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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume III. March, 1902 - December, 1902 Oregon Historical Society 1902

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MARCH.  1902-DECEMBER,  1902
Edited by Frederic George Young
Across the Continent Seventy Years Ago (compiled from the papers of John
Ball).   Kate N. B. Powers 82-106
American Pur Trade in the Par West, The.   Hiram Martin Chittenden.
(Reviewed) 260-270
Archives of Oregon, The.   P. G. Young 371-389
Astoria Taken Possession of by Captain James Biddle on Behalf of the
United States, August 19,1818.   (Document) 310-311
Ball, John (compiled from his. papers: "Across the Continent Seventy Years
Ago").   Kate N. B. Powers 82-106
Barlow Road, History of the.   Mary S. Barlow 71- 81
Brown, Grandma (Mrs. Tabitha), Recollections of.   Jane Kinney Smith 287-295
Burnett, Peter H., Letters of 398-126
Cavalry, The First Oregon.   Prances Fuller Victor 123-163
Columbia River, Documents Relating to the Taking Possession of the Post
and Territory at the Mouth of the.   James Biddle 310-311
Conquest, The —True Story of Lewis and Clark.   E. E. Dye, reviewed 427-428
Factory, The Origin and History of the Willamette Woolen. L. E. Pratt 248-259
Fur Trade, The American in the Far West.   Hiram Martin Chittenden.
(Reviewed) 260-270
Geography and History (extract from lecture by George L. Hillard, 1845) 312-313
Historian of the Northwest, Frances Fuller Victor.   William A. Morris 429-434
Holden, Horace, Recollections of.   H. S. Lyman 164-217
Husbandry, Sheep, in Oregon.   John Minto 219-247
Iowa, The Oregon Meeting in.   (Document) 390-393
Jory, James, Reminiscences of.   H. S. Lyman 271-286
Kentucky, The, Memorial.   (Document) 393-394
Letter of Tallmadge B. Wood 394-398
Letters of Peter H. Burnett 398-426
Lewis and Clark, "The Conquest,"—The True Story of.   E. E. Dye. (Reviewed) 427-428
Memorial, The Kentucky 893-394
Northwest, Historian of the.   William A. Morris ' 429-434
Oregon, The, Archives. F. G. Young 371-389  Author's Index.
Barlow, Mary 8.— History of the Barlow Road    71- 81
Biddle^ Captain James — Reports Taking Possession of Both Shores of the
Columbia August 19, 1818 310-311
Burnett, Peter H — Letters of, to the New York Herald 398-426
Chittenden, Hiram Martin—"The American Fur Tiuide in the Far West."
(Reviewed) 260-270
Dye, Eva Emery — "The Conquest—The True Story of Lewis and Clark."
(Reviewed) 427-428
Fenton, William D.— Political History of Oregon from 1865 to 1876    38- 70
Oasion, Joseph—The Oregon Central Railroad 315-326
George, M. C —Political History of Oregon from 1876 to 1895, inclusive 107-122
Hillard, George L.—The Connection Between Geography and History, 1845-312-313
Himes, George H—The History of the Press of Oregon, 1839-1850  -.327-370
Lyman, Horace 8.— Recollections of Grandma (Mrs. Tabitha) Brown, secured from Jane Kinney Smith 287-295
Lyman, Horace 8.— Reminiscenses of Horace Holden 164-217
Lyman, Horace S.— Reminiscences of James Jory 271-286
Lyman, Horace 8.— Reminiscences of Daniel Knight Warren 296-309
Minto, John — Sheep Husbandry in Oregon 219-247
Morris,  William A.— The Historian of the Northwest — Frances Fuller
Victor  429-484
Powers, Kate N. B.— Across the Continent Seventy Years Ago — Compiled
from the Papers of John Ball 82-106
Pratt, L. E.— The Origin and History of the Willamette Woolen Factory__248-259
Robertson, James Rood — The Social Evolution of Oregon    1- 87
Victor, Frances Fuller—"The American Fur Trade in the Far West."
(Reviewed) 260-270
Victor, Frances Fuller—-The First Oregon Cavalry 123-163
Wood, Tallmadge B— Letter of 394-398
Young, Frederic George—The Archives of Oregon 871-389
Young, Frederic George—"The Conquest."  (Reviewed) 427-428  Volume III
MARCH,   1902
[Number 1
Obegon Histoeical Society.
tme jouai izmmrim sf omm
Although Oregon is but thinly populated, clearly defined stages in its development are apparent and may be
marked out from the facts already well authenticated.
These facts may be grouped in various ways according
to the purpose of the writer, but it is evident that the
"Social Evolution" of Oregon must be primarily a question of industrial evolution, and the facts must be grouped
The acquisition of a livelihood is the motive which
operates most powerfully in bringing population together
in sufficient numbers to create a social organization of
any kind ; it is the motive which holds the population
together and renders possible that adaptation to environment and integration of elements which result in the
various institutions of social life. While industry is in
no sense the most important feature of social life, it is,
nevertheless, the thing which lies most nearly at the
foundation.   It bears to the social organism the same rela- 2 James R. Robertson.
tion that the skeleton does to the animal. The industrial
growth of a community depends upon the opportunities
presented for the making of a livelihood and the other
features of social life, however varied their character or
high their aim, depend upon the number and character
of the population that is attracted.
A study of the social evolution, therefore, must lead to
a study of the physical features of the locality ; to the
causes which lead to the discovery of its resources; to
the characteristics and standards of life of the population that congregates ; to the. adaptation of population
to environment and the integration into community life.
Location relative to other centers of population, abundance and variety of resources, character, and standards
of life in the population are all to be taken into consideration. The study of social evolution is also one of
constant change. The elements of social life are continually shifting with relation to one another. New
resources are always being discovered ; more population is attracted to a locality ; resources and population
react upon one another in various ways ; population is
changed with relation to other centers by new facilities
of communication; forceful individuals initiate far-reaching changes and unforeseen events bring into action powerful impulses to development.
In the social evolution of Oregon, locality alone has
been responsible for' much. Wide separation from the
older centers of population has produced that slowness
of growth and consequent spirit of conservatism which
have characterized the development. Distance also has
led in some degree to a sifting of the population. It has
brought the vigorous and strong and eliminated the weak.
It has kept away much of the foreign European population that has found readier access to the lkEast and the
states of the Mississippi Valley. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
Climate and abundance of resource have rendered the
population of Oregon free from much of that conflict
with nature which the settlers of less favored regions
have been obliged to experience. Variety of resource
has rendered possible that social balance which comes
from the constant interplay of a population engaged in
different occupations and the compensating action of a
city and a country population. A population composed
of the sturdy stock of New England and the vigorous
frontier settlers of the Middle West has brought to the
social life elements of strength.
Location, abundance, and variety of resource have also
brought their problems. The elimination of the foreign
classes from Europe has deprived the population of a
factor very valuable in the development of a new country
because of the ability to do work of a burdensome kind
that the American shuns. The abundance of resource
and the ease of gaining a mere livelihood leads to the
problem of a population too easily satisfied and lacking
in ambition. Variety has tempted a superficial development of many rather than a thorough development of a
few resources ; and, lastly, the conditions that bring a
population of the sturdiest kind bring also a class of
adventurers who injure rather than aid in the social evolution.
The largest place in this paper must naturally be given
to the industrial development, since that lies at the foundation of all social evolution. The industrial life of
Oregon began with the discovery of its resources. Up
to the time that the American colonies began to aspire to
separate existence the resources of -the whole Northwest
were practically unknown. It is true, the explorers of
different European nations had passed the coast at intervals for centuries ; but they were interested only
in looking for that indenture in the shore line which 4 Jambs R. Robertson.
would promise them a waterway connection between the
Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Not until Captain Cook,
engaged in the more careful exploration of the coast in
1778, do we catch glimpses of any real appreciation of the
resources of the country itself. Among many interesting geographical discoveries, he made observations which
were to be of greatest importance in the development of
the Northwest. The abundance of the fur bearing sea
animals along the coast and the islands attracted his
attention, as well as that of his crew. The fine furs
brought from the interior by the Indians were an indication of an equally valuable supply within the country.
The natives preferred the gaudy beads and trinkets, and
were willing to exchange the most valuable furs for
things of little value. Cook and his crew had learned
of the esteem in which the Chinese held the furs, and the
human mind-was not slow in projecting a business enterprise which would offer a handsome return.1
The crew that served under Cook became more anxious
to engage in the fur trade .than to continue the exploration. Especially enthusiastic was one of their number,
an American by nationality. John Ledyard was a native
of Connecticut, but had joined the English exploring
party because of his love of adventure. The profits to
be derived from the fur trade of the Northwest had
appealed to him with great force.2 He continued for
two years after the return of Cook's expedition in the
British naval service, then deserted from a man-of-war
stationed in Long Island Sound*- He went from one to
another of the moneyed centers of the United States to
interest men of capital in the enterprise. In New York
he was coldly received, and his proposal was treated as
1 Greenhow's History of Oregon and California.
- Sparks' Life of John Ledyard. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
the dream of a visionary mind. In Philadelphia his
welcome was more cordial, and the great banker, Robert Morris, would have sent a vessel to engage in the
trade had not financial embarrassments prevented. In
Boston the merchants were favorably impressed but not
yet ready to act. Indeed, it was a matter to warrant
careful consideration. It was a venture that required
capital and that 'moral courage which risks the loss of
all in the effort to win reward. There were dangers
to be met from the sea, disease, and the hostility of
Indians. Failing at last to secure the encouragement
of American capital Ledyard went to Europe upon the
same mission. In France he was encouraged by a company, but only to be again disappointed. The revolutionary hero, Paul Jones, cordially favored the enterprise and
agreed to join in an expedition which also failed. Jefferson, the representative of the American Confederation in
Paris, gave intelligent and sympathetic support to the
enterprise, and kept the subject in mind long after Ledyard had perished. Failing in every effort to win the
support of capital, Ledyard accepted a suggestion of Jefferson and started to cross Europe and Asia, with the
purpose of reaching the shore of the Pacific Coast and.
exploring the country to the Mississippi River. Captured
by Russian officers when nearly across Siberia, he was expelled from the country and entered the service of African
exploration, where he perished. To the expedition of
Captain Cook therefore, and particularly to the enthusiasm of that American member of his crew, the world
owes its first knowledge of the resources of Oregon and
the Northwest.3
The Russians were best fitted by nature and position
to avail themselves immediately of the fur resources. 6
James R. Robertson.
They already knew the value of the business from experience along their own shores and now extended their
operations to the American coast. Vessels from England
and a few from other European nations also entered the
trade, inspired by the reports from the crew of Cook.
The English predominated, but were embarrassed by the
monopoly of the Oriental ports, given to the East India
Company by England. Gradually the others dropped
out and the development of the maritime fur trade was
left to the little nation which had just entered upon its
national life.
Among the merchants of Boston were some who had
for years been interested in the trade with China. The
breaking out of the Revolutionary War-had interrupted
the trade, and it had just begun to be renewed. Embarrassed by the lack of products, which were acceptable to
the Chinese in exchange for their own products, they had
been obliged to send specie to settle the balances. Of
especial interest, therefore, would be the discovery of a
product which could be used to further the business
already begun. They were accustomed to meet in social
intercourse, and generally the conversation would turn
to the explorations of Cook and the prospects of the fur
trade of the Northwest. When at length the undertaking seemed feasible, six of the merchants furnished the
capital necessary to send two vessels to the Northwest
coast to engage in the trade.* A silver medal was struck
to commemorate the occasion, and under the command
of Captains Robert Gray and John Kendricks the "Lady
Washington" and the "Columbia" started out upon their
memorable and significant voyage in 1787.5
After the first trip the representations of Ledyard were
4 J. Barren, S. Brown, C Bulflnch, J. Darby, C. Hatch, J. M. Pintard.
6Greenhow's History of Oregon and California. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
vindicated. Cargoes of fur were gathered up along the
coast at a trifling sum and taken to the market at Canton,
where they were sold at a high price. Vessels loading
for the return with the teas, silks, and spices of China,
carried them to the markets of Europe and America, netting sometimes as high as one thousand per cent upon
the capital invested.
All along the coast from Alaska to California the vessels touched and gathered their rich harvest of furs.
Stopping at customary points along the shore, the mer7
chants' goods were displayed upon the deck of the vessel
and the Indians came out in their canoes to make their
exchanges. Skirting along the coast in this way, the
merchant vessels of New England carried off the resources
of Oregon to add to the enjoyments of the social life of
the East. Though the early merchants did not establish
themselves within the country nor attempt to further
settlement, they were the stimulus which acted as the
forerunner of a social life for Oregon. The superficial
resources were utilized, and the more latent ones would
be sure to be discovered. Their operations extended far.
to the north of the Oregon coast and far to the south,
but they had seen Oregon, and a bond of connection
had been established that was to make New England a
prominent factor in the social evolution. From that
connection were to spring important results. Forceful
individuals at critical times came from the population of
New England to further the life of Oregon, and her representatives in congress were more outspoken in the
interests of a region in which they had an interest.
In another direction the same impulse that had led to
the maritime fur trade was to make known the interior
resources of the country and inspire to a change in the
fur trading methods. Greater permanency was given to
them, and the center of fur trading operation was located 8 James R. Robertson.
within the boundaries of Oregon. Jefferson had remembered the conversations with Ledyard ; he, too, had
become an enthusiast, not alone in the trade of the
Northwest, but even more in the geographical problems
that were connected with it. Unable at first to interest
explorers in the enterprise, he was able, when he became president, to realize a long cherished desire. It
was his influence, therefore, that set in motion an expedition to explore the interior of the country. At the same
time that the English were pushing to the west in the
northern latitudes Lewis and Clark were commissioned
to explore the Louisiana territory, and to continue their
journey to the Pacific Ocean. Successful in their mission, the year 1805 found them in winter camp at Clatsop
beach busily engaged in writing the notes of their expedition, which was to give to the world for the first time
its knowledge of the basin of the Columbia.6 This was
another stimulus to the development of Oregon. Soon
renewed efforts were made to utilize the fur trade in a
manner more thorough. The profits of the maritime
trade, though still great, were declining. The methods
pursued were wasteful of the animal life. A better
method was necessary if the fur resources were to be
conserved and be the aid, which they had promised to
be, in the trade with China.
In this new development of resources Boston was to
give place to New York. The effort of Nathan Winship
to establish a trading post within the country, some distance from the mouth of the Columbia, was unsuccessful,
and John Jacob Astor was destined to lead in the further
development. A German by birth, he was an American
by residence and interest. A fur trader by instinct, he
loved the very smell and feeling of the furs.    Largely
8 Journal of Lewis and Clark. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
interested in the trade to the east of the mountains, possessed of abundance of capital, endowed with great ability in organization, he was well fitted for an enterprise of
such great magnitude and boldness. In partnership with
other fur men he organized the Pacific Fur Company, the
first important enterprise to utilize the resources of Oregon
from the interior of the country. A fort was established
at Astoria in 1811, and plans were made for the development of the business. As a business undertaking it was
well conceived. The monopolistic methods of the company would best conserve the fur product, which the older
methods were fast exterminating. Connection with the
operations east of the mountains would give a continuous trade across the country. Accessibility to the Pacific
Coast would insure the trade with China. The Russian
traders to the north had expressed a willingness to purchase supplies from the fort at Astoria. Everything,
seemed favorable for a successful business. Unforeseen
events, however, led to failure. The breaking out of the
War of 1812 resulted in the appearance of an English
vessel before the fort at Astoria; but a sale of the fort and
the possessions of the company had already been made to
a rival, the English Northwest Fur Company, and what
had promised so well ended in failure.7 Mr. Astor refused to renew the enterprise unless the United States
government would guarantee protection.8 As this could
not be brought about, because of political complications,
the fur trade of the Northwest fell into the hands of the
English, who managed to keep control as long as the fur-
resource formed the prevailing industrial life of Oregon.
Various heroic attempts, both by individuals and companies, were made to regain the trade for the Americans,
? Astor's letter to J. Q,. Adams in. 1823.
8 Irving's Astoria. 10
James R. Robertson.
or at least to win an equal share, but they were all unsuccessful. Consolidation of the two rival English fur
companies in 1821 under the name of the Hudson Bay
Company was the crowning act of the fur trading period.
With a capital of $400,000, and a comprehensive charter
from the English government, it virtually possessed the
trade of the whole region.9 There can be little doubt
that the ; consolidation was a master in the line of business in which it engaged. Removing its headquarters
from Astoria to Vancouver it erected forts at the strategic
points and soon had within its grasp the entire trade of
the basin of the Columbia. Monopolistic in its methods,
it was responsible for much of the irritation that marks
the early industrial life of Oregon. Its success, however,
must be attributed as much to the superiority of its industrial organization and management. In the preservation of order, in the treatment of the native races, in
control of its difficult set of employees, in conservation
of the fur trading resources, it has probably never been
surpassed in the history of the fur trade.
The Hudson Bay Company was an enterprise in which
the business interests predominated. Its officers were
engaged in developing the resources of a country, wild
and remote, because it offered a profit both for themselves and the stockholders who lived in England. The
other interests of a social life were incidental rather
than essential. A population was brought into the country, but it was small in number and incapable of being
molded into anything but a social» life that resembled
the feudal society of an earlier period in Europe. The
gap between the elements of population was great.
Among the officers were men fitted to grace the social
9 Act of parliament, 1S21.   In Appendix to Greenhow's History of Oregon and
California. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
life of any community, while among the employees were
reckless characters unfit for any other life than one based
upon absolute authority and autocratic rule. Most numerous were the Indian races whose life was undisturbed
and whose social standards affected everything about
them. The company was interested that such a social
life should be continued in the interests of the business,
and that a region capable of sustaining a large population should be kept a vast hunting ground fit to support
only the few who lived within it and the stockholders
whose interest in the region ended with the payment of
their dividends. A society of another kind, however,
would have been out of place where the fur trading company was in harmony with the surroundings. It was a
social and industrial life well adapted to the conditions
and did its part in the process of evolution. It will
always furnish an interesting period to the student of
Oregon history, as it is reviewed with something of the
halo which the imagination throws about it. Its place
in the industrial evolution is fixed because of its utilization of a superficial resource, but it is fortunate that it
gave place in good time to other industries and other
forms of social life that were better and higher.
As the product of the fur bearing animals was the determining influence in the first phase of Oregon's social
life, the agricultural resources were the determining influence in that of the second. The transition was one
from a superficial resource to one more latent,—from an
industry adapted to the support of a small population to
one capable of supporting large numbers. The transition was so gradual that for years the two industries
existed side by side, the one gaining while the other was
losing its hold upon the community. The transition was
a period of conflict, as the sources of Oregon's early history bear ample evidence.  The interpreter of the sources, 12
James R. Robertson.
however, must, with every year, give less of place to what
the earlier historians felt was most important. Periods
of conflict in the broad view of social growth are as stimulating and vital to social progress as they are annoying
to those who had to undergo the experiences. Conscious
efforts were made to discourage the immigration by the
creation of impressions unfavorable to the resources of
the country and its accessibility. Immigrants already
on the way were skillfully diverted wherever possible,
and wagons were laid aside at the advice of interested
officers of the company.
Efforts to conceal the agricultural resources of the
region, however, were of no avail. The fitness of the
country for agriculture and the abode of population was
destined to be revealed. Everything was tending to
make it known. Speeches in congress might reveal an
ignorance that would lead to a sacrifice of the country,
but other forces were stronger in the opposite direction.
The well kept farm of the fur company in the valley of
the Cowlitz, adjoining the fort, was itself a demonstration of what could be done. Under the direction of the
old Scotch gardener the soil of Oregon produced as re-
sponsively as the better known soil of the Royal Gardens
at Kew, where he had learned his art. The settlement
of the company's ex-employees upon the French Prairie
was another proof. The well kept farms of the mission:
aries, both of the Willamette Valley and east of the
mountains, were further indication. The world might
not hear of the former, but it was bound to know of the
latter. From many sources the news was spread. Letters to friends in the East, articles written to the local
press, narratives from travelers, accounts given by fur
traders who had been driven from the field, reports mada
by officers of the government sent to visit the region, The Social Evolution of Oregon.
were all influential in making known the agricultural
resources of Oregon.
The finding of the resources was one thing and the
development was another. A work of heroism was before the people as great as anything ever done. Fortunate was it for the social evolution of Oregon that a
population existed equal to the emergency and alert for
the effort. The early missionaries had already led the
way. They had proved to be genuine pathfinders. Attracted at first by the religious needs of the natives, they
had become the central stimulus to settlement. Care for
the native races was overbalanced by preparation for their
supplanting by the white race. Two streams of population joined on the distant territory. New England, the
first mother of Oregon's social life, sent by the old sea
route a population which was strong of purpose and possessed of enough capital to become the merchants of new
colony.10 The Mississippi Valley sent a population to
till the soil which was full of the vigor of a frontier life
and composite of various elements of an American population. To the valley had been coming settlers from both
the North and the South as well as some of the foreign
element, then beginning to arrive in America.11 It was
a population determined to win from the resources of
nature a competence and to establish for itself homes.
It came to establish a settlement that should be permanent in its character. It was fitted to occupy a region
which required a population accustomed to the hardships
and the dangers of a frontier life. Any other kind would
not have been suited to the conditions and would speedily
have given up and contributed nothing to the social evolution.
10 John Couch established a mercantile business in 1842 at Oregon City.
11 Analysis of pioneer population by George H. Himes, 14
James R. Robertson.
The first companies were small and the difficulties and
dangers were great. Later companies were larger and
better organized,- and were freed from many of the discomforts and dangers. The migration of 1843, because
of the large number that came,12 may be taken to mark
the beginning of an agricultural stage in the industrial
life of Oregon. The settlers located in the valley of the
Willamette, which seemed most favorable to their purpose
and was most free from interference from the native races.
Strangely in contrast with the democratic settlement to
the south of the Columbia River was the English enterprise to the north. The organization of the "Puget Sound
Agricultural Company" was an attempt to enter the race
in the development of the agricultural resources as well
as the fur. Modeled after the fur company, owned by the
same persons, operated by the same methods, it aimed
to secure the settlement of the region to the north of the
river. In pursuance of the plan a settlement was started
on the land about the Sound in 1842. A method of industrial life, however, that had been successful in the
conduct of the fur business, was not equally so in the
development of agricultural resources. The aristocratic
methods of the English Fur Company were destined to
fail in competition with the democratic methods of the
American agricultural population. The Americans were
better fitted to survive on account of the character of the
people, the contiguity of the territory, and their industrial methods. If the English had been able to crowd the
Americans out in the fur trade, they, in turn, were to be
crowded out in the development of agricultural resources
and both sides of the river were to be gained for the
democratic system of agricultural life. The colonists of
the company to the north appreciated the difference, and The Social Evolution of Oregon.
is the basis of an agricultural, life.
of a livelihood and the guarantee of a home
many of them drifted south and joined the settlers in the
Willamette Valley.13
Nothing is of greater importance to an agricultural
population than the possession of land. The indefinite
tenure that would satisfy the trader in furs was entirely
inadequate to the wants of the farmer.    Fixity of tenure
It is the assurance
For the
earliest settlers who came there was no assurance of possession beyond the good will of their fellow-men. So
high was the sentiment of honor, however, that violations
of good faith were few if any. But the increase of population rendered a more definite system desirable. Tenure
to the land became, therefore, a motive in every effort
that was made to secure a form of government. The
Provisional government was welcome for that reason, as
well as others, and no part of the plan was received with
greater satisfaction than the land law.14 It assured the
settlers of a tenure to the land upon which they had settled, which rested upon the consent of the community
legally expressed and good until a better one could be
obtained. When the territorial government was extended
over Oregon, anxiety was felt at the action to be taken
concerning the land, and the disappointment was great
when the bill was reported without a law regarding the
land. Contentment was not fully restored until the land
law was passed and the settlers knew to what they were
entitled and that their tenure was secured by the government of the United States.
Nature had provided a climate and soil that was favorable for the agricultural settler, and the records agree in
regard to the phenomenal crops of those early days. But
no provision had been made for the auxiliaries of farm-
13 Henry Buxton, Forest Grove, one of the settlers on the Sound.
14 Grover's Archives. 16
James R. Robertson.
ing. All these had to be introduced from without. The
plains were covered with a luxuriant growth of grass,
but there were no herds to graze. The climate was
favorable for the production of fruit, but there were no
trees to plant. One by one the auxiliaries had to be
added, often with difficulty, and usually with circumstances of romantic interest. When the prairies of Oregon are covered with stock and the hills are green with
orchards, it is hard to realize that it was not always so.
Among the many things to note in the social evolution
of Oregon, there is nothing that surpasses the pluck and
the courage that furnished to so remote a locality the
things that are needed for an agricultural existence.
Life for the farmer would have been destitute indeed
had there been no cattle. Without them "the plow would
have stood idle in the furrow and the young pioneer
would have gone hungry to bed."15 Cattle were grazing
in the pastures of the fur company, but they were not
for sale. No others could be found nearer than the
Spanish missions of California ; but they must be obtained in some way, and the earliest of the industrial
enterprises of the agricultural period had that for its
object. The "Willamette Cattle Company" was organized in 1837, with a capital of a few hundred dollars, to
bring to the settlers a herd of Spanish cattle from the
missions of California. The enterprise was intrusted to
Ewing Young and P. L. Edwards, who started by vessel
on their important mission. It was no easy task to make
the purchase from the Spaniards, whose policy forbade
the sale. At length a herd of about eight hundred was
secured and the journey back was begun. From the
diary of Edwards we are able to get glimpses of the
trials that were endured.    Few are the incidents of his-
is Matthew P. Dead y. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
tory to be put beside the attempt to drive eight hundred
wild Spanish cattle a distance of a thousand miles across
mountains and over rivers. Sleep was rare where the
mosquitoes were thick, and the cattle were impelled to
"break like so many evil spirits and scatter to the four
winds."16 When the task was completed and over six
hundred cattle were finally driven into the valley, it was
a time of great rejoicing. All traces of those Spanish
cattle have now disappeared from the herds of Oregon,
but the time was when the meadows were dotted over
with their picturesque forms "as mild looking as gazelles
when at rest, but as terrible as an army with banners
when alarmed."
The cattle that supplanted the Spanish herds, however, came across the plains with the emigrants. It was
an undertaking of the greatest difficulty to drive them
two thousand miles through country where pasturage
was scanty in places and rivers and mountains were
numerous. The task which had been pronounced impossible was accomplished, however, and in 1843 over
one thousand cattle were brought to the valley.17 Superior to the Spanish stock, they displaced them in time.
No further lack was felt, and by 1850 the increase was
so great that the surplus was shipped to California. The
quality was improved from year to year, since selected
varieties were brought, and, in many cases, stock of
noted breeds. In the records of the early agricultural
fairs we read of the Durham and Devon cattle, and the
Cotswold, Oxfordshire, Southdown, and Merino sheep as
particular attractions of the exhibition.18 With the introduction of cattle and sheep, not only were the needs
«Diary of P. L. Edwards.
17 Jesse Applegate's "Day With the Cow Column of 1843."
18 Pamphlet report of Agricultural Society of Oregon, 1861. 18
James R. Robertson.
of the farmer supplied, but the beginning was made of
an industry that was able to exist independently. It
formed the easiest method of making a living, and the
herder with long lariat riding through the deep grass of
the valley was a familiar sight in the earlier days before
the number of agricultural settlers and the cultivation of
the soil drove them to the prairies of the south and east.
It has proved to be an industry which has added to the
wealth of Oregon, and affected in other ways its social
life. Regions that would otherwise have remained unsettled have contributed to the resources, and-a population independent and hardy has been added to the state.
As auxiliary to farming the production of fruit began.
When the earliest settlers came orchards of choice fruit
were growing on the property of the fur company. Like
the cattle, however, they were not destined for the service
of the settler. The earliest of the orchards of Oregon
took their start from the "traveling nursery" of Henderson Luelling.19 Unable to dispose to advantage of the
nursery of young trees, when he was ready to start, this
plucky man packed them in boxes and brought them
across the continent. Importuned many times to abandon a load so heavy and cumbersome he always refused,
and had the satisfaction of setting them out upon his
claim at the end of the route. This choice selection of
apples, cherries, plums, and pears brought into the community health and wealth and the promise of another
industry for Oregon. From an auxiliary of farming the
raising of fruit has come to be the means of a livelihood
to many of the population, and with each year draws
more to the state.
Could the facts be obtained there would be interest
attached to the introduction of all of the auxiliaries to The Social Evolution of Oregon.
farming. Stock of various kinds was added. Cereals,
fruits, and vegetables were brought to add to the necessities and comforts of an agricultural community. Tools,
though heavy and often cumbersome, were carried across
the plains or around the Horn by vessel. The agricultural
life was fully established. Soon spots of cultivated land
began to appear in various places. Roads were marked
out and constructed between the different claims and settlements. Political divisions appeared upon the map.
Groups of settlers collected at points most favorable for
distribution. Supplies were secured at the warehouse
of the fur company or from the merchants of Oregon
City. Surplus crops were sold to the fur company at a
regular price of sixty-two and one half cents per bushel.
Population increased with every year and Oregon was
fully transformed into an agricultural community. A
form of industrial life had been started that has characterized the country ever since. It was established to last,
and the only question of importance could be whether it
would grow or stagnate. Far from the other centers of
population, there was little to connect it with the industrial life of the rest of the country or of the world. It
could easily exist, but the possibilities of development
were not encouraging. The only market was the fur
company. Destitute emigrants were continually arriving to increase the population, but to add little to the
capital or the wealth. The dangerous entrance to the
Columbia River kept out the few vessels that might
otherwise have come. A critical period in the life of
the colony was reached by 1847. Depression was the
general feeling prevalent. The settlers organized among
themselves a little company to build ships and seek by
themselves to break the isolation of their position.
Such was the situation when an unforeseen event occurred that changed the whole aspect of affairs.    In the
-I ip i 20
James R. Robertson.
summer of 1848 the "Honolulu" entered the little harbor
at Portland. She loaded with picks and pans and other
utensils useful to a mining population. When leaving,
the crew mentioned the discovery of gold on American
Creek by James Marshall, an Oregon man in the employ of Sutter at his, famous mill in California. The
discovery was confirmed and soon the male population
of the colony was off for the gold fields. Travelers of
that day tell us that the towns were inhabited mainly by
old men, women and children. Crops were left standing in the fields, though the time of harvest was near.
Indian troubles were forgotten, though a war was in
progress on the frontier of the settlement. The Oregon
Spectator was unable to get out its regular issues because
of the lack of hands to do the work. The Provisional
government was unable to get a quorum for the meeting
of the legislature though there were important matters
needing attention. Men even left their children to the
care of benevolent women, who looked after the "orphans
of 1848."»
It was evident that a change had taken place. A new
impulse had entered the community like a strong tonic.
Men who had gone to the mines began to return. Many
of them had been successful/and brought back enough to
discharge obligations that had been resting over them for
years. Others returned with added facility for extending their business. A market was established for the
surplus products. Flour- and sawmills were kept running day and night. Vessels now>took no heed of the
dangerous entrance to the Columbia, but waited in line
for their turn to load. Those who remained at home
gained as much as those who.went and were surer of
getting it.    Prices ranged high.    Discouragement was
«'Tabitha Brown was teacher of school for such orphans in Forest Gr The Social Evolution of Oregon.
dispelled and hope rose quickly to take its place. The
industrial and social life of Oregon had received an impulse that was significant in its development.
The effects of the discoveries of 1848 were a strange
mixture of good and bad for the community. Nothing
so stirs to its foundation a community as the discovery of
the precious metals. Many of the population of Oregon
were unsettled in their industrial habits. The old and
steady lines of industry were deserted for the chances of
larger rewards. Emigration was turned to the newer
settlements of California. Immediate relief from the
isolated condition had been obtained, but a rival had been
established to the south, whose attractions were destined
to lead to speedy settlement. With the rapid growth of
that community Oregon saw the hope of a connection by
railroad with the East slipping away and a position of
subordination to California gradually forced upon her.
The markets, at first established, failed to bring the large
returns when the supplies were being produced nearer to
the point of consumption. A speculative spirit invaded
the industrial life. Undesirable characters were brought
into the country by the rush for gold. The Indians
alarmed at the growing numbers and the irritating acts
became hostile. Such were some of the objectionable
features of the new influence that had entered the community.
In the long run, however, it must be counted as an advance in the industrial and social evolution. A center
of population had been established where there had been
nothing that was of benefit to Oregon. Wealth and capital were added to the community. If population that
was undesirable came much also that was helpful drifted
northward and entered the steadier life of Oregon in preference to the less certain life of the mining region. If
some were upset and turned from a steadier life to one 22
James R. Robertson.
of search for precious metals, others were aroused to a
healthy zeal for progress. A stimulus was given to the
search for the latent resources of Oregon which led to
the discovery not only of deposits of the precious metals,
but to other resources that have proved fully as important
and valuable. As the search was extended to Eastern Oregon the mineral resources grew richer. In 1868 quartz
mining supplanted the superficial processes previously
used, and an industry of a permanent character was thus
established which has added yearly to the wealth and
been a means of attracting inhabitants to the state. The
establishment of mining camps and the growth of towns
and cities gave opportunity for the utilization of the agricultural facilities which had been found to exist in the
region east of the mountains. Settlement was directed
to other sections beside the Willamette Valley and the
distribution of population thus changed to a more even
ratio thoroughout the state. Hardly yet has the older
population awakened to the consciousness of the change
and responded to the demands made by it.
The effect of the stimulus of 1848 was apparent in a
multitude of ways. The discovery of resources was accompanied by a better utilization of the old. Other
industries beside those connected with the mineral resources were established. Manufactures were developed,
and a varied industrial life was guaranteed to Oregon.
Population was attracted by the new branches of business that would never have joined the population of a
strictly agricultural region. Flouring mills increased
both in number and capacity. The bountiful resources
of timber were more fully utilized. Woolen mills were
started to make use of the supply of wool. The canning
of salmon supplanted the earlier form of packing in barrels. Tanneries utilized the resources in hides. Investment was found for capital and labor had employment. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
Towns and cities increased in number and in size.   Social
life had broadened in every way.
With the readjustments that followed the discovery of
gold a forward step was taken in the evolution, but the
isolation of position had not been overcome. Soon the
conditions of an earlier time returned. Though less
apparent, they were just as real and urged to further
progress. Already the people had felt the need, and
forces were at work to liberate the community from its ■
isolation and to continue in the line of growth.
None of the forces in the industrial evolution of Oregon is more significant than the efforts to utilize the
high seas as an avenue of approach to the markets of
the world. Nearest to Oregon were the ports of Asia.
From the time that the early merchants of Boston carried the furs to the market of Canton a strange link
existed between the social evolution of Oregon and the
markets of the Orient. When the Chinese nobles trimmed
their robes with the furs of the animals that live in the
forests of the northwest of America, they established a
bond of union that was destined to strengthen until the
large populations of Asia should become ready to receive
the surplus products that the growing population of Oregon and the whole Pacific Coast were anxious to supply.
Following the opening of the ports of China by England
in 1842, and of Japan by Commodore Perry in 1854, a
closer industrial relation has been gradually established,
which the people of Oregon have come to feel is inseparably connected with the industrial welfare of the state.
Of equal importance was the first cargo that was sent
to the market at Liverpool in 1868, and led the way to
an export trade which solves, in a large measure, the
question of Oregon's continued evolution. To Joseph
Watt, whose courage made the venture, a large place
must be given among those who have contributed to the 24
James R. Robertson.
growth of Oregon. The change that has been wrought
by the acquisition of a European market for the products
has not been one of those striking events that please the
fancy, but it has been a gradual force working with ever
increasing power to draw Oregon out of her isolation and
into the stream of industrial life that insures prosperity
and growth.
Equally important among the forces that destroyed the
isolation of Oregon has been the construction of railroads.
Among the early colonists of 1848 a transcontinental line
was a hope which they even dared to express in their
petitions to congress. It was many years, however, before such a proposal could even receive consideration,
and when the time finally came the conditions were more
favorable to California, where the Central Pacific found
its terminus rather than in Oregon. Henceforth the
ambitions of Oregon turned toward a connection with
California, and by that channel with the East.
Long before the country was ready for such an enterprise, projects were entertained for railroads. Previous
to 1853 four lines had been contemplated, and in one
case the books had been opened for subscriptions of stock.
The action that was destined to materialize earliest into
tangible form was the survey that was made by Joseph
Gaston of a line to continue that made by a Californian
to the border of Oregon.21 Gaston started the enterprise
upon his own responsibility. Possessed of little capital,
it was his purpose to enlist the support of farmers- along
the route, and circular letters were addressed to them.
Trusting to their interest to furnish food and shelter for
the surveying party, he was fully rewarded by a generous
response, and seldom have similar parties fared better.
21 Gaston's Railroad Development of Oregon, quoted by Bancroft in History
of Oregon. \
The Social Evolution of Oregon.
No criticisms that opponents could offer discouraged this
persevering man. He continued to send circulars to the
farmers and petitions to the legislature, until finally it
was voted to grant, a subsidy of $250,000 to the company
that would construct the first hundred miles of road. A
company was organized and a charter granted under the
name of the "Oregon Central." Before the work of construction began a division arose in regard to the policy
of construction by Oregon interests or the more abundant
capital of California. Reconciliation was impossible, and
two enterprises took the place of the one. The opposing
factions planned to construct roads upon opposite sides
of the Willamette River, and began a long and bitter
rivalry. Curious methods were resorted to by each to
get within the terms of the charter and to gain the right
to the original name of "Oregon Central." Both were
anxious to get the grants of land which had been promised by the United States government.
Construction was begun by the two divisions in the
spring of 1868. The west side line was first to start
amidst demonstrations of approval by the population of
Portland favorable to their interests. A few days later
the east side line began construction with even greater
demonstration of approval. Neither of the factions had
much money to back their enterprise. Skillful financiering was necessary to keep the men at work. Bitter litigation was in progress all the time, but still they kept on
with the construction. The west side road at first seemed
to have a little the better of the conflict. Conditions
were changed with the appearance on the scene of a gentleman from California in 1868. In the person of Ben
Holladay the east side road had secured a master in his
line of business. Bold and autocratic in his methods,
regardless of the feelings of others, unscrupulous in the
methods pursued, he was able to crush the west side
ii 26
James R. Robertson.
division and force it to sell its interests to him. Under
the united management of the "Oregon and California
Railroad," therefore, the lines were continued on both
sides of the river.22 Bonds floated in the German market
gave abundance of capital at first. Interest on the bonds
began at length to fail, an investigation was made, and
the affairs of the road were transferred to other hands in
1876. In the person of Henry Villard, a man of broader
views and more tactful methods, undertook the development of railroad interests. The whole policy was enlarged. The development of the roads of Oregon was to
him an effort to develop the roads of the nation. His
interests were not local. Fortunate was it for the industrial and social evolution of Oregon that the railroad
interests fell to the lot of such a man. His own financial
position was wrecked in the undertaking, but the system
of railroads which have formed the basis of Oregon's
growth and prosperity was started by him. The construction of the "Northern Pacific Railroad," the building
of the "Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company's"
line through the valley of the Columbia, the extension
of the "Oregon and California Railroad" nearer to the
border of the neighboring state, were all parts of the
comprehensive plan. First to be achieved was the construction of the Northern Pacific, which gave Oregon its
long desired connection with the East, and acted as a
stimulus to the development of the system of railroads
as they now exist. Connection between the "Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's" line and the "Union
Pacific," and the purchase of the "Oregon and California" line by the "Southern Pacific Railroad" in 1887,
added two more lines of transportation across the continent and effectively broke the isolation of Oregon from
22 Lang's History of the Willamette Valley. The Social Evolution of Oregon.
other sections of the East. Smaller lines were constructed
to the productive valleys and seaport towns, and the different parts of the state were joined together and brought
nearer to the markets and points of shipping. That the