, showed that it was entirely independent of Catholic priests or Protestant 
missionaries, neither of which was willing to submit to the rule of the other. 
This independent element was made up of mountain men like Joe Meek and 
Robert Newell, with whom were co-operating, the sea-rovers, independent trap- 
pers and adventurers of all sorts who had drifted into the Willamette valley as 
a haven of rest from life's failures and troubles in other quarters of the world. 
But few of them had any book knowledge, but all had a wide experience on 
the border, before the mast, or in life's struggles everywhere. They had courage, 
independence and confidence born of dangers and desperation. They would 
launch the ship of state while others talked and parleyed. And co-operating 
with these trappers and sailors was a man from the missionary side who was 
the most active and irrepressible of the whole community, and while not always 
politic or judicious, was always an agitator — William H. Gray. Gray wanted 
a government that would oppose the Catholics. Newell and Meek wanted a gov- 
ernment that would be independent of all sects and religions. Jason Lee, the 
prime mover of the whole business, wanted a government with a Protestant, if 
not a Methodist control. It is intensely interesting to trace out all the diplomatic 
movements of the rival factions in this little community of a hundred men 2,500 
miles distant from any organized county or state. That the Americans earnestly 
desired the Canadians to go in with them for organization is too plain for dis- 
pute. For at the outset the Canadians were freely appointed in the preliminary 
committees and meetings were held at the houses of the Canadians. But the 
Canadians, being Catholics, accepted and trusted the leadership of their reli2:ious 
teacher, Blanchet. Blanchet was a subject of Great Britain, and a stipendiary 
of the Hudson Bay Company. He was therefore legally and in honor bound 
to support the interests that were opposed to a possible American organization. 
And the address prepared by him, and signed by all the Canadians, was the 
most adroit and diplomatic document that could have been constructed for that 
occasion. It was full of fair dealing, patriotism and good fellowship — yet it 
was clearly against an American organization. And the harmonious acceptance 
of the final result, showed that Blanchet was a good citizen, and for peace, no 
matter who ruled. 

The conduct of Jason Lee has been to many persons a puzzle. After inspir- 
ing and leading the movement for organization up to a certain point, he sud- 
denly dropped out, and does not appear at all at the Champoeg meeting. There 
is nothing difficult about this. Lee was himself a native of Canada, and knew 
better than any other man in Oregon whom he had to deal with. We are war- 
ranted in believing that as Blanchet and Lee were the acknowledged leaders 
of rival, if not hostile, religious movements, it was poor politics for the man, 
who of all others most desired an American organization, to appear at a meet- 
ing where his mere presence would provoke unfriendly opposition. Lee ab- 
sented himself from the Champoeg meeting for the real purpose of misleading, 
if possible, the Canadians — or at least to avoid drawing their fire. The Meth- 
odist preachers Hines, Leslie and Parrish, and the Congregationalists, Griffin 


and Clark were there, but Blanchet did not fear them. How far the absence of 
Lee abated the activity of the Canadians cannot be known. 

The course of another man at that meeting was puzzhng to some people. F. 
X. Matthieu's vote decided the result; and yet Matthieu was the last man to 
line up with the Americans; although he had fled from British intolerance in 
his native land, and had advocated American organization to his Canadian 
countrymen. His course at Champoeg was dictated by the hope that by staying 
with his own people to the last, he might in the end, take over with him to the 
American side one or more wavering Canadians who were halting between two 
opinions. If there were any such, and there doubtless was, they had been braced 
up against just such a crisis, and did not dare to incur the displeasure of their 

The Committee made their report, which was read. And thereupon, the 
Canadian citizens of Oregon who were opposed to organizing a government sub- 
mitted the following address, which was read. 

"We, the Canadian citizens of the Willamette, considering, with interest and 
reflection, the subject which unites the people at the present meeting, present 
to the American citizens, and particularly to the gentlemen who called said meet- 
ing, the unanimous expression of our sentiments of cordiality, desire of union 
and inexhaustible peace between all the people, in view of our duty and the in- 
terest of the new colony, and declare : 

1st. That we wish for laws, or regulations, for the welfare of our persons, 
and the security of our property and labors. 

2d. That we do not intend to rebel against the measures of that kind taken 
last year, by a part of the people ; although we do not approve of certain regula- 
tions, nor certain modes of laws, let those magistrates finish their time. 

3d. That we will not address a new petition to the government of the United 
States, because we have our reasons, till the line be decided, and the frontiers 
of the states fixed. 

4th. That we are opposed to the regulations anticipated, and exposed to 
consequences for the quantity, directions, etc., of lands, and whatsoever expense 
for the same lands, because we have no direct guarantee from the government 
to come, perhaps, tomorrow, all those measures may be broken. 

5th. That we do not wish a provisional mode of government, too self in- 
terested, and full of degrees, useless to our power, and over-loading the colony 
instead of improving it ; besides, men of laws and science are too scarce, and 
have too much to do in such a new country. 

6th. That we wish either the mode of senate or council, to judge the diffi- 
culties, punish the crimes (except capital penalties) and make the regulations 
suitable for the people. 

7th. That the same council be elected and composed of members from all 
parts of the country, and should act in body, on the plan of civilized countries 
in parliament, or as a jury, and to be represented, for example, by the president 
of said council, and another member, as judge of peace, in each county, allow- 
ing the principle of recalling to the whole senate. 

8th. That the members should be influenced to interest themselves to their 
own welfare, and that of the public, by the love of doing good, rather than by 
the hope of gain, in order to take off from the esteem of the people all suspicions 
of interest in the persons of their representatives. 

9th. That they must avoid every law loading, and inexpedient to the people, 
especially to the new arrivals. Unnecessary taxes, and whatever records are 
of that kind, we do not want them. 

loth. That the militia is useless at present, and rather a danger of bad sus- 
picion to the Indians, and a delay for the unnecessary labors; in the same time, 
it is a load ; we do not want it, either, at present. 

nth. That we consider the country free, at present, to all nations, till gov- 
ernment shall have decided ; open to every individual wishing to settle, without 


any distinction of origin, and without asking him to settle anything, either to 
become an English, Spanish or American citizen. 

I2th. So we, EngHsh subjects, proclaim to be free, as well as those who 
came from France, California, United States, or even natives of this country ; 
and we desire unison with all the respectable citizens who wish to settle in this 
country; or, we ask to be recognized as free amongst ourselves, to make such 
regulations as appear suitable to our wants, save the general interest of having 
justice from all strangers who might injure us, and that our reasonable customs 
and pretensions be respected. 

13th. That we are willing to submit to any lawful government when it comes. 

14th. That we do not forget that we make laws only for necessary circum- 
stances. The more laws there are, the more opportunities for roguery, for those 
who make a practice of it ; and, perhaps, the more alterations there will be some 

15th. That we do not forget in a trial, that before all fraud on fulfilling of 
some points of the law, the ordinary proofs of the certainty of the fact ought to 
be duly weighed, so that justice may be done, and no shame given for fraud. 

i6th. In a new country, the more men employed and paid by the public, the 
less remains for industry. 

17th. That no one can be more desirous than we are, for the prosperity, 
ameliorations, and general peace of the country, and especially for the guaranty 
of our rights and liberties ; and such is the wish we make for all those who are, 
or may become, our fellow countrymen, etc., for long years of peace. 

Signed by Xavier Laderoute, Antoine Bonanfant, Andre LaChapelle, 
Pierre Papin, Louis V. Vandalle, Jean B. DuCharme, Fabien Maloin, 
Luc Pagnon, Etienne Gregoire, Amable Arcouette, Pierre De Lord, 
Louis A. VanDalle, John Sanders, Pierre Bariseau, Charles Ron- 
deau, David Donpierre, Andre DuBois, Pierre Depot, Moyse Lor, 
Pierre La Course, Gedereau Sencalle, Thomas Moisan, Pierre Gan- 
thier, H. Laderant, F. N. Blanchet, Joseph Bernabe, Baptiste De- 
guire, Adolphe Chamberlain, Jean Lingras, Alexis Aubichon, Jean 
Servans, Michelle Laferts, Jean B. Dalcourse, Louis Osent, Jean B. 
Aubichon, Antoine Felice, Michel LaFramboise, Joseph Gervais, 
Jean B. Panpin, Olivier Briscbois, Thomas Roa, Louis Boivers, 
Andre Langtain, Elexis LaPratte, Pierre Belique, Augustin Remon, 
Joseph Matte, Francois Bernier, M. Charlevon, M. Maitune. 

After the reading of this address a motion was made that the report of the 
committee be accepted, which being put, was lost. Considerable confusion ex- 
isting in consequence, it was moved by Mr. Le Breton and seconded by Mr. 
Gray that the meeting divide, preparatory to being counted ; those in favor of 
the object of this meeting stepping to the right hand and those of a contrary 
mind going to the left. The chairman called upon those present to divide and 
line up to be counted. 

Whereupon more conf ustion than before resulted ; the opponents of organiza- 
tion continuing to mix freely with the friends of organization, and earnestly 
opposing and arguing against organization, for the purpose of preventing any 

This state of indecision and confusion continuing for ten or fifteen minutes, 
Le Breton and Lucier sought out Joseph L. Meek, and earnestly besought him 
to do something to divide the wrangling disputants. 

Meek proved equal to the occasion. (The following accovmt of what then 
took place was given to the writer hereof by Col. Meek, at the county fair in 
Hillsboro, in September, 1867, and then written down in a memorandum book.) 

"When the ayes and noes was called for adopting report of the committee 
the ayes voted weak and scattering, and the noes voted solid and loud, as if 


trained and prepared. It looked as if we were beaten, but the chairman 
being an American did not want to decide that way, and said he was 
not sure how it was, and proposed a division and counting. The British all 
opposed division, and mixed up with the Americans, arguing against any or- 
ganization. This confusion continued for fifteen or twenty minutes, when Le 
Breton and Lucier came to me and said, 'Joe, we must do something to get this 
thing decided; you must lead off and get them separated.' I then stepped out, 
clear outside of the crowd, swung my hat in the air, and sounded the war whoop, 
and yelled at the top of my voice : 

"DIVIDE! DIVIDE! Who's for a Divide! All in favor of the Ameri- 
can flag follow me!" 

"I thought the appeal to the flag would catch them, and it did, for every 
American lined up after me. The secretaries then acted as tellers and com- 
menced counting. As I looked down the line, it was awful close. Before the 
counting was half done, Matthieu, who had lined up with the Canadians, left 
them and walked over to our side and took a position alongside of Lucier, Mat- 
thieu's vote decided it, for we had only two majority. The British then mounted 
their horses and rode away, and we went on and completed our organization." 

And so was born the first American government west of the Rocky mountains. 

The following are the names of the "immortals" who saved the day for 
American institutions on May 2, 1843. The fifty-two persons voting for the 
adoption of the committee's report were as follows : Dr. Ira L. Babcock, W. H. 
Wilson, G. W. Le Breton, W. H. Gray, Joseph L. Meek, David Hill, Robert Short- 
ess, Dr. Robert Newell, Reuben Lewis, Amos Cook, Caleb Wilkins, Hugh Burns, 
Francis Fletcher, Sidney Smith, Alanson Beers, T. J. Hubbard, James O'Neil, Rob- 
ert Moore, *W. P. Doughty, Rev, J. S. Griffin, George Gay, Geo W. Ebberts, Rev. 
J. L. Parrish, Rev. Harvey Clark, Charpes Campo, Dr. W. J. Bailey, *Allen 
Davie, Joseph Holman, *John Edmunds Pickernel, Joseph Gale, Russell Os- 
born, David Weston, William Johnson, W. Hauxhurst, William Cannon, Medo- 
rem Crawford, John L. Morrison, P. M. Armstrong, L. H. Judson, A. T, Smith, 
J. C. Bridges, Rev. Gustavus Hines, Rev. David Leslie, John Howard, William 
McCarty, Calvin Tibbetts, J. R. Robb, Solomon H. Smith, A. E. Wilson, F. X. 
Matthieu, Etienne Lucier, Charles McKay." 

Now follows the remainder of the proceedings of the meeting that day, ac- 
cording to the "Archives." 

"It was then moved and carried, that the report of the committee be taken 
up, and disposed of article by article. 

A motion was made and carried, that a supreme judge, with probate powers, 
be chosen to officiate in this community. 

Moved and carried, that a clerk of the court, or recorder, be chosen. 

Moved and carried that a sheriff be chosen. 

Moved and carried, that three magistrates be chosen. 

Moved and carried, that three constables be chosen. 

Moved and carried 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 to a public meeting to be hereafter called by them, on the fifth day of 
July next, for their acceptance. 

A motion was made and carried, that a treasurer be chosen. 

Moved and carried, that a major, and three captains, be chosen. 

Moved and carried, that we now proceed to choose the persons to fill the 
various offices, by ballot. 

W. E. Willson was chosen to act as supreme judge, with probate powers. 

G. W. Le Breton was chosen to act as clerk of court, or recorder. 

J. L. Meek was chosen to fill the office of sheriff. 

W. H. Wilson was chosen tr&isurer. 


The man whose vote to organize the Provisional Government of IS-to, under 
the American flag, most probably gave the territory of Old Oregon to the United 
States instead of Great Britain. The monument to his left was erected as a 
memorial to the men who oi'ganized the Provisional Government, t)ie names 
of the fifty-two men voting for organization being engraved thereon. 

I ^-i^- .y-EW rj'v^ ) 


Moved and carried, that the remainder of the officers be chosen by hand bal- 
lot, and nominations from the floor. 

Messrs. Hill, Shortess, Newell, Beers, Hubbard, Gray, O'Neil, Moore, and 
Dougherty, were chosen to act as the legislative committee. 

Messrs. Burns, Judson, and A. T. Smith, were chosen to act as magistrates. 

Messrs. Elbert, Bridges, and Lewis, were chosen to act as constables. 

Mr. John Howard, was chosen mayor. 

Messrs. Wm. McCarty, C. M'Roy and S. Smith, were chosen captains. 

Moved and carried, that the legislative committee make their report on the 
5th day of July next, at Champooick. 

Moved and carried, that the services of the legislative committee be paid for, 
at $1.25 per day, and that the money be raised by subscription. 

Moved and carried, that the mayor and captains be instructed to enlist men 
to form companies of mounted riflemen. 

Moved and carried, that an additional magistrate and constable be chosen. 

Mr. Campo was chosen as an additional magistrate. 

Mr. Matthieu was chosen as an additional constable. 

Moved and carried, that the legislative committee shall not sit over six days. 

The meeting was then adjourned. 

The question having arisen, with regard to what time the newly appointed 
officers shall commence their duties, the meeting was again called to order, when 

It was moved and carried, that the old officers remain in office till the laws 
are made and accepted, or until the next public meeting. 

Attest: ;' ::: G. W. LeBreton. 

There has been much discussion.of what did actually take place at the Cham- 
poeg meeting. It is evident upon the face of it, that what has been printed in 
"The Oregon Archives" as the proceedings of that meeting, is an imperfect re- 
port. The Hon. L. F. Grover was authorized by the territorial legislature of 
1849, to collect all the papers and records of the provisional government for pub- 
lication ; and in a note appended to the work, says : "Within the proper deposi- 
tory of the public papers, he has not been able to find entire and satisfactory 
records of all that he is satisfied has transpired in Oregon of a public general 
nature, and which would be of eminent historic importance." The fact that the 
three secretaries of that meeting, were active partizans of the purpose to form 
a government, and were actively advocating such purpose at the meeting, will 
explain why a fuller account of the proceedings was not made. The most strik- 
ing and important event of the meeting was Meek's dramatic appeal for a "di- 
vision," and yet that is not mentioned in the "Archives," but that it actually 
took place there can be no doubt. The following persons told the writer of this 
book substantially what Meek told him, viz., Rev. J. S. Griffin, Medorum Craw- 
ford, Robert Shortess, William Doughty, George W. Ebberts, and F. X. Mat- 

But while much may have been lost of interesting history, there is the printed 
record of 335 octave pages to show the minds, thoughts, sentiments, and prin- 
ciples of the pioneers as "state builders ;" and the state of Oregon is the glorious 
monument to their memory. 

In organizing this provisional government, the Americans did not seek to 
exclude the Canadians from any part in the work; but on the countrary used 
all their influence to have them co-operate. At the meeting of February 2, 1843, 
they adjourned to meet at the house of Joseph Gervais, a Canadian, who voted 
against organization; and at the "Wolf Meeting," Gervais and Maitune were 
appointed on the standing committee — both Canadians. 

The legislative committee appointed on May 2d, went to work on May 16, 
1843, as a legislative body, electing Robert Moore, chairman, and G. W. Le 
Breton, secretary; and held sessions on May i6th, 17th, 18th, 19th, June 27th 
and 28th; opening their sessions with prayers. On July 5, 1843, a public meet- 
ing of all the inhabitants of "Oregon territory" was held, pursuant to adjourn- 


ment to hear the report of the legislative committee, and transact such other 
business as might come before them. The following proceedings were had: 

"The chairman of the meeting being absent, the meeting was called to order 
by G. W. Le Breton. 

"On motion. Rev. G. Hines was called to the chair. 

"Mr. Moore, chairman of the legislative committee, presented his report, 
which was read and accepted. 

"Moved by L. H. Judson, the report upon ways and means be accepted. 

"Moved by J. M'Loughlin, that the first article of judiciary report be adopted. 

"Moved, by L. H. Judson, second article be adopted. 

"Moved, by C. M'Roy, that the third article be adopted. 

"Moved, by J. Holman, that the fourth article be adopted. 

"Section second. Organic laws. 

"The first, second, third, and fourth articles, adopted. 
"The fifth article amended, as recorded, adopted. 

"The sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh articles, adopted. 
"The twelfth article amended, as recorded, adopted. 
"The thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth articles adopted. 
"The seventeenth article, amended, by inserting the word 'one' for 'three,' 

"The eighteenth article, and nineteenth resolution, adopted. 
"Moved and carried, that the committee, for carrying into efifect the nine- 
teenth resolution, be chosen, by nomination, from the floor. 
"Messrs. Lee, Hines, and Walker, were chosen. 

"Moved and carried, that the members of the executive committee be now 
chosen, by ballot. 

"Moved and carried, that the highest number of votes decide the choice. 
, "Moved and carried that the votes be taken to the table, to be counted. 
"Messrs. Hill, Beers, and Gale, were chosen to be the members of the execu- 
tive committee. 

"Moved and carried, that we proceed to elect a justice of the peace, in place 
of Mr. Burns, resigned. 

"Robert Moore was chosen justice of the peace. 

"Moved and carried, to adopt the remainder of the judiciary report: viz: — 

to adopt the laws of Iowa, as recorded, by amending them so far as to retain the 

fees of New York, for jurors and witnesses, instead of those of Oregon territory. 

"Moved and carried, to adopt the military laws. Amended so as to continue 

the officers in command during good behavior. 

"Moved and carried, to adopt the report, districting committee. 
"Moved and carried, that no person be allowed to speak more than twice to 
any one resolution. 

"Moved and carried, to proceed to appoint a justice of the peace, for Yam- 
hill district. 

"On motion, James O'Neil, Esq., was chosen. 
"On motion, A. Cook was appointed constable. 

"On motion, Joel Turnham was chosen constable, for Champooick district, in 
place of Mr. Bridges, left the country. 

"The report of committee, upon ways and means, was adopted, as amended 
and recorded. 

"The report of committee, upon land claims was adopted, with the proviso, 
as recorded. 


"Moved and carried, to purchase several law books, of Jas. O'Neil, to be the 
property of this community. 

"Moved and carried, to adopt the report of legislative committee, as a whole. 

"Moved and carried, to excuse the legislative committee from further services. 

"Moved and carried that the committee chosen to carry into effect the nine- 
teenth resolution, have access to all public records, and also to have authority to 
call upon any individual for information, necessary to carry out their instruc- 

"Resolved : — That the chairman of this meeting, assisted by the Rev. Messrs. 
Lee, Clark, and Leslie, be a committee to draft, and administer an oath of office, 
to the civil officers, elected on the third of May, 1843; ^^^^ that said officers be 
required to subscribe to the same, and administer the oath to the supreme judge, 
who shall hereafter qualify all civil and military officers, to be elected by the 

"Moved and carried, that the committee, to qualify officers, proceed to theii 
duty, as far as practicable, this evening. 

"On motion, adjourned. 

"A true copy, from original papers. 

"Attest. "G. W. Le Breton, 


The legislative committtee recommended that the territory be divided into four 
districts : as follows : — 

First district, to be called the Twality district, comprising all the country 
south of the northern boundary line of the United States, west of the Willa- 
mette, or Multnomah river, north of the Yamhill river, and east of the Pacific 

Second district, to be called the Yamhill district, embracing all the country 
west of the Willamette, or Multnomah river, and a supposed line running north 
and south from said river, south of the Yamhill river, to the parallel of 42° 
north latitude, or the boundary line of the United States and California, and 
east of the Pacific ocean. 

Third district, to be called the Clackamas district, comprehending all the ter- 
ritory not included in the other three districts. 

Fourth district, to be called the Champooick district, and bounded on the 
north by a supposed line drawn from the north of the Anchiyoke river, running 
due east to the Rocky mountains, west by the Willamette, or Multnomah river, 
and a supposed line running due south from said river to the parallel of 42°, 
north latitude; south by the boundary Hne of the United States and California, 
and east by the summit of the Rocky mountains. 

The legislative committee also recommend that the above districts be desig- 
nated as Oregon territory. 

Approved by the people, July 5, 1843. 


The legislative committee report, that a subscription paper, as follows, be put 
in circulation to collect funds, for defraying the expenses of the government. 

We, the subscribers, pledge ourselves to pay, annually, to the treasurer of 
Oregon territory, the sums affixed to our respective names for the purpose of de- 
fraying the expenses of government — provided that, in all cases, each individual 
subscriber may, at any time, withdraw his name from said subscription, upon 
paying up all arrearages and notifying the treasurer of the colony, of such desire 
to withdraw. 

The following are the principal provisions of the original constitution, ap- 
proved by the people, July 5, 1843. 

Sec. I. We, the people of Oregon territory, for purposes of mutual protec- 
tion, and to secure peace and prosperity among ourselves agree to adopt the fol- 


lowing laws and regulations, until such time as the United States of America 
extend their jurisdiction over us. 

Art. I. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, 
shall ever be molested, on account of his mode of worship, or religious senti- 

Art. 2. The inhabitants of said territory shall always be entitled to the 
benefits of the writ of habeas corpus, and trial by jury; of a proportionate rep- 
resentation of the people in the legislature, — and of judicial proceedings, ac- 
cording to the course of common law. All persons shall be bailable, unless for 
capital offences, where the proof shall be evident, or the presumption great. All 
fines shall be moderate, and no cruel or unusual punishments inflicted. No man 
shall be deprived of his liberty, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of 
the land ; and, should the public exigencies make it necessary for the common 
preservation, to take any person's property, or to demand his particular services, 
full compensation shall be made for the same. And, in the just preservation 
of rights and property, it is understood and declared that no law ought ever to be 
made, or have force, in said territory, that shall in any manner whatever, inter- 
fere with, or affect private contracts, or engagements, bona fide, and without 
fraud, previously formed. 

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good govern- 
ment, and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of education shall 
forever be encouraged. 

The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians. Their 
lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent ; and, in 
their property rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, un- 
less in just and lawful wars, authorized by the representatives of the people; but 
laws, founded in justice and humanity, shall, from time to time, be made, for 
preventing injustice being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship 
with them. 

Art. 4. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in said ter- 
ritory, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have 
been duly convicted. 

Sec. 2; Art. i. Be it further enacted, that an election of civil and military 
officers shall be held annually on the second Tuesday in May, in the several dis- 
tricts at such places as shall be designated by law. 

Art. 3. Each officer heretofore elected, or hereafter to be elected, shall, be- 
fore entering upon the duties of his office, take an oath or affirmation, to sup- 
port the laws of the territory, and faithfully to discharge the duties of his office. 

Art. 5. The executive power shall be vested in a committee of three persons, 
elected by the qualified voters at the annual election, who shall have power to 
grant pardons and reprieves for oftences against the laws of the territory, to 
call out the military force of territory to repel invasion, or suppress insurrec- 
tion, to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, and to recommend such 
laws as they may consider necessary, to the representatives of the people, for 
their action. Two members of the committee shall constitute a quorum to tran- 
sact business. 

Art. 6. The legislative power shall be vested in a committee of nine persons, 
who shall be elected by the qualified electors at the annual election, giving to 
each district a representation in ratio of its population, excluding Indians ; and 
the said members of the committee shall reside in the district for which they 
shall be chosen. 

Art. 7. The judicial power shall be vested in a supreme court, consisting of 
a supreme judge, and two justices of the peace; a probate court; and in justices 
of the peace. The jurisdiction of the supreme court shall be both appellate and 
original. That of the probate court and justice of the peace, as limited by law — • 
provided, that individual justices of the peace shall not have jurisdiction of any 


matter of controversy, when the title or boundary of land may be in dispute, or 
where the sum claimed exceed fifty dollars. 

Art. 12. The laws of Iowa territory, shall be the law of this territory, in 
civil, military, and criminal cases; where not otherwise provided for, and where 
no statute of Iowa territory applies, the principles of common law and equity 
shall govern. 

Art. 17. All male persons, of the age of sixteen years and upwards, and 
all females of the age of fourteen and upwards, shall have the right of engag- 
ing in marriage — provided, that where either of the parties shall be under the age 
of twenty-one, the consent of the parents or guardians of such minors shall be 
necessary to validity of such matrimonial engagement. Every ordained minister 
of the gospel of any religious denomination, the supreme judge, and all jus- 
tices of the peace, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriages according to law, 
to have the same recorded, and pay the recorder's fee. All marriages shall be 
recorded by the territorial recorder, within one month form the time of such 
marriage taking place and being made known to him officially. The legal fee 
for marriage shall be one dollar, and for recording the same, fifty cents. 

Art. 19. — Resolved: — That a committee of three be appointed to draw up a 
digest of the doings of the people of this territory, with regard to an organiza- 
tion, and transmit the same to the United Staes government for their informa- 

The Militia. 

Art. I. The militia of this territory shall be arranged into one battalion, 
consisting of three of more companies or mounted riflemen. 

Art. 2. Any person now holding, or hereafter wishing to establish a claim 
to land in this territory, shall designate the extent of his claim by natural 
boundaries, or by marks at the corners, and on the lines of such claim, and have 
the extent and boundaries of said claim recorded in the office of the terrritorial 
recorder, in a book to be kept by him for that purpose, within twenty days from 
the time of making said claim — provided, that those who shall already be in 
possession of land, shall be allowed one year from the passage of this act, to 
file a description of his claim in the recorder's office. 

Art. 3. No individual shall be allowed to hold a claim or more than one 
square mile of six hundred and forty acres in a square or oblong form, accord- 
ing to the natural situation of the premises ; nor shall any individual be allowed 
to hold more than one claim at the same time. Any person complying with the 
provisions of these ordinances, shall be entitled to the same recourse against 
trespass as in other cases by law provided. 

Art. 4. No person shall be entitled to hold such a claim upon city or town 
sites, extensive water privileges, or other situations necessary for the transac- 
tion of mercantile or manufacturing operations, and to the detriment of the 
community — provided, that nothing in these laws shall be so constructed as to 
afifect any claim of any mission of a religious character, made previous to this 
time of an extent not more than six miles square. 

Approved by the people, July 5th, 1843. 

The legislative committee met again at Willamette Falls, June 18, 1844, and 
daily transacted legislative business until June 27, when it adjourned, to meet 
again on third Monday of December, 1844. The enacting clause of every law 
was — "Be it enacted by the house of representatives of Oregon territory." 
Among the laws passed at this section, was an act to authorize John McLoughlin 
to operate a ferry at Willamette falls; an act to prevent the introduction, sale 
or manufacture of ardent spirits in Oregon; an act to prevent slavery, in Ore- 
gon. N. H. King applied for a divorce from his wife to this legislature, and 
it was not granted. John McLoughlin was authorized to construct a canal at 
Willamette Falls. F. Ermatinger and others sent in a petition to incorporate 


Oregon City, which was unfavorably reported upon by A. L. Lovejoy, the only 
lawyer in the legislature. 

An executive committee of two persons, Osborn Russell, and P. G. Stewart, 
having at some time, not shown in the records, been appointed as a sort of 
double-headed governor, presents to the adjourned meeting of the legislature, 
on December ii, 1844, the first executive document or governor's message to 
the new government which we here copy as follows : 

To the honorable the legislative committee of Oregon.. 

Gentlemen : — As the expectation of receiving some information from the United 
States, relative to the adjustment of the claims of that government and of Great 
Britain, upon this country, was the principal cause of the adjournment of this 
assembly, from June last to this day, we feel it our duty to communicate such 
information as we have been able to collect on the subject, and likewise to recom- 
mend the adoption of further measures, for the promotion and security of the 
interests of Oregon. 

The subject has again been called up for investigation by the two powers, 
and a negotiation was begun at Washington in the early part of the present year, 
but was for the time being suspended, on account of a disagreement between, 
the parties, and notice of the abrogation of the convention of 1827, had not been 
given by either party, when our latest information left the United States. And 
we find that after all the negotiations that have been carried on, between the 
United States, and Great Britain relative to settling their claims to this country, 
from October, 1818, upto May, 1844, a period of nearly twenty-six years, the 
question remains in the following unsettled position, viz. : Neither of the par- 
ties in question claim exclusive right to the country lying west of the Rocky 
mountains, between the parallels of 42 deg. and 54 deg. 40 min. north latitude, 
and bordering on the Pacific ocean. 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 country. 

We have submitted to you this information, gentlemen of the assembly, 
for two particular reasons : 

1st, To correct an error that occurred in our last communication to this 
body, relative to the claims of the United States and Great Britain to this country. 

2d. That you may bear in mind, while legislating for the people of Oregon, 
the position in which this country stands, with regard to those claims. 

We would advise that provision be made by this body, for the framing and 
adoption of a constitution for Oregon, previous 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 
require it. 

We would suggest, for your information, that this government has now in 
possession, notes given by diflferent individuals residing in the country, amount- 
ing to $3,734.26, most of which are already due. These notes are a balance 
in favor of the estate of Ewing Young, of Oregon, deceased, intestate, A. D. 
1840, after all legal dues, debts, and damages are paid, that have come to the 
knowledge of the administrator, or probate courts of Oregon up to this date. 
We would therefore advise that those demands should be collected, and appro- 
priated to the benefit of the country; the government being at all times re- 
sponsible for the payment of them, to those who may hereafter appear to have 
a legal right to the same. 

We would again call your attention to a measure recommended in our last 
communication, to wit: The expediency, of making provision for the erection 


of a public jail in this country. Although the community has suffered very little 
as yet, for the want of such a building, and perhaps another year might pass 
without its being occupied, which it is hoped might be the case; yet we are as- 
sured that it is better policy to have the building standing without a tenant, than 
a tenant without the building. And, in order to promote industry, and the peace 
and welfare of the citizens of Oregon, this government must be prepared to dis- 
countenance indolence, and check vice in the bud. 

We would recommend to your consideration the propriety of making provision 
for filling public offices which are now, or may become vacant, by resignation or 
otherwise, previous to the next annual election. 

We would recommend that the act passed by this assembly, in June last, 
relative to blacks and mulattoes, be so amended as to exclude corporal punish- 
ment, and require bonds for good behavior in the stead. 

We consider it a highly important subject that the executive of this 
government should have laws which may direct them in settling matters relative 
to lands reserved by Indians, which have been, or hereafter may be, settled 
upon by whites. 

We would also recommend that provisions be made for the support of lunatics 
and insane persons, in Oregon. 

With regard to the state of the treasury, we would refer you to the treasurer's 
report to this assembly. 

We are informed that the number of emigrants who have come from the 
United States to this country, during the present year, amounts to upwards of 
750 persons. 

We would recommend that the act passed last June, defining the northern 
boundaries of Twality and Clatsop counties be so explained as not to conflict with 
the act passed in this assembly, in June, 1843, extending the limits of Oregon 
to 54° 40' north latitude. 

And we would suggest, in conclusion, that to preserve the peace, good order, 
and kind feelings which have hitherto existed among the inhabitants of this 
country, depends very much upon the calm and deliberate judgment of this 
assembly. And we sincerely hope that Oregon, by the special aid of Divine 
Providence, may set an unprecedented example to the world, of industry, morality, 
and virtue. 

And although, we may now be unknown, as a state or power, yet we have 
the advantages, by united efforts of our increasing population, in a diligent 
attention to agriculture, arts, and literature, of attaining, at no distant day, to 
as conspicuous an elevation as any state or power on the continent of America. 

But, in order to carry this important measure and arise to that distinguished 
station, it becomes the duty of every citizen of this country, to take a deep in- 
terest in its present and future welfare. 

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 or proceeding, and a strict observance of the rules 
of justice, equity, and republican principles, without party distinction 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. 


OsBORN Russell, 
P. G. Stewart, 
Executive Committee of Oregon. 

Willamette Falls, December 16, 1844. 

At this meeting of the legislature the territorial treasurer W. H. Willson, pre- 
sented the first report on the treasury, as follows : 



Received of collector, in taxes $313.31 

for license, for two ferries 40.00 

one fine 5.00 

Total $358.31 

Expended for stationery 20.38 

Mr. Hathaway's house i5-00 

Judge Babcock's salary 60.00 

Services of secretary in house 20.00 

Total $115.38 

Balance remaining in treasury $242.93 

On December 20, 1844, Representative Lovejoy reports to the legislature that 
John McLoughlin had donated a lot in Oregon City, on which to build a jail. 

The bill to incorporate Oregon city was read a third time and passed on De- 
cember 24, 1844, making Oregon city the oldest incorporated town on the Pa- 
cific coast, and the only town holding its charter from the provisional government. 

The next session of the legislature was begun and held at Oregon City, June 
24, 1845. New men now begin to appear in the government, and for the first 
time the members of the legislature take an oath of office as follows : 

"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 faith- 
fully demean myself in office, so help me God." 

One of the first resolutions at this session was offered by W. H. Gray, au- 
thorizing the appointment of a committee of five to draft a memorial and peti- 
tion to the congress of the United States, setting forth the condition, situation, 
relation and wants of this country. 

J. W. Nesmith appears in the government for the first time and before the 
legislature as "Judge of Oregon," but there is no record of his appointment or 

On June 28, 1844, Representative Garrison offered the following resolutions : 

"Resolved: That whereas, the people of Oregon assembled en masse, did on 
the 2d day of May, 1843, resolve, that no tax should be levied upon this people, 
confirming the same by the adoption of the report of the committee of ways and 
means, adopted by the legislative committee, and referred to the people en masse, 
and by them enacted July 5, 1843 J therefore. 

Resolved: That this house has no right to levy a tax of any kind without 
the consent of the free voters of this territory, previously obtained. 

Resolved: That all acts and parts of acts on that subject, passed by the legis- 
lative committee, were contrary to the express resolution and action of the 

So we see that Oregon^ started out in favor of the referendum on taxation. 

And on the same day the memorial to congress was presented by G. W. Gray, 
and signed by the two governors, Osborn Russell, and P. G. Stewart, by Judge 
Nesmith, Mr. Speaker, and all the members of the legislature, and then deliv- 
ered to Dr. White, Indian agent to be conveyed to congress at Washington, D. C. 

On July 5, 1845, the legislature passed a resolution that the members should 
receive two dollars a day for their services, and then adjourned to meet again 
at Oregon City on August 5, 1845. 

The legislature met again at Oregon City, August 5, 1845, the following mem- 
bers being present: Applegate, Foisy, Garrison, H. A. G. Lee, B. Lee, W. H. 


May, Robt. Newell, David Hill, Sidney Smith, M. M. McCarver, McClure and 
Straight. An election being taken to select a speaker — Gray received 8 votes, H. 
Lee, 2, and McCarver, i. McCarver then questioned the propriety of electing 
Gray, claiming to be himself still the speaker. Whereupon the legislative body 
requested Mr. McCarver to resign. But McCarver did not resign, and proceeded 
to appoint a committee on v^^ays and means, claims, judiciary, private land claims, 
roads, Indian affairs, and education. 

Mr. Gray now inquired if, in the opinion of the speaker, the house was prop- 
erly organized ; and the "chair" decided in the affirmative. Whereupon, Gray 
appealed from the decision of the speaker to the house, when the decision of the 
"chair" was reversed, and a resolution passed to remove McCarver from the office 
of speaker, and Robert Newell was elected chairman in his place." 

So the reader can see that this was a real flesh and blood legislature, the 
strife for public station starting early in Oregon, and as trifling as this incident 
was, it, with other resolutions copied hereafter decided the future course of an 
able and energetic man, and impelled Mr. McCarver to leave Oregon and cast in 
his fortunes with Puget Sound. 

By the 9th of August, 1845, Meek had secured more offices than any other 
citizen, having been appointed by the legislature sheriff, marshal, and collector 
of the revenue. 

On the 9th of August, the legislature passed resolutions declaring that it had 
not the power to set aside or annul contracts made and entered into by the officers 
of the government. 

And also a resolution calling upon Joseph L. Meek to report the amount of 
revenue he had collected in the year 1844, and how he had disbursed the same. 

On this day, J. W. Nesmith, resigned the office of "Judge of Oregon," and 
the legislature proceeded to elect a successor in the office. The choice resulting 
in the election of Nineveh Ford, of Yamhill County, which then included what is 
now Polk. Ford declined the office. And Ford is hardly to be regarded as a 
public benefactor. As it is related of him, that, when he and his good wife were 
about starting from Missouri to Oregon, Nineveh remarked that it was likely 
there was nothing growing in that country that was good for "greens ;" and that 
as they could not get along without "hogs jowl and greens" they had better take 
some seed and roots with them, which they did, by bringing the "dandelion" 
to this country ; where it did not exist before, and planting it in the virgin soil 
of Oregon, turned loose an unmitigated pest to all pastures, lawns, gardens, and 

On August 15, the legislative assembly shows its pronounced sentiment on 
two subjects by resolutions as follows: 

"Resoh'ed: That M. M. McCarver has been opposed to the organic law, as 
adopted by the people of Oregon, and contrary to the voice of this house in 
regular session, clandestinely, and in a manner unworthy the confidence re- 
posed in him, placed his name to a copy of those laws transmitted to the United 
States, thereby conveying a false impression, and did, also, sign his name to 
two resolutions contrary to a direct vote of this house; therefore 

It is further Resolv'ed: That we disapprove of the course he has pursued, 
and feel ourselves under humiliating necessity of signifying the same to the 
United States government by causing a copy of this resolution to accompany 
those documents." 

Mr. Hill introduced the following: 

"Resolved: That no person belonging to the Hudson Bay Company, or in 
their service, shall ever be considered as citizens of the government of Oregon, 
nor have the right of elective franchise;" which resolution was rejected. 

From these proceedings it can be seen that the pioneer lawmakers could not 
only deal with a stern hand with those who trifled with the interests of the 
people, but they could also be just and magnanimous to those who did not sup- 
port the provisional government. 


On August i6th, a bill was reported "to prevent litigation." If such a meas- 
ure was proposed to the legislature of the present day, the lawyers and judges 
would be paralyzed. 

On August i8th, the house went into secret session to fill the office of su- 
preme judge of Oregon, which resulted in choosing Peter H. Burnett for that 

Mr. Burnett accepted the office, and so far as is known, discharged its duties 
to the satisfaction of the people and credit of himself. After the United States 
assumed control, and organized the territorial government, Mr. Burnett removed 
to California and became governor of that state. 

The following are the proceedings for the ensuing session of the legislature 
for August 19, 1845: 

"On motion of Mr. B. Lee, 

Resolved: That when this house adjourns tomorrow night, it adjourn sine 

On motion of Mr. Hill, 

Resolved: That all resolutions and other proceedings of this house calculated 
to cast censure upon the speaker, be expunged from the journals, and the clerk 
is hereby authorized to erase the same; which, after some discussion, was laid 
upon the table. 

The house proceeded to the election of district judges, for the Clackamas 
district, which resulted in the choice of P. G. Stewart for district judge for 
three years ; Fred Prigg for two years, and F. VV. Pettigrove for one year ; and 
William Holmes was elected sheriff for Clackamas county. 

The house then proceeded to the election of district judges for Clatsop dis- 
trict, which resulted in the choice of W. T. Perry for three years; Robert Short- 
ess for two years, and Calvin Tibbits for one year; and Thomas Owens was 
duly elected sheriff for Clatsop county. 

The house proceeded to the election of district judges for the district of 
Vancouver, which resulted in the choice of James Douglas for three years ; M. 
T. Simmons for two years, and Charles Forrest for one year. John R. Jackson 
was elected sheriff for Vancouver district. The house adjourned to 9 o'clock 
tomorrow morning." 

Governor Abernethy sent in his annual message, but it has been lost, as well 
as his first message. So far in this history of the legislature, bills on all sorts 
of subjects had been proposed but very few of them adopted ; and very few of 
these old provisional laws can now be found. To determine the character of 
the legislation, we have to depend on the journal of the legislature printed in 
the "archives." 

It is to the honor of W. H. Gray, whose daughter, Mrs. Jacob Kamm, 
resides in this city, and other descendants at Astoria, that he prepared and in- 
troduced, December 13, 1845, into the first legislative body west of the Rocky 
mountains, the first law to provide for the education of all children by common 
public schools. 

On December i6th, Mr. McClure introduced a bill to provide for postoffices 
and post roads. On the same day the committee of the whole reported a bill 
to authorize Sam K. Barlow to construct the wagon road over the mountains 
south of Mt. Hood, and which is the same road the Portland automobilists are 
now using for "joy rides" to the mountains. A large part of the immigration 
to Oregon passed over that road to reach Portland and Oregon City. 

On Friday, December 19, W. G. T' Vault was elected postmaster-general of 
Oregon. T'Vault, "old T" as everybody called him, v.^as a rare gem. Coming 
from Arkansas, he had all the vernacular of the colored population, with an 
odd cargo of miscellaneous information and a limited amount of book educa- 
tion. Dryden might have had "old T" in mind when he wrote: 


"A man so various that he seemed to be 
Not one, but all mankind's epitome ! 
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong. 
Everything by starts, and nothing long." 

He had an ambition to be an editor, and did conduct several newspaper 
enterprises, which were more entertaining to his fellow craftsmen even than to 
his patrons. Punctuation of his editorials was one of his strong points. And 
in a brilliant description of a gorgeous sunset in Rogue River valley, he at- 
tempted to tell his readers that he was seated on the hill back of the old town 
of Jacksonville, and made the opening sentence read: "Seated on the eminence 
of an evening, etc." All his exchanges copied the line with ribald remarks 
about "Eminence of that evening," but fortunate for the comfort of Oregon's 
first and last postmaster-general, he did not see what the boys were laughing 

At the next annual session of the legislature, commenced and held at Oregon 
City, December i, 1846, we get hold of the first governor's message to any 
legislature west of the Rocky mountains. George Abernethy whose portrait 
appears on another page, had been elected governor at the previous election. 
We give below the proceedings introducing the message and the document it- 

"The speaker announced a communication from the governor. The reading 
of the communication was called for, when Mr. Newell moved that the sec- 
retary of the territory read the communication. The speaker decided the motion 
out oi order; whereupon Mr. Newell appealed from the decision of the chair. 
The house sustained the decision of the speaker. Mr. Newell moved that the 
rules be suspended. Mr. T'Vault demanded the yeas and nays, which were as 
follows : Ayes — Messrs. Chamberlain, Looney, McDonald, Newell, Peers, Straight, 
and Tolmie, 7. Nays — Messrs. Hall, Hembree, Lownsdale, Meek, Summers, 
T'Vault and Mr. Speaker, 7. So the rules were not suspended. 

The communication from the governor was then read as follows : 

"To the Honorable the Legislative Assembly of Oregon, 

Fellow Citizens: The duty of addressing you at the opening of your 
session, again presents itself. 

The duty of legislating, for the welfare and happiness of the community, again 
devolves on you. 

May we be guided and directed by that wisdom which never errs. 

The boundary question — a question of great importance to us as a people — 
there is every reason to believe, is finally settled. The following is an extract 
from the Polynesian, a paper published at the Sandwich Islands, of the 29th 
August last : — 

'The senate ratified the treaty upon the Oregon question, by a vote of 41 

to 14.' 

This the Polynesian credits to the New York Gazette, and Times, of the loth 
of June ; showing that a treaty had been entered into, and probably concluded, 
between the two governments. The provisions of the treaty are not yet known to 
us in Oregon, farther than what v,-e can gather from the letter of Mr. Geo, 
Seymour, the British commander-in-chief in the Pacific, to the agent of the Hud- 
son Bay Company at the Sandwich Islands, being an extract of a private letter 
from A. Forbes, Esq., consul at Tepic, to Geo. Seymour : 

T send you an American newspaper, which Mr. Bankhead has requested may 
be forwarded to you, and which shows that the Oregon question is entirely settled ; 
the 49th degree is to run on to the Straits of Fuca ; the whole Island of Vancouver 
being left in possession of England ; and the said Straits of Fuca, Puget's Sound, 
&c., remaining free to both parties. The Columbia river is also to remain free 
to both parties, until the expiration of the charter of the Hudson's Bay Company, 


when the whole to the south of the 49th degree, is to- belong to America, with the 
exceptions mentioned.' 

Should this information prove correct, we may shortly expect officers from 
the United States government, to take formal possession of Oregon, and extend 
over us the protection we have longed and anxiously looked for. 

The notice that the joint occupancy of Oregon would cease, after twelve 
months, was given, by the president of the United States, to the government of 
Great Britain. 

The president in his message of 1845, before the notice was given, speaking of 
Oregon, says : 

As yet, we have not been made acquainted with any action of congress, that 
would extend the jurisdiction of the United States over us, but from the feeling 
which prevailed in congress, with regard to this country, and the sentiments set 
forth by the president, previous to the notice being given, there can be no doubt 
that, now the notice being given, the boundary line is, in all probability, finally 

We shall, in a few months at the farthest, be again living under, and enjoying 
the protection of, the stars and stripes of our loved country, and, ere long, we may 
reasonably hope, be added to the brilliant constellation of states. 

The law establishing the postoffice department needs altering, very materially. 
It was found, after being in operation but a very short time, that the rates of 
postage were altogether too high, amounting to a prohibition. Very few letters 
passed through the office ; the revenue arose almost entirely from the postage on 
newspapers, but fell so far short of the expenses, that the postmaster general, at 
the close of the third quarter, stopped sending the mails. I would recommend 
that the rates of postage be reduced to five cents on each single letter, double 
letters and packages in proportion, and one cent on each newspaper. A mail route 
should be kept up between the principal sections of the territory ; and I have no 
doubt, if the postage is reduced, the revenue, arising from the receipts of the office, 
will nearly or quite pay the expenses. 

The act passed at the last session of the legislature, entitled "An act to prevent 
the introduction, sale, and distillation of ardent spirits in Oregon," is one I should 
recommend for revision ; there are several points that are thought to be defective. 
The organic law provided that the legislature shall have power to pass laws to 
regulate the introduction, manufacture, or sale of ardent spirits. It is held that 
the power to prohibit the introduction, manufacture, or sale is not granted by the 
organic law. Another objection is that the fines collected under the act shall go, 
one half to the informant and witnesses, and the other half to the officers engaged 
in arresting and trying; in fact, making the witnesses and judges interested in the 
case. The 4th section makes it the duty of any officer, or any private citizen to 
act whenever it shall come to their knowledge, that any kind of spirituous liquors, 
are being distilled, or manufactured, in Oregon. It would be much better if it 
were made the duty of the sheriff of each county to act, whenever he should be 
informed that any liquor was being made or sold in his county, and authorize him 
to raise a sufficient posse to aid and assist him in enforcing the law. We have, as 
a community, taken a high stand in the cause of temperance ; among our earliest 
efforts may be found the abolishing of ardent spirits from our land, and to this, in 
a great measure, may be attributed our peace and prosperity. No new country 
can be pointed out where so much harmony prevailed in its first settlement as in 
this — laws, we had none, yet all things went on quietly and prosperously. I have 
no doubt if ardent spirits are kept within their proper bounds, we shall continue 

It is said by some, we have no right to say what a man shall make, or what he 
shall not make ; yet, we find in all large cities, certain manufactories are forbidden 
to be carried on within the limits of the city, because they annoy the inhabitants, 
and hence are declared to be public nuisances, and by law are compelled to be 
removed ; and, if the city increase and extend to the place where they are re- 


located, they are removed again. Intoxicating- drink is an enormous public 
injury, and private wrong; its effects, in every way, shape, and form, are evil, and 
therefore should be restrained within proper limits by law. It deprives the wife 
and children of the inebriate, of the support and protection they have a right to 
expect from him ; it deprives community of the labor which constitutes a nation's 
wealth, for it is a well-known fact that a nation's wealth is made up of individual 
labor ; and every day, therefore, lost by the laborer, caused by the effects of alco- 
holic drink, is a loss to the community at large. Persons who have become habit- 
ually addicted to ardent spirits, hearing that we had excluded that poison from 
our land, and, believing they never could be free if they remained near its influ- 
ences, have left their homes and crossed the Rocky Mountains to escape the ruin 
that threatened them. Shall they be disappointed? During the last year, persons, 
taking advantage of the defect in our law, have manufactured and sold ardent 
spirits. We have seen the effects (although the manufacture was on a small 
scale) in the midnight carousals among the Indians in our neighborhood during 
their fishing season while they had property to dispose of. And, let me ask, what 
would be the consequences if the use of it should become general in the country, 
and among the different tribes of Indians in the territory ? History may hereafter, 
write the page in letters of blood ! And, what are the consequences, as presented 
to us in the history of older countries, of an indiscriminate use of ardent spirits? 
Almshouses, hospitals, prisons, and the gallov/s. I v/ould therefore recommend 
that but one person, and that person a physician, be authorized to import or manu- 
facture, a sufficient quantity to supply the wants of the community for medicinal 
purposes ; to dispose of no liquor, except when he knows it to be necessary, or on 
an order from a regular physician, stating that the person applying stands in need 
of it for medicinal purposes, and to physicians to be used in their practice. The 
person so empowered to import, manufacture, and sell, to keep a record of the 
quantity manufactured, or imported; also a record of the quantity sold, or dis- 
posed of, and to whom, and name of physician, on whose certificate given. This 
would be attended with but little trouble, and might be required to be given under 
oath. Many articles require alcohol to dissolve them ; this could be done by taking 
the article to the person appointed, and having the alcohol put into the ingredients 
in his presence. Section 5th, I would recommend to be altered, so that the fines 
should go one half to the informer, and the other half into the treasury. I would 
recommend that the penalties be increased. If the indiscriminate sale of liquor 
be admitted an evil, no good citizen can wish to be engaged in it. Why should 
the majority suffer, to benefit a few individuals? 

I have said more on this subject than I should have done, did I not fear an 
attempt will be made to break down the barriers raised by the early settlers of 
this land. Much of our prosperity and happiness as a community depend upon 
your action in this matter. 

There will be several proposals laid before you, in regard to locating the seat 
of government ; but under the present aspect of affairs, I think it best to postpone 
the subject for the present. 

A subject of great importance to us, as a people, presents itself in our com- 
mercial regulations. That this will be a commercial nation there can he no doubt 
in the mind of any person acquainted with our location ; it, therefore, is our duty 
to commence preparing the way for shipping to enter our harbors. 

The first requisite for the mouth of the Columbia river, is a good pilot or 
pilots. Many ships employed in the whale fishery would, no doubt, enter our river, 
and remain with us during the winter, if they were sure of obtaining a good pilot 
to bring them in safely over the bar, and conduct them out when ready for sea. 
Vessels can, without doubt, enter and depart from the mouth of the Columbia 
river, with as much safety as they can the majority of the seaports in the United 
States ; and it needs only a careful pilot, well acquainted with the currents, land- 
marks, and shoals, to make it perfectly safe for vessels to enter our port. I, 
therefore, recommend that a branch be established at the mouth of the Columbia 


river ; and that a board of commissioners be appointed, whose duty it shall be to 
examine all persons applying for a license to act as pilots, as to their capability 

so to act. 

Connected with this is the means to prevent seamen from deserting. If sea- 
men are at liberty to leave their vessels, and secrete themselves among the inhab- 
itants, or be provided for and protected by them until their vessels leave, we can 
never hope to see vessels frequent our ports, for the purpose of refitting and 
obtaining supplies. I, therefore, recommend that a heavy penalty be imposed on 
any person who shall entice a seaman to leave his ship, or who shall harbor, secrete, 
or employ, or in any wise assist a deserter. 

This may appear severe, but when, on reflection, we consider that these men 
voluntarily entered into a contract to perform certain duties, and that the safety 
of the vessel they belong to, and the lives and property on board, depend on 
their faithfully fulfilling their contract, the severity vanishes at once. We should 
consider that a vessel lightly manned (which must be the case if part of 
the ship's crew desert, as there are no seamen here to supply their places, runs 
great risks in working out of our harbor — a risk that shipmates and ship- 
owners will not be likely to run. Unless regulations be made that will prevent 
desertion, owners of vessels will avoid our ports, and without vessels, the 
produce of the farmer must remain on his hands, and in this way work an 
injury all around, and one that will be felt by all classes in the community. 

Our courts, as at present regulated, have not answered the expectations of 
the framers of the law; but, as the jurisdictions of our courts will soon cease, 
it will probably be not worth while to enter into any new arrangement. 

I regret to be compelled to inform you that the jail erected in Oregon City, 
and the property of the territory, was destroyed by fire on the night of the 
i8th of August last, the work no doubt, of an incendiary. A reward of $icX).oo 
was immediately offered, but as yet, the offender had not been discovered. 
Should you think it best to erect another jail, I would suggest the propriety of 
building it of large stones, clamped together. We have but little use for a jail, 
and a small building would answer all purposes for many years I have no 
doubt, if we should be successful in keeping ardent spirits out of the territory. 
There is one subject which I would lay before you, in reference to the 
Indian population ; and that is the extent the law intends to allow the whites in 
their villages. Complaints are made by Indians, that they are encroached upon 
by the whites. Cannot some method he devised by which their villages can be 
surveyed, and stakes set, inside of which the whites may not be perrnitted to 
enter and build. The Indians inhabited their villages previous to our arrival, and 
should be protected by us. The time is, no doubt near at hand, when the agent 
of the United States government will be here, and these matters wijlbe arranged 
by him; but, until he arrives, I deem it necessary that some provision be made 
by you, as it may save trouble and difficulty. 

Another emigration has crossed the Rocky mountains, and most of the party 
has arrived in the settlements. About 152 wagons reached this place very early 
in the season, via Barlow's road, for which a charter was granted him at your 
last session. About 100 wagons are on their way, if they have not already 
reached the upper settlements, by a southern route. They have, no doubt, been 
detained by travelling a new route. The difficulties attending the opening of a 
wagon road are very great, and probably will account, in some measure for 
their detention. The emigration falls very far short of last year, probably not 
numbering over one thousand souls. This is accounted for by a great part of 
the emigration turning ofif to CaHfornia. 

We trust that those coming among us may have no cause to regret the 
decision that brought them to Oregon. I would call your attention to the 
subject of education, without which no country can be prosperous ; it, therefore, 
becomes the duty of the legislature to provide liberally for the education of 
the rising generation. I am happy to say that the past year has amply repaid 

i'^fi. fftSW YORK 




the tiller's toil. Our harvest has been abundant, and the season for gathering 
in the crops was dry, enabling the farmer to secure the reward of his labor free 
from injury. During the past season we have enjoyed, throughout the territory, 
the blessings of health; these blessings and mercies call for our gratitude. May 
we ever feel our dependence on the Divine Being, through whom we receive them, 
and our prayers continually ascend to him for wisdom to guide us in the im- 
portant duties to which we are called. 

Geo. Abernethy. 
Oregon City, Dec. i, 1846." 

On motion of Mr. T' Vault, the governor's message and accompanying 
documents, were referred to committee of the whole, and made the special order 
of the day for tomorrow." 

This pioneer governor's message not only shows the character of the questions 
which the pioneer law makers and state builders had to wrestle with, but it 
shows also the common sense, great responsibility and patriotic conscience which 
these men brought to the discharge of their duties. 

On December 5th, 1846, representative T' Vault reported from the judiciary 
committee a bill to regulate the writ ad quod damnum; which was sufficiently 
learned and profane to suit the most fastidious member of the Oregon Bar 

On December 9, the legislature passed the following resolution : 

"Resolved: That the select committee on the National railroad, be instructed 
to memorialize the congress of the Uniteed States on that subject." There was 
at that time not a mile of railroad within three thousand miles of Oregon City ; 
but Oregon was not to be behind on this subject, and got its first railroad con- 
nection across the continent thirty-seven years later by the hands of Henry 
Villard, via the Columbia river and Spokane and St. Paul. 

On December 17th, 1846 Governor Abernethy vetoed a bill to regulate "the 
manufacture and sale of wine and distilled liquors ;" and as this is a live issue 
in Oregon politics today, we give the message in full : 

Oregon City, Dec. 17, 1846 

"Gentlemen : I return to your honorable body the act entitled, 'An act 
to regulate the manufacture and sale of wine and distilled spirituous liquors,' 
with my objections to the same. 

Previous to our organization as a provisional government, public sentiment 
kept liquor from being manufactured or sold in this territory. Heretofore, every 
act of the legislature has been, as far as ardent spirits were concerned, prohibit- 
ory in character. The act laying before me is the first act that has in any man- 
ner attempted to legalize the manufacture and sale of ardent spirits. At the 
session of the legislature in June, 1844, an act was passed to prevent the 
introduction, sale, and distillation of ardent spirits in Oregon; and as far 
as my knowledge extends, the passage of that act gave satisfaction to the great 
majority of the people throughout the territory. At the session of December, 
1845, several amendments were proposed to the old law, and passed. The new 
features given to the bill by those amendments did not accord with the views of 
the people; the insertion of the words 'give' and 'gift' in the first and second 
sections of the bill, they thought was taking away their rights, as it was con- 
sidered that a man had a right to give away his property if he chose. There 
were several objections to the bill, which I set forth to your honorable body 
in my message. I would recommend that the amendments passed at the 
December session of 1845, be repealed; and that the law passed on the 25th 
of June, 1844, with such alterations as will make it agree with the organic law, 
if it does not agree with it, be again made the law of the land. It is said by many 


that the legislature has no right to prohibit the introduction or the sale of liquors, 
and this probably the strongest used in defense of your bill. But do you not as 
effectually prohibit every person who has not the sum of one, two, or three 
hundred dollars to pay for his license, as does the law now on the statute book? 
Are not your proposed fines and penalties, as great or greater than those of the 
old law? Where, then, is the benefit to the people? There is no doubt in my 
mind, but that the law will be evaded as easily, and as often, under the new 
law, as it was under the old, and, in addition to this, there will be the legal 
manufacturers, importers, and sellers, who will be able, under the sanction of 
law, to scatter all the evils attendant upon the use of alcholic drink. We are 
in an Indian country; men will be found who will supply them with liquor as 
long as they have beaver, blankets, and horses to pay for it. If a quantity should 
be introduced among the Walla- Wallas, and other tribes in the upper country 
who can fortell the consequences — there we have families exposed, cut off from 
the protection of the settlements, and perhaps at the first drunken frolic of the 
Indians in that region, they may be cut off from the face of the earth. But we need 
not go so far; we are exposed in every part of our frontier, and when difficulties 
once commence, we cannot tell where they will cease. 

It has been proved before the house of commons, that one-half of the insanity, 
two-thirds of the pauperism, and three-fourths of the crimes of Great Britian, 
may be directly traced to the use of alcholic drink. The testimony of our most 
eminent judges in the Unites States, shows that the same proportion of crime 
is attributable to ardent spirits in that country. Statistics might be produced, 
showing the enormous evil and expense of an indiscriminate use of liquor. 

As to revenue, the small amount received for licenses, instead of being a 
revenue, would be swallowed up in the expenses attending trials for crimes, 
&c., caused by the crime of these licenses. 

But, leaving all other countries out of view, let us consider our own state. 
Surrounded by Indians, no military force to aid the executive and other officers 
in the discharge of their duties, not a solitary prison in the land, in which to 
confine offenders against the law, and consequently no way of enforcing the 
penalties of the law. I think these things should call for calm and serious re- 
flection, before passing your final vote on this bill. My opinion is, the people 
are opposed to legalizing the introduction and sale of liquor in this land. I may 
be mistaken, and therefore should be in favor of the old law, or something 
similar should be adopted, of referring the whole matter to the polls at the next 
general election. If the people say 'no liquor,' continue to prohibit; if they 
say, through the ballot box, 'we wish liquor,' then let it come free, the same as 
dry goods, or any other article imported or manufactured; but, until the people 
say they want it, I hope you will use your influence to keep it out of the territory. 

It is with regret that I return any bill unsigned, but I feel that we both have 
duties to perform and when we think duty points out the way, I trust we may 
always be found willing to follow it. 

Geo. Abernethy." 

treasurer's report. 
State of the Treasury, December, 1846. 

Funds in hand. 

Amount due by George Abernethy, per account $81.54 

Amount due by John H. Couch 16.92 

Amount due by F. W. Pettygrove 1 1.27 

Amount due by H. B. Comp (Fort Vancouver) 16.42 




Amount due H. B. Comp (Oregon City) $140.94 

Amount collected of estate of Ewing Young 2,81 5-00 

Scrip outstanding at this date, not paid 1,879.64 

Receipts since December i, 1846, to date. 

Taxes from John R. Jackson, sheriff, Lewis county $24.58 

Taxes from John R. Jackson, sheriff, Vancouver county. . . 57.73 
Taxes from William Holmes, sheriff, Clackamas county... 115.00 

License paid by R. K. Payne 100.00 

License paid by H. N. Winslow 100.00 

Absentee tax, paid by John R. Jackson (Vancouver) 10.00 


Taxes from John R. Jackson (error). 

The receipts since December i, 1846, have been paid me 

wholly in scrip. 
Interest paid on scrip, December 9 3.59 


Balance liabilities $4,431.86 

John P. Brooks, Deputy Treasurer. 
December 9, 1846." 


Of the Governor of Oregon Territory, December 7, 1847. 

"To the Honorable the Legislative Assembly of Oregon Territory: 

"Fellow Citizens: Contrary to the expectation of all who reside in this ter- 
ritory, you are again convened under the provisional government of Oregon. 
After learning that the boundary line question was settled, there was hardly a 
doubt resting in the mind of any individual with regard to the extension of the 
jurisdiction of the United States over this territory. We have been sadly dis- 
appointed, and hope, which was so fondly cherished, begins to sink into despair 
in the hearts of many. 

Our situation is not a pleasant one, on account of the uncertainty of it. We 
may be in less than six months under the laws and government of the United 
States ; and we may, on the other hand, exist in our present state several years. 
This uncertainty will, no doubt, embarrass you in your proceedings. If we re- 
main as we are for any length of time, ways and means must be devised for 
raising a more extensive revenue. The laws should be published in a conven- 
ient form ; a fund set apart for treating with Indians, and many other things 
provided for that we have thus far dispensed with, but which must be attended 
to in order that we may carry out the principles under which we have asso- 

This being the first session of the present congress, they will have more time 
fo devote to the formation of a government for this territory, than at the last 
session. The probability is that peace between the United States and Mexico 
will have been restored, and relieve congress from the cares and anxieties at- 
tendant upon a war, and also relieve the government from the very heavy ex- 
pense which must necessarily attend the carrying on of a war. These things 


lead to the hope that among the first acts of congress will be the passage of 
an act to establish a territorial government in Oregon. 

This will release us from our present embarrassments and place us under a 
permanent form of government. Hoping that this may be the case, I will call 
your attention to such subjects as are most pressing in their character, and 
which cannot well be dispensed with. The judiciary, as now regulated, answers 
every purpose required of it, and proves to be a far better system than the 
old one. There is one thing, however, needed very much in connection with 
it, and that is a prison. Should an offender be sentenced to imprisonment by 
the judge, there is no place in the territory to confine him, and consequently he 
escapes the punishment his crimes justly merit. This should not be so, and I 
hope you will provide means during your present session for the erection of 
a jail. 

In my message of 1845, I recommended that in addition to gold and silver, 
wheat should be the only article used in the country as a legal tender. The 
legislature added treasury drafts and orders on solvent merchants. I would 
recommend the repeal of that part of the act which makes treasury drafts and 
orders on solvent merchants a lawful tender — receiving treasury drafts, how- 
ever, in payment of taxes and debts due the government. Gold and silver are 
much more plentiful in the territory now than two years ago, and could be made 
the only lawful tender without detriment to the community; still, I think wheat 
had better nemain in connection with gold and silver; it is a staple article, and 
can always be disposed of to merchants and others. 

I would recommend an alteration in the law relating to the recording of 
land claims. The organic law requires that claims be recorded in the office of 
the territorial recorder. This answered very well while our population was 
small and nearly all living in one district, but our population is increasing rap- 
idly and spreading over a large extent of country; new counties have been 
formed, and probably in a short time others will be set off and lands taken up 
still further from the territorial recorder's office than at the present time. In 
view of this, I think it advisable that you propose an amendment to the organic 
law making the clerk of the county court recorder of all land claims located 
within his county, and dispense -with the office of territorial recorder. 

Our relation with the Indians becomes every year more embarrassing. They 
see the white man occupying their land, rapidly filling up the country, and they 
put in a claim for pay. They have been told that a chief would come out from 
the United States and treat with them for their lands ; they have been told this 
so often that they begin to doubt the truth of it; at all events, they say he 
will not come till we are all dead, and then what good will blankets do us? 
We want something now. This leads to trouble between the settler, and the 
Indians about him. Some plan should be devised by which a fund can be 
raised, and presents made to the Indians of sufficient value to keep them quiet 
until an agent arrives from the United States. A number of robberies have 
been committed by the Indians in the upper country, upon the emigrants, as 
they were passing through their territory. This should not be allowed to pass. 
An appropriation should be made by you, sufficient to enable the superintend- 
ent of Indian affairs to take a small party in the spring, and demand restitution 
of the property, or its equivalent in horses. Without an oppropriation, a suffi- 
cient party could not be induced to go up there, as the trip is an expensive one. 

The emigration the past season has been much larger than any preceding 
one, amounting to between four and five thousand souls. They have all arrived 
in the settlements, unless a few families should still be at The Dalles and Cas- 
cades, and scattered themselves over the territory. The most of them are farm- 
ers and mechanics ; they will add much to the future welfare and prosperity of 

During the past year we have been visited by a number of vessels, some of 
them drawing more water than the vessels which have usually visited us. I 


am happy to say, they received full cargoes on board and crossed the bar in 
safety. The provisions of the pilot law have been carried out, and its good 
effects are already visible. The able pilot at the mouth of the river has made 
himself thoroughly acquainted with the channels and currents, thus diminish- 
ing the dangers formerly attending vessels coming into the river. The time is 
not far distant when our river will be entered with more ease and facility than 
many of the ports in the United States on the Atlantic coast; and captains will 
wonder why the entrance was so much dreaded, forgetting that they are reap- 
ing the benefits of experience. 

The cause of education demands your attention. School districts should 
be formed in the several counties, and school houses built. Teachers would be 
employed by the people, I have no doubt, and thus pave the way for more ad- 
vanced institutions. 

In closing, allow me to unite with you in expressions of gratitude to that 
Being who has preserved us during the past year, and granted us the blessing 
of health, peace and prosperity. May we continue to merit his mercies by 
acknowledging our dependence on Him and keeping His law before us. 

Geo. Abernethy." 

Oregon City, December 7, 1847. 

Joseph Meek was appointed messenger to carry the news of the Whitman 
massacre to Washington City, and lay it before congress, and resigned his seat 
in the legislature and made that remarkable trip by horseback across the conti- 
nent in the middle of the winter of 1847-8. 

The following extract from the letter of Hugh Burns, commissioner of the 
currency, to the legislature, dated Oregon City, February 8, 1849, ^^^^ show 
the troubles of that officer in financing the treasury of Oregon, in fighting the 
Indians at that date : 

"On the 28th of March last, or near that time, the commissary general told 
me that when he was at The Dalles, it became necessary for him to take 
wagons and oxen, the property of Phelaster and Philemon Lee, to the amount 
of $250. I consented to give bonds to that amount and did so, but in a few days 
I was called upon by different persons for bonds for a very large amount. I 
refused to execute bonds to them until I could see the other two commission- 
ers, and when we met together it was thought best not to give any more bonds 
for any property, as we knew nothing about it ; so, for these reasons we re- 
fused to give bonds for any more of the property taken at The Dalles by the 
commissary general. 

There is another matter I wish to explain ; it is this : When I commenced 
to collect funds, I was not able to obtain any money except orders on the stores 
in Oregon City; in consequence of this, it was impossible for the commissary 
general to obtain articles for the use of the army. 

He told me he could get axes and spades, and these articles were very much 
wanted to make roads for wagons to pass up the Columbia river. Philip Fos- 
ter had subscribed $50, to be paid on the stores, and John B. Price $25, to be 
paid also on the stores. These gentlemen told me if I would give them twenty- 
five per cent premium, they would let me have cash, and I told them I would 
do so. Mr. Foster gave me $37.50, and I gave him a bond for $50. Mr. Price 
gave me $18.75, ^"^ I g'^ve him a bond for $25. This I did for the best. But 
should your honorable body think otherwise, I am ready to pay to this govern- 
ment out of my own funds, the amount of premium that I found at that time 
necessary to allow. I bring this to your particular notice, because it was noticed 
at the time by one of the presses of Oregon City. Whatever your decision on 
this point may be, I alone am responsible, as my two associates know nothing 
of the matter. The commissary general or his a?ent. A. J. Hembree, Esq., ob- 
tained a loan of $196.50, or thereabouts, from Thomas Justins, for which they 
agreed to get him a bond for $216.33. I ^^st refused to give the bond for that 


amount, but the commissary general being very much in want of cash, and upon 
consideration, sooner than the money should be returned, I executed the bond 
to Thomas Justins for $216.35. All bonds issued by us bear interest at the 
rate of 10 per cent per annum, and all signed by the governor and counter- 
signed by the secretary of this territory. All the books and papers belonging 
are hereby transmitted for your examination. 

Owing to the resignation of Gen. A. L. Lovejoy as one of the commis- 
sioners, and the absence of Dr. W. H. Wilson, this document will appear with 
but one signature. 

(Signed) Hugh Burns, Commissioner." 

Oregon City, February 8, 1849. 

On February 10, 1849, some enterprising real estate agent applied to the 
legislature for a "charter" to enable him to get into the real estate business 
in the great northwest "on the ground floor." The legislature turned him down 
in the following resolution : 

"Resolved: That it is not in the power of this house to grant a charter to 
any individual or company for treating for wild lands in this territory, or for 
holding treaties with the Indian tribes for the purchasing of lands." 

On February 14th, 1849, the legislature amended the oath of office of the 
provisional government from the form set out on a preceding page to the fol- 
lowing : 

"I do solemnly swear that I will support the constitution of the United 
States and the organic laws of the provisional government of Oregon, and 
faithfully demean myself inoffice, so help me God." Thus after recognizing the 
citizenship of the British subjects in the government for six years, they shut 
the doors to any further courtesies in that direction. 

The last acts of the legislature and officials of the provisional government are 
dated February 16, 1849. On that day the legislature divorced John P. Brooks 
from his wife, Mary Ann; passed an act for the relief of Jason Wheeler; an 
act providing for weighing, assaying, melting and stamping gold coin. Against 
which last, act, Representative W. J. Martin filed a protest "because the act was a 
violation of the constitution of the United States," and made this territory a 
shaving machine by only allowing $16.50 for an ounce of gold dust. 

The legislature then adjourned sine die ; and passes into history as the first 
and only state forming and successfully carrying on a provisional government 
on the American continent. And having during its existance of six years, two 
months of twenty-eight days, established courts, administered justice, punished 
crime, coined money, raised military forces and made war on the Indians, granted 
titles to land, and made laws which all obeyed, provided for common schools, 
education, religion and the public welfare. 

The record now given of this pioneer legislature seems sufficient to show the 
character of the man and measures of the pioneer Provisional government of 
Oregon, every session of which was held within the territory this history is to 

The real pioneers were the men and women who came here before 1846. 
They did not know from any act of the United States whether this would be 
American or British territory. But they came to make it American. Those who 
came after 1846, took no chances. It was then decided to be United States 
territory. They came to reap where others had sown. They wanted security 
before they would move. The real pioneers put up the security and ran all the 
risks of the investment. The rooms of the Historical society furnish mute but 
incontestable evidence of the plain and simple lives of our pioneers. The 
ancient wagon, the primitive spinning wheel, and the rude weaving loom, all 
testify stronger than words, the slow advance from purely hand work to that 
of the hand made machine, taking the place of the hands. 



The pioneers took little thought of wealth or station. They passed over 
millions of gold in Baker, Union and Grant counties, and on to the Willamette 
valley, to found a state on just laws, that should honor and bless mankind, after 
all the gold has been worn into impalpable dust. 

When the king of Spain was anxious to found a state in the new world, of 
which Oregon was then an unknown fraction, he dispatched a royal decree in 
1778, to his governor, Don Pedro Piernas, at old St. Louis, as follows: 

"The source and origin of all empires has been the refuge and kind usage 
which men find in the gentleness of the laws. The evil administration of them 
is the greatest impediment to the building of a government; for not only are 
those who are present and exposed to them exasperated, but others are pre- 
vented from coming. Hence as our laws are extremely mild, they ought not to be 
obscured by ambition and self-interest." 

Had our illustrious pioneers who set up a government at Champoeg on May 
2nd, 1843, had a copy of this royal message before them, they could not have 
proceeded with more thought and consideration, for that piece of kingly wisdom, 
than they did. 

All the actors in this temporary government were unpretentious plain men, 
men who were busily engaged in opening farms or establishing pioneer business 
interests. Not a single man from first to last in the whole six years existence 
of the provisional government, was found to be actuated by selfish motives or 
aspirations for power and place. The welfare of each and all of tTie little state 
was the ambition of every man who served the state. It is but a natural desire 
to praise the work of unselfish men. But a careful examination of their whole 
record, in comparison with the state governments, we have had, since the pro- 
visional government passed into history, will show, that the pioneer government 
was, all things considered, the best government that ever ruled the destinies of 

From his longer service to the provisional government, the governor, George 
Abernethy, was the most prominent member of it, and his name will go down 
to future ages as the best governor Oregon has had to this date. A plain un- 
pretentious citizen, with common sense for talent, and unswerving integrity for 
motive power, he faithfully, steadily, courageously, and conscientiously steered 
the little craft through all the dangerous rocks and shoals and bufifeting storms 
of rival sectarianism, Indian wars, British intrigues and opposition, until the 
infant state was safely housed within the aegis of the great republic. 

The greatness of these brave pioneers and the granduer of their great 
achievment, has been yet scarcely recognized or appreciated. But as time rolls 
on and this city swarms with its hundreds of thousands, and its commerce 
covers the great Pacific, the genius and justice of the laws and institutions which 
these men founded will be seen to be far greater than any possible material pros- 
perity. And then the lengthening shadows of their colossal work and fame, 
will cover the whole land, and place their names among the greatest and best 
of mankind. 

"O strange new state, that yet was never young. 
Whose youth from thee by gripping need was wrung; 
Brown foundling of the woods, whose baby bed 
Was prowled round by Injuns crackling tread. 
And who grew strong through shifts and wants and pains; 
Nursed, defended by men with empires in their brains. 
Who saw in vision, more states in their train ; 
With every hand upon a vassal oceans mane ; 
Thou, skilled by freedom, and by great events. 
To pitch new states, as old world men pitch tents, 
Thou, taught by fate to know Jehovah's plan. 
That man's devices can't unmake the real man. 


1774— 1846. 

The Title to the Country — Titles by Discovery — Paper Titles of 
Spain, France and England — Title by Contiguous Settlement 
and Possession — The Question in Politics and in Congress — The 
Treason of President Polk — Oregon Saved by American Settle- 

The vast region west of the Rocky mountains fronting on the Pacific ocean 
from the northern boundary of CaHfornia up to Alaska became known to the 
world under the name of "Oregon," about the year 1770. And the first tangible 
acts to obtain title to this vast country, date back to the voyages of Spanish ex- 
plorers in 1774; followed by the English navigator, Cook, in 1776, the year the 
American Colonies declared themselves independent of Great Britain. Sixteen 
years after the Englishmen filed a discovery claim to the country. Captain Robert 
Gray, the American trader, discovered the Columbia river, which practically 
drains the whole region and laid the foundation for the claim of the United States. 

Here then are the claims of the three nations — Spain, England, and the United 
States — mere paper titles, founded on the trifling incidents of landing on the sea 
coast of a vast country of then unknown extent. Neither of these parties had 
contributed anything whatever to the value of the country, or, to any extent worth 
mentioning, made known to the world its resources, population or boundaries. 
The law, or custom, upon which any shadow of title to the country could be 
founded by either of these parties was nothing more than the comity or courtesy 
conceded among the maritime nations down to that period ; a right, comity, or 
courtesy, which was always ignored and repudiated by the strongest, whenever it 
was their interest to do so. 

The Indians were the original possessors of the country, and held their title 
from occupancy for unknown thousands of years. But all three of these so-called 
civilized nations united to deny and overthrow the title of the native barbarian. 
To deny the title of the Indian, because he was ignorant, superstitious and a 
barbarian or savage, was to found rights on educational opportunities rather than 
upon the foundation set forth by the American Declaration of Independence. To 
deny the right of the Indian, and then concede his humanity by offering him the 
teachings of the Bible, was an inconsistency too absurd for argument. And so the 
moralist and publicists were forced to take grounds with the defenders of Afri- 
can slavery and boldly proclaim the doctrine that neither the red man nor the 
black man had any rights which the white man was bound to respect. 

And so this conclusion gives a clear field to consider what nation had the title 
to the vast region of old Oregon of which the city of Portland is the commercial 



For clearness of understanding-, we will state, that on the 25th of January, 
1774, about two and a half years before the American Declaration of Independ- 
ence, the Spanish sloop of war Santiago, sailed from San Bias, Mexico, under 
comrnand of Lieut. Juan Perez. The Spanish viceroy in Mexico directed Perez 
to sail northward along the Oregon coast up to sixty degrees of north latitude; 
which would be a few miles above the extreme southern limit of the present 
United States territory of Alaska. And from that point survey the coast south- 
ward to Monterey, (now in California), and landing at convenient places and 
taking possession of the same in the name of the King of Spain. Under these 
orders Perez sailed with the king's ship, and the king's men on June i6th, 1774. 
On the 13th of July, he made the land in fifty-four degrees north (now known as 
Queen Charlotte's Island), and named the point, Cape Santa Margarita — the 
Cape North of our geography — then rounded the north point of the island and 
sailed into Dixon's Channel. From this point Perez turned south, coasting along 
the shore and trading with the natives. On the 9th of August, he made the land 
on the west coast of Vancouver Island at the point known as Nootka Sound. 
From Nootka again coasting- southward, the pilot claimed to have seen what is 
recognized now as the opening- to the Straits of Fuca ; and still further south 
made out, and named Moimt Olympus, passed Cape Mendocino and the Oregon 
coast August 2 1 St, and reached Monterey on August 27, 1774. 

On the return of Perez, the Mexican viceroy decided to send another expedi- 
tion to the north, and made preparations to send the schooner Senora, along with 
the Santiago, giving- to Captain Bruno Heceta, the command of the Santiago, and 
to Angala, the command of the little schooner. This expedition sailed from San 
Bias for the north, and on June 10, 1775, made a landing on the coast in an open 
roadstead at forty-one degrees, ten minutes north, a little below the present south 
boundary of Oregon. Here they spent nine days and claimed the country for 
Spain. Again sailing north, the expedition made land the second time at forty- 
eight degrees, twenty-six minutes north, which is a little south of the entrance to 
the Straits of Fuca. From this point they cruised southward looking for the 
Straits. On the 14th of July, in latitude forty-seven degrees, twenty minutes 
north, which is a little north of Grays Harbor in the state of Washington, seven 
men of the crew of the Senora in their only boat, landed on the mainland to get 
fresh water and were overpowered by the natives, and all killed ; and the schooner 
itself was surrounded by hundreds of Indians in canoes who made unsuccessful 
attempts to board her. Here Heceta desired to return to California, but was over- 
ruled by Perez, Bodega, and Maurelle, and the expedition again sailed north- 
ward, making their next landing at forty-nine degrees, and thirty minutes north, 
which is thirty miles north of the present north boundary of the United States ; 
but being on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is still on British territory. 
From this point Heceta turned southward, and at about forty-six degrees, and ten 
minutes, discovered a great bay, July 17th, 1775. On account of the currents and 
eddies, setting out seaward, he could not enter it with his ship, but recorded the 
event in his log book, as, "The mouth of some great river, or a passage to another 
sea." This was the mouth of the Columbia river, and we see hpw close the 
Spaniard came to making the discovery, which has made Robert Gray famous. 
The Spaniard kept on south and made Monterey on August 30th, 1775, a few 
days after the never to be forgotton battle of Bunker Hill. 

We have been thus particular to set out the facts constituting the rights of 
Spain to claim the Old Oregon country from the California line clear up to Alaska. 
According to the theories of the European nations in vogue one hundred and fifty 
years ago, the King of Spain had done everything necessary to give his nation a 
good title to the Oregon country ; for according to this historical record, the 
Spanish naval officer and ships, flying the flag of Spain, in lawful exploration of 
the high seas, were the first discoverers of the Oregon country. 

It was doubtless the fact that Captain Francis Drake had been on the Oregon 
coast before the Spaniard. But he was here, as has been before stated, as a free- 


booter or pirate, plundering Spanish merchant vessels, and as such, his acts could 
not confer any title on the English government ; and for that reason his govern- 
ment never took advantage of any discoveries he made. 

And notwithstanding the fact, that the Spaniards were the first discoverers of 
the Oregon coast, for some reason, never explained, they did not make these dis- 
coveries known to the world at that time ; but waited until after Captain James 
Cook, as the representative of Great Britain, made his famous voyage to the 
Oregon coast in 1778. Cook sailed from Plymouth, England, eight days after the 
American Declaration of Independence had been signed up by the Continental 
Congress ; a fact which could not have been at that time known in England. 
These dates are given to show that the new born nation of the United States, had 
not, at the time the Spanish and English claims to Oregon were set up, yet 
achieved a national organization, existence or recognition before the world ; and 
was not therefore bound by the comity laws of nations which gave away great 
countries on rights of discovery. 

But Captain Cook saw no part of the coast of America on this voyage, which 
had not been previously seen by the Spanish navigators, Perez, Heceta and 

The question was raised later on by England, that Spain had negotiated away 
its rights to Oregon, by a treaty entered into October, 1790; which provides that 
Spain should restore to Great Britain, the possession of property and ships taken 
from the British by force at Nootka Sound, by the Spanish Captain Martinez, 
in May, 1779. And as this incident has figured prominently, not only in the 
history of those times, but also in the diplomacy and treaty rights of the United 
States and England, a resume of the facts therewith connected, will now be given. 
From a trifling incident of Captain Cook's voyage to the west coast of Oregon 
in 1778, the attention of all the trading nations was attracted to this country. Cook 
got from the Indians, and carried away to China, a small bale of furs, which on 
being ofifered for sale, at once dazzled the eyes of all traders in Chinese ports for 
their superiority to anything of the kind ever seen before, and the vast fur trade 
to northwest America started right there. 

But when the British sea-rovers and independent traders sought to go into 
the fur trade, they were handicapped by the regulations and franchise grants 
of their own country. In pursuance of its immemorial policy of granting spe- 
cial privileges to royal favorites, the British government had divided up the 
earth between two chartered companies, and had granted to the South Sea 
Company the sole right to trade in all seas and countries westward of Cape 
Horn ; and to the British East India Company, the sole right to trade in all 
seas and countries east of the Cape of Good Hope; and by these grants all 
British subjects, not connected with either one of these great monopolies, were 
prohibited from trading in all seas, territories and islands in that vast portion 
of the world lying between the Cape of Good Hope eastward to a line drawn 
north and south through Cape Horn, or vice versa, westward from the merid- 
ian of Cape Horn to the meridian passing through the Cape of Good Hope; 
and British subjects desiring to engage in Pacific ocean commerce or Pacific 
coast fur trade in America, or in the China or East India trade, were obliged 
to obtain permission of one of these great companies and fly their flag, or not 
trade at all. If old England has not set the pace for monopolies, where did 
they begin? / 

Of course, these monopolies could not prevent the Chinese, as an indepen- 
dent nation, from trading here ; or from granting ships rights to trade. But old 
China was not slow at a bargain, and put up the price of grants and port 
charges to excessive prices on everybody except the Portuguese. 

To evade these exactions of the Chinese, and the prohibitions of these Brit- 
ish charters, several British merchants residing in India, desiring to engage in 
the rich fur trade to America, associated themselves together under the name 
of a Portuguese merchant, and procured from the Portuguese government of 


Macao a license for two ships — the FeHce and Iphegenia — to sail under the 
Portuguese flag to the northwest coast of America. To further carry out their 
enterprise, these British merchants procured Lieut. John Meares, of the British 
navy, on leave, to command this fur trading expedition. Meares' character in 
the venture was further complicated by the fact that he was at that time in 
the British East India Company service as an English subject, which company 
held the sole right to trade in these parts, and which company had given Meares 
the license of its company to make a trade venture to the Oregon coast on 
his own account. To further complicate matters, the adventuring merchants 
took out the papers of the two ships in the Portuguese language, and in the 
name of Portuguese captains, who were to go along as figure heads, and who 
were referred to in Meares' reports as "second captains." 

And in the letter of instructions issued to Lieut. Meares by these merchants, 
they tell him: "That if any Russian, English or Spanish vessels attempt to 
seize him or his ships, or to carry him out of his way, you must prevent it 
by every means in your power and repel force by force ; and should you, in 
such conflict, have the superiority, you will then take possession of the vessel 
that attacked, as also her cargo, and bring both, with the officers and crew to 
China, that they may be condemned as legal prizes, and their crews punished 
as pirates." 

And thus officered and authorized, the two ships — Iphegenia and Felice — 
sailed for the Oregon coast and reached Nootka Sound on the west coast of 
Vancouver Island May 13, 1788. A few days after their arrival, the Indian 
chief Maquinna, who claimed the island as his real estate, granted to Meares 
"a. spot of ground in his territory whereon a house might be built for the ac- 
commodation of the people intended to be left there, and promised also the as- 
sistance of his Indians in building houses, and the protection of the Indians 
for the people who were to remain during the absence of the ships. In return 
for this permission to build the house, Meares presented Maquinna with a pair 
of pistols ; and to secure the further attachment and protection of Maquinna, 
he was promised that when the people of those ships finally left the coast, he 
should enter into the full possession of the house and all the goods belonging 

This was the first house built on all the vast region of old Oregon, and 
these were the circumstances under which it was erected. It was a mere tem- 
porary shelter from the weather, with some stockade defense against an attack 
from the Indians. 

Hearing of these operations of the fur traders, great uneasiness was aroused 
in Spain. And in 1789, the Spanish viceroy in Mexico dispatched two ships 
to the north with instructions to proclaim and enforce the rights of Spain to 
the country. These ships — the Princesa and San Carlos — commanded by Lieut. 
Martinez, reached Nootka Sound, May 5, 1779, and found there the American 
ship Columbia ; and the ships Iphegenia and the Felice, with Captain Meares, 
arriving a few days afterward. 

The Spaniard promptly announced his business, and the American as 
promptly recognized the rights of Spain to the country. The captain of the 
Iphegenia gave an evasive and untruthful reply, saying he had put in there in 
distress to await the arrival of Captain Meares. But the Spaniard hearing that- 
the Iphegenia carried orders to capture any Russian, Spanish or English vessel, 
he seized the ship, and subsequently the Northwest America, another ship in 
the same service as the Iphegenia. 

Captain Meares, not returning on account of a reorganization of the adven- 
turing merchants, which had replaced Meares with Captain Colnett, also hold- 
ing a commission in the British navy, now ofif on leave, events dragged until 
Colnett came into Nootka oflf the ship Princess Royal. Colnett's instructions 
directed him "to establish a factory to be called Fort Pitt, for the purpose of 
permanent settlement, and as a center of trade around which other stations may 


be established." And he informed the Spanish captain, Martinez, that he should 
take possession of Nootka Sound in the name of Great Britain and hoist the 
British flag. The Spaniard repHed that possession had already been taken in 
the name of Spain, and that he would resist any attempts to take possession in 
the name of Great Britain. The Englishman inquired if the Spaniard would 
object to building a house; the Spaniard said, "Certain, I will object; you 
can erect a tent to get wood and water, but no house." The Englishman re- 
plied that he would build a block house ; whereupon the Spaniard arrested the 
British captain and all his crew, and seized the ships — Princess Royal and Ar- 
gonaut — and sent them down to San Bias, Mexico as prizes. 

Here, then, was a veritable "tempest in a teapot." Consider, for a moment, 
the surroundings of these men and the future weight given to their acts. Here 
they were in a little pocket of a bay on Vancouver island; the Americans 
twenty thousand miles from their home port; the English-Portuguese merchant 
adventurers no better than pirates, as they were sailing under false colors, six 
thousand miles from their base of operations, and the Spaniard three thousand 
miles from his governor; with an onlooking audience of hundreds of savages, 
and not a single civilized man within thousands of miles. The Spaniard bravely 
asserts the rights and authority of his king, and the bluffing British captain 
tamely submits to arrest. 

It was ten months after the capture of the British ships before the news 
reached Europe; whereupon England demanded of Spain immediate reparation 
for the insult to her flag, and thus assuming responsibility for all the crooked- 
ness which had set afloat the so-called Portuguese merchant fur trading ships. 
To the outburst of England the king of Spain issued a proclamation to all other 
nations on June 4, 1790, temperately reciting the rights of Spain to the conti- 
nents and islands of the South Sea, concluding with : "Although Spain may 
not have establishments or colonies planted upon the coasts or in the ports in 
dispute, it does not follow that such coast or port does not belong to her. If 
this rule were to be followed, one nation might establish colonies on the coast of 
another nation — in America, Asia, Africa and Europe — by which means there 
would be no fixed boundaries — a circumstance evidently absurd." Such were 
the hard facts of the case down to the beginning of the dispute between Spain 
and England, as to the title of old Oregon. 

And now we reach the chapter of diplomatic negotiations between these two 
nations to settle that dispute. Spain opened the negotiations with a proposition 
to refer the dispute about the insult to the British flag to the sovereign of some 
European nation, and England declined the proposition. Then Spain appealed 
to France for assistance in resisting the power of England should war ensue 
out of these matters. But France declined to commit her government to any 
assistance. Down to this period, England had not set up any claim to or 
ownership of Vancouver Island covering the spot where Captain Martinez 
seized the ships. Hope of assistance from France being abandoned, Spain was 
forced into a treaty with England, October 28, 1790, whereby the buildings and 
tracts of land on the northwest coast of America, of which British subjects 
had been dispossessed in 1789 by Martinez, were to be restored to the British 
subjects; and the ships and other property of British subjects were to be re- 
turned with compensation for any losses sustained by reason of the acts of 
the Spanish officer. In addition to these provisions, a right in common with 
Spain was to be enjoyed by the subjects of both Spain and England to navigate 
the Pacific ocean and the South Seas ; and to land on places on the coast thereof 
not already occupied; to carry on commerce with the natives, and to make set- 
tlements with the following restrictions: "The king of Great Britain agreed to 
prevent navigation or fishery in those seas being made the pretext for unlawful 
trade with the Spanish settlements. No British subject was to navigate or 
carry on a fishery in said oceans within ten leagues of any part of the coast 


occupied by Spain. When settlements were made by subjects of either power, 
free access to, and full privilege to trade were confined without molestation." 

Such was the treaty between Spain and England about old Oregon. At 
the very most, it was only a treaty of joint occupancy for trade; no provisions 
having been made by either party for the policing or government of the country. 
Spain did not renounce the sovereignty of the country, and neither of the par- 
ties or both combining could make an effective treaty to bar out other nations 
while themselves pretending to hold the country in common. It is a funda- 
mental principle of the law of nations, that the territorial boundaries and limits 
of sovereignties shall be definite and fixed, so that the nation claiming jurisdic- 
tion over any country can be held to accountability for conduct within or pro- 
ceeding from such country. Joint occupancy defeats that principle of law, and 
is, therefore, absurd and nugatory. 

And to show that Spain never intended to surrender the sovereignty of the 
country, the reader has only to follow the history of that treaty and see how 
its provisions were carried out. 

The British government appointed Captain George Vancouver commissioner 
to receive the personal property seized by the Spaniards, and carry out the pro- 
visions of the treaty on the part of England; and Spain appointed as Spanish 
commissioner Senor Bodega y Quadra, and the two representatives of their 
respective countries met at Nootka Sound on August 28, 1792. After haggling 
and negotiating over the matter for two weeks, the Spaniard refused absolutely 
to deliver possession of any land except the ground on which the British house 
had been erected, probably about an acre. The ships and personal property had 
been returned to the Englishmen more than a year before, and the Spanish com- 
missioner now refused to give up more land than what was used with the one 
temporary house, and would not permit the English commissioner to raise the 
British flag over even that. This, the English commissioner refused, and sailed 
away. The English were never put in possession of a foot of the Pacific coast 
by Spain, and its territory was never surrendered to England in any manner 

Spain's title to old Oregon by the right of prior discovery, whatever that 
amounts to, and continuous possession and assertion of that right, as against 
England, is therefore found to be perfect and indefeasible. 

But this was not all of Spain's title. In the year 1763, thirteen years before 
the American colonies threw off their allegiance to Great Britain, England en- 
tered into a treaty with Spain, defining the boundaries of the respective terri- 
torial rights and possessions in North America. And by that treaty, the Mis- 
sissippi river, flowing from north to south in a direct course for fifteen hun- 
dred miles, was declared to be the perpetual boundary between the possessions 
of Spain, and the possessions of Great Britain in America ; and the entire coun- 
try west of that river lefas declared to be the territory of Spain. 

There was, after the disagreements of Quadra and Vancouver, a subsequent 
effort to settle the matter at Nootka, in which, according to the British version. 
General Alava, on the part of Spain, surrendered the ground on which the Brit- 
ish buildings stood to Lieut. Pierce of the British navy. But the English never 
took possession or occupied the place. And commenting on these facts, the 
British historian, William Belsham, says : 

"But though England, at the expense of three millions, extorted from the 
Spaniards a promise of restoration and reparation, it is well ascertained : First, 
that the settlement in question was never restored by Spain, nor the Spanish 
flag at Nootka ever struck; and secondly, that no settlement had been subse- 
quently attempted by England on the California coast. The claim of right set 
up by the court of London, it is therefore plain, has been virtually abandoned." 

And now having set out the historical facts which conclusively show that 
Spain had, according to the law of nations, a good and sufficient title to the 


whole of old Oregon, from Mexico clear up to the Russian possessions of 
Alaska at fifty-four degrees and forty minutes north latitude, we will give the 
record showing Spain's transfer of that title to the United States. On Feb- 
ruary 22, 1819, the United States made a treaty of amity settlement and limits 
with Spain in which the king of Spain ceded to the United States all the rights 
of Spain to all the territory on the American continent east of the Arkansas 
river, and all north of the forty-second parallel of north latitude ; and the United 
States ceded to Spain all claims and pretentions to territory west of the Arkan- 
sas river and south of said parallel of north latitude. This gave to the United 
States all of Spain's rights to old Oregon ; being all the territory west of the 
Rocky mountains lying north of said parallel of latitude and up to fifty-four 
degrees and forty minutes north. 

In a treaty with the Russian empire signed at St. Petersburg, April 17, 
1824, Russia recognized this right of the United States in the third article of 
said treaty, which reads : 

"Article 3. It is, moreover, agreed that hereafter, there shall not be formed 
by the citizens of the United States, or under the authority of the said states, 
any establishment on the northwest coast of America, nor in any of the islands 
adjacent to the north of fifty- four degrees and forty minutes of north latitude; 
and that in the same manner, there shall be none formed by Russian subjects 
or under the authority of Russia south of the same parallel." 

No nation has ever been more careful of its treaty obligations or better in- 
formed of the boundary rights of other nations than the empire of Russia; 
and it is not to be thought of for a moment, that Russia would in this manner 
recognize the rights of the United States to make settlements up to its own 
south boundary on the Pacific, if we did not possess such right. 

In addition to the grant from Spain, the United States had the further 
grant from France in the sale of Louisiana in 1803. By that purchase from 
France the United States acquired the rights founded on the doctrine of con- 
tinuity, the right arising from holding contiguous unclaimed lands. In the 
treaty of Utrecht, made between England and France in 1713, France was con- 
firmed in all the territory from the Mississippi line Vv^estward to the Pacific 
ocean. By that treaty England received Canada and Illinois, and renounced to 
France all west of the Mississippi and from the heads of all streams empty- 
ing into Hudson's Bay clear over to the Pacific ocean, subject, of course, to 
any claims of Spain. For the integrity of this principle of continuity of terri- 
torial rights. Great Britain waged the war of 1763 against France, and by the 
treaty which ended that war. Great Britain transferred to France whatever 
rights or benefits that might accrue from the recognized doctrine of continuity, 
and forever barred England from asserting any claims to anything west of the 
north and south Mississippi line. And when the United States made the treaty 
with England in 1783, at the close of the Revolutionary war, this country be- 
came the successor of Great Britain to all territorial rights west of the Missis- 
sippi line, and in purchasing out the rights of France in 1803, in the Louisiana 
purchase, this country furthermore became the sole owner of all rights of both 
England and France to all the region west of the Mississippi. So that the only 
tract of territory that there could be any possible dispute about, was that part 
of old Oregon west of the Rocky mountains, north of the 49th parallel of 
north latitude up to Alaska. And that, as we have shown clearly, belonged to 
Spain and was transferred to the United States by Spain in the Florida treaty 
of 1819. 

But nothwithstanding this clear record title, when our government came to 
deal with the actual possession of the country, when American citizens wanted 
to come in for settlement and trade, it made a sorry mess of the business. 
When President Thomas Jefferson purchased Louisiana of France, and hastily 
sent out Lewis and Clarke to explore the country, he unquestionably believed 
the United States had a right to colonize the country. As has been stated be- 


fore, his mind had for a long time been studying the future of the far west. 
Captain Gray had discovered the great "river of the west," and his discovery 
had been hailed by our people as settling the title to a vast and important terri- 
tory. And the same spirit which had taken possession of and held the Ohio 
and Mississippi valleys, was ready to move on to the Pacific when the advance 
was necessary. The report of Lewis and Clarke had electrified the whole nation 
with the wonders of the far west they had made known to the world. The 
Napoleonic commercial spirit of John Jacob Astor leaped across a continent, 
and without national recognition or protection, founded the semi-military post 
at the mouth of the great river, and flung the stars and stripes to the world 
in claiming for his adopted country its most valuable and grandest national 

And while England made a pretense that Captain Gray did not really enter 
the Columbia river, but had only sailed into a bay into which the river emptied, 
and that an English ship had, subsequent to Gray, sailed up the Columbia a 
hundred miles, and therefore the English discovered the river, yet that pretense 
had to be abandoned when actual sea-faring men proved that the Columbia was 
a real irresistible river clear down onto the ocean bar. 

And England never disputed the right of Lewis and Clarke as a government 
expedition to explore this region in 1805; nor did the British object to the 
founding of Astoria until the war of 1812 gave them an excuse to rob Ameri- 
can citizens of their property wherever they could find them ; and so they 
robbed Astor of what his treacherous partners had not already stolen. But 
this gave England nothing but a robbers title to Astoria, which they surren- 
dered after the close of the war. 

President Jefferson attempted to get the northern boundary line settled with 
England in 1807; and because the English negotiators attempted to insert a 
paragraph in the treaty that would make Spain believe that the United States 
and England intended to claim Spanish territory west of the Rocky mountains, 
Jefferson rejected the whole business as an unfriendly intimation to Spain. 

In 1814, after the close of the war of 1812, President Madison renewed the 
effort to have the northern boundary line settled, and offered the proposition 
of 1807, to wit : that the boundary should run west from the most northern 
point of the Lake of the Woods (at the head of the Mississippi river) to the,, 
summit of the Rocky mountains, but, "that nothing in the present article be 
construed to extend to the northzvest coast of America, or to the territory 
claimed by either party zvestward of the Rocky mountains." 

The British ministry offered to accept this article, provided, England was 
granted the right of navigation of the Mississippi river from British America 
to the Gulf of Mexico. And this, of course, was rejected by the Americans. 

In 181 5 our government notified the British that immediate possession would 
be taken of Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia river, and ordered the 
sloop of war, Captain James Biddle, to make ready to sail for the Columbia. 
The British minister at Washington objected and remonstrated, but finally 
agreed to the unconditional surrender of Astoria by the British, and that the 
status quo before the war should be restored ; and that in treating about the 
title to old Oregon, the United States should be in possession. 

And again for the third time, 181 7, negotiations were renewed to establish 
the boundary line. President Madison offering to extend the 49th parallel of 
north latitude boundary from the Lake of the Woods through to the Pacific 
ocean, but without prejudice to the rights or claims of Spain. But to this propo- 
sition the British would not agree unless they could have free navigation of the 
Mississippi river. And this was again rejected by the Americans. 

And again for the fourth time, 1818, negotiations were renewed to settle 
the northern boundary, James Monroe having become president, he appointed 
the two able statesmen. Albert Gallatin aid Richard Rush to manage the busi- 
ness. The whole history of the discovery and exploration of the North Pacific 


coast was gone over, and every argument and consideration that could be pro- 
duced or invented was brought forward. Agreement was impossible, and the 
negotiations brought to an end by the treaty of October 20, 1818, which deter- 
mined the boundary line of the United States zvestzvard to the Rocky iiwiiu- 
tains, but no further; and then adopting the following third article of the 
treaty: *Tt is agreed that any country that may be claimed by either party on 
the northwest coast of America, westward of the Stony (Rocky) mountains, 
shall, together with its harbors, bays and creeks, and the navigation of all 
rivers within the same, be free and open for the term of ten years from the 
date of this treaty to the vessels, citizens and subjects of the two powers. It 
being well understood that this agreement is not to be construed to the preju- 
dice of any claim which either of the two high contracting parties may have 
to any part of said country." This is the treaty of joint occupancy. 

Immediately after the treaty of joint occupancy with England, President 
Monroe renewed negotiations with Spain, and on February 22, 1819, concluded 
the treaty by which the 42d parallel of north latitude from the meridian north 
of the head of the Arkansas river, west to the Pacific ocean, was made the 
boundary line between Spain and the United States, and in the same article 
Spain ceded to the United States "all rights, claims and pretensions to any coun- 
try north of the said forty-second parallel." And this gave to the United States 
all the rights of prior discovery to all the country west of the Rocky moun- 
tains and north of California, clear up to Alaska; and made perfect the title 
of the United States to the zvhole of old Oregon. 

The ten years of joint occupancy expiring in 1828, the effort was renewed 
by our government to secure a settlement of the boundary line west of the 
Rocky mountains. The Russian government had by treaty, conceded the rights 
of the United States up to fifty-four degrees and forty minutes north. John 
Quincy Adams had become president and made Henry Clay secretary of state. 
Clay now renewed the negotiations for a settlement of the northern boundary 
line with England, being the fifth attempt by the United States to get the vexed 
question settled. 

In an able letter to the American minister at London, Richard Rush, Mr. 
Clay points out that, "our title to the whole of the coast up to the Russian pos- 
sessions is derived from prior discovery and settlement at the mouth of the 
Columbia river, and from the treaty which Spain concluded on the 22d of F.;b- 
ruary, 1819. The argument on this point is believed to have conclusively es- 
tablished our title on both grounds. Nor is it conceived that Great Britain has, 
or can make out, even a colorless title to any portion of the northern coast. 
By the renunciation and transfer contained in the treaty with Spain of 1819, 
our rights extended to the sixtieth degree of north latitude." 

No conclusion having been reached by these negotiations, the joint occu- 
pancy treaty was extended indefinitely, with a proviso that it might be termi- 
rid^ted by either party on giving twelve months' notice to the other party to the 
treaty. And on this indefinite, uncertain position Oregon was left by our gov- 
ernment i/rom 1828 to April 28, 1846, when, by direction of congress. Presi- 
dent James \X., Polk was instructed to notify the government of Great Britain 
that the treaty^ of joint occupancy would be terminated in twelve months from 
that date. And-' thus we see that for twenty-eight years the legal position and 
sovereignty of th. jg Portland townsite was up in the air ; and the people did 
not know to whom^^ or to what government their allegiance was due, or what 
government, if any,^ would protect their rights. 

The title to Or egon was carried into the political arena of 1844. The 
national democratic c convention meeting at Baltimore on the 27th of May, 1844, 
adopted a resolution J that the democratic party and its candidate for president 
would make good the-ir claim of the United States for the whole of Oregon 
territory up to fifty-fi^^ur degrees and forty minutes of north latitude. Upon 
that platform, James K Polk was nominated for president, and in accepting the 


nomination, promised if elected, to make good the claim to Oregon as set forth 
in the platform. He was elected over the Whig candidate, Henry Clay, by a 
majority of sixty-five votes in the electorial college. Before Polk's nomination 
or election, the Oregon question came up in the United States senate for dis- 
cussion, and on January 4th, 1844, James Buchanan afterwards president, de- 
clared in the senate : 

'T will never agree to relinquish one foot of Oregon. If we rested our claim 
on discovery, it would not extend beyond the valley of the Oregon. But our 
claim is good as this book shows (referring to Greenhow's history) for it rests 
on the old Spanish claim. Here in this book are translated copies of old 
Spanish voyages and documents, proving their title; and thus also ours, by 
abundant testimony up to fifty-four degrees and forty minutes to a certainty. 

Senator Thomas H. Benton speaking at the same time said : 

"As to the character of our title to Oregon, there was a much broader and 
clearer claim than any mentioned by Senator Buchanan.. We settled that terri- 
tory. The settlement of it was the basis of our claim. The British never saw 
or heard of Oregon till we discovered it and put a badge of our sovereignty on 
it. Then Great Britain jumped down on Oregon, and now she was going to fight 
us for it. He would assure the gentlemen that we are not going to have 
another Massachusetts and Maine boundary question. There was to be no 
trembling and yielding in this case, as there was in the former one. No trembling 
hearts were to be found in the west. This was a western question, and the west 
had a regard for the national honor." 

Much more could be given of the same quality showing the temper of the 
western people, and the right of the nation to the whole of old Oregon. The 
presidential campaign of 1844 was fought out on the democratic cry of, 

"fifty-four, forty or fight." 

The writer of this book remembers distinctly seeing those words emblazoned 
on the democratic banners; and the hue and cry of the campaign orators de- 
nouncing the British in their attempt to steal a part of old Oregon, and appealing 
to the voters to rally to the support of Polk and drive the British out of the 
Oregon wilderness, root and branch. 

The democratic convention which nominated James K. Polk for the presi- 
dency, proclaimed one of its party principles that "our title to the whole of 
Oregon is clear, and unquestionable, and its re-occupation at the earliest prac- 
ticable period is a great American measure, to be recommended to the cordial 
support of the democracy of the Union." And after Polk was selected, and in 
his inaugural address on March 4th, 1845, he repeated the declaration of his 
party that nominated him in the very words of the platform on which he was 
elected. And then after being thus overwhelmingly elected on this very issue, on 
a direct referendum to the people, he hauled down the national colors and made 
the treaty of June 15th, 1846, which gave away to the British all the territory 
now included in British Columbia. 

The surrender of the northwest Oregon territory to the British was the most 
humiliating and disgraceful piece of diplomacy that ever disgraced any nation. 
Fortunate that it is, it stands alone in the history of the republic. Cowardly, 
truckling, and damaging, alike to national interests and national honor, the 
reason and excuse for it was even more infamous. The whole north and west 
was so outraged and incensed beyond any words to describe the public senti- 
ment that Robert J. Walker, secretary of the treasury under President Polk was 
compelled to give an excuse for the great wrong; and in doing so, admitted that 
the southern slave state president and senators (with of course their northern 
dough-face supporters) had given up northwest Oregon to England, for the 
reason, it might at some future time come into the Union as anti-slavery state. 

We can have no cenception now of the bitterness of the fight against Oregon, 
by the slaveholders on one hand, and the British on the other ; and of the 
tremendous odds and forces the friends of Oregon in congress and the pioneers 


on the trail had to overcome. As a sample of the public sentiment in large 
portions of the eastern states we give two extracts from speeches of United States 
senators. Senator W. L. Dayton of New Jersey in the senate on February 23, 
1844, said : 

"What there is in the territory of Oregon to tempt our national cupidity, no 
one can tell. Of all the countries on the face of the earth, it is one of the least 
favored of Heaven. It is the mere riddling of creation. It is almost as barren 
as the desert of Africa, and quite as unhealthy as the Campania of Italy. We 
would not be subjected to all the innumerable and indescribable tortures of a 
journey to Oregon for all the soil its savage hunters ever wandered over. All 
the writers and travelers agree in representing Oregon as a vast extent of 
mountains, and valleys, of sand dotted over with green, and cultivable spots. 
Russia has her Siberia, and England has her Botany Bay, and if the United 
States should ever use a country to which to banish its rogues and scoundrels, 
the utility of such a region as Oregon will be demonstrated." 

And then the wise senator from Jersey ventilates his wisdom on the possi- 
bility of a railroad to this "riddling of creation," and says : 

"The power of steam to reach that country has been suggested. Talk of 
steam communication — a railroad to the mouth of the Columbia ! a railroad 
across 2500 miles of desert, prairie and mountains ! The smoke of an engine 
through those terrible fissures of that great rocky ledge, where the smoke of the 
volcano has rolled before! Who is to make this vast internal — rather external 
improvement? All the mines of Mexico and Peru, disembowelled would scarcely 
pay a penny of the cost." 

Dayton lived long enough to become the candidate for vice-president on 
the ticket with Fremont in 1856, and died in Paris in 1864, after the railroad 
had started across the deserts of Kansas and Nebraska towards Oregon; and if 
he could arise from his grave and see the two railroads on the Columbia river 
daily carrying more freight than is produced in the State of New Jersey in a 
year, he would give up the delusion that Oregon was a desert. 

But Dayton was not alone in the opposition, from the northern states to 
securing the territory of Oregon. As great a man as Daniel Webster made open 
as well as secret opposition to the acquisition of Oregon. In a public address 
on November 7, 1845, at Faneuil hall in Boston, in discussing the Oregon 
question said "that the vast importance of peace with England, he took for 
granted; but the question that now threatened that peace, and was causing great 
alarm, was of forty years standing, and was now coming to a crisis. It is a ques- 
tion that is a fit subject for compromise and amicable adjustment, but one which 
in my opinion can be settled on an honorable basis by taking the forty-ninth 
parallel of north latitude as the boundary line, the two countries would then 
keep abreast on that line to the Pacific ocean." 

Later on Mr. Webster declared that the title and government of Oregon 
would go to the people which had the greatest population in the territory. And 
still later on, in the United States senate, as showing his position generally, 
he declared in a speech on March ist, 1847: 

"In the judgment of the whig party, it is due to the best interests of the coun- 
try, to declare at once, and proclaim now, that we want no new states, nor terri- 
tory to form new states out of us, as the end of conquest. For one, I enter into 
this declaration with all my heart. We want no extension of territory, we want 
no accession of new states. The country is already large enough." 

This shows why Dr. Whitman could not move Webster, while secretary of 
state, to help Oregon. And shows the undercurrent of apathy, not to say dis- 
loyalty to the west, with which Benton, Lynn Semple and other western states- 
men had to contend to save Oregon to the nation. 

Now, sixty years after that disgraceful surrender to England the commercial 
interests, and all the people of this city and the Pacific coast can see the damage 
wrought to national interests by having a British state sandwiched in between 


the state of Washington and our territory of Alaska. Here is our old invet- 
erate and historical enemy with all its forts, and harbors and battleships, and 
trans-continental railroads, ready to harbor the Japansese and combine against 

' American interests, and Oregon commerce, and do us more damage from these 
advantages cowardly given away by the Polk administration, than any army of a 
hundred thousand men could do attacking us from any point east of the Rocky 
mountains. H our government had courageously held on to all of Oregon, as 
the people told them to do in the presidential election of 1844, and as senators 
Benton and Linn vainly besought them to do, we would have had all of old 
Oregon today, and the Pacific ocean with all its vast commercial advantages 
would be practically an American lake. And for just retribution of this great 
wrong, some day the American people will raise up and place another Andrew 

■ Jackson in the presidential chair, and then look out, if the British flag is not 
pulled down from New Foundland to Vancouver island, and the Canadians 
told to go it alone, or come in under the stars and stripes. 

And now after reviewing the history of the country for over sixty years, 
and considering the desperate and horrible course of the slave states in plung- 
ing the nation into all the horrors of the civil war, and putting the life and 
existence of the nation at stake, there can be but little doubt that had it not 
been for the American settlements in the Willamette valley, and the organization 
of the provisional government, which had declared against slavery, the pro- 
slavery president and his supporters would have given up the whole of Oregon 
to England to prevent the addition of another free state to the union. 


1842— 1848. 

The Oregon Hall of Fame — Who Saved Oregon, Thomas Jefferson, 
Thomas Benton, Hall J. Kelley, Lee, Whitman, McLoughlin, 
Meek — Abernethy, Matthieu, Saved by All the Settlers Pulling 

The first great name naturally associated with the Oregon country is that 
of Thomas Jefferson. His place in the history of the United States, in the 
estimation of the great mass of the people is next to that of Washington. But 
had it not been for his far-seeing statesmanship which added the Louisiana 
territory to that of the thirteen original states, his position would certainly have 
taken rank after that of Franklin, Hamilton and Madison. His fortunate con- 
nection with the Declaration of Independence, while no special evidence of 
statesmanship, secured for him early recognition, and kept his name to the front 
at the annual celebration of the great event throughout the length and breadth 
of the whole country. His part in the actual struggle with the foreign king for 
national independence amounts to very little. In the making of the constitu- 
tion, where Washington, Hamilton and Madison each towered above all the 
statesmen of their day, Jefferson took no part. And while recognized as a 
man of versatile talents, of genius and ability, he barely held the place he 
achieved in the continental convention by his persistent advocacy of popular 
rights. He became early known as the advocate of popular as distinguished 
from constitutional government. And it is a sharp commentary on the weak- 
ness of his original propositions of government, that almost the very first of 
his acts as president of the United States was admitted by himself to be an 
infraction of the letter of the constitution he had sworn to support, and of his 
own ideas of the proper mission of the republic. In a letter to John Brecken- 
ridge, August 12, 1803, speaking of the purchase of Louisiana. Jeft'erson says: 

"The treaty, of course, must be laid before both houses. They, I presume, 
will see their duty to their country in ratifying and paying for it (Louisiana), 
so as to secure a good which would otherwise probably be never again in their 
power. The constitution has made no provision for our holding foreign ter- 
ritory, still less for incorporating foreign nations into our union. The executive, 
in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so much advances the good of their 
country, has done an act beyond the constitution. The legislature in casting 
behind metaphysical subtleties, and risking themselves like faithful servants, 
must ratify and pay for it, and throw themselves on their country for doing 
for them unauthorized, what we know they would have done for themselves 
had they been in a situation to do it." 



I inc 

— .^,-_>-~,^«i<«. 


And to show further the hazy ideas of this remarkable statesman, when it 
comes to forming a concrete and persistent nation, take another extract from 
the same letter : 

"The future inhabitants of the Atlantic and Mississippi states, will be our 
sons. We leave them in distinct but bordering establishments. We think we 
see their happiness in their union, and we wish it. Events may prove it other- 
wise, and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take sides 
with our Atlantic rather than our Mississippi descendants. God bless them 
both, and keep them in union, if it be for their good, but separate them if it 
be better." 

And when the great Jefferson comes to consider the Pacific coast sons of 
the republic, he wanders still farther away from a union which must for all 
time make us a homogeneous nation. In a letter to John Jacob Astor, May 2, 

"I considered as a great public acquisition the commencement of a settle- 
ment on that point (Astoria) of the western coast of America, and looked for- 
ward with gratification to the time when its descendants should have spread 
themselves through the whole length of that coast, covering it with free and 
independent Americans, unconnected with us by the ties of blood and interest, 
and employing, like us, the rights of self-government." 

And in another letter to Mr. Astor, November 9, 1813, Jefferson says: 

"I learn with great pleasure the progress you have made toward an estab- 
lishment on the Columbia river. I view it as the germ of a great free and 
independent empire on that side of our continent, and that liberty and self- 
government spreading from that as well as.ihis side, .will insure their complete 
establishment over the whole. It must be still more gratifying to yourself to 
foresee that your name will be handed down \vith that of Columbus and Raleigh, 
as the father of the establishment and founder of such an empire. It would 
be an afflicting thing indeed should the English be able to break up the settle- 
ment. Their bigotry to the bastard liberty of their own country, and habitual 
hostility to every degree of freedom in any "other will induce the attempt; they 
would not lose the sale of a bale of furs for the freedom of the whole world." 

This letter shows vividly the three predominant characteristics of Jefferson's 
public life ; intense devotion to personal liberty, expansion of the American 
idea of popular government, and intense hostility to everything British. Had 
Thomas Jefferson lived to read of the formation of the Oregon provisional 
government, he would have hailed it as the embodiment of his life-long prin- 
ciples. As it was, he was emphatically the father of Oregon. Although ad- 
mitting he violated the constitution to get control of this vast region, and carry 
out his long cherished desire to explore the depths of its wilderness and show 
to the world its vast riches, he put the stamp of his genius and love of liberty 
on its original government through the brains and labor of the pioneers who 
had imbibed Jeffersonian principles with their mothers' milk. Slavery, he con- 
sidered a moral and political evil, and declared in reference to it that "he 
trembled for his country when he remembered that God was just." And one 
of the first acts of the legislature of the provisional government of Oregon was 
to declare that slavery should never have a foothold in this state. 

Thomas Jefferson was as accessible to the plain every day farmers, as to 
the highest dignitary of his own or any foreign government. All titles of honor 
were distasteful to him, and he lived and died as the popular incarnation of equal- 
ity, justice and democracy. And it is to Jefferson that the country is indebted 
for that necessary enterprise in sending out the Lewis and Clarke expedition 
to explore the unknown country of Oregon, and place the stamp of American 
title on its whole extent, from the mountains to the sea. Judging from the 
history of the country, there is not a president since the days of Washington 
that had the push and enterprise, as well as the American spirit, to expand 
the nation's boundaries as did Jefferson; and if it had not been for his action 


in seizing what he termed the "fugitive opportunity," the United States would 
have been, in its western extension, Hmited to the boundary of the Mississippi, 
and Oregon would have been as British as Canada. It is therefore justly due 
that the name of Thomas Jefferson should top the scroll of Oregon's hall of 

The next prominent character in the long contest for the American title to 
Oregon was Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri. Benton was not alone 
in the battle, but was ably supported by his colleague, Senator Lewis F. Linn. 
Linn was a physician by profession, and a forceful, aggressive man, serving 
two terms in the senate. But Benton was there for thirty years, always a com- 
manding figure, resolute and courageous far beyond the great majority of men 
who have risen to that high position. Benton, next to Jefferson, early compre- 
hended the great importance of the west to the nation. Living at St. Louis, 
which was in his day the great gateway not only to the south and southwest, 
but also to the real west beyond the mountains, he saw the national necessity 
to seize every point of vantage and hold on for the future. And although rep- 
resenting a slave state in the senate, he was far too large a man not to see that 
free territory to the west was a thousand times more important to St. Louis 
and to the nation than more slave states. And when the issue came, whether 
there should be territory added on that would make free states beyond the 
mountains, and thus disturb the equilibrium between slave and free states, he 
promptly cast in the whole force of his great influence in the senate and with 
the people on the side of the free territory of Oregon. For this act for justice 
and humanity, for national honor and defense, he was discredited by the slave- 
holding leaders of the south. 

No man understood better the wants and aspirations of the pioneer settlers 
of Oregon. And no man comprehended as well the future national importance 
of taking and holding the whole of old Oregon for settlement by American 
citizens. His prophetic words, picturing the future greatness of this country, 
and the great commerce which would ebb and flow through this city, and the 
Columbia gateway, has been given in the introductory chapter of this book, 
and we have lived to see it a veritable reality. For long years, and through 
good and evil report, and in the face of all sorts of misrepresentation of the 
value of this country by the pigmy men who had gotten into the senate by some 
sort of accident, he stood the "Lion of the West" making the battle for Oregon. 
And some day, when this city or some of its merchant princes shall fully com- 
prehend the great work which Thomas H. Benton did to "save Oregon" to 
the nation, and make Portland an American city and the imperial commercial 
metropolis of the great Pacific, there will arise on some commanding point in 
the city the heroic statue in bronze of "Old Bullion," friend of Oregon, with 
the uplifted right arm of his commanding figure pointing to the west to em- 
phasize the apothegm that made him famous, "There's India, there's the East !" 

And now we come to a man who "saved Oregon" who is wholly unlike 
every other man connected with Oregon history. Unappreciated and misun- 
derstood, by some called a fanatic, by others a crank, and by the Hudson Bay 
Company treated as a horse thief, the ghost of Hall J. Kelley appears and dis- 
appears through the shifting scenery of Oregon's strenuous history with such 
kaleidoscopic presentment as almost utterly bafiles description. 

Hall Jackson Kelley was born at Northwood, N. H., February 24, 1790. 
At the age of sixteen the boy left home and taught school at Hallowell, Maine. 
He studied the classics and graduated with honor at Middlebury college in 
1814, and married the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Baldwin, April 17, 1822. 
After leaving college, Mr. Kelley devoted his time to teaching, the preparation 
of elementary school books, the introduction of blackboards in public schools, 
the study of the higher mathematics, and making a discovery of an improved 
method of topographical and geographical surveying which President Jackson 
promised to introduce in government work. 


^r'lvv', '■"-" 


As early as 1817, while teacher in one of the grammar schools of Boston, 
Kelley conceived the idea of leading a colony for the exploration and settle- 
ment of Oregon, then practically an unknown country. In his memoir he says : 
'T began first to converse with friends about Oregon, then to lecture and write 
books and tracts in order to give the widest publicity to my plans and purposes." 
In 1824, he publicly announced his intention to settle Oregon and propagate 
Christianity beyond the Rocky mountains. Here is a definite and indisputable 
statement that Hall J. Kelley 's missionary enterprise antedated that of Jason 
Lee by ten years, and that of Marcus Whitman by twelve years, and that of the 
Catholic priests by fourteen years. 

And while it is true that Kelley never did come to Oregon to preach the 
gospel, it is also true that he, more than all others, by his public lectures, letters, 
pamphlets and circulars, informed and enlightened the people of the Atlantic 
states as to the character and value of the territory of Oregon. And it was 
on the public sentiment created and built up by Kelley that the Methodists and 
Presbyterians were enabled to organize their missionary expeditions to Oregon 
and to get the first money to pay their expenses. And on this point the fol- 
lowing statements are quite satisfactory proof : 

"Boston, January 30, 1833. 
"In the year 183 1, I was editor of Zion's Herald, a religious paper sustain- 
ing the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church. In the above year I published 
for Mr. H. J. Kelley a series of letters addressed to a member of congress de- 
veloping his plans for the settlement of Oregon territory. At other times Mr. 
Kelley made appeals, through our paper, with a view to excite the minds of 
the Christian community to the importance of founding religious institutions 
in that territory. He was one of the first explorers of that region, and to his 
zeal and efforts is largely due the establishment of missionary operations in that 
country. -=-.;-!•. 

•-•--- Wm. C. Brown.'' 

Rev. David Green, secretary of the American Board of Foreign Missions, 
bears similar testimony, and says : "The welfare and improvement of the In- 
dians of that territory, and the introduction there of the blessings of civiliza- 
tion, and the useful arts, with education and Christian knowledge, seemed to 
be his leading object. Much of the early interest felt in the Oregon country 
by the New England people was probably the result of Mr. Kelley 's labors." 

In 1829 Kelley procured from the legislature of Massachusetts an act to 
incorporate "The American Society for Encouraging the Settlement of the 
Oregon Territory," and in 1830 he published a "Geographical Memoir of Ore- 
gon," accompanied by a map of Oregon, drawn by himself, and also a "Alanual 
of the Oregon Expedition," for the information and guidance of emigrants to 

Then Kelly went to Washington city and spent the winters of 1830 and 
183 1 in explaining his scheme to members of congress and high government 
officials with a view of securing the action of the government and aiding or 
encouraging emigration to Oregon. 

And then after many rebuffs and disappointments he left Boston for Oregon 
in 1832, two years before Jason Lee started for Oregon; and on his way west 
stopped at Washington city, where he was the recipient of many favors, as he 
says, and encouraged by public officers to go west and explore the country. 
Leaving Washington, he traveled by the way of the Cumberland wagon road to 
the Ohio river, and thence down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, and 
from thence by sailing vessel to Vera Cruz in Mexico, and from thence by 
stages to Jalapa and the City of Mexico. From the capital of Mexico by mule- 
teer pack trains he made his way to San Bias, and from thence up the coast in a 
little schooner to Monterey, California. Here he offered his services to tlie 


Mexican governor of California to make a survey of the Sacramento valley, 
w^hich being declined, he made a reconnoisance of the valley on his own account 
and made a map of the valley. Here he fell in w^ith Ewing Young, whose estate 
without heirs, was afterwards urged as a reason for organizing a provisional 
government in Oregon. Young was an American trader from New Mexico, and 
Kelley persuaded him to undertake a trading venture up to Oregon with horses. 
And gathering up a party of adventurers and deserting sailors, with a lot of 
cheap horses, one hundred and fifty or more, they all started for Oregon. 
Getting as far as the mountains of southern Oregon, Kelley was taken sick. 
And here he fell in with the Frenchman fur trader, Michael La Framboise, who 
seeing Kelley's unfortunate condition in the grasp of a racking ague fit at once 
proceeded to alleviate his distress with quinine and hot venison broth. Kelley 
remained with and traveled with the Frenchman for several days, until over- 
taken by the Young party, when they all came down to Fort Vancouver. Here, 
weary and worn out, sick from a relapse, he finds the gates of Vancouver 
closed against him. He is informed that the Mexican governor of California had 
sent word to Dr. McLoughlin that Young and his party were a gang of horse 
thieves, and cautioning McLoughlin against the whole company. In vain does 
the sick man, a scholar and educated gentleman, and a christian, protest his 
innocence. McLoughlin says : "When Kelley arrived he was ver}'- ill, and out 
of humanity I placed him in a house, put a man to nurse him. the surgeon of 
the establishment attended him. and his victuals sent him every meal until 
he left in 1836." But the facts were, that Kelley while remaining at Van- 
couver was housed in a hut outside the fort, and treated as a mendicant or 
worse, and debarred the recognition of an honest man, or a gentleman, in the 
the country he had done so much to advertise to the world. 

Kelley was undoubtedly greatly embittered against the Americans he found 
in Oregon, and, as he said, induced to come here by his representations of the 
country. He did not hesitate to charge the trader Wyeth with having gone over 
to the support of the Hudson Bay Company. Wyeth personally knew that Kelley 
was an educated man in good standing in Boston, and not to be thought of for 
an instant as a horse thief ; and the neglect of Wyeth to assist a fellow country- 
man in such straits shows him to have been a coward and ingrate. And neither 
did the Methodist missionaries come to the rescue of the man who had so largely 
contributed to their undertaking their noble work in Oregon. But as McLoughlin 
had posted the letter of the Alexican governor up in the Willamette valley, and 
was all-powerful against everybody at that early day, the missionaries evidently 
concluded that "prudence was the better part of valor," and left their fellow 
christian patriot to sink or swim as best he could. 

But after all his pains and heart-aches, he staggered once more to his feet, 
and in a most wretched, ragged and dilapidated condition, he commenced to 
look around in the land he had so extensively advertised as the best in the 
world. He had brought some surveying instruments with him, and on the 
peninsula between the Willamette and the Columbia rivers, where we have in 
our day seen but little but burnt out dead trees and stumps, with impassable 
scrub underbrush, Kelley walked under magnificent groves of tall firs, and 
made survey of the site for the great city he had proposed and which is noticed 
with the plat thereof on another page. This plat of Kelley's city was surveyed 
and located in about 1835 about where Francis I. McKenna's University Park 
addition is now located, and was the first surveyed location of a town north of 
California, west of the Rocky mountains. After surveying out his town site 
Kelley proceeded to make a survey of the Columbia river from Vancouver down 
to Astoria, and when he returned to the eastern states turned his survey over to 
the U. S. navy department. The Englishman, Lieut. Broughton, had made a 
survey of the river prior to Kelley's survey, but the Americans got no benefit 
of that as it was given only to the Hudson Bay Company and British war ships. 


^< * ■:i^' ■,[ '. i-'X ^ ■' 


That town site, and river survey, connects for all time, the name of Hall J. 
Kelley with the history of this city. 

After completing this work, Kelley left the country in March, 1836, on 
transportation via the Sandwich Islands, furnished by Dr. McLoughlin, and 
which was acknowledged by Kelley in his narrative of his journey to Oregon, 
saying McLoughlin kindly furnished him comforts to start home with, and 
some money, which he felt very grateful for. On his return to Boston by a 
whale ship from the islands, Kelley published the first satisfactory report of the 
Willamette and Columbia river valleys, ever made, giving far more information 
about the climate, soil, timber and other natural resources of wealth upon 
which to found a prosperous state than was given by Lewis and Clarke. And 
notwithstanding his failure to enlist public support of his colonization schemes, 
or to get aid from congress, or even decent treatment in the wilds of Oregon, 
Kelley continued his agitation of the Oregon question, and advocacy of con- 
gressional aid, and settlement of the country as long as he had financial means 
to do so. He had gone through trials, disappointments, and severe labors, in 
traveling through foreign countries to reach Oregon to be received not only with 
distrust but with slander and persecution, such as would have crushed most of 
men. Yet his hopeful and unwavering spirit of promotion and adventure did not 
desert him, and on his return to his old home, he immediately engaged with others 
in erecting a cotton mill at Three Rivers, Massachusetts. And after losing the 
last remnant of his fortune in this venture, he retired to private life, and lived 
as and was known as "The Hermit," of Three Rivers, finally passing away at 
the advanced age of eighty-five years. 

The work that Hall Kelley did to save Oregon to the United States was that 
of an educator and agitator. He wrote and published more about Oregon than 
all others put together prior to the formation of the provisional government. 
His writings were all characterized by noble thoughts, and directed to the pro- 
motion of the uplift and welfare of his fellow-man. Not a line can be found 
in all his voluminous writings, that is not educational and reformatory. His 
labors for spreading knowledge and interest about Oregon were not fitful and 
spasmodic, but were persistently and energetically carried on for more than 
forty years. And the result of it all was to secure and hold the attention of 
men in congress, in public stations, and in the newspaper world, so that a public 
sentiment was created in favor of holding on to Oregon as a Pacific outpost 
for national development and defense. But for Kelley 's labors, the whole of 
the New England states. New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia would have 
been practically without any information about Oregon further than the report 
of Lewis and Clarke. And that this labor of Kelley's was eff^ective and of 
great service, the letter of U. S. Senator John Davis of Massachusetts, is here 
given. Davis was a man of such great integrity and high character that he 
achieved the distinction of being known as "Honest John Davis." 

"June 6th, 1848. 
"Hall J. Kelley, 

Dear Sir: Having learned that you are about to leave Washington city for 
your home without having obtained an act of congress in your behalf, the sub- 
ject not having been acted upon, I beg leave to say that I consider you as en- 
titled, in equity and good conscience, to a liberal grant of land from the gov- 
ernment for your meritorious services in promoting the settlement of Oregon, 
and I by no means despair of obtaining such a grant. 

Respectfully yours, 

John Davis." 

And among the many distinguished supporters of Kelley's claim for recog- 
nition by congress was the eminent historian, George Bancroft. And in addi- 
tion to his work in creating public opinion in congress and the eastern states 


in favor of holding Oregon, he is entitled to no small amount of credit in send- 
ing the first missionaries to Oregon. Prior to the movement that sent them 
out here, Kelley had collected and published all the facts and information about 
Oregon that was then available, and had laid the foundation for practical ef- 
forts, and proved that Oregon was a good country to settle and people with 
American citizens. It was from Kelley's labors that the missionary board got 
their facts which justified them in sending Lee and Whitman to Oregon. 

Besides his work for Oregon, Kelley surveyed and planned a canal from 
the Charles river to the Connecticut, and for a ship canal from Barnstable to 
Buzzard's bay, Massachusetts, and located and engineered the construction of 
several railroads in the state of Maine. He never made any money for him- 
self, but he did much to make fortunes for other people. He was not a crack- 
brained theorist, pursuing unsubstantial chimeras, as some writers have sought 
to make out, but a clear-headed, far-seeing enthusiast patriotically seeking the 
honor and prosperity of his country. And, if Hke Jefferson and Benton, he 
could see in the future the great importance of this great country of the Pacific 
slope, when the timid great men and cowardly little men of the United States 
could not, or would not see it, it is to his honor and not his discredit. And for 
these reasons. Hall J. Kelley is justly entitled to have his name enrolled among 
the greatest of those who saved Oregon to the people of the United States. 

And now, in the order of their acts in point of time, following down the line, 
is found another man of entirely different character, from any that has preceded 
him, that at the "psychological moment" (to use a modern expression.) rendered 
a service which seemed to be an inspiration, and that turned apparent defeat into 
glorious victory. 

When all the circumstances of the settlement and occupation of Oregon are 
considered in the light of the strength and facilities of the contending and com- 
peting powers, the success of the handful of scattered Americans seems little 
short of a miracle. On one side was the most perfectly organized, and for the 
purpose of settlement and holding the country, the most powerful commercial 
organization then in North America. Possessed of all the money necessary for 
any venture or enterprise, equipped with ships for immigration as well as com- 
merce, semi-military in its organization, with trained and perfectly obedient 
servants ready to obey any order, with forts and military supplies defended by 
light cannon located at every strategic point, and able to call to its assistance 
ten thousand Indian warriors, and backed by the whole power of the British 
government if necessary, the Hudson Bay Company was able to crush at any 
moment the feeble efforts of the Americans to protect themselves by any kind 
of an organization. Was it divine prophecy, or common sense reliance on the 
courage and happy luck of the men who had sent him to congress, that in- 
spired Tom Benton to say in the United States senate: "Mere adventurers 
may enter upon it, (Oregon) as Aeneas entered upon the Tiber, and as our 
forefathers entered upon the Potomac, the Delaware, and the Hudson, and re- 
new the phenomenon of individuals laying the foundation of a future empire." 
And on the other side, pitted against this powerful company and the imperial 
power of Great Britain, were, what Benton has intimated — "mere adventurers," 
recklessly proclaiming their intention to found a new state. Two opposed 
ideas — monarchy and special privileges on one side, and republicanism and equal 
rights to all, meet and clash once more. Neither Bunkers Hill or New Orleans 
is forgotten, but here at a lonely cabin on the banks of a peaceful river, two 
thousand miles from the outpost of all civil government, 102 men meet to de- 
cide whether the union jack of old England, or the stars and stripes of young 
America shall float over the four great states to be. 

Behold the picture; the bishop of his flock, with centuries of trammg and 
culture in his face, holds the volatile children of the distant St. Lawrence on 
one side with steady poise, while over against them are turbulent spirits from 

•Divide! Divide! Who's for a divide! 
All in favor of the American flag, follow me!" 

Xii4 i^iiY/ tOt^'^ 



Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, the plains and the rovers of the sea, men 
inured to dangers and trials from boyhood to manhood, and ranged behind them 
missionaries of the cross, who, like the great Puritan, could "trust God and 
keep the powder dry." And surrounding all, the sullen red man, swathed in his 
fiery blanket, silently beholding the strange scene in wondering awe as to which 
of these must be his future master. To portray the scene demands the genius 
of a Michael Angelo, and when it is done true to history, the canvas will im- 
mortalize the painter. 

We get a glimpse of the contending forces as they rally in coonskin caps 
and buckskin trousers on the banks of the Willamette May 3, 1843, to try out 
the momentous issue. The leaders of the rival forces are rallying every man for 
the fray, enthusing them, with the patriotic maintenance of their principles, and 
with courage to maintain their rights. The fateful hour has come ; the chairman 
calls for order; the committee reports a plan of organization; the ayes and noes 
are called for and against a government ; the Americans vote scatteringly, hesi- 
tatingly and ineffectually. Then comes the vote against a government, and the 
Hudson Bay Company men trained for the occasion, fire a solid shot, voting 
loudly and as one man, and — everything seems lost for the Americans. A few 
brave spirits refuse to be beaten, will not admit defeat, and call for a division and 
polling the men. The division is ordered by the chairman and pandemonium 
breaks loose. The Hudson bay men and Catholic Canadians rapidly mingle 
with the Americans to prevent division and bitterly remonstrate against any 
government organization. Neighborhood friendships, peace of the community, 
every consideration is recalled to prevent any action ; when suddenly, as if 
leaping out of the earth, springs forth the stalwart form of Joseph L. Meek, 
and shouts above the din of contending voices: .; ^Cr-- 

"Divide ! Divide ! Who's for a divide ! 

All in favor of the American flag, follow me!" 

Instantly, the commotion is silenced. The Americans line up after the natural 
born leader of men, and as the lines lead out to the banks of the beautiful river, 
the decision hangs in the balance. The secretaries go down the lines of deter- 
mined men, resolutely facing each other with that grim courage which be- 
tokens the real heroes of a great cause, and it looks fearfully like a drawn battle. 
Suddenly a Frenchman — (the Frenchman has always helped Americans out 
when they most needed him) — a Frenchman steps out from the ranks of those 
of his native land, conquers the greatest trial of his life, and Francis Xavier 
Matthieu slowly crosses over to the American side and takes rank with his fel- 
low-countryman, Etienne Lucier — and Oregon is saved to the nation — fifty-two 
votes for organizing the provisional government of Oregon, and fifty votes 

Now it will not be claimed that Colonel Joe Meek was a great man. It is 
not necessary to set up for him any claim to great talent or statesmanship. It 
was not an occasion that required that. A decision had to be snatched from 
doubt and indecision. Men had to be rallied to the greatest event not only of 
their lives, but in the life of a great national movement, and the founding of a 
new state. The actors in the dramatic scene could scarcely have comprehended 
the tremendous consequences of their acts, and of the unfolding scheme big 
with vast results to two great nations. But this chief actor, at the vital moment, 
had the inborn imagination, the bumptious dare-devil courage and dramatic 
talent, to seize the only point left him for effect, and make an appeal for the 
flag. He had heard in old Virginia, as every American boy has heard, the slogan 
of every battle cry — "Rally around the flag boys." Meek saw the chance; it 
might have been an inspiration from boyhood days ; but he caught it instantly, 
used it most effectively ; won the victory and secured organization, union and 
combination, and by that means enrolled his name among the savers of Oregon. 


(Joseph L. Meek was a native of Washington County, Virginia, born in 
1810. He grew up without education on a Virginia plantation, and being 
troubled because his father contracted a second marriage, ran away and joined 
a party of fur traders going to the Rocky mountains, and drifted into Oregon 
in 1840. He married a Nez Perce woman, and they raised a very respectable 
family; his daughter, Olive, is a woman of education, talent and refinement, 
and his son, Stephen, was a member of the Oregon legislature. Meek had a 
splendid physique, a magnetic presence, wit, courtesy, and generous to a fault, 
and if he had been afforded the advantages of an education, would have reached 
high official station.) 

But not all the heroes and savers of Oregon rage the battle field, or pace the 
forum in the limelight of popular acclaim. Every man at that historic meeting 
at old Champoeg, proved his title to true worth and honorable mention. Vic- 
tor and vanquished proved their worth in the founding of a new empire. Those 
who were defeated, promptly and quietly withdrew, showing neither faction or 
opposition, and proved their real worth as men and citizens in yielding cordial 
obedience to the new government. 

Of Francis X. Matthieu, the only one of that band of immortals, still living 
when this history of the events is recorded, too much cannot be said in his 
praise. Born and reared under the flag that on that day he reluctantly dis- 
carded, with all his educational bias, and all his personal associations with the 
policy and men who were defeated, it must have been a soul-trying ordeal to cast 
in his lot with the Americans. But being convinced that it would be better for 
those men and their families, and the future of the country, to be ruled by the 
United States than by England, he sacrificed all personal feeling and the as- 
sociations of his life time, and voted unselfishly for what he conceived to be the 
greatest good to the greatest number. On his vote depended the hopes and 
fears of both sides — the whole mass. Had he remained with the Canadians the 
vote would have tied evenly, and no decision. The future of the community 
might have drifted helplessly, or broken out into faction and violence. At the 
least sign of dangerous strife the great commercial company backed by Eng- 
land, would have intervened, and British immigration and settlement would 
have followed, and Oregon would have been lost to the United States. And 
well we may conclude, that the single vote cast by the far seeing and patriotic 
heart of Francis Xavier Matthieu, solved a momentous question at a critical 
moment, and enrolled the name of this true man among the savers of Oregon. 

(Francis Xavier Matthieu was born at Montreal, Canada, 1818, and in 1837, 
at the time of the Canadian rebellion, was clerk in a store in Montreal. Being 
a rebel, he employed his leisure in purchasing and shipping arms to the centers 
of rebellion, and was obliged at last to quit Canada to save his life, and come 
over to the United States, which he did in 1838. Going first to Albany, New 
York, and thence to St. Louis, he joined a party of the American Fur Company 
to trap and trade up into the Yellowstone region. But the Indians being fur- 
nished with rum, which Matthieu did not approve of. he left the party and 
joined a party of immigrants on their way to Oregon. Reaching Oregon he 
went to Champoeg, and hired out to Etienne Lucier for two years as a car- 
penter and farmer. Married a good woman in 1844, and settled at St. Paul in 
French Prairie as a farmer. He is the only survivor of the 102 men taking 
part in the Champoeg meeting to organize a new state ; and now resides with a 
daughter in East Portland, enjoying life and his friends at the age of 92.) 

But as "Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war," so we find that 
after the hazardous and strenuous contest to establish the provisional govern- 
ment, and launch the frail ship of state on the unsounded seas of inexperience, 
that the right man finally came to the helm. Sooner or later, the right man 
always comes to a good cause ; and when plain, modest citizen George Abernethy 
was elected the first governor of Oregon, the good people of the new born state 


.'.-■•. i 


had insured the success of their great enterprise. A spark of genius may strike 
out a great idea, — a dashing general may win a great battle for a noble cause, 
and a close student may solve a great scheme of government; but the even tem- 
pered, patient, tireless, honest, practical man of common sense is absolutely 
necessary to utilize the great idea, the great battle, or the great scheme. So also 
v^ith the Oregon provisional government. From its very inception there were 
ambitious men thirsting for glory and anxious to lead, but had not the neces- 
sary brains or ballast. A dual executive was tried and found inefficient. Im- 
patience for results, the jealousies of little men, and petulant tempers of bigger 
men, all conspired to threaten the governmental experiment with failure. Tlie 
final success of the effort was only secured by the majority of citizens who asking 
nothing for themselves but peace and safety, determined that their efforts should 
not be wrecked by incompetency or lack of conscientious effort. And so after 
more than two years of careful consideration of every name in the whole coun- 
try, favorable to the government, Abernethy was chosen to pilot the ship of state, 
and continued at the helm until the United States government assumed all re- 
sponsibility and relieved him of the great duties he had discharged with singular 
integrity and efficiency. 

To raise money to support a government in a country where half the people 
did not want any government, and where there was not even the power to enforce 
taxation, and where the legal tender was wheat, beaver skin, etc., and serve the 
government for years without salary or pay, was not half a list of the trials and 
difficulties Governor Abernethy had to contend with and overcome. 

That he was able to keep the little craft afloat, and steer clear of the opposi- 
tion of open enemies, and the petty annoyances of backbiting rivalry, until he 
finally reached the secure harbor of national protection, is a marvel of good man- 
agement, patient forbearance to all criticism and patriotic devotion to the welfare 
of his fellow-men. Where all Americans were ardent patriots, and many were 
captious critics, the slightest deviation from the straight and narrow way of strict 
rectitude, and even self sacrifice, would have lost him the confidence of the little 
commonwealth and plunged the community into that anarchy that would have 
wrecked the whole eft'ort to found a new state. And to have succeeded as Gov- 
ernor Abernethy did, was to save and strengthen the entire movement from day 
to day, until from infantile weakness it reached the vigor and capacity to defend 
itself from foreign intrigues and Indian wars. And thus saving the organization 
was in fact making the state, and the labor and success of the achievement places 
the name of George Abernethy among those who really in truth and fact saved 
Oregon to the United States. 

George Abernethy was a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, though reared in New 
York city. Left New York in 1839, and arrived in Oregon in 1840, coming with 
a missionary party. He was an ardent Methodist, but smooth and politic in a 
marked degree, and able to manage Catholic and Protestants with equal facility. 
He was actively supported by his Methodist brethren for the office of governor 
and made a good executive. On his canvass for re-election, he had serious op- 
position, and it is said that a majority of the voters preferred General Lovejoy, 
but put aside their preferences rather than disturb an existing order of admin- 
istration. He went actively into business after the expiration of his official duties. 
He was not successful in mercantile affairs, and after loosing most of his fortune, 
removed from Oregon City to Portland, and resided here for sixteen years, pass- 
ing away in May, 1877. 

No record of the strenuous times in which the foundations of civil government 
were laid in Oregon would be just, or complete, that failed to recognize the 
united efforts of all the men and women to organize society and promote good 
works here from 1840 to 1848. There were leaders as there must be in all for- 
ward movements, which the turn of events or characteristic abilities brought to 
the front. But the record and the results show, that while individuals stoutly con- 
tended for their opinions, and for their policies of government, yet on the one 


purpose in view, there was more harmony and united action than is generally 
found in small communities. It was all the people who united in the provisional 
government, and manfully pulled together through good and evil report, that 
saved Oregon to the United States. 

Of all these, three men have secured great prominence, and one at least, 
a national reputation, in the work of saving Oregon. And of these three, one 
was not for a time, a citizen of the United States. 

The work of John McLoughlin in co-operating to organize society and es- 
tablish the institutions of education, religion and civil government, is unique and 
unexampled in the history of the west. The work of Marcus Whitman, cut off 
in the midst of his career by the treacherous hands of those he vainly sought to 
bless, has not, and probably never will be fully known or comprehended. There 
can be no doubt that iWhitman was one of the first to divine the plans of the 
Hudson Bay Company as the representative of Great Britain in Oregon, and 
probably the first man to personally appeal to the government for that support 
which was so long and so wrongfully withheld. The work and career of Jason 
Lee was in many respects different from that of McLoughlin and Whitman. Lee 
himself, a native Canadian, was able to command the friendship of McLoughlin 
from his first appearance in Oregon. But being a citizen of the United 
States, all his aims and ambition were enthusiastically enlisted with his 
adopted country. And he was withal an intensely practical man. He passed 
over the country that Whitman settled in. He sized up the native red man from 
some observation of him in Canada. He saw at a glance that the Willamette 
valley offered a better and broader foundation for a missionary station than the 
more rugged regions east of the Cascades. The characteristics of these three 
great men were entirely dissimilar. Their work, careers and influence in Oregon 
and in saving Oregon has been the subject of a great controversy for a quarter 
of a century. Books have been written, each covering four hundred or more 
pages, proclaiming the good work of these men for Oregon. And that the work 
of each of them may be fully and justly presented, and preserved in this history, 
it has been deemed best to have their careers sketched by friends who have made 
a special study of their lives. And in pursuance of that arrangement, Mr. Fred- 
erick V. Holman, has prepared the monograph on Dr. John McLoughlin ; Joseph 
R. Wilson, D. D., has rendered a like service for Dr. Whitman, while Mr. John 
Gill has given us the career of Jason Lee. These sketches will be found at the 
end of this chapter. 

If the publisher had given more space it would have been a pleasant duty 
to have noticed at length such men as W. H. Gray, John S. Grifiin, Robert Newell, 
Robert Shortess, James W. Nesmith, Peter H. Burnett, John Minto and others 
all of whom did valiant and effective work in saving Oregon to the United States. 
Gray was practically the lieutenant of Whitman. Energetic, omnipresent and 
courageous to the limit, he lost no opportunity in his determined purpose to do all, 
and say all, that could be done or said for Protestanism and the provisional gov- 
ernment. And besides this, Gray's work lives after him in a history of Oregon, 
which contain many facts and phases of life in pioneer times that cannot be 
found in other works on Oregon. Peter H. Burnett one of the judges of the pro- 
visional government did useful work for the new state, attained prominence here 
and going to California was made the first governor of that state. James W. Ne- 
smith was also one of the judges of the provisional government, colonel in the In- 
dian wars, and United States senator. John S. Griffin (Father Griffin) was for 
many years a pioneer preacher of usefulness, giving his services freely to all, 
and living to the honored old age of Q2. Robert Newell was the wit and philoso- 
pher of the whole community, and the peace-maker in all petty contentions for 
office or precedence. He was the diplomatist that could "sooth the savage breast" 
and bend the red men to his will. What "Dr. Bob Newell" could not plan, and 
successfully carry out, to promote the public welfare and peace of the community, 
sixty-five years ago, is not worth mentioning. 


But heroes and heroines, all of them, all gone but one ; and we will never see 
their like again. Peace to their ashes and honor forevermore. 

"Oh, bring us back once more 
The vanished days oi yore. 

When the world with faith was filled ; 
Bring back the fervid zeal, 
The hearts of fire and steel, 

The hands that believe and build." 


Father of American Oregon (Scott) ; Founder of American Institutions and 
Civilization on the Pacific Coast (Bancroft). By John Gill. 

A tale so improbable that it has been doubted by historians, and regarded as 
a myth by many critical readers, has been attested as truth by the veracious tes- 
timony of Miss McBeth, missionary among the Nez Perces for thirty years. 

Let us begin with this link of evidence. In her "Story of the Nez Perces 
since Lewis and Clarke," Miss McBeth says: "There are two events in Nez 
Perces history so well known that even children can tell about them. These are 
the coming of Lewis and Clarke in 1805 and their return from the coast in 1806, 
and the going out of the four about the truth of God twenty-five years later." She 
gives the names of these four messengers. One of the names corresponds with 
that given by Catlin, who met the two surviving members of this band of four 
Nez Perces in 1832 in St. Louis, and traveled two thousand miles with them on 
their journey to their country in northern Idaho. Another of the names given by 
Miss McBeth is evidently but a slight variation of the name applied by Catlin 
to the same man. 

Two old men of the four had died before Catlin met the survivors. They had 
been sent out upon their quest of the white man's God in 1831, by mandate of 
a grand council of their tribes. 

If any testimony were required to confirm Miss McBeth, that of George 
Catlin, the artist and traveler, the greatest authority who ever wrote upon the 
Indians, is sufficient; he says: "When I first heard the report of this extraor- 
dinary mission, I could scarcely believe it, but on conversing with General 
Clarke (William Clarke of the great exploring expedition) I was fully convinced 
of the fact." Catlin painted the portraits of over five hundred Indians, which are 
now in the National Museum at Washington, and among them are the portraits 
of the two Nez Perces spoken of. Catlin traveled with these Indians for weeks 
on the first steamboat that made the voyage from St. Louis to the upper Mis- 
souri. This was in the spring of 1832. 

General Clarke was probably the first American who took a deep interest in 
the quest of these Nez Perces. He received them into his own house and was 
most hospitable and helpful to them. When Keepeelele, the old man of the 
three remaining, upon their arrival at St. Louis, was mortally sick, Mrs. Clarke 
ministered to him. She was herself in feeble health, and died, it is stated, of mi- 
asmatic fever, December 25, 183 1. Keepeelele was buried in St. Louis. His 
epitaph reads: "Keepeelele, enterree October 31, 1831, Nez Perce de la tribu 
des Choponeck, appele Tete-plate." 

Conquest, Mrs. Eva Emery Dye.) 

Some have stated that General Clarke was a Roman Catholic. He was in fact 
a communicant of the Episcopal church. General Qarke upon first receiving 
these messengers directed them to Rev. John York of the M. E. Church then a 
resident in St. Louis. In 1876 Mr. York, was pastor of the M. E. Church of 
Corvallis, Oregon. 


An eloquent speech made at St. Louis by He-oh-kste-kin, one of these Nez 
Perces, is recorded by Dr. Hines. It too has been considered mythical ; not 
more so than the earliest claims that these "Flathead" messengers were Nez 
Perces, probably. This speech tells of the regret of the messengers that "they 
must return empty-handed to their people." They returned home disappointed, 
but their errand was not in vain. Three years after the meeting of the council 
that sent them forth, Jason Lee and his companions passed through the Nez 
Perces country, seeking for the "Flathead Indians" who had borne the message 
and the tribes that sought the light. It was for their sake that Lee undertook 
the mission, though his work was destined to be in a field far to westward. 

The appeal of the Nez Perces was carried swiftly from St. Louis to the At- 
lantic states. It stirred the missionary spirit of the churches woriderfully. Dr. 
Wilbur Fisk, president of Wilbraham academy, (Mass.,) was one of the earliest 
and most active to respond. "Zion's Herald," of Boston, in issue of March 22, 
1833, contained a rousing address to the Methodist churches, in part as follows : 


Missionary Intelligence. 
Hear ! Hear ! 

"Who will respond to the call from beyond the Rocky mountains? The 
communication from Brother G. P. Disosway, on the subject of the deputation of 
Flathead (Nez Perces) Indians to General Clarke, has excited intense interest, 
We are for having a mission established there at once. . . . Money shall be 
forthcoming. I will be bondsman for the church. All we want is the men. Who 
will go? Who? I know one young man who, I think, will go, and I know of 
none like him for the enterprise. . . . Were I young and unencumbered, 
how joyfully would I go ! But this honor is reserved for another. Great will 
be his reward ; glorious his crown." 

Wilbur Fisk. 

Wesleyan academy, March 9, 1833." 

On March 20, 1833, the missionary board of the M. E. church in session 
in New York city received the above communication from Dr. Wilbur Fisk, 
urging the sending of a missionary to the Indians. Through the bishops of the 
church inquiries were made and a correspondence with General Clarke followed. 
From him the board received valuable information of the tribe and the country, 
and the result was a resolution of the board to establish a mission among the 
Indians west of the Rocky mountains. The church had then a single mission, re- 
cently established in Liberia. Dr. Fisk, who was the president of Wilbraham 
academy and a great leader in the church was asked to name a man to take the 
proposed mission in charge. He replied : "I know but one man, Jason Lee." On 
July 17, 1833, ^^^^ was appointed to the superintendency of the mission west of 
the Rocky mountains. 

boston's part in the early occupation of OREGON. 

New England was alive with the spirit of colonization in the early years of 
the last century. From Massachusetts and Connecticut large colonies traveled 
to the territories of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and especially to the "Western 
Reserve." The sons and grandsons of some of these Yankee settlers moved 
westward again in the forties to the Oregon country. 

In Massachusetts the idea of American occupation of Oregon first took a 
certain shape. This was naturally due to the discovery of the Columbia by Cap- 
tain Robert Gray, a Boston sailor in the "Columbia," owned by Boston mer- 


chants trading furs along the north Pacific coast. Other Boston ships also 
traded along these shores. Even before the Astoria enterprise, three brothers 
named Winship, residents of Boston, and others, formed a company for settle- 
ment and trade on the Columbia, and Nathaniel Winship sailed upon this enter- 
prise in 1809 in the "Albatross." This ship entered the Columbia in 1810, and 
ascended the river to Oak Point (on the Oregon side) nearly north of the vil- 
lage of Marshland. 

Here Winship planted a garden and began the building of a fort or trading 
station ; but the June rise of the Columbia, swept away the foundation, destroyed 
the garden, and caused Winship to abandon his efforts. These New England 
ventures doubtless inspired Astor's expedition of the following year. 

Hall J. Kelley, a Bostonian, became an active advocate for the occupation of 
Oregon. For many 'years he wrote extensively in New England publications 
upon the subject and in 1829 he organized, in Boston, the "American Society 
for Settlement of the Oregon Territory." This society sent to congress in 183 1, 
a memorial urging that troops be sent to Oregon for the protection of its pro- 
posed settlement, and setting forth reasons for immediate occupation. Congress 
paid no heed to the memorial, but Kelley was still undismayed. He did much 
more to awaken interest in the settlement of Oregon, and through Kelley's efforts 
Wyeth, a Bostonian also, undertook an enterprise of settlement for trading pur- 
poses in 1831, and came to Oregon in 1832 and established a trading station on 
Sauvies island near the mouth of the Multnoma (or Willamette), a name which 
might well have clung to the river, and likewise been given to the city which has 
grown to such eminence on the banks of the Multnomah. This name this city 
should bear, and even now the change might be made with advantage. 


At the time when Kelley was mots active in his exhortations for the settlement 
of Oregon, a young Canadian giant came down from Stanstead, a border town 
of the Vermont line, to study at Wilbraham academy. This was Jason Lee, 
then twenty-four years old. He had been recently converted and determined 
upon entering the Methodist ministry. Though born in Canada, Jason Lee was 
of one of the old New England families, his father, Daniel Lee, having moved 
to Stanstead in 1800 to join a colony of New Englanders who were settling that 
township which they believed would be included in American territory when the 
international boundary was finally settled. Daniel Lee was of Connecticut, and 
his wife also, John Lee, the English progenitor of the family, was of Colchester, 
Essex, and came to America in 1634 in the ship "Francis" of Ipswich. He lived 
in Cambridge and was one of the company of Rev. Thomas Hooker which set- 
tled and founded the city of Hartford. Subsequently he was one of the eighty- 
four proprietors who bought a tract of land comprising two hundred and fifty 
square miles from the Tunxis Indian tribe, and on this territory are located, be- 
sides the town of Farmington, the original settlement, the cities and towns of 
Bristol, Southington, . Berlin, New Britain and Kensington. Some direct de- 
scendants of John Lee still live on lands received in the original apportionment 
over two hundred and fifty years ago. John Lee was a soldier in the expedi- 
tion against the Pequots in 1637. He lies in the cemetery at Farmington. His 
descendants were soldiers in the French and Indians wars, and fought at Con- 
cord, Lexington, Long Island, Valley Forge and Bennington. Colonel Noah 
Lee equipped a regiment and fought with Ethan Allen. Captain Nathan Hale, 
Washington's scout, was a descendant of Tabitha, youngest daughter of John 
Lee, and Rev. Edward Everett Hale is of the same lineage. Such were the an- 
cestors of Jason Lee. 

This young student was six feet, three inches in height, and of corresponding 
Herculean proportions. His complexion was ruddy, his eyes gray-blue ; an 


Anglo-Saxon in type, full of the strong, virile elements of that race. He at- 
tracted the especial attention and care of Dr. Wilbur Fisk, then president of 
Wesleyan academy, and when the Methodist church determined upon sending 
a mission to the Indians of the Oregon country. Dr. Fisk recalled Jason Lee, 
who had returned to Stanstead and by authority of the missionary board of the 
church he wrote to Lee, offering him the superintendency of the mission. The 
young man had already offered his services to the Wesleyan missionary society 
of London as a missionary to the Canadian Indians, and when Dr. Fisk's letter 
reached him he was expecting the appointment from London. Up to this time 
Jason Lee had been a member of the Wesleyan church of Canada. 

Jason Lee was born in 1803 at Stanstead, and his life was that of a back- 
woodsman, with limited means of education. It was in 1827 that he entered 
Wilbraham academy as a student, at the age of twenty-fcnir. He was born in 
Canada, but upon the border line of Vermont. Eastern Canada and northern 
Vermont in 1800 were but thinly peopled. New England was more populous 
than Oregon is today. Jason Lee's father, Daniel Lee made his home in Stan- 
stead with a large colony of New Englanders who believed their farms were 
really within the boundaries of the United States. In 1842 the adjustment of 
border lines threw these farms partly within Canadian territory. 

The Lees for two hundred years had been captains and leaders among their 
American comrades, and the young student of Wilbraham must have been in- 
spired by his gallant father, who had served as a soldier in the Revolutionary 
war, with love for the land and home of his ancestors. Had the Lees been tory 
in sentiment, doubtless Jason would have sought his education at McGill or some 
other Canadian college. He chose instead a famous American academy in the 
heart of the Connecticut valley, and from the hill above Fisk hall he could see 
the country about Hartford which had been the home of his fathers for two 

Wilbraham was the great Methodist academy of New England in the time 
of Jason Lee. There were many young men at that school who rose to high 
distinction in the church. One of his fellow students, Rev. Jefferson Hascall, 
was well known to the writer. Other students of Lee's time were David Patten, 
Moses Hill, Miner Raymond, and Osmon C. Baker. From such first rate ma- 
terial Dr. Fisk, when asked to name the man to be sent upon the mission to 
the Flatheads, selected wisely. 'T know but one man — Jason Lee," was his 
answer. The choice was warmly approved, and July 17, 1833, Lee was appointed 
by the board of missions to be missionary to Oregon. 

Jason Lee was received into the New England conference in the spring of 
1833, and set about the preparation for his mission at once. As his assistant in 
the duty of the new field he chose Rev. Daniel Lee, his nephew, then a minister 
in New Hampshire. As a teacher, Cyrus Shepherd, of Lynn, was engaged. The 
board appropriated $3,000 for fitting out the mission and a progress of the mis- 
sionaries was planned, to take them through the eastern states as far as Wash- 
ington, with the hope of receiving the aid and cooperation of the eastern churches 
in the enterprise. They held a farewell meeting in New York in the Forsyth ; 
street church, November 20, Bishop Hedding presiding. At Washington papers 
of authorization were given them by the president and secretary of state, to aid 
as such documents might in the neutral land to which they were going. 

Captain Wyeth, at this time, was planning a second expedition to Oregon, 
and was to start overland in the spring of 1834. The opportunity was thus of- 
fered for our missionaries to cross the plains and mountains with men who had 
become acquainted with the route, and the Methodist mission took its departure 
early in March, to pass via Pittsburg, and the Ohio river and Mississippi to St. 
Louis, and fell into the train of Captain Wyeth at Independence, then the last 
town westward, on the last day of April. From St. Louis to Independence, 
Jason and Daniel Lee had ridden horseback across Missouri. At Independence 


Mr. Lee engaged P. L. Edwards as a teacher and Courtney M. Walker as an 


The young evangehst found himself in strange company. There were nearly 
two hundred of Wyeth's men, and they were a tough lot of mountaineers and 
trappers, accustomed to hard life and scant ceremony — winters spent in St. 
Louis and the river towns in wild orgies, then back to the fur country. This 
company was expecting to compete with the Hudson's Bay establishment for 
the fur trade of the northwest, and it is not likely that Captain Wyeth engaged 
any class-leaders for the enterprise. The Lees were sick of their strange sur- 
roundings at first, but soon found themselves none the worse. They bore their 
proper share of the toils and dangers of the journey through the Indian country 
and won the friendship and good will of the party. Jason Lee kept a journal, 
and extracts from it on the early days of the Wyeth expedition show a pathetic 
homesickness and longing for the gentle life he had been wont to lead, but also 
full of determination to stay with the train and his task. It was better very 
soon. He entered into the freer life of the open, new world around him and 
found hope and gladness. A line from his diary. Out beyond Laramie, in as 
hopeless looking country as he had ever seen, he says : "Awoke just at daylight 
after a night of sweet repose and found all safe. Roasted buffalo meat and 
pure water was our rich repast. Am persuaded that none even in New England 
ate a more palatable meal. We do not feel the want of bread, and I am m bet- 
ter health than for years." 

On June 15, the Wyeth company met the great body of trappers and moun- 
taineers of the inter-mountain region at the "summer rendezvous," a summer 
gathering of these semi-wild men, at a time when they were footloose. This 
time the rendezvous was on Ham's Fork, a stream which enters Green river, a 
branch of the Colorado, at a point near the site of Fort Bridger, two days' jour- 
ney by the old emigrant road west from Green river. Some of the trappers in 
the motley crowd promised to make trouble for the missionary party, but as 
soon as Jason Lee was informed of their threats he sought the men out and 
had a frank talk with them, which quite removed their hostile ideas and gave 
them a wholesome respect for the young preacher. 

Mr. J. K. Townsend, ornithologist, who was making the journey to the Pa- 
cific with Captain Wyeth's party, says: "Mr. Lee is a favorite with the men, 
deservedly so, and there are few to whose preaching they would have lis- 
tened with such complaisance. I have been amused and pleased by Mr. Lee's 
manner of reproving them for their coarseness and profanity. The reproof, 
though decided, clear and strong, is always characterized by the mildness and 
affectionate manner peculiar to the man, and it is always treated with respect." 

At the rendezvous Lee encountered certain Indians of the Nez Perces tribe 
who had heard of Christianity, like their neighbors, the Flatheads, and the 
young chief who was at the head of this party of Nez Perces invited him to 
come to the country of his people and establish his mission among them. This 
chief was the celebrated leader of his tribe, subsequently known as "Lawyer," 
and is remembered by many of our pioneers. 

On July loth, the expedition passed over the divide, from which the waters 
flow west into the Shoshone, and three days later they reached that river at the 
mouth of the Port Neuf. Here Wyeth's party remained some time, procuring 
provisions from the Indians and establishing the trading post station known as 
Fort Hall. Here Lee preached the first sermon ever uttered in the Oregon 
country, July 27, 1834. 

His audience consisted of Indians, half-breeds, Canadian trappers, etc. 
Among the listeners was the famous Captain Tom McKay, who acted as guide 
for Wyeth's party from this point west, and two years later he performed the 


same service for Dr. Marcus Whitman, whom he also escorted from Fort Hall 
to Vancouver. 

On the first day of September they emerged from the Blue mountains, and 
before night of September 2, they reached Fort Walla Walla, a post of the 
Hudson's Bay Company at the mouth of the Walla Walla river, where Wallula 
stands today. Here Jason Lee remained a guest of the company for a few 
days, and seriously considered the establishment of his mission at this point. It 
was the most desirable for an interior mission, as there was a numerous Indian 
population. Whitman subsequently established his mission a few miles farther 
east, at the place now known as Whitman, where he was killed in the Whitman 
massacre. But Lee concluded to go on with the Wyeth party, and they set 
out in flatboats, making the journey of 200 miles to Vancouver without serious 
difficulty, arriving there September 17th. Mr. Townsend, Prof. Nuttall (also a 
naturalist) and Mr. Lee's party of missionaries came on to Vancouver in the 
care of Captain McKay and John McLeod, who were in the service of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company under Dr. McLoughlin. Wyeth and his party remained at 
Fort Hall. The missionaries had been placed under obligations for the food 
they ate to Captain McKay and the Indians of the country. Lee says in his 
diary : "The Indian women would bring food, and putting it down return 
without saying a word, as they speak no language we can understand." This 
season of scant fare was in their passage from the great basin of the Salt 
lake to the Snake river valley. 

That night the missionaries slept in beds, in houses, for the first time in 150 
days. They were the guests of a prince among men. Dr. John McLoughlin, 
chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, master of a territory that stretched 
from California to the Arctic and from the Pacific to Saskatchewan. 


It is proper here to give some facts and perhaps some personal opinions of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, and its governor, and their relations to the enter- 
prise of which Jason Lee was the leader. 

The Hudson's Bay Company had been granted its charter "to trade, hunt, 
and fish in the waters of Hudson's straits, and all rivers tributary, and all lands 
and territories not already granted to other subjects of the king, nor possessed 
by the subjects of any other Christian prince or state." This charter was granted 
by Charles II in 1670. In the long term of years succeeding there were fre- 
quent conflicts between the Hudson's Bay servants and the French of Canada 
in the region of the great lakes and Saskatchewan, and a bitter struggle ^\as 
going on in the beginning of the last century between the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany and the Northwest Fur Company, a Canadian enterprise. Many pitched 
battles occurred between the trappers of these rival concerns, but in 182 1 their 
differences were accommodated and the business was merged under the old 

Dr. John McLoughlin had been an active partisan of the Northwest Company. 
He came to this coast as a factor or governor for the Hudson's Bay company in 
1824, and founded Fort Vancouver as his central post and headquarters the 
same year, but not then upon the site subsequently occupied, but north of it at a 
distance of nearly a mile from the river. It will be remembered that the North- 
west Fur Company had bought out Astor's post at Astoria during the last war 
with Great Britain. Dr. McLoughlin found the post at the river's mouth too 
remote from interior posts, and determined upon Vancouver as the most de- 
sirable site. His selection was most prudent, and the centralization of the busi- 
ness of the Columbia and Willamette valleys at Portland, separated only by 
the Columbia from the site chosen by Dr. McLoughlin, attests the sagacity of 
the great factor. To Fort Vancouver the trappers of the lower and upper Co- 
lumbia, CowUtz, Nisqually, Walla Walla, Spokane and more remote points, as 


well as from the Willamette and Umpqua, brought their furs annually, by boat 
and canoe, A vessel or two came annually from England around Cape Horn 
and up the Columbia to receive the furs and deliver to the post the supplies re- 
quired. The business had been continued many years at the time of Jason Lee's 
arrival. Winship, Astor, Bonneville, and Wyeth had sought to establish them- 
selves in this country as rival traders, but all had lost their ventures. Wyeth 
was making his second attempt when he crossed the plains in '34 in the company 
which the missionaries joined. These enterprising American rivals were treated 
more courteously and hospitably by the Hudson's Bay traders at Walla Walla 
and Vancouver than they had any right to expect. Certainly if the circum- 
stances had been reversed we could not expect established American fur traders 
to have shown greater kindness to Canadian or Russian competitors. So long 
as they remained at the forts chey were always the welcome guests of the 
officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, and when they embarked in their own 
business in the territory which had so long been in possession of the older con- 
cern, they could not have expected the Hudson's Bay Company to accord them 
exceptional facilities for acquiring- a foothold in the Oregon country. That Dr. 
McLoughlin went far beyond any claim of hospitality to strangers in his treat- 
ment of all comers is a matter of record. Jason Lee was not the first nor the 
last to make the statement. 

The country was esteemed much as Kamchatka and the seal rookeries of 
the north Pacific by ourselves now. The handful of white men scattered be- 
tween the Rocky mountains and the sea had no idea of "settling" the coun- 
try. It was to them a great preserve of fur-bearing animals, and they intended 
to keep it so. No greater menace to their interests was possible than the occu- 
pation of the country by settlers, of whatever origin ; and yet they put no 
obstacles in the way of the stream which had its beginning in Jason Lee's party, 
and increased in volume year by year thereafter. Put John Jacob Astor in Mc- 
Loughlin's place, and let us ask whether, being an American fur trader, he 
would have lent seed for fields, plows to break the land, cattle and sheep to 
Canadian settlers who would shortly interfere with or ruin his business. Would 
he or Wyeth have entertained with princely hospitality and kindness a score 
or more Canadians or Scotchmen, who presented themselves at Fort William 
or Astoria with the evident purpose of settling up a competing trading establish- 
ment, or settling the country? Yet this is just what Dr. McLoughlin did for 
Wyeth, Lee and Whitman. Until long after Lee's arrival the Oregon country 
was a no-man's-land — a debatable ground, the intrinsic value of which was un- 
known alike to both America and England. Dr. McLoughlin was the governor 
of the country, acting for the only civilized people within its borders, who by 
existing treaties had at least an equal right in it with the only other contestant, 
and by possession and vested interests a better than any then existing. 

At Vancouver the Hudson's Bay Company had built the extensive warehouses, 
fort and quarters for its people and business, and a dock for its commerce. The 
factor or governor. Dr. McLoughlin, had built a mill, planted a large farm, im- 
ported cattle and taken the other natural means to support the fort's employees 
and supply the Indians and trappers trading there. These buildings, the farm, 
mill, cattle, etc., were incontestably the property of the company. 

The harshest critic of the Hudson's Bay Company relates his arrival with 
a party of missionaries at Vancouver in 1836. He says: "As the boats neared 
the shore two tall, neatly dressed, well-formed gentlemen waved a welcome, and 
in a moment all were on shore. Rev. Mr. Spalding and lady were introduced, 
followed by Dr. Whitman and lady, to the two gentlemen. One, whose hair was 
then nearly white, stepped forward and gave his arm to Mrs. Whitman. The 
other, a tall, black-haired, black-eyed man, gave his arm to Mrs. Spalding. By 
this time McLeod had appeared, and bade the party a hearty welcome, and ac- 
companied them to the fort. We begam, to suspect the cause of so much display. 
We were led upstairs into a room on the right of the hall, where the ladies were 


seated, as also six gentlemen, beside the tall, white-headed one." The narrator 
was the clerk of the visiting missionaries. He was invited to the quarters ot 
the company's clerks, and makes unfavorable comment upon the discrimination. 
He gives us description of the fort, which was as Jason Lee found it and knew 
it for many years, and is worth repeating: 

"Fort Vancouver was a stockade, built with fir logs about ten inches dia- 
meter, set four feet in the ground and rising twenty feet above, enclosing at that 
time two aCres of ground. The storehouses were all built of hewn timber. 
Floors were mostly rough boards, except the governor's house and office, which 
were planed. The doors and gates were all locked from the inside and a guard 
stationed over the gate. In front of the governor's house was a circular double 
stairway leading into the main hall. In the center of the semicircle was a twenty- 
four pound cannon mounted on a ship's carriage, and two smaller pieces, with 
shot piled in order about the guns, which were pointed toward the main entrance. 

"At noon the fort bell rang; clerks and gentlemen all met at the common 
dinner table, which was well supplied with salmon, potatoes, wild fowl, and 
usually with venison and bread. Dinner over, most of the gentlemen passed 
a compliment over a glass of wine, and then retired to the social hall to smoke 
their pipes, sometimes filling the room full as it could hold with smoke. At 
one o'clock the bell rang again and all went to business. 

"The party had no sooner arrived than the carpenter was ordered to make 
an extra table, which was set in the governor's office. Usually one or two of 
the head clerks or gentlemen traders were invited to dine at this table with the 
ladies, for whom it had been specially prepared. . . . The utmost cordiality 
was manifested, the kindest attention paid, and such articles as the missionary 
party wanted were supplied. These goods were to be paid for at double the cost 
in London." (The italics are Mr. Gray's, and go to show how small a matter 
became in his eyes an extortionate robbery. Even now English goods sell for 
more than double their London value in Vancouver or Portland.) 

A point of which Mr. Gray makes much complaint is the "oppressive mo- 
nopoly," exercised by the company in its terms regarding cattle and stock, of 
which there were none in 1834 save those belonging to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, and in 1836 the few additional head which had been driven across the 
plains by the party of Spalding and Whitman, and in 1834 by Jason Lee. These 
hard terms are given in Mr. Gray's statement: "Dr. Whitman concluded that 
more cattle than the mission had were necessary, and that a few cows were 
wanted. The proposition was made to Dr. McLoughlin. 'Certainly, you can 
have what cattle you want on the conditions we supply them to the company's 
servants and the settlers in the Wallamet.' 'What are those conditions?' asked 
Dr. Whitman. 'Why, in case of cattle,' said McLoughlin, 'you can take what 
you want from our band, break them in, and when the company requires them 
return them. Cows we will let you have, that you may be supplied with milk. 
When you return the cows you also return any calves.' " The question was asked 
also what would be expected in case any of the borrowed stock was lost or killed, 
and Dr. McLoughlin replied that they could be paid for or replaced by cattle 
from the missionaries' herd. These terms are considered most oppressive by 
Mr. Gray. The company had, it is true, more cattle than the missionaries, and 
required more. The cattle were their own, and evidently the company might 
have made harder terms in these circumstances. Probably there is not a wealthy 
stockman in Oregon today who will make as liberal arrangements with a poor 
neighbor. No compensation for the use of the cattle was mentioned. 

This digression may be excused because the conditions Jason Lee met at 
Vancouver were identical. He was received as hospitably as man could be, and 
with the respect and deference due him as a clergyman. He was not quite sure 
that his mission met Dr. McLoughlin's approval at first, but his frank kindness 
soon won Mr. Lee's confidence. The appeal of the four Indians who had gone 
to St. Louis still rang in his ears, and he counseled with the Doctor about going 


back into the Clearwater country to find their people, but Dr. McLoughlin ad- 
vised the establishment of the mission in the Willamette valley in the neigh- 
borhood of French prairie, where a number of former employes of the Hudson's 
Bay Company were settled on farms, and where many Indians gathered. This 
advice ought to set at rest any idea that Dr. McLoughlin was opposed to Lee's 
enterprise, for it would have been easy enough to second his own desire to go 
far into the interior, where the difficulties in the way would have been perhaps 
insurmountable. McLoughlin was a Catholic indeed, and his hearty concur- 
rence in Jason Lee's plan to Christianize the Indians marks the liberal, magnani- 
mous gentleman. 

When Lee determined to visit the locality proposed by Dr. McLoughlin, the 
company ofifered him every facility. Boats, boatmen and provisions were freely 
given him, and on September 29, 1834, the two Lees started upon their quest. 
The brig "May Dacre," which had left Boston months before with Wyeth's trad- 
ing outfit and that of the mission, had arrived in the Columbia and lay near 
Warrior rock, perhaps because the river was low and navigation difficult — per- 
haps because Wyeth preferred not to intrude upon the Hudson's Bay people at 
Vancouver. The Lees dropped down the river to the brig and spent a few days 
there, looking over the country where Warren now stands and the lowland 
meadows at the mouth of Lewis river to consider those localities as possible sites 
for their mission. Much of that beautiful region is unchanged even to our day. 
The same oaks which Jason Lee saw on the Scappoose plains and on the velvet 
sward of Sauvies island stand there to this day, and the cottonwoods that fringe 
the Columbia and the deep, quiet channel of the Multnoma, as Willamette slough 
was called, have sprung from the grand ancestral trees that grew in the same 
spots. Proceeding up the river they entered the greater Multnoma, and there, 
too, the willow-fringed shore below St. Johns, the grand oaks of Swan island, the 
laurel-crowned promontory at University point and the green meadows and is- 
lands at the north of the site of Portland must have been much as they are in 
our day. Probably the remarkable Indian houses visited by Captain Clarke near 
St. Johns were still as Clarke saw them ; but where now this city stands was a 
dense forest of firs and spruce and hemlocks that stretched from the river shore 
to the mountain-tops west. The impression the virgin wilderness and sweet, 
sylvan shores of the Multnoma made upon these wanderers must have been amaz- 
ing and delightful. The Columbia, until within a few miles of Vancouver, is 
solemn, tremendous, appalling in its majesty; the Willamette — the "Green 
Water" — is inviting, tranquil, arcadian. 

This journey was made by way of the Columbia westward to the lower end of 
Sauvies island (then called Wapato) and to Wyeth's trading station where lay 
the brig "May Dacre" which had brought out the mission freight along with Cap- 
tain Wyeth's trading stock. The island was encompassed by the journey up the 
inland or western channel of the Multnoma, upon which Wyeth established his 
fort, on the southwestern point of Wapato island, now included in the Jonathan 
Moore claim. A stock of necessary articles for immediate use was taken with 
the boat at Wyeth's place, and the party of missionaries, Jason and Daniel Lee 
and P. L. Edwards, in a Hudson's Bay boat and manned by servants of the com- 
pany, proceeded up the Multnoma. They remained two nights at Wyeth's and 
camped two nights on the way to the falls. Here Indians assisted in the portage 
of the boat and goods, and the journey to the site of the mission was completed 
October 6th. 

The season was already too far advanced for beginning such an undertaking 
as the construction of a mission house, but Jason Lee was resolved upon its com- 
pletion for winter use as a house for himself and his companions, and as a school 
and chapel. Dr. McLoughlin had sent up oxen and a number of cows for 
the mission. Jason Lee was a New England frontiersman and handy with the 
axe and care of cattle, and the management of the clearing, hauling, and building 
were his personal care and labor. He was a colossal man, eight inches above 


average height, and powerful in accord. The building- first constructed was 18x32 
feet and one story high. It was occupied four weeks after their arrival on the 
spot, though not yet completed. This was the first American home built on the 
Pacific coasts or on the western side of the Rocky mountains. 

Before the completion of the building, Indian children of the prairie were re- 
ceiving instruction and care. October 19th, Jason Lee preached his first ser- 
mon near the mission, in the house of Joseph Gervais, of French prairie, as a 
large tract of land between the Willamette and the present town of Gervais was 
called. The location chosen was in some ways unfortunate, but all considerations 
of comfort or future advantage were properly set aside by Lee in his determin- 
ation to perform the work to which he was called. The half-breed children of 
the prairie were numerous, and many Indians traveled the river and lower trails 
or made their homes near French prairie. Flere was the most favorable place 
for reaching the people, and so the mission site was chosen near the river, on 
land too low, as it proved later, being subject to inundation in river floods, and 
peculiarly miasmatic. 


It was the intention of the church to Christianize the Indians; the message 
of the pilgrims to St. Louis had evoked a remarkable response from the eastern 
churches, and it was doubtless intended that Jason Lee should establish himself 
among the "Flatheads." The people who sent him knew nothing of Nez Perces, 
and Lee overshot the actual mark five hundred miles by coming to the Willamette 
valley, but the Indians of our vicinity were flatheaded as any, and as fit subjects 
of missionary aid as could be found anywhere. They were not the most hopeful 
subjects, but the first great missionary of Christianity seems not to have balanced 
very carefully the advantage of preaching to Greeks or Romans rather than to 

Among the resident Indians of the Willamette were Chinooks, Multnomas, 
Clackamas, Calapooias, Mollallas, and other tribes, whose names in some in- 
stances still pertain to the land they lived in. These Indians, like most of their 
race, had no fixed dwelling-place. When the camas or wapato or berries were 
ready for gathering or digging, they migrated in bands to places where these 
things were to be had. When salmon were plenty at the falls or down the Co- 
lumbia the men would be off fishing. In the fall there was game in abundance, 
particularly wild fowl, and the tribes followed these necessary objects of their 
lives from place to place over large tracts, from the river to the mountains, from 
the mountains to the sea. The aborigines had been rapidly decreasing in number 
for half a century or more. Their traditions tell of terrible pestilence among them 
even before the first contact with the white race on the Pacific, half a century 
before Lee's coming. The year after Lee established the mission, the Multnomas, 
living on Wapato island and the adjoining lowlands, died by hundreds from 
measles, having been infected from a trading vessel in the river. The diseases 
contracted from the whites, had greatly reduced the population of the Willa- 
mette, and soon after the establishment of the mission, sickness of a dangerous 
sort prevailed among the Indian children, who had, up to that time, been received 
in considerable numbers, and begun their new duties as proselytes of the mis- 
sion with encouraging zeal and interest. The sickness seemed to cling about the 
place for years. It was a fever, and is explained by some as malarial, due to the 
cultivation of the moist lowlands. Jason Lee and his two assistants gave the ut- 
most care possible to the sick, and Daniel Lee was compelled to seek relief from 
labor and sickness by a voyage to the Sandwich islands the following winter. 

Like certain Asiatics, our Indians held the medicine man responsible when his 
patient died ; this spirit of vengeance, nearly cost Lee and his companions their 
lives, more than once. Some other Indians, grateful for kindness shown them, 
gave Lee warning. 


The Indians of 1834, in the western Oregon country, were half savage only, 
the nobler traits of the ancient race beino- supplanted by the white man's vices. 
The remoter tribes maintained the tribal customs and manner of living, but from 
Astoria to Waiilatpu, and for a hundred miles up the Willamette, the tools, 
trinkets, arms and cast-off clothing of the whites were common enough. The In- 
dians of this locality attempted to imitate the trapper and voyageur. Many hov- 
ered about the trading posts, ready to eat the scraps and offal rather than follow 
the ancient hardy habits of their race. Exceptional Indians foresaw this new 
order, and were anxious that their children should get the wisdom of the white 
man, or even his religion. Many such children came under the care of the 
Willamette mission. 

The children of French prairie were more hopeful subjects for instruction, 
Their fathers were mostly Canadian trappers and voyageurs, formerly servants of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, who had taken Indian women to wife in their days 
of wandering, and now domesticated in the heart of the valley, released from 
service, they were glad to have the mission and school available for their children. 

The settlement on the "Prairie" now included in the old Catholic parishes 
of St. Louis and St. Paul, was begun in 1829. Dr. McLoughlin advised the 
servants of the Hudson's Bay Company who had served their enlistment to set- 
tle there, and he aided them substantially in making their homes ; furnished them 
ploughs and cattle, and assured them the protection of the great company. Even 
at that early date Dr. McLoughlin was convinced that this settlement was 
destined to be an American community. 

The material for conversion to Christian and civilized living, was not the 
most hopeful. After three-quarters of a century the problem of education for 
the Indian is still a doubtful one. Jason Lee's idea of teaching the children of 
the mission to do useful work, as well as study, seems to have been followed and 
approved by missionaries and teachers to this day. His work and methods were 
approved by men qualified to judge. Rev. Samuel Parker who visited the mission 
in 1835, while investigating the conditions for the establishment of Presbyterian 
missions among the Pacific coast Indians, records his approval and admiration of 
the mission and its head. Dr. McLoughlin, a year and a half after the mis- 
sion was begun, sent to Mr. Lee, $150 which had been contributed by himself and 
the other gentlemen of the post, with this noble letter of commendation. 

"I do myself the pleasure to hand you the enclosed subscription, which the 
gentlemen who have signed it request you will do them the favor to acccept for 
the use of the mission ; and they pray our Heavenly Father, without whose as- 
sistance we can do nothing, that of his infinite mercy He will vouchsafe to bless 
and prosper your pious endeavor ; and believe me to be, with esteem and regard, 
your sincere well-wisher and humble servant. 

John McLoughlin, 
Fort Vancouver, ist March, 1836." 

Toward the end of the same year, Mr. Wm. A. Slacum, naval agent of the 
U. S., visited the mission and all the families of the "Prairie." The precise object 
of Mr. Slacum's visit was not divulged, but he came in the U. S. brig, "Loriot," 
which lay several weeks in the Columbia, and his observations are regarded as 
having been most important to the government in the settlement of the claim of 
the United States to Oregon. 

Mr. Slacum wrote Jason Lee a letter of high approval, and enclosed a gift of 
$50, "as an evidence of my good will toward the laudable efforts you are making, 
regretting that my means will not allow me to add more." 

Mr. Slacum and Jason Lee discussed the situation of the settlers in the Willa- 
mette, and Mr. Slacum gave important aid to an enterprise of vital interest to 
the country. Cattle were still very scarce, and a company was formed, by the set- 
tlers who had money, to bring a large band of cattle from California. Jason 
Lee was a leader, if not, as seems probable, the leader in this effort. But the 


critics of Dr. McLoughlin will do^ well to note that by his generous action for 
the Hudson's Bay Company, the project was successful. His kindness and busi- 
ness foresight it was that pursuaded them to purchase a band of seven hundred, 
thus dividing the great cost of the enterprise to advantage. The company took 
one-half of these cattle and bore half the costs. If it had been their habit to "rob 
the settlers" nothing would have been easier than to keep the "monopoly" their 
enemies charge against them. 

Ewing Young, another of the early Americans, went as captain of the ex- 
pedition. Mr. Slacum took those who went from the valley on this errrand in the 
"Loriot" to San Francisco without cost, and Mr. Edwards, who came out in 
Jason Lee's party, accompanied these pioneer cowboys as treasurer of the cattle 
company. The animals were driven up the Sacramento, and then to- Oregon, 
closely following the present route of the railroad. The cost delivered at des- 
tination was eight dollars per head. Probably this large influx of Spanish blood is 
responsible for many of the gifted fence- jumping bovines that still roam our 

Mr. Slacum bore a petition from the missionaries and from the few other 
Americans of the valley, as well as from some of the Canadian settlers, that the 
government of the United States would recognize them as an American com- 
munity and extend to them its protection. 


In 1837 twelve members were added to the mission forces. They came by sail 
around Cape Horn, eight arriving in May and four in September. Seven of 
these were women. The names of many oi these are written large in Oregon 

On July 16, Jason Lee was married to Miss Anna Maria Pitman, one of the 
recent arrivals. At the same time Cyrus Shepard was married to Miss Susan 
Downing, another lady of the newly arrived assistants. 

In January, 1838, Jason Lee set out upon a journey to the Umpqua valley, 
to see about establishing a mission there. He spent twO' months on this quest, 
enduring great privations and peril. The Dalles was selected as a pro'mising point 
for a mission, and to this field Rev. Daniel Lee, who had come west with his 
iincle, Jason Lee, and Rev. H. K. W. Perkins were assigned. They arrived at 
their destination, the Indian town of Wascopam, March 22, and immediately 
began their work. The field of their labors extended from the Cascades to 
Deschutes river, and on both sides of the Columbia. In this territory were clans 
of Walla Walla, Wishram (the notorious robber tribes of the Grand Dalles), 
Wascos, who lived at Wascopam, Klickitats and the "Upper Chinooks," the two 
latter occupying the country north of the river. About 2,000 Indians were more 
or less permanently in this field, and Yakimas, Cayuses and Klickitats, were fre- 
quently passing through it. The latter tribe made astonishing journeys from 
their country to northern California annually, and claimed to over-lord the 
Willamette tribes. The Dalles mission religiously accomplished more among 
the Indians than any of the other stations. 

The missionaries used the Chinook intertribal tongue in their public talk to 
the Indians, as the upper tribes, as far as the Nez Perces at least, were accus- 
tomed to make use of Chinook, though speaking languages of their own which 
were as different from Chinook as Arabic is from the English. Some of their 
hymns, prayers and addresses are preserved, all in Chinook of the "upper" dia- 
lect, in old books. 

Frequently is was necessary that the words of the missionary should be trans- 
lated into the speech of the interior tribe by an interpreter. 

In 1840, after the arrival of the lay-party of missionaries in the Lausanne, 
a council or conference of the members of the mission was held, at Vancouver, 
and new missions were detailed for Clatsop (sometimes called Chinook) Nis- 


qually, Umpqua and Willamette Falls. Jason Lee remained in charge of all 
as superintendent. 


Three years after the establishment of the Willamette mission the question 
of sending Jason Lee east for more workers in the field and financial aid from 
the missionary society, was discussed. Besides Lee and his earlier assistants, 
. there were then connected with his work Rev. David Leslie, Rev. H. K. W. Per- 
kins, Alanson Beers, W. H. Willson, and Dr. Elijah White. These all earnestly 
advised Lee's return. A similar situation in some respects existed at Wamatpu 
in the fall of 1842, four and a half years later than Jason Lee's first return to 
the east. Both these mission felt the need of representing to their parent so- 
cieties, by an envoy thoroughly acquainted with the situation the importance of 
their field of labor and its needs in 1842. The American board had determined 
to abandon the Waiilatpu and Clearwater missions. The M. E. society was 
not very warmly interested in the Oregon work. Jason Lee and Marcus Whit- 
man had like ambitions to see the American people and government in control 
of this western empire, which was no-man's land for many years. The great 
spring of action in both instances was the duty to his mission. That Lee was 
awake to the political importance of his errand is proven by the fact that before 
he started east, in March, 1838, at a meeting of the American settlers in the 
mission house, Lee and Leslie and Perkins drew up a memorial to be presented 
to congress asking that body to "take formal and speedy possession." 

The memorial is worthy of a statesman. It set out the great value of Ore- 
gon as a territory of the United States, and stated intelligently the whole situa- 
tion historically and economically. This paper was signed by thirty-six resi- 
dents of the Willamette valley, including all Americans and many Canadian 

Lee set out on his journey in March, staying for two days at the Wascopam 
mission. As far as possible he went by canoe. Thus he arrived at Waiilatpu, 
where he remained nearly three weeks in the friendliest intimacy with Dr. Whit- 
man and Rev. H. H. Spalding. It is not probable that there was any reserve 
between these men, engaged in the same work, and with the same patriotic senti- 
ments. If we could have Dr. Whitman's word about it he would tell us now 
that he read every word of the memorial from the settlers of the Willamette, 
and knew that Jason Lee would present it tO' the congress of the United States, 
as soon as he reached Washington. 

At Wallula (Fort Walla Walla of the H. B. Co.) Lee left the river, and 
from thence onward a thousand miles or more, horseback to the Missouri. At 
Fort Hall he took in charge three sons of Captain Tom McKay, who had been 
Lee s'guide westward from that fort in 1834. The boys were committed to him 
by their father to be put in school, and Lee took them to Wilbraham academy, 
his own alma mater. At Westport, Missouri, September i, a messenger from 
Oregon overtook him with letters. They brought him the terrible news that 
his young wife and newborn son had passed away at the mission June 26. Her 
gravestone, in Lee mission cemetery at Salem, bears the legend : "Beneath 
this sod, the first ever broken in Oregon, for the reception of a white mother and 
child, lie the remains of Anna Maria Pittman, wife of Rev. Jason Lee." 

Perchance her hands planted the cHmbing white rose that John Minto found 
growing luxuriantly over the walls and roof of the log house that was her home, 
when he purchased the mission farm in 1845. ^r- Minto has distributed this 
rose over the Willamette valley, nature's most favored rose garden, and he speaks 
lovingly of it as "the sweetest rose that grows." 

By way of St. Louis Mr. Lee passed to Illinois. Again the nation awoke to 
the existence of the Oregon country. At Peoria he delivered an address invit- 
ing imigration to Oregon. This resulted in the formation of the first company 
of settlers for the Willamette, which left Illinois the following spring. He ar- 


rived in New York in November, and so w^ell did he plead his cause before the 
missionary board that that body determined to send the largest missionary colony 
to Oregon that had ever left American shores. The party included thirty-three 
adults, to take various duties, and eighteen children. The fund raised for the 
new expedition was over $42,000. 

The memorial from the settlers of the Willamette, was presented by Lee to 
Senator Linn of Missouri, and by him to the senate. Caleb Cushing of Massa- 
chusetts, desiring more information, wrote to Lee for the facts, and he replied 
from Middletown, Connecticut, stating clearly and powerfully the needs and 
desires of the Oregonians. Senator Cushing was a relative of Captain John H. 
Couch, who was induced to come to Oregon in the brig "Chenamus," by reason 
of Lee's letter to Cushing. The Cushing family were Boston merchants, and here 
again appears the helping hand of Massachusetts to the Oregon settlement. Two 
brothers of the Couch family commanded vessels of the Cushings. They were 
interested as stated above, in Jason Lee's report to Senator Linn, and the cor- 
respondence between the missionary and the merchant resulted in the Couches 
and Cushings' entrance into Oregon commerce. 

Captain Couch made several voyages here, and finally took up a claim in 
Portland, and became a founder of this city, which has done his name well- 
deserved honor in perpetuating it by giving the name of Couch to one of our 
important streets, and to one of our public schools, Lee's reply to Senator 
Cushing closed with these words : "To whom can we look for laws to govern 
our rising settlements, but to the congress of our own beloved country? It de- 
pends much upon congress what the character of our population shall be, and 
what shall be the fate of the Indian tribes of that country. It may be thought 
Oregon is of little importance, but rely upon it, there is the germ of a great 
state. We are resolved to do what we can to benefit the country, but we throw 
ourselves upon you for protection." Lee's presentation of the claim of the 
Oregon settlers was so favorably received by the president and his cabinet, that 
$5,000 from the secret service fund was contributed toward the expense of the 
missionary society, in recognition of the strategic and political importance of 
the mission of the Willamette. 

On October 9, 1839, ^^^ "Lausanne" sailed from New York with fifty-one 
souls destined for the Willamette and other missions of Oregon. Among them 
were George Abemethy, who became Oregon's first provisional governor. Rev. 
J. P. Richmond, Rev. J. L. Parrish, Rev. Gustavus Hines, Hamilton Campbell 
and other men afterwards notable in the annals of early days here. Jason Lee 
made the voyage with them. They touched at Rio, Valparaiso, and made a stay 
of three weeks in Honolulu. On May 21, 1840, the "Lausanne" entered the Co- 
lumbia. At Vancouver Dr. McLoughlin made all welcome "as long as they 
chose to remain." 

Very soon after their arrival the men appointed to the missions at Clatsop, 
Nisqually, "The Falls" and The Dalles were on their way to their stations. In 
the neighborhood of all these points have sprung up important cities, whose 
nuclei were the missions. 

In 1 84 1 the central mission was removed about ten miles south from its 
original location, to Chemekete. A manual training school was erected here for 
instruction of Indian children. Mills had been built earlier at this site for the 
mission. Around this Chemekete mission grew the city of Salem. 

THE mission's NEW MISSION. 

Jason Lee found the Indian jiopulation greatly reduced upon his return in 
the "Lausanne." There was no increase up to that time in the number of 
Americans in the Willamette, but there were more Canadians and half-breed 
children. The newer missions found more populous fields at The Dalles and Nis- 


qually, and made great progress. The American immigration of 1841 arrived 
in the fall of that year, and many settled near the Valley mission. 

In 1840 a saw mill and grist mill was built for the needs of the mission on 
Mill creek, ten miles south of the mission site. On Mill creek was built later, 
the Indian manual training school, and a mission house. The site of these build- 
ings was near the old woolen mill at Salem, and two of them are still standing; 
the oldest of these is a part of the residence of Hon. R. P. Boise, at 852 Broad- 
way, Salem, and the hewn timbers of the building, according to the diary of 
Rev. Mr. Waller, who assisted in the work, warrant the belief that Jason Lee's 
hand wielded the broad-ax upon them. Around this new establishment, and 
because of it, the community which developed into the capital city of Oregon 
grew up. 

The Indians of the Willamette had decreased in number constantly, and the 
central mission found its intended field of labor among the Indians less fruit- 
ful year by year; the white settlers were becoming more numerous, and the 
teachers and preachers of the mission saw larger opportunities ofifered. In 1842 
at a conference of the mission it was determined to build a school at "Cheme- 
teke," to be called the Oregon institute. This project was the conception of 
Jason Lee. The building erected was planned for great things. None knew 
so well as Jason Lee the certain future of the Willamette valley, destined to be 
perhaps the most populous valley of the Pacific coast. The building was com- 
pleted in 1844, the missionary community contributing generously to the fund. 
It was seventy-five feet long, and three stories high. In the same year the mis- 
sionary at "The Falls," Rev. A. F. Waller, completed the first church built in 
Oregon, still standing, at Oregon City, where during the four preceding years, 
a large community of Americans had settled. 

Thus the work of the mission in the valley was directed to a new channel — 
the educational and religious care of the immigrants, streaming in constantly 
increasing trains into western Oregon. 

Because of this natural diversion of the energies of the Willamette mission, 
some writers have considered its work a failure. Such a view would indicate 
that the holder of it considered it better to teach dead Indians than the young 
pioneers. No fair-minded reader and observer can fail to see the great and 
blessed influence of Jason Lee and his missionary contemporaries upon the people 
of the Willamette and other fields of their labors. As examples I only cite 
Salem and Forest Grove as representative cities of missionary origin, and largely 
populated still by the descendants and pupils and proselytes of Oregon missions. 
The parent societies did indeed discontinue their official support of the Indian 
missions, but the men who had come to Oregon to redeem the Indians never 
ceased to minister to them in every possible way. 

Jason Lee in 1843 wrote to the New York missionary board: "My interest 
in the Oregon missions is not in the least abated. Oregon is still of immense 
importance as a field of missionary operations among the Indians." 

This sketch necessarily omits details. Such as remain — unfortunately 
meager — are worth the reading. Rev. Dr. Hines (H. K.) has preserved what 
was possible in "Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest." Adventures 
which would fill hundreds of thrilling pages were left entirely unrecorded by 
Jason Lee and his companions. Their records are terse, omitting all but greater 
facts. Their hands clove to the plow and ax and paddle, rather than to the pen. 

Enough has been said already to show Jason Lee's knowledge of Oregon's 
importance as a future territory of the United States, and enough to set at rest 
any doubt regarding his deep interest in "saving Oregon." In 1834 before he 
started upon his mission, he visited Washington and secured passports and cre- 
dentials entitling him to the government's recognition and protection. Upon his 
return in 1838 he went as early as possible to Washington and presented to 
congress the memorial of the missionaries and settlers in Willamette, urging 
the government to extend its control over their territory. His addresses in the 


middle west the same year were_ the source of that interest in Oregon which 
started the mighty stream of pioneer immigration to the Willamette valley 
First and foremost of the builders of Oregon was Jason Lee ^' 

Rprr. V? u Lausanne" sailed, Jason Lee married Aliss Lucy Thomson of 
.n trJ \ ^° ^!^^o"^P^"^ed him to Oregon with the 'Tausanne" party. March 

Lee's return' tf.h "' '\'.'^'T''' ^'^""f^r "" ^"^^"^ ^^^^^ter. This child, upon 
Lees return to he east m 1844, was left in the care of Rev. Gustavus Hines 
She was an early graduate of Willamette university, and became the wife of 

herf recorded.""' ''' '' "'"" ' '" ""^^ ^"^^^^^^ '^' information 

lee's second journey east. 

Later in 1843 Jason Lee determined to go again to New York to set before 
tiie missionary board the affairs of the Oregon mission. He was aware that the 

SuelTh'-T t^'ff ""] '^^ "°^^ ^" Oregon. The disappointment was 
due to their lack of knowledge of conditions there, and to the results of the 
work aomng the Indians, particularly. In the most favorable circumstances a 
letter sent from Oregon in 1840 would not be answered until the end of the 
following year. The information of the board was always a year behind the 
tact. I he board was hoping for the conversion of thousands of Indians, and 
quite unaware of the splendid work the mission was doing among the whites as 
well as at several of the Indian stations. It was to inform them of these mat! 
ters that Lee left Oregon February 3, 1844, on the British barque "Columbia" 
Compaf Vancouver for London in the service of the Hudson's Bay 

At Honolulu Lee received information that his successor had been appointed 
and was on his way to Oregon. After consideration of this unexpected phase 
of affairs he determined to go on his intended journey. He went from Hono- 
lulu to Mazatlan crossed Mexico to Vera Cruz, barely escaping imprisonment 
on account of the ill feeling due to the Texas intrigues, III his letters and 
papers being seized. 

From Vera Cruz by sail to New Orleans, then by steamboat to Pittsburg ' 
and by stage to the Atlantic sea-board. July ist he appeared before the mis- 
sionary board and made a plea of such convincing power that that bodv ex- 
pressed Its renewed confidence in him and his wise administration; but his 
successor was at sea, irreclaimable, and arrived in Oregon about the time Jason 
Lee arrived m New Orleans. "^ 

Again Lee visited Washington, called upon President Tyler, and was as- 
sured by him that the "Oregon Bill" would probably pass congress at the com- 
ing session. He spent two weeks at Washington at this time, but a presidential 
election was near at hand, and was the principal affair of the time It was then 
in view of the approaching settlement of the claims to the Oregon country that 
the hfty-four, forty or fight" slogan was ringing through the country. 
_ After finishing his business in New York, Jason Lee went to his old home ' 1 
m btanstead. He expected to return to the west, after some months of rest 
and renewal of old acquaintance in his native place. On his way thither he 
visited Wilbraham academy, where his student years were passed. 

It seems strange indeed that a man of Lee's heroic frame, inured to hard- 
ship for ten years m all the climates of our country, should have met death 
mutes prime, at his early home, among his dearest relatives and boyhood 
friends. He preached to them his last sermon in November, 1844 even then 
feeble and emaciated, but yet filled with zeal and fire. 

As late as February, 1845, he wrote to his friend. Rev. G. Hines, in Ore- 
gon : "Unless some favorable change in my malady occurs soon, it is mv de- 
hberate conviction that it will prove fatal. Should such a change take place I 
advise you to be looking out for me, coming around Cape Horn, or threading 


my way up the Willamette as I used to do." On March 12, he passed away 
at the age of forty-one years. ^ 

Sixty-four years afterward on June 15, 1906, the ashes of Jason Lee were 
consigned with solemn and impressive ceremonies to the hallowed soil of the 
Lee mission cemetery at Salem. Great men from four great states were there • 
states carved from the territory of the old Oregon country. These men soeak- 
mg above his ashes, accorded him the honor that is his due as pioneer ' patriot 

u^T •P^^P^''^*^°" °^ *^^^ ^^^^^^ ^ ^^^^ "^a^e references to Rev Dr Hines' 
Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest," Rev. Aaron Atwood's "Con- 
querors, Mrs. Eva Emery Dye's works, Hines and Lang's "Historv of thf> 
Willamette Valley," and Rev. W. H. Gray's "History of Oregon " My limited 
time and opportunities for personal research have been supplemented bv valu- 
able assistance from Mr. Francis H. Grubbs. 

Portland, October 4, 1910. 


Among those who bore an important part in the beginnings of Oregon was" 
Dr. Whitman, the missionary of Walla Walla. Marcus Whitman third son of 
Beza and Alice Whitman, was born at Rushville, Yates County New York 
September 4, 1802. He was descended from English ancestors who had settled in 
Massachusetts early m the seventeenth century. His father died when he was 
eight years of age and shortly after Marcus was sent to live with his grand- 
father, Samuel Whitman of Plainfield, Massachusetts, where he remained for 
nine years and received the greater part of his education preparatorv to his 
professional studies. ^ 

His first choice of a profession was that of the gospel ministry • but the way 
not being open for his entering this, he studied medicine, first privately with 
/•it -^/iT^^t' ^ Phys^^an of his native town, and later in the medical college 
ot 1^ airfield, New York, from which he was graduated in 1824 The next ten 
years of his life he spent chiefly in the practice of his profession, first in Canada 
and later in Wheeler, New York, with an interval in which he engaged with his 
brother in running a sawmill ; an experience which was to stand him in g-Qod stead 
m his later life in Oregon. 

Dr. Whitman seems never to have been quite reconciled to the relinquishment 
of his early purpose of entering the Christian ministry. His natural tastes had 
he followed out his first purpose, would doubtless have led him either to some 
foreign field or to the frontiers of his own country. Being a man of strong and 
muscular frame, of indomitable will and courageous and adventurous spirit he 
^^l l^^^T^ *° ?^ content to settle in the quiet and comfort of older communities 
and build on other men's foundations. He was a man quick to hear and prompt 
to respond to the call of human need, and counted it rather a joy if such response 
called him to face danger and hardships. The opportunity to give full vent to 
his pent-up desire for an active life of ministry to his fellow men came at the 
close of his first ten years of professional life; and it came in such a way as to 
make to one of his nature and ambition an irresistible appeal. 

In the early thirties, at a time when the various missionary societies of the 
east were warmly interested in missions to the native races of the Mississippi 
valley, an incident occurred that directed their interest and effort particularly to 
the region west of the Rocky mountains. A delegation of four Indian chiefs 
from one oi the tribes located in the Oregon country appeared in St. Louis on an 
unusual m^ission. _ Having heard from explorers and traders something of the 
white man s religion, they had been impressed bv what they had heard and came 
to try to find some one that would tell them more of this religion. The romance 


and pathos of this incident thrilled the whole Christian church and kindled it to a 
new zeal and enthusiasm in Indian missions. 

The first response to this appeal from the Oregon country was the mission of 
the Methodist Episcopal church, under Jason Lee, who came with his company 
overland to Oregon in 1834 and settled in the Willamette valley. The next re- 
sponse was by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, lo- 
cated at Boston and representing the Presbyterian, Congregational and Dutch 
Reform churches. Early in the year 1835 this board commissioned the Rev. 
Samuel Parker of Ithaca, New York, and Dr. Marcus Whitman to go to the 
Oregon country and explore the field with a view to the establishment of mis- 
sions among the Indians of that region. Mr. Parker and Dr. Whitman set out 
at once on this mission, and joining the caravan of the American Fur Company 
which left Liberty, Missouri, in May of that year, proceeded under the safe con- 
duct of this company as far as the company's rendezvous on Green river, one of 
the headwaters of the Colorado. Here they met representative men of the Nez 
Perces nation, who were so earnest in their entreaty that missionaries be sent to 
their people, that it was at once decided that Mr. Parker should go on alone, and 
Dr. Whitman should return and report to the board of missions and secure, if 
possible, the sending out of missionaries the next year. 

Dr. Whitman's fitness for pioneer and missionar>^ life was abundantly shown 
during his connection with the caravan of the Fur company, composed of hunters, 
traders and trappers ; the type of men with whom in after life he was to have 
much to do. While at the rendezvous on the Missouri river an epidemic breaking 
out which threatened serious results, by his promptness and skill he not only saved 
the lives of many, but saved the expedition itself from destruction or disbandment. 
And later at the rendezvous on Green river as well as on the route he commanded 
respect for his professional skill and by his readiness to put his skill at the ser- 
vice of his fellow travelers won the good will of the men of the company. 

Dr. Whitman lost no time in carrying out his agreement with Mr. Parker, 
but returned at once to New York and Boston. The spring of the following year 
found him again at the rendezvous on the Missouri river with a company of 
missionaries commissioned and equipped for the Oregon country. He had been 
married in the meantime to Narcissa, daughter of Judge Stephen Prentiss of 
Prattsburg, New York, a young woman of strong character and devoted piety, 
who had given her life to the cause of missions. The mission consisted of himself 
and Mrs. Whitman and the Rev. H. H. Spaulding and Mrs. Spaulding together 
with Mr. W. H. Gray of Utica, New York, in the capacity of secular agent. Mrs. 
Whitman and Mrs. Spaulding were the first white women to attempt the daring 
feat of crossing the Rocky mountains into the wild region beyond. But to their 
honor it must be said that they performed it with a courage and endurance that 
commanded the admiration of all who witnessed it. 

They reached the Columbia river early in September of the same year, and 
proceeded at once under the escort of agents of the Hudson's Bay Company to 
Fort Vancouver. Here they were received with the utmost hospitality by Dr. John 
McLoughlin, chief factor of the company. Dr. Whitman had already provision- 
ally agreed with Mr. Parker that the mission should be established among the 
tribes east of the Cascade range. He was novv^ advised by Dr. McLoughlin to 
the same decision. The result was that Mr. Spaulding settled at Lapwai among 
the Nez Perces Indians, on what is now the western edge of the state of Idaho; 
while Dr. Whitman settled on the Walla Walla river near the site of the present 
town of Walla Walla. 

The site of what came to be commonly known as the Whitman mission was 
well chosen ; not so much from the point of view of a mission to the Indians as 
from "the point of view of a vantage ground from which to influence the des- 
tinies of the Oregon country. It lay near the junction of the two principal trade 
routes from the east, and near to one of the chief forts of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany. It was a station at once for observation and influence. The various inter- 


ests of this whole region centered here as in no other place. The various cur- 
rents of travel that were to determine the ultimate destiny of this region passed 
this way as at that time they passed nowhere else. Dr. Whitman proved to be the 
man for the place ; quick to grasp the significance of the situation and bold and 
prompt to seize and use its opportunities. 

The life of Whitman in Oregon falls into two well marked periods. The first 
of these, extending from the establishment of the mission in 1836, to October, 
1842, was the period of his distinctively missionary work. The second, extending 
from that eventful year to his death in 1847, was marked by a wider activity in 
which, while keeping the interests of his mission and the welfare of his Indians 
as his central object, he yet exerted well-directed efforts toward furthering the 
nation's interests in the Oregon country. 

Dr. Whitman's conception of his mission to the Indians and the persistence 
with which he strove to carry it out, are indicative of the character of the man. 
His ideal for the Indians was that they should become not only Christians, but 
peaceful and thrifty citizens. With this ideal before him he at once set about 
to instruct them in the faith and morality of the Christian religion, to give them 
an elementary education in their own tongue, and to instruct them in agriculture 
and other arts of a peaceful and settled life. His efforts toward these ends in 
this earlier period promised a fair measure of success. As the fruit of his and 
Mrs. Whitman's patient instruction and consistent daily lives a few of the natives 
were brought to embrace the Christian religion ; some of whom commanded the 
highest respect of the white men by their lives of consistent piety and integrity. A 
school was early established, and though maintained under the utmost difficulties, 
enrolled considerable numbers of the Indians, reaching at one time an enrollment 
of more than one hundred. Agriculture too was taught, with promising results. 
More than one immigrant and early traveler on visiting the mission remarked 
on the prosperous appearance of the mission farm, and observed with special 
interest the well cultivated farms of the Indians that surrounded it. 

The attitude of the Cayuse Indians among whom Dr. Whitman settled, toward 
Dr. Whitman and his work changed toward the end of this period. The mission 
had been established on the invitation of prominent men of the Indian tribes, and 
the missionaries and their wives had been made welcome. But from the fall of 
1839 to the end of this period the feelings of the Indians show a change from that 
of cordial good will to one of suspicion and faultfinding, which issued in the later 
years in threats, and even in over acts of violence. Several things contributed to 
this charge of attitude. One was the indirect influence of the Catholic mission- 
aries who had come into the region in 183Q. This arose not from hostility on the 
part of the missionaries personally, toward the Protestant missionaries, but it 
was an inevitable result of their variant teaching, unsettling the minds of the 
Indians, and still further, from a policy differing from that tof the Protestant 
missions, in following the Indian in his roaming life and not insisting on his 
settling in one place to a life of industry. The treatment, too, by the missionaries, 
of their wives, as on an equality with themselves, offended the leading Indians, 
as being a constant rebuke to their own conduct, and as tending to cause in their 
wives restlessness and discontent. Finally, the coming of the white settlers in 
such numbers as to attract the attention of the Indians and awaken their fears 
that they should be dispossessed of their lands by the white men, contributed to 
this growing spirit of hostility toward the Protestant missions. The situation 
of the mission on the highway of immigration of that period made it peculiarly 
open to this influence. In a letter of May 2, 1840, Mrs. Whitman writes: 

"A tide of immigration appears to be moving this way rapidly. A great 
change has taken place even since we entered the country, and we have no reason 
to believe it will stop here. Instead of two lonelv American females we now num- 
ber fourteen, and soon may twenty or forty more, if reports are true. We are 
emphatically situated on the highway between the states and the Columbia river." 


The fall of 1842 brought a still larger immigration, numbering more than one 
hundred and including many families. It was an immigration well suited to 
impress the Indians as it passed through their lands, and further to arouse their 
apprehensions for the future. 

With the arrival of this immigration affairs at the Walla Walla mission seem 
to have reached a crisis. There had been for some time a growing feeling at the 
headquarters of the board of missions at Boston that the results of the mission 
at Walla Walla were not satisfactory. Missionaries at that day were expected 
by the board that commissioned them to confine themselves strictly to the religious 
instruction and care of those to whom they were sent. Even education had not 
yet come to be regarded as a proper part of their work, while instruction in in- 
dustry and secular arts must have appeared quite aside from it. Besides, news 
had reached the board of unpleasant differences among the missionaries them- 
selves which seemed to bode ill for the work of the mission. Whitman now learned 
that the order for the abandonment of the Walla Walla mission, if not already 
issued, was at least imminent. A less farsighted and courageous man than he 
might have welcomed the order to leave the post where hardships were great and 
where perils from the natives were thickening around him. But it was not of 
Whitman's character to abandon a post which, perilous as it was, he felt was 
important to the cause of missions and to the interests of his country to hold. He 
would not abandon it without first making a determined effort to secure from the 
mission board its continuance and reinforcement, and from the government at 
Washington provisions and the adoption of measures that would bring content to 
the Indians and open an easier and safer highway for intending immigrants. 

Accordingly, on the 2d of October, 1842, within a month after the arrival at 
Walla Walla of the immigration of that year, Whitman was on his way to Wash- 
ington and Boston, accompanied by a single companion. Crossing the mountains 
at any season of the year in those days was a serious undertaking; entered upon 
at the edge of winter it was perilous, and for any object but one of supreme im- 
portance and urgency foolhardy. Undertaken as it was with Whitman's full 
knowledge of its difficulties and perils and with his conception of the interests at 
stake, it was heroic. 

Whitman's one companion on this perilous ride was A. L. Lovejoy, a young 
lawyer who had arrived in Oregon with the immigration of that year, himself 
destined to an important part in the early history of Oregon. They reached 
Fort Hall without serious difficulty, but here they found their way over the 
direct route barred by the snows of an early winter. Not discouraged by this, 
Whitman procured a guide, and he and his companion turned southward, keeping 
along the western base of the Rocky mountains to the Santa Fe trail, and thence 
eastward to St. Louis, where Whitman, having left Lovejoy on the way to re- 
turn by way of Fort Hall to Oregon, arrived in February after a journey of four 
months of incredible hardships and privation and peril. From St. Louis he 
hastened on to Washington, stopping briefly in Cincinnati on the way. From 
Washington he went to Boston by way of New York. The date of his visit to 
Washington is not fixed, but it is certain that he was in New York, March 28, 
and a day or two later was on the steamer on the sound bound for Boston, and 
that he was in Boston the first week in April. His stay at his home after leaving 
Boston must have been brief, for he was back in St. Louis early in May on his 
return to Oregon, in less than three months from the time of his arrival there on 
his eastward journey. 

Finding the emigration somewhat delayed in setting out, he visited relatives 
in Quincy, Illinois, then went to the Shawnee mission in the neighborhood of 
the rendezvous from which emigrants for Oregon were accustomed to start. 
On May 17, he was visited here by a committee of emigrants appointed for that 
purpose, and on the 20th attended a meeting of the committee appointed to draw 
up the rules and regulations for the journey. 


The emigration started on the 226. under Captain Gantt, a man experienced 
in the route as far as Fort Hall, who had been employed to pilot the company 
to that point. Whitman remained at the Shawnee mission for some days and 
joined the emigrants on the Platte river about the middle of June, and continued 
with it to Fort Hall. During this part of the route he travelled for the most 
part with Jesse Applegate, who after the division of the emigrants was captain 
of one of the divisions. This division was generally in advance, as appears 
from the diary of J. W. Nesmith, who was made orderly sergeant of the com- 
pany as first organized. It was perhaps while traveling with this division in 
advance that Whitman obtained information from the Catholic missionaries, 
who were somewhat in advance of the immigration, of a shorter route by Fort 
Bridger, known afterwards as the Fort Bridger cut-off. Of this Peter H. Bur- 
nett writes: "On the 12th of August we were informed that Dr. Whitman had 
written a letter, stating that the Catholic missionaries had discovered by the aid 
of their Flathead Indian pilot a pass through the mountains by way of Fort 
Bridger, which was shorter than the old route. We therefore determined to go 
by the fort. On the 14th we arrived at Fort Bridger, situated on Black's fork 
of Green river, having traveled from our camp on the Sweetwater two hundred 
and nineteen miles in eighteen days. Here we overtook the missionaries." 

Fifteen days later on August 27, the immigration arrived at Fort Hall. Of 
the route up to this point Burnett writes : "Up to this point the route over 
which we had passed was perhaps the finest natural road of the same length to 
be found in the world. Only a few loaded wagons had ever made their way 
to Fort Hall and were there abandoned. Dr. Whitman was at the fort and was 
our pilot from there to the Grande Ronde, where he left us in charge of an Indian 
pilot, whose name was Stickus, and who proved to be faithful and competent. 

• • • 

"We had now arrived at the most critical period in our journey, and we had 
many misgivings as to our ultimate success in making our way with our wagons, 
teams and families. We had yet to accomplish the untried and difficult portion 
of our long and exhaustive journey. We could not anticipate at what moment 
we should be compelled to abandon our wagons in the mountains, pack our 
scant supplies upon our poor oxen and make our way on foot through the ter- 
ribly rough country as best we could. We fully comprehended the situation ; 
but we never faltered in our inflexible determination to accomplish the trip, 
if within the limits of possibility, with the limited resources at our command, 
Dr. Whitman assured us we could succeed, and encouraged and aided us with 
every means in his power." 

This from Burnett's recollections was not so much a forecast of the trip as a 
description of what it proved to be. Others who had passed over the trail by 
which they must go represented its manifold difficulties and perils, and did not 
hesitate to present in the strongest terms the obstacles to their taking wagons 
successfully over it. It was to the minds of the hardy mountaineers a trail 
for a pack train only, and a difficult one at that. It was no wagon road over 
which a company of a thousand men, women and children could hope success- 
fully to pass, taking their wagons as they had come thus far. Whitman, how- 
ever, although knowing the difficulties, was confident that it could be done, and 
his counsel prevailed. The emigration left Fort Hall August 30 and reached 
the Whitman mission the loth of October. Whitman had left the company in 
charge of a skillful Indian pilot when he saw it safely past Fort Hall, and was 
already at the mission on its arrival. He there had the gratification of seeing 
encamped near the banks of the Columbia the largest immigration that had ever 
entered Oregon, and as he looked on it with its unbroken families, with their 
wagons and goods and herds, having successfully passed through all the diffi- 
culties and perils of the journey, he knew that the road to Oregon was now 
fully open. In his letter to the secretary of war a few weeks later he writes : 


"The government will now doubtless for the first time be apprised through 
you, and by means of this communication, of the immense migration of families 
to Oregon which has taken place this year. I have, since our interview, been 
instrumental in piloting across the route described in the accompanying bill, 
and which is the only eligible wagon road, no less than one hundred families, 
consisting of one thousand persons of both sexes, with their wagons, amounting 
in all to more than one hundred and twenty, six hundred and ninety-four oxen, 
seven hundred and seventy-three loose cattle." . . . 

"The immigrants are from different states, but principally from Missouri, 
Arkansas, Illinois and New York. The majority of them are farmers, lured 
by the prospect of bounty in lands, by the reported fertility of the soil, and by 
the desire to be the first among those who are planting our institutions on the Pa- 
cific coast. Among them are artisans of every trade, comprising, with farmers, 
the very best material for a new colony. As pioneers these people have un- 
dergone incredible hardships, and having now safely passed the Blue mountain 
range with their wagons and effects, have established a durable road from Mis- 
souri to Oregon, which will serve to mark permanently the route for larger 
numbers, each succeeding year, while they have practically demonstrated that 
wagons drawn by horses or oxen can cross the Rocky mountains to the Co- 
lumbia river, contrary to all the sinister assertions of all those who pretended 
it to be impossible." 

The note of triumph in this letter may be pardoned Whitman when we re- 
member how persistently he had labored to bring his wagon over this route 
when he first came to Oregon, and how firmly he believed in the face of all 
assertions to the contrary that the trail through the mountains would yet prove 
to be an open highway for immigrants and their wagons and herds ; and when 
we remember too, how clearly he saw that the ultimate demonstration of this 
would bring a solution of the Oregon question favorable to his country. In 
the great caravan safely encamped on the Columbia he saw with pardonable 
pride the accomplishment of a cherished hope and of a purpose persisted in for 
seven years; and full justification of all the hardships and toil he had endured 
to bring it to a successful accomplishment. 

Whitman's satisfaction at the successful accomplishment of this object of 
his winter journey was not without alloy. On his way he had received news of 
the burning of his grist-mill, a means he had relied on not only for supplying 
his and the neighboring missions with flour, but which he had particularly hoped 
would furnish needed supplies to the immigration of this year. He was to learn 
too of the outbreak of violent feelings of hostility on the part of the Cayuse In- 
dians surrounding his mission, which had well-nigh resulted fatally to Mrs. 
Whitman, and had obliged her to leave their home and seek safety under the 
hospitable roofs of the Hudson's Bay Company and of neighboring missions. 

His presence, however, and the moving on of the immigrants to the Wil- 
lamette valley soon brought the Indians to a quieter mood, and the affairs 
of the mission moved on again for a time with even more than their former 
promise. The mission work was resumed, the school reopened and its num- 
bers enlarged, the grist-mill was rebuilt, and in addition a saw mill erected, and 
new efforts were made to induce the Indians to settle down to the pursuits of 
agriculture and stock raising. But conditions had changed, Whitman felt it, 
and the Indians showed that they too felt it. It was no longer a matter of 
doubt to either that the Americans were to have Oregon, and both foresaw that 
this meant sooner or later the dispossession of the Indian of a large portion of 
his land. In a letter to his father and mother in the May following his return 
Whitman gives expression to his view of the changed condition: 

"It gives me much pleasure to be back again and quietly at work again for 
the Indians. It does not concern me so much what is to become of any partic- 
ular set of Indians, as to give them the offer of salvation through the gospel 
and the opportunity of civilization, and then I am content to do to all men as 


T have opportunity.' I have no doubt our greatest work is to be to aid the 
white settlement of this country and help to found its religious institutions 
Providence has its full share in all these events. Although the Indians have 
made and are making rapid advance in religious knowledge and civiliztion, ye' 
it cannot be hoped that time will be allowed to mature either the work of Chris 
tianization or civilization before the white settlers will demand the soil and seel 
the removal of both the Indians and the mission. What Americans desire o 
this kind they always effect, and it is equally useless to oppose or desire ii 
otherwise. To guide, as far as can be done, and direct these tendencies for the 
best, is evidently the part of wisdom. Indeed, I am fully convinced that when 
a people refuse or neglect to fill the designs of Providence, they ought not to 
complain at the results ; and so it is equally useless for Christians to be anxious 
on their account. The Indians have in no case obeyed the command to multiply 
and replenish the earth, and they cannot stand in the way of others in doing 
so. A place will be left them to do tliis as fully as their ability to obey will 
permit, and the more we can do for them the more fully can this be realized. 
No exclusiveness can be asked for any portion of the human family. The exer- 
cise of his rights are all that can be desired. In order for this, to its proper 
extent in regard to the Indians, it is necessary that they seek to preserve their 
rights by peaceable means only. Any violation of this rule will be visited with 
only evil results to themselves. 

The Indians are anxious about the consequences of settlers among them, 
but I hope there will be no acts of violence on either hand. An evil affair at 
the falls of the Willamette resulted in the death of two white men killed and one 
Indian. But all is now quiet." 

In April of the same year Mrs. Whitman had written to Mrs. Brewer of 
the Methodist mission : 

"Our Indians have been very much excited this spring, but are now quiet. 
The influx of emigration is not going to let us live in as much quiet, as it 
regards the people, as we have done." 

The fall of 1845 brought a larger immigration than ever, numbering in all 
several thousand. Shortly after this Mrs. Whitman writes again of her ap- 
prehensions : 

"It may be that we shall be obliged to leave here in the spring. The state 
of things now looks very much as though we should be required to. . . . 
For the poor Indians' sake and the relief of future travellers to this country I 
could wish to stay here longer if we could do it in peace. We feel sometimes 
as if our quietness were past for this country, at least for a season." 

Such was the growing uneasiness at the mission. It awakened apprehen- 
sions, but did not weaken purpose or paralyze activity. The same zeal, warm 
and unabated, for the welfare of the Indians, was manifest through it all. 
Meanwhile the increased immigration brought to the Whitman household care 
and work of another kind. The long journey was a severe tax upon the strong- 
est, but for the weak it was doubly trying. Some fell by the way; mothers — 
now and then both father and mother — sickened and died, leaving dependent 
families of young children; invalids unable to complete the journey without a 
period of rest; wives approaching confinement; families of slender means which 
the exacting journey had exhausted — such from time to time took refuge under 
the hospitable roof of the mission. 

Mrs. Whitman in letters to friends gives us vivid pictures of the family at 
Waiilatpu these years after the great immigration. In January following her 
return from her stay at the Methodist missions during her husband's absence 
she writes to one of her friends : 

"My family consists of six children and a Frenchman that came from the 
mountains and stops with us without invitation. Mary Ann, however, is with 
Mrs. Littlejohn now. Two English girls, Ann and Emma Hobson, one 13 
and the other 7, of the party, stopped with us; husband engaged to take them 


in the first part of the journey but when they arrived here they went directly 
to Walla Walla, being persuaded not to stay by some of the party on account of 
the Indians. When I arrived at Walla Walla they saw me and made them- 
selves known to me and desired to come home with me. The girls were so 
urgent to stop that I could not refuse them, and their father was obliged to 
give them up. I felt unwilling to increase my family at that time, but now 
do not regret it, as they do the greater part of my work and go to school 

A day or two later Mrs. Whitman again writes of the household to which 
she returned : - 

"When I arrived home I found Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn occupying my bed- 
room. She was sick, having been confined a few days before I came. The 
room east of the kitchen, Mr. East and family occupied — four children, all small. 
Mr. Looney with a family of six children and one young man by the name of 
Smith, were in the Indian room. My tvvo boys, Perrin Whitman and David, 
slept upstairs, Alex, the Frenchman, in the kitchen, and Mary Ann and Helen 
in the trundle bed in the room with Mr. Littlejohn. The dining room alone re- 
mained for me, husband, and my two English girls ; all of these we fed from 
our table except Mr. Looney's family, and our scanty fare consisted of potatoes 
and cornmeal, with a little milk occasionally, and cakes from the burnt wheat. 
This was a great change for me from the well-furnished tables of Waskopum 
and Willamette." 

It was due to the memory of the mission by the wayside to present one more 
picture of its hospitable home. In a letter dated April 2, 1846, Mrs. Whitman 
again writes : 

"You will be astonished to know that we have eleven children in our family, 
and not one of them our own by birth, but so it is. Seven orphans were brought 
to our door in October, 1844, whose parents both died on the way to this country. 
Destitute and friendless, there was no other alternative — we must take them in 
or they must perish. The youngest was an infant five months old — born on the 
way — nearly famished but just alive; the eldest was thirteen, two boys and five 
girls ; the boys were the oldest. The eldest girl was lying with a broken leg by 
the side of her parents as they were dying, one after the other. They were an 
afflicted and distressed family in the journey and when the children arrived here 
they were in miserable condition. You can better imagine than I can describe 
my feelings under these circumstances. Weak and feeble as I was, in an Indian 
country without the possibility of obtaining help, to have so many helpless chil- 
dren cast upon our arms at once, rolled a burden on me insupportable. Nothing 
could reconcile me to it but the thought that it was the Lord that brought them 
here, and He would give me grace and strength so to discharge my duty to them 
as to be acceptable in His sight." 

Such was the enlarged scope of the Whitman mission and the increased 
burden put upon its heads by the increased immigration. The burden was made 
heavier by the fact that the stream of immigration which brought these new 
inmates to the Whitman home, increased the irritation of the Indians to the 
point where more than once during these years it seemed as if the mission must 
be abandoned for lack of protection. The letters of this period make frequent 
mention of this impending peril. One letter, however, of Mrs. Whitman's, 
written in the midsummer of 1846 speaks with joy of a season of relief from 
these painful apprehensions : 

"The Indians are quiet now, and never more friendly. ... So far 
as the Indians are concerned our prospects of permanently remaining among 
them were never more favorable than at present. . . . It is a great pleasure 
to them to see so many children growing up in their midst. Perrin, the elder, 
is able to read Nez Perces to them and when husband is gone takes his place and 
holds meetings with them. This delights them much." 


This season of quiet was not to last. Late in the summer of the following 
year Mrs. Whitman writes of their situation in a less hopeful strain. It is on 
the eve of the passing of another caravan of immigrants, and she views their 
coming not without apprehension, for the Indians as well as for themselves. 

"It is difficult to imagine what kind of a winter we shall have this winter, for 
it will not be possible for so many to all pass through the Cascades into the Wil- 
lamette this fall, even if they should succeed in getting through the Blue moun- 
tains as far as here. . . . We are not likely to be as well off for pro- 
visions this season as usual — our crops are not abundant. 

"Poor people, those that are not able to get on, or pay for what they need 
are those that will most likely wish to stop here, judging from the past. 
The poor Indians are amazed at the overwhelming numbers of Americans com- 
ing into the country. They seem not tO' know what to make of it. Very many 
of the principal ones are dying, and some have been killed by other Indians, in 
going south into the region of California. The remaining ones seem attached to 
us and cling to us the closer ;. cultivate their farms quite extensively, and do not 
wish to see any Sniapus (Americans) settle among them here; they are willing 
to have them spend the winter here, but in the spring they must all move on. 
They would be willing to have more missionaries stop and those devoted to their 
good. They expect that eventually this country will be settled by them, but they 
wish to see the Willamette filled up first." 

The undertone of foreboding in this letter was not groundless. Whether 
Mrs. Whitman was conscious of it or not as she wrote, her letter describes a 
situation that boded ill for the mission. A proud tribe, accustomed in the past 
to dominate neighboring tribes, seeing its numbers decimated by war and by 
disease, and its lands each year more surely destined to pass into the hands of 
the white man — this was a situation that might easily, on further provocation, 
pass into one of bitter hostility and open revolt. 

Dr. Whitman had felt this for some time, but without taking measures for 
protection. In a letter to her sister in the spring of 1847 Mrs. Whitman writes 
of her husband's absence for several weeks at Vancouver. This absence J. 
Quinn Thornton, in his history of the provisional government of Oregon ex- 
plains, in part at least. "In the spring of 1847," he writes, "Dr. Whitman 
being at my residence in Oregon City spoke to me freely on the subject of his 
mission station, and of the perils to which he feared all connected with it were 
exposed. And he said that he believed that nothing short of the establishment 
of a territorial government would save him and his mission from falling under 
the murderous hands of the savages. And he urged me to yield to the solicita- 
tions I had received to go at once to Washington city on behalf of the people 
and provisional government, for this and other purposes." 

This was no imaginary peril. It was the forecast of a clearsighted, fearless 
man, one whose courage did not blind him to impending danger. The stroke 
fell sooner than he had expected, and with not less murderous effect. In the 
late summer and fall of this year an epidemic of measles prevailed among the 
Indians about the Whitman mission and among other tribes of the Columbia val- 
ley. Many of them died in spite of the utmost exertions of Dr. Whitman and his 
assistants. Dr. Whitman's very efforts to save the Indians only made his death 
at their hands more certain, such were their cruel superstitions regarding their 
medicine men or anyone in whose hands any of their number died. Then, too, 
the presence among them at that time of a vicious and disaffected person made 
it almost certain that this dreadful superstition would work disaster to the mis- 

So it did. On the morning of November 29, with no immediate warning the 
storm of savage passion broke with murderous effect on the devoted mission. 
Dr. Whitman himself fell first, then others until fourteen in all were slain — in- 
cluding Mrs. Whitman, the one woman among the victims, and fifty taken cap- 
tives, mostly women and children 


The causes of the massacre have already been indicated. As years remove 
us from the event, and passions cool and partisan feeling abates, historians grow 
less inclined to find in it any purpose other than that of which the Indians 
under the circumstances already described were of themselves fully capable. 

It was the death of the mission at Waiilatpu. The mission was never re- 
organized, or even sought to be re-established. The Cayuse Indians themselves, 
decimated by disease and war, became scattered, and soon were lost in other 
tribes. Estimated by the results of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman's united labors for 
the Indians the mission can hardly be reckoned among the great missions of the 
country. Other neighboring missions may justly be regarded as having sur- 
passed it. But when looked at in its work for passing immigrants and its effect 
on the fortunes of the Oregon country, the case is altogether different. 

Less than four years after the massacre, M. D. Saint-Amant, an envoy of 
Louis Napoleon's; landed in San Francisco, sent here to explore California and 
Oregon and to report on the prospect of pushing trade in this region. He came 
to Oregon soon after his arrival in August and remained several months, push- 
ing his travels and researches clear into its furthest settlements. He was in 
Walla Walla in November, 1851, almost on the anniversary of the massacre. 
While here he made careful and extended reports to his home government of all 
that he saw and learned while in this region, and on his return published the re- 
sults of his observations and inquiries. In his book entitled "Voyages en Cali- 
fomie et Oregon" he has this to say of Wliitman and his mission: 

"It (Central Oregon) would be much more advanced but for an event which j 
imposed upon it a period of arrest. The Reverend Whitman, an American Bap- 
tist missionary, came and established himself with his family among the different 
tribes of Walla Walla, almost in the midst of the wilderness. He gained some 
influence over the Cayuse, the Nez Perces, the Spokane, etc. Having come in 
advance of the taking of the country by his fellow citizens, he became a very 
active agent of the American interests and contributed in no small degree to 
promote annexation ; but in spite of all he did for them, he did not realize that 
his standing and influence would not always prevail aginst the consequences of 
the superstition of these savages, and he fell a victim to it with his family. An 
epidemic spread, and as the Reverend added the art of healing to his pretention 
to save souls, and as several striking deaths disturbed their feeble and ailing 
minds, doubts sprang up as to the honesty of Dr. Whitman's purposes, and still 
more as to the character of his medical knowledge. In short, he was massacred 
with all his family in 1847." 

This is interesting as one of the earliest recorded estimates of Whitman's 
work for Oregon, and of the causes of his death. It is the judgment of an in- 
telligent Frenchman — a man experienced in affairs — based upon information ob- 
tained on the spot from the most intelligent observers of events then in Oregon, 
the French Catholic missionaries and the representatives of the Hudson's Bay 
Company. In both points his estimate is likely to be confirmed by the mature 
judgment of history. As to Whitman's work for Oregon, we have what is 
likely to be the final verdict in Saint-Amant's brief statement that "he became a 
very active agent of the American interests and contributed in no small degree 
to promote annexation." 1 

By common consent the culmination of Whitman's exertions for the American I 
interests in Oregon is considered to have come in the year 1842-43, and to have " 
centered particularly in his journey to Washington and Boston, and his return 
with the emigration of that year. Various views of the objects of this celebrated 
journey have been expressed by historians. That Whitman had several objects in 
view is now well ascertained. What they were may be gathered partly from con- 
sidering the main objective points of the journey, partly from official documents, 
and partly from his and Mrs. Whitman's private correspondence. The main ob- 
jective points of Whitman's visit were Washington and Boston. These he visited, 
and beyond reasonable doubt in this order. 


The main object of his visit to Washington may be gathered from the bill he 
drew up at the request of the secretary of war, and from the letter with which 
he accompanied it. To the secretary he wrote : 

"In compliance with the request which you did me the honor to make last 
winter while at Washington, I herewith transmit to you the synopsis of a bill, 
which, if it could be adopted, would, according to my experience and observation, 
prove highly conducive to the best interests of the United States generally ; to 
Oregon where I have resided more than seven years as a missionary, and to the 
Indian tribes that inhabit the intermediate country." 

The bill itself exhibits the object here stated in an extended form. It is 
remarkable for the thorough grasp it shows of the situation, of the needs of 
every interest involved and of the means best suited to meet each one. No docu- 
ment of that time exhibits a more full and clear grasp of the Oregon problem, 
and of the condition of its ultimate solution. A reasonable hope on his part of his 
being able by any representations that he might make of securing the adoption of 
such a measure by the government, was itself a justification of his perilous 

To a member of the board of missions at Boston after his return to Oregon 
he writes touching the objects of his visit: 

"It was to open a practical route and a safe passage and to secure a favorable 
report of the journey from emigrants, which, in connection with other objects, 
caused me to leave my family and brave the toils and dangers of the journey, 
which carried me on, notwithstanding I was forced out of my direct track, and 
notwithstanding the unusual severity of the winter and the great depth of the 

In the same letter we have frankly stated the other great object of his visit, 
that which took him to Boston as the other had taken him to Washingon. In 
close connecion with the passage quoted above he writes : 

"The other great object for which I went was to save the mission from being 
broken up just then, which it must have been, as you will see by reference to 
the doings of the committee which confirmed the recall of Mr. Spalding only 
two weeks before my arrival in Boston." 

These were two of the main objects of his journey, the one leading him to 
Washington, and the other to Boston, both clearly stated in his own words. 

The third object of this journey had to do particularly with the immigration 
of that year. His object in connection with this immigration was not in induc- 
ing men to join it, or in organizing the company when together. It was already 
assured beforehand that a large immigration, larger than any before, would as- 
semble in the spring of 1843 and start for Oregon. Immigrants of the year 
before had brought this word. Whitman had received it before he had even de- 
cided upon his journey. He had but little directly to do with gathering the com- 
pany, further than to drop encouraging words here and there in the western 
states as he journeyed eastward. His main purpose in connection with it was, 
as he says, to secure its safe conduct, in a manner as satisfactory as possible to 
the immigrant, but especially that at Fort Hall they should not be induced to 
turn aside to California, or to leave their cattle and wagons behind for fear 
of the difficulties of the road beyond this point. He wished nothing to pre- 
vent the safe arrival of the whole body with wagons and stock on the Columbia, 
so that when the word went back, as he intended to make sure that it did, both 
the government and the people of the east should know that a highway for im- 
migration was now fully open through the mountains into the Oregon country. 

These then were Whitman's chief objects in that winter ride. There were 
others incidental and subsidiary to these. One was to get reinforcements for 
his mission, if not of commissioned missionaries, at least of such families as 
would settle near the mission and aid in furthering its purpose. Another was 
to secure an appropriation from the secret service fund of the government to 
aid in the support of schools among the native tribes, and still another was to 


induce the government to send sheep and cattle to the Indians. In a letter to 
his brother written from the Shawnee mission May 27, 1843, on the eve of his 
joining the emigrants in the westward journey he writes : 

"Sheep and cattle, but especially sheep, are indispensible for Oregon. 
. , . I mean to impress the secretary of war that sheep are more important 
to Oregon than soldiers. We want to get sheep and stock from the government 
for the Indians instead of money for their lands. I have written of the main 
interests of the Indian country." 

"My plan, you know, was to get funds for founding schools and to have good 
people come along as settlers and teachers, while others might have sheep of 
their own along also." 

This passage in Whitman's letter is explained by a letter of the brother-in- 
law to whom he wrote, J. G. Prentiss. Mr. Prentiss says: "His project was, 
so far as tBe Indians were concerned, to induce the government to pay them off 
for their lands in sheep and leave them to be a herding people. Hence in his 
letter to me he wrote about a secret fund controlled by the cabinet." 

In seeking to draw upon this fund for the Indians he was but following the 
Methodists and the Catholics in their several missions. All seemed to feel jus- 
tified in drawing upon this fund to aid them in their secular work for those 
whom they justly regarded as the nation's wards. 

Of the three main objects of his journey Whitman seems to have regarded 
the safe conduct of the immigration on his return as the most important, pos- 
sibly because it proved to be the most obviously fruitful of results. Nor did he 
over estimate the importance of the success of that immigration. Ten times 
larger than any former immigration, cumbered with wagons and herds besides, 
it might easily have ended in disaster. But if successful, it insured still larger 
immigrations in the future, and would satisfy those cautious and hesitating 
statesmen who were waiting to be shown that Oregon was accessible before 
voting measures for the relief and protection of the few scattered settlers 
already there, and offering inducements to others to follow. 

It does not seem, either, that Whitman claimed a larger share in the conduct 
of this immigration than was actually his. Prominent members of the com- 
pany have fully justified his claim. M. M. McCarver, writing within a month 
after his arrival in Oregon to A. C. Dodge, member of congress from Iowa, 
says : 

"We had less obstacles in reaching here than we had a right to expect, as it 
was generally understood before leaving the states that one third of the dis- 
tance, to-wit, from Fort Hall to this place, was impassable for wagons. Great 
credit, however, is due to the energy, perseverance and industry of this emi- 
grating company, and particularly to Dr. Whitman, one of the missionaries of 
the Walla Walla mission, who accompanied us out. His knowledge of the route 
was considerable and his exertions for the interest of the company untirmg." 

Years afterward when the pioneers of Oregon began to recall the beginnings 
of their state, other members of the immigration of 1843 t)ore like testimony 
to the services of Dr. Whitman. One of these was J. W. Nesmith, orderly ser- 
geant of the company, and afterwards a United States senator from Oregon, 
In an address before the Oregon Pioneer Association at its annual reunion 
in 1875 he said: 

"Beyond that [Fort Hall] we had not the slightest conjecture of the con- 
dition of the country. We went forth trusting to the future and doubtless 
would have encountered more difficulties than we did had not Dr. Whitman 
overtaken us before we reached the terminus of our guide's knowledge. He 
was familiar with the whole route and was confident that wagons could pass 
through the canyons and gorges of Snake river, and over the Blue mountains, 
which the mountaineers in the vicinity of Fort Hall declared to be a physical 
impossibility. Captain Grant, then in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company at 
Fort Hall endeavored to dissuade us from proceeding further with our wagons, 


and showed us the wagons which the emigrants of the preceding year had aban- 
doned, as an evidence of the impracticabihty of our determination. Doctor 
Whitman was persistent that wagons could proceed as far as the Grand Dalles 
of the Columbia river, from which point, he asserted, they could be taken 
down by rafts or batteaux to the Willamette valley, while our stock could be 
driven over an Indian trail near Mt. Hood. Happily Whitman's advice 

From the diary of Nesmith kept on the journey we learn that Whitman 
traveled much of the way in company with Jesse Applegate, who was captain 
of one division of the immigrants and traveled much of the time in advance 
of the others. In a paper written for the annual reunion of the Oregon pioneers 
in 1876, Applegate says of Whitman's services to this immigration : 

"It is no disparagement to others to say that to no other individual are the 
emigrants of 1843 so much indebted for the successful conclusion of their 
journey as to Dr. Marcus Whitman." 

At their organization at Independence, Missouri, the emigrants selected Peter 
H. Burnett, one of their number as captain. Burnett had an important part in 
the organization and conduct of the company, and on the journey kept a careful 
diary, by the aid of which years afterwards he wrote his Recollections of a 
Pioneer. In this book he thus spoke of Whitman and his services : 

'T knew Dr. Whitman well ; I first saw him at the rendezvous near the 
western line of Missouri in May, 1843 ; saw him again at Fort Hall, and again 
at his own mission in the fall of that year. ... I saw him again at my 
home in Tualitin Plains in 1844. He called at my house and finding that I was 
in the woods he came to me there. This was the last time I ever saw him. 
Our relations were of the most cordial and friendly character, and I had the 
greatest respect for him. I consider Dr. Whitman to have been a brave, kind, 
devoted, and intrepid spirit, without mahce and without reproach. In my best 
judgment he made greater sacrifices, endured more hardships, and encountered 
more perils for Oregon, than any other one man, and his services were prac- 
tically more efficient, except perhaps those of Dr. Linn, United States senator 
from Missouri. I say perhaps, for I am in doubt which of these two men did 
more in efifect for Oregon." 

Whitman's work for Oregon had little to do with its internal afifairs. He 
had little or no part in organizing its scattered settlements into a civil com- 
munity, and so in laying the foundation of the state, history will award the 
honor for this work to others. But in the work of bringing Oregon into close 
connection with the states of the union by opening the door through the bar- 
rier of the intervening mountains, he was among the foremost. Others contribu- 
ted to this end, but no one seems to have seen as early as did he the supreme 
importance of iinding, or making, this highway, nor to have seen it with so 
single and unclouded an eye. He saw almost from the first that if Oregon 
was to become the territory of the United States ; if England was to be brought 
to acknowledge the rightfulness of the American claim; if the American govern- 
ment itself was to be brought to take any serious and efifective steps toward 
pressing its claims to that to which it pretended to have a just title, American 
families must be brought through the mountains into the region claimed and the 
way be shown beyond all doubt to be open for others to follow. To this end 
Whitman addressed himself with tireless purpose, and when he discerned that 
the supreme moment for action had ar-rived, acted with heroic daring. He suc- 
ceeded, but his very success was his undoing. 



Dr. John McLoughlin, his title having been for years used as though a part 
of his name, is the most conspicuous man of Oregon's true pioneer period. 
He was born in Parish le Riviere du Loup, Canada. His paternal grandfather, 
born in Parish Desertagney, Ireland, immigrated to Canada, married there, 
and his son John was the father of Dr. John McLoughlin. The maiden name 
of the mother of Dr. John McLoughlin was Angelique Eraser, born in parish 
of Beaumont, Canada. Her father was Malcolm Fraser, a Scotch highlander, 
a member of the well known Scotch family, or clan of that name. A relative 
of hers was General Fraser, one of Burgoyne's principal officers, who was killed 
in the battle of Saratoga, October 7, 1777. Her father, as a lieutenant in the 
regular British army, took part in the capture of Quebec, under General Wolfe. 
At the time of his retirement from the army and settlement in Canada, he was 
a captain in the Eighty-fourth regiment of the British regular army. He was 
the first seigneur of Mt. Murray, Canada. 

Dr. John McLoughlin's father was accidentally drowned in the St. Law- 
rence river, while the former was a child. He and his brother David were 
brought up in the home of their maternal grandfather. He was educated in 
Canada and Scotland and became a physician while still very young and did 
not long practice his profession. He joined the Northwest Company and his 
ability soon made him prominent. When the Northwest Company and the 
Hudson's Bay Company coalesced, in 1821, he was in charge of Fort William, 
situated on Lake Superior, the chief depot and factory of the Northwest Com- 
pany. Although he strenuously opposed the coalition of the two companies his 
ability was such that he was soon after appointed chief factor of all the Hud- 
son's Bay Company's business west of the Rocky mountains. In 1824 he ar- 
rived at Fort George (Astoria) near the mouth of the Columbia river, which 
was then the chief post of the company, west of the Rocky mountains. The 
next year he established the headquarters of the company at Fort Vancouver, 
now in the state of Washington. About the year 1830 he erected a new Fort 
Vancouver, about one mile distant from its first location. Here is now located 
the United State's military post known as Vancouver barracks. Dr. McLough- 
lin soon established a farm of about 3,cxx) acres near Fort Vancouver, on which 
were grown quantities of grain, principally wheat. He gradually developed a 
large herd of cattle. He constructed saw mills and flour mills near the fort 
and yearly shipped lumber to the Hawaiian islands and flour to Sitka. He es- 
tablished and maintained a number of trading forts and posts and made the 
part of the Hudson's Bay Company's business under his control the most profit- 
able of all its business in North America. 

When he first came to Oregon the number of Indians in the country in 
which he had command is estimated at about one hundred thousand. At 
that time it was not safe for white men to travel except in large parties and 
heavily armed. In a few years there was practically no danger and small parties 
traveled safely in all parts of the country west of the Rocky mountains. This 
was due almost wholly to Dr. McLoughlin's personal qualities and his superb 
command and influence over men of all kinds. He was the autocrat of the 
country, yet ever tempered austerity with kindness, justice, and mercy. His 
subordinates and the Indians soon came to know that he was a man of his word 
whether it was for reward or punishment. He had no police or armed men, 
except the regular trade officers of the company and its employes and ser- 
vants. No one ever understood how to manage Indians better than he. Physic- 
ally he was a man of large frame and was fully six feet four inches in height. 
While comparatively a young man his hair became white. Usually his hair was 
worn long, reaching nearly to his shoulders. His mental qualities matched his 
magnificent physical proportions. He was fearless, just, and honorable. No 


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one was more approachable than he, for he was a man with a kindly courtesy, 
yet he was ever true to his company's interest, except where humanity required 
him to act otherwise. 

It was necessary that some one should be in command in what was known 
as "the Oregon country," being all that part of North America north of lati- 
tude 42 degrees north, the present northern boundary of California and Ne- 
vada, then Spanish possessions, west of the Rocky mountains, south of lati- 
tude 54 degrees and 40 minutes, the southern boundary of the Russian posses- 
sions, and east of the Pacific ocean. By a convention or treaty between the 
United States and Great Britain, dated October 20, 1818, it was agreed that for 
a period of ten years, the Oregon country should be open to the citizens and 
subjects of the two powers, without prejudice to the rights of either of them 
or of any other power or state, this being what is called for convenience "joint- 
occupancy." By another convention or treaty between these two nations, dated 
August 6, 1827, this joint-occupancy was indefinitely extended, subject to be 
terminated by either of the two nations by giving notice of twelve months, after 
October 20, 1828. This joint-occupancy was terminated by the boundary treaty 
of June 15, 1846, establishing the present north boundary of the United States, 
south of Alaska, from the Rocky mountains to the Pacific ocean. During this 
joint-occupancy neither the laws of the United States nor of Great Britain were 
in force in the Oregon country, but Canada in 182 1 passed a law, which prob- 
ably applied to Canadians in the Oregon county, giving its courts jurisdiction 
of civil and criminal matters in the Indian territories not within the province of 
lower or upper Canada or of any civil government of the United States. No 
attempt was ever made to enforce this law on a citizen of the United States. 
By his own initiative, approved by common consent, Dr. McLoughlin, became 
the ruler or the efficient, but kindly autocrat of the Oregon country, as applied 
to the officers and employees of the Hudson's Bay Company and to the Indians. 
But his rule was just. On two occasions he caused an Indian to be hanged for 
murdering a white man. 

In 1828 fourteen men of a party of eighteen, commanded by Jedediah S. 
Smith, an American rival trader, were murdered by Indians near the mouth of 
the Umpqua river, who took all of Smith's goods and furs. Dr. McLoughlin 
succored the four survivors, one of whom was Smith, and sent a party of the 
Hudson's Bay Company's men who recovered the furs, which were of large 
value. Dr. McLoughlin bought these furs from Smith, paying the fair value 
to the latter's satisfaction. In 1829, when one of the company's vessels was 
wrecked near the mouth of the Columbia river and the wreck was looted by 
the Indians, he sent a well-armed party who punished the Indians. There are 
other instances of retributive justice meted out by him to the Indians, which 
lack of space prevents the telling. The result was an admiration and obedience 
of Dr. McLoughlin by the Indians. They called him the greqt white chief and, 
from his masterful ways, his grand appearance and his long white hair, they 
also called him the white-headed eagle. The few extreme measures he took 
with the Indians were always justifiable under the circumstances. The unusual 
conditions justified the unusual methods. 

There were no Indian wars during the twenty-two years Dr. McLoughlin 
had charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's afifairs west of the Rocky moun- 
tains. The first Indian war, caused by the Whitman massacre, occurred the 
year after Dr. McLoughlin's resignation went into effect. 

Never was there a finer, truer, or more acceptable hospitality extended 
than that of Dr. McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver to missionaries, without re- 
gard to sect, to strangers from any country and also always to rival traders. 
These traders were all Americans, for British traders were forbidden to trade 
in the Oregon country, under the grant of the British government to the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. But as the head of this company in the Oregon country, 
he readily engaged in ruinous competition with rival traders, including Na- 


thaniel J. Wyeth. On each side it was always a commercial war to a finish. It 
was a similar competition to that the American traders engaged in with each 
other. Rev. H. K. Hines, D. D.,.a Methodist minister, who came to Oregon 
in 1853, in an address at Pendleton, Oregon, December 10, 1897, said: "My 
own conclusions, after a lengthy and laborious investigation, the results of which 
I have given only in bare outline, is that Dr. McLoughlin acted the part of an 
honorable, high-minded, and loyal man in his relation with the American traders 
who ventured to dispute with him the commercial dominion of Oregon up to 
1835 or 1837." 

In November, 1850, Samuel R. Thurston, the first territorial delegate from 
Oregon territory, who was unfriendly to Dr. McLoughlin, wrote to Nathaniel 
J. Wyeth, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the latter then resided, asking 
for information against Dr. McLoughlin, as to his treatment of Wyeth, when 
the latter was in Oregon in 1832 and 1834. Wyeth replied in a letter of praise 
and also wrote to Robert C. Winthrop, then a congressman from Massachusetts, 
saying that Wyeth had no confidence tliat his testimony would be called for by 
any congressional committee and that he would like to present a memorial in 
favor of Dr. McLoughlin. In this letter, after quoting an excerpt from Thurs- 
ton's letter, Wyeth wrote Winthrop: "I have written Mr. Thurston, in reply 
to the above extract, that myself and others were kindly received and were 
treated well, in all respects, by J. McLoughlin, Esq., and the officers of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. , . . The very honorable treatment received by 
me from Mr. McLoughlin during the years 1832 to 1836, during which time 
there were no other Americans on the lower Columbia, except myself and par- 
ties, calls on me to state the facts." Wyeth forthwith sent a copy of this cor- 
respondence to Dr. McLoughlin and wrote him, tendering Wyeth's good offices 
in the matter, and saying: "Should ymi wish such services as I can render in 
this part of the United States, I should be pleased to give them in return for 
the many good things you did years since, and if any testimony as regards your 
efficient and friendly actions towards me and other earliest Americans who set- 
tled in Oregon, will be of any use in placing you before the Oregon people in 
the dignified position of a benefactor, it will be cheerfully rendered." 

But Dr. McLoughlin's humanity was extended also to those who were not of 
his race. In 1834 he learned accidentally that three Japanese sailors, the sur- 
vivors of a crew of seventeen of a derelict Japanese junk, which had drifted 
across the Pacific, had been captured and enslaved by the Indians a few miles 
south of Cape Flattery, near the entrance of the straits of Fuca. After great 
trouble these Japanese were rescued and taken to Fort Vancouver, where they 
were most kindly treated for several months. He then sent them to England 
on one of the company's vessels, whence they were sent to China. 

In 1832 he started the first school west of the Rocky mountains. John 
Ball, who came with the trading party of Nathaniel J. Wyeth in 1832, was a 
graduate of Dartmouth college. On the failure of this expedition, Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin engaged Ball to teach his son and other children at the fort. After 
teaching about two years he was succeeded by Solomon H. Smith, who also 
came with Wyeth. Smith taught this school about eighteen months, when he 
was succeeded by E. H. Shepard, a lay missionary, who came with Revs. Jason 
and Daniel Lee in 1834. 

The first missionaries to Oregon were Methodists who came to Oregon with 
Wyeth's second party in 1834. The next missionaries were the Presbyterians, 
who came in 1836. Among the latter was Dr. Marcus Whitman and wife. Al- 
though none of these missionaries were of his religious faith. Dr. McLoughlin 
treated them with the greatest hospitality and kindness. He assisted them in 
establishing their missions, furnished them with food and other supplies, and 
protected them from all troubles and perils from the Indians. The missionaries 
who came later received the same kindly treatment and assistance. The first 
Catholic missionaries came to Oregon in 1838. These, too, he assisted as he 


had the Protestants, although he was then a member of or at least followed 
the practices of the English established church. It was his custom to read the 
service of that church on Sundays to a congregation of officers and employes 
at Fort Vancouver. He became a member of the Catholic church in 1842, and 
for the rest of his life was a consistent and devoted Catholic. 

After the death of Dr. McLoughlin there was found among his private 
papers a document in his own handwriting, probably written a short time be- 
fore his death, setting forth what he had done in Oregon and the treatment he 
had received. It is one of the important contributions to the history of early 
Oregon. It was presented to the Oregon Pioneer Association. It is published 
in full in the "transactions" of that association for the year 1880, on pages 
46-55. In this document he says that he early saw from the mildness and 
salubrity of the climate, that it was the finest portion of North America for 
the residence of civilized man. He evidently had determined to make Oregon 
his home for life, and with this in view, in 1829, he located his land claim at 
the falls at Oregon City, where there is a large and excellent water power. He 
encouraged the French-Canadian employes whose services with the Hudson's 
Bay Company had expired, to settle in the Willamette valley. The first settler 
located a land claim near Champoeg in 1829. He furnished these settlers with 
wheat, seeds and necessary supplies at low prices to enable them to be suc- 
cessful, loaned them cattle and bought their crops of wheat at a good price. 
It was the beginning in Oregon of farming and of home life, outside of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. To this colony of settlers there added from time to 
time a few persons, mostly American citizens, some of these were free trap- 
pers, who wished to stop their nomadic careers, a few of Wyeth's two unsuc- 
cessful ventures, and other adventurers. All these were treated by Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin with the same kindness and consideration he had extended to the 
French-Canadian settlers. He felt certain that these settlers would not inter- 
fere with the fur trade of his company, and he had also been informed by the 
directors of his company as early as 1825 that Great Britain did not intend to 
claim any part of the Oregon country south of the Columbia river. 

Until after the year 1840, Dr. McLoughlin was a very happy and prosperous 
man. In that year he was fifty-six years of age. He was happily married. 
His children were coming to maturity ; he had accumulated a fortune, and his 
salary was $12,000 a year and the country was to his liking. Few men at his 
time have brighter prospects for a happy old age. He had planned to erect 
mills on his land claim and live there when he retired from the service of his 

In 1840, the Oregon missions, particularly in the Willamette valley, were 
a failure. Most of the Indians had died from epidemics in the years 1829- 
1832, and the few who were left in that valley were a miserable lot. They 
would not be converted, or if converted, stay so. But in the fall of 1838, Rev. 
Jason Lee went to the eastern states and with great fervor delivered lectures, 
collected moneys, and enlisted new missionaries, clerical and lay, to go to Ore- 
gon, ostensibly to convert the Indians, but in reality, as he said in his verbal 
report to the missionary board in July, 1844, "When the board sent out its 
last reinforcement (in 1840), its object in my view, and I believe in theirs, was 
that Methodism should spread throughout Oregon ; for what purpose else, I 
ask, did so large a number of laymen go out?" A ship, the Lausanne, was 
chartered, loaded with goods, machinery and merchandise to establish mills and 
stores for mercantile purposes. The moneys raised for these purposes amounted 
to $42,000. This ship carried as passengers thirty-six missionaries, men and 
women, and sixteen children. It is usually called "The Great Reenforcement." 
The Lausanne arrived at Fort Vancouver June i, 1840. Dr. McLoughlin sent 
a skilful pilot, for the captain of the ship did not have any reliable chart of 
the river. He sent fresh vegetables, milk, and a large tub of butter from Fort 
Vancouver. On their arrival there Dr. McLoughlin supplied rooms and pro- 


visions for the whole missionary party. They were his guests for about two 
weeks, A few weeks after some of these missionaries were endeavoring to 
take for themselves Dr. McLoughlin's land claim at Oregon City. The Meth- 
odist mission, as such, did not officially take part in these proceedings. Some 
of the missionaries took no part in these actions. The mission took up a land 
claim of 640 acres north of Dr. McLoughlin's claim. The first missionary work 
on this claim was done where Gladstone park is now situated. In July. 1840, 
Rev. A, F. Waller, one of the new missionaries who had charge of this mis- 
sion, was sent by Rev. Jason Lee to establish a mission at Oregon City. Dr. 
McLoughlin gave to the mission a piece of his land claim and assisted in build- 
ing the mission house thereon. July 21, 1840, Dr. McLoughlin, having been 
informed that the mission intended to try to take his land claim, notified Rev. 
Jason Lee, the superintendent of the Oregon Methodist missions, that Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin had taken up this claim and gave a general description of it. Lee 
returned a satisfactory answer. In 1841, some of these missionaries attempted 
to occupy what is now known as Abernethy Island, near the crest of the falls, 
a part of Dr. McLoughlin's claim. On Dr. McLoughlin's protest, this occu- 
pancy was stayed for a while. In the fall of 1842, after Dr. McLoughlin had 
made further improvements on his land, had it surveyed and laid ofif, part of 
it into lots and blocks, and named the place Oregon City, Waller employed 
John Ricord, a peripatetic lawyer, and asserted his ownership of the whole 
claim, except Abernethy Island, he result was that Dr. McLoughlin bought 
off Waller by giving him personally five hundred dollars, a few acres of land 
in Oregon City, and six lots, and a block in Oregon City to the Methodist mis- 
sion. About three months after this settlement. Rev. George Gary, who came 
from the eastern states to close the mission and to dispose of all its property, 
compelled Dr. McLoughlin to pay $2,200 to the mission for the land he had 
given the mission in the settlement with Waller. In 1841 several of the mis- 
sionaries formed a company called the Oregon Milling Company, which suc- 
ceeded in taking Abernethy Island from Dr. McLoughlin. The details are too 
many to be set forth in this article. In 1842 Dr. McLoughlin built a sawmill 
on the river bank, near Abernethy Island, and a little later he established a 
flour mill. It was from the latter that the first shipment of flour was made 
from the Pacific coast to the Orient. 

Waller and others who took part in trying to deprive Dr. ^McLoughlin of 
his land endeavored to justify themselves by the fact that Dr. McLoughlin was 
then a British subject, and was not entitled to hold a land claim in Oregon. 
But British subjects and citizens of the United States had equal rights under 
the conventions of joint occupancy, and the boundary treaty of June 15, 1846, 
provided that the possessory rights of land of British subjects in Oregon should 
be respected. 

In 1845 Dr. McLoughlin tried to be naturalized by a court of the Oregon 
provisional government, but he was informed by its chief justice that it had 
no jurisdiction in the matter. The courts of Oregon territory were established 
in May, 1849. In that month Dr. McLoughlin, at Oregon City, made his dec- 
laration to become a citizen of the United States, as required by its naturaliza- 
tion laws. He became an American citizen in 1851, which was as soon as he 
could do so by law. 

While small parties had come to Oregon from the United States prior to 
1843, ^"<i some of the persons composing these parties had settled in the W^illa- 
mette valley, with the assistance of Dr. McLoughHn, it was in that year that 
the first true home building immigration came to Oregon. It left Independence, 
Missouri, May 20, 1843. It was composed of about 875 persons, of whom. 295 
were men and boys over sixteen years of age. They were the first persons to 
bring loaded wagons west of Fort Hall, now in Idaho. After great hardships 
they arrived at The Dalles at the beginning of the winter season. There was 
then no way to take wagons further, except by water. Their supplies v\'ere 


nearly exhausted, their clothing was badly worn, some of the immigrants, es- 
pecially children were sick. They were threatened with massacre by the In- 
dians. It was then the greatness and humanity of Dr. McLoughlin was best 
shown. He prevented the assaults of the Indians, provided boats to carry the 
immigrants to Fort Vancouver, furnished food and clothing to all, extended 
credit to all who needed it without collateral, although selling goods on credit 
was strictly against the rules of the Hudson's Bay Company. He took care of 
the sick at the company's hospital without charge. He provided means for 
them to reach the Willamette valley, and supplied them with seed wheat to 
be returned in kind the next season, loaned them tools to cultivate with, and 
also cattle._ Although most of these and succeeding immigrants repaid for these 
advances, it is to be greatly regretted that a number did not, and thus caused 
Ur McLoughlin great trouble and loss, and were one of the causes which led 
to his resignation from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1845, which became ef- 
fective in 1846. Without these aids, most of these immigrants would have 
sullered greatly probably many would have died from privation, exposure, and 
some possibly from starvation. The total white population, men. women and 
children in Oregon, outside of the officers and employes of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, prior to the arrival of the immigration of 1843. did not exceed two 
hundred persons. 

The immigration of 1844, numbering about fourteen hundred persons and 
of 1845, numbering about three thousand persons, arrived in nearly the same 
destitute conditions as the immigration of 1843. They were protected, aided 
and supplied on credit by Dr. McLoughlin, as were the immigrants of 1843 

Ihese early pioneers of Oregon were not adventurers nor mendicants 
I hey were courageous, strong and forcible men and women who came to Oregon 
!?«: , ^ '^ *^^''' ^°"'^- ^^^y h^^ confidence in their ability to overcome all 
ditticulties. A majority of these were from the southern states. They started 
without full knowledge of the trials and difficulties of the journey, many with- 
out sufficient equipment or supplies. They were not encouraged nor protected 
by the government of the United States. They came of their own initiative 
Ihe assistance Dr. McLoughlin extended to them was not charity. It was a 
matter of humanity. 

Sir George Simpson, the governor-in-chief of the Hudson's Bay Companv 
severely criticized Dr. McLoughlin for his assistance to these immigrants Fur- 
nishing goods and supplies on credit was against the rules of the company, and 
it was thought that by so doing he was encouraging the settlement of the coun- 
try by citizens of the United States called Americans, as distinguished from 
Canadians and other British subjects. In 1845, Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour 
arrived at I^ort Vancouver, ostensibly as visitors, but they came as officers of 
the British army to report on the condition of affairs and to plan for forts and 
posts in case of war. In their reports they severely criticized Dr. McLoughHn 
The result was that Dr. McLoughlin, in 1845, resigned from the company. 
Under its rules his resignation did not take effect until the expiration of one 

_ Dr. McLoughlin's assistance to these immigrants was not only humane but 
It was necessary. Had he not done so, it is not unlikely that Fort Vancouver 
would have been captured by these immigrants and a war between the two 
countries have resulted. This result, Dr. McLoughlin with rare prescience 
fully appreciated, and stated it in his reply to the criticisms referred to 
_ Before the arrival of the immigration of 1846, Dr. McLoughHn's resigna- 
tion had taken effect and he had established, in addition to his flour mill a 
sawmill and a store for himself at Oregon City. He extended similar aids to 
that and to succeeding immigrations as he had to the preceding ones. By the 
time the immigrants of 1846 arrived at The Dalles, the Barlow road had been 
made over the Cascade mountains, so it was possible to bring wagons overland 
from The Dalles to Oregon City. But the Willamette valley was so new and 


so largely unsettled, roads were to be built, houses constructed, and the country- 
made habitable, that the later immigrants were greatly in need of assistance. 
This Dr. McLoughlin continued to render. 

In this sketch I cannot go into the matter of Dr. McLoughlin's part in the 
Oregon provisional government, which existed from May 2, 1843, until March 
3, 1849, when the Oregon territorial government was established. Nor can I 
state many unfriendly actions against him and his land claim by Methodist 
missionaries and their followers. These missionaries were the leaders of a 
local political party known as the mission party. Owing to the absence of 
many residents in Oregon in the newly-discovered California placer mines, this 
party succeeded, in 1849, i^ electing Samuel R. Thurston, a new arrival, as the 
first delegate to congress from the territory of Oregon. He was a ready speaker, 
ambitious, and not over scrupulous. George Abernethy, one of the Lausanne 
party, a lay missionary, who had been steward of the Methodist mission, had 
charge of their store and of their secular affairs, and who had been governor 
under the provisional government, had become the owner of the Oregon Mill- 
ing Company and he and his son claimed Abernethy Island. He and other con- 
spirators against Dr. McLoughlin, found in Thurston a willing instrument to 
carry out their nefarious plans. They succeeded, through false and malicious 
representations by Thurston to congress, in having a clause inserted in the 
Oregon donation land law of September 27, 1850, giving Abernethy Island to 
Abernethy as assignee of the Oregon Milling Company, but under another 
name, and giving to the territory of Oregon the rest of Dr. McLoughlin's land 
claim, the proceeds from its disposal to be used for the establishment and en- 
dowment of a university. Almost all of Dr. McLoughlin's wealth was in this 
claim and in the mills and other buildings situated on it. Dr. McLoughlin 
sought redress from congress, but he was unsuccessful. While he was not 
actually ousted, he could not move nor sell his mills and other improvements. 
It resulted in his practical bankruptcy. He died at Oregon City September 3, 
1857, a broken-hearted man, the victim of malice, mendacity and ingratitude. 
He was buried in the churchyard of St. John's (Catholic) church at Oregon 
City, where his body has lain ever since. In 1862, the legislature of the state 
of Oregon restored to Dr. McLoughlin's heirs all of the part of his land claim 
given to it by the donation land law. 

In 1846, Pope Gregory XVI, in appreciation of Dr. McLoughlin's high 
character and his humanity, made him a knight of St. Gregory the Great, of 
civil grade. 

It is one test of Dr. McLoughlin's high character and of his true worth 
that now, fifty-three years after his death, his name is venerated in Oregon, 
and his memory kept alive, not only by Oregon pioneers and their descendants, 
but by the people of Oregon as a whole. His full length portrait is hung in 
the place of honor in the senate chamber of the state capitol among portraits 
of former governors of Oregon. His reputation is that of Oregon's greatest 
citizen, its first ruler whose autocracy was necessary, but kindly, beneficent and 
efficient, a friend of the poor and distressed, and the savior of the early Oregon 
pioneers. By common consent, without dispute and without jealousy, he is 
known as the father of Oregon. 









1843— 1847. 

Founding a City — Hall Kelley's Plat — Precedent Efforts — Naming 
the Town — Rival Towns with Map — Deep Sea Navigation Con- 
trols Location — Tomahawk Claims — Townsite Titles — William 
Johnson Was Here First — First Houses — First Ships and Owners 
— Preachers, Teachers, Doctors, and Lawyers. 

With the estabHshment of the provisional government, the few scattered 
American settlers took heart and began to think that it was really safe to plant 
some permanent stakes with a view of remaining in Oregon as a permanent 
home. The Methodist missionaries had, it is true, prior to that time, made 
some settlement in the Willamette valley and at Oregon City. But such as it 
was, it could hardly have been at that time considered a permanent settlement, 
as the settlements at both places were subsequently moved to Salem. 

The first settlement in the district covered by this history was made at 
Vancouver in 1825, by the Hudson's Bay Company. The next within this dis- 
trict was also by the Hudson's Bay Company at Oregon City, in 1829. In 
1832, Dr. John McLoughlin, chief factor for the Hudson's Bay Company, 
blasted out and constructed a mill race to conduct the water from above the 
Willamette falls to a point below the waterfall, to be used in a mill to grind 
wheat into flour. This was the first work to start a business and manufacturing 
enterprise in this district. In 1838 McLoughlin had timbers cut and squared 
and hauled to the ground for the mill, and built a house at the "falls." Several 
families settled at the "falls" in 1841 and 1842, and in 1843 Dr. McLoughlin 
surveyed off a mile square of land, and platted the town of Oregon City. This 
was the first town in Oregon, and the original rival to Portland. 

Another location for a city, made in some respects anterior to Oregon City, 
was that of Nathaniel J. Wyeth at the lower end of Sauvie's Island, known in 
1835 as Wapato Island. Wyeth was an enterprising young business man of 
Boston with considerable capital, and had been induced to launch a great trad- 
ing and colonizing scheme to Oregon by the writings of Hall J. Kelley. Wyeth 
arrived in Oregon in September, 1834, having left Fort Hall on August 6th 
with a party of thirty men, some Indian women and one hundred and sixteen 
horses. On reaching Fort Vancouver, with Jason Lee and others, the first Prot- 
estant religious services in Oregon or west of the Rocky mountains were cele- 
brated. Wyeth took two of his scientific men in a small boat and started down 
the Columbia to find a good location to build a city. The party passed down 
and around Wapato Island, and finally decided to locate the future great city 
of the Pacific at the lower end of the island where his ship, the May Dacre, 
had tied up after reaching the Columbia and sailing up the river. This spot 



is just above where the government Hghthouse on the lower end of the island 
is located. Here Wyeth assembled all his men, both from the overland party 
and from the ship, and all hands went to work laying the foundations of the 
city. A temporary storehouse was erected, the livestock was landed from the 
ship, and then the goods landed and stored. Ground was cleared, streets were 
laid out, and a row of huts built for quarters for the men; and the pigs, poultry, 
sheep and goats that had successfully made the trip from Boston, Mass., to old 
Oregon, were turned loose in the streets of "Fort William" — the name given 
by Wyeth to his great western city ; and logs and boards were cut and sawed 
for permanent structures. Wyeth set up a cooper shop and set his coopers at 
work making barrels, into which he would pack the salmon they would catch 
in the Columbia to send back to Boston on the ship. And some salmon were 
caught, packed and actually shipped back to Boston. This was the beginning 
of the great salmon industry of the Columbia river, antedating Hume, Kinney, 
Cook and others, thirty-five or forty years — but it was the last of Wyeth's 
city — the ship got about half a cargo of fish under great difficulties ; McLough- 
lin discouraged trading with Wyeth, as he was compelled to do by his company, 
and the whole scheme proved a failure. After the island was abandoned by 
Wyeth, the Hudson's Bay Company established a dairy down there under the 
care of a French Canadian named Jean Baptist Sauvie, which gave the modern 
name to the island and started the dairy industry where it has flourished ever 

Another city was platted opposite Oregon City in 1843 by Robert Moore 
who came to Oregon from Pennsylvania. Moore named his city "Linn," in 
honor of Senator Linn of Missouri, the friend of Oregon. A few substantial 
buildings were erected on that side of the river and maintained a precarious 
existence until 1862, when they were all washed away by the great flood in the 

But Moore was not to enjoy a monopoly of townsite advantages opposite 
the original Falls City, for one, Hugh Burns, proceeded to lay out another city 
below that of Moore's, which he named Multnomah City, and commenced to 
build it up by starting a blacksmith shop and operating it himself. 

Four years after Moore's venture, Lot Whitcomb, a man of push and en- 
terprise from the state of Illinois, who built the first steamboat in Oregon, 
uniting with Seth Luelling, the founder of the fruit industry in Oregon, and 
Captain Joseph Kellogg, a prominent steamboat man of later days, united their 
capital and enterprise to build a city that should eclipse all others, and founded 
the town of Milwaukee — and which is still prospering. 

And as we float down the Willamette in our townsite canoe, we come to 
the town of St. Johns, laid out in about 1850 by John Johns, where he erected 
and operated in a very quiet way, a country store for many years. But the 
tide of prosperity finally swung around to St. Johns, but not until after its 
founder had passed on to the city beyond this life, and now St. Johns is the 
most prosperous suburb of Portland. 

And across the river, a little below St. Johns, we find the town of Linnton, 
which was planned and platted in 1844 by M. M. McCarver and Peter Bur- 
nett, both prominent in the provisional government. McCarver was a city 
builder, somewhat of the air-castle style. He was so sure that Linnton would 
be the great city of the Pacific coast that he declared the only thing in the way 
of that result would be the difficulty in getting enough nails to the townsite in 
good season. McCarver made nothing of Linnton ; and then went over to 
Puget Sound, and along along with Pettygrove, one of the founders of Port- 
land, laid out the city of Port Townsend, and early pulling up his stakes 
there, went to old Tacoma and made his final efifort in city building. 

Continuing on down the Willamette slough, our townsite canoe pulls up to 
the south bank of the river near the mouth of Milton creek, where we find 
the remains of a city started there in the year 1846 by Captain Nathaniel 



.•;a. U-'( v-;>'-K I 
i..j;.A-:. ...1-5 ■ -> A,^ . 

..■^»' ;* '_ f'i-iO X. 






Crosby, and named "Milton." But whether the creek gave the name to the 
town or the town named the creek, Captain Crosby left no clue. It had a saw- 
mill and a small population, and a convenient boat landing, but was finally 
overshadowed by the next city below — St. Helens — which was founded by 
Captain Knighton and others in 1845. 

It is not hard to understand the fact of so many townsite locations having 
been made in the vicinity of Portland. Everybody in the country in those pio- 
neer days, could see as well as we can now, that there would be somewhere 
above the Columbia river bar, a town started which would grow into a great 
city, and make a fortune or fortunes for the lucky proprietors. Every man 
had his individual ideas of the proposition. The city would either be at As- 
toria, where Astor located, or it would be up near the mouth of the Willamette 
river. It would be wherever the ships cast anchor to discharge cargo. If they 
did not stop at Astoria, they would sail on up the river until they reached the 
outlet of the Willamette valley. And every man of much prominence was 
busily engaged in trying to find the favored spot. It was not even a question 
of buying the townsite. The whole country was open to location. The land 
was free. No one knew whether it would be English or American. But it 
did not cost any money to claim it if the true location could be determined. 
And so there were, counting in Portland, the ten locations we have named; 
and the result was a contest for the survival of the fittest; a purely evolution- 
ary movement in commercial developments. 

Every townsite proprietor had his unanswerable reasons why his town was 
the right place for the great city, but not one of them, except Hall J. Kelley, 
who has not been counted among the competitors, ever supposed there would 
be a town of more than twenty thousand people. The Oregon City lot holders 
with Dr. McLoughlin at their head, believed that the great water power for 
manufactures at that point, and the head of navigation for ocean vessels, would 
"'-1 the city at the falls. Moore and Burns argued that as their side of the 
river was the best place for the canal and locks and nearer to the Tualitin county 
farms by a ferry charge, therefore the city would be on the west side of the 
river opposite Oregon City. They guessed right as to the canal and locks, but 
m'~^H on the farmers. 

The Milwaukee owners claimed that Oregon City was not the head of navi- 
gation, because the Clackamas river had dumped a pile of gravel into the Willa- 
mette, J.iat ships could not get over, although Captain Couch had once got his 
ship cleir up to the falls on the June freshet. But the gravel argument did 
finally ". and-bag" the hopes of all the falls people on both sides of the river. 
But .. . it shut out the two falls towns, it did not help out Milwaukee to 
any app ■ 'ciable extent. Milwaukee had its day for several years, and then 
had to yield to Portland. 

St. Johns and Linnton united to decry Portland as the head of navigation, 
just as Milwaukee had cried down the Willamette falls towns. They pointed" 
out that Swan Island was an impossible barrier to ships from the ocean, and 
that while they could easily sail right in over the Columbia river bar, and right 
along up the Columbia to their towns, the ships could never do any business 
at Vancouver or Portland. And Linnton pointed with pride to the fact that 
it had three rivers to support its hopes and make sure its prosperity — the Co- 
lumbia, the Willamette and Willamette slough. 

Wyeth's townsite on the end of the nose of Sauvie's Island, was the first 
aspirant to the honor and profit of the great city ; and also the first failure in 
the race for fame and prosperity. And for the reason that Dr. McLoughlin 
had apparently transferred all his hopes to Oregon City v^^hile still holding Van- 
couver as a vassal of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the occupier of the most 
beautiful townsite on the great river. Vancouver v/as thus practically shut out 
from any chance to grow as a trade center until after Portland got such a sub- 


stantial foothold that its future could not be shaken. This left only Milton 
and St. Helens to contest supremacy with Portland's ambition. 

It was soon shown that Milton, notwithstanding that it was boomed by a 
ship and a successful shipmaster, was too close to St. Helens ever to become 
a great city, just as Oregon City had conclusively shown that Portland was too 
close to Oregon City to ever achieve greatness. But St. Helens was the only 
town that ever gave Portland anything of a contest for the metropolis. Prior 
to the location of Portland, nearly all the ocean transportation came to and 
sailed from Vancouver, being almost wholly in the hands of the Hudson's Bay 

Lewis and Clark had given the world the idea that large ships could not 
come into the Willamette river. On their report to the president they say, 
speaking of what a great harbor the Columbia river might be: "That large 
sloops could come up as high as the tide water, and vessels of three hundred 
tons burden could reach the entrance of the Multnomah (Willamette) river." 
At that time (1806) the largest vessel afloat did not carry more than a thou- 
sand tons, but the thousand-ton vessel could have come to Portland townsite 
as easily as it got over the Columbia bar. But everybody understood then that 
it would be in the end the ocean transportation that would locate the city. To 
secure that was to secure the city. Captain Couch and others, with little sailing 
vessels, had worked their way up to Portland without tugboats to tow them, 
for there were no such helpers in those days. But that was not decisive. 
Would the ocean steamers come to Portland ? That was put to the test when 
the Pacific Mail Steamship Comjjany, the first proprietors of steamships regu- 
larly running to the Columbia river, bought a tract of land at St. Helens, 
erected a dock and warehouse and stopped all their steamers at that point. One 
of the most enterprising men in Oregon at that time, or even since, was Lot 
Whitcomb, who was energetically pushing the fortunes of his town of Mil- 
waukee. He had town lots to sell ; he soon had a steamboat ; and he had a 
sawmill at Milwaukee that was making and shipping to the then mushroom 
=^ gold diggers' town of San Francisco the very first lumber shipped from Oregon 
; — and he was making a pile of money. And so he pushed his town. The steam- 
ship company was pushing St. Helens, and sending freight up the river in 
little boats of all sorts — and Portland was practically between the Whitcomb 
devil and the deep sea. 

But Portland had some energetic men. The townsite proprietors, Stephen 
Coffin, W. W. Chapman and Daniel H. Lownsdale, were not only enterprising 
and energetic men, but they were able to see further into the future and make 
more of their opportunities than others. They saw their opportunity; the op- 
portunity that is 

"Master of human destinies ; 

Fame, Love and Fortune on my footsteps wait; 
Cities and fields I walk ; I penetrate deserts 

And seas remote, and passing by 
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late, 

I knock unbidden once at every gate." 

And they lost no time in purchasing an ocean steamship that should ply 
between Portland and San Francisco. This vessel, the Gold Hunter, was kept 
on the San Francisco route until both Whitcomb of Milwaukee, and the Pa- 
cific Mail Steamship Company abandoned their opposition to Portland ; the 
steamship company running all their ships to Portland, and Whitcomb run- 
ning his steamboat from Portland to other points. It cost Coffin, Chapman and 
Lownsdale an immense sacrifice in town lots to purchase the Gold Hunter and 
run her until the contest was decided. But they were equal to the occasion, 
and if their successors in real estate holding and business at Portland had pos- 


sessed one-tenth of the energy and public spirit of these founders of the city, 
Portland would have been larger today than all the Puget Sound towns and 
cities combined. 

Two important facts combined to locate the principal city of the north 
Pacific coast at this point. The first in importance was that of a ship channel 
from the Pacific ocean to this townsite ; the second point was the farmer's 
produce. Without that there would have been no city here. Fort William, 
St. Helens, St. Johns and Linnton each had the first advantage equally with 
Portland, but they were left behind in the race because they lacked the other 
advantage. The other point was equally vital when the race for commerce 
commenced, for no matter how many ships could come in over the Columbia 
bar and come up the river, they must have some cargo to carry away. And 
they could only get that at a point where the farmer could come with his 
produce, and it must be the shortest practicable haul between the farm and the 
ship ; and Portland alone of all the other points ofifered that advantage. Port- 
land alone of all the other points could complement the end of the ship channel 
with the shortest wagon haul to the farm and could thus halt the ship where 
the wagon unloaded. In these days of railroads wagon transportation would 
cut no figure. But in 1845, when the railroads had not even then reached the 
Alleghany mountains from Atlantic tide water, the city must be where the 
wagons and ships could meet. The scattered farmers of the Tualitin plains 
of Washington county, hauling in their produce and hauling out their supplies 
through the old Canyon road, was a mighty factor in locating Portland as the 
chief city. And it is a notable fact that for more than half a century the 
people of this city and the people of Washington county have always stood 
shoulder to shoulder in all enterprises to promote each other's welfare. When 
it was proposed to build railroads up the Willamette valley more than forty 
years ago, Portland gave its support to the road that was to run west into 
Washington county, and gave nothing to the road that was to run south along 
the Willamette river. And years ago Portland built superb macadam wagon 
roads out to the Washington county line, and would have gone further west 
with them if the county line could have been pushed back. 

The commencement of a great work has always commanded unaffected in- 
terest. And how much greater the interest is the founding of a city or a na- 
tion. The semi-fabulous story of Romulus and Remus founding the city of 
Rome more than twenty-five hundred years ago, has enlisted the attention of 
young and old, children and philosophers for thousands of years. And every 
reader involuntarily goes back, or tries to get back to the man who started a 
great movement, performed a great deed or founded a city or state. So it is 
with all the readers of this book. They are wondering what manner of man 
it was that selected this site, backed up against the rock-ribbed hills that flank 
north and south from Council Crest, and look out upon the grandest panorama 
of forests, plains, valleys, rivers and mountains that can be found on the face 
of the earth. They are wondering if it was an accident, or did that man think 
it all out by himself, and come here and drive down the first stake for Port- 
land, Oregon, in the midst of the mighty forests. 

After the native red man, according to all reliable evidence, the first white 
man to come upon this townsite and say, "This is my land, here will I build 
my hut. here will I make my home," was William Overton, a young man from 
the state of Tennessee, who landed here from an Indian canoe in 1844, and 
claimed the land for his own. He had not cleared a rod square of land ; he 
had not even a cedar bark shed to protect him from the "Oregon mist," when 
one day on the return trip from Vancouver to Oregon City, he invited his fel- 
low passenger, A. L. Lovejoy, to step ashore with him and see his land claim, 
which he did. The two men landed at the bank of the river as near as could 
be located afterward, about where the foot of Washington street strikes the 
river, and scrambled up the bank as best they could, to find themselves in an 


unbroken forest — literally "the continuous woods, where rolls the Oregon." The 
only evidence of pre-occupation by any human being, was a camping place 
used by the Indians along the bank of the river, ranging from where Alder 
street strikes the water, up to Salmon street. This was a convenient spot for 
the Indian canoes to tie up at on their trips between Vancouver and Oregon 
City, and the brush had been cut away and burned up, leaving an open space 
of an acre or so. 

On this occasion, Lovejoy and Overton made some examination of the land 
back from the river, tinding the soil good and the tract suitable for settlement 
and cultivation if the dense growth of timber was removed. Overton was pen- 
niless and unable to pay even the trifling fees exacted by the provisional gov- 
ernment for filing claims for land, or getting it surveyed, and then and there 
proposed to Lovejoy if he would advance the money to pay these expenses, he 
should have a half interest in the land claim — a mile square of land. Mr. Love- 
joy had not exercised his right to take land, and the proposition appealed to 
him. Overton had not thought of a townsite use for the land and did not pre- 
sent that view of the subject. But the quick eye of Lovejoy took notice of the 
fact, that there was deep water in front of the land, and that ships had tied 
up at that shore, and so he accepted Overton's proposition at once, and became 
a half owner in the Overton land claim; and the Portland townsite proposition 
was born right then and there in the brain of Amos Lawrence Lovejoy; and 
making him in reality and fact the 

"founder of the city of PORTLAND." 

Following up this bargain and joint tenancy in this piece of wild land, Love- 
joy and Overton made preparations for surveying the tract, some clearing and 
the erection of a log cabin. But before these improvements could be even com- 
menced, Overton's restless disposition led him to sell out his half interest in 
the land to Francis W. Pettygrove for the sum of fifty dollars to purchase an 
outfit to go back to the states or somewhere else, nobody ever knew where. Of 
Overton, nothing is known of the slightest consequence to the location of the 
town. One account says that he made shingles on the place. If he did, it was 
probably only for the cabin that was necessary to hold the claim, but he never 
built any sort of a house protection, and sold out to Pettygrove before the 
cabin was built. Overton was a mere bird of passage ; no one ever knew where 
he came from or where he went to. 

By some writers, Overton is given the honor of being the "first owner of 
the Portland land claim," and "after completing his settlement" he sold out to 
Lovejoy and Pettygrove. But he never was the owner of the claim, and he 
never made or completed any settlement. He had done nothing to entitle him 
to the land ; he merely said to a passer-by, "This is my claim." He filed no 
claim with the provisional government, he posted no notice, he built no cabin, 
and he did not even do what the pioneers of the Ohio valley did, in a hostile 
Indian country in taking lands — he blazed no line or boundary trees. The 
Ohio valley pioneers took what was called in their day "tomahawk claims" 
to land. That is, they picked out a tract of land that suited their fancy, two' 
or three hundred acres, and then taking a light ax or Indian tomahawk, they 
established and marked a boundary line around the piece of land by blazing a 
line of forest trees all around that land. That was the custom of the country. 
There was no law for it. Those settlers were hundreds of miles beyond the 
jurisdiction of any state, or the surveillance of any government officer. But 
when the public surveys were extended west from Pennsylvania and Virginia, 
these "tomahawk claims" were found to cover large settlements. Their blazed 
trees were notice to everybody and were respected by all incoming settlers ; and 
the United States government surveyors were instructed to adjust all these ir- 
regular boundary lines and give the actual settlers on the lands, or their bona 


r "''frvo.-. no:-': 















fide assignees, accurate descriptions of these claims, which were in due course 
confirmed by government patents. The first settlers in Oregon, both British 
and American, were doing precisely the same thing to secure their homes and 
farms; and it was one of the objects of forming the provisional government to 
provide for the recording of all these claims to the end that strife and litigation 
might be prevented. The provisional government had already before Overton 
set up a verbal claim to the land provided for this registry of claims. Overton 
had not compiled with that law, but gave Lovejoy half of his inchoate right, 
whatever it might be, to go ahead and comply with the law, and which Love- 
joy did. Lovejoy is then in truth and fact the founder of Portland, Oregon, 
for it was he who secured the title to the land for a townsite, and originated 
the townsite proposition. 

Amos L. Lovejoy was a native of Groton, Mass., a graduate of Amherst 
College, a relative of the prominent Lawrence family of the old bay state, 
studied law, read Hall Kelley's descriptions of Oregon, and started west. Mak- 
ing a halt in Missouri, he commenced the practice of law in that state. But 
falling in with Dr. Elijah White, who had been appointed some kind of an 
Indian agent for Oregon, Lovejoy crossed the plains and came to Oregon in 
1842, with the party of Dr. White, and in which party he acted as one of the 
three scientific men to record all cheir experiences and discoveries on their jour- 
ney through the wilderness. On reaching Oregon, Lovejoy fell in with the 
missionary, Dr. Marcus Whitman. And here we must record one of the most 
remarkable episodes in the pioneer settlement of this state. For no sooner had 
Lovejoy reached the Walla Walla valley than Whitman besought him to return 
to the states with him (Whitman) as a companion. Not one man in ten thou- 
sand, for love or money, would have undertaken that trip in the approaching 
winter, after just finishing a like trip from Missouri to Oregon. But he yielded 
to Whitman's entreaties, starting to the states in the month of November, and 
reaching Missouri in February, by the southern route through Santa Fe, Mex- 
ico, and sufifering every imaginable trial, privation, danger and distress while 
living on dog meat, hedge-hogs, or anything else of animal life that would sus- 
tain their own lives. In May following his return to Missouri, Mr. Lovejoy 
joined the emigrant train of 1843, and again returned to Oregon, arriving at 
Fort Vancouver in October. He had thus made three trips across the western 
two-thirds of the continent, over six thousand miles in travel, on horseback 
altogether, sufifering all the trials and dangers of the plains, being once taken 
prisoner by the Sioux Indians, and breaking all records in overland Oregon 
trail travel, in the space of seventeen months. And such was the courageous 
and determined character that founded Portland, Oregon. 

In organizing and maintaining the provisional government, Mr. Lovejoy 
took a leading, useful and honorable part. He occupied first and last nearly 
every office in the government, and was elected supreme judge by the people, 
and was exercising the duties of that office when the United States finally ex- 
tended its authority over the territory in 1849. 

Francis W. Pettygrove, who joined Mr. Lovejoy in developing the Portland 
townsite, was born in Calais, Maine, in 1812; received a common school educa- 
tion in his native town, and engaged in business on his own account at an early 
age. At the age of thirty years, he accepted an ofifer to bring to Oregon, for an 
eastern mercantile house, a stock of general merchandise, suitable for this new 
country. Shipping the merchandise and accompanying the venture with his 
family on the bark Victoria, he reached the Columbia river by the way of the 
Sandwich Islands, transferring his merchandise at Honolulu from the Vic- 
toria to the bark Fama. This vessel discharged cargo at Vancouver, and Pet- 
tygrove had to employ a little schooner owned by the Hudson's Bay Company 
to carry the goods from Vancouver to Oregon City. After selling out this 
stock of merchandise, Pettygrove engaged in the fur trade, erected a warehouse 


at Oregon City, and was the first American to go into the grain trade, buying 
up the wheat from the French prairie farmers. 

But to return to the townsite, we find that after buying out Overton, Love- 
joy and Pettygrove employed a man to build a log house on their claim and 
clear a patch of land. The house was built; a picture of which may be found 
on another page, near the foot of the present Washington street. The next 
year, 1845, the land claim was surveyed out, and a portion of it laid ofif into 
lots, blocks and streets. That portion of the land between Front street and the 
river was not platted into lots and blocks, it being supposed at the time that 
it would be needed for public landings, docks, and wharves, like the custom 
in many of the towns and cities on rivers in the eastern states. But if such 
was the idea and intention of the land claimants, they failed to make such in- 
tentions known or effective at the time, and their failure to do so gave rise 
to much trouble, contention and litigation thereafter. 

But it must strike every reader that it was a most singular proceeding, count- 
ing very largely on the lax ideas held by those pioneers on the subject of land 
titles, that these two men could take up a tract of land in the wilderness with- 
out a shadow of title from either the United States or Great Britain — the gov- 
ernments claiming title to the land — and proceed to sell and make deeds to the 
purchasers for gold dust, beaver money or beaver skins, as came in handy, and 
everything going "merry as a marriage bell." No abstract of title can be found 
that covers or explains these anomalies in the dealings of the pioneers town lot 
sellers; but it is proper to add that in assuming control of the country, con- 
gress approved of the land titles initiated by the provisional government. 

However, the real estate dealers in Portland in 1845, were giving a better 
deal to their customers in some things than their successors are in 1910. Now- 
adays the first thing in the history of a city is a grand map and a grander 
name. In 1845 Portland was started, and lots sold before it had any name. 
This proving somewhat awkward and embarrassing, the matter came up for 
discussion and decision at a family dinner party of the Lovejoys and Petty- 
groves at Oregon City. Mr. Pettygrove, hailing from Maine, wished to name 
the town for his favorite old home town of Portland, while General Lovejoy, 
coming from Massachusetts, desired to honor Boston with the name. And not 
being able to settle the matter with any good reason, it was proposed to decide 
the difference by tossing a copper; and so, on the production of an old-fash- 
ioned copper cent, an engraving of which is given on another page, the cent 
was tossed up three times and came down "tails up" twice for Portland, and 
once "heads up" for dear old Boston. And that is the way Portland got its 
appropriate name. 

The town started slowly, and its rate of growth for the first three years was 
scarcely noticeable. Oregon City was the head center of all the Americans; 
the seat of government, the saw and the grist mill ; and Vancouver did not in- 
vite and encourage settlers at that point. Men came and looked, and then 
passed on up the valley, or out into Tualitin plains and took land for farms. 
The people coming into the country were mostly farmers, had always been 
farmers, as had their forefathers, and had but little confidence in townsite 
opportunities. And besides all this, the lots offered for sale were so heavily 
covered with timber that it would cost more to clear a lot than the owner could 
sell it for after it was cleared ; and so the town stood still or nearly so. 

One of the first to start anything that looked like business at a cross roads 
or a townsite, was James Terwilliger, who erected a blacksmith shop and rang 
an anvil chorus for customers from the vasty woods all around. Terwilliger 
was born in New York in 1809; went west, following up the Indians, and came 
out to Oregon with the emigration of 1845. His shop at Portland was evidently 
only a side issue with him, running it only five years ; for he at the same time 
took up a land claim a mile south of Lovejoy and Pettygrove, improved it, 
and there passed the remainder of his life, passing away in the year 1892 at 

The coin that was tossed to decide the name of tlie town 


Five Doixabb. 

Beaver Money 

Seal of the Provisional 
Government, called the 
"Salmon Seal." 

Seal of the Territory of 


the advanced age of 82 years. James Terwilliger was alwajs an active man 
of affairs, stoutly defending his opinions of the right, and with true pubHc 
spirit, contributing to the improvement of the town and the development of the 

Pettygrove erected a building for a store and put in a very small stock from 
his remnants at Oregon City. The business of the town moved imperceptibly ; 
in fact there was no business worth mentioning. When a ship would come in, 
all that had money, furs, or wheat, would buy of the ship, and trade in their 
produce, so that merchandise at the store was a mere pretense. 

The first item of improvement that so attracted the attention of the country 
as to have Portland talked about, was the starting of a tannery by Daniel H. 
Lownsdale. This was the first tannery north of Mexico in all the country west 
of the Rocky mountains. As a matter of fact, many of the farmers up in the 
valley had been tanning deer and calfskins in a limited way, as nearly all the 
pioneer people knew something of the art of tanning skins. But the Lowns- 
dale tannery was started as a business enterprise to accommodate the public 
and make profit to its proprietor. Hides would be tanned for so much cash, 
or leather would be traded for hides ; or leather would be sold for cash, furs 
or wheat. Here was a start in a productive manufacturing business, and 
Lownsdale's tannery was the talk of the whole country, and advertised Port- 
land quite as much as it did the tannery. This tannery was not started on the 
townsite, but away back in the forest a mile from the river, on the spot now 
occupied by the "Multnomah field" of the Athletic Association. After running 
the tannery for two years, Lownsdale sold it to two newcomers — Ebson and 
Ballance — who in turn sold it to A. N. King, who then took up the mile square 
of land adjoining Portland on the west, known as the King Donation Claim, 
and which has made fortunes for all his children by the sale of town lots. 
Amos N. King was not much of a town lot speculator. It was a long time be- 
fore he could muster up courage enough to ask a big price for a little piece of 
ground. He stuck to his tannery, and made honest leather for more than 
twenty years before he platted an addition to the city. 

A leading citizen of those early days of Portland was John Waymire, who 
built the first double log cabin, and made some effort to accommodate strangers 
and traders who dropped off the passing batteaux to look at the new city, by 
furnishing meals and giving them a hospitable place to spread their blankets 
for the night. Waymire further enlarged his fortunes by going into the trans- 
portation business with a pair of oxen he had driven two thousand miles all 
the way from old Missouri, across the mountains and plains. As the new town 
was the nearest spot to Oregon City where the ships could safely tie up to the 
shore and discharge cargo, Waymire got business both ways. With his oxen 
he could haul the goods up to his big cabin for safety, and then with his oxen 
he could haul the stuff back to the river to load into small boats and lighters 
for transportation to Oregon City. In addition to the transfer business, and 
the hotel business, Waymire started a sawmill on Front street. The machinery 
outfit would not compare well with the big mills along the river in Portland 
at the present time, being only an old whip-saw brought all the way from Mis- 
souri, where it had been used in building up that state. The motive power 
being one man standing on top of the log, pulling the saw up preparatory for 
the down stroke, and another man in the pit under the log who pulled the saw 
down and got the benefit of all the sawdust. Waymire was the one busy man 
in the new town, and prospered from the start. He knew well how to turn 
an honest penny in the face of severe financial troubles. With the money made 
in Portland he went up to Dallas, in Polk county, in later years and started a 
store, thinking it safer to rely on the farmers for prosperity than takes chances 
on such a strenuous city life. There he sold goods "on tick" (credit), as was 
the custom of the country, and not being a good bookkeeper, he wrote down 
on the inside board walls of his store with a piece of chalk the names of his 


customers, and under each name the goods they had bought on credit, with the 
sums due. And while absent for a brief trip to Portland, his good wife, think- 
ing to tidy up the store, got some lime and whitewashed the inside of the whole 
establishment. On his return and seeing what had been done, he threw up his 
hands in despair and declared he was a ruined man. The good woman consoled 
him with the suggestion that he could remember all the accounts and simply 
write them all over again on the wall. And so the next day being Sunday, and 
a good day, and everybody absent at church, he undertook the task. His wife 
dropped in after divine service, and inquired how he was getting along. He 
replied, "Well, Pve got the accounts all down on the wall agin; I don't know 
that Pve got them agin just the same men, but I believe Pve got them agin a 
lot of fellows better able to pay." There were preachers and teachers and all 
sorts of men in Oregon then, as now. 

Another man that dropped in on young Portland the next year after Way- 
mire, was William H. Bennett (Bill Bennett) who, having quit the mountains 
and the fur trade, started in to make his fortune in making shingles out of the 
cedar timber on the townsite, which was a gift to him. Bennett got a start and 
prospered until he was ruined by his convivial habits. He pushed various small 
enterprises, finally starting a livery stable at the corner where the Mulkey 
block is now located. The business started by Bennett was owned successively 
by John S. White, Lew Goddard, Elijah Corbett, P. J. Mann (founder of the 
Old Folks' Home), Goddard & Frazier, and now by William Frazier at the 
corner of Fifth and Taylor streets. In 1846 came Job McNamee from Ohio, 
having come into the valley with the emigration of 1845. McNamee was a 
good citizen and brought a good family, wife and daughter, possibly among 
the first ladies of the place, and whose presence smothered down some of the 
rough places in the village. Mrs. McNamee became the wife of E. J. North- 
rup, one of the best citizens Portland ever had, and the founder of the great 
wholesale and retail hardware store now owned by "The Honeyman Hardware 
Company." Not long after the advent of the McNamees, came Dr. Ralph Wil- 
cox from New York, a pioneer of 1845. Dr. Wilcox was the first physician 
and the first school teacher of this city, and a most useful and public-spirited 
citizen, taking a leading part in organizing society and serving the public as 
clerk of the state legislature and as clerk of the United States district and cir- 
cuit courts. His widow, Mrs. Julia Wilcox, now over ninety years of age, is 
still active and an interested spectator of the growth of a city of two hundred 
and twenty-five thousand people, which she came to in her early womanhood 
as a few log cabins in an unbroken forest. 

And about the same time as Dr. Wilcox came, came the O'Bryant brothers, 
Humphrey and Hugh, the latter of which became the first mayor of the city 
in 185 1, a notice of whom will appear with that of the other mayors. And 
about the same time with O'Bryant came in J. L. Morrison, a Scotchman, who 
set up a little store at the foot of Morrison street, giving his name to the street, 
and dealing in flour, feed and shingles. 

L. B. Hastings and family came across the plains in 1847 and stopped a 
while in Portland. He is remembered as an active pushing business man, and 
stayed with the fortunes of the town for four years. But imagining he could 
see a larger city at the entrance to Puget sound, joined with Pettygrove in 
building a schooner, and loading it up with all their worldly belongings. Petty- 
grove sold out his interests in Portland, and the whole party sailed away in 
1851, for Puget sound, where they founded the city of Port Townsend, and 
where they spent the remainder of their lives and strength in building up a 
city to eclipse Portland. Port Townsend has about two thousand population 
today, and Portland has twenty-five times as many, a clear proof that a man's 
backsight is always better than his foresight. 

And now Portland got its first politician and statesman in Col. William 
King, landing on the river front in 1848. Col. King was an unusual man. He 


would have been a man of mark in any community. He was needed by the 
new city, and he made his presence felt from his very first day in town. No- 
body seemed to know from what corner of the earth King came, and he took 
no pains to enlighten them. But he was a valuable addition to the city, as 
he was familiar with all sorts of scheming, and by that early day the new tov/n 
had to look out for its interests at every session of the legislature; and King 
wa> always on hand to see that there was a square deal with possibly something 
over to Portland. 

King made enemies as well as friends. His positive disposition and his love 
of fair play did not always tally with predisposed politics. It is remembered 
that at the time Governor Curry had selected officials for the militia without 
respect to party affiliations, a petition was gotten up by some democrats to 
have the whigs (republicans) removed or their appointments canceled. When 
it was presented to King to sign, he read it over carefully, then as if not un- 
derstanding it, read it a second time, and then vehemently tore the document to 
pieces, and proceeded to denounce the authors in words more forcible than po- 
lite : "that such men would rather see women and children slaughtered by the 
Indians than to have a good man of the opposite party hold an honorable po- 
sition in the militia." 

As great nations have been dependent on the sea, not only for their pros- 
perity, but also their very existence — England for example — so it was with 
Portland, Oregon, in the years 1845 to 1851. And now the story turns from 
the land builders of the town to the hardy sea rovers working to the same 
end. And in this good work the name of Captain John H. Couch stands at 
the top of the list. 

The first appearance of Captain Couch in Oregon waters is in 1840, when he 
came out here from Newburyport, Mass., in command of the ship Maryland to 
establish a salmon fishery on the Columbia. The ship belonged to the wealthy 
.firm of the Cushings of Newburyport, who had been induced to some extent 
by letters from Jason Lee to make this venture. The fishery was not success- 
ful, for there was no fishermen but the Indians, and they were not reliable to 
serve the Americans. And so Couch sold the vessel at the Sandwich islands 
and returned to Newburyport, leaving in Oregon, George W. Le Breton, an 
active and pushing young man, who made his mark in helping organize the 
provisional government. Having learned from this voyage, the conditions and 
requirements of trade in Oregon, Couch returned in 1842, with a stock of good? 
in a new brig — the Chenamus — named for the Chinook Indian chief who had 
lived opposite Astoria ; and leaving this stock at Oregon City with one Albert 
E. Wilson, who also came out in the Chenamus, and Le Breton, Couch engaged 
his vessel in the trade to the Sandwich islands, the whole business being under 
the name and auspices of Gushing & Company, of Newburyport. Couch con- 
tinued to manage this business until 1847, when he returned home to New- 
buryport by the way of China. In the following year he engaged with a com- 
pany of New York merchants to take a cargo of goods to Oregon on the bark 
Madonna, Captain George H. Flanders coming out with the Madonna as first 
officer, and took conimand of the Madonna on reaching Oregon, while Couch 
took charge of the cargo, which was stored and sold at the new town of Port- 
land on the Willamette. The two captains went into business together, and re- 
mained in Portland for the rest of their lives. And thus were two of the best 
men located in Portland that ever lived in the state. 

Portland got the benefit of all this shipping by Captain Couch. He early 
saw and fully appreciated the advantages of the location for the foundation 
of a seaport and commercial city, and took advantage of his opportunities to 
locate a land claim at what has long been the north end of the city. And con- 
sidering what Captain Couch did directly for the town, by making it the home 
port of his ships for several years, and also what he did indirectly by influenc- 


ing other vessels to tie up at Portland, he probably exerted more influence to 
give Portland a start than all other persons combined. 

Next after Couch, in giving Portland a start, comes Captain Nathaniel 
Crosby, who founded the town of Milton, near the mouth of the Willamette 
slough. Crosby brought the bark Toulon into the river in 1845, and unloaded 
his vessel on the river bank at the foot of Washington street, and from there 
transported his goods up to Oregon City by smaller craft. Captain Crosby 
made numerous trips, and finally anchored in Portland and erected the first 
palatial residence in the new city — the old story-and-a-half house with dormer 
windows which stood for so many years on the east side of Fourth street, be- 
tween Yamhill and Taylor, having been removed to that site from its original 
location on Second street. To accommodate the increasing traffic of his ship- 
ping, Crosby erected a small storehouse on the city front, probably on the open 
strip east of Front street, but most of his merchandise was sent up to Oregon 
City, which continued to be the commercial center of the whole country. 

Besides Couch and Crosby, there were other traders with ships entering the 
river. In 1847 Captain Roland Ghelston of New York, brought in the bark 
Whitton loaded with merchandise, and Captain Kilbourn came in with the brig 
Henry, also loaded with merchandise, and tied up at the east side opposite Port- 
land, and seriously threatened to start a rival city over there. There was plenty 
of free land to be had for the taking, and a townsite or two, more or less, could 
not make much difference to Portland ; and the doughty captain was told to 
go ahead with his town, for it would all be Portland after awhile — and so now, 
sixty-three years afterward, it is all Portland, with four bridges to connect the 
two sides and another bridge coming. 

Captain Ghelston, mentioned above, made a second voyage to the Pacific 
coast, arriving in San Francisco bay just after the great gold fever excitement 
got well started. And taking advantage of the gold panic news sent to the 
states, Ghelston had laid in a heavy stock of picks, shovels and gold pans, and 
when he got safe within the "golden gate," his fortune was made from the sales 
of his hardware at prices twenty fold of what it had cost him. 

With these ships came in some good men, who located, drove down their 
stakes, and stayed with the town until all got rich and repaid the town by great 
service as good and useful citizens. Of these may be mentioned Benjamin 
Stark, who came as supercargo on the Toulon ; Richard Hoyt, who came as 
first officer on the Whitton; and Daniel Lunt, one of the mates of the Chena- 
mus. Lunt took up a land claim south of that of Terwilliger's, and subse- 
quently sold it to Thomas Stevens. The suburb of Fulton is now built on the 
Lunt claim. 

But according to the recollection of Col. Nesmith, the first land claimed 
within the present Hmits of the city, was the claim just south of that of Love- 
joy and Pettygrove. This was taken up in 1842 by William Johnson, an Eng- 
lish sailor, who was living on his claim before Overton was claiming the land 
he sold to Lovejoy and Pettygrove. Johnson's name figured considerably in 
the history of the celebrated or notorious "Wrestling Joe" Thomas' lawsuit 
about the Caruthers estate, that estate being almost wholly the land originally 
claimed by Johnson and abandoned or sold by him to Finice Caruthers. Mrs. 
Charlotte Moffett Cartwright remembers well the cabin of Johnson and his 
half blood Indian wife, which was located near the trail which led from the 
Terwilliger home to the "town." Johnson dropped out of sight soon after Ca- 
ruthers came into the country, and nobody ever knew what became of him. 

Johnson had an interesting history, showing what a lot of odd and cele- 
brated characters drifted into this then out-of-the-way corner of the world. 
He was originally an English sailor, subject of Great Britain, but forswore 
his allegiance to the British king, and took service with the United States on 
the old frigate Constitution, and was in the celebrated naval battle between that 
ship and the British man-of-war Guerriere, in which bloody battle he made one 



of boarding party charging the bulwarks of the Briton and received an uffly 
scalp wound from a British cutlass. He delighted to tell of this terrible Tea 
fight speaking of the "O d Ironsides" as one might speak of their dearest 
friend. And being the only Oregonian known to have taken part in a naval 
battle m defense of the American flag, he is entitled to have his name reverently 
preserved in this history. When the war of 1812 broke out between the United 
Mates and Great Britain, it was supposed that as this country had no navy 
the English would sweep American merchantmen from the seas. This they 
tried to do; and the few small frigates of the Americans could offer but little 
opposition. The American ship made famous by the battle here commemo- 
rated, had but then recently returned from European waters, where she barely 
escaped capture by the speed of her sailing. And when she fell in with the 
British cruiser Guernere off the coast of Massachusetts on the iQth day of 
August, 1812, a trial of metal and nerve was the result. The British captain 
had been anxious to encounter a "Yankee man-of-war," having no doubt of 
an easy victory, and the "Yankee" Captain Hull of the Constitution was ready 
to accommodate him. It was none of the modern steel-clad battleships firing- 
at each other from a range of eight or ten miles, but they were wooden ships 
and they sailed right into each other, firing their Httle cannon as rapidly as 
they could be loaded, until with grappling irons, one ship laid hold of the other 
and her brave men leaped over all obstructions to end the fight at arms length 
m a life and death struggle on the decks of the boarded ship. This was the 
real battle in which William Johnson, who had his little log cabin on the pres- 
ent site of this city out near John Montag's stove foundry, sixty-seven years 
ago, immortalized himself in. He was defending his adopted country against 
the injustice of the land that gave him birth, and he shed his blood that the 
stars and stripes should not be hauled down in defeat. He was the first settler 
on_ the site of Portland, Oregon. He was a member of the first committee ap- 
pointed to organize a provisional government, and he was one of the fifty-two 
who stood up at Champoeg sixty-seven years ago to be counted for the stars 
and stripes. And it 15 justly due to his memory that his name and his great 
services be here duly recorded, that they may be honored for all time 


1847— 1 85 1. 

The Townsite Proprietors — Map of the Claims — First Preachers — 
Gold Discovered in California — Teachers, Doctors and Laiv- 
yers — First Steamboats and Builders — First Stores and Shops — 
First Saw Mill — List of Those Persons Living Here in l8j2 — • 
List of Old Pioneers Now Living (Nov. 1 0th, IQIO). 

The original proprietors, and their land claims, will be better understood 
by reference to the drawing here given. William Johnson, the first settler 
within the present limits of old Portland, took the land south of the Overton 
tract claimed by Lovejoy and Pettygrove, for the reason probably that the 
river bottom south of the line uf Caruthers street was open grass land, and 
furnished pasturage for cattle and horses. Etienne Lucier, one of the two 
Canadian French Catholics that stood up to be counted for American institu- 
tions at Champoeg, was the first settler within the boundaries of East Port- 
land, and the first man to open a farm in Oregon, which he did on East Port- 
land townsite in that year 1829; but he made no claim on the land, and before 
Portland was claimed for a townsite, he removed to the open prairie lands 
called "French Prairie" (because so many Frenchmen settled there) in Marion 
county, and made his home there. 

Lovejoy and Pettygrove were the next settlers filing claims on the Overton 
tract. And before any others came in they laid out sixteen blocks into lots, 
blocks and streets, making the block at the southwest corner of Front and 
Washington streets "Block No. i." James Terwilliger claimed the land south 
of the Johnson tract. Daniel Lunt claimed the land south of the Terv.dlliger 
tract. Daniel H. Lownsdale claimed the land west of Lovejoy and Pettygrove, 
and Captain Couch claimed the land north of Lovejoy and Pettygrove. Then 
Johnson sold out to Finice Caruthers ; Lunt sold to Thomas Stevens ; Lowns- 
dale sold to Amos N. King; Lovejoy sold out his interest to Benjamin Stark, 
and Pettygrove sold out to Lownsdale in 1848 for $5,000 worth of leather, and 
Lownsdale agreed to a segregation of the lands so that Stark got the sole title 
to the triangular tract bounded by the river on the east. Stark street on the 
south, and the Couch claim (line of A street) on the north. 

Daniel H. Lownsdale was the first man to get into the townsite who fully 
comprehended the great future of the place. He had considerable experience 
as a merchant and business man, and had traveled much, not only in the United 
States, but also in Europe ; and not only appreciated the advantages of the 
position, but possessed the confidence and enthusiasm so necessary to succeed 
Math a new enterprise. Born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana, from Indiana to 
Georgia, traveled in Europe, then to Oregon, he gave all his thoughts, time and 




Amos Lawrence Lovejoy 

Daniel H. Lownsdale 


,.,.v. h-w vnt I 




Zmices or Lr /h ' P^'" '° ^"'^^ "P '^' "^^ ^°^^"- H^ s°Id lots at nomi- 
nal prices, or gave them away to secure improvements. He did not get verv 
far along until he felt the need of assistance, and soon found the right n an n 

halfTnte'rest° n thTtn" ^f "' ^^^ ^--^ -' O-^on City, to whoi/he sold a 
Halt interest in the townsite. Coffin was a man of great push and enerev and 
quite as much of an optimist as Lownsdale. The two m?n made a team that 

X sp:cuLTiorundrth'"'- ^^^ ^'^^ ''' "^^ ^^^ ver;"fa?mto%hne; h 
o; the speculation until they ran up against so many legal snags and obstruc- 
tions that they felt the need of a legal adviser. And for that man the man 
who fully believed in Portland and most heartily and harmonSuslv woJked 
with and approved the efforts of Lownsdale and Coffin, was W°n am W Chan 
man; and to Chapman, Lownsdale and Coffin united in selling an^ conveying 
an undivided one-third interest. So far as the town on the east side of hf 
river IS concerned the water front and lands back of it for a mile were cove ed 
by the claims of James B. Stevens and Jacob Wheeler. But neither of Ihese 
men ever contributed anything whatever to the success of locating or buidng a 
city at this point. Lownsdale, Coffin and Chapman soon put their affairs in 
shape for aggressive and continuous work for the town, by organizing a to wn 
site company, of which Coffin was president and Chapman was secrei^v ^nd 
thus making Portland the strongest and most active townsite intereroA the 
Pacific coast north of San Francisco. Lot Whitcomb, as the representative and 
principal owner of the Milwaukee townsite had been giving the Por landers a 

lo". ftff^ '""^'rif r. ^T? 'u'' ^' "^^ '^^y supported by Captain Jo eph Kel- 
og the father of al the Kellogs. and all the Free Masons in Oregon With 
their saw mill and little schooner they were earning money in mak n^ and 
carrying lumber down to San Francisco. And just when the^race Tppeafed to 
be about even between the two rival cities, Whitcomb got hold of a steam en^ 
gme at San Francisco, brought it up here, and with the aid of Jacob K^mm 
built and equipped a steamboat, launching her on Christmas day, 1850 wZ- 
comb soon had her going, a first-class commodious boat for those days and 
put her on the route between Milwaukee and Astoria, fifteen dollars for a Single 
passage either way steaming past Portland without stopping or even saSg 
with a blast from the steam whistle. 1 f s ^1 even saiuung 

At the same time that Whitcomb and Kellog were wa^ine their active on 
position to Portland, the Pacific Mail Steamship Comprn/ xfh ch had at firs't 
made Astoria the end of their trip, suddenly ab'andone'd A^t^'a and came up 
and purchased a large interest at St. Helens, and erected a wharf and warehouse 
there, and made St. Helens the Oregon terminus of their San Francisco steTm 
it irrf % ™i^--\-.d Kellog at once united in this arrangj;^ nt! ^nT.'s 
cut off trfrf '"p^^."; '^^u ^^^^"^t>oat, it could be and was used eft'eciively to 
cut off trade from Portland by running the boat to Vancouver and Oregon City 
as well as to all points on the Columbia river ^ ^' 

unr^Vf. 'pT'a'^u 9^'^''- J?^" ^'- ^°"^'^ '^^^ been the most efficient sup- 
port that Portland had received in concentrating trade, especially the ocean 

cZL ufhT'^-^^r'''' ^"'"^"^^ "^^ "^^^^ fully comVehended in tlS 
fo Ki ^ ^ ""u"^^ ^^^ acquaintance of hundreds of sea captains, and was 
favorably known wherever these captains sailed their ships; and the fact tTia 
he had always discharged his own ship here influenced al his acquaintance 
on the seas to also "sail for Portland. Oregon " acquaintances 

h.J''\i!'°^ /^^ townsite proprietors-Coffin, Chapman and Lownsdale-must 
be r themselves^ They were compelled to meet the opposition of the Pa^ fie 
Ma 1 Steamship Company, and destroy it one way or another, or be ruined And 
by this time 1850) although growing slowly, Portland had gathered in qu"te 
a village population of active earnest men. who not only had tifeir own prooertv 

ZTt \''^^'' ^"' Y- ? ^'"^""^ ^"^"^^'^^P f°^ ^he townsite proSrs"^ 
And altogether, It was decided that a long pull, and a strong pull, and a mil 
altogether was the thing to do, and get in a steamship in the interest of Por 


land. This sentiment being conveyed down to San Francisco, the side wheel 
steamer Gold Hunter took in a cargo for Portland, Oregon, and came up to see 
how the town looked. This was the first ocean going steamship that ever tied 
up at Portland wharf. It was in fact a gold hunter, and was for sale. Imme- 
diately every friend of Portland got busy. Hope and enthusiasm took the place 
of anxiety and fear in the faces of the townspeople, and courage once more filled 
up the shrinking purse. The price and terms for the ship were ascertained. 
Sixty thousand dollars would purchase a controlling interest in the ship, and run 
her between Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. Twenty-one thousand dol- 
lars of this was raised and paid in an hour, of which sum Coffin, Chapman and 
Lownsdale put up eighteen thousand, six hundred dollars. 

And while this transaction revived the hopes and confidence of many, and 
strengthened the courage of all, it did not end the contest. The Mail Steamship 
Company with ample capital, set to work to undermine the bulwarks, put up by 
the Portlanders, and bought out some of the interests of Portland stockholders 
in the Gold Hunter, again giving San Francisco the whip-hand. And after a 
few trips to Portland, the Gold Hunter was treacherously sent down to South 
America, mortgaged and sold for a trifle of her value to get rid of all the Port- 
land stockholders. It was a bitter lesson to Portland, and withal most dishon- 
orable on the part of pretended friends and open enemies. But it had proved 
one thing, and that was that Portland would fight for the rights of the town; 
and that the town was a force that was not to be despised for weakness or want 
of courage. In the meantime, Portland had been making allies on the land side. 
A fairly passable wagon road had been opened out to Tualitin Plains and on up 
the valley to Yamhill and Polk counties, by. which the farmers of all that re- 
gion could haul their products to Portland. 

Although the money was gone, the investment in the steamship had not been 
wholly lost. It had been proved that an ocean going steamship could safely and 
successfully come to Portland with full cargoes, and could get full cargoes of 
produce and safely go out to sea again. The steamships were not getting car- 
goes at St. Helens as Whitcomb's steamboat carried the produce to them, and it 
did not get enough to load them. Whitcomb could get nothing at Milwaukee 
but lumber, and that could not be shipped on the steamer. The farmers could 
not, and would not haul produce to St. Helens, and the Whitcomb would 
not stop at Portland to get it, and so the St. Helens ships were sailing away 
with little or nothing of freight. And so it was soon made plain to the steam- 
ship owners that they were gnawing a file ; and that sooner or later some other 
steamship would sail into Portland harbor and appropriate a profitable trade 
that they never could get by staying at St. Helens. And thus forced, in March, 
1851, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company abandoned its opposition, ran up 
the Portland flag and sent all its ships to the docks and wharves of this city. 
And from that day on, the supremacy of Portland, as against all other points 
on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, was acknowledged everywhere. 

Of the three men who made good the project of Amos Lawrence Lovejoy, 
in the establishment of a city, at rhis location, Daniel H. Lownsdale comes first 
in order for notice. Mr. Lownsdale was born in Mason county, Kentucky, in 
1803. At the age of twenty-three, he married Ruth, youngest daughter of 
Paul Overfield, Esq., and moved to Gibson county, Indiana. In 1830, his wife 
died, leaving three children, two daughters and a son. That son was J. P. O. 
Lownsdale, who for many years was an active and influential citizen of this 
city, passing away in July, 1910, at the age of 80 years. After losing his wife, 
Mr. Lownsdale moved to the state of Georgia, and engaged in mercantile 
pursuits. And there, losing his health, he took a trip to Europe, and traveled 
through many countries. Returning to the United States in 1844, he found 
the southwest agitated over the "Oregon Question," and immediately made up 
his mind to come out to this unsettled region and grow up with the country. 
Joining an emigrant train in the spring of 1845, ^^ crossed the plains with the 

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usual luck and labor of other emigrants, and reached the Portland townsite 
late in 1845; and soon after, as has been stated, claimed the King Donation 
Claim, west of the city, and started the first tannery north of California and 
west of the Rocky mountains. He died in May, 1862, and is buried in Lone 
Fir cemetery on the east side of the river. 

Of General Stephen Coffin much can be said in his praise, as a public 
spirited man, and a most energetic and successful builder of the city of Port- 
land. General Coffin was born at Bangor, Maine, in 1807, moved west to the 
state of Ohio early in life, and crossed the plains and reached Oregon City in 
October, 1847. Here he went to work with the industry and energy that char- 
acterized his whole Hfe, and at the end of two years he had accumulated enough 
to enable him to purchase a half interest in the Portland townsite claim, as has 
already been stated. When the tug of war came up with the Pacific Mail 
Steamship Company, Coffin was in the forefront of the battle. His whole being 
rebelled at anything like injustice. It was said of him, that when the immi- 
grants reached Oregon, of which party he was a member, some of those already 
here attempted to extort unreasonable prices for food and accommodations, and 
Coffin rebelled. To assuage his wrath, he was told that his treatment was 
the usual custom, and that when he got settled in the country, he could recoup 
his losses by fleecing other immigrants in like manner. This only made mat- 
ters worse, and the newcomer so bitterly denounced such conduct as to make 
I enemies that never forgave him. But he was not the man to shape his con- 
I duct to placate enemies or please wrongdoers. Fearless and courageous, he 
I pushed his way over all opposition, serving the public faithfully in every act 
of his life, and often at the sacrifice of personal interest. He was liberal to 
the public, and his friends, to a fault. He is .the only man that ever gave 
grounds for the public schools of the city ; he gave the first bell to a church 
in the city, which still sends out its call from the old Taylor street church every 
Sunday morning, inviting in the faithful. He organized the company to build 
the wagon road to Washington county ; he organized the Peoples Transportation 
Company to reduce freight charges on the Willamette and Columbia rivers ; he 
helped start the Oregon Central Railroad, and many other enterprises. (For 
further notice see biographical sketches.) 

The third man to join the Portland Townsite Company was William W. 
: Chapman, Esq., who for distinguished services in the Oregon Indian wars* 
j was commissioned a Colonel of the Volunteers, and ever afterwards retained 
that title. Colonel Chapman, was born in old Virginia, early in 1800. His 
father was a brick mason, and contractor, and built the first brick building in 
Washington city. By dint of great personal efiforts and private study, he picked 
up an education, studied law and attained a good position in the practice of the 
law_ in Virginia. But thinking the new western states ofifered the best oppor- 
tunities for advancement, removed to Iowa, while that region was yet a part of 
' Michigan. There he was appointed United States district attorney, and when 
I Iowa was set off as a separate territory, Chapman was elected the first delegate 
to congress from Iowa. He made a fine impression in congress in his efiForts 
to reclaim to Iowa a strip of territory, in dispute with Missouri, and in which 
he was entirely successful, giving him great credit in the new state. He was 
a member of the convention to form a constitution for Iowa, and was the 
father of the measure to transfer the gifts of public lands to the states for in- 
ternal improvements from such purpose to the endowment of public schools, 
and which after that became the settled policy of the United States. And 
[ while in congress, he was to a great extent the author of the legislation to pro- 
vide the right to preempt public lands, which then led to the homestead act, 
: which has made millions of people happy and independent. Colonel Chapman 
came to Oregon in 1847, settling first at Corvallis, and later at Salem. He was 
often at Oregon City on legal business, and there made the acquaintance of 
Coffin, and Lownsdale, and got into the Portland Townsite Company. He held 


many positions of honor and trust, discharging every duty with scrupulous in- 
tegrity, an honor to the city and the state, and passed away with the universal 
respect of all citizens. 

The battle to make Portland the land terminus of all ocean commerce was the 
first and greatest question to be settled. That settled in favor of Portland, the 
people would come fast enough. But before it was settled, the settlers and 
little businesses were slowly coming in. 

The ferry across the river was started as early as 1845 consisting of one 

The first blacksmith shop was opened by Terwilliger at the corner of First 
and Morrison streets, in 1846. 

Henderson Luelling brought in the first grafted fruit trees in 1847. In this 
same year. Captain Crosby built the first frame house in the town bringing the 
materials for it from the eastern states in his ship around Cape Horn. Talk 
about carrying "coals to Newcastle," but don't forget Crosby's house, carried 
twenty thousand miles to build alongside the finest timber in the world. 

In 1848, the first Methodist church was organized in Portland, and the 
erection of the church building commenced by Rev. J. H. Wilbur. 

In 1855 the First Congregational Church was erected at the corner of Second 
and Jefiferson streets. The Rev. Horace Lyman, first pastor, clearing the 
ground of trees himself. 

In 1849, Colonel Wm. King built a sawmill to run by water power, but it 
burned down before it could be made to do anything. 

In 1850, W. P. Abrams, and Cyrus A. Reed erected a steam saw mill near 
the foot of Jefferson street. The main building was forty feet wide, and eighty 
feet long ; the timbers being hewed out of the giant firs growing alongside the 
mill site, and being sixteen inches square were so heavy that all the men in town 
were unable to put the timbers in place or "raise" the building, and General 
Coffin had to go up to Oregon City, to get men to help. But even with this 
assistance, they could not handle the timbers, and Reed was forced to rig a 
derrick and with block and tackle, and all the men to pull on the ropes, they 
hoisted the timbers to place, and erected the first saw mill at Portland, Oregon, 
a mill that would cut about ten thousand feet a day. Quite a change since 1850 
to the town sixty years later, that cuts and ships more lumber than any other 
city in the world. 

In those days, everybody worked and labored hard in building houses. In 
describing the work of J. H. Wilbur, (Father Wilbur) of the first Methodist 
church, a contemporary said of him : "Stalwart and strong, the great forest 
that stood where Taylor street church now stands, fell before his axe. The 
walls of the old church rose by his saw and hammer, and grew white and beauti- 
ful under his paint brush, tired bodies rested and listened to his powerful 
preaching on Sunday, poverty was fed at his table, and sickness cured by his 

And now we reach the first business excitement at the new town. On the 
first of August, 1848, a little schooner from San Francisco pulled into the 
wharf at the little town of Portland, Oregon, and after unloading a lot of 
Mexican produce and goods began to load up not only with Oregon produce, 
but with al 1 the shovels, picks, and pans that could be secured at the two stores 
in town. And after making a clean up of all these necessary tools to mine 
placer gold, the captain made known the discovery of gold in California by J. W. 
Marshall. Marshall had come to Oregon as an immigrant, across the plains in 
1844. And not getting anything to do here at Portland, went down to California 
in 1846, and was employed by General Sutter at his mill near where the city of 
Sacramento now stands. Marshall was followed in 1847 by Charles Bennett 
and Stephen Staats, and they w^ere there at the mill when Marshall found the 
first gold. And thus we see, that it was an Oregonian going from Portland and 
Oregon City, to California that made the discovery that gave to the world four 



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hundred million dollars in gold, and which revolutionized the currents and condi- 
tions of trade, commerce and living expense in every civilized land. 

The rush to the gold discoveries nearly depopulated the town. And while it 
carried off many good workers, there were compensations for their absence. 
Lumber, wheat, potatoes and everything fit to eat, ran up to enormous prices 
and the Oregon farmer was soon digging as much gold out of his land as the 
miners were getting in California. The gold discoveries helped in another way. 
Very soon gold dust and states money was rolling back into Oregon for the pro- 
duce sent down and surplus dust sent back to families and friends ; so that 
wheat was no longer the circulating legal tender medium, but gold dust, and 
finally "beaver money" made from dust by the Oregon City mint, became the 
circulating medium and greatly stimulated trade in all its branches. 

About this time Hiram Smith and his brother, Isaac, reached Portland, the 
plains across, but sending a stock of merchandise around Cape Horn, with 
which they started the next store after Pettygrove. Hiram Smith had made a 
lot of money in Ohio manufacturing fanning mills — wind mills to clean grain 
from the chaff and dirt — and brought it to Oregon to push things. He was an 
active pushing man, well informed in business, and also a very generous, kind 
hearted man. He started out the next year with a pack train load of groceries, 
flour and meat to sell to the incoming emigrants. But on meeting the train east 
of the Blue mountains found them all so poor and famishing that instead of 
selling anything, gave it all away to the starving people, trusting them to pay 
him sometime in the future if they could. Some of them did pay afterwards, 
and many did not ; but Hiram Smith never lost' any sleep over the matter. He 
accumulated a large fortune by honest fair means,, and left it all to his wife, 
Hannah, who in turn gave most of it to deserving charities at her death. 

About the same time with Smith, Thomas Carter and wife came in from 
Georgia, and located the land claim south of the King claim, and which covered 
what is now known as Portland Heights. Carter built the first old style Southern 
states mansion house out in the region, for a long time demeaned by the name of 
"Goose Hollow", but subsequently changed into "Paradise Valley"; the region 
bounded by Jefferson street on the north, Chapman street on the west, Lowns- 
dale street on the east, and Market street on the south. Carter lived on the 
claim for many years, but finally sold out to his two sons, Charles M. Carter, 
and Thomas Jefferson Carter, both forceful and public spirited men. 

"Goose Hollow" was for a long time a sort of "no man's land" being too far 
out to be saleable for city lots, and, not worth grubbing out to put in potatoes. 
In consequence of which, a miscellaneous lot of people got in there who did 
not really go in the "upper ten" class of 1862. And while the good husbands 
were busy digging stumps or catering to the thirst of the sturdy yeomen on 
Front street, their good wives were adding to family comforts by raising geese 
and plucking their feathers as far out as the Carter mansion in 1862. In con- 
sequence of this goose industry it soon got to be that every woman in the little 
valley had a flock of geese. And in consequence of the numbers of them they 
all mixed up together, and every good woman in the whole neighborhood 
claimed all the geese. And from pulling feathers they got to pulling other 
things, and some twenty more or less goose owners were cited to appear before 
Police Judge, J. F. McCoy, to receive justice at the August forum of Portland's 
first police court. McCoy had a worse job of it than the judge who decided the 
case between the two women who claimed the same baby, two thousand years 
ago. But he was equal to the occasion, and his decision was, that Marshall 
Lappeus and his two deputies should repair to the seat of war and round up 
every flock of geese they could find, count them, and then divide them ecpjaHy 
among the contending owners ; and that thereafter the first woman who com- 
plained about geese should be incarcerated in the city bastile. For that trip, 
Lappeus named it "goose hollow," and the name stuck. 


A careful review of the facts, and the men will show that the future of the 
city, and its permanent and substantial success dates back to this period, and 
practically to a group of about a dozen leading men, who were compelled, from 
the very nature of the case to pull together for self-preservation. Much has 
been said and written from time to time about the want of unanimity and 
harmonious enterprise among the rich men of Portland. And while there has 
been often outward manifestations of a want of harmony if not secret opposi- 
tion to each other, yet altogether the evolutionary progress of the city has com- 
pelled inharmonious elements to work and labor for the common good. Incom- 
ing business men were loth to open their purses to make improvements which 
they thought added more to the prosperity of the townsite owners than their 
own. And some of these same business men were so stiff upon this point that 
they_ would not buy town lots at a low price which would have made them 
wealthy while they waited for profits from other sources. But altogether the 
logic of events compelled all of them, in one way or the other, to contribute 
their time, energies, and money to indirectly built a city which made all of them 

Counting in the original townsite proprietors. Coffin, Chapman, and Lowns- 
dale, we can add to their efforts, those of Captain J. C. Ainsworth, Jacob Kamm, 
Henry W. Corbett, W. S. Ladd, Henry Failing, C. H. Lewis, Captain John H. 
Couch, Captain George H. Flanders, Simeon G. Reed and R. R. Thompson, to 
whose brains and energy Portland is indebted for its present masterful position 
in the commerce and general prosperity of the country. And it can be easily 
seen from time to time in the history of the city, how these men co-operated, 
even when apparently acting independent of each other, to bring about great 
results in building up the city and securing its great future. 

Captain Ainsworth had settled first at Oregon city, and with his brother-in-law, 
Dierdorff, had been carrying on a general store and trading establishment at that 
point. But seeing the natural advantages of Portland, and early getting into 
the steamboat business, so shaped his affairs as to transfer all his interests to this 
point, and as the transportation on the Columbia river developed, became the 
executive head of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company — the first large trans- 
portation company of the north Pacific coast. Ainsworth's last work on behalf 
of the city, was in extending transportation to eastern Oregon, building the 
portage railways at the Cascades and the Dalles, and in exploring the Columbia 
to its headwaters and into Kootenai lake, where vast mineral wealth has followed 
the discoveries made by Ainsworth's exploring parties. And while Ainsworth 
added vastly to the fortvme of himself, Reed and Thompson by the sale of the 
property of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company to the Northern Pacific 
Railway Company, that transaction enabled Henry Villard to get such control of 
the railroads leading to the great Columbia basin, as to hold the transcontinental 
business to Portland long enough to demonstrate its superior and exclusive advan- 
tages as the gateway to the Pacific; and thus eventually, as has now been 
established, control the heavy transportation between the coast of Oregon, and 
Washington and the Atlantic states. 

Of this group of men, Jacob Kamm is entitled to be ranked the first in 
steamboat development. Before Lot Whitcomb could build the first steamboat, 
he was compelled to bring Mr. Kamm from California to superintend the con- 
struction. In this pioneer work, a great work for this city, Mr. Kamm, with his 
own hands put all the machinery together even down to riveting the boiler sheets. 
From this beginning, Jacob Kamm went on with work on other steamers, and 
had supervision as master mechanic, chief engineer and part owner, of the 
steamboats Jennie Clark, Carrie Ladd, Mountain Buck, Senorita, the Mary, 
Hassalo, Rival, Surprise and Elk. Mr. Kamm was the first and only man to 
put steamboat transportation on, the upper Snake river. Fle was the sole owner 
of the ocean steamer, George S. Wright, which he ran from Portland to Victoria, 
Sitka and Alaska, being the only capitalist Portland had that would make a fight 

'■SUC Li. 


,o hold that trade to this city. In later years, ''^"■•f "'^f .*'=j„Yi^";°"J^Y3 
Transportation Company, and put on the steamers Lurlme and Undine. His 
workTn building up the ei ty is incalculable. Mr. Kamm was born in Sw.tzer and 
ta iL? and "yet a citizen of Portland, with all his faculties unimpaired a the 
aJ of 87 He learned the steamboat business from engineer's assistant uj^ to 
owner o[' ocean steamships; commencing at the engine room »" ^J^l'^^'^ PP 
Smboat-another splendid example of what a poor boy can do with patient 

""■■Lnry wTorbTtt'To^n in Westborough, Mass., in 1827, commenced at the 

S?i?drhe-briht— rct^^So^^^^^^^^^^ 

2%U«=rd'ruXn1sS a'iW'aT ^^00^. ^TJ^ ^0". 
s? eets payh.T$i^ ^ent for it. He worked hard bemg proprietor, clerk 

fa mkn 'an! bookkeeper, all in one, and at the -d of fourteen months had 
sold out his whole stock, cleared $20,000, and started back to New York to get 

'"t:;emTned'in n"w ^^^^^^^^^ one year, but continued to ship goods to Portland 
for sale He ?hen determined to make Portland his home, and returned m 1853, 
with a laro^r stock of general merchandise, and in i860 converted his store into 
rnexclusrve hardware business, and in 1871, consolidated with Henry Fading, 
?orm^ng the f^rm of Corbett, Failing & Company, making it the largest hardware 
estawTshment on the Pacific coast. Mr. Corbett's activities m business life have 
Teen morTextensive and varied than that of any other citizen of Portland which 
wTth Ws service in the United States senate, has made him one of the most useful. 
if not the most conspicuous, citizen of the state of Ojegom 

William S Ladd reached Portland about a year after Mr. Corbett tie, too 
came to m^ke his fortune in selling merchandise. He had but_ little to bring with 
WandTad noTthegood fortune'that favored Corbett ^^.f "-f/.^-^^^f.^.tcT 
credit On his way here he fell in with Charles K. Tilton at San Francisco, 
whe e TiuSn was selling goods on consignment, and endeavored to induce Ti ton, 
who was an old schoolmate, to come up to Portland with ^^^ ^"^ start a sto e 
Tilton d'd not agree to the proposition, and without going to the gold mines, Mr 
Ladd came to Portland with a mere handful of goods, and made his way as bes 
he could The first lift Ladd got was in selling out a cargo of goods brought 
here bv a man named W. D. Gookin, who, however, never became a citizen of 
Poitland Gooldn had known Ladd's father, and so he trusted the young mam 
Tn this transact on Ladd cleared his first thousand dollars, and to a man of his 
1^ Litf niish enterprise and persistence in business, a thousand dollars 
Ls^edS 'success He' c^^^^^^^^^ business, either with Gookin or starting 

a new store under the name of Ladd, Reed & Co., until he engaged in banking 
with the aforesaid C. E. Tilton; and by pushing and pulling all the advantages 
The ont bank possessed, and getting hold of large tracts of land at nominal prices, 

'^ '^^U\^:t "ical trfhant in all comparisons, among men who 
have touLed the business oT merchandising in the city of Portl-d^ He - tl^ 
only man among the many distinguished business men that Portland has de 
veloped that has been "the merchant" from first to last. Mr. Corbett bailing 
Ladd A nsworth, and others might be named who commenced as merchants, but 
switched off into some other pursuit, before ending their career. Mr Lewis, 
commenced his career as a merchant in 1851, and remained steadfas m he 
harness until death called him, January 5. 1897. He founded and built up the 
ereTwholeale grocery house of Allen & Lewis, until now its patrons cover the 
who e country from Ashland, Oregon, up to the farthest limits of A aska. Many 
r distressed country retail man he has helped along for years until farms and 


business grew up to help him out. Like Henry Failing, C. H. Lewis never 
pressed a customer, and his word was as good as government bonds throughout 
the whole northwest. Aside from his business, nearly all the educational and 
charitable institutions — especially the Good Samaritan hospital — and the Protest- 
ant Episcopal church owe much to his wise guidance and financial support, or 
that of his family. 

Henry Failing came to Portland in 1851. in a subordinate position with his 
father, Josiah Failing, of blessed memory, and became a partner in the firm of 
J. Failing & Co. The business prospered, and in 1864, Failing, Sr., retired, 
leaving the hardware business to his sons, Henry, Edward and James. This 
business was carried on with success and profit until it was consolidated with 
that of Mr. Corbett, in 1871. In 1869 Mr. Corbett and Henry Failing purchased 
a controlling interest in the First National Bank, which had been organized by 
the Starr Brothers; it being the first national bank on the Pacific coast. Mr. 
Failing became president of the bank and from that day on it has been the great 
bank success of the Pacific coast. As mayor of the city, as president of the 
board of commissioners that constructed the water works to bring water from 
Mt. Hood, and in every trust reposed in him, Henry Failing, is the man 
against whom there never was a doubt but that the public and every private citi- 
zen no matter how poor or humble, would get absolute and unqualified justice 
in the discharge of every duty. The great bank is a monument to his business 
sagacity and fidelity to the interests of its patrons ; and not a single dollar ever 
passed into its treasury that was made by the foreclosure of any mortgage or 
the pressure of any debtor. With a brusque exterior, Henry Failing possessed 
one of the kindest and most .sympathetic hearts in existence. And with gen- 
erosity to all he was the absolute standard of honesty, justice and fair dealing 
in all his ways. With justifiable pride, his children have placed over his mortal 
remains the epitaph: ... -•.,r 

"he was a just man, and loved mercy." 

With long personal acquaintance, the author of this history can testify that 
no man ever deserved the above tribute more than Henry Failing. 

Captains Couch and Flanders have been already referred to, but not as they 
deserve to be. Captain John H. Couch most assuredly drove down the first 
stake to fasten the city at this point when he tied up his ship at the foot of 
Washington street, before there was a house here, and said, "to this point I 
can bring any ship that can get into the mouth of the great Columbia river." 
Like most men developed on the high seas, when he knew anything, he was 
sure and confident of his knowledge. When others were trembling and tem- 
porizing for fear Portland would fail like the dozen other places. Captain Couch 
lost no sleep over their fears. He knew just as well that the city had to be 
built here as the experienced locomotive engineer can tell how many loaded cars 
his engine can pull from Portland to Dalles City. That confidence was worth 
millions to Portland, because it converted all other sea captains to the idea that 
Portland was the seaport of the Columbia river. In this view Captain George 
H. Flanders fully concurred. These two men practically made the Pacific ocean 
contribute to the success and prosperity of the city. This was their great con- 
tribution to the building of Portland, although their help in other ways would 
fill a book. When railroad development was proposed, these two men — John 
H. Couch and George H. Flanders — placed their names at the top of the roll 
of Portland men who aided in starting railroad construction by donating ten 
city blocks in the north end of the city for depot and terminal grounds. The 
Union depot stands on land which they gave to the old Oregon Central Railroad 
Company when the author of this book was its president and manager forty- 
two years ago. But in every other way, and especially to the religious and 
charitable institutions of the city, they and their families have taken a leading 



First frame residence in Portland— brought in a ship 


a ship twenty thousand miles from Xew York 


S i^i^ Jf-c;-^ n^^.fC 


part in making not only a rich and prosperous city, but also a moral, peaceful, 
healthful and clean place to raise families in. 

The work of R. R. Thompson in building the city was wholly allied with 
and a part of the work of Captain Ainsworth. Thompson went into the trans- 
portation business in a small way on the upper Columbia before The Dalles 
Portage Railway was constructed, and it was necessary to Ainsworth's plans in 
concentrating all the river traffic in one company to prevent any opposition 
from Thompson's boats. And so Thompson's boats were brought into the Ore- 
gon Steam Navigation Company by giving Thompson a large block of the orig- 
inal capital stock of that company. From that time on, Thompson's fortunes 
rose with the prosperity of that company, and in the final sale of the property 
to Henry Villard as trustee of the Transcontinental Company, Thompson re- 
ceived over a milHon dollars for his share of the proceeds. Thompson was the 
pioneer in transportation on the upper river, and had in that way aided in de- 
veloping territory which contributed to the upbuilding of Portland. But out- 
side of this and his co-operation with Ainsworth, his services to this city were 
not conspicuous. R, R. Thompson was born in Harrison county, Ohio, not far 
from the birthplace of David P. Thompson, another prominent capitalist of this 
city, but they were in no way related to each other. 

As the life and growth of the city goes on, and for generations upon genera- 
tions hereafter, the name of Simeon G. Reed is likely to be more in the minds 
of men and women in this city than the names of all the other men above com- 
bined. Like Mr. R. R. Thompson, for the greater part of his career in Port- 
land, Mr. Reed shone by the reflected light of J. C. Ainsworth. Reed was a 
closer friend of Ainsworth than any other man, although Ainsworth, Reed and 
Thompson, were always spoken of as "The Triumvirate." Mr. Reed was al- 
ways a very charitable man, kind-hearted and gentle with lucky fortune dog- 
ging his steps throughout his life. He put a price on some mining stock in 
Nevada once, and then went off hunting sage hens, in Umatilla county. A great 
body of rich ore was uncovered in the mine, and before the San Francisco 
"mining sharps" could locate Reed with telegrams, that stock advanced a hun- 
dred thousand dollars in value, and Reed got back to the old town of Uma- 
tilla in time to cancel his offer before it could be taken up by his pursuers, 
S. G. Reed never lost any sleep or worried about matters he could not prevent. 
He was always ready to help any man that deserved his help if they did not 
ask too much. He finally came to regard his great fortune as a trust in his 
hands for the benefit of his fellow men. And having no children, and but few 
relatives when he passed away, he requested his life-long helpmeet, Mrs. Amanda 
Reed, to devote their wealth to the benefit of the people of the city of Portland. 
In pursuance of that wish, Mrs. Reed in her last will and testament, provided 
that after paying some legacies to relatives, the Reed millions should be de- 
voted to the founding of a great institution for the teaching of practical and 
scientific knowledge to the youth of this city. And that great bequest is now 
being administered to carry out the wishes of the large-hearted donors. 

Of other notable men who have made their impress on the city and aided 
largely in establishing the useful institutions of the pioneer town, Judge P. A. 
Marquam is entitled to a high position. While he never made a million dol- 
lars, he did make enough, and made it honestly, to attract the wolves of finance 
and banking to rend him to pieces and rob him of what he had. The "Marquam 
case," wherein the supreme court of Oregon held that a trust deed was not a 
trust but a mortgage, will go down to future courts and judges as an anomaly 
in jurisprudence that is a disgrace to any state. But Judge Marquam's claim to 
honorable recognition in the history of Portland does not depend on either prop- 
erty or business. While in California, he served with distinction in the wars to 
subdue the Indians and protect the gold miners. He was elected county judge 
twice before coming to Oregon. On reaching Portland he engaged in law prac- 
tice and soon secured a large business. Soon after he was elected county judge 


and reelected, serving in all eight years. Under his administration nearly all 
the roads in the county were located and opened to travel. He was always an 
active friend of the public schools, and in every way labored to promote the 
public welfare, and now at the age of 87, enjoys the homage and respect of 
every good citizen, spending 'the evening of life in a quiet, restful home on 
Portland Heights. 

Another man influential in starting useful enterprises was Joseph A. Strow- 
bridge. Coming here while yet a boy, and while but recently having lost his 
father by mountain fever, contracted on the plains, the young man resolutely 
addressed himself to the very serious task of making his own way in a new 
country without friends, experience or assistance of any kind. He was the 
first person to engage in shipping apples from Oregon to the miners in Cali- 
fornia, and in that respect he was the father of the Oregon apple exporting 
business. He afterward engaged in the wholesale shoe and leather business, 
finally cutting out the boots and shoes, and confining his business to wholesale 
leather and findings. A more complete statement of his career will be found 
in the biographical volume. 

Edward James Northrup, born in Albany, New York, in 1834, came to Port- 
land in 1852, and served as a clerk in the store of his father. Nelson Northrup, 
and Montreville Simonds, for three years. He then opened a hardware 
store in the town in partnership with R. H. Blossom. This was the foundation 
of the great hardware establishment of "The Honeyman Hardware Company" 
at the corner of Fourth and Alder streets. Northrup was one of the best citi- 
zens, taking a very active part in educational and church work. 

George W. Snell, a native of Augusta, Maine, and George L. Story, from 
Manchester, Mass., were the pioneer dealers in drugs, medicines and paints. 
Snell arrived first, coming early in the spring of 1851, and bringing with him 
Dr. J. C. Hooper, also of Maine, from San Francisco with a stock of drugs. 
Dr. Hooper died in the same year, and was succeeded in the business by Mr. 
Story, and Story by Smith & Davis. In a few years Smith & Davis were suc- 
ceeded by Hodge, Calef & Co., and them by Snell, Heitshu & Woodard. This 
firm greatly enlarged the business and erected the handsome stone building at 
the intersection of Sixth and Burnside streets. Charles Woodard started a 
drug store on Front street at the foot of Alder street, which, being moved first 
to First and Alder under the Odd Fellows Temple, and then to Fourth and 
Washington, has grown to be the greatest retail "department" drug store in the 
United States, and the father of the wholesale drug house of Clarke, Woodward 
& Company at Ninth and Hoyt streets. But to return to Mr. Story, we find 
that after closing out his interest in the firm of Smith & Davis, he returned to 
San Francisco, and formed the partnership of Story, Redington & Company in 
the wholesale drug trade of that city, and again sold out there and returned to 
Portland in 1862, and has resided here ever since. Mr. Story has been active 
and influential in business and public affairs in Portland for nearly sixty years, 
and is still, at the age of ']'], in good health, attending to a large, fine insurance 
business as if he were a young man. 

There were, of course, many other men in the town hard at work at the 
date when these more prominent leaders located here who are entitled to recog- 
nition, and would not be overlooked here if the facts of their lives were now 
accessible. To reproduce the daily life of the little town now, after the passing 
of sixty years has carried away forever the lives and incidents of that day. is 
a difficult if not impossible task, and if enough is furnished to enable the dis- 
criminating reader to guess at what has been lost by time, it is the best that 
can be done. 

At the close of this period of the city's growth, the following business houses 
were well established : H. W. Corbett, general store ; Josiah Failing and two 
sons, hardware ; J. H. Couch, general store ; Breck & Ogden, general store ; 
C. H. Lewis of Allen & Lewis, general store; S. M. & L. M. Starr, store and 


tin store; Captain Norton, a small store, but with a ship at the river bank with 
a large stock of general merchandise; Thomas Pritchard, grocery store; A. M. 
Barnes, general store; G. W. Vaughn, hardware store; Northrup & Simonds, 
hardware; Hiram Smith (with a sign over his door "No. i Smith" to distin- 
guish him from twenty other Smiths), a general store; Lucier Snow, dry goods 
exclusively; G. W. Snell, drugs and paints; Patrick Raleigh, a stock of goods 
on commission ; Frazer & Jewett, a general store ; James Terwilliger, black- 
smith and machine work; John Waymire, hotel. Besides these stores there 
were always two or more ships lying in the river with stocks of goods for sale. 

There were at that time located here the following physicians : Dr. Ralph 
Wilcox, Dr. R. B. Wilson, Dr. Isaac A. Davenport, Dr. Samuel Hooper, Dr. 
Perry Prettyman, Dr. Salsbury, and Dr. E. H. Griffin, the first dentist in the 

There were also the following ministers of the gospel : Rev. Horace Lyman, 
Rev. C. S. Kingsley, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, Rev. St. Michael Fackler and Rev. 
Father Croke. 

The legal fraternity was represented by Col. William King, Col. W. W, 
Chapman, Joseph S. Smith and Frank Tilford. 

The following is a list of those living here, or in this immediate vicinity 
prior to 1852. The list was prepared twenty years ago by John M. Breck, 
George L. Story, Henry Failing and T. B. Trevett, and they have all passed on 
but Mr. Story, A. B. Stuart, Jacob Kamm, John C. Carson and Charles W. 
Parrish : George L. Story, Capt. Wm. Baker, T. B. Trevett, Col. Wm. M. 
King, Dr. R. B. Wilson, Dr. L. C. Bray, Frank D. Camp, Rev. Horace Lyman, 
Rev. C. S. Kingsley, Rev. J. H. Wilbur, Rev. St. Michael Fackler, Knute Peter- 
son, Peter D. Hardenberg, Captain Molthrop, Samuel R. Holcomb, Nelson 
Northrup, Mr. Simonds, G. W. Vaughn, Peter Erpelding, Thomas G. Robin- 
son, J. Kohn, Levi Anderson, David Weil, Uriah Harris, Jack Harris, Major 
Tucker, Nathaniel Coe, Lawrence W. Coe, Eugene F. Coe, Henry Coe, Mr. 
Tallentire, Thomas Gladwell, Capt. Ayres, A. D. Fitch, Wm. Fitch, John Thomp- 
son, Thomas Stephens, Wm. Stephens, Jas. B. Stephens, Finice Caruthers, Jas. 
Terwilliger, Wm. Blackistone, Peter Guild, Col. Loring, Col. Frush, Capt. Rich- 
ard Williams, Capt. Wells, Hugh D. O'Bryant, Colburn Barrell, Crawford DoB- 
bin. Job McNamee, Richard White, Allen White, Robert Thompson, Shubrick 
Norris, Wm. H. Barnhart, Thos. J. Hobbs, Sam E. May, Robt. N. McLaren, 
Finley McLaren, Henry W. Corbett, Josiah Failing, Henry Failing, John W. 
Failing, J. J. Lintz, Jos. W. Cleayer Dr. Salisbury, A. M. Starr, L. M. Starr, 
Capt. O. H. Hall, Nathaniel Crosby, Thos. H. Smith, L. M. Simpson, W^ M. 
Seaton Ogden, John M. Breck, N. H. Owens, Orlando McKnight, F. M. Smith, 

A. L. Francis, I. B. Francis, Otis J. Dimick, John Orvis Waterman, John 
Thomas, Chas. Lawrence, W. D. M. Carter, Mr. Southmayed (printer), Mr. 
Berry (printer), C. A. Reed, E. B. Comfort, Harley McDonald, Geo. W. Hig- 
gins, Thos. Frazar, Mr. Jewett, T. B. McElroy, Sam A. Clark, Jos. Durbrow, 
John Ferguson, Wm. McMillan, Dave Lewis, Frank Matthias, Lewis Day, Mr. 
Adams, Richard Hoyt, Zenas Webber, Anthony L. Davis, Jas. Warren Davis, 
Thomas A. Davis, Lucien Snow, Herman Wasserman, Fleming family, John 
M. Murphy, Dr. E. H. Griffin, Mr. Ettlinger, Mr. Simonsfield, A. L. Lovejoy, 
F. W. Pettygrove, L. B. Hastings, D. S. Baker, Geo. W. Snell, Dr. Samuel 
Hooper, Deveaux Babcock, C. B. Pillow, A. V. Wilson, Clark Drew, M. N. 
Lucas, Peter Fulkerson, John B. Talbot and family, John Donnel and family, 
Mr. Bennett, O. Travalliot, Lucius H. Allen, C. H. Lewis, Peter DeWitt, John 
H. Couch, George Sherman, P. Hihert. M. Chappellier, Mr. Daulne, John Rick- 
etson, John Mears, Frank E. Webster, Dan Stewart, Jas. Fruit, R. R. Reese, 
Thos. J. Dryer, Benj. Stark, Nehemiah Northrup. Mr. Northrup, Thos. J. 
Holmes, D. H. Hendee, Thos. A. Savier, John D. Walker, D. C. Coleman, W. 
S. Ladd, Sam Bell, Lewis May, Geo. A. Barnes, Mr. Barnes, Heil Barnes, Capt. 

B. F. Smith, Thos. Pritchard, Hiram Smith, I. B. Smith, Richard Kissarn 


Cooke, R. M. Field, Jas. Field, S. S. Slater, A. H. Johnson, A. C. Bonnell, 
Zachariah Norton, R. P. Boise, Alexander Campbell, W. B. Otway, W. P. 
Abrams, Mr. Sheney, John Harlow, Moses Abbett, Dr. Isaac A. Davenport, 
Stephen G. Skidmore, A. P. Dennison, G. C. Robbins, C. G. Birdseye, W. B. 
Marye, J. Blumauer, W. W. Chapman, D. H. Lownsdale, Stephen Coffin, Thos. 
Hartness, J. B. Backenstos, E. D. Backenstos, Rev. Father Croke, A. B. Hal- 
lock, Frank DeWitt, Thos. Carter, Chas. M. Carter, T. Jefferson Carter, A. N. 
King, Geo. H. Flanders, R. C. Baldra, Wm. Grooms, C. C. Redman, John W. 
W. McKay, Frank Tilford, Sherry Ross, Mr. Ross, E. L. Goldstein, Nelson 
Ham, John C. Carson, Joseph S. Smith, J. B. V. Butler, Mr. McBride, Mrs. 
Apperson and family, C. S. Silver, Jacob Kamm, Sargent, of Sargent & Ricket- 
son, John C. Markly, Ed. Chambreau, Samuel D. Smith, George Kittridge, L. 
C. Potter, Danforth Balch, Captain Irving, Gideon Tibbetts, Jas. Wheeler, David 
N. Birdseye, Mr. Clinkenbeard, Mr. Wimple, Chas. P. Bacon, Wm. Sherlock, 
Mr. Henderson, David Fuller, J. L. Parrish, Norman Parrish, Samuel B. Par- 
rish, Chas. W. Parrish, French Lewis, Mr. Camp, Samuel Marsh, the Hoberts 
family, Hiram Wilbur, W. B. Doublebower, Elijah B. Davidson, Dr. Perry 
Prettyman, Edw. Long, Louis Love, Clinton Kelly, Wm. Naylor, Jas. Thomp- 
son, Eli Stewart, Dr. Ralph Wilcox, Geo. Loring, John Elliott, Geo. Elliott, 
Wm. L. Higgins, Wm. S. Coldwell, Richard Wiley, Wm. Bennett. 

The following is a list of those now living (November 20, 1910) who have 
been continuous residents of Portland from the date of their arrival up to the 
present time (list furnished by Mr.. George H. Himes, secretary of Oregon 
Pioneer Association) : ^ T-Vi.g>;5i,v ^jv^ii-^u- , 

1845. Hiram Terwilliger, Mrs. Charlotte M. Cartwright, Adam McNamee. 

1846. Mrs. Eva Bartenstein, sister of Adam McNamee, born in Port- 

1847. H. W. Prettyman, Mrs. S. J. Perry, Mrs. Otelia DeWitt (this lady 
Hved a few years in the valley), John W. Cullen, Mrs. D. S. Stimson, Mrs. 
W. S. Powell. 

1848. Penumbra Kelly, James W. King. 

1849. James S. Backenstos, Mrs. AHce T. Bird, A. B. Stuart. 

1850. J. C. Carson, Mrs. William Grooms, I. H. Gove. 

1 85 1. George L, Story. 

The following are now residents of Portland, but who have not lived here 
continuously : 

1840. Mrs. Jacob Kamm (born in Oregon). 

1841. Capt. Thomas Mountain, Mrs. C. J. Hood, Mrs. Maria Smith, born 
in Salem, Mrs. Mary Elliott. 

1842. F. X. Matthieu. 

1843. Mrs. John G. Baker, Mrs. Isabel Bertrand, Mrs. S. G. Foster, Mrs. 
Rebecca Griffiths, Mrs. L. H. Patterson, Mrs. L. E. Wright (Lents). 

1844. Mrs. P. G. Baker, Mrs. J. H. Adams (born in Oregon), Mrs. Ann 
Bain, Mrs. Mary Cline, Mrs. Elizabeth Sager Helm, Mrs. M. J. Jarnot (bom 
in Oregon), F. Lee Lewes, John Minto, T. M. Ramsdell, Mrs. L. E. Reynolds 
(born in Oregon), Mrs. M. P. Sax. 

1845. J- W- A- Belieu, Mrs. L. J. Bennett, Charles Bolds, Mrs. Minerva 
Bowles, Mrs. A. R. Capps, Mrs. M. J. Comstock, Mrs. C. Cornehus, Mrs. 
Rachel Cornelius, Mrs. Lydia Crandall, Mrs. Sarah A. I. Hawk, Mrs. Adeline 
Gore, William F. Helm, Mrs. Sarah J. Henderson. Mrs. F. Henshaw, C. O. 
Hosford, W. Carey lohnson, Mrs. M. O. Moore, Mrs. A. H. Morgan, W. H. 
H. Morgan, G. L. PaVker, Mrs. D. P. Thompson, Mrs. Julia H. Wilcox, Thomas 
Stephens (born in Portland). 

1846. N. H. Bird (born in Yamhill county), Mrs. John Catlin, Mrs. Mary 
Clymer, Mrs. Matthew P. Deady, Mrs. Edna Failing (born in CaHfornia), Mrs. 
Ohva H. Failing (born on the plains). Miss Frances Holman, Mrs. Prudence 

-•^- v.^*-***-^^ 

T ='^ ii H ^' W '^ .") ' ?f 

>...•.■ »»■ ,w // i ^J .-\ i?\ 


1 — Mrs. Liicina Coffin, wife of Stephen Coffin, aged ninety-two years. 2 — Charles Raj, 
carried first United States mail out of Portland, aged eighty-one years. 3 — A. P.. 
Stewart, carried United States military dispatches during Indian wars, aged eighty-one 
years. 4 — Mrs. Julia Wilcox, wife of the first physician in Portland, aged ninety-two 
years. All still living in Portland except Mrs. Coffin, who passed away a few months ago. 


Holston (born in Oregon), Mrs. Kate Lewis, Mrs. O. G. Marks, Mrs. Clemen- 
tine McEwan, Mrs. N. E. Poppleton. 

1847. J- T. Apperson (lived here two or three years before going to Clack- 
amas county), Mrs. S. J. Apperson, Mrs. R. Barber, Mrs. Nancy Capps, Mrs. 
C. W. Cottel (born in Oregon), John W. Cullen, Mrs. Gertrude Hall Denny, 
Mrs. E. Everest, William E. Jolly, Mrs. EHzabeth Kent, W. T. Legg, Mrs. E. J. 
Landess, WiUiam Morfitt, Mrs. Virginia McDaniel, Mrs. N. J. McPherson, 
Mrs. Phebe M. McGrew, Mrs. Mary Shelton, Mrs. Emma Ross Slavin, Seneca 
Sm.ith, Mrs. S. L. Veazie, F. A. Watts, Mrs. J. W. Whalley, Mrs. EHza Elliott 
White, Mrs. E. J. Woolley, Mrs. M. Wright. 

1848. Mrs. Aurora W. Bowman, Mrs. M. A. Chance, Mrs. J. K. Gill (born 
in Oregon), Mrs. H. E. Hinton, D. J. Holmes, Mrs. A. A. Kellogg, Mrs. Cath- 
erine Hutton (Mt. Tabor), Mrs. Harriett Hoover Killin (born in Oregon), 
John W. Minto (born in Oregon), Mrs. E. E. Morgan, Mrs. Clara Watt Mor- 
ton, Mrs. Inez E. Parker, S. E. Starr, Mrs. G. A. Thomas, Mrs. Louise Walker, 
Mrs. Roxana Watt White. 

1849. S. D. Adair, Mrs. E. M. Wait, Reuben Weeks, Mrs. R. Wicks, Mrs. 
Louise Bowie, H. B. Campbell, Mrs. J. M. Freeman, Jardin Jereleman, G. C. 
Love, Mrs. M. B. Quivey, John McCraken (Mrs. McCraken was born some 
time before 1837), Mrs. Martha M. Taylor, Mrs. Sarah A. Thompson. 

1850. O. J. Bales, Mrs. C. L. Belieu, Charles Hutchins, W. S. Chapman 
(born in Oregon), I. G. Davidson, Mrs. M. E. Dixon (born in Oregon), Robert 
Earl, Mrs. H. C. Exon, Jacob Kamm, Mrs. Jane Ferguson, Rev. John Flinn, 
M. J. Gleason, Mrs. R. L. Henness (Mt. Tabor), Mrs. Sarah Heulat, Mrs. 
S. J. Hoopengarner, J. J. Hoskins, Mrs. M. C. Howard, H. S. Gile, Mrs. Louisa 
A. Jones, Mrs. B. B. Kucasy (a niece of George Donner, head of the Donner 
party of Donner lake, winter of 1846-47), Mrs. S. J. Lucas, Mrs. J. N. T. 
Miller, Mrs. Thomas Moffett, Wm. H. Musgrove, Mrs. L. A. McDonald, J. M. 
Mclntyre, George A. Pease, Mrs. M. E. Ryan, G. D. Robinson, J. S. Simmons, 
Mrs. T. W. Spencer, Mrs. L. C. Weatherford, Edwin Wilcox. 


1850— 1868. 

The First Ferry — The First Wagon Road — The First City Election 
— Land Titles, and Litigation Thereon — Judges, Matthew P. 
Deady and George H. Williams Decide the Laws Made by the 
Provisional Government Are Binding — The Public Levee — Gen- 
eral Condition of the Country in l8^6, by H. W. Scott, of the 
Advisory Board. 

For the first years of Portland, the people were dependent solely on water 
transportation. To get to the town, or get away from it, the only chance was 
by canoes, sail boats, batteaux or steamboats. There was not a single wagon 
road, and no thought of one until the town proprietors saw that a wagon road 
from Portland out to the farms in Tualitin plains (now Washington county) 
was absolutely necessary to head off the movement to build the commercial city 
at St. Helens. 

The first opening to Portland by a land route came from a trail from the 
Barlow road, into what is now known as East Portland. Etienne Lucier had 
been at work over there for a few years opening a little farm at the point where 
East Morrison street intersects Union avenue, and had opened a trail down to 
the river. And belated, stranded and misguided travelers began to work their 
way in from the direction of Milwaukee and Oregon City, and got down to the 
riv^r by Lucier's trail. At first the Indians with their canoes would set people 
across the river, but soon it was discovered that a ferry right at that point would 
be valuable. And before James Stephens took notice of any rights he might 
have in the matter as claimant of the land, a bold speculator in ferry franchises 
"jumped" the Lucier trail and the ferry landing at the river end of it. And 
immediately, the man who had rigged a skiff and v/as engaging in the ferry 
business to accomodate travelers, was told he must not land his boat there under 
penalty of immediate death from a loaded shotgun in the hands of the would-be 
land claimant. The scene was watched with intense interest from the Portland 
shore. But the ferryman was equal to the occasion. As his boat neared the 
east shore, laying down his oars preparatory of taking a rope to make a landing, 
he snatched up a rifle from the bottom of the boat and in a twinkling had the 
bold bad man on shore covered with his gun, and the passengers landed without 

This incident only shows how this city started and grew out of the most 
difficult and trying circumstances that ever attended the founding of any American 
city. There is not a single large city in the United States, except Portland, but 
what had for its foundations some sort of authority or law from a sovereign 
ruler or government. Portland was in a worse position than in a country where 



there was no law, and no claim to the country, by any state or nation. For here 
there was not only no law to found any rights upon, but the country was in dis- 
pute between two rival nations, and no one knew whether any act they did in 
good faith would ever be recognized. 

The first means of land transportation was started from Portland in the 
project of a wagon road west from the city through the "canyon" up Tanners 
creek, so called from Lownsdale starting his tannery on it. The people did not 
see the necessity of this road until the St. Helens townsite owners started a road 
from their town to reach the farmers on Tualitin plains. Money was raised, the 
timber cut out, and a narrow track graded up the canyon, winding around the 
base of the overhanging hills. And then in a great burst of enterprise, it was 
resolved to make a plank road of it. A wagon load of planks were sawed out 
down at Reed and Abrams mill and hauled out to the starting point, about where 
the city reservoir is located, and the whole town went out to celebrate the opening 
of the graded track and the commencement of the grand plank highway. General 
Coffin was master of ceremonies and laid the first plank, and then lawyer Frank 
Tilford made the speech for the occasion, and in which he said among many 
other encouraging things : 

"This is the commencement of an era of commercial prosperity, which will 
continue to increase until the iron horse takes the place of the plank road. There 
are persons now within the sound of my voice that will live to see the day when 
a main trunk railroad will be extended from sea to sea ; from the Atlantic to the 

Very true, orator Tilford. Your prophecy uttered on October 15, 185 1 was 
realized for Oregon, on September 10, 1883, by the completion of the line made 
up of the Northern Pacific from St. Paul to the old town of Ainsworth on Snake 
river, just above its junction with the Columbia, and the line of the Oregon Rail- 
way and Navigation Company from Ainsworth to Portland — 32 years after 
Tilford's prophecy. 

In October, 1850, the Methodist church at the corner of Third and Taylor 
streets was opened and dedicated to divine worship. 

The Congregational church at the corner of Second and Jefiferson, was opened 
in 185 1. 

The First Catholic church, at the corner of Third and Stark streets, was 
erected in 185 1, and dedicated in February, 1852. 

St. John's Day was celebrated by the Masons the first time in Portland in 
1850. The Masons and the common people assembled at the Masonic hall, 
surrounded by logs and stumps, formed a procession and marched to the Methodist 
church, where Thomas J. Dryer, founder and editor of the Oregonian, delivered 
an oration. Rev. Horace Lyman, delivered an address, Lieut. Russell of the 
United States army, from Fort Vancouver, acting as Worthy Grand Master. 

In this year, the Sons of Temperance were organized in Portland with great 
enthusiasm and large numbers. 

In April 185 1, the first city election was held. No politics involved. Two 
hundred and twenty-two votes were cast, and H. D. O'Bryant elected mayor; 
W. S. Caldwell, recorder, with R. R. Thompson, Shubrick Norris, George A. 
Barnes, Thomas G. Robinson and L. B. Hastings, for councilmen — thus ushering 
in the first city government of the city of Portland. 


As was easily forseen, there could not be laid out and built up a city in this 
territory on any titles founded on the facts existing here in 1844, without incurring 
great doubts as to legality, if not endless litigation. And such turned out to be 
the case. And there was scarcely a single possibility for it to be otherwise, no 
matter what the intentions of the land holders were. In 1844, the title to the 
country was still in dispute between the United States and Great Britain. After 


years of earnest entreaty by the settlers, after a provisional government had been 
formed, and after the whole people of the United States at the presidential elec- 
tion of 1844 had overwhelmingly voted for immediate war unless our title was 
conceded clear up to the Alaska line — after all this, the Polk administration 
pottered along as if dickering for a barrel of potatoes, while the Americans in 
Oregon were risking everything to save the country for the Union 

The Oregon provisional government had done all in its power to hasten a 
settlement and give assurance of security for land titles. But it had no authority 
in the matter. Its laws were not the acts of a recognized state or nation. And 
even if Great Britain was ousted from the country, congress might not ratify or 
maintain the laws, or the grants of land by the provisional government, but 
displace all such provisional proceedings as premature and inoperative. 

That was the legal phase of the case. The real facts of the case show the 
townsite proprietors to be actuated by the highest sense of honor and fair dealing. 
To fortify possession with every possible defence against insecurity of title, 
and guarantee to purchasers of lots in the new town — make assurance double 
sure — Lownsdale, Coffin and Chapman entered into the most solemn and carefully 
prepared written contracts, to secure in any event all the title they could get from 
the United States, and convey the same to the purchasers of lots ; binding them- 
selves jointly and severally, in large bonds to make such deeds. 

But as the titles to all the lands obtained and sold by the townsite proprietors 
have long since been quieted and settled, the matter can be of interest only in a 
general and historical sense, and in no way as a technical legal question. And 
as the decisions of United States judges, Sawyer and Deady, deal with the broad 
principles of justice on which the town was founded in its anomalous legal 
surroundings, the important parts of those decisions will be given. Says Judge 
Sawyer (First Sawyer, Rep. p. 619) : 

"It is a matter of public history, of which the court can take notice, that 
Oregon was settled while the sovereignty of the country was still in dispute 
between the United States and Great Britain ; that subsequently a provisional 
government was organized and put in operation by the people, without any 
authority of the sovereign powers ; that laws were passed temporarily regulating 
and protecting claims made upon public lands ; and that afterwards, the territorial 
government was established under the authority of congress and put in opera- 
tion long before there was any law or means by which the real title to any portion 
of land in Oregon could be obtained. The title to the lands in Oregon were 
vested in the United States from the moment that the right of sovereignty was 
acquired, and the first law that was passed, by v/hich the title in fee could in any 
way be acquired from the government, was the said Act of September 10, 1850, 
called the Donation Act. Long before that time, however, an organized com- 
munity had existed ; lands had been taken up and improved ; towns laid out, 
established and built up, having a considerable population and a growing com- 
merce. It was necessary, in the nature of things, that some right of property 
should be recognized in lands, in the dealings of the peoi)le among themselves, 
and laws were adopted by the provisional government regulating the subject. 
Tracts of land were taken up, and claimed by the settlers within the limits, as 
to quantity allowed ; towns laid off, and lands and town lots sold and conveyed 
from one to another, in all respects as though the parties owned the fee, except 
that every party dealing with the lands, necessarily knew that he did not, and 
could not, under the existing laws obtain the fee from the real proprietor. 

"But between man and man, possession is evidence of title in fee, as against 
everybody but the true owner. The law protects in his possession the party who 
has once possessed himself of, and appropriated to his use a piece of unoccupied 
land, until he has lost his possession and right of possession by abandonment, 
as against everybody but the true owner. Such possession and right of possession 
are recognized as property by the common law, and the right is protected and 
enforced by the courts. * * * Prior appropriation is the origin of all titles. 


Prior discovery and an actual or constructive appropriation is the origin of title 
even in governments themselves. For communities situated like that in the early 
settlement of Oregon, no rule could be adopted which would better subserve the 
public interest than to treat prior occupancy as giving a provisional title to lands 
in reasonable quantities and under proper restrictions, and thereafter, until the 
real title can be obtained from the government, deal with it as between individuals 
in all respects as if the prior occupancy originated and vested a title in fee. This 
is the natural order of things, and affords a rule of conduct consonant with the 
ordinary course of dealings, and the common experience of mankind in organized 

Proceeding upon this broad basis, the judge cited the circumstances of the 
case in hand ; the Portland land claims were taken up, lots sold, improved and 
lived upon. The party thus occupying acquired possession as against all but 
the true owner — the United States. This right could be transferred by sale like 
any other. 

"Lownsdale was, on March 30, 1849, i^ possession of the six hundred and 
forty acres, except certain lots already sold. On that day two instruments were 
executed, each evidently a part of one and the same transaction, between Lowns- 
dale and Coffin, forming a partnership, by which the legal title was to be vested 
in Coffin, but to be held in trust for the joint benefit of the two. All profits of 
sale were to be divided, every exertion made to acquire title, each paying half of 
expenses, and upon dissolution Coffin is to convey one-half to Lownsdale of 
whatever he may have under title. In this agreement Lownsdale and Coffin 
were to own each a half interest in all the six hundred and forty acres, except 
certain lots already sold to various parties as town property ; but every exertion 
was to be made to gain a title to the whole six hundred and forty acres, not 
excepting those lots — showing that they claim no further interest in those lots, 
but were to get title to them for the benefit of those to whom the lots had been sold. 

"When, in 1849, Chapman was admitted, the three partners were to have an 
equal interest in the property, excepting town lots already sold previous to this 
date as town property ; and, in 1852, when the section had to be divided up in 
severalty, so that the proprietors might obtain a title on their own individual 
account, as provided by the Donation Act, they make an agreement in which they 
set forth the fact that they have already obligated themselves to make to their 
grantees a general warranty deed whenever they, as grantors, shall obtain title 
from the United States, and bind themselves again to make such deeds to the 
original grantees, their heirs, assigns, etc., whenever they should get the patents 
for which they were then taking steps to obtain. 

"Whenever a new partner was admitted it was expressly provided that the 
lots already sold should be excluded from the use of the partners, but that the 
title must be got for all. Whence it follows that acquisition of title was for the 
benefit of the purchasers, and not of the vendors — partners — only." 

It was also further held by Judge Sawyer that although Lownsdale only 
promised to give the deed when he got a title, and was under no compulsion by 
that promise to get a title, yet nevertheless that when he did proceed to obtain 
a patent, although voluntarily, he was not thereby relieved of the trust which 
rested in his promise or covenant, but that the trust, having passed from the 
covenant, now vested in the title, which he procured ; and the title thus acquired 
was in pursuance of the covenant, and therefore for the benefit of the parties 
designated in the covenant. Moreover, it could not be allowed that Lownsdale 
was receiving any new valuable consideration from the vendees when he agreed 
to acquire for them a deed for lots previously purchased and paid for, since 
the only possible value derivable to him from such deed, or promise of it, would 
be to prevent purchasers going forward to make a claim to their lots in their 
own name, under the donation act, and thus allow him an opportunity to file on 
the whole claim and get legal title to the whole of it, to the exclusion of the 
owners or purchasers of the lots. But that would be a presumption of bad 


faith and fraud, which should not be admitted. The fact that Lownsdale pro- 
ceeded voluntarily to get title and not under compulsion of his covenant, or 
that he received no valuable consideration for procuring this title, would not, 
therefore, make any difference with the binding nature of his covenant, which 
was legally fulfilled by the very fact of his obtaining title. 

Still further, it was held that the clause requiring an affidavit of those en- 
tering lands under the donation act, that such land was for their own use and 
they had made no contract to sell it, should be decided or interpreted in the same 
liberal spirit. It was held that the law was enacted with a view to the existing 
state of things, contemplating the fact that many settlers had been living long 
on their claims, had already sold and bought; and that to confirm sales already 
made, in the course of business in the past, was no "future contract" such as 
was contemplated and prohibited by the law. At all events, the clause must be 
construed so as to work both ways; if it were held to prevent those who had 
bought land from Lownsdale from holding their lots, it must also be held to 
prevent Lownsdale from perfecting his title, since it was no more an infraction 
of the law for them to buy than for Lownsdale to sell. But Lownsdale had 
been permitted to obtain title, in spite of his former promise to grant titles to 
purchasers, and upon the validity of his patent must the whole validity of the 
claim of the plaintiffs be made to rest. But if his title was valid in face of his 
covenant, that covenant was not invalidated by the clause in the donation act 
prohibiting future contracts. 

Judge Deady concurred in the following language: *T concur in the conclu- 
sion reached by the circuit judge. After careful consideration, and not without 
some doubt and hesitation, I have become satisfied that by force of the agree- 
ment of March lo, 1852, and the subsequent action of Lownsdale, Coffin and 
Chapman, under and in pursuance of it, each of them took and obtained from 
the United States a separate portion of the land claim in trust for the pur- 
chasers or vendees of any lots situated therein, and before that time sold by 
any or all of these parties. 

"From the passage of the Donation Act, September 27, 1850, and prior 
thereto, Lownsdale, Coffin and Chapman had held this land claim in common, 
and made sales of lots throughout the extent and with intent to conform to the 
provisions of said act and obtain the benefit thereof, they partitioned the claim 
between themselves so that each was thereafter enabled to proceed for himself 
and notify upon and obtain a donation of a separate portion of the whole tract. 
"The donation act was a grant in praesenti. Each of these settlers — Lowns- 
dale, Coffin and Chapman — was upon the land at the date of its passage, and 
from that time is deemed to have an estate in fee simple in his donation, subject 
only to be defeated by a failure on his part to perform the subsequent condi- 
tions of residence, cultivation and a proof thereof. This being so, it follows 
that at the date of this agreement either of these parties could impress a trust 
upon his donation in favor of any one. And even if it be considered that the 
settlers acquired no interest in the land until the partition and notification be- 
fore the surveyor-general, still each one having acquired a separate portion of 
the common claim in pursuance and partly by means of this agreement, as soon 
as he did so acquire it, the trust provided for in it became as executed at once; 
and might be enforced by the beneficiary thereof, although a mere volunteer, 
from whom no meritorious consideration moved." 

He summed up the case thus: "I think the agreement of March 10. 1852, 
a valid instrument, and not within the prohibition entered in section four of the 
Donation Act, against 'all future contracts for the sale of land' granted by the 
act. By its terms it appears to be a contract concerning the making of title to 
the parcels or lots of land already sold, and for aught that appears before the 
passage of the Donation Act. But if this were doubtful, good policy, it seems 
to me, requires that the instrument, as between the parties to it and in favor 
of those intended to be benefited by it, should be so construed and upheld." 


This decision settled the titles to the lots that had been sold before the town- 
site owners had got any title themselves. But another set of lawsuits, founded 
on entirely different facts and legal principles, arose out of the public levee 
question — the strip of land between the shore line of the river and the east line 
of Front street. The people of Portland were firmly of the opinion that this 
strip of land was public property for the use of all the people, for the purposes 
of a levee or public landing just as it may be seen at such cities as Wheeling, 
West Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio, and St. Louis, Missouri. 

The matter was brought into court in 1850. In that year Mr. Lownsdale 
had a building erected upon the fractional block east of Front street, between 
the river and a lot owned by J. L. Parrish. The latter claimed that his free 
use of the river was impaired thereby, that the understanding in accordance 
with which he had purchased his lot was violated, and he therefore sued to have 
the obstruction removed. While the case was pending, a compromise was agreed 
upon that if Parrish would withdraw the suit, the river front from Washington 
to Main street should be dedicated as a public levee for the free use of the 
people. The fact that the proprietors made any such concession shows plainly 
that they recognized the popular idea as at least partially correct, and was an 
admission that they had given the people some right to suppose that they might 
use the river bank without rent or other payment. In this case, the matter 
was proposed to be settled the more willingly by the proprietors, because a vexa- 
tious lawsuit as to title of any considerable portion of the town tended to retard 
growth, and to derange business. 

But the people of the city took no wise steps to secure their rights if they 
had any. The suit to remove obstructions was not withdrawn, and therefore 
Lownsdale was released from his part of the promise. The common council 
of Portland acted in a manner somewhat peculiar and contradictory. They 
either forgot that they had any rights to protect and secure for the city, or 
deemed these of little importance. In 1850, Lownsdale had had the city sur- 
veyed by one R. V. Short, and from this survey a map was made by John 
Brady. According to this map, Front street — then called Water street — was 
bounded on the east side by a line parallel with the western boundary, and the 
land on the river bank east of the street was laid off in lots and blocks, accord- 
ing to the meanderings of the river. In 1852, the common council seemed to 
consider it a good plan to adopt some map as an authoritative diagram of the 
city, and probably because the Brady map was most convenient, they declared 
it to be the correct plat of Portland. By this stroke they signed away whatever 
right they had to the levee. In i860, however, another council revived the old 
matter, having discovered during the eight years intervening that the Brady 
map made no account of the levee, and they now declared that the river front 
was public property. A crusade was made against those who had put buildings 
upon the levee, and it was ordained that all such obstructions be removed. About 
this time, if report is not at fault, Mr. George W. Vaughn, one of Portland's 
early mayors and the proprietor of the Portland flouring- mill, was ousted from 
his holding on the levee, by order of the council, and in disgust took up his 
residence for a time in the rival city of Vancouver. A wharf that was in pro- 
cess of construction according to the directions of J. P. O. Lownsdale, was pro- 
ceeded against. His agents and builders were arrested, and it was threatened 
to tear down the structure. 

After these vigorous measures, however, a great hubbub having been raised, 
the council changed its course, repealed its former declaration, and ordained 
that the levee was private property, and that taxes must be paid upon it. The 
suit brought by Mr. J. P. O. Lownsdale to enjoy the use and possession of his 
property was decided in his favor — the court finding that there was no proof 
that Lovejoy, Pettygrove, Chapman, Coffin or D. H. Lownsdale had ever 
given the levee to the public ; that they had no power to give anything of this 
property before 1850, since there was no title before that date; that Lowns- 


dale's donation certificate gave him title to the levee; that he claimed all pro- 
prietary rights upon it, using, renting and selling portions, and that the city 
had twice publicly admitted his claim, and had compelled him to pay taxes upon 
it. Nevertheless, it will always be understood by many that at the beginning, 
or in the early days, Portland supposed she owned the water front for the 
public, and that the proprietors had some intention of facilitating commerce 
and providing against extortion of wharfingers by having a free front for the 
use of boatmen, farmers and shippers. But whatever rights she had used, she 
allowed to slip through her fingers. 

There was, however, a levee still left. General Coffin dedicated to the city 
a strip from Jefferson street southward along the river bank to Clay street. He 
reserved for himself only the right of using it for purposes of ferriage, but 
afterward sold this right to the city, giving at that time a quit claim to the 
whole tract. The question what to do with the property was variously agitated 
at different times before the city council. Recommendations for leasing it for 
the benefit of the city were incorporated in municipal reports, and suggestions 
for improvements so as to make it of service to the public, were occasionally 

It looks quite reasonable at this distance of time, that the people of Portland 
in 1850 were right in their contentions about the public levee; and that a levee 
was really the intention of the town proprietors. Why, then, did they abandon 
that idea ? The only explanation that can be given, is, that when Captain Couch 
made improvements on the water front of his property, he built a covered wharf 
after the manner of river and seaport towns in New England. And it was at 
once seen that this plan was better for shipping on this river and at this port 
than the open ground levee plan. 

And because it was better and more convenient for shipping it was seen that 
Couch would get all the ships to his end of the town and the city would be built 
down there. And so the townsite proprietors themselves put up the first wharves 
and docks on the original levee strip, and sold the rights to others to so build. 

And thus, by the neglect or lack of foresight of our city pioneers, the levee 
strip of land, and all its values for public docks, was lost to their city. And now, 
in 1910, sixty years afterwards, the voters of the city at the late state election, 
by a large majority vote, authorized a debt in the shape of city bonds, to the 
extent of $2,500,000, to purchase back from the owners, more or less of this 
old 1850 levee land, and build thereon public docks. Thus man in all his wisdom, 
goes stumbling through the world. 

It might be assumed from what has been recorded that the people had no 
protection in the forms of law from any source, or thought they had none, until 
the United States assumed control of the country. But this is not justified by 
the record. The provisional government at Oregon City had, upon its organiza- 
tion, promptly passed an act to provide title to land claims, as has been recorded. 
And although the people had taken that largely on faith, yet the sequel shows 
that the lawfully organized courts of the United States did afterwards fully 
recognize and decide the provisional government to be a lawful and legitimate 
organization, and that its authorization and regulation of land titles must be 
sustained. On passing upon this question, in the case of Lownsdale vs. City of 
Portland, decided by Judge Deady in 1861, and in the case of Baldra vs. Tolmie, 
decided by Qiief Justice Williams, in First Oregon Rep. 178, the court holds: 

"It is well known that at the time of the organization of Oregon territory, an 
anomalous state of things existed here. The country was extensively settled and 
the people were living under an independent government, established by them- 
selves. They were a community in the full sense of the word, engaged in agri- 
cultural, trade, commerce and mechanics arts ; had built towns, opened and 
improved farms, established highways, passed revenue laws and collected taxes,, 
made war and concluded peace. 


"Confessedly the provisional government of this territory was a government 
de facto, and if it be admitted that governments derive their 'just powers from 
the consent of the governed,' then it was a government de jure. Emigrants who 
first settled Oregon, upon their arrival here, were without any political organiza- 
tion to protect themselves from foes without, or to preserve peace within ; and, 
therefore, self-preservation constrained them to establish a system of self-govern- 
ment. Congress, knowing their necessities and withholding the customary pro- 
visions for such a case, tactily acquiesced in the action of the people, and, on the 
14th of August, 1848, expressly recognized its correctness and validity. No 
reason can be imagined for holding that the people of Oregon, in 1844, had no 
right to make such laws as their wants required; for where the functions of 
government have not been assumed or exercised by any other competent authority, 
it cannot be denied that such a power is inherent in the inhabitants of any 
country, isolated and separated as Oregon was from all other communities of 
civilized men. Some effort has been made to assimilate the laws in question to 
mere neighborhood agreements, but the argument seems to apply with equal 
force to the acts of all governments established by the people." 

A sketch of the conditions of the town and country from 1850 to 1856, from 
the pen of a man who actually passed through that period, Mr. H. W. Scott, of 
the advisory board, is here added, that readers may know the actual facts from 
one eye witness. 

"A youth who had come from Puget Sound, from Olympia to the Cowlitz 
river, down the Cowlitz in a canoe with a couple of Indians, and from the mouth 
of the Cowlitz to Portland on the steamboat Willamette, crossed the Willamette 
river in a skiff at the foot of Stark street, on the morning of Ocober 4, 1856, 
taking the road on foot for Oregon City, he arrived there at 11 o'clock; and 
from Oregon City pushed on to the southern end of Clackamas county that after- 
noon, to a point near Butte creek, arriving there at 6 p. m., thirty-six miles from 
Portland. It was a good days walk, but for those times, only ordinary work. 

Last Thursday, October 4, 1906, this person, after the lapse of fifty years, 
again crossed the Willamette river at Portland, for observation and retrospect — 
walking over the Morrison street bridge. 

Portland in 1856, contained about eighteen hundred inhabitants. All busi- 
ness was on Front street. A few residences were established as far back as 
Sixth street, and south as far as Jefferson ; but throughout the whole district 
west of First street, no streets or roads had yet been opened on regular lines, 
and only paths, trails and zigzag roads made by woodmen, led the way through 
stumps and logs and over uneven places, out into the forest. The Canyon road 
had been opened, but was yet almost inaccessible from the nascent city, and most 
difficult of passage or travel when reached. The Barnes or Cornell road was even 
more difficult, for it had sharper turns and steeper places. It crossed Canyon or 
Tanner creek near the Multnomah field, ascended the hill through the present 
city park, and further on entered the ravine, upon which it followed substantially 
the track of the present road to the summit. In many places these roads were 
so narrow that teams could not pass each other, and most of the logs had been 
cut out at lengths, or widths, that gave room for only a single vehicle. In the 
winter there was bottomless mud — though the Canyon road was cross-laid with 
timber a portion of the way. No one who passes over those roads now can have 
any idea of the size of the trees or the density of the forest then. The logs, under- 
growth, ridges and gulleys, hills, steeps and sharp turns in the ravines rendered 
road making a thing difficult now to comprehend or believe. 

S)C 2{C 3)C >{f 

On the east side, after passing the narrow strip of low land, of which Union 
avenue and Grand avenue are now the limits, there was unbroken forest then, 
and till long afterwards. The original donation claimants were the only inhabi- 
tants. The only house directly opposite Portland, was that of James B. Stephens. 


Others who held donation claims were Gideon Tibbetts and Qinton Kelly. To 
the north were the Wheeler and Irving claims, and to the south the Long claim. 
East Portland then had no name as a town. Years were to elapse before a 
beginning was made of clearing the site. The road towards Oregon City, after 
reaching the high ground, threaded the darkest and thickest of forests. With 
the exception of the small spot on the west side, that had been partially cleared — 
though logs and stumps everywhere abounded — the whole site of the present 
city was covered with 'the continuous woods where rolled the Oregon.' So 
dense was the forest, so impervious to the sun, so cool the shades, that the mud- 
holes in such roads as had been opened, scarcely dried the summer long. 

A fiatboat was maintained for a ferry at Stark street, with a skiff that would 
carry a single passenger, or two or three, which was used when there were no 
teams to cross. The east side, as we now call it, furnished little traffic for the 
ferry. Most of it came from Oregon City and beyond. 

The purpose of the youthful traveler in coming from Puget Sound, was to go 
to Forest Grove to school. But he first had occasion to go to the southern part 
of Clackamas county, and afterwards to Lafayette, in Yamhill. Thence to 
Forest Grove. The various stages of the journey were made on foot, after the 
manner of the time. The baggage was so light that it didn't get the Roman name 
of impedimentum. It was a single small satchel. President Marsh was the 
university at Forest Grove, and Judge Shattuck the academy. Both, of course, 
were men of all work, not only in school, but at home. Most students — there 
were not very many — 'boarded themselves.' A dollar a week was supposed to 
be money enough ; two dollars, luxurious living. 

At that time there was no school at Puget Sound, except a small private 
school at Olympia, kept by Rev. George F. Whitworth, pioneer missionary, who 
still lives at Seattle, and not long ago was at Portland. His school was a mixed 
school, in which only primary instruction was given, for there was no demand 
for higher. In Washington the public school had not begun ; in Oregon it was 
making here and there its earliest start. 

In October, fifty-four years ago, the weather was fine as now. The early 
rains had washed the smoky dust out of the atmosphere, and the woods were 
fresh and clean, untouched by frost. The cheerful spirits of the young and 
lonely traveler, who was on his way from Puget Sound that week, and who 
was, so far as he knows, the only passenger on the road, put nature also in 
her cheerfulest mood; for whether we find nature kind and genial, or harsh 
and sour, depends on ourselves. No stream was an obstacle; for, though there 
were no bridges, one had but to strip and wade or swim, carrying his clothes 
in a close pack on his shoulders, or pushing them ahead of him on a float. Some- 
times, on reaching a small stream, one would take the trouble to look for a 
foot log, over which he might pass, but not often, for the dense undergrowth 
along the stream hid everything, and it was often impossible to break through 
it. Besides, to wade or swim was nothing. All young fellows took it as a 
matter of course. On the Chehalis, on the Newaukum, on the Cowlitz, there 
was no place where you could get an outlook — ^not an even up and down the 
sinuous streams for any distance. The great trees and dense undergrowth 
shut out everything. Here and there a first settler was beginning his little 
clearing, but within a few years these first ones usually gave the effort up as 
hopeless. The clearing could come only with more powerful agencies that at- 
tended the railroad. At the Cowlitz farms was a prairie of some extent, that 
had long been occupied by the men of the Hudson's Bay Company. It was the 
only real nucleus of a settlement between Portland and Olympia — though here 
and there at long intervals were scattered habitations. Where the town of 
Chehalis now stands, a man named Saunders lived, at whose house most trav- 
elers stayed over night; and on the east fork of the Cowlitz, at its junction 
with the main stream, there was a settler named Gardiner, who, with his son, 
a boy of fifteen, lived the life of a hermit, yet would help on his way with fare 


of hardtack and bacon and a roof when it rained, the traveler who chanced to 
drop in on him. To the wayfarers of the CowHtz trail he was known as "Old 
Hardbread." Mighty good man he was. 

* * * * 

Western Oregon, fifty-four years ago, was so fully settled that the most 
desirable lands were most all taken. The great donation claims of 640 acres to 
man and wife covered all or nearly all the open valley lands. The country then 
was everything, the towns comparatively nothing; and Salem, as the center of 
agricultural Willamette, was in many ways a more important town than Port- 
land, as was proven by the fact that even at a later date it was able to get 
more votes for the state capital than Portland. Eastern Oregon was of little 
consequence then. In fact, the hostile Indians had driven out of the "upper 
country" the few whites who had tried to fix their homes there. Volunteers 
of Oregon and Washington were still in the field in pursuit of the hostile In- 
dians east of the mountains; but at Puget Sound and in southern Oregon, the 
contest with the Indians was practically ended. There were no white settlers 
yet in Idaho, which, indeed, was not made a territory until 1863. A consider- 
able trade had, however, grown up between Portland and the interior, by way 
of the Columbia river, which was first interrupted and afterward supported by 
the Indian war. Fifty years ago there was pretty regular steamboat movement 
between Portland and The Dalles, with portage connection at the Cascades. 
Between Portland and the Cascades the steamer Senorita, and between the Cas- 
cades and The Dalles, the steamer Mary, three times a week. It took two days 
to make the trip either way between Portland and The Dalles ; and in the Ore- 
gonian of October 4, 1856. W. S. Ladd gave notice that the price of freight 
by these boats from Portland to The Dalles was $40 a ton, ship measurement. 
The steamer Belle was at times one of the boats on the route. On the Willa- 
mette the steamer Portland ran to Oregon City, and the Enterprise from the 
falls to Corvallis. The Multnomah ran between Portland and Astoria, and the 
Jennie Clark, under Captain Ainsworth, between Portland and Oregon City. 
The Willamette, the boat on which this writer came from Rainier to Portland 
fifty years ago, had been brought around Cape Horn, but she was too expen- 
sive for service here, and was taken to California. Jacob Kamm and George 
A. Pease are the only ones of the early steamboat men who still live here. 
Kamm came to take charge of the engines of the Lot Whitcomb, built at Mil- 
waukee in 1850. She also' was taken, after a while, to San Francisco, as 
she was too large for the trade then on our rivers. E. W. Baughman, still 
on the upper Columbia and Snake rivers, began his steamboat career as a fire- 
man on the Whitcomb. Pease, at the age of twenty, began boating on the Willa- 
mette and Columbia in 1850. 

Transportation is a great part of the life even of the pioneer country, and 
Portland owed its early growth entirely to its position in relation to navigation 
on one hand, and to accessibility from the pioneer settlements on the other. 
With the outer world communication was had chiefly by steamer from San 
Francisco. Fifty years ago the steamer came usually twice a month. Latest 
news from the east was from one month to six weeks old. But it was matter 
only of mighty interest that could fix the attention of a people so nearly isolated 
from the world and devoted of necessity to the little life around them. People 
here hardly cared who was elected president in 1856. By i860 somewhat closer 
touch had been gained with the world. Oregon then for the first time was to 
vote for president, and the question of that year, resulting in the election of 
Abraham Lincoln, quickened the attention of all. Even so late as i860, the 
entire population of Oregon and Washington was but 62,059, more than three- 
fourths of which was in Oregon. 

But our pioneers, most of whom had come from the middle west, or upper 
Mississippi valley, and had much experience in pioneer life there, used to say 


that life here in our pioneer times never encountered so many difficulties or pri- 
vations as in the early settlement of the older states. The reason was that the 
great interior country out of which the states of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illi- 
nois and Missouri were formed, was remote from the seaboard and almost in- 
accessible from it. On the other hand, access to the Oregon country was had 
direct from the sea, and necessaries of many kinds were obtainable here soon 
after the settlement began, which the pioneers of the old west could not obtain 
at all. Especially after the discovery of gold in California, and after the rush 
thither began, tools, nails, glass and clothing could be had here. Our women in 
Oregon did not spin and weave in the households, as our mothers and grand- 
mothers did in the older states, in their pioneer time. Certain luxuries soon 
began to appear here which our pioneers had not known in the states whence 
they came. 

There were dried codfish, barreled pork, Malaga raisins and English wal- 
nuts. A few had carpets, possessions unknown to the early settlers of Illinois 
and Missouri. Attempts to imitate fashions in dress were not unknown. As 
soon as wheat and potatoes could be grown, living became easy, and in a sense 
luxurious ; for there was every kind of game, excellent fish in all waters, and 
the small wild fruits in greatest abundance. Social life was open, hearty and 
free. Every house was open to the comer, whether neighbor or stranger. If 
night overtook you and you wished to stay, you knew you would find welcome. 
You had to ask no questions. It was a thing of course. 

•T* "P T* "T^ 

The country lay isolated so long that it took on a character of its own. Man- 
ners, habits, customs, naturally assimilated. One year was very like another. 
The few who came into the country from year to year from abroad soon and 
naturally fell into the prevailing modes of life. Industry was not strenuous. 
Production was carried scarcely beyond the wants of our own people, for trans- 
portation was lacking, and accessibility to markets. Of course, the mercantile 
interest in such a community, though the leading one, could not be very great. 
The foundation of a few large fortunes were laid, but the country in general 
'got ahead' very little. As the years wore on there came some local railroad 
development ; but in the low state of industry then existing, it had little effect. 
It was not till connection was made by rail across the continent that the new 
era began. Even then, for a number of years, the progress was slow. It had 
taken time for the forces to gather that make for the modern progress. But 
now they are in operation to an extent, and with an energy that the survivors 
of the early times never could have expected to witness. Portland, as a leading 
center of this progress, presents wonderful aspects. No one who saw Portland 
fifty years ago, or thirty years ago, could have imagined the city would be or 
could be what it is today. And now we see that its growth is but just fairly 


1849— 1858. 

The Hudson Bay Company Offers to Sell Out — Organization of 
Territorial Government — Lane Reaches Oregon City — The First 
Census of Oregon — The Territorial and State Seals — Effect of 
the California Gold — Cost of Goods — Character of Clothes — 
Territorial Progress — Discovery of Gold in Oregon — Organiza- 
tion of State Government — State Officials, Notices of. 

Foreseeing that the aggressive Americans who had set up an independent 
American state in the heart of the Oregon wilderness, and surrounded on all 
sides by the forts of the Hudson's Bay Company, would sooner or later force 
the hand of the United States government and compel national suzerainty and 
thereby greatly depreciate, if not destroy the value of said company's possessions 
in Oregon, they set their agents to work to sell out to the United States. It was 
a cunningly devised scheme to make the Americans pay for a country they already 
owned. And the great wonder is, considering the disgraceful manner in which 
the Polk administration gave away one-half the American territory west of the 
Rocky mountains, that the Britishers did not get the American gold into the 

At the time this proposition was broached, in 1848, the Oregon provisional 
government was informally represented at Washington city by Col. Joseph Meek, 
and J. Quinn Thornton. The bill for a territorial government had been agreed 
upon. And pending final action, Mr. Knox Walker, the private secretary of 
President Polk, brought to Mr. Thornton at his lodgings in Washington city, a 
Mr. George N. Saunders, introduced him, and left him with Thornton. Mr. 
Saunders then opened up his business proposition, which was in substance, that 
in view of pending legislation which might induce inharmonious relations in 
Oregon, the Hudson's Bay Company were willing to sell out all their possessions 
in Oregon for the sum of three million dollars, and depart in peace. And further- 
more if Mr. Thornton would favor and advocate such a composition of imaginary 
troubles he would be paid a fee of twenty-five thousand dollars. Thornton regard- 
ing this, according to his own account of it, as an attempt to bribe him to betray 
his country, threatened to kick Saunders down stairs ; whereupon Saunders 
departed without that trouble. Not content with this, Thornton wrote a vehement 
letter to the president, bitterly denouncing the whole business, whereupon, the 
president's private secretary came back and asked Thornton to withdraw his 
letter, which he refused to do. 

That there was some foundation for this story, is presumable, from the fact 
that Sir George Simpson and Mr. Finlayson, representatives of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, visited Washington City at that time, and that on their leaving 



the city, they left the company's interests in the hands of the British charge de 
affairs, Crampton. The Hudson's Bay Company placed a large valuation on 
their property and lands in Oregon as guaranteed under the treaty of 1846. And 
as the Oregon Americans held in utter contempt their claims to the lands, it is 
not surprising that the company sought to recoup their losses through the 
national treasury. But the scheme was entirely too rank to have got through 
congress in the face of the uprising of public sentiment against what was called 
the "Loco-foco" sell out. "Loco-foco" was the slang name for Democracy in 
those days. 

But the sequel to this scheming behind the curtains is quite as interesting as 
the main play. The president had promised to appoint Thornton one of the 
territorial judges in Oregon, and congress had allowed an item of ten thousand 
dollars for incidental expenses in connection with the organizing of territorial 
government in Oregon. Thornton thought he ought to be allowed his expenses 
to Washington and return out of that fund. But on account of Thornton's letter 
above referred to, the president refused, and he also revoked his promise to 
appoint Thornton to a judgeship. Thornton then scurried around for help. 
Congressman Smith of the Alton, Illinois district, went to the president to allow 
Thornton to be paid, and the president refused. Then Senator Benton's influence 
was sought ; and Benton put the matter off on the "Little Giant," Senator 
Douglas. And Douglas, who was never beaten but once, and then by "Honest 
Old Abe," was equal to the emergency. He went to the president, and requested 
that Thornton be allowed his expenses and Polk refused him, as he had all the 
others. Then Douglas blandly remarked, "Well, I'll just give Thornton his 
expenses out of my own pocket, and let him get back to Oregon ; and at the next 
session of congress, I will introduce a bill to pay Thornton what he ought to 
have." This threat brought President James K. Polk to terms. He did not 
want the matter aired in the next congress, and he forthwith made an order that 
J. Quinn Thornton, representative of the Oregon provisional government, be 
allowed $2,750 for his traveling expenses from Oregon to Washington City and 
return. And this was the last mention of the provisional government of Oregon, 
congress or the president. 

Some people imagine that all the political corruption in this country com- 
menced with the timber land stealing era in Oregon that ended up with the ruin 
of a United States senator, a member of congress and an ex-district attorney; 
but the career of the man Saunders above mentioned, shows that the poor little 
land stealers in Oregon were in very small business, compared with the opera- 
tion of Saunders. His career is quite well known ; and as it seemed to start with 
an attempt to sell the British claim to Oregon, it may be stated that Saunders 
had been the editor of the wrecked "The Democratic Review," a very influential 
magazine known to the old-timers away back in the forties. And while on the 
Review, he got a reputation as "President Maker." After losing his position on 
the Review, he became a lobbyist around the halls of congress. He was the 
manager of the faction that forced James Buchanan on the democratic party for 
president in 1856, over the heads of Stephen A. Douglas and Franklin Pierce; 
and carried Pennsylvania for Buchanan against the solid Quaker vote against 
him. Buchanan appointed him naval agent at New York, in which office he 
stole $21,000 from the government; then went down south, preached secession, 
and when the war came on, went to Canada to plot yellow fever scourges against 
his native land. 

President Polk was anxious to have Oregon organized as a territory during 
his administration, and hurried the organizing act through congress. And before 
the act became a law, he had all the officers of the territory picked out, two of 
which, Burnett for associate justice, and Meek for marshall, were residents of 
Oregon. As soon as the act passed, he sent in all his nominees for territorial 
officers in one communication to the senate ; Joseph Lane of Indiana for governor, 
Knitzing Pritchett of Pennsylvania for secretary, Wm. T. Bryant of Indiana for 


chief justice, Peter H. Burnett of Oregon and James Turney of Illinois for 
associate justices, Isaac W. R. Bromley of New York for United States attorney. 
Joseph L. Meek, marshall, John Adair of Kentucky, collector of customs. Of 
these, Turney declined, and O. C. Pratt of California, was appointed in his 
stead. Burnett declined and Wm. Strong of Ohio, father of Thomas N. Strong, 
Esq., of Portland, was appointed in place of Burnett. Bromley declined and 
Amory Holbrook of New York, was appointed in his place. 

The most distinguished of these was Gen. Lane, who had served with dis- 
tinction in the Mexican war. Lane was born in Buncombe county, North Carolina, 
in 1801. Was moved to Kentucky while a child. Got married at the age of 
nineteen, and settled in the state of Indiana in 1820. Lane was wholly a self-made 
man ; winning recognition and fame with all the odds of poverty and lack of 
education against him. His one talent that never failed him, was an eloquent 
tongue, supplied with an easy and natural flow of good English. This early 
landed him in the legislature of Indiana. He went into the Mexican war as a 
private, was speedily made captain, then colonel, and came out a brigadier- 
general; and on this record was sent to Oregon as the first governor under the 
United States law. In Oregon he became delegate to congress. United States 
senator, and then candidate for vice-president on the pro-slavery ticket, with 
John C. Breckinridge for president; returned to Oregon in i860, and retired to 
private life, dying at Roseburg, April 19th, 1881. 

Governor Lane reached Oregon in March, 1849, and lost no time in setting 
the territorial government in operation. One of his first acts was to order a 
census of the people in the territory. This taken, showed a total population in 
1849, of Americans, of 8,785 of all ages and both sexes, and 290 foreigners. 
But this was not, in fact, half of the people belonging in the territory, on account 
of the great exodus to the newly discovered gold m.ines of California. 

After taking the census, the governor undertook to establish a permanent 
peace with the Indians, by a liberal distribution of presents to all the chiefs of 
the different tribes. This did not have much influence, for it was not long until 
Governor Lane had a lot of trouble with the Klickitats and Cayuses. 

At the first session of the territorial legislature called by the governor, a 
memorial to congress was adopted, asking congress to pay the expenses of the 
provisional government. But congress always ignored the claim, and never did 
pay it, clearly showing or acknowledging that the provisional government was 
wholly an independent government for the protection and benefit of all the people, 
Americans and British alike. 

One of the first duties of the first legislature under act of congress, was to 
adopt a territorial seal. And they found a design ready for adoption. J. Q. 
Thornton was at Washington in 1848, working for territorial organization; he 
anticipated the wants of the territory by drafting a design that was eminently 
appropriate, an engraving of which is here given. This seal was used by the 
territorial officers, but does not appear to have been adopted by law. The motto — 
"Alis volat propriis" — "I fly with my own wings," indicated the origin, crowning 
honor and distinction of this state, and should never have been abandoned for 
the senseless design on the present seal of the state. 

Now the state has practically no legally authorized seal, alterations in the 
seal that is used, having been made without authority of law. The original state 
seal was prepared by Harvey Gordon at the instance of a committee composed 
of Benjamin F. Burch, L. F. Grover, and James K. Kelly. That original seal 
shows an escutcheon, supported by thirty-two stars and divided by an ordinary 
with the inscription "The Union" thereon. In chief are mountains, a wagon, the 
Pacific ocean, on which a British man-of-war is departing, and an American 
vessel arriving. This represents the early settlements, and the cessation of the 
joint occupancy of the country by Great Britain and the United States. The 
second quartering is in gold, with a sheaf, a plow and a pick, denoting the pursuits 
of husbandry and mining. Also the seal contains the American eagle, and the 


legend "State of Oregon." In 1903, the seal was amended to include thirty- 
three stars and an elk, with branching antlers. 

But in the new seal were made additions of a rising sun, some horses and 
some material alterations in the location of the various objects described. Chief 
clerk, Corey, is at a loss to know just how to send the state seal for use at the 
national capital, as there are apparently some unauthorized additions as the seal 
now stands. 

The large prices paid for Oregon produce and lumber by the great influx of 
population to the California gold fields and towns, together with the bushels of 
gold dust brought back to Oregon by returning Oregonians from the mines, 
produced a vital change in every phase of Oregon life and development. It was 
in fact the first breath of prosperity the little community had received since 
casting off all the old ties in Missouri and other eastern states. Before gold was 
discovered, it was free land that attracted the immigrants for two thousand 
miles. And the land hunters had made as many and severe sacrifices to reach and 
get the land as did the gold hunters in their crazy rush to get the yellow metal. 
But there was a difference. The men and women who came to get land were 
not land speculators, but land cultivators. They were not of the class that 
wanted to grow rich suddenly. In fact they did not think of great riches. It 
was independence and homely comforts they sought, where they could sit under 
their own apple trees, owing no man anything, and repose in dignified inde- 
pendence. And those of this class that went to California for gold, soon satisfied 
their desires and returning to their farms with well filled purses, prudently and 
sensibly expended their treasures from the mines in improving their farms and 
building better homes. 

Nevertheless the easily gotten gold had a powerful influence on the state, 
and especially on this city. The gold fields were near enough to Portland to 
stimulate its trade and largely increase its shipping. This built up the city and 
kept its population at home and interested in matters more permanent than 
placer gold mining. Then also, the distance from the gold mines and the steady 
going character of the Oregon people protected them from the demoralization, 
gambling and dissipation of all kinds which afflicted California for years, and 
in fact colored the whole life of that state down to the present. The provisional 
government of Oregon would not have stood twenty- four hours in the excite- 
ment, crime and reckless craze for gold in California in 1849. But here it was 
universally respected, and made the servant of peace and security for life and 

The gold dust era produced a remarkable change in another quarter. The 
Hudson's Bay Company had always been the controlling factor in all business 
transactions involving the progress of the community ; but now a new master 
of business appeared on the Oregon stage. The gold craze in California car- 
ried away the company's servants and left them without men to trap for furs 
or man their forts and manage the Indians. But worse even than this, the 
newly made land laws required all land claimants to take the oath of allegiance 
to the United States, and the British subjects lost no time in abjuring old Eng- 
land and casting in their lots with the Missourians. It was an awful trial for 
ardent Britishers, but it had to be done. All disputed questions were settled, 
the stars and stripes floated everywhere, and Portland took on new life and 
ambition for the future. 

The plethora of gold, just as much as the over-issue of paper money, al- 
ways raises the prices of goods. It did so in Portland in 1849. Everybody road 
horseback in those days, and saddles were a prime necessity. And saddles that 
cost from ten to twelve dollars in New York, were sold here in Portland for 
from fifty to seventy-five dollars apiece. Playing cards that cost five cents a 


pack, were sold to the soldiers at Vancouver for a dollar and a half. Brown 
sugar that cost five cents a pound by the barrel, was sold for from forty to 
fifty cents a pound at The Dalles, Walla Walla, and other places outside of 
Portland. Cut nails that cost three cents a pound in New York, were sold for 
fifteen cents a pound in Portland, and everything else in proportion. 

The people had passed through the worst of their straits for the necessaries 
of life which they suffered on reaching the country five years before the gold 
excitement. Even then, thanks to the wise counsel of Dr. McLoughlin, who 
advised them all to plant potatoes and sow wheat, they all had plenty to eat. 
But on the subject of clothes, everybody was on a dead level in the days of 
1844, and that level was not far above the native red skins. The incoming 
immigration had exhausted the stock of goods in all the stores at Vancouver 
and Oregon City. Clothing was, like "Joseph's coat of many colors," made by 
putting piece to piece without regard to color or texture ; and the Indian moc- 
casin took the place of boots and shoes with about everybody in Oregon at that 
time. The veteran farmer, poet, statesman and patriot, John Minto, still living 
at Salem with all his faculties unimpaired, describes his experience with clothes 
in 1844 when he went to Vancouver to take a boat and goods up the Columbia. 
His pantaloons were ripped up to the knees; he had no coat, having worn out 
the one he started with across the plains, and a blanket obtained of McLough- 
lin doubled across his shoulders over a string around his neck to hold it in 
place, took the place of coat and with his feet nearly bare, in that plight he 
faithfully fulfilled his contract and earned his first money in Oregon. That's 
the sort of men that laid the foundations of old Oregon ; and one such man 
is worth a thousand of the mollycoddles turned out of colleges today to crowd 
the learned professions and run an automobile. 

With the settlement of the title to the country, the organization of the ter- 
ritorial government by the United States and the influx of gold for currency, 
the city took on new life, and everywhere there was abundant evidence of the 
new order of progress and prosperity. Immigration from the states overland 
by wagons continued, but with so many comforts and conveniences along the 
way that the immigrants arrived in good shape, and with ready means to go 
to work. The donation land law worked wonders in attracting settlers and 
filling up all the open spaces in the Willamette, Umpqua and Rogue River val- 
leys. The prosperity and influence of these settlements was reflected in the in- 
creasing trade of the city. Means of transportation were scarce and expensive, 
but what was lacking in this regard was fully made up by the enterprise of the 
people. Wagon trains and pack mule trains would load up with goods in Port- 
land and make their way as far south as the gold mines at Jacksonville. And 
farmers in Douglas county would haul bacon, lard, butter, cheese and hides all 
the way bv wagon transportation two hundred miles to Portland, and haul back 
a wagon load of dry goods and groceries. In a limited way, steamboat trans- 
portation had been inaugurated on the Willamette and Columbia, and was being 
extended as rapidly as possible. 

The territorial government had started off well. Lane was an energetic 
executive, and after vainly trying to maintain peace with the Indians, vigorously 
pushed measures to punish them for depredations on the Rogue River settlers, 
until a lasting peace was secured. But all the ambitious men saw that the ter- 
ritorial government was only a makeshift, and could not last long. And it 
was not surprising that the embryonic statesmen should be found laying their 
fences and planting their stakes for the big plums of United States senator- 
ships. United States judgeships, and so on. This very uncertainty in the tenure 
of the territorial officers, led to scheming for advantages and to the creation 
of factions all working for selfish ends rather than public welfare. 

And it was during the life of the territorial government that the search for 
gold in Oregon commenced. Oregonians returning with gold from the Califor- 
nia mines, and now familiar with the native gold, soon heard the report of gold 


found by an immigrant party coming in through the Malheur country. It was 
reported that such a party had found a lot of yellow metal in the bed of a 
creek, and to try it pounded out a piece on the tire of a wagon wheel, but not 
knowing what it was tossed it into the wagon box where it was lost on the way 
to Portland. It was recalled that at the place where the gold was found, the 
immigrants lost a "blue bucket," and so the exciting story of the Blue Bucket 
mine got started, and repeated attempts to find the spot were, made, some of 
the parties being chased out of the country by the Suake Indians, losing all their 
horses and camp outfits. This mythical placer mine had held its jack-o-lantern 
attraction to the enthusiasts in gold mine hunting for forty years, the last re- 
ported party having gone out there hunting for the old "blue bucket" in the 
year 1900. But hunting the mine that was never found, led to the examination 
of all the eastern Oregon streams for placer gold, and the first actual find seems 
to have been on the John Day river in Grant county in 1861. 

Portland was vitally interested in these discoveries. The gold hunting mania 
is never assuaged. It grows by what it feeds on, no matter whether it is de- 
lusion or gold. When once the gold fever gets a strangle hold of a man, he 
never gets rid of it. One discovery of gold led to another, and soon there were 
thousands of armed men pouring into eastern Oregon to mine for the precious 
metal and fight the Indians if need be. The gold fever practically settled the 
Indian question, and opened eastern Oregon to settlement. The demand of the 
miners for transportation soon placed steamboats on the upper Columbia, and 
gold dust poured into Portland for goods, and the city grew and prospered be- 
yond all former experiences. 

The continued influx of immigration from the east by wagon road, and of 
business men by ocean steamer, steadily but slowly built up the city and state; 
and the people, becoming restless under the changing territorial governors, 
clamored for a state organization and home rule. It is not a material fact for 
this history, but an interesting one to the people generally, that in the space of 
ten years, under territorial government, the Oregonians had four different gov- 
ernors — Joseph Lane of Indiana, appointed in 1848; John P. Gaines of Ken- 
tucky, appointed in 1850; John W. Davis of Indiana, appointed in 1853; and 
George Law Curry of Philadelphia, appointed in 1854. 

General John P. Gaines was a man of ability, distinction, and an honorable 
military record, having been a soldier in the war of 1812, and winning laurels 
in the war against Mexico. 

Governor Davis was a physician by profession, born in Pennsylvania, mov- 
ing to Indiana, got into the legislature, became speaker of the house, was three 
times elected to congress and twice president of the national democratic con- 
vention before coming to Oregon. 

Governor Curry was born in Philadelphia in 1820 of a distinguished family 
and emigrated to St. Louis in 1843, and to Oregon in 1846. His first con- 
nection with the government was that of secretary of the territory, and be- 
came governor in the November following the resignation of Governor Davis, 
and discharged the duties of the office with credit and ability until the state 
was admitted to the Union in 1859. Curry county was named in his honor. 
He died July 28, 1878, leaving four sons, three of which R. B., N. B., and Wil- 
liam still reside in this city. 

Of all the other territorial officials appointed from Washington city, three 
only attained prominence and distinction in the history of the state ; and these 
three were territorial judges. Matthew P. Deady, George H. Williams and 
William Strong largely influenced and controlled the destinies of Oregon. Jus- 
tice Deady attained a national reputation as a jurist, and was for some years 
the dean of the United States judiciary. And he was in more respects than 
length of service the greatest man on the federal bench. Although fearless and 
incorruptible, he loved his high office for its sacred duty of rendering justice 


to high and low, rich and poor, without money and without price, intimidation 
or favor. 

Judge Williams, too, attained a national reputation, but not as a judge. He 
was on the great question of reconstructing the seceded states easily the master 
mind and most eloquent speaker in the United States senate. Further notices 
of Justice Deady and Judge Williams will appear in other parts of this history. 

Of Justice Strong, it may be said that he was the leader of the Oregon bar 
in his day. He was the first great authority on corporation law in Oregon, and 
he has never had his equal since. 

At the first election under the state government, held in 1858, John Whit- 
aker of Lane county, was elected governor; Lafayette Grover was elected rep- 
resentative to congress ; Lucien Heath, secretary of state ; John D. Boon, state 
treasurer; Asahel Bush, state printer; Matthew P. Deady, Riley E. Stratton, 
Reuben P. Boise, and Aaron E. Wait, judges of the districts and of the su- 
preme court. Judge Deady was almost immediately thereafter appointed U. S. 
district judge for the district of Oregon, and did not qualify as a state judge. 
And at the ensuing session of the legislature. General Joseph Lane of Douglas 
county, and Delazon Smith of Linn county, were elected United States sena- 

John Whitaker, the governor, was born in Dearborn county, Indiana, in 
1820, and came to California across the plains in 1849, and up to Oregon in 
1852; he was reared on a farm, and ranked as a farmer all his life. His first 
office was that of county judge of Lane county, and then he was sent to the 
legislature. After holding the office of governor, he was once elected to con- 
gress, and after that held the office of U. S. revenue collector for this district. 
He was a man of moderate ability, but of sterling integrity, and earned the 
title of "Honest John." 



The Growth in Shipping, Population, Buildings, Newspapers, and 
Public Works — The First Cargo of Wheat Shipped Foreign, 
1868 — The Great Fire of l8'/J — Salmon Packing and Export 
Commences — The Express Companies — The Telegraph Lines 
Come — The First Mails, Delegate Thurston, and Postal Business. 

Taking a stroll through Portland on May day, 1850, there was not found any 
good opportunity for a promenade. The sidewalks of rough planks were of the 
most primitive and make-shift order ; and reaching the outskirts of the town in 
any direction — and the visitor did not have far to go to do so — he found it 
fenced in with the immense crop of fallen timber lying criss-cross in every possible 
shape. This resulted from no lack of desire on the part of the town's people to 
have the outlook better, but from inability to master the frowning obstructions 
of an inpenetrable forest. The automobilists who skip out to Mt. Hood in a 
couple of hours over a nice smooth road now-a-days, think they have seen the 
grand old forests of Oregon. But they have not. What they can see now along 
the road to Mt. Hood is nothing compared with what existed on Portland town- 
site sixty years ago. 

It was a serious undertaking to build a city, in such surroundings. The 
erection of dwellings and business houses went on so slowly that progress was 
scarcely perceptible. People built a house from dire necessity, and then only 
the smallest and cheapest house that would serve their wants. There were but 
two houses in the town in 1850 that were finished on the inside with plaster. The 
first hotel was called the California house, and stood on Front street above Alder. 
Dennis Harty kept a boarding house on Jefferson street. Harty made some money 
at the business and went up to Polk county and took up a land claim, and when 
the Narrow Gauge Railroad was built up the Yamhill valley in 1878, Harty 's 
widow boarded the construction forces on her donation claim. The first hotel 
of any pretensions was erected by General Coffin in 1851, at the northeast comer 
of Front and Washington streets. It was subsequently enlarged by additions and 
called the "American Exchange ;" and was finally sold to Van de Lashmutt, who 
moved it up to the corner of Front and Jefferson streets where it stands to-day. 
Wooden buildings continued to be the rule until 1853, when W. S. Ladd erected 
a small brick building for store purposes on Front street. It is still standing and 
doing business, being now occupied by sheet-iron workers, manufacturing all 
sorts of pipe. 

The following list of brick buildings erected from 1853 to i860 was prepared 
by the late Edward Failing in his life time, and is reliable: 







•j ■-■■•■ 

,i5 i- 

•i-"'A !''•■ 


1853 — W. S. Ladd, 103 Front street, between Stark and Washington; D. C. 
Coleman, southeast corner Front and Oak (cost $9,500), Lucien Snow, Front 
street, between Pine and Oak; F. B. Miles & Co., southwest corner Front and 
Pine (cost $13,500). 

1854 — Blumauer Bros., Front street, between Washington and Alder (after- 
wards owned by Cohen & Lyon), J. Kohn & Co., Front street, between Stark 
and Washington, next south of Ladd's; Geo. L. Story, Front street, between 
Stark and Washington, next north of Ladd's ; P. Raleigh, southwest corner Front 
and Stark (2 stories) ; J. A. Failing & Co., southeast corner First and Oak, small 
brick warehouse. 

1855 — L. Snow & Co., i-story brick, next north of the store built in 1853, 

1856 — Sellers & Friendly, 89 Front street, between Oak and Stark. 

1857 — Holman & Harker, Front street, between Morrison and Yamhill; 
Baum & Bros., 87 Front, between Oak and Stark; Benjamin Stark (3 stories), 
91, Front, between Oak and Stark; Hallock & McMillan (2 stories), northwest 
corner Front and Oak; M. Weinshank, two stores, each one story. Front street, 
between Ash and Pine. 

1858 — H. W. Corbett (2 stories), northwest corner Front and Oak; Benj. 
Stark (3 stories), 93 Front street, between Oak and Stark; Allen & Lewis (2 
stories), northeast corner Front and B; E. J. Northrup, northwest corner Front 
and Yamhill; A. D. Fitch & Co., next door north of Northrup; Seymour & 
Joynt (2 stories). Front, between Washington and Alder; A. R. Shipley & Co. 
(2 stories), Front, next south of S. & J. ; A. D. Shelby (2 stories), 105 First, 
between Washington and Alder. 

1859 — Failings & Hatt (2 stories), 83 Front street, between Oak and Stark; 
Geo. H. Flanders (2 stories) ; Old Masonic hall, southeast corner Front and B. ; 
A. D. Shelby (2 stories), 103 First, between Washington and Alder, north of 
his store built in 1858. 

i860 — Harker Bros. (2 stories), next south of Holman & Harker, built in 
1857; Pat. Raleigh (3 stories), southeast corner First and Stark; H. Wasserman 
(2 stories). Front, between Washington and Alder; Weil Bros. (2 stories), 
Front, next south of Wasserman's; A. D. Shelby (2 stories), southwest corner 
First and Washington. 

In point of residences the prosperous merchants quite early exhibited their 
pride and good taste in fairly good buildings. H. W. Corbett built his home on 
the block immediately south of the postoffice in 1854. That building was moved 
away in 1878 to make room for the present elegant liome of Mrs. Corbett. 

The first home of Capt. John H. Couch, where he lived all his life, in Port- 
land, a photo of which is given on another page, was erected before the Corbett 
home, and stood on the west side of Couch lake, and Captain Couch could sit on 
his front porch and shoot a duck in the lake any day for dinner. Couch lake was 
a real lake covering about forty city blocks, commencing at Flanders street 
between Second and Fourth streets and running north as far as Thurman street. 
The present Union Railroad Depot stands in the old lake on a battery of piling 
outlining the whole of the brick structure ; the whole of the lake having now 
been filled up to the established street grade by pumping sand out of the river 

The steam saw-mill, the first in Portland, which Reed & Abrams had labored 
so hard to establish, was destroyed by fire in 1853, and its loss was a veritable 
calamity to the little city. And thinking the town had got its growth, some 
enterprising citizen took a census of the business houses in 1855, and found in 
operation four churches, one academy, one public school, two steam saw-mills, 
four printing offices, two express offices, four physicians, six lawyers, two dentists, 
five .furniture shops, three bakeries, four stove and tin stores, two merchant 
tailors, two jewelry stores, four blacksmith shops, one foundry and machine shop, 
three wagon makers, six painters, two boat builders, five livery stables, twelve 
hotels and boarding houses, three meat shops, six whiskey saloons, two billiard 


and bowling alley rooms, one ';::k store, one drug siore. one picnire gallen.'. one 
shoe store, one candy factory, half a dozen tobacco shops, twentx-tive general 
stores of dry goods and g~rre~e?. ten exclusively diy goods stores, and seven 
exclusively grocery stores, : : feed stores, and two hardware stores. 

Up to 1854, what is now known as Multnomah county, was a part of Wash- 
ington county, and the Portia:: i z± :ple had to go out to the village of Hillsboro to 
transact their county business, :.: -g^ht out their law suits. In tliis year the 
legislature divided the territory- : : : shington, setting off the present ^Multnomah 
bjr itself and making Portlar i :/.e :;.:::. seat. And this gave Portland quite a 
little "boost" on the road to greater prosperity. 

In 1855 and '56 the Indian war broke out on the upper Columbia and made 
traveling dangerous if not impossible in both Or^on and Washington territory. 
Portland became, in consequence thereof, the chief supph- point and the out- 
fitting point for all the military forces. A general camp and headquarters was 
established across the river in what is now East Portland, from whence the 
volunteers were carried by steamboat to the Cascades, where the first fighting 
took place. This military preparation and expense stimulated business at all 
tile stores, but it checked all building operations, mainly because all the fighting 
men had gone out after the Indians, and but few were left to hammer and saw. 

This Indian war was inevitable. It had been brewing for a long time. Its 
first outcrop was the murder of Whitman and his family, and dependants. The 
seething storm was ill-concealed from such careful observers of Indian character 
as McLoughlin. Meek, Ogden, and Xewell. McLoughlin constantlv warned the 
settlers to be prepared, while at the same time he strove to hold in check the 
determined chiefs of the restless, dissatisfied tribes. "Is it right to kill the 
Americans?" asked a Cascade chief of McLoughlin one day. "What," roared 
the doctor. "They or we must die," calmly replied the Indian. "Not only do 
they spoil otu" forests, and drive away our game, depriving us of food and cloth- 
ing, but with their bad morals and religion they poison us with disease and death. 
We must kill them, or let them kill us." 

That was the whole ston,-; that was the view even,- Indian took of the situa- 
tion. And the remnant of than feel that fate today. They are strangers and 
trespassers in the land the Great Spirit gave them. Hence, they are for the most 
part reserved, silent, sullen in their intercourse with the white people. 

The first assessment for taxation shown by existing records, makes Portland 
propert}- worth, in 1857, the sum of one million one hundred and three thousand 
eight hundred and twent\'-nine dollars. The population of the tovm. this year 
amoimted to 1.280. At the election held the next year, 1858, there were four 
himdred and sixt}' votes cast. The first daily paper was issued in 1859 by S. A. 
English &. Co., and called the "Portland Daily News." This was, however, not 
the first paper in the town. The Oregon Weekly Times, which was formerly the 
Western Star, of Milwaukee, and the Weekly Oregonian. had been published for 
nine years before this first daily. The Daily News did not last long, and after a 
few issues suspended permanently. The first issue of the Oregonian appeared 
on December 4, 1850. as a protege of the townsite proprietors. Its first issue 
was heralded with great eclat, and Col. Chapman sent a special messenger with a 
bundle of the first issue by horseback up the west side of the Willamette valley 
as far as Corvallis, and back down by the east side of the valley, giving Oregonians 
to e\-er)-body to read. Thomas T. Dr>-er was the foimder of the paper, and its 
first editor. The paper started off at a lively gait, and has kept it up ever since, 
until now it has the largest circulation of any paper west of the Rocky mountains. 
The Oregon Times became a daily in i860, and the Oregonian issued its first 
daily in 1861. 

in the enrollment of school children in i860, six hundred and ninet\'-one were 
found of school age ; and the total population was t\vo thousand nine hundred and 
seventeen, of which sixteen were negroes and twenty-seven Chinese. 



j^^lir^LlC LIBRARY { 


Discovery of mines in Idaho and eastern Oregon greatly stimulated naviga- 
tion on the Willamette and Columbia, and as many as twenty steamers were 
plying in 1862 on these rivers. In that year the population, as determined by 
the city directory, rose to four thousand and fifty-seven. Of these, seven hun- 
dred are reckoned as transient, lifty-two colored, and fifty-three Chinese. The 
Oregonian of that year remarked that the increase in wealth and population 
had been of the most substantial character. "Eighteen months ago," it said, 
"any number of houses could be obtained for use, but today scarcely a shell 
can be found to shelter a family. Rents are up to an exhorbitant figure, many 
houses contain two or more families, and the hotels and boarding houses are 
crowded almost to overflowing. The town is full of people and more are com- 
ing in. Buildings are going up in all parts of Portland, streets graded and 
planked, wharves stretching their proportions along the levees, and a general 
thrift and busy hum greet the ear or attract the attention of a stranger upon 
every street and corner." "Substantial school houses,) capacious churches, 
wharves, mills, manufactories and workshops, together with brick buildings, 
stores and dwelling houses and street improvements," are referred to in the 
city directory. As for occupations, the following list is given : Three apothe- 
caries, four auctioneers, three brewers, two bankers, six billiard rooms, two 
confectioners, five dentists, twelve restaurants, fourteen hotels, twenty-two law- 
yers, five livery stables, twenty-eight manufacturers, eleven physicians, eight 
w^holesale and fifty-five retail liquor dealers, forty-five wholesale and ninety- 
one retail dealers in general merchandise, two wholesale and eight retail grocers. 

During 1863 a long step toward improvement was the organization of the 
Portland and Milwaukee macadamized road, with A. B. Richardson as presi- 
dent, Henry Failing secretary, and W. S. Ladd treasurer of the board of di- 
rectors. The shipping lists of the steamers show large exports of treasure, one 
hundred thousand dollars, two hundred and forty thousand dollars, and even 
seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars being reported for single steamers. 
Six thousand to seven thousand boxes of apples were also reported at a single 
shipment. The old sidewheel steamer John H. Couch, for many years so fa- 
miliar a figure on the lower Columbia, was launched this year. The principal 
building was that of the Presbyterian church at the corner of Third and Wash- 
ington streets. The laying of the corner stone was observed with due cere- 
mony. Rev. P. S. Caffrey officiating, assisted by Revs. Pearne and Cornelius. 
A new school house of the congregation of Beth Israel was opened this year. 
The arrival of thirty-six thousand pounds of wire for the Oregon and California 
telegraph line showed the interest in telegraphic communication with the out- 
side world. The assessed valuation of property was three million two hundred 
and twenty-six thousand and sixty dollars. 

In 1864 much expansion was noticed. Grading and draining of the streets 
was largely undertaken. The Presbyterian church v^as finished at a cost of 
twenty thousand dollars and was called the finest structure in the state. The 
Catholic church was improved to an extent of two thousand dollars. J. L. 
Parrish erected a three-story brick building, fifty by one hundred feet, on the 
corner of Front and Washington streets. A house was built by the city for 
the Columbia Engine Company No. 3, on Washington street, at a cost of six 
thousand dollars. The lot cost two thousand dollars. Two new hotels, the 
What Cheer House and the New Columbian were built, and older ones such 
as Arrigoni's, the Western, the Howard House, the Pioneer and Temperance 
House were improved. A considerable number of stores and dwelling houses 
were also put up. The greatest improvement, however, was the O. S. N. Com- 
pany's dock on the water front between Pine and Ash streets. It was necessi- 
tated by the increasing traffic with Idaho and the upper Columbia. There was 
not hitherto a dock to accommodate vessels at all stages of the water. This 
new wharf was accordingly built with two stories, the upper being fifteen feet 
above the other. The lower wharf was two hundred and fifty feet long by one 


hundred and sixty wide ; the upper, two hundred by one hundred and twenty, 
thus occupying the entire front of one block. For this work there were used 
sixty thousand feet of piles and timber, five hundred thousand feet of sawed 
plank, two thousand eight hundred perch of rock, and six hundred barrels of 
cement. The work was completed from plans of J. W. Brazee and supervised 
by John D'Orsay. The cost was fifty thousand dollars. The wharf and build- 
ings of Couch and Flanders, in the northern part of the city, were improved, 
bringing their value up to forty thousand dollars. The river front was not 
then, as now, a continuous series of docks, and these structures made an even 
more striking appearance than later ones far more pretentious and valuable. 
In order to prevent delay and vexation in the arrival of ocean vessels, a call 
was made for money to deepen the channel of the lower Willamette, and was 
met by double the sum named. The improvements were soon undertaken with 
great vigor. Five thousand dollars was spent in grading and improving the 
public square between Third and Fourth streets on Main. With the general 
leveling of the irregularities of the surface of the city and the removal of 
stumps, more effort was made to adorn the streets and dooryards with trees and 
shrubbery, and to make handsome lawns. The surroundings of the city were, 
however, still wild, and the shattered forests blackened with fires had not yet 
given away to the reign of art. 

The population was now five thousand eight hundred and nineteen ; there 
were one thousand and seventy-eight frame buildings, fifteen one-story, thirty- 
seven two-story and seven three-story brick buildings — one thousand one hun- 
dred and thirty-seven of all kinds. 

There were seven wharves in the city : Abernethy's at the foot of Yamhill 
street. Carter's at the foot of Alder, Knott's on Water between Taylor and 
Salmon, Pioneer at the foot of Washington owned by Coffin & Abrams, 
Vaughn's at the foot of Morrison, the O. S. N. wharf between Ash and Pine 
streets, and the Portland wharf of Couch & Flanders in North Portland, at the 
foot of C and D. 

There were thirty-eight dealers in dry goods and general merchandise, thir- 
teen grocers, ten meat markets, four dealers in produce and provisions, three 
drug stores, fifteen physicians, four dentists, twenty-eight attorneys, three book- 
sellers, thirteen hotels. 

The real estate agents now omnipresent and legion were represented by the 
single firm of Parrish & Holman. Plumbers were represented by a single 
name, C. H. Myers, no First street. Hatters had but one name, A. J. Butler 
at ^^2 Front street, while saddlers had four, J. B. Congle, 88 Front street; H. 
Kingsley & Reese, loo First street; Wm. Kern, 228 Front street, and S. Sher- 
lock & Co., 52 Front street. S. J. McCormick published the Oregon Almanac, 
105 Front street; H. L. Pittock, The Oregonian, at No. 5 Washington. The 
Pacific Christian Advocate was published at No. 5 Washington by the Meth- 
odist church, and the Evening Tribune at 2^ Washington street by Van Cleave 
& Ward. 

There were salt depots on Front street, a soap factory operated by W. L. 
Higgins on Front street near Clay, and a turpentine manufactory by T. A. 
Wood & Co., near the same site. Carson & Porter at 208 Front street, and 
J. P. Walker at 230 Front street foot of Jefferson, operated sash and door 

The total exports of 1864 reached eight million seventy-nine thousand six 
hundred and thirty-one dollars ; most of this was gold dust from Idaho, and 
the price of produce was far in excess of that at present. 

During 1865 a steady forward movement was felt. Some of the streets 
were macadamized and some were laid with Nicholson pavement. A factory 
for furnishing staves, heads and hoops ready to be set up into barrels for the 
Sandwich Isl.and trade was established in North Portland. The old court house 
on Fourth and Salmon streets, a handsome building in its day, was erected at 

1 — William Dunbar,, started flour trade to China. . 

2 — Joseph Watt, exported first cargo of wheat direct to Europe. 

3 — .Joseph H. Lambert, produced the ''Lambert cherry"'— the best in the world. 

4 — Cyrus A. Reed, built the first sawmill. 


a cost of seventy-five thousand dollars. A public school house v^as erected on 
Harrison street, at a cost of seven thousand dollars. The old Central public 
school on Sixth street, where the Hotel Portland is now, was, until this time, 
the only building to accommodate the thousand or more children of school age. 
There were, however, other educational institutions in the city, as St. Mary's 
Academy on Fourth street, between Mill and Market, with an attendance of 
one hundred and fifty pupils; St. Joseph's day school, at the corner of Third 
and Oak streets, with one hundred pupils ; Portland Academy and Female Semi- 
nary, on Seventh street, between Jefferson and Columbia, having one hundred 
and fifty pupils ; the Beth Israel school, at the corner of Sixth and Oak streets, 
with sixty-five pupils ; a private school by Miss M. A. Hodgson, a lady of cult- 
ure from Massachusetts, and now long known as an educator in our state, and 
a commercial academy in the Parrish building on Front street. For a further 
and fully connected account of schools from the first, the reader is referred 
to the special chapter on schools. 

Of brick buildings made in 1865, Cahn & Co.'s, at 37 Front street, extending 
to First ; Willberg's two-story building on Front street ; Mofifett's on Front, 
and that of Wakefield, Glenn and others on Front, were the most prominent 
and represented a considerable outlay of money. Cree's building at the corner 
of Stark and Front, built in 1862, may be mentioned. A broom factory, a 
match factory, the Willamette Iron Works and the First National Bank were 
established this year. To these may be added Vaughn's flour mill on Front 
and Main streets, then an expensive and imposing building, costing about fifty 
thousand dollars. About thirty-five thousand dollars was spent on street im- 
provements in 1865. 

The total value of exports was seven million six hundred and six thousand 
five hundred and twenty-four dollars, the most of it being gold dust. To form 
commercial communication with San Francisco, there were two lines of ocean 
steamers, one running the Sierra Nevada and the Oregon, and the other the 
Orizaba and the Pacific. Of these, the Orizaba was the largest, registering four- 
teen hundred tons. To Victoria the Active was run under the command of 
Captain Thorn. There were sailing vessels also to San Francisco, some of which, 
were later run to the Sandwich Islands. These were the bark Jane A. Falken- 
berg, of six hundred tons ; the bark Almatia, of seven hundred tons ; the bark 
W. B. Scranton, of seven hundred tons ; the bark Samuel Merrit, of five hundred 
and fifty tons ; the bark Live Yankee, of seven hundred tons. To the Sandwich 
Islands, also, there were then running the barks A. A. Aldridge, of four hundred 
tons, and the Comet, seven hundred tons. 

Of the steamboat lines on the river, there were now in operation the following 
three: The Oregon Steam Navigation Company, running to Astoria; the J. H. 
Couch, with fare at $6.00 and the freight at $6.00 per ton ; to Monticello ; the 
Cowlitz or the Rescue, fare $3.00 and freight $4.00; to The Dalles, the New 
World, Wilson G. Hunt, the Cascade, Julia, Oneonta, Idaho and Iris, with fare 
at $6.00 and freight at $15.00; above The Dalles, the steamers Owyhee, Spray, 
Okanagon, Webfoot, Yakima, Tenino, and Nez Perces Chief, with fare to Lewis- 
ton at $22.00 and freight at $60.00 per ton. These were the palmy days of river 
travel, the steamers being crowded and a small fortune being made at every trip. 
The People's Transportation Company confined itself to the Willamette and 
ran the Senator and Rival below Oregon City, and the Fanny Patton and others 
above the falls. The independent steamer Fanny Troup ran to Vancouver, and 
on the Willamette above Canemah there were the Union and the Echo. The 
Willamette Steam Navigation Company, still another line, ran the Alert and the 
Active on the Willamette. These Willamette craft, having no competition from 
railroads, also did a fair business. 

The population of Portland in 1865 was six thousand and sixty-eight. The 
occupations represented are illustrated by the following list : Of apothecaries, 
four; architects and civil engineers, four; assayers, three; auctioneers, three; 


bankers, four; billiard rooms, six; bakers, two; contractors and builders, seven; 
brokers, eight; butchers, seventeen; dentists, three; restaurants, five; hotels, six- 
teen ; insurance agents ; three ; lawyers, twenty-three ; livery stables, seven ; manu- 
facturers, sixty-three; photographers, five; physicians and surgeons, fifteen; 
plumbers, two; real estate agents, three; retail dealers in merchandise, one hun- 
dred and thirty-three; retail liquor dealers, one hundred and five; theater, one; 
wholesale merchants, thirty-nine; wholesale liquor dealers, twelve. There was 
assayed gold dust valued at two million nine hundred and thirty-four thousand 
one hundred and seventy-seven dollars. These are the figures of a busy little 
city. The number of voters was one thousand seven hundred and twenty-three. 

The old courthouse, now being replaced by the new and elegant structure of 
steel, stucco and porcelain brick, was completed in 1866. In a charming letter by 
Judge Deady to the San Francisco Bulletin of that date, we get a description of 
the panorama seen from the top of the new courthouse as follows : "But to 
return to Portland. On every side of me I saw its varied and sometimes motley 
structures of wood and brick, densely packed together, and edging out toward 
the limits of the natural site of the city — green semi-circle of irregular shaped 
fir clad hills, on the west and south, and the water of the bright Willamette 
curving outwardly from the north to the south. A radius of a mile from where 
I stood would not more than reach the verge of the town. Across the Willamette, 
and upon its east bank, I could count the houses and orchards in the suburban 
village of East Portland. This place is yet half town, and half country, but it is 
destined at no distant day to furnish an abundance of cheap and comfortable 
homes to the thrifty and industrious artizans and laborers whose hands are daily 
turning this raw clay and growing timber into temples and habitations all of 
civilizd man." A beautiful picture and well fulfilled. 

In 1866 Portland men built and commenced operating the only furnace for 
making iron on the Pacific coast. The Oregon Iron Company's Works at Oswego, 
were completed this year and commenced running by putting out ten tons of 
pig iron daily. W. S. Ladd was president and H. C. Leonard, vice-president of 
the company. Mr. Leonard is still with the city he helped so much to build, 
enjoying life to the full for an octogenarian. 

The assessed value of property was four million one hundred and ninety-nine 
thousand one hundred and twenty-five dollars. The export of produce reached 
the following figures : Flour, one hundred and forty-nine thousand and seventy- 
five dollars ; salmon, twenty-one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four dollars ; 
bacon, seventy thousand and sixteen dollars ; apples, sixty-eight thousand eight 
hundred and sixty dollars ; wool, sixty thousand, eight hundred and forty 
dollars, making an aggregate of four hundred and fifty-five thousand, four hun- 
dred and fifty-seven dollars. The shipment of gold dust, bars, etc., reached the 
large sum of eight million, seventy thousand, and six hundred dollars, which, 
it is possible, was an over estimate. 

The screw steamship Montana and the side-wheeler Oriflamme appeared on 
the line to San Francisco, and the little screw steamer, Fideliter, to Victoria. 
The population was six thousand, five hundred and eight, of whom three thou- 
sand and twenty-four were Chinese. 

During 1867 there began in earnest, agitation for a railroad through the 
Willamette valley to Portland, a full account of which appears elsewhere. Propo- 
sitions were made by the newly formed railroad companies that the city guarantee 
interest on bonds to the value of $250,000, and a committee appointed by the 
city council made a favorable report, setting forth the advantage to the farmers 
and the country towns of cheap transportation to the seaport and the reciprocal 
advantage to the city from increased trade and commerce. The movements of 
the time, of which this was a sign, stimulated building and the sale of real estate. 
The Methodist church at the corner of Third and Taylor streets, was erected 
this year, 1867, at a cost of thirty thousand dollars. A schoolhouse, with a main 
part fifty-six by eighty feet and two wings, each twelve by forty feet, was built 

Founder of iron industries in Portland 


for the north Portland school, between C and D streets. The Bank of British 
Columbia, erected the flatiron building on Front street. Brick stores were con- 
structed by Dr. E. Poppleton and others on First street. The Unitarian church 
was erected at Seventh and Yamhill streets. 

Exports of produce and merchandise reached the value of two million four 
hundred and sixty-two thousand seven hundred and ninety-three dollars. The 
great apparent increase over 1866 was due to a more perfect record kept, and 
actual improvement. The shipment of gold dust fell to four million and one 
thousand dollars. The river was much improved at Swan Island. The popu- 
lation of the city for this year was estimated at six thousand, seven hundred 
and seventeen. 


In 1868 the railroad company began work, the west side breaking ground 
April 15th, and the east side two days later. During this year also an independent 
commerce sprang up with New York, and the way was opened for direct export 
of grain to Europe. The iron works of the city began to command the trade in 
the supply of mining machinery for the Idaho and eastern Oregon companies. 
The saw-mill of Smith, Hayden & Co., on the corner of Front and Madison 
streets, was improved so as to cut twenty-four thousand feet of lumber per day, 
and that of Estes, Simpson & Co., on Front street v>'as enlarged to a capacity of 
twenty thousand feet. The handsomest building of this year was that of Ladd 
& Tilton, for their bank, at the corner of First and Stark streets, at the cost of 
seventy thousand dollars. This year over four hundred dwelling houses were 
erected. "And yet," said the Oregonian, ''you will find that there are no desirable 
houses to rent. The great and increasing growth and improvement of our city 
is no chimera." Indeed during this year Portland; was -experiencing one of those 
waves of prosperity by which she has been advaricing t6 her present eminence. 

The exports of the year reached a value of two million, seven hundred and 
eighty thousand, four hundred and eight dollars, requiring the services of nine 
steamers and thirty sailing vessels. The assessed value of property was four 
million, six hundred thousand, seven hundred and sixty dollars. Real estate trans- 
actions reached a volume of one hundred and forty-three thousand, eight hundred 
and forty-six dollars. The price paid for the lot on the corner of First and Alder 
streets by the Odd Fellows (1868) was twenty-two thousand, five hundred 
dollars. The shipments of treasure and bullion were three million, six hundred 
and seventy-seven thousand, eight hundred and fifty dollars. The population 
was seven thousand, nine hundred and eighty. 

The first attempt to systematically advertise the city and country and attract 
immigration and capital, dates back to the year 1869, when an organization was 
formed called the "Immigration Exchange." Some money was collected and 
some literature prepared, setting forth the resources, advantages and attractions 
of the country, and the printed matter sent to the eastern states in a hap-hazard 
sort of way. It did not accomplish much, but it was a beginning of that work 
which has made Thomas Richardson famous, and given Oregon and Portland 
thousands of people and millions of capital. 

The first cargo of wheat exported direct from Portland to foreign countries 
was loaded and sent out in 1868. Joseph Watt, a farmer of Amity, Yamhill 
County, and the same man that brought the first flock of sheep two thousand 
miles across plains and mountains to Oregon, and also raised the money and 
started the first woolen factory in Oregon, has also the honor of shipping this 
first cargo of Oregon wheat from Portland, Oregon, to any foreign country, 
sending it to Liverpool. Ladd & Tilton advanced the money to Watt to pur- 
chase the wheat, which came from "Old Yamhill" as a matter of course, and 
was carried down on the little river boats from Dayton to Portland. And after 
Watt got his wheat aboard the ship, and insured, he took his bills of lading and 
insurance policies to Edwin Russell, manager of the bank of British Columbia 


and Russell took the papers and drafts on Liverpool, gave Watt the purchase 
price of the wheat, enabling him to pay his debt to Ladd & Tilton, and having 
bought the wheat, got it down to Portland, loaded this first ship and got his 
money back, and paid his debt all inside of thirty days. 

In 1869, in the line of buildings there were erected seven of brick, aggregating 
a cost of $172,000, and twelve large frame buildings, costing altogether $58,000; 
while many smaller ones were built, making a total of about $400,000. The 
most conspicuous of these was the Odd Fellows' building at the comer of First 
and Alder streets, three stories in height, and costing $40,000 ; the United States 
building for courthouse, customs house and postoffice was begun on a scale to 
cost three hundred thousand dollars. The reservoir of the Water Works Com- 
pany on Sixth street, with a capacity of three million, five hundred thousand 
gallons, was built this year. On the improvement of the Willamette there was 
spent thirty-one thousand dollars. Exports reached one million, sixty-six thou- 
sand, five hundred and two dollars ; treasure, two million, five hundred and fifty- 
nine thousand dollars ; and bullion, four hundred and nineteen thousand, six 
hundred and fifty-seven dollars. Real estate transactions were upward of half 
a million. The population of Portland proper was estimated at eight thousand, 
nine hundred and twenty-eight, and of east Portland, five hundred. 

The railroad on the east side of the river was completed to Barlow, and 
work on the west side was progressing. The shipping of grain to Great Britain 
was becoming more firmly established. A greater spirit of enterprise was mani- 
fested among merchants and other citizens to publish abroad the advantages 
of soil and climate and position. A number of fine buildings were erected as 
follows : Corbett's three-story building, with solid iron front on First street, 
between Washington and Alder, costing forty thousand dollars ; a brick block 
of four buildings occupying a frontage of one hundred feet on Front street, 
and running back eighty feet, of iron front, costing thirty thousand dollars, 
built by Lewis & Flanders ; a three-story brick building, having one hundred feet 
frontage on First street and eighty feet on Ash, at a cost of thirty-two thousand 
dollars, by Dr. R. Glisan; all addition by the O. S. N. Co. to their block on 
Front street, forty by ninety feet, costing twenty thousand dollars; the Protec- 
tion engine house at the corner of First and Jefferson streets, costing ten 
thousand dollars ; a new edifice by the Congregational church at the corner of 
Second and Jeflferson streets, with one spire one hundred and fifty feet high, 
costing twenty-five thousand dollars ; the Bishop Scott grammar school build- 
ing on B street at the junction of Fourteenth. 

As 1870 fills out a decade, it is not out of place to give here a somewhat more 
detailed list of the occupations then flourishing in the city. Of hotels there were 
twenty-two: The St. Charles, at the corner of First and Morrison; The Inter- 
national, at the corner of Front and Morrison ; the American Exchange, at the 
corner of Front and Washington ; the Occidental, at the corner of First and 
Morrison, The Western Hotel, on Front near Pine ; the Pioneer Hotel, on Front 
near Ash ; The Shakespeare Hotel, at 23 Front street ; the Washington Hotel, 
corner of Alder and Second ; the New Orleans Hotel, at the corner of Yamhill 
and First; the Wisconsin House, at the corner of Ash and Front; the Russ 
House, at 126 Front street; the Railroad House, on Front near Yamhill; the 
St. Louis Hotel, on Front street; the New York Hotel, at 17 North Front; 
the Patton House, at 175 Front street; the Fisk House, on First near Main; 
the Cosmopolitan, at the corner of Front and Stark; The California House, at 
13 Stark street; the Brooklyn Hotel, on First street near Pine. There were 
also twelve boarding houses and nine restaurants. Real estate agents now num- 
bered six houses: J. S. Daly, Dean & Brother, William Davidson, Parrish & 
Atkinson, Russell & Ferry, Stitzel & Upton. The wholesale merchants con- 
tained many names in active business : Allen & Lewis, Baum Bros., Fleischner 
& Co., Jacob Meyer, L. White & Co., Seller, Frankeneau & Co., and Goldsmith 
& Co. Of retail merchants of that time there may be named: C. S. Silver, S. 


Simon, A. Meier, D. Metzgar, W. Masters & Son, John Wilson, M. Mosko- 
witz^ P. Selling, Loeb Bros., Koshland Bros., Van Fridagh & Co., S. Levy, 
Mrs. C. Levy, Kohn Bros., Galland, Goodman & Co., Joseph Harris & Son, 
J. M. Breck, M. Franklin, J. M. Fryer & Co., Beck & Waldman, Clarke, Hen- 
derson & Cook, Leon Ach, and John Enery. In the groceries and provisions 
there were the wholesale merchants : Amos, Williams & Meyers ; Leveredge, 
Wadhams & Co., and Corbitt & Macleay, and thirty-three retailers. In hard- 
ware: Corbett, Failing & Co., Hawley, Dodd & Co., E. J. Northrup & Co., and 
Charles Hopkins. The druggists were: J. A. Chapman, Hodge, Calef & Co., 
Smith & Davis, C. H. Woodward, S. G. Skidmore, and Wetherford & Co. 
George L. Story made a specialty of paints and oils. There were nine houses 
of commission merchants : Allen & Lewis, McCraken, Merrill & Co., Knapp, 
Burrell & Co., Everding & Farrell, George Abernethy, Williams & Meyers, 
Everding & Beebe, Janion & Rhoades, and T. A. Savier & Co. The lumber 
manufacturers and merchants were: Abrams & Besser, Smith Bros. & Co., 
J, M. Ritchie, and Estes, Stimson & Co. The foundries were: the Eagle, the 
Oregon Iron Works, the Willamette Iron Works, Smith Bros. Iron Works and 
the Columbia Iron Works. The furniture dealers were : Hurgren & Shindler, 
Emil Lowenstein & Co., W. F. Wilcox, and Richter & Co. Hat manufacturers 
were: J. C. Meussdorfer, N. Walker and Currier & Co. The flour mills: G. W. 
Vaughn and McLeran Bros. The physicians were: R. Glisan, J. S. Giltner, 
J. A. Chapman, J, C. Hawthorn, A. M. Loryea, W. H. Watkins, R. B. Wilson, 
G. Kellogg, J. W. Murray, E. Poppleton, J. A. Chapman, I. A. Davenport, H. 
A. Bodman, S. Parker, F. C. Paine, J. C. Ryan, F. W. Schule, Robert Patton, 
J. M. Roland, J. F. Ghiselin, H. McKinnell, Charles Schumacher, G. W. Brown, 
T. J. Sloan, W. Weatherford and J. Dickson. The printers were : G. H. Himes 
and A. G. Walling. The publications were: The Oregonian, which issued daily 
and weekly editions and was published by H. L. Pittock with H. W. Scott as 
editor; The Bulletin, James O'Meara editor; the Oregon Herald, H. L. Pat- 
terson proprietor, and Sylvester Pennoyer editor ; the Pacific Christian Advo- 
cate, I. Dillon editor; the Catholic Sentinel, H. L. Herman editor; the Oregon 
Deutshe Zeitung, A. Le Grand editor; and the Good Templar, with C. Beal 
as editor. The Oregon almanac and city directory were regularly issued by 
S. J. McCormick. 

The saddlers were J. B. Congle, Samuel Sherlock & Co., N. Thwing, and 
Welch & Morgan. The leather dealers, J. A. Strowbridge and Daniel O. O'Rea- 
gan. The dentists were J. R. Cardwell, C. H. Mack, J. G. Glenn, J. H. Hatch, 
J. W. Dodge, Wm. Koehler and Friedland & Calder. In the crockery and glass- 
ware trade there were W. Jackson, H. W. Monnastes, A. D. Shelby, M. Seller 
and J, McHenry. 

There were seven wholesale dealers in liquors, nine livery stables, thirteen 
meat markets, four photograph galleries, twenty cigar and tobacco dealers, six 
breweries, five bakeries, two brickyards, four banks, fourteen printers, one match 
factory, one soap factory, one salt works, one barrel factory, two box factories, 
twenty-one dressmakers, five dealers in Chinese goods, two book binderies, one 
tannery, five wagon makers, six blacksmith shops, two express companies, 
three railroad companies, five merchant tailors, two telegraph offices, thirteen 
licensed draymen and two undertakers, besides a number of other occupations 
such as auctioneer and wigmaker. 

The assessed value of property in the city was six million, eight hundred 
and forty-eight thousand, five hundred and sixty-eight dollars ; alx)Ut half of 
its purchasing value. The population was estimated at nine thousand, five hun- 
dred and sixty-five. 

In 1 87 1 the improvements continued, the amount spent on buildings being 
estimated at one million, two hundred and eighty-six thousand dollars. Com- 
menting upon this at the time, the Oregonian said : "Many of these buildings 
are costly and of handsome and imposing appearance. We doubt if any city 


on the Pacific coast can show anything like a parallel. The exhibit proves con- 
clusively and in the most appreciable manner the rapid strides of our city towards 
wealth and greatness. . . . Every house is occupied as soon as finished, 
and not infrequently houses are bespoken before the ground is broken for their 
erection. . . . Rents are justly pronounced enormous." 

The finest buildings of this year were the New Market theatre of A. P. 
Ankeny, sixty by two hundred feet, on First and A streets, extending to Second, 
and the Masonic hall on Third and Alder, of three stories, and a Mansard roof, 
still a very prominent building, and finished in the Corinthian style. 

The number of steamers registering in the Willamette district were thirty- 
one; of barks, one; brigs, six; schooners, two; scows, two; sloops, four. The 
total value of property assessed was ten million, one hundred and fifty-six thou- 
sand, three hundred and twenty dollars, with an indebtedness of one million, one 
hundred and ten thousand, one hundred and five dollars. The population as 
estimated reached eleven thousand, one hundred and three. 

In 1872, Ankeny's New Market theatre was completed at a cost of one hun- 
dred thousand dollars, and the Masonic Temple at eighty thousand dollars. A 
Good Templar's hall was built on Third street costing ten thousand dollars. 
The Clarendon hotel was built on north First street near the railroad depot. 
Smith's block, a row of warehouses between First and Front streets and Ash 
and Oak, was built this year at a cost of fifty thousand dollars. Pittock's block 
on Front near Stark was completed at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. Trin- 
ity church erected a house of worship on the corner of Sixth and Oak streets, 
at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars. Dekum's building on the corner of 
First and Washington streets, of three stories and still standing, costing seventy 
thousand dollars, was begun in 1871, and completed in ''J2. The home for the 
destitute was built this year. 

In the line of shipping there were five ocean steamers plying to San Fran- 
cisco, the John L. Stephens, an old-fashioned side-wheeler being the largest, 
carrying one thousand, eight hundred and thirty-seven tons. Coastwise tonnage 
aggregated one hundred and nine thousand, nine hundred and forty-nine tons ; 
in the foreign trade there were eighteen thousand, nine hundred and forty-four 
tons. From foreign countries there arrived twelve barks and two ships, with a 
total capacity of nine thousand, four hundred and forty tons. Imports — that is 
strictly from foreign countries — were seven hundred and twenty-eight thou- 
sand, seven hundred and twenty-five dollars ; exports to foreign countries six 
hundred and fifty-eight thousand and six hundred and fourteen dollars. The 
west side railroad was running to the Yamhill river at St. Joseph, and the east 
side to Roseburg in the Umpqua valley. Large fires occurred in 1872 making 
a total loss of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The population was 
estimated at twelve thousand, one hundred and twenty-nine. 


In August, 1873, a great fire occurred, burning twenty-two blocks along the 
river front south of Yamhill and a part of Morrison street. The fire began at 
about 4:30 o'clock A. M. August 2, 1873, while the summer drought was on, 
and, by popular opinion at the time, was due to incendiarism. It began in the 
furniture store of Hurgren & Shindler on First street near Taylor. Fastening 
on the oils and varnishes in the work room, the energy of combustion was so 
great as to send up a shaft of flames through the building far into the air, with 
dense smoke accompanying, which soon burst into sheets of fire, and involved 
the entire structure. The alarm of the bells and the cries of the firemen aroused 
the city, and the streets were soon crowded with men. There were wooden 
buildings close by, the Metropolis hotel, the Multnomah hotel, the Patton house 
and a saloon, carpenter shop and foundry, on the same block ; and within a 
quarter of an hour the whole was under the flames. The fire passed through 

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these buildings of fir lumber like kindling wood, burning with the violence of 
tinder. Although promptly on the ground, the firemen were unable to check 
the devastation, and under a breeze from the hills the conflagration soon spread 
to include six blocks, reaching the river and between Taylor street to Main and 
Second streets. From this start the fire spread north and south between Second 
street and the river until it had reached Yamhill street and destroyed Kelloggs 
hotel on the river front and threatened the St. Charles hotel, then the grandest 
building in the city, and swept everything clean as far south as Jefferson street 
and the public levee, where the Salem Electric and Narrow Gauge railroads 
now terminate. The fire wiped out everything on twenty-two city blocks ; and 
would have taken much more of the city had not the firemen got in on steam- 
boats from Vancouver and Oregon City, and by special train from Salem to 
relieve the exhausted Portland men. The Salem firemen promptly responded to 
a telegraph call and got their engine and men to the train and rushed to Port- 
land without a stop — a 52 mile run in 57 minutes. The contest with the de- 
vouring flames lasted the entire day ; the women turning out and serving coffee 
and sandwiches to the firemen, while they continued fighting the flames. The 
loss was about two and a quarter million dollars; and was in the end stopped 
mostly by shade trees. 

The great disaster to the city was of course telegraphed far and wide and not 
only offers of aid but checks for money was sent in from San Francisco and 
many eastern cities. Henry Failing was made chairman of the relief commit- 
tee that was immediately organized ; and promptly telegraphed the thanks of 
Portland for the generous offer of aid, but kindly declined them all. For a 
time this decision aroused bitter opposition and called out severe criticism. Mr. 
Failing met this storm with the dignity and firmness that characterized his whole 
life, saying: that it was not meet, even in sore distress, for a rich city, like Port- 
land to accept charity; and that the manly thing, and the right and proper thing 
to do was for the rich men to put their hands deep down into their purses and 
discharge this duty to the honor and credit of the city ; and to make his acts tally 
with his brave words thereupon subscribed ten thousand dollars himself. That 
ended all discussion, silenced all criticism, healed all the bruises, and set every- 
body to work, to rebuild the city with funds to purchase tools and clothing for 
workingmen rendered houseless, and the loss was soon forgotten and tlie black- 
ened ruins soon again covered with better buildings than those swept away by 
the fire. 


The value of the salmon in the Columbia river had long been understood. 
The early fur traders had caught a few salmon and carried them away in salt 
with their furs. The Hudson's Bay Company had every year sent some salted and 
dried salmon home to London with their returning ships. And both Winship and 
Wyeth had come to the Columbia river prepared to carry away salmon, salted 
dried or kippered. But none of them had ever made a success of such efforts. 
Their failures were not owing to any scarcity of fish, but mostly because they 
had to depend on Indians to catch the fish. And Indians could catch but one 
fish at a time, either by spearing him, or hooking him with a line. This was too 
slow for commercial profit, and the Indian knew nothing about the use of nets 
or pounds. It remained for the white men to discover a way to utilize the vast 
schools of salmon which annually swept into the mouth of the great river. 
Salted salmon in kits and barrels had been on the market for years, but it was 
poor food, and worth a man's life to be compelled to depend on the stuff. 

While temporarily stopping at the old American Exchange hotel, at the foot 
of Washington street, in 1864, General Cofhn said to this writer one evening, 
"Come around to the wharf and I'll show you some fish." I went and saw a 
sight; and admitted I had never seen any fish before. A husky steamboat 
roustabout was pitching salmon off a little steamboat that had just got in from 


down the Columbia, and had a wagon load of salmon for sale to anybody that 
wanted fresh fish. There were big salmon and little salmon and salmon of all 
sizes from the royal Chinook weighing seventy-five pounds down to the youngsters 
weighing two pounds. And people were coming in to get what they wanted. 
The hotels and restaurants — no "grills" in those days — took the large fish at two- 
bits apiece, and the family men took the little fish at ten cents apiece. Think of 
it; now you pay twenty or twenty-five cents a pound for royal Chinook, and 
four-bits for a two pounder called "Salmon trout." 

I said to General Coffin "why don't you can these fish?" "Oh you can't do 
that, you can't can fish, they'd all spoil." I suggested that eastern men were 
canning oysters, and I could see no reason why salmon would not be canned. 
As a matter of fact, at that very time the Hume Brothers had, after years of 
trial, succeeded in successfully canning salmon on the Sacramento river in Cali- 
fornia, and the very next year came up to Oregon and started a cannery down 
the Columbia and made a fortune out of the business before anybody else found 
out the secrets of the canning process. But employees soon discovered that there 
was money in the knowledge they possessed, and lost no time in getting Ore- 
gonians to put up the money to build canneries, and since that first little can- 
nery of the Humes there has been taken out of the Columbia river and turned 
into gold coin not less than fifty million dollars worth of salmon. It has been 
the greatest gold mine the state has possessed excepting only the wheat fields, 
until now, when lumber is booming up big as a greater mine of wealth than fish 
or wheat. And notwithstanding the easy money, great profits and reliability 
of the business, the wealth of the fisheries has well nigh been destroyed by the 
selfishness and shortsightedness of the fishermen, and some cannerymen, who 
would not forego a penny of profit, or the chance of losing a single fish, in any 
effort to maintain a supply of fish, raised without costing one cent, by giving 
the fish a chance, or half a chance, to propagate their species, or to help out 
the spawning by artificial hatcheries. Fifty years from now when some one re- 
writes this history, it will be curious to look in and see if the Columbia river 
fishermen did ever awake to a common sense view of their business, and a pa- 
triotic duty to their city and state, and take effective measures to preserve, and 
conserve the Columbia river salmon. 

Anent this story of the origin of the salmon fisheries in the Columbia, there 
is another "fish story." Everybody could see and feel the inconvenience of 
being compelled to buy a whole fish on the wharf whether they wanted a whole 
fish or not, and then carry it home. As soon as John Quinn, a jolly good natured 
son of the Emerald isle saw the fish market on the dock a bright idea struck 
him. "I'll open a little shop, buy the fish, cut them up to suit customers, and 
do some business," said he, and no sooner said than done, for that very day 
he rented a little room on the south side of Washington street between First and 
Second and next door to the grocery establishment that made the Labbe Brothers 
fortune, and got in his block, scales and knives and was ready for business the 
next time the boat came up with salmon ; and the present enormous fish business 
of the city started right there in Ouinn's little eight by ten shop. From cutting 
up fish for each customer as they came along, he branched out into the idea of 
delivering the goods, and John Quinn was the first man in Portland town to 
deliver parcels to purchasers. His delivery accommodations at first were a bas- 
ket carried by himself. And as Quinn turned to delivering the purchases his 
good wife donned her big apron and took his place at the block, and proved as 
good a salesman and fish cutter as any man. Prosperity rolled in to the happy 
busy couple. When Alvarez Matteson would come in from Wappato lake with 
a wagon load of ducks, venison and native pheasants he found a ready market 
at Quinn's, and dressed poultry and game were added to the attraction of the 
Quinn market. Those were the halcyon days in Portland life. Venison cost 
but ten cents a pound, a brace of native pheasants two-bits, a canvas-b' \, fif- 
teen cents, and Joe Bergman was selling choice porterhouse steak for t it and 











■■.■:..■.-■■ : t. 


ten cents a pound. Everybody had all they could eat, and the best in the mar- 
ket, and no notes coming due in bank to worry about. Now choice steaks are 
thirty cents a pound, and venison and pheasants are reserved for millionaires 
and other favored of the earth. 

But this book must not overlook Mrs. Quinn, the faithful helpmeet that made 
John a rich man. Several years after the Quinns had got all the business they 
could handle, and Mrs. Quinn was still cutting away in her spotless white apron, 
an old friend and customer said to her. "And don't you get tired of this job, 
Mrs. Quinn?" "Oh yes," she repHed, "it is not a beautiful job to be sure, but 
I am going to stay right here at this block until I make twenty thousand dollars 
and then I'll quit and get myself the finest silk dress ever brought to this city." 
! The story passed around the town and everybody had their little joke and laugh, 
but the Quinns held on the even tenor of their way. One morning Mrs. Quinn 
was absent from the shop and a man was at her block. The story of the twenty 
thousand dollars was recalled, and before noon of that day, Mrs. John Quinn 
appeared at the first department store of the city of Portland then kept at the 
southeast corner of First and Washington streets by Clark, Henderson & Cook, 
the predecessors of the Lipman, Wolf & Co. store. She was radiant with 
smiles, and evidently a happy woman. As she entered the store one of the pro- 
prietors, Mr. Vincent Cook, came forward to wait on her and jokingly inquired 
if she had made that twenty thousand dollars yet. The response was quick and 
hearty, "Yes I have," and the reply was "then you want that silk dress." "That's 
what I've come for." Mr. Cook was equal to the occasion — in fact "Vint" Cook 
was always equal to any occasion — and, keeping in mind the reputation of his 
house, replied : "I've been keeping a piece of silk for you for some time. It's 
the finest piece of silk ever brought to this city," placing it on the counter, "and 
there never will be as good a piece of silk brought to Portland again, for I can 
tell you confidentially, this silk was made to order for the empress of China or 
some other empress — just look at it," as he unrolled it, "it will stand on end 
like a row of salmon barrel staves." "How much must I have," said the delighted 
customer. "Well," says the merchant, "you're a fine large lady that will become 
this fine goods, I think twenty yards would not be any too much." And so twenty 
yards were cut oflF and paid for. "Now," says Mr. Cook, "I could well aflford to 
give you that dress, Mrs. Quinn, for I've learned something from you." "What's 
that," replied the lady? "Well, it's just this, if you and John Quinn can make 
twenty thousand dollars in this fish business in a few years, I think I can make 
something at it myself, and I will sell out here and go into the fish business." 
And he did sell out and joined his brother James in packing salmon, and made 
his million. 

This is but a sample story in the life and growth of this far western city. It 
illustrates much of this life and growth, and it is just as necessary to this 
history as any account of the growth of ocean commerce or development of rail- 
way transportation. 


Transportation interests in building up the city commenced of course with 
the first ships that tied up to the oak trees growing along the river front from 
Jefferson street down to Hoyt street. And without this great builder of cities 
and nations there would have been no Portland. But along with this chief agency, 
came other and minor elements of growth, which deserve recognition. The ex- 
press business to Portland came in on board the first steamship that tied up to 
the Portland water front, in the person of an express messenger. But no per- 
manent office was established in the city until 1852, when "The Adams Express 
Company" opened an office here and continued in business until the advent of 
Wells Fargo & Company in 1853, when the field was abandoned to the latter 
company. There were on the overland route between Oregon and California 


a number of express riders carrying letters and small packages as early as 1851, 
the charges for carrying letters being fifty cents for each letter. 

In 1853, Wells Fargo & Company opened an office at Front street near the 
foot of Morrison street with Major William H. Barnhart as agent, and the office 
and agent is shown in the picture of Front street of 1853. On this subject Mr. 
Eugene Shelby, a native of the city and now superintendent of the Wells Fargo 
lines on the Pacific coast, and residing at San Francisco, says : 

"Our first agency was located in a store, but in the course of a few years, 
as the business grew, exclusive offices were secured, and up until about 1868 or 
1869 we were always located on Front street, north of Stark street. Sometime 
about the time named, we moved into the building which still stands on the north- 
east corner of First and Stark streets, which we occupied until 1874, moving 
thence to a room constructed especially for our business in the Newmarket build- 
ing on the southwest corner of First and Ankeny streets. We continued to oc- 
cupy this space until the flood of 1894 drove us out, and our next location was 
in the Imperial hotel building on the northeast corner of Seventh and Washing- 
ton streets. We remained there three years, moving in 1897 to the wooden 
structure, purchased by the company on the southeast corner of Fourth and 
Yamhill streets. That location we left in 1907 to take up quarters in the spacious 
structure erected by the company at Sixth and Oak streets — the present location. 

While I am confident I do not recall the names of all the old agents in the 
list, the most of them appear — W. H. Barnhart, J. M. Vansycle, W. W. Briggs, 
E. W. Tracy. 

These gentlemen, I think, with two or three others, I cannot remember, were 
the agents between the years 1853 and 1872. Sam C. Mills and Frank M. War- 
ren were also connected with the company at Portland prior to 1872, and James 
A. Henderson acted as cashier there in the old. days. H. C. Paige was prominent 
as a route agent, though when his services with the company terminated later on 
he was very much under a cloud. In 1872 Major W. A. Atlee was appointed 
agent, serving until about the first of the year, 1873. At that time Colonel Dud- 
ley Evans, now president, was placed in charge of the Portland office, and he 
retained the agency until 1883. Mr, .Ralph Welch then assumed control which 
he retained from 1883 to 1884. In March, 1884, Mr. Eugene Shelby was made 
agent, and he continued to act in that capacity until June of 1906, being suc- 
ceeded at that time by the present general agent, Mr. H. Beckwith. 

Early history of Wells Fargo & Co., in Portland would doubtless prove in- 
teresting, but unfortunately, there are very few people now living who are fa- 
miliar therewith. We handled letters for many years after the business was first 
established, and nearly all the important business communications were intrusted 
to our care. Upon the arrival of a steamer at Portland from San Francisco, 
the latter city in the early days being Portland's supply point, a large bag con- 
taining letters was all ready to be thrown ashore before the steamer was landed. 
It was rushed to the uptown office, opened and assorted, a large letter list, which 
the steamer messenger had meanwhile prepared, being conspicuously placed on 
the wall and for an hour or more thereafter the office was flooded with business 
men. This condition prevailed even when steamers arrived as late as twelve 
c clock at night. In fact, in those days every employe of our company was on 
terms of personal acquaintance with every prominent merchant and banker, a 
condition which does not now prevail in any city, in the United States. 

Amongst the best known employes in the sixties was Sam C. Mills, who 
afterward moved to San Francisco, where he lived for many years. Amongst 
the well known employes of later date were Charlie Fuller and Frank M. Moll- 
throp, who, by the way, is yet Hving on a farm near Columbia slough. Charlie 
Meade, letter clerk, probably knew every resident of Portland in the early seven- 
ties, his work as letter deliveryman bringing him in contact with everybody. He 
died many years ago. 

- ■CMOX. 

DR. 0. P. S. PLUMMER, 
Father of telegraphy in Oregon 


Numerous experiences might be related which would prove interesting, but 
for historical purposes would be inappropriate. Such, for instance, as tlie de- 
velopments resulting from "On Hand" sales, many extraordinary packages hav- 
ing been disposed of at auction because uncalled for by owners. Reference 
might also be made to the fact that two men came to the express office with 
grain sacks with which to carry away $i5,ocxD.oo they had won in the Louisiana 
lottery, same being shipped in currency." 

Many of the present merchants and residents of the city will recall the pleas- 
ant face and genial hand shake of Colonel Dudley Evans, who was for many 
years in charge of the Portland office, and to whose friendly interest the city 
is very largely indebted for its first Class A steel frame twelve story building 
standing at the corner of Sixth and Pine streets ; and who since Mr. Shelby's 
letter was written has passed over to the other side beyond the reach of ener- 
getic express companies. 

The Telegraph in Oregon. — We are indebted to the "Father of Telegraphy 
in Oregon," Dr. O. P. S. Plummer for the history of this important aid to 
social and commercial progress. 

In the year 1855 or 1856 two men, Johnson and Graham undertook the con- 
struction of a telegraph line to connect the Willamette valley with San Francisco. 

They solicited stock subscriptions from the business men and settlers in the 
section interested, in which they were quite successful and in time strung a 
wire from Portland to Eugene city. 

The wire used was very light, the insulators very poor and not a pole was 
set where a tree could be made to serve as a support. Charles Barnhart of 
Cornelius, informed me several years ago that he remembered distinctly that a 
pole stood at Butteville, the only one of which he has any recollection. 

Johnson estabHshed his headquarters in the drug store of our worthy Dr. J. 
B. Cardwell at Corvallis, and there a telegraph office with a register was duly 
installed, but not a single telegram was transmitted for pay from Corvallis 
office and a very limited business was done at Portland with Warren Davis as 
operator, and at Oregon City where D. W. Craig, (a pioneer printer and edi- 
tor, yet living at Salem, eighty years of age), did the "brass pounding," during 
the long interval occupied in the canvassing for funds for the construction of 
the line. The project proving a failure, the work was abandoned and the en- 
terprising co-laborers left the country. 

A few years later J. E. Strong of Salem, undertook the construction of a 
line from Portland to Yreka to form a connection with that of the California 
State Telegraph Company. 

He succeeded pretty well until the work had reached a point near Eugene 
city, when meeting with reverses, the principal one being the loss of a quantity 
of wire and other material in a shipwreck while in transit from New_ York 
around Cape Horn, he was stranded and turned the line over to the California 
State Company in the fall of 1863, upon an agreement to complete to a connec- 
tion at Yreka and thus reach San Francisco. 

Two building parties entered promptly upon construction work. One party 
under R. R. Haines working from the south and one under E. A. Whittlesay 
from the north, reached a meeting point at the Joseph Lane farm a few miles 
north of Roseburg on the fifth day of March, 1854. 

Of the men engaged at that time in construction and operation, I can only 
locate two at this time. I think the others have all passed to the beyond. Cap- 
tain Frank M. Tibbetts, whose home was at Oakland, was one of the Whit- 
tlesey party and did work as Hne repairer for several years. He is now em- 
ployed on the Albina ferry and has resided in Portland for many years, a vigor- 
ous, well preserved man. John M. Lyon continued with the construction work 
as the building was extended towards Puget Sound, and managed the office at 
Seattle for a long time, served as postmaster for a term and is yet living in 
honorable retirement in that city. 


Upon completion of the construction work I was transferred from the San 
Francisco office to Portland and performed all the work of the office with the 
aid of one man who did delivery and line repair service during the first eight 

Business was very satisfactory and Portland grew and prospered, and in 
the late fall, Albert Strong, of Salem, son of the line promoters, was employed 
as my assistant, but was soon succeeded by a young fellow named Ward, who 
came from California, operated for over a year and returned, locating at 

W. W. Skinner was transferred from Yreka to Portland office in the fall 
of 1865 to serve as delivery man and line repairer. He was a good operator 
as well and an all around valuable assistant. Later he served as railroad station 
agent and operator at Salem for many years, and was honored by election to the 
office of mayor of that city. He passed away in April, 1909. 

The line as first built lacked much of being first class. The insulators were 
poor indeed. The amount of escape especially during damp' weather was so 
great that messages often had to be repeated at points between Portland and 
Yreka, which was the south end of the Oregon circuit, where all telegrams were 
transmitted either through "repeaters" or by copying and so forwarding when 
the line happened to be down, which often occurred, or when working badly. 

The insulators used at first and for the first few years, were composed of a 
block of wood of size about four by four by three inches, with a hole bored into 
the center in which was inserted an iron bar or core coated with gutta percha, 
the coating in many instances being imperfect or cracked so that frequently the 
sap from trees to which they were nailed formed a means of communication 
from the line wire to the ground. These insulators were attached to trees where 
the expense of poles could possibly be saved, and western and southern Ore- 
gon was then well wooded. 

The main line batteries at Portland and Yreka were known as Grove batteries 
in which nitric acid was used and the three dozen or more cells in Portland 
office had to be cleaned and replenished daily. The local batteries then used were 
known as Daniels or gravity bluestone batteries. 

Offices were far apart at first and compensations of operators at small places 
were very low, being one-half of the moneys collected for telegrams. Such 
towns as Oregon City, Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Eugene and Roseburg paying 
the munificent returns from ten to twenty dollars per month for their care. 
Registers with the strip of paper were used in nearly every office in the state. 
The operators were either business men in the way towns or their clerks, or 
both, and there was such a fascination about having the offices in places of 
business that there was little trouble in finding parties who were glad to have 
the charge for the small compensation. 

I smile when I recall one case as an example: Adolph Levy, who was oper- 
ator at Oregon City succeeded Fred Charman, devoted a lot of time to the tele- 
graph even to the neglect of his buisness, for which he only realized fifteen or 
sixteen dollars a month, complained to me about the meager pay; I referred 
him to the general superintendent. Colonel James Gamble ; Gamble advised him 
to resign ; he again called on me saying he should have more pay but did not 
want to give up the office, and several other operators like situated felt as my 
dear good friend Adolph did, but delayed with the job. 

Portland office did a good business. Merchants and others soon took ad- 
vantage of the comparatively rapid means of communication. The tariff to 
San Francisco was three dollars for the first ten words, and one dollar and a 
quarter for each additional five words or portion thereof. 

I many times received four dollars and a quarter for eleven word messages. 
Now the ratio is fifty cents and three cents for each additional word. Like rates 
ruled to other points and similar lower rates are established now. 


The early times operators in Oregon were a fine lot of fellows, and but few 
are left. With scarcely an exception they have done well in their various life 
engagements. Among those living now I recall, D. W. Wakefield, S. B. Eakin, 
Dr. S. Hamilton and his boys, J. Waldo Thompson, of San Diego, Thos. Sheri- 
dan, C. K. Wheeler, George Mercer, F. A. Taylor and Joseph Purdom. I 
need not give their addresses, they can be easily located, they are all well 
known good citizens, and to this day I am proud of the old operators. 

In 1865 the California State Company's properties were acquired by the 
Western Union Company and the condition of the lines in Oregon was soon 
much bettered. Better insulation and better service in every way was intro- 
duced as the business grew. 

James H. Guild succeeded me as manager of the Portland office in Sep- 
tember 1866, where he rendered valuable service for many years. I practiced 
medicine for two years at Albany, when I was tendered the superintendency of 
the lines in Oregon and northern California and acted in that capacity until 
1875, when I was relieved by Colonel Frank H. Lamb, who had for several years 
been superintendent of all lines north of the Columbia river, and who is yet 
rendering most capable and efficient service with his headquarters at Los Angeles. 
Mr. Guild superintended and operated the Oregon Steam Navigation Company's 
lines for many years. So much in regard to telegraphy in the earlier days in 

Now in this year of our Lord, 1910, a wonderful change is presented, an 
advance and development scarcely conceivable, even to those who have marked 
the progress. Instead of with great difficulty making the one wire which tra- 
versed Oregon from north to south, transmit communications to the California 
border and frequently not so far in those days, we now have several wires and 
a single wire is made tO' pass several messages at one time to and from San 
Francisco or like distant points. 

Instead of generating a weak current of electricity by means of a few cells 
of batteries, it is now created by water power or other means in vast amounts 
and stored for use as required. The creating of this power and the uses to 
which it is now applied are hard to realize. With the wonderful advances of 
our great state and her phenomenal growth, the telegraph has kept pace. 

Forty-six years ago a handful of men did all the telegraph service in Ore- 
gon. Today there are employed in the telegraph service in the city of Portland 
of men, women, boys, and line men, engaged in commercial and railroad dis- 
patching work a total of one thousand, eighty-six. And what of the telephone 
service? The Pacific States Company, with its twenty-four thousand, five hun- 
dred, sixty-seven instruments (phones) in use in the city of Portland furnishes 
employment for eight hundred, forty-one persons. The city of Salem has two 
thousand, three hundred, ninety-six phones, and other cities and towns through- 
out the state are also well accommodated. 

The Home Telephone Company has ten thousand, five hundred phones in- 
stalled in Portland, in which service the patrons do their own switching. The 
service in connection with our fire department and our police system are im- 
portant uses. Then the rural lines, the great aid and convenience for the coun- 
try folks, are so numerous and distributed that to approximate a stating of their 
number would be an almost impossible task. 

The uses of electricity in street car service are wonderful. Three hundred 
and thirty-eight such cars are running in the city of Portland and to suburban 
points every day, and furnish employment for approximately four thousand 
persons. Several other cities throughout the state have similar service. 

The Mail Service. — The first movement to establish mail communication 
with Oregon by United States mail service was made in 1845, when the post 
master general advertised for proposals to carry the United States mail from 
New York to Havana, thence to Chagres river and back; with joint or separate 


offers to extend the transportation to Panama and up the Pacific coast to the 
mouth of the Columbia river, and thence to the Sandwich islands, the senate 
recommending a mail route to Oregon. Between 1846 and 1848 the government 
thought of the plan of encouragmg by subsidies the establishment of a line 
of steamers between Panama and Oregon by way of some port in California — 
gold had not yet been discovered. Upon the discovery of gold in California 
a United States postal agent for the Pacific coast was appointed to reside at 
San Francisco, and manage the mails, appoint postmasters, and generally regu- 
late the entire postal business for the coast. Under this authority, John Adair 
was appointed postmaster at Astoria, F. M. Smith at Portland, George L. Curry 
at Oregon City, J. B. Lane at Salem, and J. C. Avery at Corvallis ; and the 
mail for Oregon from the eastern states was sent up on sailing vessels as they 
chanced to come during the year 1849. Not a single mail steamer appeared on 
the Columbia river in 1849; ^^^ when Mr. Thurston, Oregon's delegate to 
congress, hunted out the matter in the postoffice department, he found that the 
secretary of the navy had agreed with Mr. Aspinwall, who had contracted to 
deliver mail in Oregon, that if he (Aspinwall) would take tlie mail once a 
month by sailing vessel "to the mouth of Klamath river, and touch at San 
Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego free of cost to the government, he would 
not be required to run mail steamers to Oregon until after receiving six months 

Here was mail service in hot haste. Oregon was to be at the end of the line, 
but get the mail at the mouth of the Klamath river. The secretary of the navy 
that made this brilliant arrangement had not found out that the people of Ore- 
gon at that time lived in the Columbia river valley, and that the mouth of the 
Klamath river was in California.^ After resigning as secretary of the navy iii 
the administration of President Zachary Taylor, he became president of South 
Carolina college, and is known to fame as William C. Preston. Such facts as 
these show the difficulties under which Portland struggled to get a start. The 
next move to get mail service to Portland was secured by Mr. Thurston through 
the regular channels of the post of