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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume II. March, 1901 - December, 1901 Oregon Historical Society 1901

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MARCH,   1901 - DECEMBER,   190
Edited by Frederic George Young
SALEM, OREGON  contents.
Aurora Community, The.   H. S. Lyman * ^_, 78-93
Bradbury, Clement Adams, 1846, Reminiscences of.   H. S. Lyman 304-319
Columbia River Men in California, 1848-9.   W. M. Case 168-179
Customs and Religious Beliefs of Northwest Coast Indians.   S. B. Smith__255-265
Flotsam and Jetsam of the Pacific—the Owyhee, the Sultana, and the May
Dacre.   P. F. Victor 36- 54
Note on the preceding.   F. F. Victor 185-186
Hinman, Alanson, Reminiscences of.   J. R. Robertson 266-286
Indian Troubles in California in 1849, Mrs. Fannie Clayton's Account of.
H. S. Lyman 180-184
Kelley, Hall J., One of the Fathers^of Oregon.   F. F. Victor 381-400
Lewis and Clark Centennial, Suggestions for.   F. G. Young 204-208
Lewis andjClark Expedition in American History.   F. G. Young 410-422
Literature, An Oregon.   H. S. Lyman 401-409
Nez Perce Indians, Items from the.   H. S. Lyman 287-303
Oregon, Excerpts on, from the New Orleans Picayune of 1843 and 1844 187-203
Oregon, Political^History of,[from 1853 to_1865.   G. H. Williams    1- 35
Oregon,'Political History of, from 1865 to 1876.   W. D. Fenton 321-365
Oregon Trail in 1844, Reminiscences of Experiences on.   J. Minto—119-267, 209-254
Pacific, FlotsamTand Jetsam of the,—the Owyhee, the Sultana, and the May
Dacre.   F. F. Victor 36- 54
Political History of Oregon from 1853 to 1865.   G. H. Williams    1- 35
Political History of Oregon from 1865 to 1876.   W. D. Fenton 321-365
Provisional Government of Oregon, The Formation and Administration
of the.   H. W. Scott 95-118
Provisional Government, Incidents in the Organization of the. T. T. Geer__365-380
Public Education in Eugene, Oregon, An Historical Survey of.  J. Schafer__ 55- 77
Reminiscences of Clement Adams Bradbury, 1846.   H. S. Lyman 304-319
Reminiscences of Experiences on Oregon Trail in 1844.   J. Minto—119-167, 209-254
Reminiscences of Alanson .Hinman.   J. R. Robertson 266-286 .'',
Authors' Index.
Case, William M.—Columbia River Men in California, 1848-9  168
Fenton, William D.—Political History of Oregon from 1865 to 1876  321
Geer, Theodore Thurston—Incidents in the Organization of the Provisional
Government (  366
Lyman, H. 8.—The Aurora Community--  78
Lyman, H. 8.—Mrs. Fannie Clayton's Account of Indian Troubles in California in 1849  180
Lyman, H. 8.—Items from the Nez Perce Indians  288
Lyman, H. 8.—Reminiscences of Clement Adams Bradbury, 1846  304
Lyman, H. 8.—An Oregon Literature  401
Minto, John—Reminiscences of Experiences on the Oregon Trail in 1844 119, 209
Robertson, James Rood—Reminiscences of Alanson Hinman  266
Schafer, Joseph—An Historical Survey of Public  Education  in  Eugene,
Oregon  75
Scott, Harvey W.—Formation and Administration of the Provisional Government of Oregon  95
Smith, Silas B.—Primitive Customs and Religious Beliefs of the Indians of
the Pacific Northwest Coast  255
Victor, Frances Fuller—Flotsam and Jetsam of the Pacific—the Owyhee, the
Sultana, and the May Dacre    36
Victcrr, Frances Fuller—Note to the preceding  185
Victor, Frances Fwller—\ J. Kelley—One of the Fathers of Oregon  381
Williams, George H.—Political History of Oregon from 1853 to 1865  1
Young, Frederic George—Suggestions, etc., for Lewis and Clark Centennial- 204
Young, Frederic  George—The Lewis and Clark Expedition in American
History  410
Documentary—Excerpts from the New Orleans Picayune of 1843 and 1844— 178 Volume 2]
MARCH,   1901
[ Number
Obegon Histobical Society
ajs T©
(Prepared for the "Semi-Centennial History of Oregon." Read before the Legislative Assembly of Oregon on the occasion of its exercises commemorating the
fortieth anniversary of the statehood of Oregon.)
On the fourteenth day of February, 1859, Oregon
was admitted as a state into the Federal Union. To aid in
the commemoration of that event I have been requested
at this time and place to read a paper concerning the
political affairs of Oregon from 1853, inclusive, to 1865,
"all of which I saw and a part of which I was." Time
has effaced from my memory many of the interesting
incidents of those early days, and all I can hope to do. is
to state some facts of our early political history not easily
accessible, and make a brief record of the names and
some of the doings of the men most prominent in that
history, which may revive the recollections of the old and
be useful to those who have come upon the active stage
of life since the above-named period.
Franklin Pierce was inaugurated President of the
United States March 4, 1853, and his cabinet was made
up as follows :   William L. Marcy, of New York, Secre- HBHH^B^^H
George H. Williams.
tary of State ; James Guthrie, of Kentucky, Secretary
of the Treasury ; Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, Secretary of War ; James C. Dobbins, of North Carolina, Secretary of the Navy ; Robert McMillen, of Michigan, Secretary of the Interior ; James Campbell, of Pennsylvania, Postmaster-General ; Caleb Cushing, of Massachusetts, Attorney-General. I believe this cabinet combined as much ability as any cabinet that has existed in
our country since the formation of the government.
Very soon after President Pierce was inaugurated he
nominated Hon. 0. C. Pratt for Chief Justice of Oregon,
but on account of the opposition of Senator Stephen A.
Douglas, his nomination was rejected by the senate.
Prior to this, Judge Pratt had been an Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court of Oregon, and had become involved in a bitter controversy with Chief Justice Nelson and Judge William Strong on the question as to
whether Oregon City or Salem was the seat of government for the territory. This, however, had nothing to
do with his rejection by the senate. That was due, as it
was understood, to some personal difficulty between the
Senator and Judge Pratt. President Pierce early in his
administration appointed Gen. Joseph Lane, Governor,
and George L. Curry Secretary of the Territory, and
they entered upon their official duties as such in May,
1853. Immediately after the senate refused to confirm
the nomination of Judge Pratt, without my knowledge
or consent, I was nominated for Chief Justice of Oregon
upon the recommendation of Senator Douglas, of Illinois,
and Senators Dodge and Jones, of Iowa, all of whom
were my personal and political friends. I was then a
resident of Iowa, and had canvassed the state as a Presidential Elector-at-Large for Franklin Pierce. I arrived
in Oregon with my commission as Chief Justice in June,
1853.    Judges Matthew P. Deady and Cyrus Olney, both Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
of whom were residents of Oregon, were my associates,
appointed before my arrival. The officials of the Territorial Government of Oregon in 1853 were as follows :
Joseph Lane, Governor ; George L. Curry, Secretary ;
George H. Williams, Chief Justice; Matthew P.Deady,
Associate Justice ; Cyrus Olney, Associate Justice ; Joel
Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs ; Benjamin F.
Harding, United States Attorney ; James W. Nesmith,
United States Marshal ; John Adair, Collector of Customs
at Astoria; Addison C. Gibbs, Collector of Customs at
Umpqua ; A. L. Lovejoy, Postal Agent.
General Lane, within a few days after he assumed
the duties of Governor, resigned to become the democratic candidate for delegate in congress. George L.
Curry then became the acting governor. General Lane
was nominated on the eleventh day of April, 1853.
The resolutions of the convention affirmed the platform
adopted by the democratic national convention, held at
Baltimore in June, 1852, favored a branch of the Pacific
railroad from San Francisco to Puget Sound, favored the
annexation of the Sandwich Islands, and approved the
course of General Lane in congress, he having been the
delegate from Oregon after the death of Mr. Thurston,
which occurred in' April, 1851. A. A. Skinner, who had
been a judge under the provisional government, was requested in a letter addressed to him by a large number
of the citizens of Jackson County to become a candidate
for delegate in opposition to General Lane. He accepted
the invitation by letter, in which he assumed to be the
candidate of the people, and claimed that the democratic
party, or the "Durham faction," as he called that party,
misgoverned the territory, misrepresented the people in
congress, and otherwise was a very bad party. General
Lane, in his canvass, appealed to the democrats for support upon party grounds, and was not too modest in George H. Williams.
telling the people what he had done and what he could
do for his constituents, if elected. Judge Skinner appealed to the people to ignore party considerations in his
behalf, and amplified, as well as he could, the bad qualities of the "Durham faction," as indicated in his letter
of acceptance. This designation of the democratic party
as the Durham faction originated, as it is understood, in
this way: Judge O. C. Pratt, who was a prominent
member of the democratic party, purchased from John
Durham, of Polk County, a band of Spanish cattle.
Subsequently he sold this band, which he called "the
Durham cattle," to a purchaser who supposed he was
buying blooded stock, and paid the judge a correspondingly high price, and, of course, "was out and injured"
in the trade. Thomas J. Dryer, then editor of the Ore-
gonian and an ardent whig, availing himself of this circumstance, characterized the democrats of Oregon as
"the Durham faction," and with tireless iteration hurled
this epithet at them through the columns of his paper,
and the appellation was generally accepted by the enemies of the democratic party. General Lane was elected,
receiving four thousand five hundred and sixteen votes,
to two thousand nine hundred and fifty-one for Judge
Skinner. Some of the people voted according to their
personal predilections, but the democrats generally supported General Lane and the whigs Judge Skinner.
The legislature of 1853 met at Salem, December 5.
The council consisted of the following members : J. M.
Fulkerson, of Polk and Tillamook; L. P. Powers, of
Clatsop ; John Richardson, of Yamhill ; Ralph Wilcox,
of Washington ; L. Scott, of Umpqua ; James K. Kelly,
of Clackamas; B. Simpson, of Marion. Ralph Wilcox
was elected president, and Samuel B. Garrett chief clerk.
House—L. F. Cartee, J. C. Carson, B. B. Jackson, of
Clackamas; L. F. Grover, J. C. Peebles, E. F. Colby, Political History op Oregon, 1853-65.
of Marion ; Luther Elkins, I. N. Smith, of Linn ; Stephen
Goff, H. G. Hadley, of Lane ; L. S. Thompson, of
Umpqua ; John F. Miller, Chauncey Nye, G. H. Ambrose, of Jackson ; J. F. Burnett, B. F. Chapman, of
Benton; W. S. Gilliam, R. P. Boise, of Polk; Andrew
Shuck. A. B. Westerfall, of Yamhill ; 0. Humason, of
Wasco; A. A. Durham, Z. C. Bishop, Robert Thompson, of Washington; J. W. Moffit, of Clatsop. Z. C.
Bishop was elected speaker, and John McCracken clerk.
John W. Davis, of Indiana, was appointed Governor
to succeed General Lane, and arrived in Oregon in December, 1853. He had been a representative in congress
from Indiana, and speaker of the house of representatives. He did not find his surroundings in Oregon congenial, and in August, 1854, resigned and returned to
Indiana. George L. Curry again became acting Governor, and in November, 1854, succeeded Mr. Davis asL
Governor, and at the same time Benjamin F. Harding
was appointed Secretary and William H. Farrar District
According to the act establishing a territorial government for Oregon, which passed congress August 14,
1848, the territory was divided into three judicial districts, in each of which the district courts were to be
held by one of the justices of the supreme court.
After my arrival, by mutual agreement between us,
Judge Deady took the first district, consisting of the
counties of Jackson, Douglas and Umpqua ; Judge Olney
took the third district, consisting of Clatsop, Washington ( of which Multnomah was then a part ), Clackamas
and Columbia, and I took the second district, consisting
of Marion, Linn, Lane, Benton, Polk and Yamhill counties. These three judges together constituted the supreme court of the territory. Prior to my appointment
a colored man, who with his wife and children were held George H. Williams.
as slaves by Nathaniel Ford, of Polk County, sued out a
writ of habeas corpus, claiming that he. and his family
were entitled to their freedom in Oregon. Whether or
not slaveholders could carry their slaves into the territories and hold them there as property had become a
burning question, and my predecessors in office, for reasons-best known to themselves, had declined to hear the
case. This was among the first cases I was called upon
to decide. Mr. Ford contended that these colored people
were his property in Missouri, from which he emigrated,
and he had as much right to bring that kind of property
into Oregon and hold it here as such as he had to bring
his cattle or any other property here and hold it as such ;
but my opinion was, and I so held, that without some
positive legislative enactment establishing slavery here,
it did not and could not exist in Oregon, and I awarded
to the colored people their freedom. Judge Boise was
the attorney for the petitioners. So far as I know, this
was the last effort made to hold slaves in Oregon by
force of law. There were a great many virulent pro-
slavery men in the territory, and this decision, of course,
was very distasteful to them.
According to the organic act, the legislative assembly
was divided into two bodies, one, corresponding to the
state senate, was called the council, and the other, corresponding to the house of representatives, was called
•the house. The power of the legislative assembly extended to all rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the United
States, so that as to local matters the power of the territorial was more unlimited than that of the state legislature. June 3, 1854, an election was held for members
of the legislative assembly, which met at Salem December 4, and consisted of the following persons : Council—
Dr. Cleveland, of Jackson ; James K. Kelly, of Clacka- Political History op Oregon, 1853-65
mas; J. C. Peebles, of Marion; S. W. Phelps, of Linn;
Dr. Greer, of Washington and Columbia; J. M. Fulker-
son, of Polk and Tillamook ; John Richardson, of Yamhill ; Levi Scott, of Umpqua. James K. Kelly was
elected president, and B. Génois chief clerk. House—
G. W. Coffenbury, E. S. Turner and David Logan,
Washington; A. G. Henry and A. J. Hembree, Yamhill; H. N. V. Holmes, Polk and Tillamook; I. F. M.
Butler, Polk ; Wayman St. Clair and B. B. Hinton, Benton ; L. F. Cartee, W. A. Starkweather and A. L. Love-
joy, Clackamas; C. P. Crandall, R. C. Geer and N.
Ford, Marion ; Luther Elkins, Delazon Smith and Hugh
Brown, Linn ; A. W. Patterson and Jacob Gillespie,
Lane ; James F. Gazley, Douglas ; Patrick Dunn and
Alexander Mclntire, Jackson ; 0. Humason, Wasco.
In 1854 the "know-nothing," or, as it called itself,
the American party, became a prominent factor in the
politics of Oregon. It was a secret, oath-bound political
organization. ' ' Know-nothing ' ' was a name applied to
it because, as it was alleged, its members, when questioned as to such an organization, declared that they
knew nothing about it. Democrats and whigs, and more
especially the democrats, were alarmed at the inroads of
this new and invisible enemy to the old political parties.
So far as the principles of this party were known to the
public, they proposed a repeal or modification of the
naturalization laws ; repeal of all laws allowing unnaturalized foreigners to vote, or to receive grants of public
lands ; resistance to what they called the aggressive
policy and corrupting tendencies of the Roman Catholic
church, and excluding from office all persons who directly
or indirectly owed allegiance to any foreign power. Some
time in the fall of 1854 the Oregon Statesman, then edited
by Asahel Bush, published an exposure of the oaths,
obligations and proceedings of the know-nothing lodge 8
George H. Williams.
in Salem, together with the names of the leading members. This publication produced no little excitement.
Several gentlemen who had been named as members of
the lodge called upon Mr. Bush and declared they would
hold him personally responsible if he did not give them
the name of his informant. This threat Mr. Bush
ignored, and refused to give the makers of it any satisfaction, and it was expected for some days that he would
be assaulted, but the expected did not happen. This
exposure in the Statesman was a fatal blow to the know-
nothing party in Oregon. Determined, however, to make
the know-nothings show their hands, the legislature, at
its December session, 1854, passed an act requiring all
voters at the polls to vote viva voce, that is, to proclaim
publicly the name of the candidate for whom they voted.
This act, after it had accomplished its purpose, was
Much of the time of this session was devoted to a
controversy about the location of the capitol. Finally a
bill was passed locating the capitol at Corvallis and the
State University at Jacksonville. A bill was also passed
creating Multnomah County, and another submitting to
the people the question as to the formation of a state
government. Congress had made appropriations for a
state house and other public buildings at Salem, and
some-of these buildings were partly constructed when
the seat of government was changed to Corvallis, and
thereupon the Controller of the Treasury refused to
recognize the act changing the capitol, and held that
moneys appropriated by congress for public buildings in
Oregon could be expended only at Salem.
In the legislature of 1854 a proposition was made to
exclude free negroes and Chinese from the territory, and
a motion was made by a member from Jackson County
to amend the bill so that slaveholders might bring and Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
hold their slaves in Oregon, but the bill did not pass.
Incidental to the canvass in June, 1854, it may be mentioned that the whigs carried Washington, then including what is now Multnomah County, by an average
majority of sixty. David Logan, whig, was elected to
the legislature by a vote of six hundred and forty-eight
to five hundred and ninety-two for D. H. Belknap, democrat. There were cast in the City of Portland at that
election three hundred and five votes for Logan and two
hundred and twenty-six for Belknap. Mr. Josiah Failing
was mayor of Portland. The proposition to hold a convention to form a constitution was defeated by a vote of
three thousand two hundred and ten for, to four thousand and seventy-nine against it. P.P. Prim was elected
Prosecuting Attorney in the first district, R. P. Boise in
the second, and Noah Huber in the third district.
Some time in the fall of 1853 O. B. McFadden was
appointed an Associate Justice in Oregon upon the
ground, as it was alleged, that in the commission of
Judge Deady he was named Mordecai P. Deady instead
of Matthew P. Deady. This, however, was soon rectified
by a new commission in which he was correctly named,
and Judge McFadden was transferred as a judge to the
Territory of Washington. James A. Burnett was Territorial Auditor, Nathan H. Lane Treasurer, and Milton
Shannon Librarian. John B. Preston was removed in
1853 from the office of Surveyor-General, and Colonel
Gardner appointed in his place. It was in this year that
the Indian outbreak occurred in Southern'Oregon.
In June, 1855, an election was held for delegate to
congress and members of the legislative assembly. Gen.
Joseph Lane was the candidate of the democrats, Gov.
John P. Gaines of the whig party. General Lane had
the. advantage of General Gaines in several respects.
The democratic party was in the ascendant in the terri- 10
George H. Williams.
tory, and General Lane was a thorough-going party man.
He was a born politician. He knew how to flatter and
please the people. General Gaines had been Governor
of Oregon under the Fillmore administration, and had
more dignity than affability in his manners. Both candidates were officers in the Mexican War, and General
Gaines had been in congress from the State of Kentucky.
The whig convention adopted as a platform, "General
Gaines against the world." The democratic platform
was made up of the usual platitudes of a party platform.
The canvass was somewhat exciting and the candidates
indulged in some unpleasant personalities, but the Oregon Statesman, the organ of the democrats, and The
Oregonian, the organ of the whigs, exhausted the vocabulary of invective and abuse in speaking of their opponents. The chief speakers for the democrats in this
campaign were General Lane, Delazon Smith and Judge
O. C. Pratt. Those for the whigs were General Gaines
and T. J. Dryer. General Lane was elected, receiving
six thousand one hundred and thirty five votes to three
thousand nine hundred and eighty-six for General Gaines.
Jackson County cast the largest vote of any county in
the territory, giving to Lane eight hundred and nineteen
and Gaines six hundred and seventy-seven. Marion was
next, with a vote of seven hundred and forty-two for
Lane and four hundred and seventy-one for Gaines, and
Linn next, with a vote of seven hundred and eighty-
three for Lane and three hundred and ninety-nine for
Gaines. Muftnomah at that election gave Lane three
hundred and forty, and Gaines two hundred and sixty-
seven votes. The proposition for a state government
was defeated by a vote of four thousand four hundred
and twenty-two for to four thousand eight hundred and
thirty-five against it. On the tenth of February, 1855,
John McCraken was appointed marshal of the territory. Political History of Oregon.
December 3, the legislature assembled at Corvallis, and
consisted of the following members : Council—Polk,
James M. Fulkerson ; Linn, Charles Drain ; Douglas and
Coos, Hugh D. O'Bryant; Marion, J. C. Peebles; Benton, Avery A. Smith ; Clackamas, James K. Kelly ; Multnomah, Washington, and Columbia, A. P. Dennison ;
Clatsop and Yamhill, N. Huber. A. P. Dennison was
elected president. House—Waymire and Boise, of Polk ;
Robinson and Buckingham, of Benton; Moores and Mc-
Alexander, of Lane ; Hudson, of Douglas ; Smith, Brown
and Grant, of Linn ; Grover, Harpole and Harrison, of
Marion ; Risley and Officer, of Clackamas ; Shuck and
Burbank, of Yamhill ; Harris,, of Columbia ; Callender,
of Clatsop ; Tichner, of Coos ; Gates, of Wasco ; Brown,
of Multnomah; Johnson, of Washington; Jackson, of
Multnomah and Washington; Cozad, of Umpqua; Smith,
Barkwell and Briggs, of Jackson. Delazon Smith was
elected speaker, and Thomas W. Beale chief clerk.
These members met in session at Corvallis. Consequent upon the ruling of the Controller of the Treasury
as to the expenditure of money for public buildings, a
bill was soon passed relocating the capital at Salem, followed by an immediate adjournment of the legislature
to meet at that place. On December 22, 1855, the state
house at Salem, with all its contents, was destroyed by
fire, supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Another
bill to submit the question of a state government to the
people was passed by this legislature. The proposition
was again defeated at the June election in 1856 by a
vote of four thousand and ninety-seven for, to four thousand three hundred and forty-six against it. The following were elected members of the legislature at this election : Council—Washington, T. R. Cornelius, F. R. Bay-
ley; Marion; Nat. Ford; Linn, Charles Drain; Douglas,
Hugh D. O'Bryant; Marion, J. C. Peebles; Benton, A. 12
George H. Williams.
A. Smith ; Jackson, John Rose ; Clackamas, James K.
Kelly. James K. Kelly was elected president, and A.
S. Watt chief clerk. House—John F. Miller, Thomas
Smith, Jackson ; A. M. Berry, Jackson and Josephine ;
Aaron Rose, Douglas, Coos and Curry; A. E. Rogers,
D. C. Underwood, Umpqua; James Monroe and Robert
Cochran, Lane ; A. J. Matthews, Josephine.; Delazon
Smith, H. L. Brown and William Ray, Linn; J. C. Avery
and James A. Bennett, Benton; A. J. Welch, Walter M.
Walker, Polk and Tillamook ; L. F. Grover, William P.
Harpole and Jacob Conser, Marion; A. L. Lovejoy, Felix
M. Collard and William A. Starkweather, Clackamas ;
William Allen, Yamhill; George W. Brown, Multnomah;
H. N. V. Johnson, Washington; Samuel E. Barr, Columbia ; James Taylor, Clatsop. L. F. Grover was elected
speaker, and D. C. Dade chief clerk.
An event occurred in Washington in 1856 which had
some influence upon the political future of General Lane.
Senator Brooks, of South Carolina, as it will be remembered, made a personal assault upon Senator Sumner, of
Massachusetts, in the senate. Wilson, the colleague of
Sumner, denounced the assault as an outrage in unmeasured terms. Brooks challenged Wilson on account of the
language he used in reference to the matter, and General
Lane, as the friend of Brooks, was the bearer of the
challenge. This created an impression in the public
mind to some extent that Lane favored the conduct of
Nominations for President and Vice-President, preparatory to the November election of 1856, were made as follows : Democratic—James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania,
for President; J. C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, for
Vice-President. Republican—John C. Freemont, the
western explorer, for President ; W. L. Dayton, of New
Jersey,   for  Vice-President.     Know-Nothing—Milliard Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
Fillmore, of New York, for President ; A. J. Donnelson,
of Tennessee, for Vice-President. Buchanan and Breckinridge were elected.
In August, 1856, a convention.was held at Albany to
organize a republican party in Oregon. James Hogue
was president and Origin Thompson secretary of the convention. Among those present were Messrs. Conner,
Whitson, Gallagher, Condon and George. Their platform consisted of this resolution: "Resolved, That we
fling our banner to the breeze inscribed, free speech, free
labor, a free press, a free state, and Freemont." Oregon
at this time, of course, had no vote in the presidential
election. George L. Curry was reappointed Governor,
and Benjamin F. Harding Secretary of the Territory in
October of this year. The legislature elected in June
assembled in Salem December 2,1856; Governor Curry's
message reviewed the events of the Indian war, opposed
the removal of the capital and favored the formation of
a state government. A bill was passed at this session of
the legislature providing that at the June election, 1857,
the people should vote for and against a convention to
form a state constitution, and at the same time vote for
delegates to the convention. In case the convention carried, the delegates elected should meet at Salem on the
third Monday in August, 1857, to form a state constitution. Convention carried by a vote of seven thousand
two hundred and nine for, to one thousand six hundred
and sixteen against it, and the following delegates were
elected to the constitutional convention : Benton, Henry
B. Nichols, William Matzger, Haman C. Lewis, John
Kelsey ; Clackamas, J. K. Kelly, A. L. Lovejoy, William
A. Starkweather, Hector Campbell, Nathaniel Robbins ;
Clatsop, Cyrus Olney ; Curry, William H. Packwood ;
Columbia, John W. Watts; Coos, Perry B. Marple ;
Douglas, Matthew P. Deady, Stephen F. Chadwick, Solo-
?! E% 14
George H. Williams,
mon Fitzhugh, Thomas Whitted ; Jackson, L. J. C. Duncan, John H. Reed, Daniel Newcomb, P. P. Prim ; Josephine, 'L. B. Hendershott, William H. Watkins ; Linn,
Delazon Smith, Luther Elkins, Reuben S. Coyle, John
T. Brooks, James Shields, J. Brattain ; Lane, Paul Brat-
tain, I. R. Moores, A. J. Campbell, Jesse Cox, W. W.
Bristow, E.Hoult; Marion, L. F. Grover, George H.
Williams, Davis Shannon,.Nicholas Shrum, Joseph Cox,
Richard Miller, John C. Peebles ; Multnomah, S.J. Mc-
Cormick, William H. Farrar, David Logan ; Multnomah
and Washington, Thomas J. Dryer; Polk,. Reuben P.
Boise, Benjamin F. Burch, F. Way m ire ; Polk and Tillamook, A. D. Babcock ; Umpqua, Jesse Applegate, Levi
Scott ; Washington, E. D. Shattuck, John S. White, Levi
Anderson ; Wasco, C. R. Meigs ; Yamhill, J. R. McBride,
R. V. Short, R. C. Kinney, M. Olds. j|
General Lane was again the candidate of the democratic party for delegate in congress, and G. W. Lawson,
of Yamhill, was an independent candidate against him.
Slavery, like Aaron's rod, swallowed up all other questions at that time. Lawson was a somewhat eccentric
individual, but a pretty good speaker, and made a vigorous canvass, but Lane was the war horse of the democracy, and invincible. Lane was elected by a vote of five
thousand six hundred and sixty-two to three thousand
four hundred and seventy-one for Lawson. Based upon
the possibility that the state government might be again
defeated, the following persons were elected to a territorial legislature, which, with its unimportant session in
December, were the closing scenes of Oregon as a territory : Council—Benton and Lane, Avery A. Smith ; Jackson and Josephine, A.M. Berry ; Linn, Charles Drain ;
Multnomah, Edward Shiel ; Polk and Tillamook, Nathaniel Ford ; Umpqua, Douglas, Coos and Curry, Hugh
D. O'Bryant; Washington, Multnomah and Columbia, Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
Thomas R. Cornelius ; Wasco and Clackamas, Aaron E.
Wait ; Yamhill and Clatsop, Thomas Scott. House—
Benton, Reuben C. Hill, James H. Slater; Clackamas,
George Reese, F. A. Collard, S. P. Gilliland ; Clatsop,
Joseph Jeffries; Coos and Curry, T. J. Kirkpatrick ;
Columbia, Francis M. Warren ; Douglas, Albert A. Matthew ; Jackson, H. H. Brown, William M. Hughes;
Josephine, J. G. Spear; Jackson and Josephine, R. S.
Belknap; Linn, Anderson Cox, A. H. Cranor, H. M.
Brown; Lane, John Whiteaker, J. W. Mack; Marion,
Jacob Woodsides, George M. Able, Eli C. Cooley; Multnomah, William M. King; Polk and Tillamook, Benjamin Hayden ; Polk, Ira F. M. Butler; Umpqua, James
Cole; Washington and Multnomah, Thomas J. Dryer;
Washington, H. V. N. Johnson; Wasco, N. H. Gates;
Yamhill, Andrew Shuck, William Allen.
James Buchanan was inaugurated March 4, 1857.
His message to congress was largely devoted to the absorbing slavery question, the fugitive slave law, and the
government of Kansas. His cabinet was as follows :
Lewis Cass, of Michigan, Secretary of State ; R. M. T.
Hunter,v of Virginia, Secretary of the Treasury; John
Appleton, of Maine, Secretary of the Interior ; Howell
Cobb, of Georgia, Secretary of the Navy ; James A. Bayard, of Delaware, Secretary of War ; James D. Bright,
of Indiana, Postmaster-General.
I was reappointed Chief Justice of Oregon by Mr. Buchanan, but soon after resigned. Buchanan's appointments for Oregon, under the new state government, were
as follows : M. P. Deady, United States District Judge ;
A.J.Thayer, United States District Attorney; D. B.
Hannah, United States Marshal. James W. Nesmith
was Superintendent of Indian affairs in 1857.
In February, 1857, there was a free state convention
at Albany, of which W. T. Matlock was president, and
III    I ii
M rë
George H. Williams.
il y
l;i ^'4li
L. Holmes secretary. All those who attended this convention were republicans. Whether Oregon should be
a free or slave state, had now become the paramount
issue in our local politics. A paper had been started at
Corvallis, called The Messenger, to advocate the establishment of slavery in Oregon. I was a democrat, but in
early life imbibed prejudices against slavery that to
some extent diluted my democracy. Many of the most
influential democrats, with General Lane at their head,
were active for slavery, and there was little or nothing
said or done among the democrats on the other side of
the question. I prepared and published in the Oregon
Statesman an address to the people, filling one page of
that paper, in which I enforced, with all the arguments at
my command, the inexpediency of establishing slavery
in Oregon. I am not aware that any public speech or
address was made on that question by any other democrat
in the territory. Many democrats in private conversation
expressed their opposition to slavery, but they spoke
with "batedbreath and whispering humbleness," for the
dominating spirit in the democratic party was favorable
to slavery. I flattered myself, vainly perhaps, that I had
a fair chance to be one of the first United States senators
from Oregon, but with this address that chance vanished
like the pictures of a morning dream. I was unsound on
the slavery question. On the third Monday of August,
1857, the constitutional convention assembled at Salem.
Matthew P. Deady was elected president, Chester N.
Terry secretary, John Baker, sergeant-at-arms, and
Asahel Bush printer. The standing committees were as
follows : Legislative department—Boise, chairman, Love-
joy, Babcock, Chad wick, Watkins, Elkins. Executive
department — Kelly, chairman, Farrar, Reed, Kelsey,
Brattain of Lane, Dryer, McBride. Judicial department—
Williams, chairman, Olney, Boise, Kelly, Grover, Logan, Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
Prim. Military affairs — Kelsey, chairman, Whitted,
Burch, Moores, Scott, Coyle, Matzger. Education and
school lands—Peebles, chairman, Boise, Lockhart, Shat-
tuck, Starkweather, Kinney, Robbins. Seat of government and public buildings—Boise, chairman, Campbell
of Lane, Prim, Lewis, Olney, Chadwick, Shannon. Corporations and internal improvements—Meigs, chairman,
Williams, Elkins, Hendershott, Campbell of Clackamas,
Bristow, Miller. State boundaries—Love joy, chairman,
Meigs, Olney, Newcomb, Applegate, Anderson, Watts.
Suffrage and elections—Smith, chairman, Babcock, Brat-
tain of Linn, Cox of Marion, Dryer, Olds, White. Bill
of rights—Grover, chairman, Reed, McCormick, Way-
mire, Brooks, Shrum, Fitzhugh.
The chief speakers in the convention were Smith,
Dryer, Boise, Kelly, Grover, Deady, Logan, Olney,
Farrar and Way mire. I also took some part in the
debates. All the different provisions of the constitution
were quite thoroughly discussed, and, on the part of
some of the speakers, with no little ability. The constitution as a whole was adopted by the convention on
the eighteenth day of September, 1857, by a vote of
thirty-five for, to ten against it. Those voting against it
were : Anderson, Dryer, Farrar, Hendershott, Kinney,
Logan, Olds, White, Watts and Watkins. Those absent
and not voting were : Applegate, Bristow, Campbell of
Lane, Chadwick, Lewis, McBride, Meigs, Nichols,
Olney, Prim, Reed, Short, Shrum, Shattuck and Scott.
Mr. Applegate, at an early day, became dissatisfied
with the proceedings of the convention and left it. The
schedule of the constitution provided that the question
as to whether or not Oregon should be a slave state
should be submitted to the people at the time they voted
upon the constitution, and it also provided for a vote by
2 18
George H. Williams.
the people at the same time as to whether or not free
negroes should be allowed to come into and reside
within the state. The constitution was adopted by a
vote of seven thousand one hundred and ninety-five for,
to three thousand one hundred and ninety-five against it.
Slavery was defeated by a vote of two thousand six
hundred and forty-five for, to seven thousand seven hundred and twenty-seven against it, and the exclusion of
free negroes carried by a vote of eight thousand six
hundred and forty for, to one thousand and eighty-one
against it. Many of those who voted for the exclusion
of free negroes were at heart opposed to the policy, but
it was considered necessary to throw this tub to the
whale of the proslavery party to secure the success of
the free state clause of the constitution.
On the sixteenth of March, 1858, a democratic state
convention assembled at Salem to nominate candidates
for office under the new state government. James W.
Nesmith was chairman, and Shubrick Norris secretary.
L. F. Grover was nominated for Representative in
Congress, John Whiteaker for Governor, L. Heath for
Secretary of State, John D. Boon for Treasurer, Asahel
Bush for State Printer, M. P. Deady for judge of the
first district, R. E. Stratton for judge of the second
district, R. P. Boise for judge of the third district, A. E.
Wait for judge of the fourth district, A. C. Gibbs
prosecuting attorney for the first district, J. N. Smith
for the second, H. Jackson for the third, C. R. Meigs for
the fourth. April 2, 1858, a republican convention
assembled #at Salem and nominated John Denny for
Governor, John R. McBride for Representative in Congress, Leander Holmes for Secretary of State, E. L.
Applegate for State Treasurer, and D. W. Craig for
State Printer. Their resolutions declared that slavery
was a state and not a national institution ; denounced Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.        19
the Dred Scott decision, and the Kansas policy of the
Buchanan administration ; antagonized the democratic
state platform and the viva voce mode of voting, and
favored a Pacific railroad. April 8, a national democratic convention, as it called itself, assembled at Salem
and nominated James K. Kelly for Representative in
Congress, E. M. Barnum for Governor, A. E. Rice for
Secretary of State, Joseph L. Bromley for Treasurer,
and James O'Meara for State Printer. Their resolutions
approved the national democratic platform of 1856, and
extolled President Buchanan and Gen. Joseph Lane. On
May 21 Denny and McBride published a card declining
to be candidates.
The split in the democratic party was due to several
causes, some personal and some political. Mr. Bush, as
editor of the Oregon Statesman, wielded a vigorous and
caustic pen, and any democratic laggard or recusant was
pretty sure to feel the lash of that paper. This made a
considerable number of soreheads in the party. Then,
there was an antagonism in the party to what was called
the "Salem clique." This clique was understood to
consist of the following persons : Asahel Bush, J. W.
Nesmith, B. F. Harding, R. P. Boise, L. F. Grover, and
their close adherents. It was claimed that these gentlemen' were using the party for themselves and their
friends, and, as they were all free state men, it was
thought by some that they were not as friendly to
General Lane as they might be. Last, but not least, there
were more aspirants for office than there were offices to
fill. All the elements of opposition to the "Salem
clique" fused in support of the ticket headed by Colonel
Kelly. The chief canvassers for that ticket were Colonel
Kelly and James O'Meara, and the chief canvassers for
the Grover and Whiteaker ticket were L. F. Grover and
Delazon  Smith.     I  made  some  speeches in  different 20
George H. Williams.
parts of the state for the Grover and Whiteaker ticket.
One of the chief topics of discussion in this canvass
was the fifth and sixth resolutions of the state democratic
platform. These resolutions were iron-clad as to the
duty of democrats to support the nominations of the
convention and caucuses of the party. Colonel Kelly
and O'Meara vigorously attacked these resolutions and
claimed that they were intended to subjugate the democratic party to the dictation of the "Salem clique."
The supporters of the Grover and Whiteaker ticket
claimed that they were necessary to the integrity of the
party. The contest was characterized by bitter personalities, and among the party newspapers the "maddening wheels of fury raged." Grover and Whiteaker were
elected ; Grover receiving five thousand eight hundred
and fifty-nine votes to four thousand one hundred and
ninety, for Kelly, and Whiteaker five thousand seven
hundred and thirty-eight votes to four thousand one
hundred and fourteen for Barnum. The following constituted the membership of the legislature of 1858 :
Senate—Jackson, A. M. Berry; Lane, W. W. Bristow
and A. B. Florence ; Washington, Clatsop, Columbia
and Tillamook, T. R. Cornelius ; Marion, E. L. Colby
and J. W. Grimm; Linn, C. Drain and L. Elkins ;
Douglas, J. F. Gazley ; Yamhill, J. Lamson ; Benton,
J. S. Mclteeny ; Wasco, J. S. Ruckel ; Josephine, S. R.
Scott ; Umpqua, Coos and Curry, —. Wells ; Multnomah, J. A. Williams; Polk, F. Waymire. House—
D. B. Hannah, of Clackamas; Robert Morrison, of
Clatsop and Tillamook ; Nelson Hoyt, of Columbia and
Washington ; William Tichner, of Coos and Curry ; L.
Norris and A. J. McGee, of Douglas ; James H. Slater
and Henry B. Nichols, of Benton ; John W. McCauley,
Daniel Newcomb and W. G. T'Vault, of Jackson ; D. S.
Holton, of  Josephine;   A. J.  Oruzan, R. B.   Cochran Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
and A. S. Patterson, of Lane; L. H. Cranor, J. T.
Crooks, E. E. McMich and T. T. Thomas, of Linn; B.
F. Bonham, B. F. Harding, J. H. Lasater and John
Stevens, of Marion ; T. J. Dryer and A. D. Shelby, of
Multnomah ; B. F. Burch and J. K. Wait, of Polk; J.
M. Cozad, of Umpqua ; Wilson Bowlby, of Washington ;
Vic. Trevett, of Wasco; Andrew Shuck, of Yamhill.
■These members assembled at Salem July 5, 1858.
Luther Elkins was elected president of the senate, and
E. Carpenter secretary. W. G. T'Vault was chosen
speaker of the house, and C. N. Terry chief clerk.
Most of the time of this session was spent in discussion
about the removal of the capital. On the seventh day
of July Joseph Lane was elected United States Senator
in congress by a vote of forty-five to four blank votes,
and Delazon Smith by a vote of thirty-nine to eight for
David Logan.
In April, 1859, a democratic convention was held at
Salem by which Lansing Stout was nominated for congress. The resolutions approved the democratic national
platform of 1856, endorsed the Dred Scott decision, and
the administration of James Buchanan. In the same
month a republican convention was held at the same place
by which David Logan was nominated for congress.   A.
G. Hovey, W. Warren and Leander Holmes were chosen
as delegates to the national republican convention, and instructed to vote for William H. Seward as the republican
candidate for president. The resolutions were against
slavery in the territory, favored a Pacific railroad, internal improvements and a protective tariff. Stout was
elected over Logan by a majority of sixteen. Logan and
Stout were both young men of fine abilities and good
lawyers, but their unfortunate habits blasted their bright
prospects for future usefulness and distinction.
%** 22
George H. Williams.
Governor Whiteaker called a special session of the
legislature in May, 1859, and stated in his message that
the object of the session was to adapt the existing laws
to the new state government, and elect a United States
Senator in place of Delazon Smith, whose term had expired. General Lane had drawn the long term which
ended March 3, 1861, and Smith the short term which
ended March 3, 1859. On the fourteenth day of February, 1859, Senators Lane and Smith and Representative
Grover took their seats in congress. This special session, after a good deal of wrangling, adjourned without
any election.
Preparatory to the June election in 1860, a republican
state convention was held at Salem, at which David Logan
was again nominated for congress. The resolutions were
similar to those of 1859, with a strong protest against the
Dred Scott decision. A democratic convention was held
at Eugene City, at which there was a serious disagreement among the delegates. Several counties had decided
that the state democratic convention had not given them
the number of delegates to which they were entitled, and
as the convention decided to adhere to the apportionment
made by the committee, several delegates withdrew from
the convention, after which George K. Shiel was nominated for congress, and Joseph Lane, M. P. Deady and
Lansing Stout were chosen delegates to the national
democratic convention, and instructed to vote for General Lane as the democratic candidate for president.
Shiel was elected with seventy-six majority over Logan.
The agitation of the slavery question had now reached a
crisis. The good Lord and good devil style of politics
had become disgusting. I made up my mind that, as far
as my opportunities allowed, I would resist the further
aggression of the slave power and oppose the election to
office of those who favored it.   Accordingly, in the month Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
of March, 1860,1 went into Linn County, to the residence
of Delazon Smith, and said to him: "Delazon, I have
come here to beard the lion in his den (Smith's friends
called him the 'Lion of Linn') ; I am going to canvass
Linn County, and my object is to beat you and General
Lane for the senate. Come on and make your fight."
He good-naturedly accepted the challenge, and we traveled on. horseback to all parts of Linn County, through
the rain and mud, speaking every day, sometimes in the
afternoon and sometimes in the evening, and, as the accommodations in those days were somewhat limited, we
generally occupied the same bed at night. When I go
back in my thoughts to that campaign, I do not think of
the rain, mud and hard work, but I think of the solid
comfort I experienced when, hungry, wet and weary, I
was welcomed to the warm hospitalities of the pioneer
families of Linn County. Colonel Baker came to Oregon
some time in the winter of 1859, and he and Dryer made
speeches for the republican ticket, but I believe I was the
only democrat who made a. general canvass, especially
against the election of Lane and Smith.
On September 11, 1860, the legislature convened at
Salem, and consisted of the followingmembers : Senate—
Thomas R. Cornelius, of Washington ; William Tichner,
of Umpqua, Coos and Curry ; William Taylor, of Polk ;
Solomon Fitzhugh, of Douglas; D. S. Holton, of Josephine; John R. McBride, of Yamhill; James Monroe,
of Lane ; John A. Williams, of Multnomah ; Luther El-
kins and H. L. Brown, of Linn ; A. B. Florence, of Lane ;
J. W. Grimm and E. F. Colby, of Marion; J. S. Mc-
Heeney, of Benton ; A.M. Berry, of Jackson. Luther
Elkins. was elected president. House—S. E. Martin, of
Coos and Curry ; C.J. Trenchard, of Clatsop and Tillamook ; Reuben Hill and M. H. Walker, of Benton; R.
A. Cowles and James F. Gazley, of Douglas;   J. Q. A.
ill[II   ,1 '<• p
If Itaj'i.''
|i III
1 Jim II
ht&.'i 24
George H. Williams.
Worth, Bartlett Curl, Asa McCully and James P. Tate, of
Linn; Joseph Bayley, John Duval and R. B. Cochran,
of Lane ; G. W. Keeler, J. B. White and J. N. T. Miller,
of Jackson ; Ira F. M. Butler and C. C. Cram, of Polk ;
Robert Mays, of Wasco; B. Stark and A. C. Gibbs, of
Multnomah ; A. Holbrook, W. A. Starkweather and H.
W. Eddy, of Clackamas ;   Samuel Parker, Robert Newell,
C. P. Crandall and B. F. Harding, of Marion ; M. Crawford and S. M. Gilmore, of Yamhill ; Wilson Bowlby, E.
W. Conger, of Washington ; J. W. Huntington, of Umpqua ; and George T. Vining, of Josephine. B. F. Harding was elected speaker of the house.
Soon after the legislature assembled it became apparent that there was to be a fusion between the Douglas
democrats, as they were called, and the republicans, in
consequence of which Senators Berry, Brown, Florence,
Fitzhugh, Monroe and Mclteeney, friends of Lane and
Smith, vacated their seats, and, as the saying was then,
"took to the woods." This left the senate without a
quorum. Warrants were issued for their arrest, but they
were not found. Governor Whiteaker made an earnest
and patriotic appeal to the absentees to return, and after
an absence of ten or twelve days they resumed their seats
in the senate. Soon after, a joint convention was held
for the election of United States senators. There were
fourteen ballots, and the votes, with some scattering,
were about equally divided between J. W. Nesmith, E.
D. Baker and George H. Williams. On the fourteenth
ballot some of my supporters, under the pressure of the
Salem clique, went over to Nesmith, and he was elected.
The vote on the final ballot stood : For the long term,
twenty-seven for Nesmith to twenty-two for Deady. For
the short term, twenty-six for Baker to twenty for George
H. Williams. Political History of Oregon, 1853-65
James W. Nesmith for many years was a conspicuous
figure in the politics of Oregon. He was a man of keen
and ready wit, without much cultivation or refinement.
He had a wonderful faculty of seeing the ridiculous side
of things, and this faculty sometimes worked to his personal disadvantage. He was my colleague in the senate
for two years. He was an ardent friend of Andrew Johnson, and I was his determined enemy. He secured nominations from the President, and I defeated them in the
senate. This exasperated Nesmith and he became and
for many years was my malignant enemy, and as a representative in congress did what he could with the help
of some prominent republicans of Oregon to prevent my
confirmation by the senate when I was nominated for
Chief Justice by General Grant. But I am happy to say
that before his last illness our friendlv relations were re-
established, and while he was sick he wrote me a pathetic
letter begging me to help him out of his ' imaginary
troubles. He stood nobly by the administration of Mr.
Lincoln in the prosecution of the war, and of the democrats in the senate voted alone for the constitutional
amendment to abolish slavery, for which he deserves to
be remembered with praise by the people of Oregon.
When the democratic national convention assembled
at Charleston, on account of the resolutions adopted by the
convention, the delegates from the slave-holding states
withdrew and organized a convention of their own. Oregon and California went with them. They nominated
John C. Breckinridge for President, and Joseph Lane for
Vice-President. Their resolutions affirmed that the Constitution of the United States carried slavery into the territories, and protected it there irrespective of any legislation by congress or the people of a territory, denounced
opposition to the fugitive slave law, favored the acquisition of Cuba, and a Pacific railroad.   The other delegates
■ ' :. ■■!
VEif 26
George H. Williams.
adjourned to Baltimore, where they nominated Stephen
A. Douglas for President, and Herschel V. Johnson for
Vice-President. Their resolutions affirmed the democratic
platform of 1856, and recognized the rightfulness and
validity of the fugitive slave law. The republican convention at Chicago nominated Abraham Lincoln for President, and Hannibal Hamlin for Vice-President. Their
platform opposed the extension of slavery into the territories, but was quite conservative in other respects. A
convention was held at Nashville at which John Bell was
nominated for President, and Edward Everett for Vice-
President. Though their platforms were somewhat different, there was in fact no essential difference between
the republicans and Douglas democrats upon the slavery
question. The Breckinridge and Lane party affirmed in
effect that the constitution established and protected
slavery in the territories of the United States. This the
Douglas democrats denied. This was the real issue of
the campaign.
Dryer in The Oregonian stigmatized the Douglas democrats as the abolition wing of the democratic party.
The Presidential Electors for Lincoln were Thomas J.
Dryer, B. J. Pengra and William Watkins. For Breck-
enridge, James O'Meara, D. W. Douthit and Dalazon
Smith. For Douglas, Benjamin F. Hayden, William
Farrar and Bruce. For Bell, John Ross, S. Elsworth
and Greer. There were numerous speakers in the field.
Baker, Dryer, Woods and others for Lincoln; Smith,
O'Meara and others for Breckenridge ; Hayden, Farrar,
Garfield and others for Douglas. I supported Douglas
and canvassed for him, not so much to defeat Mr. Lincoln, whose election seemed altogether probable, as to
pursuade as many democrats as I could to withold their
votes from Breckenridge and Lane. Lincoln carried the
state, and was elected President.  The vote stood in Ore- Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
gon, five thousand two hundred and seventy for Lincoln,
five thousand and six for Breckenridge, three thousand,
nine hundred and fifty-one for Douglas, and one hundred
and eighty-three for Bell.
President Lincoln organized an able cabinet as follows : William H. Seward, Secretary of State ; Salmon
P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury ; Simon Cameron,
Secretary of War ; Gideon Wells, Secretary of the Navy ;
Caleb B. Smith, Secretary of the Interior; Montgomery
Blair, Postmaster-General, and Edward Bates, Attorney-
Mr. Lincoln's appointments for Oregon were as follows : District Attorneys—E. D. Shattuck, April 2, 1862 ;
E. W. McGraw, January 26, 1863; Joseph N. Dolph,
January 30, 1865 ; United States Marshal, William H.
Bennett; Surveyor-General, B. J. Pengr a ; Superintendent of Indian Affairs, W. H. Rector; Collector of Customs at Astoria, William L. Adams ; William Matlock,
receiver, and W. A. Starkweather, register of the land
office at Oregon City.
The defeat of General Lane for Vice-President closed
his political career. I was quite well acquainted, though
not intimate, with General Lane. I have never known
a man in Oregon to whom the Latin maxim, Suaviter in
modo, fortiter in re (gentle in manners, brave in deed),
could with more propriety be applied. He had all the
essential qualifications of a successful politician, and if
he had not been so imbued with a desire to extend
slavery, might, in all human probability, have represented Oregon in the senate as long as he lived. He was
intensely southern in all his feelings and sympathies, a
devoted friend to Jefferson Davis, and opposed to coercive
measures to preserve the union. I sincerely believe he
was wrong and opposed him upon that ground, but it is
due to his memory to say that he had, what many shifty
m. 28
George H. Williams.
politicians have not, the courage of his convictions, and
he stood by them to the bitter end. Delazon Smith, having identified himself with the fortunes of General Lane,
went down with them. I knew Delazon Smith in Iowa
as an infidel lecturer, a democratic politician and a
Methodist preacher. He was a man of generous impulses
and many intellectual gifts ; socially a charming and
most companionable man, and personally I liked him
very much. As a stump orator, with the exception of
Colonel Baker, there has never been his equal in the
State of Oregon, but he lacked stability and strength of
character. He was better fitted to follow than to lead
In Oregon, as well as elsewhere, 1861 was a year of
excitement. The war and anti-war feeling was at fever
heat. Every hill and valley found a tongue, and fiery
speeches were made for and against the government.
Colonel Baker was killed at Ball's Bluff in 1861. He
canvassed Iowa in 1848 for Taylor. I was then judge of
the first judicial district of that state, and had an opportunity to hear him at several places where I was holding
court. I also heard him in this state. I have heard
a good many men make speeches who were distinguished
for their oratory, but the most eloquent man I ever heard
was Edward D. Baker. He was admirable in form and
features, had a clear, ringing, silvery voice, and could
soar into the regions of imagination with more brilliancy
and come down to the solid facts of a speech with a better grace than any man I ever knew. His death was a
great loss to the country. Governor Whiteaker appointed
Benjamin F. Stark to succeed Colonel Baker in the senate. Stark was a disciple of General Lane. Affidavits
were forwarded to the senate from Oregon to show his
disloyalty, but after considerable hesitation over the matter he was admitted to his seat.    I can say of Senator Political History of Oregon, 1853-65.
Stark what Judge Black said of Justice Hunt, of the
supreme court: " He was a very lady-like personage."
In January, 1862, a call was issued for a union state
convention to be held at Eugene City on the ninth of
April. This call was signed by H. W. Corbett, E. D.
Shattuck and W. C. Johnson, republican state committee, and by Samuel Hanna, claiming to be chairman of
the democratic state committee, and by the following
persons, most of whom had been classed as democrats :
J. J. Hoffman, A. C. Gibbs, W. S. Ladd, A. M. Starr,
S. G. Reed, S. J. McCormack, Alonzo Leland, John Mc-
Craken, R. J. Ladd, A. C. R. Shaw, H. J. Geer, David
Powell, W. H. Farrar, A. Dodge, Lucien Heath, Joseph
Cox, R.' C. Geer, A. B. Hallock, James H. Lappeus,
George H. Williams, B. F. Harding, E. Williams, B.
Simpson, I. R. Moores, E. N. Cooke, H. M. Thatcher,
David McCully, L. E. Pratt, H. Rickey, James Shaw,
Joseph Magone, A. C. Daniels, J. W. McCully, Thomas
Strang, H. Zanklosskey, T. B. Rickey, William Graves,
E.N. Terry, A. L. Lovejoy, J. S. Rinearson, R. P. Boise,
D. P. Thompson, F. L. Cartee, C. P. Crandall, A. F.
J. J. Hoffman, whose name heads this list, was a
clerk in my office, and A. C. Gibbs, whose name stands
second, was my law partner. Pursuant to the above-
named call, a convention was held at Eugene consisting
of the following delegates : Benton—A. J. Thayer, J. R.
Bayley, W. B. Spencer, M. Woodcock, A. G. Hovey.
Clackamas—A. L. Lovejoy, W. Carey Johnson, M. C.
Ramsby, S. Huelet, W. S. Dement, J. T. Kerns. Clatsop—William L. Adams. Columbia—E. W. Conyers.
Douglas—T. B. King, W. T. Baker, T. R. Hill, E. A.
Lathrop, J. Kelly, S. B. Briggs, James F. Watson, R.
Reil. Jackson—L. A. Rice, James Burpee, S. Reddick,
W. W. Fowler, W. S. Hayden, J. B. Wrisley, 0. Jacobs, 30
George H. Williams.
J. C. Davenport, E. S. Morgan, C.Heppner. Josephine—
H. L. Preston, D. S. Holton, Jacob Mendenhall, Thomas
Floyd, J. S. Dunlap, W. Mulvaney. Lane—W. W. Bristow, R. E. Stratton, B. J. Pengra, E. L. Applegate, J. M.
Gale, N. Humphrey, G. H. Murch, J. McFarland. Linn—
Hiram Smith, Daniel Froman, William McCoy, L. Fanning, J. M. Elliott, D. B. Randall, John Smith, A.Han-
nen, O. W. Richardson, T. A. Riggs. Marion—A. Bush,
I. R. Moores, E. N. Cooke, S. Brown, B. F. Harding, E.
Williams, George A. Edes, Joseph Magone, J. W. Grimm,
P. A. Davis, W. Shannon, William Chase. Multnomah—
A. M. Starr, T. H.. Pearne, H. W. Corbett, A. C. R. Shaw,
S. M. Smith, David Powell, William H. Watkins, George
H. Williams. Polk—J. D. Holman, W. C. Warren, J. D.
Collins, B. Simpson, S. J. Gardner. Umpqua — Jesse
Applegate, R. H. Lord. Wasco—William Logan, James
H. O'Dell, J. H. Wilbur, Z. M. Donnell. Washington-
Wilson Bowlby, A. Hindman, W. B. Adcock, I. Hall.
Yamhill—Joel Palmer, W. B. Breyman, Joseph Sanders,
J. R. Bean, J. B. Condon, W. B. Daniels. Coos and
Curry—William Tichner, T. D. Winchester. A. L. Lovejoy was president and C.N. Terry secretary.
The convention made the following nominations :
John R. McBride for congress ; A. C. Gibbs for Governor ; Samuel May for Secretary of State ; Harvey
Gordon for State Printer ; Edwin N. Cooke for State
Treasurer ; E. D. Shattuck for Judge of the Fourth District ; James F. Gazley for Prosecuting Attorney, First
District; A. J. Thayer for Second District; J. G. Wilson, Third District, and W. C. Johnson for the Fourth
District. The convention appointed the following as an
executive committee for the campaign : Henry Failing,
B. F. Harding, Hiram Smith, George H. Williams and
S. Huelet. Political History of Oregon, 1853-65,
A democratic convention at Eugene on the sixteenth
of April, 1862, nominated for congress, A. E. Wait ; for
Governor, John F. Miller ;  for State Printer, A. Noltner.
The campaign was conducted with great spirit and
much ill-feeling. War was in the hearts of our people
as much as it was elsewhere, but we fought it out with
ballots and not with armed forces and bloodshed. Ex-
Governor Curry conducted a paper in Portland called
the Advertiser, which vehemently opposed the war and
the administration of Lincoln, and W. L. Adams conducted a red-hot republican paper at Oregon City called
the Oregon Argus, in which he hammered his political
opponents with merciless severity. The Statesman and
the Oregonian were on the same side in this fight. The
whole union ticket was elected by an average majority
of three thousand. The total vote in Portland was six
hundred and seventy—four hundred and sixty for McBride and two hundred and ten for Wait.
The legislature elected in June assembled in Salem,
September 8, 1862, and consisted of the following members :
Senate—Benton, A. G. Hovey ; Linn, Bartlett Curl,
D. W. Ballard; Marion, J. W. Grim, William Greenwood ; Washington, Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook,
Wilson Bowlby ; Lane, Campbell E. Chrisman ; Multnomah, John H. Mitchell; Coos, Curry and Umpqua,
Joseph W. Drew ; Jackson, Jacob Wagner ; Clackamas
and Wasco, James K. Kelly ; Yamhill, John R. McBride;
Polk, William Tayler ; Lane, James Monroe ; Josephine,
D. S. Holton. Wilson Bowlby was elected president,
and Samuel Clarke chief clerk.
House^—Jackson, E. L. Applegate, J. D. Haines, S.
D. Van Dyke ; Josephine, J. D. Fay ; Douglas, R. Mal-
lory, James Watson; Umpqua, W. H. Wilson; Coos
and Curry, Archibald Stevenson;   Lane, S. V. McClure, 32
George H. Williams.
A. A. Hemingway, M. Wilkins ; Benton, A. N. Withan,
C. P. Blai'r ; Linn, H. D. Brown, John Smith, William
McCoy, A. A. McCully; Marion, I. R. Moores, Joseph
Engle, C. A. Reed, John Minto; Polk, B. Simpson, G.
W. Richardson ; Yamhill, Joel Palmer, John Cummings;
Washington, R. Wilcox; Washington and Columbia, E.
W. Conyers ; Clackamas, F. A. Collard, M. Ramsby,
J. T. Kean ; Multnomah, A. J. Dufur, P. Wasserman ;
Clatsop and Tillamook, P. W. Gillette ; Wasco, O. Huma-
son. Joel Palmer was elected speaker, and S. T. Church
chief clerk.
A joint convention was held for the election of a
senator to fill the unexpired term of Colonel Baker. The
vote for a long time was about equally divided between
B. F. Harding and George H. Williams, with a few votes
for the Rev. Thomas H. Pearne, but the Salem clique
was too much for me again, and on the thirtieth ballot
Harding was elected.
Public attention was absorbed by the war in 1863,
and there were no political movements of any note in
Oregon in that year. In March, 1864, a union convention was held at Albany, of which Wilson Bowlby was
president and W. C. Whitson secretary. J. H. D. Henderson was nominated for congress ; George L. Woods,
N. H. George and J. F. Gazley for presidential electors.
Delegates to the national convention were Thomas H.
Pearne, J. W. Souther, M. Hirsch, Josiah Failing, H.
Smith and T. Charman. They were instructed to vote
for the renomination of Abraham Lincoln. R. E. Strat-
ton was nominated for Judge of the Second Judicial District and James F. Watson for District Attorney. In
the third district, R. P. Boise was named for Judge and
Rufus Mallory for District Attorney, and in the fifth
district, J. G. Wilson for Judge and C. R. Meigs for District Attorney. Political History of Oregon, 1853-65,
In April a democratic convention was held at Salem.
James K. Kelly was nominated for congress ; A. E. Wait,
S. F. Chadwick and Benjamin F. Hayden for presidential
electors. Delegates to the national convention were Benjamin Stark, William Higbee, William McMillen, Jefferson Howell, John Whiteaker, N. T. Caton. S. Ellsworth
was nominated for Judge of the Second District, J. S.
Smith for the third and J. H: Slater for the fifth. The
union ticket was elected by an average majority of two
thousand five hundred. Some of those who were in the
ranks in 1862 fell out in 1864 on account of the emancipation proclamation of Mr. Lincoln.
The republican national convention nominated Abraham Lincoln for President and Andrew Johnson for
Vice-President. The resolutions approved the administration of Lincoln, and favored a vigorous prosecution of
the war. The democratic national convention nominated
George B. McClellan for President and George H. Pendleton for Vice-President. The resolutions declared the
war a failure, demanded the cessation of hostilities and a
convention of the states to settle the pending difficulties.
On September 12, 1864, the legislature elected in
June assembled at Salem, and consisted of the following
members :
Senate—Douglas, Coos and Curry, G. S. Hinsdale ;
Washington, Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook, Thomas
R. Cornelius ; Baker and Umatilla, James M. Pyle ;
Wasco, Z. Donnell ; Yamhill, Joel Palmer; Polk, John
A. Fraser ; Clackamas, H. W. Eddy ; Douglas, James
Watson; Josephine, C. M. Cardwell ; Marion, John W.
Grim and William Greenwood ; Linn, Bartlett Curl and
D. W. Ballard; Lane, S. B. Crabsten and C. E. Chris-
man ; Multnomah, John H, Mitchell ; Jackson, Jacob
Wagner.    John H. Mitchell was elected president, and
E. P. Henderson chief clerk. 34
George H. Williams,
House—Baker, Daniel Chaplin, Samuel Colt; Benton,
J. Quinn Thornton, J. Gingles ; Clackamas, Owen Wade,
E. T. T. Fisher, H. W. Shipley; Columbia, Clatsop
and Tillamook, P. W. Gillette ; Coos and Curry, Isaac
Hacker; Douglas, Alpheus Ireland, E. W. Otey, P. C.
Parker ; Jackson, James D. Fay, W. F. Songer, Thomas
F. Beale; Josephine, Isaac Cox; Lane, J. B. Underwood,
G. Callison, A. McCormack ; Linn, J. P. Tate, J. N.
Parker, P. A. McCartney, Robert Glass; Marion, I. R.
Moores, J. J. Murphy, H. L. Turner, J. C. Cartwright ;
Multnomah, P. Wasserman, L. H. Wakefield; Polk, C.
LaFollett ; Umatilla, Lafayette Lane; Washington, Wilson Bowlby, D. 0. Quick; Wasco, A. J. Borland; Yamhill, G. W. Lawson, Henry Warner. I. R. Moores was
elected speaker, and J. L. Collins chief clerk.
Circumstances seemed to indicate that Thomas H.
Pearne or George H. Williams would be elected to the
senate by this legislature, and with this in view we canvassed the state together, both of us advocating the election of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Pearnë was an able man and a
fine speaker. I found in him a formidable competitor
for the office. I was elected on the third ballot, the vote
standing thirty-one for Williams, sixteen for Pearne, six
for John F. Miller, and two for Watkins. Bush, Nesmith, Harding, and many others who had been identified
with the union party, supported McClellan. Mr. Lincoln carried the state by about one thousand four hundred majority. On the fourth of March, 1865, I took
my seat in the Senate of the United States.
My task ends here. Many, and indeed a large majority, of those I have named in this paper have finished
their earthly career, and the evening shadows are rapidly
closing around those who survive. I trust those who
come forward to take our places will think kindly of
what we have done, and strive to improve upon our work. Political History of Oregon, 1853-65,
I have had my full share of the ups and downs incident
to political life, but there are no sore places in my memory. I am grateful to the Giver of All Good and the
people of Oregon for the honor and good things I have
enjoyed here, and my earnest desire is that God will
bless this beautiful state in all its years and in all its
borders with plenteousness and peace, and that righteousness, justice and truth may characterize and exalt its
future history.
FLOTson âm JETJûfi ©r T
One July day, a dozen or more years ago, sitting
upon the Oregon side of the Columbia, with Mount
St. Helens in front of me on the Washington side, a
wall of pentagonal columns of basalt garlanded with
the vines and flowering shrubs with which Nature in
this region adorns even the rocks, at my back, and at
my feet the grandest of rivers "making haste slowly"
to the sea, I listened to some significant tales of ocean
life told by that pioneer of pioneers, Captain Francis
A. Lemont.
There are pioneers and pioneers, but when you come
to a man who was on this coast in 1829, you listen for
something different from the now familiar story of crossing the plains with an ox team. Not but that was* a
narrative full of interest, but we know it too well to
have much curiosity about it, the overlanders having
made their history for all time. The tales related by
the retired sea captain just named furnish some very
interesting links in Oregon history, and have more than
an ordinary value. The history of the man himself incident to his connection with that of Oregon has in it a
great deal of romance, as will be seen from the brief
and simple rendering here given. It goes without saying that a mere land lubber of a scribbler could never
put into a  narrative  of sea life  the proper nautical FlOTSOM   AND   JETSOM   OF   THE   PACIFIC
phrases, therefore I must leave out these lingual decorations of the captain's story, and give it in plain ordinary
F. A. Lemont was born in Bath, Maine, that nursery
of seamen. The founder of the family in America was
John Lemont, who settled in Bath in 1722, and took a
tract of land from New Meadows River to the Kennebec, and built a fort on it. The land was subsequently
divided into four farms among his children, who enjoyed
an unusual longevity, one daughter living to one hundred years, another to ninety-nine, and his sons from
seventy-six to ninety-six years. His great-great grandson, Captain F. A. Lemont, at eighty-three was not by
any means feeble.
On the wall of the captain's sitting-room hung the
family coat-of-arms. It was manifestly French, and
indicated high lineage, but its history was lost on a voyage to Oregon, when, in a severe gale, the vessel was
swept clean by the overwhelming seas, and the cabin so
drenched that the legend of the Lemont coat-of-arms,
which was pasted on the back of the frame, became
loosened by the moisture and was destroyed by the cabin
boy. as waste paper. The captain believed that the
American family was of Huguenot ancestry, and probably banished from France. They continued to reside
in Bath, engaged in ship-building and trading, Frank,
as he was called by his associates, at the age of eighteen
being a clerk in his father's store. Standing in the
doorway one day in the autumn of 1828 the young man
watched a party of sailors tramping merrily down the
street, singing their sea songs, and a sudden impulse
came over him to try a life of adventure.
Learning that the ship Owyhee was to sail from Boston for the Columbia River to trade with the Indians, he
went to that place, and in September was articled as an
u 38
Frances Fuller Victor.
apprentice on board the Owyhee. The vessel belonged
to Bryant and Sturges, of Boston, and was commanded
by Captain Dominis, a well-known sailing master who
had his home in the vicinity of that town. He seems to
have been a commander who was cheerfully obeyed, for
although several of his crew were, like Lemont, lads from
Bath who had never been to sea, before they reached
Cape Horn they could all "take their tricks at the wheel,'"
and go aloft and reef like old sailors. In a gale off Rio
de la Plata Lemont fell from the mast, but was caught in
the rigging and saved. With this exception the voyage
to the Straits of Magellan was fair, and after getting
through that stormy passage the ship had good weather
to the Chilean convict island of San Juan Fernandez,
where she took water and provisions, as was the custom
in those days.
A continuance of favorable winds brought the Owyhee
off the Columbia, in April, 1829, though she could not
enter until soundings had been taken, and the channel
buoyed out. This survey occupied two weeks, the buoys
rbeing made of stovewood, anchored with cordage made
by ravelling condemned cables and twisting three strands
into one, making what was called "spun yarn," which
was wound on a wheel and payed out from small boats.
This work being completed, the vessel came safely in by
the north channel, and felt her way up the river as far as
Deer Island, a few miles below Saint Helens, where she
ran aground, being compelled to send a boat to Fort Vancouver, the headquarters of- the Hudson's Bay Company
in the Oregon Territory, for aid. Chief factor Dr. John
McLoughlin not only sent down a crew of kanakas with
a mackinaw boat to help the vessel off, but with them a
present of potatoes, and a quarter of fresh beef, as a mark
of peculiar favor—beef cattle being too few and too precious at that period to be slaughtered except upon rare Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific.
occasions, and regarded as a luxury even by the gentlemen of the company, who commonly lived upon salmon.
Wishing to make some return for Doctor McLoughlin's
hospitality, Lemont, with boyish pleasure, presented him
soon after three young peach trees which he had brought
from San Juan Fernandez, and which being planted at
Vancouver, bore the first peaches ever grown on the Columbia River.
The Owyhee remained at Deer Island through the
summer trading with the natives and fishing, the young
sailors enjoying the wild strawberries which reddened
the fir-bordered prairies where they were at liberty to
roam occasionally, running away from a black bear,
which "beastie" was very plentiful in this neighborhood.
The winter of 1829-30 was spent in Scappoose Bay, just
above Saint Helens, whence in the* spring she returned
to.her former position and again traded through the summer, leaving in the autumn for the Sandwich Islands.
It was while the Owyhee was lying in the river in
1829 that a devastating epidemic broke out amongst the
Oregon Indians, and spread down the coast as far as the
bay of San Francisco. It seemed to originate with the
Indians about the ship, and it was Captain Lemont's
opinion that it was simply at first an intermittent, occasioned by some mischievous Indians getting their canoes
filled with water while pulling up the stakes set in the
island by the fishermen. The sickness, however, became
epidemical and malignant, so that whole villages died,
and there were not enough well persons to care for the
sick. This state of affairs was, by the superstitious
savages, believed to be intentionally brought about by
Captain Dominis, who, they said, had emptied a vial of
bad "medicine" into the Columbia River with the
design to destroy them ; and it probably would have
gone hard with the Owyhee's crew but for the influence
t*-* msES£?fe
Frances Fuller Victor.
of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the attentions of
Doctor McLoughlin, who labored faithfully, but in vain,
to arrest the disease. It is stated that this epidemic,
extending even to the Bay of San Francisco, carried off
about thirty thousand Indians on the Pacific Coast.
During the two fishing seasons passed on the Columbia, Captain Dominis put up fifty hogsheads of
salmon, which sohj. in Boston at ten cents per pound in
April, 1831. The home voyage was made by the way of
the Sandwich Islands, and among the passengers picked
up was Captain Hallowell, master of the first missionary packet to the islands, who returned in the
Owyhee to Boston.
I suggested to the narrator of these reminiscences
connected with the noble river at our feet, that for a first
voyage he must have* felt himself a long time and a long
way from home. "Yes," said he, raising his head to
snuff anew the sea air blowing up the stream, " I didn't
know I was homesick; until I happened at the islands to
recognize the brig Diana, which was built in Bath.
Then my heart jumped up in my mouth and I wanted to
get home."
The homeward voyage was without noteworthy incident, except that the vessel was becalmed off Rio Janeiro
for forty days. At the end of the thirtieth day Captain
Dominis announced to his crew that the winds of heaven
were all blown out ; but that night it "came on to rain,"
as in Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, giving them fresh
water, of which they were greatly in need, and in another
ten days the ship was going before a favorable breeze,
arriving at her berth in April.
Captain Dominis, in later years, returned to settle at the Sandwich Islands and purchased the brig
Diana. At length he took a voyage in her, from which
he never returned ; nor was he ever afterward heard of, Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
although the government sent a vessel to search for him
upon information being given that white men had been
said to be in the mountain districts of one of the South
Sea islands. He left a young son at Otaheite, who, on
coming to manhood, married Lydia Paarkii, a native
princess of Hawaii, who has since enjoyed royal honors,
but he died in middle life.*
Our young sailor, after a few months at home, joined
the brig Sultana, formerly a Smyrna packet, owned by
Joseph Baker & Sons, of Boston, but now bound for a
voyage to the Columbia River. Her captain was James
L. Lambert, and the goods she carried belonged to
Nathaniel Wyeth and associates, and were destined for
the Indian trade to compete with the Hudson's Bay
In passing through the Straits of Magellan, having
on one occasion anchored to speak with the natives, a
white man was discovered among them and rescued.
He had been abandoned by his captain several months
previous, and looked upon his deliverance from life and
death in Patagonia as a special providence.
After getting clear of the straits the run to San Juan
Fernandez was pleasant. But on arriving Captain Lambert found such a condition of affairs existing as impelled
him to get to sea again in haste. The convicts on the
island had risen, and seizing the officers of the Chilian
*Some explanation is due here as to names used by nautical men seventy
years ago, and those in use at a later date. Otaheite is the Fiji of ihe present,
and must be so read in this article. Which of the South Pacific or Society Islands was called Bow Island, I do not know, and can only conjecture from the
latitude and longitude given me by Lemont. From this information I am led
to think that it was one of the group now known as Borim Island, 26° 3(ï S. E.
from Japan, distant five hundred miles.
The following information concerning Captain Dominis was furnished me by
a resident of Honolulu, and a member of the new government. Dominis was a
native of Massachusetts, but of Italian descent. He married a Miss Holt of
Massachusetts. The princess his son married, Lydia Paarkii, was a low chief in
Kamehameha's train, whose name was Kapakaa. The ex-queen of Hawaii, or
Mrs. John O. Dominis, better known as Queen Liliuokalani, came to the queenly
rank through factional politics as other sovereigns have done, and has lost her
rank in the same manner, but by foreigh politicians. 42
Frances Fuller Victor.
government had incarcerated them in the prison cells,
and going on board the Annie Warren, of Stonington,
Connecticut, which was lying in the offing—for there
was no harbor—had compelled the captain to carry them
to the Chili Coast. He was then permitted to return to
his anchorage at the island, where he ascertained that
the wives of the convicts had released the officers, who,
in turn, being alarmed at the demeanor of the women,
had enticed them into the prison and locked them up.
Such was the state of affairs when the Sultana came to
anchor, and having no authority to interfere, Captain
Lambert took on some water and fruit and proceeded on
his course to Bow Island, where he arrived in little over
a month from San Juan Fernandez, intending to land
for fresh water and provisions, but was deterred by the
threatening appearance of the natives, who were armed
and assembled in large numbers upon the beach. Continuing his voyage, at 2 o'clock on the morning of the
twenty-ninth of February, the Sultana ran onto the then
undiscovered reef which has since borne her name, and
being on the weather side rapidly filled with water.
Preparations were immediately made for landing and
getting provisions ashore before the heavy swells of a
few hours later should render it impossible. By noon,
after a hard battle with the surf and the suction from
the wreck, all were safely landed with such necessary
articles as the men could carry ashore by sinking under
the great rollers and coming up on the tail end of them.
Tents were erected and the ship's company went into
So here, after a long voyage, were the Sultana's crew
and Captain Nathaniel Wyeth's Indian goods, with
which he expected to enter into a competition with the
Hudson's Bay Company and the American Fur Com- Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
pany in the Oregon Territory. Wyeth himself was
en route'to the Columbia overland, with a company of
thirty-two men.
A huge kite of cotton cloth was hoisted for a signal
to passing vessels, and for several days the Sultana's
men were busied in saving the goods coming ashore
from the wreck. Exploration of the reef was next in
order. It proved to be a lagoon island about thirty-five
miles in circumference, with a reef extending around it
from twenty to one hundred feet in width, enclosing the
lagoon. There was no fresh water on the island and
only one kind of edible fruit, about the size of a walnut
and having one seed in the center. Fish were plentiful
of several species, the little pools on the reef, which
were filled by the nightly high tide, containing so many
that the bare toes of the sailors were nibbled by them as
they waded about in the water. One fish in particular,
about nine inches long and three in width—an excellent
pan fish—was of a green color. It was very shy and
when the sailors tried to catch it it jumped out on the
rocks and by repeated saltations reached the sea. The
method of the natives in taking these was with the
spear, which they threw from a distance of twenty-five
or thirty feet. But the sailors impounded them by
building around the basins a wall just too high for them
to vault over, when enough of them could be taken any
morning for the day's supply.
For a table delicacy the castaways had "geography,"
which is ship biscuit charred and soaked in a pot of
water. They had tea also, but its flavor was not very
good, having been wet with salt water and dried, and
finally steeped in water that was brackish. But these
privations were the least of their troubles ; and really
their predicament did not seem as serious to these young
adventure-seeking souls as it did to their captain, who 44
Frances Fuller Victor.
at the end of two weeks started for a four hundred mile
voyage to Otaheite in the Sultana's launch, with the
supercargo, Mr. Curtis Clapp, and four of his best seamen, leaving the six remaining sailors on the. reef in
charge of George Sweetland, the mate.
Before Captain Lambert left he allowanced the thirty
gallons of fresh water remaining after taking a supply
for the launch, in the proportion of one-half pint of water
to three quarts of Maderia wine daily. A heavy rainfall
occurring soon after, sixty gallons of rain water were
caught by spreading the ship's studding sail, and saved
in casks. A well which was dug in the sand, but which
for two or three weeks furnished only brackish water,
finally became fresh, and thus one serious discomfort was
done away with.
For some time after the wreck of the Sultana no native inhabitants of the island were discovered, but Lemont
one morning reported that he had seen two men down the
reef, when four sailors were sent to bring them in. They
were detained some time, and named Typee and Bobby
Sheely. Bobby had a wife and children quite fifteen
miles away, whom he was asked to bring to visit the
strangers, and who came. Their unblushing nakedness
proving disagreeable to the young New Englanders, they
hastily converted some of Wyeth's cotton goods into
dresses, in which the women were clothed. (This incident raises the question whether the "Mother Hubbard"
style of dress prevailing in the Pacific islands did not
originate in the improvised feminine garment manufactured by untutored masculine hands?) The men were
also clothed in a manner becoming their sex, which garments, however, they wore in such fashion as the designers had never contemplated. They had intelligence
enough to compare the white men curiously with themselves bv feeling of  their limbs and examining their Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
beards and hair. But when a box of looking glasses came
ashore, and they beheld themselves "as others see us"
for the first time, their excitement was very great, and
they were disposed some to fight their mirrored selves,
while some would have run away. A pet canary, spreading its wings and opening its bill before its reflection in
a mirror has as much comprehension of the radiation or
reflection of light as the people on this coral island. This
family proved to be the only one on the reef, and very
inoffensive people they were.
The signal kite by day nor the lantern by night had
brought any vessel to the assistance of the crew of the
Sultana, but her floating wreckage had been seen by the
natives of a neighboring island soon after Captain
Lambert left for Otaheite, and a visit was received from
a canoe load of thirty of them, who were not permitted
to land until they had sent their spears ashore. Friendly
relations were soon established with the visitors, who
remained a week on the reef, at the end of which time,
to the joy of the castaways, a vessel appeared on the
northwest side of the island, and sent a boat ashore.
This vessel proved to be an English bark, commanded by Capt. John Clarke, which had been lying on
the opposite side of Bow Island when the Sultana was
deterred from landing by the war-like appearance of the
natives at that place. She carried at that time fifteen
men, was from Valparaiso, and had on board the Danish
consul and a linguist, or interpreter. The natives of
Bow Island had afterwards looted her, and made prisoners of the captain and all the crew, except the linguist,
and four sailors who were left to navigate her.' The
missionaries at Otaheite fitted out their little brig,
Abell, master, and dispatched her to the rescue of
Captain Clarke. When, two days out on this errand, the
brig encountered a gale which so damaged her that she
III ! ■
m 46
Frances Fuller Victor.
was compelled to return ; but it happened very opportunely that she arrived back on the same day that
Captain Lambert in his launch came into port. The
two captains then entered into an arrangement by which
the brig was to go to the relief of Captain Clarke and
his crew on Bow Island, and thence to the reef to bring
away Lambert's men, and such of the Sultana's cargo
as had been saved.
Harbor there was none at the rèef, only an entrance
about sixty feet in width into the lagoon, and although
a small vessel might get in with the trade wind, she
could not get out, but would be wind-bound. Communication was, however, established between the brig
and the reef by means of a small boat saved from the
Sultana, and Captain Clarke made a visit to Camp Castaway with a part of his crew in a whaleboat. It was
agreed between Mate Sweetland and Captain Clarke
that the crew of the brig should assist in removing the •
Sultana's cargo to the leeward side of the reef, where
they, with the goods, could be taken on board the vessel,
the removal to be effected by means of a raft. A number of Clarke's men were therefore sent ashore, and a
raft constructed of spars, casks, or whatever would
float, but being very unweildly and heavily laden, was
extremely difficult to move, and a whole week was consumed in making the journey with the first load to the
place of embarkation. To add to the hardships of the men,
it rained for five days continuously. On arriving at its
destination, no vessel was found waiting, and spreading
the goods out to dry, the men returned to camp to bring
away the remainder of the cargo. Making another raft,
they loaded on it all that was of any value, except the
tents, and started again for the leeward landing ; but
their unusual hardships and the discomforts of the
rainy season had rendered them nearly helpless, and Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
after proceeding a few miles, they tied up" the raft and
returned in the small boat to camp, resolved to secure a
night's rest under the cover of tents. To their surprise
and disappointment, every vestige of their late home
had disappeared, and they were compelled to shelter*
themselves under tents made of their blankets stretched
over oars for ridge poles. By the light of the next
morning a bottle was discovered tied to a shrub, containing a letter from Captain Abell, stating that he had been
to the designated landing, and finding no one there, had
loaded the goods left there onto the brig and sailed around
the island, discovering the camp, which was also deserted, from which he inferred that the men had found
some means of getting away from the island.
Nothing was now left to do but to wait for Captain
Lambert to send another vessel for them, and again erecting some tents the castaways submitted with such patience as they could command to the inevitable. Bread
began to run low, but one day a cask was seen floating
around outside the reef which on being brought to shore
was found to contain bread in good condition, and soon
after a cask of wine was picked up. This fortunate
flotsom added to their fish diet the variety necessary
to health. Although the menu was limited, a certain
amount of ceremony was observed on Saturdays- when
they dined in state, and drank, standing, the regular
toast of the sailor, "To sweethearts and wives.'
To amuse themselves the younger men searched the
reef for corals of fanciful shapes and various colors, finding many beautiful forms, among which were some that
resembled young fir trees in their manner of growth,
and were red, blue, black and white. But excepting
these ocean curios there was little to admire upon this
unfinished scrap of earth, and when at length, after four
months residence on the reef, the schooner Pomare from
i ■ 48
Frances Fuller Victor.
Otaheite arrived at the island to take them off, the feeling of relief was truly unutterable. The remainder of
the Sultana's cargo, with her boats, were taken on board,
the natives assisting in getting the Sultana's heavy chain
cable to the Pomare. Her whaleboat was taken in tow,
but was lost in a squall the second night out.
It was about the last of June when Captains Lambert
and Clarke were rejoined by their men. To fittingly
celebrate their reunion Captain Lambert gave a Fourth
of July dinner ; and to be made presentable for the occasion it became necessary to laundry certain articles of
clothing, the "doing-up" of a white shirt being accomplished with arrow-root for starch, and a bottle of hot
water for a smoothing iron. At the dinner some of the
guests, including one of the missionaries and the native
queen, indiscreetly took too much wine and furnished
much amusement to the young sailors by their hilarity.
The following day the queen sent some glassware to replace that which had been fractured in the social skirmish
of "the day we celebrate" by her own dusky hand. The
missionary, poor man, was being conducted home, when
on attempting to walk a foot-log across a slough he fell
into the morass, together with his guide, and on reaching home created, by his unusual appearance, the greatest
At Otaheite Lemont learned that the English bark of
which Clarke had been master was taken in charge by
the Danish consul, as part owner, who had departed in
her, leaving Captain Clarke without a vessel. The departure of the bark also left Captain Lambert without
the means to continue his voyage to the Columbia as he
had hoped to do, and with no resort except to sell the
goods in his charge at auction where he was, and return
to the United States. An opportunity soon offered, passage being secured for himself, his mate and the super- M
Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
cargo in the whaling vessel Meridian, Captain Benjamin
Worth, of New Bedford. But neither patriotism nor pecuniary considerations could induce the whaler to take
any more passengers, and Captain Clarke as well as the
sailors remained captives of fortune, living in a native
house and employing a native cook, while they discussed
their chances of escape.
The first plan attempted was to get to sea in some
sort of a boat, with a possibility of being picked up by
a passing vessel. Accordingly a native boat, sloop-rigged,
twenty-two feet long and six feet wide was purchased,
hauled up and examined, but finally rejected by Captain
Clarke as too hazardous. After this failure Lemont and
one of his companions determined to settle on the island,
and purchased a piece of land with an orange grove on
it, commencing to build a house. They had the sides
wattled with willows, the thatched roof partly on, and
were having the walls plastered with a mortar made
with lime from burnt coral and cocoanut oil, when they
were seized with an incurable homesickness, sitting one
night on the beach and talking of Bath. The next
morning the house and land were sold, and the two lads
were reviewing the discarded boat.
The mortar made with the coral lime and oil was
discovered to be- impervious to water. With this they
decided to plaster the boat, after renailing it and before
sheathing it with a soft wood. . This it was decided
would make it safe ; and so it did, for when it was
launched it was found to be perfectly tight. The next
care was for rigging and provisions. Wild pork bought
from the natives in the mountains, boned and salted
down, cocoanuts, plantains, bananas and arrow-root constituted their prospective bill of fare, to which several
barrels of water were added.    All was now ready for a
Till *' ■ 50
Frances Fuller Victor.
■p *
start, but the day before that appointed for sailing a ship
hove in sight, which proved to be the United States
frigate Portsmouth, Captain Downs, which had been on
the coast of Sumatra chasing the natives for outrages
perpetrated on the crew of a pepper ship. Captain
Downs, on learning from the harbor master that some
American boys and an English captain designed going
to sea in so small a boat, intended to have stopped them.
However, they knew nothing of this, and being eager to
be off, were several miles on their voyage before they
were observed from the frigate and a whaleboat sent to
overtake them. Mistaking it for a native fruit boat, and
having a fair wind, the adventurers sailed away from
the only opportunity which had yet offered of a comfortable voyage home.
It was not a too happy voyage on which a company
of seven had set out—four boys, two men, and Captain
Clarke. For two weeks they were scudding under a
bob jib with the roughest of weather, after which the
wind moderated, and at the end of forty days they made
the Island of Massafuro, about thirty degrees west of
Valparaiso, their destined port, but were unable to land.
The whole distance to Valparaiso was four thousand nine
hundred miles, and was overcome in sixty-eight days.
But what days ! What suffering and weariness were
compressed into a voyage of that length in a small
boat ! The most fertile imagination fails to adequately
picture it.
"Our cutter," says my interlocutor, "rounded the
head at sunrise, going in. The lookout on the mole
reported a strange craft. As soon as the signal was
seen on the Portsmouth, which was lying there, the
commodore ordered his gig and pulled off alongside of
us. His first words were, 'You young devils, you ought
to be thrashed, every one of you, for risking your lives Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
in that tub.' He knew our story down to the time we
left Otaheite, and had brought off the rest of the men.
He said he had crossed the Atlantic many times without
encountering so much bad weather as in the forty-seven
days between Otaheite and Valparaiso."
The little cutter which had performed so wonderful
a voyage was the object of much interest at the mole,
where many curious people came to view her. She was
eventually sold and her crew separated. No more was
seen of Captain Clarke for many years, when Lemont,
then a captain himself, put into Valparaiso, and on
walking up the mole met and recognized him by a
peculiar way he had of wiping his nose by an upward
move of his forefinger.
It might well be supposed that Lemont had now exhausted adventure for one year, yet it was not so. A
vessel having come in which needed recalking, having
been damaged off Cape Horn, the ship chandler employed him to make some purchase-block straps, which
could not be had in Valparaiso, to strap the vessel, offering $10 per day and board for his services. On the third
day, while sitting at dinner with the chandler, the captain of the vessel, whose name was Paddock, entered
and was invited to partake of the meal, but declined,
and went to the desk of the American Consul, where he
exchanged a few words, then advanced to the desk of his
deputy and stabbed him to the heart. Quickly turning
to Captain Brown of the coasting vessel Fourth of July,
he stabbed him also fatally, and before he was finally
knocked down by a stone hurled at him by a native, had
killed three other persons and wounded seven, all of
which tragedy, was witnessed by Lemont.
Paddock being an American, the murders created a
strong feeling against the nation, making it dangerous
for United States citizens to be upon the streets at any
i lïiiiî 52
Frances Fuller Victor.
time, but especially at night. Paddock was undoubtedly
insane, but he was tried and convicted of murder. The
American Consul refusing to sign the decree, his execution did not take place immediately, although after a
month or so he was publicly shot on the mole. These
events did not tend to make a residence in the country
seem desirable.
Three months had passed without offering any opportunity of leaving it, except to go to China, which country the young sailors did not desire to visit at that time,
when there arrived in port the Baltimore-built clipper
Central America, Louis Chastro, master, a privateer,
bound for Cadiz in Spain, and carrying a cargo of indigo,
cochineal, silver and gold, the latter chiefly in gold plate
robbed from the lower coast of Chili. Captain Chastro
was prevailed upon to permit Lemont to work his passage to Cadiz, where the clipper arrived in quick time
without accident. Her crew, however, were not permitted to land, this being a cholera season, and vessels
being ordered into quarantine at Mahone. Meantime
the board of health examined the Central America's
crew every morning by counting them from a boat
alongside !
To avoid this fresh trial of his patience, our adventurer, before the vessel left for quarantine, deserted to
the American brig Andes, Captain Lorenson, loaded with
salt, and by keeping in hiding a couple of days was able
to escape and return to Boston, where he arrived with
scurvy in his feet in the spring of 1833, and, going to
Bath, experienced that blow to his self-love, and check to
the love of others, which all young souls receive on their
home-comings after long absences, when they find to
their discomfeiture that the world has moved on without
them and they have not been greatly missed. Flotsom and Jetsom of the Pacific
Captain Lambert, on his arrival in Boston, was placed
in charge of the brig May Dacre, with a second cargo of
goods for the Columbia River trade, making a successful
voyage to the Hawaiian Islands, wintering there in 1833-
1834, and entering the Columbia safely April 16, 1834,
where he met Wyeth, who had arrived overland in the
month of September preceding. The venture did not
prove profitable, and in 1836 Wyeth sold out to the Hudson's Bay Company. Before this time the May Dacre
had left the river. Captain Lambert commanded at different times the Talma from Boston, the Girard, Diadem,
Glasgow, Elizabeth and Huntress. His last voyage was
from the Sandwich Islands to New Bedford. He ended
his days in the Sailors' Snug Harbor on Staten Island.
Lemont, in September, 1833, obtained a berth as mate
of the ship Ceylon, from Boston to Liverpool, but was
taken ill and sent home. He was next mate of the Henry
Tolman, running between New York and Apalachicola,
and subsequently sailing master of the steamer Marmora, owned by Rufus K. Page of Hollowell, the first
steamer into Liverpool. Afterwards he went to the Mediterranean, and had many adventures in various ports,
besides finding a wife in London.
About 1849 he took an interest in a brig, the John
Davis, loaded with goods, lumber and house frames for
the Pacific Coast. While lying waiting at Parker's Flat,
fifteen miles below Bath, for the Captain, who was ill,
the crew went ashore and took a cannon from Cox Head
Fort, which act was unknown to Captain Lemont until
the vessel was p%st Cape de Verde Islands. It came to
Oregon and was finally landed on the strand at Saint
Helens, but was burst in firing on the Fourth of July
some years after arriving.
The John Davis brought seventy-five passengers from
San Francisco to.Portland in 1849, and returned to Cali- 54
Frances Fuller Victor.
fornia with a load of piles, where they were discharged
and the vessel sold. Captain Lemont then returned to
Oregon with his wife, landing at Saint Helens, and erecting a residence on the bluff just below the town—a
rarely beautiful location—and abjured sea-going forever,
content to dwell in the presence of those majestic beauties of river and mountain which twenty years before
had captured his boyish fancy. It was here I found
him, and here, in the July sun and breeze, I listened to
the narrative of his adventures, of which the discovery
of Sultana Reef is but a fragment.
ITOMlC^l 5<WEy or WWIK
.BwanriiON m mwME9 ©wm®K
The school history of Eugene possesses several features
of great interest to the student of education in Oregon. In
the first place it extends over a sufficient period, almost
half a century, to make its study significant. Secondly,
we find here the influence of two distinct ideas, the private school idea and the public school idea, working side
by side for many years ; and thirdly, there is traceable
the evolution of a dominant public school sentiment which
results in unifying the educational-effort of the town, and
placing it definitely in the highway of progress.
private schools.
In Eugene the private school idea had an exceedingly
firm hold, owing doubtless to the fact that so large a proportion of the early settlers came from states where public
education was not as yet much developed. In fact, too
many of these people who were of good families in the
southwestern states, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri,
it seemed a trifle degrading to send their children to a
public school, which as so often happened both north and
south, was looked upon as a "poor folks' " school.
It is not surprising, therefore, to find in Eugene, during the first twenty years of her history, a great number
and variety of private schools, ranging all the way from
a college to a kindergarten, or school for very young children, kept by a good woman in her own home. The
scope of this paper does not contemplate an extended ac-
!?■>• 56
Joseph Schafer,
count of the private schools, many of which were excellent institutions of their kind ; but a few of them demand
a brief notice.
In 1856 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Oregon established at Eugene the so-called Columbia College.
About the time that the first school was kept in the new
district on Eleventh Street, this institution
on College Hill also opened its doors for the reception of
students. Rev. E. P. Henderson, a graduate of the Cumberland Presbyterian College at Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, was its head. Under his direction the school was
carried successfully to the conclusion of its third year in
spite of the great misfortunes which it suffered.1 In 1859
Mr. Henderson resigned the principalship, and a Mr.
Ryan of Virginia was secured to take his place. But
the times were troubled, and in the bitter political struggle of the following year the life of Columbia College
was sacrificed.2
But its work was not lost ; its influence can be traced
far beyond the crucial time in which the institution perished. The school had enjoyed a very respectable patronage from all sections of Oregon, and to some extent
from California. It turned out a number of men who
have left their impress upon the state, and at least one
whose fame has become world-wide, the "Poet of the
Sierras," Joaquin Miller.
]The building was burned to the ground a few days after the school was
opened November, 1856 ; another structure erected to take its place was in turn
destroyed before the close of the third year.
2The board of control being divided on the slavery question, were unable to
work harmoniously together. The principal was a strong pro-slavery man. He
wrote several articles for the Pacific Herald in which he took occasion to score the
anti-slavery party rather vigorously. He signed the communications "Vindex."
Mr. H. R. Kincaid, then one of Ryan's students, replied to him in the People's
Press over the signature "Anti-Vindex." Ryan, not suspecting Kincaid, and assuming that B. J. Pengra, the editor of the People's Press was himself the author
of the replies, made an attack upon the latter with a revolver. After this tragic
episode, although he failed to slay his would be victim, this militant schoolmaster
fled from the state. The board, in their state of factional disintegration could
evolve no positive policy. Therefore, when the People's Press, in October, 1860,
propounded the question, "Is Columbia College Dead?" it was stating in this form
an accomplished fact.
"Il    1 Survey of Public Education in Eugene,
Standing as it does at the very beginning of Eugene's
educational development, Columbia College has exerted
a profound influence upon the later school history of the
town. The people here, many of whom had been its
students, never forgot in the struggles of latter years
that this place had once been an important center of
learning. To this fact I believe may be attributed much
of the ardor shown a decade and more later in the pur:
suit of the university object. On the other hand it seems
not unlikely that the influence of the college was to retard,
temporarily, the development of the public school. It
was difficult for people accustomed to patronize the more
pretentious institution to be satisfied with the humble
district school, while the town was not ready to supply at
once the kind of secondary school demanded. In other
words, the college had made it impossible, for the time,
to concentrate educational effort upon the public school,
which might have resulted in gradually extending its
scope so as to embrace a high school department.
Instead of such a normal development, which the policy
of very many towns in the United States was readily securing at that time, the people of Eugene fell back upon
the private school idea. Institutions of every grade,
kind and description, rose, flourished or languished, and
decayed. There were grammar schools, select schools,
academies, high schools, juvenile schools, writing schools,
singing schools, even sewing schools. Only one or two
had any sort of permanency. It is slanderous, of course,
to assert, as a minister of the gospel once did, that whenever a young woman of Eugene wanted a new bonnet,
she would advertise to keep a private school ; but the
libel is at least suggestive of the condition of things here
from 1860 to 1872. Some of these private schools were
worthy institutions, conducted by able teachers who
served the community faithfully in the days when with-
I Joseph Schafer.
out them a good education could not be had. Such was
the private high school kept by Bernard Cornelius, whose
advertisements appear in the State Republican for the
years 1862-1863. Mr. Cornelius wrote several articles
for the paper in the form of letters to Governor Gibbs.
In one of these, October 18, 1862, he considers the probable influence on education of the proposed Agricultural
College. He argues that it ought to fix certain requirements, taking students who have been prepared at other
schools, and not become a rival of these schools by bid-
dingfor the class of pupils who form their support. The
discussion suggests, what is undoubtedly the fact, that
the so-called academies, high schools, graded schools,
even colleges of that time, took in practically everybody
who offered. There was no such system of grading as we
now look upon as a matter of course. In fact, there is a
close correspondence between these schools and the ungraded New Hampshire academy of the preceding decade.
We obtain a glimpse into the private school of the
time from some of the advertisements. Mr. J. S. Gilbert offered to give instruction in "all English branches
usually taught in schools and academies." His charges
were: For primary, $4.50; common English, $5.00;
higher English, $7.00; bookkeeping, extra, $2.00. At
the same time, Mrs. Odell opened a select school in the
Cornelius building. Aside from English branches, she
offered work in plain and ornamental needle-work. The
charges ranged from $5.00 to $7.00. Instrumental
music was taught by her for $10. The prices are always
for a quarter, unless otherwise stated.3
In the fall of 1866 Rev. E. P. Henderson opened
what proved to be the most important school of the
decade.    He was assisted by Mrs. W. H. Odell, a lady
Journal, October 9,1864. MM
Survey of Public Education in Eugene.
who is spoken of by all her former pupils as a "fine
teacher."4 She ostensibly had charge of "the female
department," but in reality taught both girls a*nd boys
in certain subjects, while Mr. Henderson taught certain
other subjects to all taking them.
On November 10 the Journal reports seventy-five
pupils in attendance, and says that the prosperity of the
school "indicates a return of the palmy days when
Lane County boys and girls received an education without being shipped to Salem or Portland. Eugene City
at one time enjoyed an enviable reputation on account
of her educational facilities, and students came from
adjoining counties and from distant parts of the state to
attend our schools."
At the close of the first term there were one hundred
and thirteen names on the roll, and about one hundred in
regular attendance. Of this number it was stated about
forty were "young men and large boys, many of whom
have started in for a two or three years' siege." The
next term the attendance fell off "slightly." The following by Professor Henderson5 may not fully indicate
the reason for the decline, but it affords us the best view
we have yet had of the internal economy of the private
high school of a generation ago. He says: "I desire,
by your permission, to correct some false and malicious
reports which some unscrupulous persons have put in
circulation concerning our school.
' ' First—I assure the public our. school is intended to
be a permanent institution, both summer and winter.
" Second—It is open to all grades of students, large
and small, male and female.
f    i:
4 Letter of Callison : interview with R. M. Veatch.
6 Journal, January 5,1867.
Ml 60
Joseph Schafer.
" Third—Party politics are not taught in the school,
neither directly nor indirectly, and all reports to the contrary are utterly false.
" We have seats and desks for one hundred or more
pupils. We have a pair of excellent globes and some
twenty-four nice charts for the use of the school in
the different departments ; we have also several fine
maps which we shall soon place in the schoolrooms.
Now it is for the citizens of Eugene and the surrounding country to determine whether they will patronize
and build up a good permanent school, or whether they
will continue to run after something new. 11 speak as
unto wise men ; judge ye what I say.' ' He styles himself " Principal of the Eugene City Graded School."
No one, after reading the above, need be in the dark
as to what a " graded school " of that day was. It was
simply a mixed school, in which higher studies were
taught but which took in everybody. It was, for all its
specific excellencies, exactly the kind of school whose
presence most seriously cripples the public school, and
which, in many of the eastern states was a regular target for the shafts of educational reformers.6 They argued that the ungraded academy, without entrance requirements, not only thwarted the growth of the public
high school, but destroyed the efficiency of the elementary school by withdrawing from it the interest and support of an important class in the community, and also
by promoting the tendency to look askance upon it as a
"poor school", i. e., poor people's school. The problem was solved in New England by transforming many
of the academies into the high school departments of
the town systems.
«See Vermont School Report, 1860, pp. 120-124. Survey of Public Education in Eugene,
When we reflect that during the 60's and early 70's
there were always several of these private schools in
operation in Eugene, it is not surprising that the public
school advanced with such slow and painful steps. The
lack of unity in educational effort was deplored by the
thoughtful, but the true remedy was not applied. Instead
of bending every effort to the advancement of the public
school, the people were advised to promote unity by
supporting one private school as against all other schools.
The Journal says, March 9, 1867, "There are at this present time in operation in Eugene City no less than five
schools, employing six teachers. The average attendance to all of them is only about one hundred and
thirty-five scholars, a little over twenty to each teacher,
not too many for half the number of teachers if properly
arranged in classes in a well regulated school. It would
seem that one or two schools well sustained would accomplish more for pupils and teachers than half a dozen
doing only a starving business. The experience of the
past should suffice to convince us that the policy of
thus scattering our patronage must be fatal to the project of ever building up in our midst a permanent institution of learning." At this time the Journal was
earnestly favoring the Henderson school.
This institution closed its first year June 28,1867. In
the fall it resumed, now with Miss Kate Andrew as assistant. On October 31 they had "fifty-nine pupils,
ranging from scholars in the sciences to those just beginning with the elementary branches." All the later
notices go to confirm the suspicion that the school was not
as successful as in the preceding year. When the first term
closed in December it had "seventy-five or eighty pupils."
The second term is reported as "well attended," and
highly successful. But at the close of the year Professor Henderson arranged to take charge of Philomath 62
Joseph Schafeb
College, in Benton County, in preference to continuing
the high school. On his return to Eugene in 1868, he
again advertised his school and actually opened it, but
with so little encouragement that it was discontinued at
the close of the first term.
Thus ended the most pretentious, and in many ways
the most successful effort, since the fall'of Columbia College, to concentrate the educational effort of the town
largely at a point outside of the public school. But we
cannot leave this period without making one more quotation, taken from the Journal of January 9, 1869.
j \ The schools of Eugene are now in a very prosperous
condition. • Mr. and Mrs. Odell, at the schoolhouse formerly occupied by Professor Henderson, have a large attendance, and the parents and pupils are well pleased.
Miss Kate Andrew, at the district schoolhouse, has quite
a number of pupils under her charge, who appear to be
making good progress. Mrs. Ritchie, who lately came
to this place, has opened a school at her residence, on
Eleventh Street, and has about twenty scholars. She is
spoken of as being a good teacher. Mr. Chapman's
school, at the seminary on the butte, has closed for the
present. Whether he will resume or some one else take
his place, we are not informed. We understand that another school will be opened next Monday with an attendance of about twenty-five scholars. The total number
of scholars at all the public schools cannot be far from
two hundred."
At the opening of the year 1869, therefore, the old
condition of many schools competing with one another
for pupils, still exists. But the town by this time has
become so large that mere physical necessity must soon Survey of Public Education in Eugene.
lead to some expansion of the public school. Let us now
trace, as well as we can with our scanty materials, the
course of its history to this point.
In September, 1849, the territorial legislature passed
the first general school law providing for a system of
common schools.7 This act was elaborated by the acts of
January 31, 1853, and January 12, 1854.8 Under this
revised school law education began in Eugene. The
counties of the state were to be districted by the school
superintendents,9 and a tax of two mills levied by the commissioners of each county for the support of the schools.
Such tax was to be collected in the same manner as other
taxes, and to be distributed among the districts (together
with the proceeds of a prospective state fund) in proportion to the number of children between four and twenty-
one years.
In 1854 or 1855 (the exact date cannot be determined
because all of the early records, both of the school district and of the county superintendent are lost), Eugene
was organized as School District No. 4, Lane County.
The first school in the village was kept in a small frame
house erected .by Fielden McMurray upon his farm. The
teacher was Miss Sarah Ann Moore.10 But this was purely
private, the teacher being paid in tuition fees. From
testimony of persons who were here at that period it is
pretty certain that a school was held every year after that.
Since the county commissioners levied the two mill tax
^Session Laws, Oregon Territory, session of 1850, pp. 66-76.
8These acts are summarized by Rev. Geo. H. Atkinson in Early History of the
Public School System of Oregon, with a General Outline of its Legal Aspects; biennial report of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1876, pp. 7-8.
9Rev. Robert Robe, now of Brownsville; Linn County, was the first superintendent, and districted the county. He thinks No. 4 was laid out in 1854 or 1855.
(Letter from R. Robe.) Here signed on or before September 6,1855. (Court records,
1852-1860, p. 138.)
10 Interview with Milt. McMurray, a pupil of Miss Moore ; and Mrs. Hampton,
sister of Miss Sarah Ann Moore.
m 64
Joseph Schafer.
II w
.-■It 'I   I
.•..'';      *
■ v. -
in 1855, and since a school was held in that year, it
seems probable that the district was organized by that
In April, 1856, the county court passed an order transferring to the directors of the school district two lots (No.
2 and fractional No. 3), in block 21 of the townsite.11
The conditions were that they pay to the county treasurer $10, and erect a school building on the lots within
two years.12 The building was erected during that summer, and the deed executed September 9.13
The teacher who opened the school in the new building was Mr. J. H. Rogers. He was from Connecticut, and
was apparently a type of the proverbial "Yankee schoolmaster." As indicated above, the public school under
Mr. Rogers opened about the same time as Columbia College. These two institutions were the types of two distinct, and in a sense, antagonistic educational ideas ; their
relative pretentiousness marks roughly the relative levels
attained by the two ideas at that time. What changes
time and the evolutionary process would bring about in
this relation was a subject upon which no one at that
time thought to speculate. To us, however, it is exactly
these changes in the relative positions of the private and
public schools as educational agents, which constitute the
vital interest of the study. The former we have already
traced briefly to the year 1869. As to the public school,
Rogers was the teacher for a number of terms, possibly
till 1869. He was followed by J. L. Gilbert who likewise
remained several years.14
During this early time, and indeed till well into the
seventies, the support of the school rested almost wholly
n Court records, 1852-1860, pp. 157, 158.
i2 Court records, 1852-1860, p. 165.
is Deed book "A," 216.
"Letter of Rufus G. Callison, January 22,1901. Survey of Public Education in Eugene
upon the county and the district.15 The state school fund
appears to have contributed very little till 1874. We
have no means of knowing how much the district received from the county fund before 1860, but in that year
the sum was $440.39.16 With the salary usually about
$75 per month, and the school year six months, this
amount would nearly pay the teacher. Probably the
rate bill was insignificant at this time.
Some evidence is available as to the character of these
early schools. Rogers was a college man and is said to
have taught Latin in addition to the common branches.
Pupils came to him from the country about, making his
school something of a rival to Columbia College. Mr.
Gilbert is likewise remembered as a popular, capable
schoolmaster, although lacking the scholarly training of
his predecessor.17
From the year 1862 we are assisted in our researches
by files of the various city newspapers.18 The first teacher
whose name we meet with in their columns is Miss Elizabeth Boise. She closed a term of the district school January 28, 1862, and immediately opened a select school for
the summer at the same place.19 This illustrates a general
15 Report Superintendent Public Instruction, 1874, p. 5: "Our State School
Fund, commonly called, by a kind of pleasant fiction, the 'Irreducible School
Fund,' has, until quite recently, contributed very little to the support of the
public schools of this state."
^Superintendent's orders on treasurer for 1860, county clerk's vault.
"Letters of R. G. Callison ; interviews with J. H. McClung and others.
18 The earliest of these files is a volume of The State Republican, complete,
January 1,1862,-April 11,1863, owned by H. R. Kincaid. Next comes the Oregon
State Journal, March, 1864, to date, complete files owned by Mr. Kincaid, the editor. Third, The Eugene Guard, November, 1868, to date. There are two divisions
of these flies ; the earlier portion, from the initial number to the last number of
1875, is now in possession of the University of Oregon, being recently received as-
a gift from Mrs. George J. Buys, of Walla Walla, Washington. This portion is
complete in five volumes. The latter flies, January, 1876, to date, are in possession of the present publishers of the Guard, the Messrs. John and Ira Campbell.
All of the above have been at the disposition of the writer, the two first-mentioned by the courtesy of Mr. Kincaid, the last by courtesy of the Messrs. Campbell.
Mr. Rogers, the schoolmaster, was the editor, I am told, of a paper called
The Pacific Herald, published in Eugene in 1860, and perhaps for a year or two
prior. A few numbers of this paper are believed to be in existence, but they have
not yet been secured.
The "Anti-Vindex" articles, referred to in note above as having appeared in
The People's Pi'ess, are preserved in the form of clippings by Mr, Kincaid.
198tate Republican, June 28,1862.
U sese
Joseph Schafer.
custom. The public school was held about six months
in the year. Usually there was a term in the spring and
another in the fall. During the long intermissions the
teacher in. charge during the preceding term would be
allowed to continue in the building with a private school.
The first notice of a school tax occurs in 1864. At
the annual school meeting the directors were authorized
"to procure and fit up a suitable building for school purposes of sufficient size to accommodate the children of
the district, and were empowered to levy a tax to pay
the expenses incident thereto."20 The vote is suggestive
of a wave of public sentiment in Eugene, but it seems
not to have been carried into effect, for no action was
taken on building until 1869.21
For the year 1865 we have the clerk's report.22 It
shows that the district has one hundred and fifty-nine
voters, one hundred and ten females and one hundred
and twenty-four males over four and under twenty years
of age, and that the school has an average attendance
of eighty pupils.23
For the fiscal year 1866-1867, District No. 4 received
$329.94 in coin, and $238.84 in currency.24
In 1867, apparently for the first time, we find two
teachers employed. They are Mr. R. G. Callison and
Miss Kincaid during one term, and Mr. Callison and
Miss Emma Reese during the other.
At this time there seems to have been a decided interest in the public school. How far this was stimulated
by the rival efforts of Professor Henderson's school, and
how far by the rapid increase in population, it would be
20 Journal, April 9 and April 16.
aiLetter of R. G. Callison, January 22,1901.
^Journal, February 18,1865.
^Letter of Callison.
^Superintendent's book, boundaries of districts and accounts with district
clerks, apparently begun in 1866. These are the earliest records found in the
superintendent's office.   The clerks' reports are available only from the year 1874. Survey of Public Education in Eugene.      67
difficult to say. The latter was probably the more potent
cause.25 However that may be, the school meeting of
April, 1868, was a very exciting event. The attendance
was large and the contest over the choice of director an
exceedingly close and sharp one.26 It is clear that a party
was forming in the town which favored the development
of the public school as a policy. From this time on we
meet with suggestions that indicate strong dissatisfaction
with the existing state of things. In the spring term of
1868 "the school was too well attended for the accommodation of so many scholars, or the remuneration of the
teachers." " We believe," says the Journal, "that more
pupils were put into that school during the last quarter
than ever were in attendance there before." The school
was taught by Miss Kate Andrew and Miss Leana lies.
The attendance during the first week was reported as
ranging from one hundred to one hundred and twenty.27
Before the election of 1869 the Journal said editorially :. "Let all interested in having our schools conducted
as they should be come out and elect such men as will
carry out the wishes of those who feel an interest in the
education of our youth."28
The result of the meeting was highly significant.
Mr. E. L. Bristow was chosen director. A vote prevailed in favor of levying a five-mill tax ' ' for the purpose of repairing the present building and putting on
an addition."29 This time there was no delay. The
directors immediately advertised for bids, and had the
^Callison's letter. By the census of 1860 Eugene had a population of one thousand one hundred and eighty-three; in 1870 the number was one thousand eight
hundred and fifty-two.
^Journal, April 11, 1868.
2? Journal, May 9,1868.
^Journal, Maroh 27,1869.
29It is almost certain that both wings were built at this time. Callison says:
"Both wings of the house were built as late as 1868." This goes to show that the
vote of 1864 had been disregarded. It would be interesting to know why. Henderson tried to revive Columbia College in 1864. Was the expectation that this
institution or a similar one would take care of a part of the school children the
deterring cause? 68
Joseph Schafer.
two wings put onto the building.30 Here, then, was an
opportunity to see what would come of the effort to provide more nearly adequate facilities for the school children of the district. During the winter term following,
for the first time, the attendance "was so large as to
make it necessary to have three teachers."31 j
We have now traced the school history of Eugene to
a point where we are able to observe the drawing together
of forces rendering inevitable the rapid development of
the public school. The decade opening with 1870 and
closing with the year 1878 is to witness the great transformation. Fot convenience we will subdivide this
period as follows : (a) 1870-1872, a period of transition, during which the public school clearly became the
most important school in the town ; (b) 1872-1874, a
period marked by intense educational agitation, owing
to the struggle for the university ; ( c ) 1874-1879, in
which the Central schoolhouse was built, the school
graded, and private schools rendered unnecessary.
We have seen that Professor Henderson abandoned
his school enterprise in 1869. This did not end the
rivalry of private and public schools, but it marks the
beginning of the end. Only one other venture of the
kind deserves to be recorded, and the importance of this
turns largely upon its relations with the public school.
In the fall of 1870 John C. Arnold, a graduate of
Willamette University, and Robert Veatch, a graduate
of the State Agricultural College, opened a private
school in the Skinner Butte Academy. They met with
fair success, having an honor roll of twenty-nine names
30 Journal, second number of April,il869.
31 Journal, February 26,1870. Survey of Public Education in Eugene.
at the end of their first term, and forty-eight names at
the end of the second term. But on the financial side
they were not fully satisfied. Many of the pupils were
poor and tuition fees were not rigidly collected.32 Accordingly, when the directors of the Eugene school
offered Arnold $100 per month as principal of the public
school, he accepted j33 his associate accepting a similar
offer from the Cottage Grove school.
The significance of the translation of Arnold from
the academy to the public school is very great. In the
first place, the discontinuance of the academy shows
that the public school had already become formidable.
Secondly, Arnold was a man of marked ability as a
teacher, and was possessed with a strong ambition to develop a good secondary school. Thirdly, he accepted
the principalship on the condition that sufficient help be
furnished to enable him to carry forward the work begun
at the academy, with certain advanced classes.34
Thus, upon the common school of Eugene was superimposed a high school department which greatly altered
its character and won for it a respect accorded theretofore only to the best private academies. The good results
of the new policy were soon manifest. At the close of 'tfc$
second term in December, the roll of honor, including
only such as had been present the greater part of the
time, and who received less than five demerits, contained
thirty-eight names of pupils in the higher department.35
This is a goodly beginning for a high school. At the
close of the second term, March 22, 1872, there were
ssThe dirctors' announcement is significant. The title of "principal," bestowed on Arnold, is, so far as I can learn, the first official use of that title. The
school was graded under the primary, intermediate and higher departments.
Tuition was fixed at $3.00, 55.00 and $7.00 for these departments. Pupils outside
the district were to pay from 87.00 to 810. Mr. Callison remained as assistant, and
a third teacher was employed for the primary department.
winter view with R.M. Veatch ; letter of Callison.
^Journal, December 9,1871. 70
Joseph Schafer,
thirty-six who had attended regularly throughout.36 We
will probably not be far wrong in assuming from these
facts that fifty or sixty pupils were doing work which
was mainly of high school grade. At all events the
high school idea, stimulated by Arnold's connection with
the public school, was at this time having a vigorous
growth, and out of it, strangely enough, came the movement for the university.
The inception of this movement, connected as it is
closely with the public school of the town on one hand,
and with the general educational development of the state
on the other, deserves to be recounted with some detail.
The public school, as we saw, closed March 22, 1872.
The teachers, Messrs. Arnold and Martin, following the
time-honored custom, at once advertised a private school
for the spring term. In connection with this advertisement appears an article of great interest. The author,
who is not one of the teachers, but whose words are
clearly "inspired" in the political sense, makes the following points :37
(a) This "Eugene Select School" was founded September 26, 1870, at the Skinner Butte Academy, with
only seventeen pupils, and rapidly grew in numbers.
(b) For the want of a suitable building its progress
had not been uniform, and the school had been kept
.under "varying phases."
(c) "Still the same classes have been continued all
along," and a course in mathematics has been completed.
Thus the effort to found a graded school in Eugene has
been a success in spite of obstacles.
(d) He continues: "The people of Eugene must at
this time see- the importance of erecting a building suit-
36 Journal, March 22,1872.
a Journal, April 20,1872. Survey of Public Education in Eugene.
able to the carrying on of a graded school and extending
the facilities in such a manner that the people of Lane
County may know that they have a perpetual school at
their county seat, where they may arrange to send their
pupils to a model school at home among relatives and
friends at a much less expense than must follow their
going off to attend boarding school to places of much
less notoriety in everything else except the interests of
education than Eugene.
"A high school will evidently soon spring up near
this place, and the town first securing the building and
educational interests will thereby secure incalculable advantages over any rival. The people must either build
themselves a high school, or pay tribute to some sectarian
denomination ; for a school is demanded and must be, in
these parts, of such a nature that its pupils may take out
their degrees of graduation with all the honors that attend
such efforts in other places. Some interest already seems
to be manifested in that direction by the citizens of this
place, and history will warrant us in saying that, although
$40,000 may cause a railroad to veer from its course and
come puffing through the town, nothing will improve it
like a flourishing high school, with its doors thrown open
equally to all.
"The first question asked by immigrants almost invariably is, 'What are your facilities for schooling?' 'Well,
we haven't much now, but are going to make some after
awhile.' The interrogator understands that too well, so
drives along with his family in search of other localities
where he may be within reach of a good school."
During the week closing August 17, 1872, the State
Teachers'Association held its annual meeting at Eugene.
It was attended by a number of notable teachers and
friends of education. Among them were Doctor Atkinson and Reverend Mr. Eliot, of Portland, Professor Camp-
mmm 72
Joseph Schafer.
I till
bell, of the Christian College at Monmouth, Doctor
Warren, of Albany, Professors Arnold and Martin, T. G.
Hendricks, J. H. D. and E. P. Henderson, of Eugene.38
Another visitor at the brick church during this meeting
was Mr. B. F. Dorris, one of the directors of the district
school, who was especially interested in the establishment
of a high school. It seems that a few men, among whom
was Mr. Dorris, were attracted by the Baker City plan of
securing a high school. That town had gone before the
legislature at the preceding session and gained the right
to borrow $10,000 of the school fund with which to erect
-their building.
The directors and teachers of the Eugene school had
discussed the plan somewhat, and a meeting to further it
was called immediately after the close of the Teachers'
Association. At this meeting others were present, notably J. M. Thompson. In the course of the evening, Mr.
Dorris remarked that he had heard Professor Campbell
say the question of locating the State University would be
settled at the approaching session of the legislature. This
statement immediately brought Judge Thompson to his
feet with the suggestion that Eugene enter the fight for
the university instead of trying to borrow money to erect
a high school.39
From this point the interests of the leaders were
absorbed in the university project. The story of that
effort—the organization of the Union University Association, the successful work before the legislature, the
struggle to raise the promised bonus, the triumphant
opening of the institution in the fall of 1876—will be the
subject of another chapter in the educational history of
Oregon. Here we only wish to point out that the university movement grew out of a high-school agitation,
38Journal and Guard.
^Interview with B. F. Dorris. Survey of Public Education in Eugene.
and that this was the result of a deep-seated desire on
the part of representative citizens to have a school of
higher grade within their midst, both on account of its
benefit to the town, and because they naturally preferred
to educate their sons and daughters at home. It is
noteworthy that several of the leaders in the university
movement had, twelve years before, been students of
Columbia College.40 The people had not forgotten the
advantage and the distinction of having a college in the
town, and were therefore the more ready to gird themselves for the effort.
But in all this we must not forget that John C. Arnold
had prepared the way by actually establishing a graded
school and maintaining it, under great difficulties, for
two years. His effort had been skillfully connected with
the public school, and served to carry it forward in its
development and in the favor of the people. The
' ' higher ' ' department of the public school was simply
Arnold's Graded School, kept under more favorable circumstances. Let us now see what was actually taught
in this first public high school of Eugene.
On the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth and twenty-
ninth of November, at the close of the fall term, a public
examination of classes was held at the court house. In
the programme, printed in the Journal of November 23,
the following are enumerated as subjects in which classes
are to be examined :
1. Rudiments of Arithmetic and Bookkeeping.
2. Geography.
3. Grammar.
4. Practical Arithmetic.
5. Sounds of Letters and Spelling.
«Both Judge Thompson and Judge Walton, among the promoters of the
university, were educated at Columbia College.
v. 1. ;..:
ÏE» 74
Joseph Schafer.
Higher Algebra and Olmstead's Philosophy.
Practical Arithmetic, Fractions.
Elementary Grammar.
Practical Arithmetic, Interest.
Practical Grammar.
Mental Arithmetic.
Beginners in Practical Arithmetic.
Advanced Grammar.
Trigonometry and Calculus.
The emphasis placed on mathematics in the above
course illustrates the special interest of Arnold, who was
extremely fond of that subject and who taught it very
An important influence in developing the public
school after 1872 was the new school law, requiring a tax
of three mills for school purposes instead of two as theretofore. About this time, too, the state school fund began
to afford appreciable aid.42 In 1869 the district received
$500.62; in 1870, $451.41; in 1871, $447.44; in 1872
the amount rose suddenly to $711.So.43
On the fourth of February, 1874, Mr. Callison, as
clerk, made the report which constitutes the earliest official document we have in the original. At that time the
school was under the charge of Mr. F. H. Grubbs, a
graduate of Willamette University. He received $100
per month, one of his lady assistants $50, and the other
«Interviews with R. M. Veatch, Mrs. C. S. Williams, Professor Condon, and
others. Arnold severed his connection with the public school in 1873, and for a year
conducted a private school iu a building erected by him for that purpose. But
the time for important private schools was past, and his success was not great.
In 1874 he took charge of the Pendleton Academy, remaining there for a number
of years. During Cleveland's last administration he was Surveyor-General of
Oregon, and died in that office.
^Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction 1874 and 1876.
Superintendent's account book. Survey of Public Education in Eugene.      75
$30. The number of different pupils enrolled during the
year was two hundred and ten, and the average attendance one hundred and nine.    There were three hundred
and ninety-four persons of school age in the district.44
The support of the school was as follows :
t 11     ,. *
From the state apportionment 8*271 80
From the county apportionment     480 79
From rate bills and subscriptions -     325 00
From unspecified sources       30 00
The schoolhouse was valued at $2,000, and there was
no library, maps, charts or apparatus. Two private
schools were noted, one of academic grade, with two
teachers (Arnold's school ), and one of primary grade.45
The schoolhouse "needs repairing, not sufficient
room to accommodate more than one-third of the
pupils of district."
"The most urgent needs are good houses, competent
teachers and qualified officers."
At the annua!school meeting in April, 1874, a "proposition to levy a tax to support a free school for at least
six months in the year and,'to repair the schoolhouse,
was defeated, ninety-eight voting against and only thirty-
six for it." This is the first mention of a free school
that we meet with. The time for it had not arrived.
As to the other feature of the proposed measure it is
probable that many opposed it because they were in
favor of a wholly new schoolhouse.
From this time forward the question of a new building was the issue in the educational politics of the town.
That it was becoming a serious question is indicated in
^Clerk's reports 1874. Kindly placed at the writer's disposal by county superintendent W. M. Miller.
^his was the school of Miss Ella C. Sabin. She had arrived in Eugene about
November, 1873, with her father's family. Her school, held during the winter and
spring, was very popular. The family returned to Wisconsin, Dut Miss Sabin
went from Eugene to Portland, where she worked for many years, a portion of
the time as city superintendent. In 1891 she returned to Wisconsin where she
has won national fame as president of the Milwaukee-Downer College.
M KZ39S?)
Joseph Schafer.
the clerk's report referred to.46 Yet it could not be settled
at once. Doubtless the severe strain of the university
undertaking tended to postpone action upon it. At any
rate it did not come up at the meeting of April, 1875,
although a very definite plan of procedure had been
published by Mr. Dorris in January.47 This plan involved, (a) taxing the distring to complete one story of
a building to cost about $8,000; (b) employing seven
teachers nine months in the year to instruct all the
pupils in the district ; ( c ) grading thoroughly. Mr. Callison,. in the clerk's report for 1875, says : " We need a
good, substantial house, capable of accommodating five
hundred pupils, and a well graded school, at least nine
months in the year." This statement may be regarded
as the platform of the school party during the next three
years, or until their policy was adopted.
At the annual meeting of April, 1876, the proposition was overwhelmingly defeated, the vote standing one hundred and one against to eleven in favor.48
Nothing daunted, its friends prepared for a vigorous
canvass before the next meeting. The Guard said
editorially (March 31, 1877), "That we need a new
schoolhouse, we do not suppose anyone will dispute.
The crowded state of the school for the past two years,
and the discomfort to which the teachers and scholars
have been subjected, are the very best evidence of the
fact." The resolution presented at the meeting was, as
indicated above, to levy a tax to raise $4,000 to build the
frame and finish the first story of an $8,000 building.
«The old building consisted of a main room, 45x30 feet, erected in 1856; and two
wings, each 30x16 feet, added on in 1869. Each of the three parts now forms a
dwelling house.
47 Journal, January 9,1875. He shows that it will pay in dollars and cents to
adopt the policy of educating all of the children of the town in the public schools.
^Journal, April 8,1876. This vote cannot accurately represent the sentiment
of the town. Possibly the school party were caught napping. The legal voting
strength, by the school clerk's report for 1876, is two hundred and ninety-five.
The one hundred and twelve votes cast, therefore, constitute less than one-half the
total vote of the district.
-J Survey of Public Education in Eugene,
It carried, but by a small margin.49 The opposition succeeded in getting a special meeting called to reconsider
the vote. This time the victory of the school party was
Work began at once. The building was erected, and
in January, 1878, school opened in the Central School
House, of which the citizens of Eugene were justly very
Our survey is practically completed. With the erection of the new building and the adoption of the policy
of educating all the children of the town in it,51 old
things had passed. There was no longer any need for
private schools in Eugene, and they abandoned the field.
At last educational interests and educational effort were
^Interview with Judge J. J. Walton.
^Guard, June 2, 9, 16, 23,1877. It is interesting to note that the presence of the
university in Eugène is used as an argument in favor of the building project.
"We cannot go before the legislature with very good grace and ask for state aid
for the university when we do not show enterprise enough to have a decent, respectable district schoolhouse."
51 While the school was not yet wholly free, it was nearly so. In 1878 the
directors asked the patrons to pay a rate of fifty cents per quarter for each pupil.
The school was at once thoroughly graded, under the supervision of Prof. T. C.
Bell. The attendance leaped at once to almost the full capacity of the new
In finishing the investigation of the settlement of
French Prairie, omission should not be made of the community established by Doctor Keil, at Aurora, which is
situated near Pudding River, at a point intersected by
the line of the Southern Pacific Railway, which was built
after the town was started.
This was a somewhat remarkable movement, and
brought to Oregon about five hundred settlers. The
founder, Doctor Keil, was an unusual man. He was a
native of Prussia, and was taken up even in the old country with certain communistic or socialistic ideas, and
made the United States his field of operations. In a little
book published in 1871 by Carl G. Koch, an Evangelical
preacher, it is stated that he was born on March 6, 1811,
at Erfurt, Prussia* He was a tailor by trade, and was a
very well esteemed young man, | He enjoyed the companionship of the best class of society, and ever bore himself creditably. That he was possessed of unusual talents, says Mr. Koch, was shown by his later career.
He established a movement that gained considerable
headway among the Pennsylvania Germans and other
Gferman speaking citizens of the United States. In 1845
he brought together a considerable portion of the members of his society to test practically the working of his
social scheme, and started the colony, or community, at
Bethel, Missouri. Ten years later he decided to bring
this colony to Oregon, and thus our state, and especially
Marion County, became the beneficiary of an extensive
social propaganda. The Aurora Community.
In the little book—in German—of about four hundred
pages above alluded to, Doctor Keil was severely criticised by Carl Koch, who was originally a member of his
society. But it would seem upon investigation that the
most of the criticism was without foundation. For instance, it was stated by Mr. Koch that in about the year
1870, with a population of three hundred and twenty, the
property of the Aurora Colony in Marion County was
assessed at $80,000, and in Clackamas County at $40,000,
and that this was considered as the private property of
Doctor Keil. But that Doctor Keil considered himself
simply a trustee was shown by the action of his family
upon his death in 1877, when the entire property was
distributed equitably among the members of the community.
Besides this book of Carl Koch, the Aurora community has been the subject of investigation by other
writers, among whom was the popular author Charles
Nordhoff, who composed the history of the communal
associations of the United States, and visited Oregon in
order to see the Aurora Colony ; and also in the sociological work, " Principia," an intelligent account is given
of Doctor Keil's community.
Some of the surviving members of the Aurora community have been visited, and their recollections have
been secured. It is from the point of view of the settlement of our state that they have the most interest, though
as sociological data, the value of the statistics is apparent..
Michael Rapps, a member of the Aurora Colony, who
crossed the plains with Doctor Keil in 1855, was born in
Bavaria, Germany, in the year 1829, crossed the water
in 1839, and went thence to Saint Louis, and afterwards
to Iowa.    In 1844, a brother went to Shelbyville, Shelby 80
H. S. Lyman
County, Missouri, and in 1845 Michael followed. At
about this time, the followers of Dr. William Keil, a
native of Prussia, but who had been preaching at various
places in the United States, and had adherents in several
states, such as Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri,
were collecting to form a community at Bethel near Shelby ville, and Rapps became a member of this organization. As he remembers, there were some five hundred,
all told, finally collected at Bethel. Surrounded as they
were by a fine prairie country, which was ready at the
touch of the plow to produce abundant crops, and all
being industrious and working to a common point, the
community prospered greatly.
However, a movement to the farthest west began to
be thought of, and in 1853 a number as pioneers of a
larger party were sent forward by Doctor Keil to investigate the Pacific Coast. They came first into Washington by way of Olympia, and made their final location at
Willapa, in Pacific County on Shoalwater Bay. The
names of these as given by Mr. Rapps were Michael
Schaefer, Adam Schuele, John and Hans Stauffer, Christ
Giesy and Joseph Knight. These were well pleased
with the region and made homes at Willapa Harbor as
now called, and they were able to report favorably to
Doctor Keil at Bethel, so that he was encouraged to come
hither himself, with a considerable part of his Bethel
The general movement was consummated in 1855.
There were four parties. One was a small train of six
wagons that made the start about the first of April ;
another was a train of twenty wagons of the colonists,
joined by two or three others not of the colony, that
started some six weeks later ; and the other two were
small parties that came by water via Panama. Mr.
Rapps belonged to the second wagon train of twenty-two The Aurora Community.
or twenty-three wagons. The start he says was made
six weeks too late, and in order to get through in season
hard driving became necessary, even traveling at night
being required. This was exhaustive on both men and
It was a year of great disturbance among the Indians,
and upon arriving at Fort Laramie Doctor Keil, who
was conducting the party in person, was urged by the
United States Commandant to remain at that point over
the season, as he feared the trip would not be completed
in safety. This advice, anxiously given, was not, however, accepted by the doctor. He felt that by adopting
a conciliatory policy he could easily make his way
through the Indian country, and said that he would not
now turn back or halt, as he had started with the purpose of going through. The event proved the correctness of the doctor's opinion. Though in constant dread,
and with ceaseless vigilance being required, there was
no serious trouble. On Ham's Fork of the Green River
the first Indians were seen, the Platte Valley seeming to
have been deserted entirely. Doctor Keil very wisely
treated these first visitors courteously, and gave them a
good meal of victuals. This was a part of his policy of
getting through without trouble.
The next morning, however, it was reported by the
guard that five of the cattle were missing. Rapps was
at once detailed to institute a search, and with a small
party began scouring the plains. Finally going somewhat farther than he had intended, out of a hollow seen
in the clear mountain air with perfect distinctness, a
band of mounted Indians were seen to emerge driving
the lost animals. It was a great reliefto find that these
were not hostiles, but were the very ones that had been
treated so well the night before, and they were bringing
6 82.
H. S. Lyman
back the lost stock ; neither did they demand any pay.
So much for the success of Doctor Keil's method.
In the Snake River Valley there was encountered an
immense host of the Snake Indians, who, with their
ponies and parties, seemed to fill the valley and to number
thousands. Indeed, they strongly reminded the immigrants of a vast herd of buffaloes that they had seen in
the Platte Valley. Though, as Mr. Rapps expressed it,
it made them feel "rather drowsv" to look at such a
party of savages. There was no trouble. The doctor
again brought, out his store of Indian goods and distributed to the chiefs small presents of tobacco, sugar or
bright colored cloths, and the women of the train had
small articles of dress in readiness to give to the Indian
women, and the scene became at length one of friendly
On the John Day River (1855 being the year of the
Indian outbreak in Oregon) they were met by the ranchers or rangers of the upper country hastening to The
Dalles, and at Fifteen-Mile Creek they thought it necessary to keep watch all night, fearing that the Yakima
Indians, who had been defeating Haller, would cross the
Columbia and attack The Dalles ; but this alarm proved
unfounded, and Portland and Willapa were reached at
last without any realization of the threatened and justly
feared dangers. The train of six wagons led by Peter
Klein had also reached the same place without accident
or loss, and the various families composing it were finding homes.
An incident related by Dr. Giesy as to the trial of
Dr. Keil for inciting the Indians to disturbance—which
was in fact farcical—was not witnessed by Mr. Rapps,
as he was occupied otherwise at the time. The Aurora Community.
As to the number of men in this train hé thinks that
there were less than fifty in all, although probably somewhere near that number.
Willapa, however, did not prove desirable as à permanent place, and although a considerable number of
the families found homes there, Dr. Keil determined to
look elsewhere. It was too much isolated and communication by wagon roads with the rest of the world was
impossible. After spending a part of a year at Portland, becoming acquainted with the country and the
people, and in the meantime doing a good practice at
his profession, in 1856 he, with about fourteen or fifteen
of the young men, decided to make a beginning at some
point in the Willamette Valley. A suitable place was
found in the heavily wooded country east of French
Prairie, and here a settlement was made. The place
was given the attractive name of Aurora, in honor of
the third daughter of Dr. Keil. For the sum of $1,000
a tract of two quarter sections, upon which there was
already a little improvement, was contracted for and a
part of the purchase price was paid down. One of the
main advantages was a millsite upon which a small
sawmill had already been erected and there was also a
little gristmill with one set of burrs. One of the quarter sections was known as the George White place, and
the other that of George Smith. On the White place
there was a primitive log cabin which had been built in
1849, and here for some time the little colony lived as
one family, being about twenty-five in number.
The sawmill was a small affair built upon a little
creek that coursed through the place, but it was operated
and lumber was manufactured. The gristmill was also
run. The building is still standing and is now used as
a barn ; the present Hurst mill having been built across r
H. S. Lyman.
H f i
the little valley so as to adjoin the railroad track when
this was laid.    This mill was also built by the colony.
Besides the family of Dr. Keil, Mr. Rapps recalls the
following as members of the first settlement : Henry
Allen, George Rauch, David Fischer, Henry Barkholger,
Henry Schneider and his son Charles, Daniel Snyder,
Moses Miller, Jacob Engel, Herman Bonser, George
Lingg, Metzger.
Life during the first period of settlement here seems
to have passed pleasantly, but very industriously. The
sawmill and gristmill were operated and from the avails
of the business the notes given for the place were paid.
Mr. Rapps recalls quaintly some of the rules of work
that were enforced ; one of which was that every gang of
four who worked together should cut down a tree before
breakfast, unless there happened to be no meat on hand,
in which case they should kill a deer.
Mr. Rapps has lived in the community ever since the
first settlement, and now at the age of seventy-one is a
hale, hearty man, of ruddy face and abundant snow-
white hair. He measures five feet eleven inches in
height, and weighs two hundred and one pounds, with
a chest measurement of about forty-four inches. He
has a comfortable little home, where he resides with his
wife, Mary Schuele, to whom he was married in 1879.
JACOB miller.
Jacob Miller, who was a member of Doctor Keil's
colony at Bethel, Missouri, was born in Ohio in 1837.
His parents were from Pennsylvania, and on his mother's
side the ancestry was from Hesse Darmstadt. He
joined the Bethel colony at an early age in 1845, where
he remained until manhood,  but in 1863, having ob- The Aurora Community.
tained a United States permit—this being necessary, as
his name was on the military enrollment—he made a
trip to Oregon, driving an ox team.
Upon arriving in this state, he immediately became
connected with the colony of Aurora, and remained
until 1871, when he returned to Bethel, but came to
Aurora again in 1882, where he has since remained.
His recollections of Doctor Keil are very clear, and he
holds the doctor's remembrance in the highest esteem
and affection. He retains his teaching more exactly
perhaps than any other member of the community.
Mr. Miller states that Doctor Keil was from Prussia
and a man not highly educated, yet a good practicing
physician, and of remarkable personal power, having a
quality strongly bordering upon magnetism. His religion was entirely Christian, and was based upon the
Bible, which he accepted in full. He also taught the
relations of natural laws, and the natural results of
moral action ; deriving religious beliefs from life and
nature, as well as from revelation, and thus led out
finally to faith in God and the hope of immortality.
His preaching was delivered in German, though
upon a few occasions he made speeches in English. The
power and indeed the truthfulness of his preaching may
be inferred, says Mr. Miller, from the fact that the most
of his followers were well-to-do people when they first
became interested in his doctrine, and in order to join
his society were obliged to give to the community all
their goods—a test of sincerity required by few modern
His social philosophy was communistic, but based, as
he taught it, entirely upon the Bible and upon the practice of the disciples, of whom it is said, "They had all
things common, neither were there any among them that
lacked.'1    In order to accomplish such a result, there 86
H. S. Lyman.
were established by Doctor Keil in the colony at Bethel
all the necessary, arrangements for furnishing supplies,
such as sawmill, gristmill, shoe shop, tailor shop, wagon
shop, blacksmith shop, distillery, woolen mills, etc. From
the general store thus produced, each one was allowed to
take whatever he needed. All that was over and above
this amount and Was left remaining on the hands of the
colony, was sold, and the cash received was placed in the
common treasury and used for the purchase of any supplies that were not manufactured on the place. The
communistic principle did not, however, extend to family
arrangements ; each family had its own home and carried
on its own-work. An entirely different feeling, says Mr.
Miller, was fostered under such a system than that developed by the system of individual property—each having a sense that he owned all, and yet that he had no
power to withhold any needed article from another. Dr.
Keil's object in the communal feature, he thinks, was'
religious—in order that each, with all natural wants secured by the community, "might live nearer God." Doctor Keil he remembers personally as a very pointed and
cogent speaker, and not fearing or hesitating to chastise,
and yet he was compassionate. Mr. Miller recalls with
deep feeling the doctor's admonitions to himself.
In 1863, when Mr. Miller came to Aurora, the place
was still very much in the woods, though the hotel was
in course of erection. There were several farms a few
miles distant that were cultivated in order to produce
the wheat necessary for the colony ; one of these was
on French Prairie, one at Barlow's, one on the Tualatin
River, one on the Clackamas, and another on Pudding
River. Before 1871, when Mr. Miller left, a number of
houses had been built, and the old church was erected ;
Mr. Miller himself, who was a cabinet maker and turner
by trade, turned the massive columns of the portico. The Aurora Community.
Upon his return to Aurora in 1882, many new buildings
had been erected, including the large flour mills, purchased later by W. L. Hurst ; and the town was essentially as it stands today, being an evidence of very great
industrial activity on the part of the colony. Between
three and four hundred of the colonists from Bethel had
come to Aurora. However, Doctor Keil had died (1877)
and the communistic principle had been given up. As
Jacob Miller says, "such an enterprise can succeed in
but one of two ways : Either through a natural born
leader, who is deeply impressed that he is serving God,
or else by a military power. Doctor Keil was the former,
and the people obeyed him as if he were a father. This
was due both to the originality of his ideas, and to his
strongly vital temperament." In person the doctor was
very powerful, ' 'heavy-set man, ' ' as Mr. Rapps says. He
was above medium height, and weighed considerably over
two hundred pounds, being in form and figure like almost all leaders of men, such as D. L. Moody and others.
He had an upright bearing, a most open countenance, but
with positive features, and even a bold and searching eye
and direct gaze.
In all matters he was a leader. For instance, he was
a republican in politics, and all the colonists voted republican. He also projected the work of the people, though*
leaving the details to the execution of a regular foreman.
He himself preached regularly in the church, and was
very much respected by the entire neighborhood, as well
as revered in the colony. Indeed, Dr. Keil enjoyed a wide
reputation in the state, and was a familiar acquaintance
of our public men, being on good terms, among others,
with the first railroad magnate of the state, Ben Holla-
Mr. Miller  recalls as  an  incident told of the trip
. across the plains that two white men were overtaken by
I'M    "..    t
tel 88
H. S. Lyman.
the doctor's train somewhere out on the more rugged
part of the journey, so reduced that they were obliged to
move their little baggage left in a small hand cart.
These were taken in and brought upon their way, but
upon reaching the army headquarters at The Dalles,
they turned against their benefactor, making complaints
that he had incited the Indians against the Americans.
With characteristic boldness, the doctor, upon hearing
this, demanded to meet them and have a trial. They
were then unwilling to make their complaints, but he
insisted, which not only illustrates Dr. Keil's character,
but throws light also upon the way in which Indian
troubles might be fomented. A trial was held before the
military authority in which it was shown that their story
was altogether a fabrication, with a hope, probably of
a reward from the government, or else for services as
scouts in the Indian country
Upon the death of Dr. Keil, in 1877, no one in the
colony was willing to take his place, and the property was
divided. Although the doctor's heirs might legally have
laid claim to it all, no such claim was preferred and the
estate was divided to all of the community. At Bethel,
^Missouri, the same course had been followed, but the
division there was made on the plan of allowing to each
'member a payment for special services or gifts to the
colony, and the remainder was apportioned according to
the number of years' residence with it.
Mr. Miller is apparently still in his full strength at
the age of sixty-three. He is about six feet and one
inch in height and finely proportioned, weighing about
one hundred and ninety pounds. His face indicates much
thoughtfulness and spirituality, though his life has been
spent in manual labor. He has a home which is almost
a model of convenience and neatness, where he resides
with a sister. The Aurora Community.
Jacob Giesy, now living at Aurora, and keeping the
old hotel, is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born
at Pittsburg in 1827. In 1845, with his father's people,
who had been persuaded by Doctor Keil's people, he
went to the colony at Bethel, Missouri, and in 1855
came with the party by water by way of the Isthmus
to Oregon, and joined the settlement on the Willapa.
Among the members of this portion of the colony that
came by the Panama route, he remembers Henry Finck,
Jacob Findlay, Adolph Pflug and Peter Quintel.
Mr. Giesy thinks that about half the Bethel colony
came first or last to the Pacific Coast, making about
three hundred or four hundred that came, and about the
same that remained. As to Doctor Keil's character Mr.
Giesy says, "There were very few like him. He was
straightforward and honest and did not seek riches or
benefits for himself, but was always looking out for the
people of the community to see that they had all they
needed." As to the communal feature at Bethel or
Aurora, Mr. Giesy says that the wants of the people
were all easily and abundantly supplied, and he recalls
with special approbation the fact that there were never
lawsuits between the neighbors.
Mr. Giesy is still in good health, although somewhat
bent with age, but his face indicates his still strong
vitality and his sagacity. He is of medium height and
rather slender build. He was married in 1852 to Caroline Fere, and they have one child, a daughter, Sarah,
who was married in 1879 to Emmanuel Keil, a son of
Doctor Keil.
mm —
-■ ■-~"--«-"-   ■"""- ——-'"—-*-""- ■ „„— •»■■" - ■
H. S. Lyman,
Martin Giesy was a member of the Aurora Colony
and was with the wagon train that crossed the plains in
1855, under the supervision of Doctor Keil. He was born
at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1835. In 1845 he removed with his father's family to Bethel, Missouri, and
ten years later, as he entered his majority, came to
The account given in the foregoing by Michael Rapps,
as to the journey, he considers remarkably correct. He
recalls the dangers threatened by the Indians, and
Doctor Kiel's diplomatic management. As to the incident mentioned by Mr. Miller, of the men picked up on
the way, he states that he recalls it perfectly, and was
'himself at the trial of Doctor Keil at The Dalles, being
summoned as a witness. There were three men concerned, one of whom was an educated druggist. Only
two, however, made the charges against the doctor, and
the other very materially assisted by giving evidence
in his favor. The only basis for the charge was proved
to be trivial. On the road the Indians that visited the
train westward of the Rocky Mountains were continually making the remark, "King George men good;
Boston men no good." The young men about the train
soon took up the phrase ' ' King George tillicums close ;
Boston tillicums cultus," using it as a mere jest. It
was easily shown that Doctor Keil did not teach this
phrase to the Indians or endorse the sentiment, and
after the trial—which was a genuine affair—the sympathy of the people of The Dalles was so much excited
that it was with difficulty that the two men that were
befriended on the road were allowed to remain in town.
As to Doctor Keil's reasons for removing to the Pacific
Coast,  Doctor Giesy thinks it was entirely to find a The Aurora Community,
somewhat less extreme climate, and ague also was very
prevalent at Bethel, as the prairies were first broken up ;
although when the removal was made this disease had
largely disappeared. There were nearly a thousand
colonists at Bethel at the time of the removal, about
half of whom at length found their way to Oregon.
The following, in addition to the ones named above,
were members of the community that became settlers of
Oregon :
Jacob Schwader, single; John Schwader, single; Gott-
leib Schwader, single ;  Berringer, married, wife and
one child ; August Keil, married, wife ; Charles Keil,
Jr., married, wife and two children ; Charles Keil, Sr.,
single; Charles Beckee, Jr., wife and four children;
Charles Beckee, Sr., wife and five children; Henry
Beckee, wife and two children ; Fred Keil, wife and six
children; Henry Snyder, wife and four sons; Charles
Snyder, wife and two daughters, four sons ; Michael
Rapps, wife ; Israel Snyder, single ; Joseph Miller, wife
and five daughters, one son ; J. W. Ehlan, wife and five
children ; Adam Schuele, from Bethel Missouri, arrived
in September, 1856, coming via Panama. He also had
two brothers, David and George; David having a family
of three children ; Adam had three daughters ; Theresa.
(Sohms), five children; Catherine (Eberhard), six children ; Louisa (Miller), four children ; Joseph Knight
arrived in '52 ;   settled afterwards at Canby.
Christoff Wolff was a teacher of "Old World" training and ability in music and languages. Under his instructions the Aurora band attained great skill and wide
reputation ; being frequently invited to attend at public
gatherings, or accompany excursions, Ben. Holladay
often being their patron. Indeed music was highly cultivated at Aurora.    Henry Snyder, Jr., six children.
As to Doctor Keil's abilities as a physician, Doctor
ill Hfilfl
til MIV
j|3.jpr«H' j i
II; i.-1':'    i '
iffi til w »
■i juin H. S. Lyman.
Giesy says that, although self-educated, he was a successful practitioner, and outside of the colony, as well as
within, he had a considerable practice, and also at Portland, where he remained about a year after coming to
As to the permanency of a community such as Doctor
Keil established, Doctor Giesy expresses a negative opinion : "It will last about one generation if the leader is a
capable man Doctor Keil's movement began in 1842,
and lasted until about 1877. The men composing it were
honest, whole-souled people ; but with the next generation questions arise that the first cannot settle." Doctor
Giesy, is a practicing physician at Aurora, and owns a
drugstore and building which was put up in 1869 by the
colony. He paid for this, not taking any share of the
colony's goods.
As to his own course of life, Doctor Giesy first took
a claim of one hundred and sixty acres under the donation act then in force, at Willapa, but soon went to Portland and Aurora. In completing his settlement he was
again at Willapa, and desiring to follow a professional
life, procured medical books and studied alone, practicing in the meantime in a neighborly fashion for some of
the people of the place. In 1868 he attended medical
lectures at Salem under Doctor Wythe, since very famous
as a microscopist and bacteriologist. After receiving his
diploma, began practicing at Aurora, independently of
the community, so far as professional services were concerned. He has remained here since in active employment with a drugstore as an auxiliary.
Doctor Giesy is a man of medium size, rather slender
build, dark complexion and eyes, and beard and hair,
now somewhat touched with gray. He has suffered
somewhat in health from the rigors of a country practice and exposure day and night to the rainy weather— The Aurora Community
though still in full vigor
He was married in 1870 to
Miss Martha, a sister of Jacob Miller, and has three
boys and one girl.
christian giesy.
A brother of Jacob and Martin Giesy was Christian
Giesy, who was in the first party that crossed the plains
in 1853, and occupied a claim on Willapa Harbor,
taking, with his wife, a half section of land. He met
a premature death in 1857, being drowned in Shoal-
water Bay. He had a family of wife and three children,
of whom Dr. A. J. Giesy was one. Doctor Giesy was
educated with Dr. Martin Giesy, studying in
and drugstore for eleven years, after which he attended
the Salem University, and practiced at Aurora, but perfected his education at Jefferson College, Philadelphia.
Returning to Oregon, he was employed for some time ii?
the Insane Asylum at Salem, but has finally made Portland his field, where he has attained a great reputation
as one of the leading practitioners of the Pacific Coast.
He is married and has one child.
Doctor Keil had a family of five sons and four
daughters, as follows :
William, August, Elias, Fred, Emanuel; and Glori-
anda, Aurora, Louisa, and Emily. Of these but two are
living, August, who is at Bethel, in Missouri, and Emanuel, at Aurora. Emanuel was married in 1879 to the
daughter of Jacob Giesy. The wife of Doctor Keil was
Louisa Rieter, and they were married in Prussia.
Aurora, Oregon,    [
March 16, 1901
To Prof. F. G. Young, University of Oreqon :
Having examined the manuscript prepared by Mr. H. S. Lyman,
in regard to the Aurora Colony, founded by my father, Dr. William,
Keil, I find it correct, so far as my information extends.
JUNE,   1901
[Number 2
Oregon Historical Society.
THE PUIfWl©! /» JlMfflSTII3-
An address given by Hon. H. W. Scott, President of the Oregon Historical
Society, at the unveiling of the Champoeg monument, May 2,1901.*
We are here to-day to commemorate an event that took
place on this spot eight and fifty years ago. That event
was the birth of the first American commonwealth, the
organization of the first American government on the
Pacific Coast of the United States of America.
Oregon in those days was much more distant from
our Atlantic States in time, and far more difficult to be
reached, than America was from Europe when the settlement of the American continent began.    The migration
*The Board of Directors of the Oregon Historical Society, in pursuance of the
object of the society to identify and mark historical sites, had, through its committee, Hon. T. T. Geer, Governor of the state, and Assistant Secretary George H.
Himes, identified the spot where the vote for organization was taken on May 2,
1843. The Hon. F. X. Matthieu, the only surviving participant in the formation
of the Provisional Government, was their main, if not sole, reliance in accomplishing this. Governor Geer then recommended to the next Legislative Assembly of Oregon that it appropriate a modest sum for a monument to mark the spot.
The legislature acted in accordance with his recommendation. The monument
was unveiled on an anniversary of the event it commemorates in the presence of
a large and representative assemblage of citizens of Oregon.
y 96
H. W. Scott.
across the continent of America was, indeed, the most
extraordinary of migratory movements since the date of
authentic history. From the Atlantic seaboard to the
Mississippi River it was a movement by comparatively
short and easy stages ; from the Mississippi westward it
was a single leap. The slender column pushed its way
over plains and mountains, through hostile native tribes
and arid wilderness—the first parties requiring more
than a year for the journey ; the later ones, as the routes
become better known, not less than six months. Quite
as long, though with less danger, fatigue, and privation,
was the voyage by sea around the continent to these
western shores of America. Nearer to us than Jamestown and Plymouth is the heroic age.
But I am not to speak to-day of the discovery, exploration, migration, and settlement. It is the Provisional
Government, created upon this spot, May 2,1843, that is
our theme to-day. At the outset I shall quote a remark
made by an eminent citizen of honored memory. Judge
William Strong, who, in an address before the Pioneer
Society of Oregon in 1879, said: "Oregon owes by far
the most of its prosperity and rapid progress to the early
formation of the Provisional Government, the wise laws
which were enacted, and the inflexible justice with which
they were administered."
In pioneer days in Oregon, as elsewhere in America,
the beginning of settlement was followed almost immediately by organization of government. The instinct of
the race to which we belong to establish civil institutions
and to organize government under regular forms of law
was manifest here before there were so many as one hun *
dred persons of American nativity in the whole country
west of the Pocky Mountains. Joint occupation of the
country by British subjects, and by people from the United
States, each party hoping to hold the great Pacific North- The Provisional Government.
west for its own country, hastened action while the inhabitants were yet very few. Such, however, was the
vigor and activity of the Americans that, though they
were at first inferior in numbers, they soon gained the
ascendant, and, rapidly reinforced during the years that
followed, they had fully established civil government in
Oregon long before the question of national jurisdiction
was finally settled between the United States and Great
This first effort to establish a government here was
rooted largely in this international competition. From
the first the people of Oregon had been separated into
two great divisions—those owing allegiance to Great
Britain and those owing allegiance to the United States.
How this came about is the one long story of our early
history. There is no time to deal with it here. I merely
speak of it as the fundamental fact in the early history
of Oregon. So closely divided were the parties that it
was difficult at any time after 1840 to say which had the
numerical superiority. From the transfer of Astoria in
1813 down to the arrival of the American missionaries
and first permanent American settlers—down, indeed, to
the year 1840—the English influence was decidedly in the
ascendant. Preponderance of the Americans was slowly
The very first movement of the American settlers was
a petition to congress, in the year 1840. That petition
asked for the protection of the United States, and prayed
that "congress would establish, as soon as may be, a territorial government in the Oregon Territory." It contained an allusion to the conflict with British interests
here, as a reason why the United States should take
speedy action.
As American influence increased, our pioneers became
constantly more active and urgent for the formation of a
'■■•• >■> i
w ■
■Mi'] RM
H. W. Scott.
government. Most of the subjects of Great Britain naturally held aloof from a movement in which American
influence was likely to be paramount. We had three
classes of Americans in the Oregon country : First,
American trappers or mountain men, who were hostile
to the Hudson's Bay Company and strongly attached to
the United States ; second, the American missionaries,
who were ardently attached to the institutions of their
own country, which are bound up with