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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume XVIII Oregon Historical Society 1917

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of the
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XVIII
MARCH, 1917
NuMBWt 1
Copyright, 1917, by the Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to iti paces.
' •|JP^^ Pages
FRED WILBUR POWEtjjBHiWjfcckson Kelley—Preset p
|||^jf Oregon—
Chapter One, Ybtith and Manhood i*5^^-/^V^P^^^^^^^fe
Chapter Two, Years of Agitation '■fjpfjp'    -       -^SB^^IsiSaf
Chapter Three, The American Society—Plans and Prop-,,    v
aganda       :jplp?^^^^^^^fe^^^^^^^^^^fe^^T   ^~^-
Chapter Four ££ The American Society — Delay and
Failure    £ *^ff^^u^^mW^^^^^Lw^Lr' 42"53 !
LESLIE M. SCOTT—Soil Repair LessonsrbiWiHamette
Valle^g^-^^^^^^^^^^1-       -   -S58H| '54-68:
Entered at the post office atPortiand, Oregon, as second-class matter  THE
MARCH, 1917—DECEMBER, 1917
Edited by
Portland, Oregon
By T. C Elliott 231-243
By Leslie M. Scott 147-166
By F. G. Young 305-310
By John E. Rees  83- 92
By Fred Wilbur Powell 1-53; 93-139 ; 167-224 ; 271-295
NEWS AND COMMENTS 225-230; 297-305
OBITUARIES—David Watson Craig, John Miller Murphy,
William Abernethy.
By Geo. H. Himes , 140-146
Selected Writings of Harvey W. Scott 245-270
By T. C. Elliott  73- 82
By Leslie M. Scott  54- 68  lOtuietuf
Seventy-Third Anniversary of the Organization of the First
American Civil Government West of the Rocky Mountains
and the Sixteenth Celebration of the Same, at Old Champoeg, Thirty-Three Miles South of Portland, on the East
Bank of the Willamette River, Saturday, May Sixth, Nineteen Hundred Sixteen.
THE   PLACE   OF   MEETING   ON   MAY  2,   1843
Tourny Building,  205-207  Second  Street
Curator and Assistant Secretary H. Willson
Rev. Josiah  L.  Par
Robert  Newell
Was born at Fairfield, N. Y., in 1810, of Scotch ancestry. Losing his father when 14 yea9
old, he learned to be a cabinet maker. When of age he studied medicine, and became quit™
proficient in its practice. He crossed the plains to Oregon with Dr. Marcus Whitman as an
Assistant Missionary of the American Board. He returned to New York overland in 1837, was
married to Miss Mary Augusta Dix Feb. 19, 1838, and returned the summer following to Oregon.
He was one of the chief characters in urging the organization of the Provisional Government,
and at the famous meeting on May 2, 1843, was the first one of three secretaries then chosen<
After the organization was effected he served in the legislature of that government. He was a
useful citizen during his long life, and had a great deal to do with public affairs. He died In
Portland Nov. 14, 1889.
Was born in New Hampshire in 18.05. When a mere lad his parents removed to Salem,
Mass., where he learned the trade of a ship carpenter. Afterwards he went in that capacity
upon whaling vessels out of New Bedford. Upon these trips he studied medicine, according to
the method in vogue in the early days, and in due time came to be called "Dr. Willson." He
came to Oregon in that capacity with the reinforcement to the Methodist mission of Rev. Jason
Lee in 1837. In June, 1840, he was sent as a layman to assist Rev. John P. Richmond in
establishing a mission at Fort Nisqually on Puget Sound. He was married there to Miss Chloe
A. Clark, August 16th—the first wedding in the Puget Sound country among Americans. The
mission was given up in 1842, and then he and his wife returned to the Willamette Valley.
Thereafter as long as he lived Dr. Willson was prominent in public life. In 1843 he was
Treasurer of the Provisional Government. He held the position of loan commissioner in 1847
by appointment of Gov. George Abernethy. In the winter of 1848-49 he was a member of the
Oregon Exchange Company, which coined the first gold coins on the Pacific Coast, known as
the "Beaver Money." He was the founder of Salem, and left several tracts of land for city
parks. He established the first drug store in that city, a business that he was engaged in at
the time of his death on April 17, 1856.
Was born in Putnam, Ohio, March 30, 1807.   He learned the trade of a saddler in his vouth,
and went to St. Louis.   March 17, 1829, he left this place with the Smith-Jackson-Sublette party
of trappers for the Rocky mountains,   and followed  that  occupation most  of  the  time until
December, 1840, when he settled in the Willamette valley, near the village of Champoeg.    His
■f house was a little ways above the high water mark of the flood of December, 1861, and he
rendered great service to many of his neighbors during that trying period. In fact, as some of
them testified in after years, he broke himself up in helping his neighbors. He filled a number
of responsible positions in the "public service, and he had an excellent record as a man of
integrity. Beginning in 1862 he was in the Indian service for several years. He died at
Lewlston, Idaho Territory, Nov. 14, 1869.
In his youth he learned the blacksmith's
Was born in Onondaga county, N. Y., in 18
trade. Later on he became a local preacher in the Methodist church. When a call came for
a reinforcement to the Methodist mission in Oregon, established by Rev. Jason Lee in 1834,
Mr. Parrish offered his services, and with his wife and three children, with forty-seven others,
sailed from New York on the ship Lausanne in October, 1839, arriving at Fort Vancouver,
June 1, 1840. For many years he led an active life as blacksmith, circuit rider, missionary
among the Indians and Indian agent. In the latter position he exerted a great influence in
keeping the tribes under his supervision at peace with the whites. He died in Salem
May 31, 1905.
Public Meeting at Champooick, May 2, 1843
At a public meeting of the inhabitants of the Willamette settlements, held in accordance with the call of the committee chosen at a former meeting, for the purpose of taking
steps to organize themselves into a civil community, and provide themselves with the
protection secured by the enforcement of law and order, Dr. I. L. Babcock was chosen
chairman, and Messrs. Gray, Le Breton and Willson, secretaries. The committee made
their report, which was read, and a motion was made that it be accepted, which was lost.
Considerable confusion existing in consequence, it was moved by Mr. Le Breton, and
seconded by Mr. Gray, that the meeting divide, preparatory to being counted, those in
favor of the objects of this meeting taking the right, and those of a contrary mind taking
the left, which being carried by acclamation, and a great majority being found in favor
of organization, the greater part of the dissenters withdrew. -
It was then moved and carried that the report of the committee be taken up, and
disposed of article by article. A motion was made and carried that a supreme judge,
with probate powers, be chosen to officiate in this community. Moved and carried that
a clerk of the court, or recorder, be chosen. Moved and carried that a sheriff be chosen.
Moved and carried that three magistrates be chosen. Moved and carried that three
constables be chosen. Moved and carried that a committee of nine persons be chosen
for the purpose of drafting a code of laws for the government of this community, to be
presented to a public meeting to be hereafter called by them, on the fifth day of July
next, for their acceptance.
A motion was made and carried that a treasurer be chosen. Moved and carried that
a major and three captains be chosen. Moved and carried that we now proceed to choose
the persons to fill the various offices by ballot. A. E. Wilson was chosen to act as
supreme judge, with probate powers. G. W. Le Breton was chosen to act as clerk of
court, or recorder. J. L. Meek was chosen to fill the office of sheriff. W. H. Willson
was chosen treasurer. Moved and carried that the remainder of the officers be chosen
by hand ballot, and nomination from the floor.
Messrs. Hill, Shortess, Newell, Beers, Hubbard, Gray, O'Neil, Moore and Doughty
were chosen to act as the legislative committee.
Messrs. Burns, Judson and A. T. Smith were chosen to act as magistrates. Messrs.
Ebberts, Bridges and Lewis were chosen to act as constables. Mr. John Howard was
chosen major. Messrs. Wm. McCarty, C. McKay and S. Smith were chosen captains.
Moved and carried that the legislative committee make their report on the 5th day of
July, next at Champooick.
Moved and carried that the services of the legislative committee be paid for at $1.25
per day, and that the money be raised by subscription.
Moved and carried that the major and captains be instructed to enlist men to form
companies of mounted riflemen. Moved and carried that an additional magistrate and
constable be chosen. Mr. Campo was chosen as an additional magistrate. Mr. Matthieu
was chosen as an additional constable. Moved and carried that the legislative committee
shall not sit over six days. The meeting was then adjourned. The question having
arisen with regard to what time the newly-appointed officers shall commence their
duties, the meeting was again called to order, when it was moved and carried that the
old officers remain in office till the laws are made and accepted, or until the next public*
Attest: G. W. Le BRETON. Names of Persons Who Voted in Favor of the Organization ofl
the Provisional Government at Champoeg, May 2,1843
Name Place of Birth Born
Armstrong, Pleasant M New York   1815
Babcock, Dr. I. L New York	
Bailey, Dr. W. J Ireland   1805
Beers, Alanson Connecticut.. .■  1800
Bridges, J. C	
Burns, Hugh	
Campo, Charles	
Cannon, William Pennsylvania..   1755
Clark, Rev. Harvey Vermont   1807
Crawford, Medorem New York   1819
Cook, Amos Maine  1818
Davie, Allen J Alabama   1816
Doughty, William M North Carolina   1812
Ebberts, George W Kentucky   1810
Fletcher, Francis England   1815
Gay, George England   1810
Gale, Joseph District of Columbia   1800
Gray, William H New York   1810
Griffin, Rev. John S Vermont   1807
Hauxhurst, Webley New York   1809
Hill, David Connecticut  1809
Howard, John	
Holman, Joseph England   1815
Hines, Rev. Gustavus New York   1809
Hubbard, T. J Massachusetts   1806
Johnson, William England   1784
Judson, Rev. L. H Connecticut   1802
Le Breton, Geo. W Massachusetts   1810
Leslie, Rev. David New Hampshire   1797
Lewis, Reuben New York   1814
Lucier, Etienne Canada   1783
Matthieu, Francois X Canada   1818
Meek, Joseph L Virginia   1810
McCarty, William	
McKay, Charles At sea (Scotch)  1808
Moore, Robert Pennsylvania   1781
Morrison, John L Scotland   1793
Newell, Dr. Robert Ohio  1807
O'Neil, James A New York	
Parrish, Rev. J. L New York   1806
Pickernell, John Edmunds England	
Robb, James R Pennsylvania  1816
Russell, Osborne Maine      1814
Shortess, Robert Pennsylvania   1804
Smith, Alvin T Connecticut  1802
Smith, Sidney New York  1809
Smith, Solomon H New Hampshire  1809
Tibbetts, Calvin Massachusetts	
Weston, David Indiana  1820
Wilkins, Caleb Ohio  1810
Wilson, A. E Massachusetts	
Willson, Dr. W. H New Hampshire  1805
Church Preference    Oregon
Presbyterian  1840
Methodist  l^M
Catholic   1835
Methodist  18379
Unknown fl
Presbyterian   **^9
Unknown  I
Unknown   1812
Congregationalist   1840
No choice   1842
Methodist  18401
Baptist   1842J
No choice   1841 i|
Baptist...   18339
Episcopalian   1840
Episcopalian   1835
Episcopalian  1834m
Presbyterian   1836
Congregationalist   1839 |
Methodist   1834
Congregationalist   1842 1
Presbyterian m
Methodist  184(9
Methodist  1840 J
Unknown   183i
Episcopalian  183»
Methodist   1840J
Catholic   1840
Methodist   1837
Presbyterian   1842
Catholic  1812
Catholic   1842 J
Methodist   1829 I
Catholic  1839
Presbyterian  1841'a
Presbyterian  1840a
Presbyterian   1***9
Episcopalian   1840
Methodist   1834|
Methodist   1840
Episcopalian J|
Methodist  1849
Baptist  1849
Methodist  1849
Congregationalist  1849
Unknown  1839
Congregationalist  1832
Congregationalist  1839
Unknown   18421
Baptist         1839
Unknown   1849
Methodist  1837 State or Countries Represented
Alabama   1
Canada  2
Connecticut  4
District of Columbia   1
England  5
Indiana.   1
Ireland   1
Kentucky   1
Maine  2
Massachusetts  4
New Hampshire  3
New York 10
North Carolina   1
Ohio  2
Pennsylvania  4
Vermont  2
Virginia   1
Scotland   1
Unspecified  6
Total 52
Church preference:   Baptists, 4;   Catholics, 5;  Congregationalists, 6;  Episcopalians, 6;
Methodists, 13; Presbyterians, 8; unknown, 10; total, 52.
*French Settlers Who Voted Against the Organization of the
Provisional Government at Champoeg, May 2, 1843
Aubichon, Alexis.
Aubichon, Jen B.
Ausant, Louis.
Arquoit, Amable.
Bargeau, Cyfois.
Beleque, Pierre.
Biscornais, Pascal.
Boivers, Louis.
Bonenfant, Antoine.
Briscbois, Alexis.
Briscbois, Oliver.
Brunelle, Joseph.
Chalifoux, Andre.
Chamberlain, Adolph.
Cornoyer, Joseph.
Delard, Joseph.
Depot, Pierre.
Despart, Joseph.
Donpierre, David.
Dubois, Andre.
Ducharme, Jean B.
Felice, Antoine.
Forcier, Louis.
Gagnon, Luc.
Gauthier, Pierre.
Gervais, Joseph.
Gingras, Jean.
Gregoire, Etienne.
La Chapelle, Andre.
La Bonte, Louis.
Laderout, Xavier.
Laferty, Michel.
La Framboise, Michel.
Lalcoure, Jean B.
Lambert, Augustin.
La Prate, Alexis.
Longtain, Andre.
Lore, Moyse.
Matte, Joseph.
Maloin, Fabien.
Mongrain, David.
Papin, Pierre.
Pariseau, Pierre.
Remon, Augustin.
Roi, Thomas.
Rondeau, Charles.
Sanders, Andre.
Senecalle, Gideon.
Servant, Jaques.
Van Dalle, Louis B.
*A11 Catholics. After permanent organization, the majority of these men acted the part
of good citizens by supporting the Provisional Government, and all became naturalized as soon
as possible after the United States extended its jurisdiction over the "Oregon Country," March
3, 1849.  Samuel Leonidas Simpson was born in Missouri November 10, 1845, and was the
second son of Benjamin and Nancy Cooper Simpson. His father was born in Tennessee
on March 29, 1818, of Scotch ancestry. His mother was a granddaughter of Col. Cooper,
who was a companion of Daniel Boone in Kentucky. He crossed the plains to Oregon
with his parents in 1846. His mother taught him the alphabet when he was four years
old by tracing letters in the ashes on the hearthstone of the primitive cabin in Marion
county in which the family lived in the early days, and then taught him to read. The
first poems he ever read, as he once informed the writer of this note, was a much worn
volume of Robert Burns which was given to his mother at Oregon City by Dr. John
McLoughlin where the Simpson family spent the first winter. An occasional country
school three months in the year afforded the only opportunity he had for education until
he was fifteen years old. Then he was employed as a clerk in the sutler's store of his
father at Fort Yamhill, a military post near the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation. It was
here that he became acquainted with Lieut. Philip H. Sheridan (afterwards General), an
intimate friend of his father's, and here it was that he received a copy of Byron's poems
from Sheridan. When sixteen years old Mr. Simpson entered Willamette University,
Salem, and was graduated in the class of 1865. Soon afterwards he became editor of the
Oregon Statesman, in which his father had an interest at that time, and continued in
that relation until the close of 1866. Meanwhile he studied law and was admitted to the
bar in 1867, and began practicing; but clients were few, besides the profession of law
was not to his liking, hence he entered the journalistic field, that being more to his
taste, and followed that the remainder of his life, writing numerous poems. "Ad Willam-
ettam," or "The Beautiful Willamette," as it is generally known, was written while the
poet was a resident of Albany, and first appeared in a paper in that city on April 18,1868.
The particular occasion which inspired this poem was created by the poet's loss of
his place of employment. This caused him to become melancholy, and in this mood the
poem was written. The compiler secured this information from a very particular lifelong
friend of Mr. Simpson's, Prof. Frank H. Grubbs, who was one of his instructors in the
He was married to Miss Julia Humphrey, of Portland, in 1868, who bore him two
sons. He died in Portland June 14, 1900, and was buried in Lone FTr Cemetery.—George
H. Himes, Assistant Secretary, Oregon Historical Society.
Documentary material, pieces  11,537
Diaries, account books, etc  318
Maps, charts, etc  291
Newspapers,  bound  volumes  288
Newspapers unbound  (all in order for binding)  177,935
Books, principally for reference  13,638
Pamphlets, including magazines and publications received in exchange 17,507
Letters of all kinds  25,350
Philippine war relics (and 22 hats and 2 mats)  100
Relics of pioneer days  1,276
Indian relics, chiefly of stone  1,457
Lantern slides of historical character  673
Old coins, etc  374
Biographical sketches of pioneers  16,029
Scrap books   52
Indian, pioneer and scenic pictures i  6,280
Badges, buttons, medals, etc  488 THE OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Organized December 17, 1898
LESLIE M. SCOTT | Vice-President
F. G. YOUNG Secretary
GEORGE H. HIMES, Curator and Assistant Secretary
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1916.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1917.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1918.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1919
The collection, preservation, exhibition and publication of material of a historical
character, especially that relating to the history of Oregon and of the United States!!
to explore all places of deposit of archaeological matter, to acquire documents, mandl
scripts and publications of every description; to obtain narratives and records of th«
pioneers of the Oregon Territory; to ascertain and preserve the Indian names of moun»
tains, streams and localities in Oregon, and their interpretations and significations; t€j§
gather and preserve the Indian traditions relative to the history of the Pacific Northwes®
prior to white settlement; to maintain a gallery of historical portraiture and an ethnolot
gical and historical museum; to publish and otherwise diffuse information relative to
the history of Oregon and of the original Oregon Territory; and in general to encouraglft
and develop within this State the study of history.
All material and property collected and owned by this corporation shall be held by
it in perpetual trust for the people of the State of Oregon.'—Art. II, Articles of Inco9
Any one knowing of the whereabouts of any book, document, pamphlet, letter, dairH
paper, weapon or utensil of any kind that has had any relation to the early settlement
of Oregon, or of any part of the Union as represented by pioneers or other citizens of
Oregon, or of the original Oregon Territory, will confer a favor upon the Assistant SeerJ|
tary by notifying him.   After such notification, he will at once use all means possible
to secure the article named, together with its attending history.
Rooms in Tourny Building, 205-207 Second Street, Portland, Oregon.   THE QUARTERLY
of the
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XVIII MARCH, 1917 Number 1
Copyright, 1917, by the Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its paces.
Youth and Early Manhood
Any statement as to Kelley's early life must be pieced
together from fragments now at hand over forty years after
his death as a worn-out old man. That he was born at North-
wood, New Hampshire, February 24, 1790, is set forth by the
town records. He was a descendant of John Kelley, one of
the settlers of Newbury, Massachusetts. His grandfather was
Samuel Kelley of Salem, and his father was Benjamin Kelley,
a native of Salem and a physician who practiced in the New
Hampshire towns of Northwood, Loudon, and Gilmanton. His
mother was Mary ("Polly") Gile of Nottingham.
Kelley was a boy of ten when his family went to Gilmanton
after four years' residence in Loudon. He attended Gilmanton
academy, and at the age of sixteen taught school at Hallowell,
Maine.1 In 1813 he graduated from Middlebury college, Vermont, with the degree of A.B.2 From his own words it is
possible to picture the sort of boy he was.
"Blessed with intelligent and pious parents, who led me in
early youth to fear God, I came into active life serious minded;
and much inclined to consider my ways, and to seek to know
what could make me useful and happy. Before the years of
manhood, I resolved on a fearless obedience to the divine commands    .    .    .3   Pious, maternal instructions, in early youth
i Lancaster, Hist, of Gilmanton, 229, 250, 274; Cogswell, Hist, of Nottingham,
DeerHeld and Northwood, 584; Temple, Hist, of the Town of Palmer, 265.
2 The nature of his college environment is indicated by the fact that thirteen
out of twenty-nine members of his class entered the ministry.
3 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon, 6. 2 Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
much inclined me to lead an active and useful life . . .*
It was a mother who taught me never to take the name of
God in vain—never to be guilty of the sin of insulting the
Almighty with the breath he gives. She impressed my mind
with a profound and pious reverence for Jehovah, and with a
high and solemn veneration for the institutions of Christianity;
and so impressed it with the love of truth, that not a single
doubt, as to the divine authenticity of the Scriptures, ever
profaned the sanctuary of my heart. Her instructions and
examples inclined me to be diligent and persevering in business, and faithful and patient in the discharge of duties; to be
hospitable and merciful,—when enemies hunger and thirst, to
feed them, and give them drink; and to bless them that
persecute   ...
"Early in youth I acquired a fondness for reading. The
post came along once a week and left at my father's house the
newspaper. Besides accounts of events, accidents and remarkable occurrences, it contained bulletins concerning the terrible
wars then raging in Europe, and thrilling accounts of Bonaparte's invading and devastating armies. They were new to
me, and I read wth an intense desire to know about them.
. . . I read them, and was led to read books and papers of
every kind as they came to hand. They were calculated to
inspire ambition and to interest my feelings. ... I did
not then, so early in youth, understand the distinctions proper
to be made as to the conductors in those wars. But afterwards,
in riper years, reading, hearing and observations enabled me
better to comprehend the meaning of what was read, and better
to discriminate between lovers of their country and philan-.
thropists, and traitors and misanthropes. Hence, was my
fondness for reading and itching ears for news. At
once I left my juvenile plays and sports, and turned
to books and papers. I read at times through the day,
and more than once through the night. When taking up a
book, treating on some subject I would wish to comprehend,
4 Kelley, Hists of the Colonisation of Oregon, 5. Hall Jackson Kelley
it was not laid down until I understood all its pages could
inform me. 'Neil's History of the Indians of New England/
the first ever published, and other histories of that benighted
and oppressed people were read. While preparing for college
I have more than once studied my Virgil lessons by moonlight;
in this way, often times I overstrained the optic nerves, the
stress so often brought upon them caused near-sightedness
and to be slow of apprehension.    .   .    .
"At the age of fourteen I first experienced a difficulty in
utterance. For one or two years I suffered an impediment in
my speech; in the presence of superiors was unable readily to
begin utterance. About the time of entering college I discovered myself to be'slow of speech'(of apprehension). . . ."5
Earnest, introspective, and diffident, he was also religious to
the degree of fanaticism. "In my youth the Lord Jesus revealed to me in visions the lonely, laborious and eventful life
I was to live; and gave at the time of the visions, andhafter-
wards, unmistakable signs that the revelations were by Him."6
In practical matters, however, he showed early in life a disposition to get at the truth through actual experiment. Thus
he said:
"A year or two prior to my entering college, much was said
in the papers in regard to a perpetual motion. I went into a
workship determined on knowing the reality of such a motion,
spent several days in an attempt to find out the truth about it.
After several days of study and mechanical labor, I was enabled to demonstrate its impossibility.    .    .    ."7
Of his college life little is known except that he enjoyed the
respect of his fellow students as a young man who could be
relied upon to meet the problems which presented themselves.
"When 'in college,' my class was put to the study of astronomy. For the purpose of illustrating, I constructed an
Orrery—a machine showing the pathways of the moon round
5 Settlement of Oregon, 6, 13-4.
6 Ibid., 124.
7 Ibid., 10 4 Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
the earth, and the earth round the sun. Lead pencils fixed to
the axes of those bodies, and the machine put in motion, their
orbits were exactly delineated on paper. It was similar to a
figure on one of the plates of Ferguson's Astronomy. My
class-mates thought me to have some inventive power and
mechanical ingenuity. In my Junior year, a Senior, whose
class had been required to calculate and project a certain
eclipse of the sun, which would happen far in the future, came
to me, saying, if he could be furnished within twenty-four
hours, with an accurate projection of that eclipse, he would
give me $5.00. I promptly complied with his request, and the
money was promptly paid, and was very acceptable, being, as
I was at the time, in needy circumstances."8
Kelley sought his opportunity in Boston, where he again
became a school teacher.9 On May 4, 1815, he married Mary
Baldwin, a daughter of Rev. T. Baldwin, D.D.10 On the
records of the school committee of Boston Kelley's name first
appears as master of the West reading school, a position to
which he was appointed on September 29, 1818, after several
weeks' service as a substitute during the last illness of his
predecessor. On June 17, 1820, Kelley was appointed master
of the Hawkins Street grammar school, and on March 20, 1821
he became reading and grammar master of the Mayhew school.
Here, it appears, he became involved in "difficulties" with the
usher, whose dismissal was recommended by the sub-committee of the Mayhew school. Further inquiry was made into
the matter by a special committee headed by the mayor, Josiah
Quincy, with the result that on July 18, 1823, the secretary
was directed to inform Kelley that the school committee would
dispense with his services, but that his salary would be continued through the quarter.
As to the results of his educational activities, he claimed, "I
improved the system of common school education in my adopted
8 Ibid., 9-10.
9 Ibid., 51-2.
loMiddlebury College, General Catalogue, iSoo-igoo, 46; Temple, 265. Hall Jackson Kelley
State. The Black Board and the Monitorial Desk were first
introduced into the schools of Boston by me. The late distinguished Joseph Lancaster was the first to use them."11 Now
that the blackboard has fallen into disfavor and the Lan-
casterian monitorial system has been long since abandoned
by educators, no one is likely to dispute the claim. He also
interested himself in the subject of industrial education. "1
attempted the founding of an institution, to be called, 'Massachusetts Mechanical and Agricultural College/ The subject
was two years before the legislature. The Committee on Education said to me, that if I would raise a fund of $10,000, the
State would give $10,000 more. A munificent individual of
Charlestown proposed to subscribe $2,000; myself would give
a portion of my estate in the town."12 The project was abandoned; but Kelley expressed satisfaction that "his zealous efforts . . . excited in others of abler talents, correspondent
intentions and labors, which resulted, in some small benefit, to
our literary institutions."13 However active he may have been
in promoting this movement, he was not its originator; nor
does his name appear in any of the published documents relating to the matter.14
Kelley's interest in the welfare of youth also prompted him
to take an active part in the organization of the Boston Young
Men's Education Society, of which he was the first secretary,
and in the founding of the Penitent Females' Refuge, which
was organized in 1821 and incorporated in 1823.15   His strong
15 Settlement of Oregon, 74.
11 Settlement of Oregon, 8-9.
12 Ibid., 4.
13 Kelley, Geographical Sketch of Oregon, 5.
14 In 1825 the legislature received a memorial from the town of Stockbridge
praying for the endowment of "an institution best calculated to afford instruction
to laborious classes in practical arts and sciences." A brief report was made by a
committee of the house of representatives within the year, and a joint committee
was appointed to "prepare and digest a system" for such an institution.—Mass.
Resolves, 1825, c. 88. This committee presented two reports in 1826 and a third
in 1827 and also a bill "To establish the Mass. Seminary of Arts and Sciences."
This bill provided for an appropriation of $20,000, not $10,000 as stated by
Kelley, the grant being contingent upon the raising of $10,000 by subscriptions and
donations.—Governor's Messages in Mass. Resolves, VI, 381, 579; also H. Doc. 5
and S. Doc. 23 of 2 sess. 1826-7. While this matter was under discussion, the
legislature was also considering the needs of the elementary schools, the result
being a revised education law, passed in 1827. It was undoubtedly this act that
Kelley had in mind when referring to the results of the labors of "others of
abler talents." 6 Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
religious bent naturally led him to attempt to promote the
systematic study of the Bible. "The first Sunday School in
Boston and perhaps New England was organized by me with
the assistance of the late Rev. Daniel Chesman. In 1820, or
the year following, I prepared for the use of the Sunday
Schools in Boston, a small book called Sunday School Instructor."16
As a writer of elementary school books, Kelley met with
considerable favor, if we are to judge by the number and.
variety of editions. First came The Instructor's First Book.17
Diligent search has failed to bring to light a single copy of this
work, and its date of publication is unknown. It was doubtless
the same as the First Spelling Book, Or Child's Instructor, the
eighth edition of which was published in 1827. In 1825 appeared The American Instructor, Second Book, which according to the title page was "Designed for the common schools in
America; containing the elements of the English language;
lessons in orthography and reading, and the pronunciation of
Walker's Critical Pronouncing Dictionary; all made easy by
the arrangement and division of words, and an improved use
of figures and letters." A second edition was published in
1826. A fifth edition, published in 1827, bore the title Kelley's
Second Spelling Book. There was a further change of title
in 1832, when The Western Spelling Book was published in
The American Instructor contains selections for reading on
geography, agriculture, architecture, mechanics, astronomy, and
prosody, with special attention to Thomson's poetry. Its frontispiece shows Minerva, book in hand, directing two boys to the
"temple of fame" on a nearby height; a globe, a compass, and
16 Kelley, Explanatory Remarks, Ms. attached to a dopy of Kelley's Second
Spelling Book, presented to the Amherst college library about 1869.
"In 1818 provision was made for the instruction of children from four to
seven years of age. The primary schools established for this purpose seem to have
originated in a general desire of our citizens to relieve the Sunday-schools from
the great amount of secular instruction received there, which was fast crowding
out the religious training that should be the object of such institutions."—Dillaway,
Education, in Winsor, Memorial Hist, of Boston, IV, 245.
17 Settlement of Oregon, 9. Hall Jackson Kelley 7
several books giving to the scene a scholarly setting. "Delightful task to rear the tender thought;" so runs the legend.
This, of course, was Kelley's only by adoption. It was typical
of that generation of school masters who forced our grandmothers, while in their 'teens, to read and appreciate such
ponderous books as Watts' Improvement of the Mind; and—
it helps us to understand Kelley.18
According to the minutes of the meeting of the corporation
of Middlebury college held on August 16, 1820, Kelley was
"admitted to the degree of Master of Arts." This was not an
"honorary" degree, as we now understand the term, for according to the president of the college, "as it was quite customary at that period to confer that degree upon any graduate
of more than three years' standing who applied for it, it could
not be regarded as a distinguished honor." Within the year
Harvard also conferred the same degree ad eundem gradum.19
Kelley was twice married. His second wife was Mary Perry,
adopted daughter of T. D. Bradlee of Boston, to whom he
was married on April 17, 1822 at Boston. They had three
sons, Benjamin, John S., and Charles H. His first wife also
left a son, Thomas B.20
After his second marriage, and probably after his dismissal
from the Boston schools, Kelley took up his residence in
Charlestown. Many years later, he gave a description of his
property in Charlestown and Boston. There was an "estate
in Milk Row, Charlestown," and four other "estates." "One
comprised twelve acres of land; and is situate near Craigie's
Point, Charlestown. . . . The other three consisted of
houses and lands, situate in Boston, where at this time [1854]
are the Lowell, the Eastern and the Western railroad depots.
18 "Perhaps no spelling book while this was extant, and its author was about
in the land looking to its interest, had a wider circulation and was more popular:
and perhaps there was no book of the kind more perfect in orthography and
method 01 showing the true vowel sound and correct pronunciations. Walker's
orthography as far as it regards words ending with lick and our is now an objection
to its use—that of Webster now being generally adopted in the schools."—Kelley,
Explanatory Remarks, Ms.
19 Harvard University, Quinquennial Catalogue, 1915: 8x7.
20 Middlebury College, General Catalogue, 1800-1900: 46; Temple, 265. 8
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
. . . They had been purchased in anticipation of improvements which it was supposed would much enhance their
value."21 This is evidence that early in life Kelley possessed
a certain amount of business enterprise. His subsequent business ventures were of quite another sort.
We do not know when Kelley took up the work of a surveyor. We do know that he was interested in higher mathematics, and he tells us that as early as 1815 he had conceived
what he considered an improved system of geographical and
topographical surveying. After declaring that the system in
general use was unsatisfactory in both theory and practice, he
"The system which I propose scarcely admits of an error. It
points out an easy and correct mode of running the lines required in the survey. My method has many advantages over
that now in practice.
"The numerous errors of the compass are entirely avoided.
The interests of the land proprietor are better promoted, and
the wide door so much open for litigation, which often costs
him his freehold, is effectually closed. It is the only simple
method by which right lines, having a given course, can be
run with precision. It is attended with as much certainty as
the high operation of trigonometrical surveys."22 His nearest
approach to a definite description of his system appeared in
the Manual of the Oregon Expedition, or General Circular, in
which he set forth the manner in which divisions of lands
should be made in Oregon.
"All boundaries of towns, and lots of land, will be identified
with meridian lines, and parallels of latitude,—not by the
parallels as found on the surface of the earth, where they are
crooked, as the hills and depressions make them uneven; but
-by such, as they would be, provided the surface was smooth.
. . . It is, however, true, that the divisions of land, as they
lay south of each other, increase in quantity, in proportion to
21 Kelley, harrative of Events and Difficulties, 6.
22 Settlement of Oregon, it: Hall Jackson Kelley 9
the divergence of the meridian lines; nevertheless their boundaries will be distinctly marked, and their contents exactly
known. A country thus surveyed, gives the advantage of
ascertaining, without admeasurement, the relative position or
distance of any one place from another, consequently the latitude and longitude of the metropolis being determined, those of
any other place are known."23
Confident that the principle he advocated would be of great
public utility if generally adopted and practiced, he presented
his system to the national government in the form of a petition
to congress on April 10, 1830.24
It was as a surveyor that Kelley in 1828 became interested
in the affairs of the Three Rivers Manufacturing company,
which had been incorporated in 1826 to build and operate a
textile mill in the village of Three Rivers in the town of
Palmer, Massachusetts. This village, which was then but a
hamlet, lies at the point where the combined waters of the
Ware and Swift rivers join the Quaboag and form the Chic-
opee, which is one of the branches of the Connecticut. The
company had met with unexpected difficulties in digging a
canal, for its engineers were unable to make much progress
on account of the solid granite rock near the dam which they
had built. Kelley put his money as well as his efforts into the
project. He made surveys and prepared a comprehensive plan,
including the manufacturing plant, the water power, and the
village itself. One of his hobbies was straight streets and
rectangular blocks (a natural reaction in a Boston engineer),
23 Kelley, General Circular, 13.
24 "The [senate] committee [on naval affairs] to which the subject was referred,
for a good and obvious reason, gave the investigation of the subject to General
[Simon] Bernard, then at the head of the corps of civil engineers.
"This profound mathematician carefully examined the papers and the formula
I had prepared for their illustration, reported an opinion highly creditable to his
own talent, liberally estimating the talents of the memorialist. Notwithstanding the
system was recommended as being worthy of public adoption, yet nothing was
done to bring it into practice. President Jackson promised to adopt it, whenever
a book, giving directions for its practice and a proper apparatus, should be prepared. I had described minutely the apparatus and the manner of using it, and had
begun the table of deflections necessary for the book, and this was all my Oregon
enterprise afforded me time to do. The tables might require for their preparation
one or two years of assiduous attention of some learned mathematician."—Settlement of Oregon,  10-1; 21 cong. 1 sess. S. jour., 236, 275. 10
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
but the position of the rivers and the configuration of the land
fortunately limited his efforts in that direction. True to his
New England inheritance, he reserved land for a small common in the center of the village.
The company soon became bankrupt, however, and Kelley
lost heavily. At the sale of the company's property, he purchased some land, having become enthusiastic about the ultimate prosperity of the village; and early in 1829 he brought his
family from Charlestown and established his home there.25
Kelley was now in his fortieth year; yet in the record of
his life as here set forth, there is little that would seem to
bear out his early vision of a "lonely, laborious and eventful
life." It is a workaday record of a school master and a man
of small affairsA We have now to consider the man of dreams—
and his all-possessing dream of the settlement of Oregon.
25 Settlement of Oregon, 23; Temple, 262-3: Allen, The Town of Palmer, in
Copeland, Hist, of Hampden County, II, 144. Temple is authority for the statement that Kelley projected a canal from Three Rivers to the Connecticut river for
the transportation of the supplies and goods of the mill and village. This plan
was not new, however. The citizens of Brookneld, at a public meeting held on
May 23, 1825, had proposed the construction of a canal to Springfield, via the
Quaboag and Chicopee rivers.—Springfield Republican, June 1, 1825. The canal-
building spirit was at its height in Massachusetts in the twenties. CHAPTER   TWO
Years of Agitation
The Biddle version of the journals of Lewis and Clark was
published in 1814.1 On December 24, 1814, the War of 1812
between Great Britain and the United States was terminated
by the Treaty of Ghent, which provided that "All territory,
places, and possessions whatsoever, taken by either party from
the other during the war . . . shall be restored without
delay," and ratifications were exchanged early in 1815. At
the end of the war, Astoria, John Jacob Astor's trading station
and fort at the mouth of the Columbia river, was held by the
British, by whom it had been renamed "Fort George." Under
the terms of the treaty the United States announced its intention of asserting sovereignty over this fort and the region of
the Columbia, but no response came from Great Britain. Accordingly a sloop of war was dispatched in September, 1817
to take possession. This action compelled the British to declare
themselves, which they did by asserting a claim to the territory
upon the ground that it had been "early taken possession of in
his majesty's name, and had been since considered as forming
part of his majesty's dominions."
These events served to arouse great interest in the Pacific
Northwest. It was only natural, therefore, that Hall Jackson
Kelley should have sought out the Lewis and Clark journals
and read with avidity all that they had to tell of the far-off
land. Here was a young man with boundless enthusiasm and
ambition, and with energy which refused to be confined. Fate
had placed him in Boston, the home port of Captain John
Kendrick, Captain Robert Gray, and the Winships. There
were men in Boston who could tell of their voyages and of
i The History of the Expedition Under the Command fo Captains Lewis and
Clark, to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky mountains and
down the River Columbia to the Pacific ocean.    Philadelphia, 1814.    2 v. 12
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
the nature of the disputed lands. Such an opportunity was not
to be neglected. To Kelley it meant an objective which dwarfed
all other interests and governed his thoughts and movements
throughout the rest of his long life. Of his awakening, or
"vision" as he termed it, he said:
"In the year 1817 'the word came expressly to me' to go and
labor in the fields of philanthropic enterprise and promote the
propagation of Christianity in the dark and cruel places about
the shores of the Pacific. . . .2 The perusal of Lewis and
Clark's journal, personal conference with intelligent navigators
and hunters who had visited and explored the territory beyond
the Rocky mountains, and facts derived from other sources
entitled to credit . . . satisfied me that this region must,
at no remote period, become of vast importance to our Government, and of deep and general interest. ... I foresaw
that Oregon must, eventually, become a favorite field of modern enterprise, and the abode of civilization."3
''fin another place, writing in the third person, he declared:
"He then conceived the plan of its colonization, and the
founding of a new republic of civil and religious freedom, on
the shores of the Pacific Ocean . . . and without conferring with flesh and blood, and in despite of entreaties of
prudent, worldly-wise friends, he resolved on the devotion of
his life in the realization of his plans, hoping to do something
worthy the sacrifice, by planting, in the genial soil of those
regions, the vine of Christianity and the germ of Civil Freedom."4
His plans developed slowly, however, for he needed first
to inform himself as to the nature of the Oregon country; its
climate, its soil, its natural products, and its native inhabitants.    The possibilities of trade with the Atlantic  states,
2 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon, 124; see also Kelley. Petition,
1866: 1. Kelley himself was uncertain as to the exact date of the conception of
his colonization idea. In an earlier statement he said it was "about the year
1818."—Kelley, Memorial, 1844, in Palmer Sentinel, December 10, 1846.
3 Kelley, Memoir, in Committee on Foreign Affairs, Territory of Oregon
supplemental report, 47, 25 cong. 3 sess. H. rep.  101.
4 Petition, 1866: 1. Hall Jackson Kelley
with Mexico and South America, and with the Asiatic peoples
demanded investigation, and the possibility of a practicable
route overland invited attention. No less important was the
question of title to the territory itself. Besides, there was
the immediate, personal matter of a livelihood. As we have
seen, Kelley became a master in the Boston public schools in
1818 and continued in that employment until 1823, when he
left it not at his own desire. The prudent man when he finds
himself out of one position, looks for another; not so Kelley,
who now took up the matter of Oregon to the practical exclusion of lesser interests.
Meanwhile, events had been shaping themselves in such a
manner as to emphasize the need for action. In 1818 by the
joint-occupation treaty it was agreed that the disputed territory
west of the Rocky mountains should be "free and open for
the term of ten years" thereafter; thus leaving the question of
title unsettled while putting a premium upon early occupation. By the Florida treaty, Spain in 1819 ceded to the United
States all Claims to the Northwest country. Russia, however,
in 1821 asserted a claim to lands in that territory as far south
as the fifty-first parallel. Within the year, by act of parliament,
the North-West company was merged with its great rival, the
Hudson's Bay company, thus strengthening and consolidating
British interests in that region. Already, December 19, 1820,
the expediency of occupying the Columbia river had been
brought to the attention of the house of representatives by John
Floyd of Virginia, and a committee had been appointed to inquire into the situation, but "more through courtesy to a
respected member, than with any view to business results";5
and the attitude of the succeeding congress was no more favorable to positive action.
We have no means of knowing as to how familiar Kelley
was with contemporaneous developments on the Columbia, or
even with the proceedings of congress, but we may safely
assume that he knew of Floyd's activity and of the disposition
5 Benton, Thirty Years' View, I, 13. 14
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
of the national government to defer official action. To assume
less would be to deny to Kelley that marked propensity for
getting information which so distinguished him in all cases
of which we have knowledge.
"In the year 1824," he tells us, "I announced to the world
my intention to settle Oregon, and to propagate in regions
beyond the Rocky mountains, Christianity."6 In the same year
Russia formally abandoned all claims to territory on the American continent south of 54 degrees 40 minutes, thus removing
another obstacle in the way of American occupation. Yet Kelley's first memorial to congress was not introduced until February 11,1828. His name was first mentioned in the deliberations
upon the Floyd bill on December 24, 1828, and then it was
obscured through the reporter's error. It is necessary, therefore, to consider in some detail the activities of those persons,
who like Kelley, but independently of him, sought to influence
congress to act, particularly those who signifiedrtheir desire
to establish permanent settlements in the Oregon country.
Most prominent among those who interested themselves in
the Oregon question was that champion of the West, Thomas
Hart Benton of Missouri. Although a practicing lawyer, Benton edited the St. Louis Enquirer, perhaps as early as 1815,
and used its editorial columns as a means of promoting Western interests and his own political advancement. Some of his
articles he reprinted in 1844 in a booklet bearing the title,
Selections of Editorial Articles from The St. Louis Enquirer
On the Subject of Oregon and Texas As Originally Published
in that Paper in the Years 1818-19 and Written by the Hon.
Thomas H. Benton. According to the preface these articles
were reprinted to arouse interest in the Oregon question at
the State Democratic convention soon to be held, and to call
attention to the "statesman-like foresight which those who now
read them, for the first time, will duly appreciate." When a
politician assumes to present historical materials tending to
6 Settlement of Oregon, 20.. This was also the year in which Dr. John McLoughlin was commissioned Chief factor of the Hudson's Bay company in the
territory west of the Rocky mountains. Hall Jackson Kelley
show his "statesman-like foresight," the historian must exercise
all possible caution. When that politician is Benton, the need
for caution is imperative, for in him were combined the qualities of unquestioned personal integrity and of equally unquestioned political aghty. So this booklet with its selections bearing no dates more specific than those on the title page, could
hardly be accepted in the absence of supporting evidence.
Fortunately, we have such evidence and of a conclusive character. There is nowhere a complete file of the St. Louis Enquirer, but from the numbers available it is possible to identify
one of the selections.7 Furthermore, if such evidence were
lacking, it would be possible to prove that as early as 1819
Benton's newspaper was giving space to the discussion of the
settlement of Oregon. In the Independent Chronicle and Boston Patriot of June 9, 1819, appeared an article "from the St.
Louis Enquirer" under the head, "The Columbia River." This
article is reproduced in part below:
"The project of some citizens of Virginia to settle on the
Columbia, revives the idea of a town or colony on that river.
"Mr. John Jacob Astor of New York, made an establishment
at its mouth just before the commencement of the last war,
which was broken up soon after by British and Indian hostility.
"The Virginians contemplate an establishment on the navigable waters of the Columbia, but we should think that the place
of its junction with the Multnomah would furnish the most
eligible.—These rivers unite their streams, in tide water, one
hundred and twenty miles from the Pacific Ocean, and a short
distance below the range of mountains. From thence to Asia
the navigation would be easy and direct, the distance not great,
and the sea so peacable, as its name indicates, that no more
mariners would be wanting to conduct a ship, than hands
enough to set her sails at the outset of the voyage, and take
them down at its termination.   To the same point also (the
7 The editorial, "Treaty of 1818—Columbia River" (Selections, 8-0) appeared
in the St. Louis Enquirer of March 17, 1819. The Enquirer on January 6, 1821,
reprinted an article "from the Western Spy" on "Commerce with Asia," ■ which
declared "A series of essays on this subject was published in the St. Louis Enquirer." 16
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
confluence of the rivers) would come the commerce, at present chiefly drained by the Multnomah and the Columbia; a
region embracing fourteen degrees of longitude, and sixteen
or eighteen of latitude, larger than all the Atlantic states put
together, and possessing a climate as mild as that of Europe.
An establishment formed at that place would doubtless receive
many immigrants from Asia.    .    .    .
"Whatever may be the result of the Virginia company, the
progress of the fur trade itself, will form a town at the point
indicated. Its trade may at first be limited to furs; but in
process of time it will become the emporium of that rich East
India commerce which is destined to find its way into the valley
of the Mississippi; by the Columbia and Missouri rivers. And
when this time arrives, a new Tyre will be seen in the west,
of which the old, and although 'queen of cities,' will have furnished but a faint image of power and splendor."
While this article does not appear among the Selections, the
subject matter is the same and the style is the same. Both may
be traced to a common source in the chapter on "View of the
Country on the Columbia," in Brackenridge's Views of Louisiana, from which Benton quoted with credit in the Selections.8
Thus he quoted from Brackenridge the following paragraph:
"The route taken by Lewis and Clarke across the mountains,
was perhaps the: very worst that could have been selected.
Mr. Henry, a member of the Missouri company, and his hunters, have discovered several passes, not only very practicable,
but even in their present state, less difficult than those of the
Allegany [sic] mountains. These are considerably south of
the source of the Jefferson river. It is the opinion of the
gentleman last mentioned, that loaded horses, or even wagons,
might in its present state, go in the course of six or eight days,
from a navigable point on the Columbia, to one on the waters
8 Henry Mane Brackenridge, Views of Louisiana; together with a journal of a
voyage up the Missouri river in 1811. Pittsburgh, 1814; 304 pp. Thus, Benton
said: Look to the map. See the Arkansas, the Platte, and the Yellow Stone, all
issuing together from the Rocky Mountains in the neighborhood of the sources of
the Buenaventura and the Multnomah [Snake], which issue from the opposite side-
the mountains between no more than gentle swells, over which loaded waeeons
may easily pass. —P. 7. Hall Jackson Kelley
of the Missouri.—Thus, rendering an intercourse with settlements which may be formed on the Columbia, more easy of
access than between those on the heads of the Ohio, and the
Atlantic States."9
He quoted further from Brackenridge to emphasize that the
soil in the vicinity of the Columbia is rich, the climate more
temperate than in the same latitude in the United States, and
the natives very numerous (although he omitted a sentence
telling of the "almost continued fog, and drizzling showers
of rain, which renders it extremely disagreeable near the sea").
From this he concluded: "This seems to indicate a capacity of
supporting a dense population, practically exemplified by the
number of inhabitants who live upon its spontaneous productions."
He then proposed the establishment of a series of posts along
the overland route from the Missouri to the Columbia, thus
opening "A channel to Asia, short, direct, safe, cheap, and
exclusively American, which invites the enterprise of American
citizens, and promises to them a splendid participation in the
commerce of the East. . . . Nothing is wanting, but a
second Daniel Boone to lead the way, and thousands of ardent
spirits would immediately flock to develop its vast means of
agriculture and commerce, and to open a direct trade between
Asia and America. . . . With the aid of the American
government, the trade upon this route would immediately
begin. That aid is not required in money, but in government
protection; in giving to an American fur company an act of
incorporation, with leave to form a port of entry at the mouth
of the Columbia, and to establish a chain of posts and trading
stations from thence to the upper navigable waters of the
Missouri river. With these aids the enterprising citizens of
the West are now ready to commence this trade. In two years,
they would have it in operation, and would begin a revolution
in commerce which would check the drain of gold and silver
from the United States, and revive upon the banks of the
9 Pp. 11-2; Brackenridge, 96. 18
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
Columbia and Missouri the wonders of Tyre and Palmyra, of
Memphis and Ormus. Without that aid, and the same revolution will be eventually accomplished."10
While Benton was writing of the necessity of a transcontinental route to the Columbia river country, another man* was
developing the same idea. This man (perhaps the editor, John
S. Skinner) in an anonymous article, which appeared in the
July 9, 1819 number of the American Farmer of Baltimore,
proposed "The Bactrian camel as a beast of burthen for cultivators, and for transportation across the continent, to the
Pacific ocean." Under this head he presented a glowing picture of the possibilities of the Northwest, its fertile soil, its
great quantities of excellent timber, its productive fisheries,
and its salubrious climate as indicated by its numerous and
robust population of Indians.   He continued:
"Settlements, will, no doubt, very soon grow up, and spread
along the shores of the Columbia river with astonishing rapidity;—and the young athletic powers of our government will,
ere long, launch into its waters a fleet to move along the coasts
of the Pacific, and take under its protection the commerce,
which the enterprise of our citizens will soon create and extend
over those seas, to an incalculable amount. . . . To enable
the government to wield its potent energies with effect, and
to give to the American people the means of exerting their
enterprising commercial spirit to the greatest advantage, and
to enable them to make due profit from the great resources
of their country, it has become necessary, that a short, direct,
and certain means of communication should be established into
every quarter, to the most remote point, and particularly over
the continent to the Pacific Ocean.
"Steam Boats have effected much; our improvements and
facilities of intercourse, in that way, have justly attracted the
admiration of the civilized world; but there are physical difficulties and obstacles which that masterly invention can neither
surmount nor remove, with all its skill and power.    .    .    .
See also Brackenridge, 96-7, as to the practicability of
is of developing the trade with the East Indies. Hall Jackson Kelley
Therefore, whatever advantage may be derived from steam boat
transportation of heavy articles, by the way of the Missouri,
into the interior, it must certainly be abandoned as the mail
route to the coast of the Pacific, and, also, I am inclined to
believe, as the route for the transportation of any article across
the continent, farther than the Yellow Stone River. . . ."
He therefore proposed the establishment of communications by
the most direct route and the use of the Bactrian camel, whose
good qualities he proceeded to set forth at great length, and
concluded with the question, "Why not add the majestic, long
lived, placid, and valuable Bactrian Camel to the number of the
auxiliary laborers & carriers for the active citizens of the
This question was answered by Robert Mills, in a Treatise
on Inland Navigation, published in Baltimore in 1820, in which
he proposed the application of steam as the "moving power
to carriages, upon rail roads across the mountains" between the
Yellowstone and the Columbia. In this book Mills followed
the article in the American Farmer so closely as to suggest
common authorship, were it not for his reference to a "late
writer" in connection with an extensive quotation from that
article.12 This book went through two editions. Like the
article upon which it was based, it served to spread abroad
the idea that at our very doors lay an undeveloped territory
of great possibilities, and that means should be devised to
make it more accessible to emigrants.
When we come to inquire as to the source from which the
unknown sponsor of the Bactrian camel obtained his information as to the Northwest, the name of Benton suggests itself.
When we inquire as to the person responsible for arousing
Floyd's interest in that country, we find that again it was
At the opening of the second session of the sixteenth con-
ii I,   113-5.    The  descriptive part of this article was reprinted in the New
England Palladium and Commercial Advertiser of Boston, July 14, 1820.
12 Pp. 53-9-    See also Cleveland and Powell, Railroad Promotion, 259-64. 20
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
gress in December, 1820, Benton was in Washington as senator-elect from the new state of Missouri, awaiting formal admission to his seat. There he had quarters at Brown's hotel
with Congressman Floyd, Ramsay Crooks of New York, and
Russell Farnham of Massachusetts. Crooks and Farnham
had been in the service of John Jacob Astor on the Northwest
Coast. Floyd had already become interested in Western affairs during his early residence in Kentucky, and he had read
the articles which Benton had published in the St. Louis
Enquirer. These circumstances led to earnest conversations
among the four men; and Floyd determined to bring the
question of occupation to the attention of congress.13 He renewed his efforts in the following congress and continued his
endeavors until 1829, when he became governor of Virginia.
He died in 1837; and it does not appear that he was active in
the movement after leaving congress.
On February 22, 1823, Peter Little of Maryland presented
to the house "a memorial from eighty enterprising farmers
and mechanics within his district, praying congress to pass
the [Floyd] bill now on the clerk's table, for the occupation of
the mouth of the Columbia river, intimating their wish to remove thither, for the improvement of that country, and of their
own condition."14
Benton's first formal action in the matter was taken on
January 10, 1825, when he reported to the senate the Floyd
bill, which had already been passed by the house.15
Growing interest in the Oregon question is indicated by the
proceedings of the twentieth congress. The terms of the joint-
occupation agreement had been continued indefinitely in 1827,
but made terminable upon a year's notice. On February 11,
1828, Floyd presented a "memorial of citizens of the United
States, praying for a grant of land, and the aid of Government
in forming a colony on the Northwest coast of the United
13 Benton, Thirty Years' View, I, 13;  16 cong. 2 ses
XXXVn, 679, 945-59; H. jour., 80, 171.
1417 cong. 2 sess., Annals of Congress, XL, 1077; H,
15 18 cong. 2 sess. S. jour., 74.
s. Annals of Congress,
jour., 250. Hall Jackson Kelley
States." The speaker, Andrew Stevenson of Virginia, also
presented a similar memorial "from Alfred Townes of Kentucky."16 The memorial presented by Floyd declared that the
"memorialists . . . are mostly engaged in agricultural
and mechanical pursuits" and that "they for themselves, and
three thousand others who will associate in solemn covenant
with them" asked for a grant of land on the Oregon river
between the forty-sixth and forty-ninth parallels of latitude
and extending from the Pacific ocean to a longitudinal line
one hundred miles from the mouth of the river.17
This memorial was the work of Kelley, as was explained by
Edward Everett of Massachusetts during the following session
on December 29, 1828.   According to the record:
"His attention had been turned to the subject by the circumstance, that he had been called on by a constituent (at the
head of an association which wished to emigrate to the region
in question), to submit a memorial to congress, at the-last
session, which, in his own necessary absence, Mr. E. stated
he had done, through the courtesy of the gentlemen from
Virginia (Mr. Floyd). . . . His thoughts had been in this
way directed to the subject and he confessed that he had formed
a very favorable impression of the general nature of the proposed measure."18
On December 10, 1828, Henry H. Gurley of Louisiana presented "a petition of James M. Bradford, and twenty-four
others, stating that they have associated together for the purpose of removing to, and permanently settling on, the waters
of the Columbia or Oregon river, within the territorial limits
of the United States, as a company to hunt, trap, and trade—
praying for grants of land, and other encouragement."19
16 20 cong. i sess. H. jour., 280.
17 Settlement on the Oregon River, 20 cong. 1 sess. H. doc. 139. 4 pp.
1820 cong. 2 sess. Register of Debates, V, 132. "As early as 1826, I began
to communicate with members of Congress upon the subject of the settlement of
Oregon; that year, I think, with the Hon. Timothy Fuller, member of the House
[from Massachusetts], and with the Hon. Edward Everett in 1827."—Settlement of
Oregon, 93. As Fuller's last term expired in March, 1825, Kelley was clearly in
error; and if we are to accept his statement, which is unquestionably true as to
Everett, we must give him credit for a year earlier than he claimed.
19 20 cong. 2 sess. H. jour., 44. 22
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
The matter was taken up for discussion in the committee of
the whole house on the state of the Union on December 23,
1828. Gurley proposed an amendment to the Floyd bill, providing for a grant of land forty miles square to Bradford's
New Orleans company. Everett, however, "stated that, in
that part of the country from which he came, there was an
association of three thousand individuals, respectable farmers
and artizans, who stood ready to embark in this enterprise, as
soon as the permission and protection of the Government should
be secured to them." He therefore raised the question whether
an exclusive grant of land such as was proposed would be fair
to other prospective settlers as enterprising and meritorious as
those of the New Orleans company.
The obnoxious provision was therefore stricken out on the
following day, and the amendment was further modified "by
inserting the names of Paul and J. Kelley [sic], and his associates (a similar company from Massachusetts), and Albert
Town [sic] and his associates, (a company from Ohio), as
entitled to the permission granted by the bill."20
Of Kelley's other activities during the years from 1824 to
1829, we know little. That he engaged in little if any remunerative employment is certain,21 though his engagement as a
land surveyor by the Three Rivers Manufacturing company
would suggest that he may have served others in like capacity.
It would seem, however, that he neglected his personal affairs,
and became involved in difficulties which threatened the loss of
his property. These troubles he attributed to the efforts of
the opponents of the settlement of Oregon.
"To accomplish their designs, and to prevent mine, and to
make an end of my project, they raised an army in the city of
Boston, and afterwards in '27, enlisted troops in the cities of
New York and Washington, and in '29 raised a more bloody
troop in the village of Three Rivers, to which place I had just
moved my family.    ...    As early as in the year '24    .    .    .
2020 cong. 2 sess. Register of Debates, V, 126.    See also p.
21 Kelley, Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 7. Hall Jackson Kelley
my adversaries first devised my hurt; and in the year '28,
taking the advantage of the pecuniary embarrassments brought
upon me by a heavy loss of property in the Three Rivers
Manufacturing jcompany, they planned to get from me my
princely estate/and comfortable home in Charlestown, Mass.,
believing thatT>y so doing they would deprive me of the means
which they supposed necessary for the accomplishment of the
Oregon enterprise.    .    .    .
"In the spring of '29, to be at a greater distance from adversaries who were coming daily to worry and impoverish me and
to delay progress in my great and benevolent enterprise, I
moved with my family to the village of Three Rivers . . .
taking with me what household stuff the plunderers of my
property had left."22
These words of a half-crazed man, written long after the
events which they suggest rather than describe, are at least
sufficient as evidence that during those years he was'active
in the cause of Oregon settlement, so active in fact that he
merged his personality in it and regarded all men who came
into opposition to him as opponents not of him but of the idea
which possessed him. Despite opposition, however, men were
found who were willing to listen to him, and to lend their
names and their influence in his, behalf. These men in 1829
joined him in instituting the American Society for Encouraging the Settlement of the Oregon Territory. Individual agitation was now to be supplanted by organized propaganda. The
"vision" was becoming more real and distinct.
22 Settlement of Oregon, :  CHAPTER THREE
The American Society—Plans and Propaganda
In the course of the discussion of the Oregon question in
congress and elsewhere, much was said of companies—Bradford's company, Kelley's company, Towne's company. Kelley,
however, had no desire to become the leader of a mere band of
adventurers, still less of a partnership for profit like Astor's.
The name of his organization was carefully chosen. It was to
be a "society" of American citizens who were interested in
promoting his plan to secure the American title to Oregon by
establishing a settlement in the valley of the Columbia.
At its organization in 1829, the American Society for Encouraging the Settlement of the Oregon Territory elected General John McNeil president, Washington P. Gregg treasurer,
and Kelley general agent.1 It was incorporated by special act
of the Massachusetts legislature, approved June 22, 1831,
McNeil and John L. Blake, D.D., being named as incorporators.2 "This society was Hall J. Kelley. He was the body
and brains, the fingers and tongue of it," said H. H. Bancroft,8
and the statement is true. The others were willing to "encourage"; Kelley was willing to sacrifice everything. The headquarters of the society was in Boston, and Kelley made frequent trips from Three Rivers to attend to its affairs. His
duties were those of a publicity agent. When his domestic
concerns admitted of his absence, he "traveled New England,
everywhere lecturing on Oregon," but according to his own
statement he was an indifferent public speaker, due to his
extreme diffidence.4 His lecture tours could not have been
very extensive, for his expenses on this account were but $200.5
x Kelley, Memorial, 1848: 6-9.    McNeil later became surveyor of the port of
Boston, and Gregg, secretary of the common council of Boston.
2L. Mass. 1831, c. 63; XII, 132-4.
3 Bancroft, Hist, of the Northwest Coast, II, 545.
4 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon, 15, 24.
5 Kelley, Narative of Events and Difficulties, 7. 26
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
Probably the opposition which he encountered on these tours,
and of which he complained most bitterly, led him to direct
his efforts to writing and to conferences with men of affairs
and influence.
We have seen that he had convinced Edward Everett of the
practicability of his plan as early as 1827. On January 25, 1830,
upon motion of Everett, the petition of Kelley which had been
presented to the house of representatives by Floyd on February 11, 1828, was referred to the committee on foreign affairs.*
On January 5, 1831, Benton presented to the senate a "memorial of the American Society for Encouraging the Settlement
. of the Oregon Country . . . praying that a military escort
and transports, and convenient military posts, may be established for the encouragement and protection of emigration to
that country," which was referred to the committee on military
At the opening of the next congress Everett also presented
to the house of representatives a memorial of the Society,
"praying congress to aid them in carrying out the great purposes of their institution; to grant them troops, artillery, military arms, and munitions of war; to incorporate the society,
with power to extinguish the Indian title to lands; and with
such other powers, rights and immunities, as may be at least
such other powers, rights, and immunities, as may be at least
Hudson's Bay Company."8
This memorial appears in the Manual of the Oregon Expedition, or General Circular. As it sets forth in brief the contentions of the memorialists as to the right of sovereignty over
the territory and the national advantages to result from its
settlement, it is reproduced at length.
"They are convinced, that if that country should be settled
under the auspices of the Government of the United States of
America, from such of her worthy sons, who have drank of
6 21 cong. i sess. H. jour., 198.
721 cong 2 sess. S. jour., 71.
8 22 cong.  1  sess.  H.  jour.,  44. Hall Jackson Kelley 27
the spirit of those civil and religious institutions, which constitute the living fountain, and the very perennial source of her
national prosperity, great benefits must result to mankind.
They believe, that there, the skillful and persevering hand of
industry might be employed with unparalleled advantage; that
there, Science and the Arts, the invaluable privilege of a free
and liberal government, and the refinements and ordinances of
Christianity, diffusing each its blessing, would harmoniously
unite in meliorating the moral condition of the Indians, in
promoting the comfort and happiness of the settlers, and in
augmenting the wealth and power of the Republic.
"The uniform testimony of an intelligent multitude have
established the fact, that the country in question, is the most
valuable of all the unoccupied parts of the earth. Its peculiar
location and facilities, and physical resources for trade and commerce; its contiguous markets; its salubrity of climate; its
fertility of soil; its rich and abundant productions; its extensive
forests of valuable timber; and its great water channel diversifying, by its numerous branches the whole country, and spreading canals through every part of it, are sure indications that
Providence has designed this last reach of enlightened emigration to be the residence of a people, whose singular advantages
will give them unexampled power and prosperity.
"These things have excited the admiration of every observer,
and have settled in the policy of the British nation the determined purpose of possessing and enjoying them, as their own;
and have induced their Parliament to confer on the Hudson's
Bay Company, chartered privileges for occupying with their
settlements the fertile banks of the Columbia; which settlements have been made; and are flourishing, in rapid growth,
under the culture secured by the provisions of a Colonial Government.
"The Society conceive "it clearly deduced, from all the facts
in the case, that the right of sovereignty over the Oregon
territory is invested in the government of the United States
of America, consequently, in her is the exclusive right of 28
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
colonizing that country, and of introducing into it the various
business and benefits of civilized life.
"The expense and labor necessary to the accomplishment of
this work, planned by Providence, made easy by nature, and
urged and. encouraged by the persuasive motives of philanthropy, are in no degree, commensurate with the national blessings to be derived from it; among which are enumerated the
following; viz.:
"The moral condition of the Aborigines . . . will be
improved. . . . Their unjust and unequal alliances with
another nation may be broken, and their friendship secured to
"By means, thus honorable, that valuable territory would be
held from possession of an unfriendly power.
"Ports of Entry, and Ship and Navy Yards, might be established with great advantage, on the waters of Oregon, and
thereby, the trade and commerce of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans would become extended and enriched. Capitalists and Mariners might pursue, with more profit and safety,
the whale and other fisheries in the Western Seas, and the
salmon trade in the Columbia.
"A portion of the virtuous and enterprising but not least
faithful population, whom misfortunes have thrown out of
employment, and who throng our villages and sea-ports, and
seek a better home,—might there find opportunities, under the
paternal kindness of the government, to succeed to a happier
condition, and to greater usefulness to themselves and to their
country.   .   .   .
"These are objects so obvious, so vast and valuable, as need
not be urged . . . and seem necessarily embraced within
the scope of a wise policy. They are yet deemed practicable.
Another season—their possession will be thought expedient—
but not so easily wrested from the grasp of British power.
"The Society view with alarm the progress, which the subjects of that nation have made, in the colonization of the Oregon Territory.   Already, have they, flourishing towns, strong Hall Jackson Kelley
fortifications, and cultivated farms. The domicile is made the
abode of domestic comforts—the social circle is enlivened by
the busy wife and the prattle and sport of children. In the
convention of 1818, England secured for her subjects, the
privileges of a free trade, that of buying furs of the Indians;
but, at first, they practiced trapping and hunting; now, they
practice buying and improving lands, and assiduously pursue
the business of the farmer and mechanic. Their largest tpjyn
is Vancouver, which is situated on a beautiful plain, in the
region of tide water, on the northern bank of the Columbia.
At this place, saw and grist mills are in operation. Three vessels have been built, one of about 300 tons, and are employed
in the lumber trade. Numerous herds and flocks of horses,
horned cattle, and sheep, of the best European breeds, are
seen grazing in their ever verdant fields. Grain of all kinds, in
abundant crops, are the production of the soil.'
"Everything, either in the organization of the government,
or in the busy and various operations of the settlements, at this
place, at Walla Walla, at Fort Colville, and at DeFuca, indicate the intentions of the English to colonize the country.
Now, therefore, your memorialists, in behalf of a large number
of citizens of the United States, would respectfully ask Congress to aid them in carrying into operation the great purposes
of their institution—to grant them troops, artillery, military
arms, and munitions of war, for the defense of the contemplated
settlement—to incorporate their Society with power to extinguish the Indian title, to such tracts and extent of territory,
at the mouth of the Columbia, and at the junction of the Multnomah with the Columbia, as may be adequate to the laudable
objects and pursuits of the settlers; and with such other powers,
rights and immunities, as may be, at least, equal and concurrent to those given by Parliament to the Hudson's Bay Company ; and such as are not repugnant to the stipulations of the
Convention, made between Great Britain and the United States,
wherein it was agreed, that any country on the Northwest
Coast of America, to the westward of the Rocky Mountains, 30
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
should be free and open to the citizens and subjects of the
two powers, for a term of years; and to grant them such other
rights and privileges, as may contribute to the means of establishing a respectable and prosperous community."9
Everett was not prepared to give his unqualified endorsement to the memorial, and he took care to get into the record
the following statement as to his attitude:
"Lest his opinions on the matter involved should be mistaken
from the fact of his having presented the petition, he considered it a duty to state that he could not urge the granting
of the prayer of the petition at this time; because it would
be impossible to grant it, without violating the stipulations of
the treaty on the subject with Great Britain. There was, however, one view of the subject in which it required the consideration of the House. It is stated in the memorial that flourishing
settlements of British subjects existed in the Oregon territory. If this were so, it was in violation of a stipulation agreed
to between Great Britain and the United States, that, during
the convention, no settlement should be authorized to be made
on the debatable lands, by the citizens of either country. This
was a matter that required to be looked to, and was an appropriate subject of inquiry for the Committee on Foreign
It was as a writer that Kelley was most effective in spreading broadcast information as to the Oregon country and arousing interest in its immediate settlement by Americans. In
1830 he published A Geographical Sketch of That Part of
North America Called Oregon.11 In the preface he ascribed
to Jefferson the honor of having been the first to suggest the
4335 Niles' Register, XLI, 285;
9 Kelley, General Circular, 8-11.
10 22 cong. 1 sess. Register of Debates, VIII,
Settlement of Oregon, 93-6.
11 Kelley, A Geographical Sketch of That Part of North America Called Oregon-
containing an account of the Indian title; the nature of a right of sovereignty; the
first discoveries; climate and seasons; face of the country and mountains, natural
divisions, physical appearance and soil of each; forests and vegetable productions;
rivers, bays, &c.; islands, &c; animals; the disposition of the Indians, and the
number and station of their tribes; together with an essay on the advantages resulting from a settlement of the territory. To which is attached a new map of the
country.    Boston, 1830.    80 pp.   Hall Jackson Kelley
colonization of the Oregon country. The time had arrived,
he believed, for the carrying out of that suggestion, notwithstanding the opposition which had already attended his efforts. He boasted that he had "a mind invulnerable to the
attacks of calumny," and declared "It is needful, that the
friends of the Colony should possess a little of the active and
vital principle of enthusiasm, that shields against disappointments, and against the presumptive opinions and insults of
others;" but it is evident from these very words that despite
his enthusiasm, he was not the man to receive abuse without
wincing, or to meet opposition or doubt without questioning
the motives or the intelligence of those who would not be convinced.
The nature of the contents of this pamphlet is sufficiently
indicated by its sub-title. The geographical detail need not
concern us, but there are two points which merit attention.
As to the question of title, Kelley asserted "The rights, which
England set up to this country, are predicated on idle and
arrogant pretentions; nor is the claim made by America, to
a right of soil founded on better tenure." With the exception
of the land bought in 1791 by Captain John Kendrick, the title ,
to all lands was in the hands of the Indians, whose rights to
own lands were the same as those of the whites. Therefore,
adequate compensation must be tendered before the Indian title
could be extinguished.12 The advantages to result from settlement were presented under seven heads.
"First. The occupancy of it, by three thousand of the active
sons of American freedom, would secure it from the possession of another nation, and from augmenting the power and
physical resources of an enemy.    .    .    .
"It is not a doubtful hypothesis, that unless our legitimate
rights on the waters and in the territory of Oregon, are protected by planting a colony in it,, or by other means no less
effectual; they will in a few years more, become entirely lost
to our merchants, or to the benefits of our country.
Map of Oregon, 1830.    Copy from Geographical Sketch (2 cd.).
12 Pp. 7-9. 32
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
"England is desirous of possessing the whole country, with
all its invaluable privileges. She has evinced this, by that bold
and lawless spirit of enterprise, by which she has acquired
so great a monopoly in the Indian trade; by which, in the year
1812, she took from American citizens, the town of Astoria
(now called Fort George), and still retains it. . . . In
this presumptuous way; in defiance to treaties and obligations,
to the paramount claims of this country, and by alliances with
the Indians, she hopes to secure a hold upon it, which the physical power of the American Republic, exerted in the plenitude
of its energies, cannot break.    .   .   .
"Second. A free and exclusive trade with the Indians, and
with a colony in Oregon, would very considerably increase
the resources, and promote the commercial and manufacturing
interests of our country.
"The fur trade has been and still is found vastly lucrative
to those who pursue it. The contemplated colony would find
it productive of great pecuniary advantage, and a fruitful
source of their prosperity. . . . English traders, at the
present time possess the country. The will of the Hudson Bay
Company, is the supreme law of the land. The natives are
subservient to it, and American traders dare not resist it.
Hence, the inland trade is fast on the wane, and has become
disastrous, if not in most cases, ruinous. While it is so constantly exposed to the rapacity of treacherous Indians, and to
the avarice of the English, it must remain utterly valueless.
It might, however, be reclaimed, and forever protected by a
colony occupying the shores of the Columbia.   .   .   .
"Third. The fisheries might be more extensively and profitably pursued.    .    .    .
"Fourth. A port of entry, and a naval station at the mouth
of the Columbia, or in DeFuca straits, would be of immense
importance to a protection of the whale and other fisheries, and
of the fur trade; and to a general control over the Pacific
ocean, where millions of our property, are constantly
afloat   .    .   . Hall Jackson Kelley
"Fifth. It is an object, worthy the attention of government,
to secure the friendship of the Indians, and prevent alliances
between them and other nations.    .    .    .
"Sixth. The settlement of the Oregon country, would conduce to a freer intercourse, and a more extensive and remunerative trade with the East Indies. . . . Such an extension
and enjoyment of the East India Trade, would provoke the
spirit of American enterprise, to open communications from the
Mississippi valley, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific
ocean, and thus open new channels, through which the products
of America and the Eastern world, will pass in mutual exchange, saving in every voyage, a distance of ten thousand
miles; new channels, which opening across the bosom of a
widespread ocean; and intersecting islands, where health fills
the breeze and comforts spread the shores, would conduct the
full tide of a golden traffic into the reservoir of our national
"Seventh. Many of our seaports would be considerably
benefitted by taking emigrants from their redundant population.
It is said, and truly so, that business of all kinds is overdone;
that the whole population cannot derive a comfortable support
from it; hence the times are called hard; which generally press
the hardest upon those, who pursue the useful occupations of
laborious industry.    .    .    .
"The learned profession might spare some of their wise and
erudite votaries who, in Oregon, could find meeds of immortal
honours. Many of industrious habits and honest lives, whose
reputations have been blasted by the foul breath of calumny;
these, with the unfortunate and oppressed, but virtuous of all
orders, could there find an asylum, and succeed to a better
"These hastily written observations must be concluded by
the remark, that all nations, who have planted colonies, have
been enriched by them."13
The first date set for the starting of an expedition to the
13 Pp. 7S'8o. 34
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
Oregon country does not appear in any of Kelley's writings that
have been preserved. For a long time his plans were contingent upon the action of congress. Had success followed the
presentation of his memorial to congress in 1828, it is likely
that he would have lost no time in declaring himself. This
much is certain; two land expeditions were originally contemplated, one of men only and a later one to be made up
of families. The time of departure of the first expedition was
finally set for January 1, 1832.14
Kelley's plans were formally presented in the Manual Of The
Oregon Expedition, or General Circular,15 which begins with
the announcement "OREGON SETTLEMENT, to be commenced in the Spring of 1832, on the delightful and fertile
banks of the Columbia River." In this pamphlet he again considered the Indian title, and declared that since the British
claim to jurisdiction over the territory south of the forty-ninth
parallel was without foundation, and in view of the failure of
congress to take positive action, there was no justly constituted
jurisdiction in that country. Therefore, he argued, the emigrants would violate no law or right of the United States by
settling there. He laid particular emphasis upon the economic
superiority of the Columbia valley over the Middle West.
"The natural advantages of the country, for trade and commerce, foreign, internal and coastwise, are paramount to those
found in other parts, of America. The confluence of the many
navigable rivers, opening into, and beautifying every section
of the country, forms the grand river Columbia, whose waters
may be traversed by large vessels, two hundred miles from the
sea; whose either bank affords inlets safe and commodious for
harbors. Nature furnishes many clear indications that the
mouth of this far spreading and noble river is soon to become
the commercial port of that hemisphere, the great business
nals of Nathaniel J. Wyeth, 43; McMaster,
Patriot, May 28,   1831,  and  United States
14 Young, Correspondence and Jou
United States, VI, no, citing Boston
Gazette, October 22, 1831.
15 Kelley, Manual of the Oregon Expedition. A general circular to all persons
of good character, who wish to emigrate to the Oregon territory, embracing some
account of the character and advantages of the country; the right and the means
and operations by which it is to be settled, and all necessary directions for becoming
an  emigrant.    Charlestown,  1831.    28 pp. Hall Jackson Kelley
place of nations, interchanging the commodities and productions of western America and the East Indies.
"Much of the country within two hundred miles of the Ocean,
is favorable to cultivation. The valley of the Multnomah is
particularly so, being extremely fertile. The advantages, generally, for acquiring property are paramount to those on the
prairies of the West, or in any other part of the world. . . .
The Oregon is covered with heavy forests of timber. . . .
The production of vegetables, grain, and cattle will require
comparatively but little labor; these articles, together with the
spontaneous growth of the soil, and the fruits of laborious
industry, in general, will find a market, at home, and thereby
comfort and enrich the settlers. Surplus staple articles may
be shipped from their doors to distant ports, and return a
vast profit in trade. Lumber, ship timber, &c. may be sent
to the western coast of South America, the islands in the
Pacific; bread stuff's, furs, salmon, and many other articles
of domestic manufactures, to the East Indies.
"It is the circumstance of a good home market, that gives
any country its greatest value, and must give the Oregon country immense advantages for settlement; advantages unknown
in the Western States, whose markets are as remote as the
shores of the Atlantic.    .    .    .
"The want of value to the farmer's surplus produce, is his
poverty; and has made shipwreck of the fortunes of thousands,
who have settled in Ohio, Indiana, &c."16
Having thus described the resources of the country, he proceeded to unfold his plans more in detail, taking up in order
the survey and division of lands, the civil government, and
provisions for the organization of churches and schools. Then
came the direct appeal to emigrants and the terms on which
they might be enrolled, the route to be taken, the expedition
itself, and finally the question of funds. The order of presentation is significant; first a general picture of the economic advantages, then a more detailed description designed to appeal
to those who would shrink from the idea of "roughing it,"
i6Pp. 6-7. 36
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
next an appeal to the Puritan type of emigrants, and finally
the practical questions of emigration and funds. Those who
are interested in the psychology of prospectus literature will
find the pamphlet worth reading.
Two towns were contemplated; a seaport town on Gray's
Bay, eleven miles north of the mouth of the Columbia, and a
trading town on the peninsula at the confluence of the Columbia
and the Willamette. A five-mile square of territory was to be
laid out as a site for the seaport town, according to the following plan:
"Of the streets, one, 200 feet wide^ will run from the water,
in a N. W. direction, bisecting at the distance of six squares,
an area of ten acres of parade or pleasure ground, which area
is forever to remain open and unoccupied with buildings. The
centre of this street, for the width of 100 feet, will be devoted
to the purposes of a market. Streets crossing this, at right
angles, are intended to be 100 feet wide; those parallel to it,
50 feet. The squares are to be 400 feet on a side, each including 18 [16] lots, 50 by 100 feet each. From the 100 ft. streets
and the public lands, no plant or tree is to be removed or
destroyed without consent of the municipal authority."17
Similarly, the trading town was to be two miles square. A
tract of land near this town was to be divided into parcels
40 by 160 rods or forty acres each, and the number of lots was
to equal the number of emigrants over fourteen years of age,
not including married women. Next to these lots would be
others of 160 acres, making up the complement of two hundred
acres to each emigrant.18
17 P.    12.
18 P. 13. "Possibly our real estate men, who. are now so vigorously advertizing 'peninsula' additions, will take note of the fact that Kelley was ahead of
them with a map and plat and advertizement of that same ground by sixty-one years."
—'Harvey W. Scott, Address, Oregon Pioneer Association, Transactions,  1890: 34.
"One is reminded of Kelley's instrumentality in the settlement of Oregon by
the improvements at present being made on 'the peninsula,' where stands the mill
town of Saint John, the terminus of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company's road, and the Portland (Catholic) University, as well as by the long line of
warehouses between Saint John and East Portland proper. Kelley particularly
honored the peninsula by adding to his writings a line plan of the town which
he designed for that point. As a site for a city it has some excellent features, one
of which is space to grow. Ultimately it will become a part of Greater Portland,
but before it becomes absorbed in Portland, it would be a gracious suggestion to
let it come in under the name of its intending colonizer, Hall J. Kelley.  -Frances
F. Victor, Hall J. Kelley, One of the Fathers of Oregon, Oregon Historical Society,
Quarterly,  II, 398   (1901). SCALE.
400 rods to 1 inch
40 Acres, 40 by 160 rods.
160 Acres, 80 by 320 rods.
Plan of Trading Towr  Hall Jackson Kelley
In discussing the question of civil government Kelley knew
that he was on uncertain ground. As the Oregon country
lay beyond the jurisdiction of the United States, the relation
which the settlers would bear to that government involved
perplexing questions. The form of government was also recognized as a matter worthy of serious thought. He looked to
congress for action which would solve these problems, but in
default of such action he was prepared to set up a provisional
government.    On this point he said:
"Whatever may be the frame of government, it should be
built upon the most finished improvements of others. Whether
the settlers are to be considered children of mature age, made
free, and setting up for themselves, constituting in some degree, an independent Province, the friend and ally of the
mother country; sharing in her generous and maternal solicitude ; or whether they are to be a Colony, planted, cherished,
and protected by her, depends entirely on Congress. That the
latter should be the case, is the prayer of a memorial, at the
present time, before that august assemblage of talents, virtue
and wisdom.
"Should the emigrants fail of that Charter, which reason and
justice dictate, and humanity calls for, they will attempt to
make for themselves, just and equal laws, under the provisions
of a form of government, so far made a free democratic representative, as will be consistent with an unequivocal recognition of the sovereignty of the American Republic. It will be
in most respects, a transcript of the government of the Michigan Territory. The Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, and Board
of Land Commissioners, being the Appointments of the Society. It will continue two years, unless Congress, before the
expiration of this time prescribes a substitute.    .   .    ."19
Religious himself, he took care to emphasize the religious
aspects of his plan. "The settlers will lose none of their religious privileges and comforts," he promised. "Churches of
different denominations will be organized before emigration." 38
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
He also sought to" encourage "pious and well educated young
men ... to engage in the great work of imparting moral
and religious instruction to the Indians." Upon the subject
of education Kelley's plans were broad in scope but limited as
to details. "Some efficient and appropriate system" was to be
adopted, and in it would be included "whatever will best civilize the manners, reform the morals, enlighten, and free it from
the grasp of superstition;" certainly an ambitious program.
Schools of every grade were to be opened. "Agricultural and
classical institutions, and colleges succeeding common and primary schools . . . will be established; and in them, red
as well as white children taught the rudiments of learning."
A special appeal was made to persons of good education to
emigrate in order that there might be properly qualified candidates for positions in the schools and in the offices of government.20
As emigrants Kelley wanted only "men of steady habits,"
and it was provided that all who proposed to emigrate should
be required to give satisfactory evidence as to their "good
moral character and industrious habits." He wanted particularly "properly educated persons, to fill the civil, military and
literary roles," clergymen and physicians, men "possessing a
scientific knowledge of the different branches of mathematics
and natural philosophy, to constitute corps on engineering,
surveying, astronomy* geology and botany," farmers, and mechanics. His appeal was also directed to capitalists who would
take with them vessels suitable for the lumber trade and the
whale and salmon fisheries, and the iron parts of grist mills,
saw mills, and nail-making machinery, and establish a paper
mill, a printing press, a window-glass factory, and an iron
To such men his inducement was "most of the expenses of
emigration and a landed estate, valued from $2,000 to 10,000,
situated, where the healthfulness of climate, the good market
for every product of the earth or of labor, and the enjoyment
20 Pp.  i s-6. Hall Jackson Kelley
of a free and liberal government will conspire to make life
easy." More concretely, "each emigrant, over fourteen years
of age, not including married women; and each child that is
an orphan, or without parent in that country, will receive a lot
of seaport land ... or two farming lots in the valley."
Poor children and children in charitable institutions were
On the other hand the requirements were not burdensome.
Each prospective emigrant was to pay twenty dollars as a
pledge of faithful performance of obligations to be stipulated
by covenant between him and the Society; namely, to give oath
to obey the laws of the Society and to be a peaceable and
worthy member, and to agree that all common property should
be liable for debts on account of the settlement; the Society
in turn to agree to defray all expenses of the first expedition
from St. Louis except for clothing, guns, and knapsacks, to
give each settler a parcel of seaport land or two hundred acres
of farm land chosen by lot, title to pass after two years' occupation, and to guarantee religious and civil freedom.21
At this point Kelley interpolated answers to objections which
had been made to his project, reaffirming the healthfulness of
the Oregon country, and declaring that there was no ground
for fear of violence from the Indians. "The Agent of the
Society has given these subjects many years of patient investigation," said he, "and does not hesitate to avow a greater confidence in the faith and friendship of those red men, than of the
white savages who infest our communities;" confidence which
subsequent events in 4Jie Northwest showed to have been unwarranted. Nor did he anticipate trouble with the Indians
along the proposed route, which was from St. Louis up the
Platte, through the South Pass and down the Willamette.
That the South Pass was feasible he affirmed upon the authority of Major Joshua Pilcher, Indian agent of the war department.22
21 Pp. 16-9.
22 Pp.  19-22.    It is significant that he made
of  Brackenridge  and  Benton  on this point.
10 reference to the statements 40
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
Kelley looked to congress to pay a part or the whole of the
expenses of the expedition in view of the national benefits to
accrue from the settlement; but he declared "it will not concern
the settlers, whence comes protection, or the means of accomplishing the objects of the enterprise, whether from congress
or private munificence." As to the detailed preparations for
the expedition, he said:
"Emigrants are required to defray their own expenses to St.
Louis; and after that, to provide with all necessary arms,
knapsacks, blankets, and private carriages. Females and children must be provided, at the time of starting, with covered
horse wagons, containing each a bed and two or more blankets.
From St. Louis they will be subject to no other expense than
the above named, and in Oregon will receive gratuitously, a
landed estate of great value.
"Orders will be given in due time for assembling in Portland, Me.; Portsmouth, and Concord, N. H.; Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, Mass.; Bennington, Vt.; Albany, Buffalo,
Detroit [!] and New York, N. Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Washington City, &c. ... At these, and other
places, companies will be formed; Captains being appointed
to the command of every fifty male adult persons, the emigration will then commence, by the most practicable route to the
aforesaid place of general rendezvous. . . . The cost, from
Boston   .    .    .    will, probably, not exceed fifteen dollars."
Captains and other officers were to be chosen by elections
to be held after general orders had been given for assembling.
Shareholders of merit and of good education only were to be
eligible to offices of rank. At St. Louis a drove of cattle was
to be purchased, and fly tents each large enough to cover six
wagons were to be provided. No private property other than
wearing apparel, military equipment, and provisions was to
be taken in the public baggage wagons. All merchandise,
machinery, and other property was to go by sea. From St.
Louis the expedition was to be under a military form of government.23
23 Pp. 22-4.    The sea expedition was also "for persons who might be u
■ unable to sustain the fatigue of the land."—Colonisation of Oregon, 20. Hall Jackson Kelley
As to the financial arrangements, the Circular set forth that
the funds of the Society should be made up of $200,000 of
stock and certificate money and all such donations as benevolent and public spirited individuals might make. It presented
an extract from the report of a committee charged with devising a plan of financing the enterprise, which contained the following suggestions:
"Let a portion of the funds of the society constitute a capital
stock of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars, to be divided into
shares of $100 each, and to be raised by loans. Each share
entitling the owner thereof to 160 acres of land, as set forth
in the certificate of stock,—the lots are to be numbered and
determined according to the rules and plan of division expressed by the By-Laws of the Society. This stock shall be
secured on the pledge of all the public and common property
and revenues of the settlement—the emigrants covenanting
with the Society before embarkation, that all debts incurred
directly or indirectly, for the benefit of the settlement, to the
full amount of said stock, shall be paid in the manner aforesaid.
"Your Committee would also suggest the propriety of raising funds by donations and subscriptions, to meet more specific
purposes in the Oregon Country. Let one be called the Education or Indian Fund; and another called the Religious
Fund.   .    .
" [The] par value [of the stock] cannot be depreciated by the
contingency of ill success of the enterprise; for, in that possible
event, every dollar of the stock will be refunded, the same
being on hand either in money, or in public property.   .   .   ."24
The details of the financial plan were also presented in another pamphlet which was also issued in 1831. This was a
stock book which bore the legend "This book of stock, subscriptions, &c, in which shall be enrolled, the names of all
persons contributing to the success of founding a settlement
in Oregon, either by subscriptions, donations or investments in
the Society's stock, shall be preserved, in perpetuum, by the 42
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
settlement; and a true copy of the same shall be deposited in
the archives of the government of the United States of America." In the four pages of this pamphlet there is nothing of
interest that was not included in the General Circular except
a facsimile of a share of "Oregon Settlement Stock." This
"stock" was really a short term bond, secured by a pledge of
the common property of the Society. It was to bear interest
at the rate of six per cent after May 1, 1832, and the principal
was to be payable in either five or ten years, at the option of
the holder. The right to 160 acres of farming land on the
Columbia was to be given to the holder of each "share," or
bond, as a bonus.
Kelley took care that his pamphlets should be put into the
hands of men of influence at Washington. He sent copies of
both the Geographical Sketch and the General Circular to the
heads of departments and to members of congress. A second
edition of the Geographical Sketch appeared in 1831, with the
General Circular as an appendix. Scattered about the country
were agents of the Society, thirty-seven in number, whose
duty it was to distribute literature, give information, and
enroll members. Some of these agents were booksellers, however, who obviously had only a qualified interest in the proposed expedition. Two names are significant. One is James
M. Bradford of St. Francisville, Louisiana, leader of the proposed New Orleans company of 1828; the other is Nathaniel
Jarvis Wyeth of Cambridge, Massachusetts, of whom more
will be said in the chapters that follow.25
25 Settlement of Oregon CHAPTER FOUR
The American Society—Delay and Failure
As stated on the first page of the General Circular, the
expedition was to start in the spring of 1832, or three months
after the time originally set. Furthermore it appears that
Kelley's original plans had undergone a change,1 for he now
proposed to take women and children on the first land expedition. There is no evidence in the General Circular that more
than a single expedition had ever been contemplated.
Kelley spent the winters of 1830 and 1831 in Washington
attempting to influence congress to take positive action,2 and
his necessary absence from his headquarters at Boston and the
tendency of congress to delay easily accounts for the postponement of the date set for departure.
The number of persons enrolled upon the books of the
Society is nowhere stated except in general terms. It is certain, however, that the statement of Kelley in his first memorial
to congress in 1828 that three thousand men stood willing to
emigrate was based largely on anticipations. His highest
claim was to the effect that he had "enlisted four or five hundred emigrants" by 1832.3 Speaking of the prospective emigrants he said:
"Many were those in all parts of the Union, and in some
parts of Europe, who would engage in it. Companies were
formed, in different parts of the States, and many men of distinction and of high standing in society, all desiring their names
to be enrolled in the expedition. The Hon. Samuel Houston,
in conversation said: T have almost made up my mind to
go with you to Oregon, and engage in the East India trade/
A company in Paris was formed, and another, a more numer-
i Young, Correspondence and Journals of Nathaniel J. Wyeth, 2-3, 8-9.
2 Kelley, Petition, 1866: 3.
3 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon, 80. 44
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
ous one, in Germany. The former corresponded with me
through Mr. Everett; the latter through a German gentleman
in the government service at Washington."4
From the point of view of results, Nathaniel J. Wyeth was
the most important person who came under Kelley's influence.
Of him Kelley said: "Some time in the year 1829, he came to
me for the loan of my books, and documents concerning the
far west, and the programme of the expedition in which he
would enlist, and he enrolled his name among the names of
several hundred others in the emigrants' book."5 Wyeth, who
was engaged in the ice business on Fresh Pond near Charlestown, was "surrounded with apparent advantages, and even
enviable circumstances," according to the statement of his
cousin; yet "Mr. Hall J. Kelly's writings operated like a match
applied to the combustible matter accumulated in the mind of
the energetic Nathaniel J. Wyeth, which reflected and multiplied the flattering glass held up to view by the ingenious and
well-disposed school master. Mr. Nathaniel J. Wyeth had
listened with peculiar delight to all the flattering accounts from
the Western regions."6 But while Kelley was actuated by
motives of patriotism and philanthropy, the practical-minded
Wyeth was moved by considerations of personal gain. According to his own statement, he "had no view farther than
trade at any time."7 To his mind the settlement of the Oregon
country was a matter that could be left to follow its natural
From contemporary accounts we may learn something as
4 Ibid., 112-3. "Nathaniel Wyeth, of Cambridge, and Captain Bonneville, of
the U. S. Army, were both, I believe, enrolled in the emigration books, and were
both to have command in the expedition."—Affidavit of Washington P. Gregg
(1843) in Ibid., 116. Thornton (Oregon and California, II, 16.) also declared that
Captain Bonneville was among those enrolled. Lyman (Hist, of Oregon, III, 73)
said that Bonneville's expedition was "perhaps but remotely connected with
Kelley's effort"; but it does not appear that Kelley made any such claim. He
did claim that Thomas Shaw, supercargo on the ship Lagoda of Boston, met Captain John A. Sutter in San Francisco and told him of his exploration of the
interior of California and of his plan to extend his colonizing activities into that
region, and that it was upon Shaw's advice that Sutter sealed «t Sacramento.—
Settlement of Oregon), 53, 69; Petition, 1866: 7.
5 Settlement of Oregon, 64.
6 John B. Wyeth, Oregon, 4-5.
7 Young, 90. fei'fcsw/S Hall Jackson Kelley
to the effect of Kelley's writings upon the popular mind, John
B. Wyeth said that "there were circles of people, chiefly among
young farmers and journeymen mechanics, who were so thoroughly imbued with these extravagant notions of making a
fortune by only going over land to the other side of the globe,
to the Pacific Ocean, that a person who expressed a doubt of
it was in danger of being either affronted, or, at least, accused
of being moved by envious feelings. After a score of people
had been enlisted in this Oregon expedition, they met together .
to feed and to magnify each other's hopes and visionary notions, which were brought up to a high degree of extravagance,
so that it was hardly safe to advise or give an opinion adverse
to the scheme."8 And Mr. John Bach McMaster tells us that
in the debate in the Massachusetts legislature in 1830 on the
question of building a railroad from Boston to Albany, "a
member declared that the road ought to be constructed in order
to keep the people from going to Oregon; that an association
of active, enterprising men had been formed to colonize that
country, and that four thousand [!] families had engaged to
go."9 Nevertheless, he expresses the belief that "the circulars
and notices of Kelley and the overland journey of Wyeth
aroused but little public interest in the Oregon country."10
As already stated, Kelley's plans, as set forth in the General
Circular, included provisions for schools to which Indian children would be admitted, and for an "education or Indian fund"
and a "religious fund." In 1831 he published in Zion's Herald, "a series of letters addressed to a member of congress,"
presenting his plans for the settlement of Oregon. These were
followed by other articles in 1832 calling for missionaries to
accompany the expedition. The New England Conference of
the Methodist Episcopal church thereupon appointed "two
pious  men,"  Spalding and Wilson,  as missionaries  to  the
8 Wyeth,  58.
9 McMaster,  United States, VI,  109.
10 Ibid., 112.    See Niles? Register,_XL, <
Republican as to the proposed expedition.
37 (1831), quoting from the St. Lo\ 46
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
Indians of Oregon.11 It is possible, however, that Lyman was
right when he said of Kelley:
"He expressed himself in a manner not easily understood
by the religious people of America. His colony schemes and
bills for appropriations of land, and numerous secular arrangements ; and his incessant political agitations struck the churches
as the main object held in his view, and that his call upon the
churches was rather a second thought. The religion of that
period was intensely unworldly and sought a most conventional, or traditional, expression. Reformation, with demands
for which the country was being belabored, was not recognized
as of a religious nature."12
To Kelley there was little difference between honest doubt
and active opposition, and the stupendous nature of his plans
and his earnest manner of presenting them alike put obstacles
in his way. The very nature of the man aroused antagonism
on the part of the indifferent, and led those who would have
listened to a less vehement prophet to withhold their confidence.
Platform presentation by a man of convincing manner is an
effective sort of propaganda. But Kelley was not the man
for such a task, for he was temperamentally incapable of describing his plans without vigorous and general denunciation
of all who disagreed with him. At times his manner became
hysterical, and in after years he admitted that his mental condition had been a "near approximation to insanity."13 Of his experiences while on lecture tour, he said: "My adversaries
were everywhere on the alert. They watched every movement of mine, pursuing me from city to city, laying every
plan to vex and worry me, to alienate friends and turn them
from and against me, and to discourage those who had enlisted
for Oregon   .    .    .    and to turn them from their purpose."14
Why  was the enterprise opposed,  and who opposed  it?
ii Affidavit of William C. Brown, former editor of Zion's Herald (1843)
Kelley, Memorial, 1848: 8; Settlement of Oregon, 63-4.
12 Lyman, III,  132.
13 Settlement of Oregon, 15.
14 Ibid., 24. Hall Jackson Kelley 47
Kelley supplied the answer, which to his mind at least was
convincing. "Its interest conflicted with those of certain fur
companies, British and American, and of persons concerned in
the commerce of the N. Pacific."15 Then there was "the hireling press."
"It was represented in the leading newspapers and periodicals that Kelley was deceiving the people—his plans were
chimerical—was an idle schemer—a mad man; that hardship
and privations would attend at every step the expedition;
and that perpetual suffering would be the lot of young and
old through the first generation. By such falsehoods and
calumnies as these, I was made the object of scorn and contempt of persons of every age and rank—the derision of youth
whose fathers I would have 'disdained to have sit with the
dogs of my flocks.' "16
This abuse was not confined to the ephemeral newspapers.
It extended even to the dignified New England Magazine,
which in February and April, 1832, published two articles17
from the pen of a writer who chose to hide behind the initials
"W. J. S." To find the equal of this writer in bitter denunciation coupled with smug confidence in his own point of view,
we must go back to Jeffrey and the Edinburgh Review. In
one particular, however, the caustic Scot differed from his
Yankee contemporary; he had vision. To the mind of our
new-world tory, civilization had arrived at its apogee about
1832. It remained for all comfortable New Englanders to be
content with their lot, and for all others to rest assured that
whatever they might lack at home among their own people,
they were unlikely to find elsewhere.   There have been such
15 Petition, 1866: 2. "The literary bureau of the Hudson's Bay Company,
moreover, took especial pains to collect and republish everything derogatory to
Oregon which was said on either side of the Atlantic, but particularly on the
American side. From 1800 to 1846 it pursued the same policy in Oregon which
it had practiced in Canada for two centuries. For the protection of the beaver
it used all its power to keep settlers out."—Harvey, On the Road to Oregon,
Atlantic Monthly, C V, 634.
16 Kelley, Hist, of the Colonization of Oregon, 20; Wyeth,  12.
17 Kelley also referred to an article published in February, 1831.—Settlement
of Oregon, 24. But the first number of the magazine was not issued until July,
1831. mm
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
preachers since the beginning of time, and yet man has continued to migrate and to benefit thereby.
In the first of these articles, it was questioned whether the
Oregon emigrants would ever get as far as St. Louis; for
they must first pass through a much finer country than Oregon, where they could buy two hundred acres of fertile land
and establish themselves among a kindred people for less than
the further expenses of their journey. From St. Louis to the
Columbia the proposed route was traced in detail, and if anything was omitted from the list of horrible contingencies, it
has escaped notice. Starvation, torrential rivers, hostile Indians, wild animals, and winter in the mountains were to contribute to the hazards and hardships of the expedition. Doubt
was expressed as to the existence of the South Pass as stated
upon the authority of Major Pilcher. Should any of the emigrants finally reach their destination, how were they to dispossess the Indians, how would they be governed, how would
they sustain themselves until the harvest of their first crop?
Should they succeed in raising a surplus of grain, where would
they find a market? In Japan? "Japan, quotha." Did they
not know that there was only one Japanese port open, and
that to the Dutch ? In India ? No; in India the lower classes
lived on about a penny a day, and the soil was unexcelled. As
to the market for lumber in the Spanish-American countries,
was there not lumber in Peru and Chili ? On the other hand
there was New England.    Said the oracle:
"We had thought that in New England, especially, sickness
and unavoidable accidents were the only causes for fear. Here
education is more encouraged than anywhere else. The helpless poor, even those whom vice has rendered so, are not suffered to starve. All this is well; very well; but it seems we
can do better. At least, so say, and perhaps think, the projectors of the intended expedition to the mouth of the Columbia
"A gentleman, for whose talents and ambition his native
land does not afford sufficient scope, has been employing his Hall Jackson Kelley
leisure in devising schemes to better the condition of his fellow
countrymen. His studies have not been in vain; if his plans
should prove practicable, nations yet to be will bless him as
their father and benefactor.    .    .    .
"We can see no advantage in Oregon which the emigrant
may not secure in the state of Maine. The sea washes the
shore of both. The soil is good in both. There are fisheries
pertaining to both. If the climate of Oregon is milder, it is
not proved that it is better. There is waste land in both. There
is plenty of timber in both. Maine has these advantages. Her
inhabitants are under the protection of the laws. They are
numerous enough to protect each other. They have free communication with every part of the world. There is no art or
science of which she does not possess at least the rudiments.
All that can be done in Oregon, within a hundred years, is
already done in Maine. . . ,18 We do not know that the
prime mover of this folly is actuated by any evil motive; we
do not believe it. We look upon him as an unfortunate man,
who, deluded himself, is deluding others, and conceive it our
duty to warn those who are about to follow him on the road
to ruin."
Nor was logic the only means adopted to convince the prospective emigrant of his folly. There was the appeal to authority, so convincing to those who are already convinced.
"The project of a settlement on the Columbia river has been
repeatedly before Congress, and has been pronounced visionary
by the wisdom of the nation. At this present session, such an
opinion has been expressed by one of the best and greatest
1 men in the country."19
In the second article the critic devoted his attention to the
Geographical Sketch and the General Circular, which it would
18 —Twelve years after this was written, two New Englanders, one from
Boston and the other from Portland, Maine, established themselves on the west
bank of the Willamette. Each wanted to name the new town after his old
home, and the dispute was settled by flipping a coin. One can only wonder if
"W. J. S." lived long enough to learn of this fact.
19 W. J. S., Oregon Territory, New England Magazine, 123-32; Settlement of
> Oregon, 103-6. 50
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
seem he had not read before writing the first one. There is a
running comment on the text, with sweeping denials of statements of fact and sarcastic flings at Kelley as one whose
hallucination was "so strong as totally to obnubiate his faculties."
"Mr. Kelley assures us that he is not mad, as has generally
been supposed, and that he speaks what he believes to be the
truth. Our opinion is hereby improved in two particulars,
though we can only reconcile them by two suppositions,—that
a man may repeat a tale of his own invention till he believes it
to be true,—and that what is not truth to one man, may be
truth to another.    .    .    .
"We suppose that Mr. Kelley is to be governor of the new
territory, or one of the head chiefs and beloved men, or at
least, that he will be allowed to pocket as much of the before-
mentioned stock as will remunerate him for his disinterested
efforts in favor of the good people of New England, and natives
of Oregon. . . . 'Falsehood flies half round the globe,
while Truth is putting on her sandals.' The fallacies of Mr.
Kelley have been received as truth, by the whole country, and
there is reason to fear that interference may come too late."20
The interference not only did not come too late; it was not
ijeven necessary, for Kelley's project never had in it the germ of
life.    The date of departure was again postponed; this time
to June 1, for congress still deferred action.   Hostile criticism
in the press continued and increased in bitterness.
"Such vile sayings as these, and the reports of my wicked
adversaries in high places, whose influence in the way of
whisper spread like contagion over the length and breadth of
the land, panic-struck my followers and turned them back,
every one of them, and turned the few who had promised
20 W. J. S., Geographical Sketch of Oregon, New England Magazine, II, 320-6.
Cf. memoirs of Wyeth and Kelley and the report of Slacum, all based upon personal observation, in Committee on Foreign Affairs, supplemental report, 6-22, 29-61.
25 cong. 3 sess. H. rep. 101.       t Hall Jackson Kelley
contributions to my funds, from their benevolent purpose; but
not the projector of the Oregon enterprise from, his."21
The underlying cause for the failure has been well stated
by Mr. Frederic G. Young, who says "Kelley . . . wished
to transplant a Massachusetts town to Oregon and make it the
nucleus of a new state. He hoped to repeat with appropriate
variations the history of the Puritan colony of Massachusetts
Bay. The New Englander of the nineteenth century, however,
was not so ready to sacrifice himself for an idea as had been
his progenitors of the seventeenth. Unless Kelley could organize conditions so that success seemed certain, he could not
expect the enthusiasm of his followers to bear them on. Such
conditions he could not organize."22
As early as November 12, 1831, Wyeth began to doubt the
success of the expedition, for in a letter to his brother he said,
"In case the contemplated colonization project should fail it is
still our intention to go to the new country, in which case we
shall form ourselves into a Trading Company in furs."23 Again
on December 5, 1831, he declared that the plan to join the two
expeditions was ill-advised, for with women and children in
the party, progress would be slower, and winter would come
on before the mountains could be crossed. He accordingly
decided to cut loose from Kelley and with a party of fifty men
leave St. Louis in the spring. By December 19, he had enrolled thirty-one men for his expedition. In a letter of February 10, 1832, to John Ball, he declared, "I see no probability
that Mr. Kelley's party will move at present. They have made
no preparation as yet, nor do I believe they can ever make
provision for moving such a mass as they propose."24 In the
meantime Kelley, under date of February 7, had written telling
21 Settlement of Oregon, 106. "The benevolent purposes of the munificent
were changed. The persons enlisted and most of my friends and patrons were
panic-struck, and deserted the cause."—Colonization of Oregon, 20. Kelley had already invested $300 in the brig John Q. Adams in connection with the sea expedition, an amount which he never recovered.—Ibid., 21; Narrative of Events and
Difficulties, 7; Petition,  1866: 3.
22 Young, xvii-xviii.
23 Ibid. 5.
24 Ibid., 8-9, 12, 36. 52
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
him of his hopes of congressional action. Wyeth's reply, dated
February 13, was:
"However well affairs are going at Washington matters
little to me. Anything they can do will come too late for my
purposes. My arrangements are made to leave here 1st March
and I shall not alter them, neither can I delay on my route.
"I wish you well in your undertaking but regret that you
could not have moved at the time and in the manner first
proposed. When you adopted the plan of taking across the
continent in the 1st expedition women and children I gave up
all hope that you would go at all and all intention of going
with you if you did. The delays inseparable from a convoy
of this kind are so great that you could not keep the mass
together and if you could the delay would ruin my projects."25
To this Kelley responded on February 24, and Wyeth replied
under date of March 3:
"I am perfectly well aware of the importance of cooperation
of all the Americans who may go to that country but I am
well convinced that this thing has been delayed too long already
and that further delay will defeat my enterprise besides not
being in the habit of setting two times to do one thing. I am
quite willing to join your emigration but will not delay here
or at St. Louis. You very much mistake if you think I wish
to desert your party, but you must recollect that last 1st Jany
was set at first as the time of starting."26
Here was a man of decision and force of character; one
who had the qualities of leadership which Kelleylacked. Had
Kelley possessed flexibility enough and judgment enough to
put Wyeth at the head of his expedition and to follow his
advice, the result would not have been different as far as the
settlement of Oregon was concerned, but it would have been
far different as to Kelley's acknowledged place in that movement.    On March 29 Kelley wrote to ask Wyeth to take with
25 Ibid., 39.
26 Ibid., 43. Hall Jackson Kelley 53
him some of the men enrolled on the books of the Society. To
this Wyeth answered on April 8:
"I will in conformity with my first assurance given in my
letter of the 23rd ulto. take charge of ten of your emigrants.
Any further arrangement must be with the persons who are
disposed to go out. My reason for this is that I am bound
by my engagements to my Company and must consult them
in regard to any arrangements on the subject but you need
not by this understand me positively to refuse it as I do not
know how the Co. will be disposed to act.
"I shall at all times be disposed to further an emigration to
the Columbia as far as I deem, in actual knowledge of the
country, that it will be for the advantage of the emigrants,
but before I am better acquainted with the facts I will not
lend my aid in inducing ignorant persons to render their situation worse rather than better."27
Wyeth set out for Oregon in the spring of 1832. With him
went his brother Dr. Jacob Wyeth, of Howell Furnace, New
Jersey; John Ball, a native of New Hampshire and a practicing lawyer of New York; Calvin Tibbetts, a native of Maine
and a stone-cutter, and J. Sinclair, of New York, all of whom
had planned to go with Kelley. Sinclair left the party at Independence, Missouri, and Dr. Wyeth turned back at Pierre's
Hole.28 Wyeth returned late in 1833, and led a second expedition to Oregon in 1834. With him went a party of missionaries led by Rev. Jason Lee and his nephew, Rev. Daniel
Lee, who had been induced by the principal of Wesleyan
academy, at Wilbraliam, Massachusetts, to respond to the call
made by the Methodists for missionaries to the Indians in
27 Ibid., 51. It would seem that Kelley did not acknowledge failure until the
very last; for while this correspondence was going on, he continued to advertise.
As late as March 19 he announced in the National Intelligencer: "Those persons
desirous of emigrating to Oregon in the first expedition, are notified that the committee appointed for the purpose of making arrangements, have determined upon
leaving on Monday, 2nd of April, for St. Louis. The expedition will leave St.
Louis on the 10th of May."
28 Wyeth, 51, 57; Settlement of Oregon, 64-5; Colonization of Oregon, 6-7.
Upon their arrival at Fort Vancouver, Ball opened the first school in that country.
Later he and Tibbetts engaged in farming on a tract above the falls of the Willamette, but gave up the attempt after the first year. Ball then returned to the
East, but Tibbetts remained and taught school in the Canadian settlement. 54
Fred Wilbur Powell, A. M.
Oregon.29 This was the whole measurable result of Kelley's
efforts through the American Society For Encouraging A Settlement Of The Oregon Territory.
29 Thornton, II, 21-2. The immediate cause of this call was the report, widely
circulated in the religious press, of the Nez Perce and Flathead Indians who
visited St. Louis in 1831, ostensibly to learn of the white men's religion.—McMaster,
VI, 112-3. Kelley's version of this incident was: "The late Major (Pilcher, an
Indian agent in the Platte country, gave, while at Washington, in 1839, the following version of the story of the Nez Perce Indian delegation. Four thoughtless and
sottish Indians, accompanied Capt. Sublette's party of hunters to his (Pilcher's)
agency. They seemed to have no particular object in traveling. Sublette refused
to let them proceed further in his company unless they would there obtain a
passport, showing a good reason for a visit into the States. Such a passport would
be of prevailing advantage to him. Mr. Pilcher, wishing to favor the Captain's
interest, furnished the Indians with a reason and excuse for their visit to St. Louis."
—Settlement of Oregon, 63; Narrative of Events and Difficulties, sup. appx. A.
But whether true or false, this story had in it the element of dramatic appeal that
was necessary to make effective the movement started by Kelley for the betterment
and Christianizing of the Indians of the Northwest. The two missionaries who had
been chosen to accompany Kelley went instead to Liberia.—Settlement of Oregon,
\X2.    See also Marshall, Acquisition of Oregon, II, 8-10.
{To Be Continued.)
By Leslie M. Scott.
History of farming, from pioneer days, shows need of conserving
and replenishing land fertility—This Valley the starting place of
agriculture in Pacific Northwest—Protracted wheat growing and
its consequences—Beginnings of agriculture and development
under British and American control—Progress in upbreeding of
horses, cattle, sheep and hogs since early settlement—Effects
of local conditions on individual character of farmers and modern
evolution    therefrom—Causes    of    retarded   community    growth.
Eighty-five years of farming in the Willamette Valley have
enforced the old-new lesson-necessity of soil conservation.
This area, one of the most productive in the world, with its
ages-old store of soil wealth, yielded to the pioneers immense
crops during half a century. Then the dwindling return and
the retarded progress of the community brought home the
ancient truth that the energies which growing plants take
from land, however rich, some day must be given back; and
it is better to give them back every year than every quarter or
This problem of continuous soil repair is now the uppermost one in the Willamette Valley. Farmers are learning to
master the problem on these oldest agricultural acres of the
Northwest. They are also coming to know the needs of local
adaptation, for there are many variations of soil, drainage and
altitude that must be studied to find out what treatment or
what crop is best
Speaking broadly, the chief needs are three—clover, lime
and drainage, and all three together. Then, too, livestock
enters into the economy of things—the respective utilities of
hogs, dairy cattle, and sheep; also vetch, kale, rape, rye; apples,
pears, cherries, etc. All this proves the far departure from
the pioneer condition wherein grain was the staple and the
stable product of Willamette Valley farms. Twenty years
ago, the Willamette Valley was a heavy exporter of wheat
and flour; now it is a heavy importer. 56
Leslie M. Scott
The march of the new time is seen also in the election of
Oregon's new Governor—a scientific professor of soils and
farm animals, and, withal, a practical farmer. Many years
he was dean of the activities of the State Agricultural College,
and spokesman of the regeneration of the Willamette Valley.
Dr. Withycombe, the farmer-Governor, knows the problem
fully. His knowledge begins with pioneer history, in which
he is well informed, through study and personal contact. His
father, Thomas Withycombe, was a pioneer of the later settlement period in Washington County, and the son there grew
into the life of Oregon.
It seems a far glance backward to 1810, when white men
made the first gardens in "Old Oregon"—now comprising
Oregon, Washington, Idaho and part of Montana—at Oak
Point, on Columbia River. These first white tillers of the soil
were the Winship brothers, of Brighton, Mass. They planted
seeds and started a settlement. But the June freshet of the
Columbia River soon ended the enterprise.
Next year, the first farm animals came to old Oregon—
late in March, 1811—brought from Sandwich Islands on the
ship Tonquin, by the fur-trading party of John Jacob Astor.
These were fifty hogs (Franchere's Narrative, p. 98) and they
were landed near the later settlement of Astoria, presumably
in the vicinity of Point Adams, where a pen was built to confine them. In that same Spring the Astor newcomers planted
radishes, turnips and other garden vegetables; also twelve
potatoes. The harvest of these twelve potatoes was 190; in
the year 1812, five bushels; in the year 1813, fifty bushels.
Besides potatoes, only turnips and radishes matured. This
American post, Astoria, fell into the hands of the British as
a war prize in 1813, and these first American efforts in agriculture ended.
It seems again a far glance backward to the next farm work
in Old Oregon—at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, in Soil Repair in Willamette Valley 57
1825. This time the agriculturists were British, headed by Dr.
John McLoughlin, chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In March? 1825, they planted potatoes and two bushels of peas,
which they probably brought up river from Astoria. In the
fall of that year Dr. McLoughlin received overland—via the
canoe and saddle route of the period—one bushel of wheat, one
bushel of oats, one bushel of barley, one bushel of Indian corn
and one quart of timothy seed. All produced well next season,
excepting the corn; this failure was ascribed to cool nights and
poor soil. It may be added that this particular location was
not well adapted to corn; others in the Pacific Northwest are
more favorable.
By 1828 the wheat crop had increased to such an extent
that it was no longer necessary to import that grain for food;
nor flour, because a primitive gristmill was built that year at
Fort Vancouver. Thus we note the beginning of the gristmill
business in Old Oregon. The first sawmill had been built
there the year before.
Thus began the wheat-raising business, which developed, in
the course of more than half a century, to the chief activity of
the Willamette Valley, and later, of Eastern Washington. In
the Valley, the business left effects which were injurious to the
soil and to the life of the community and made necessary its
abandonment as the leading industry. In Eastern Washington and part of Eastern Oregon the wheat crop had been pursued some thirty years without these deleterious effects.
The British gradually extended their farming operations
over Old Oregon—to Willamette Valley in 1830; to Nisqually
(East of Olympia) in 1833, and to Cowlitz farms (near present
town of Toledo) and Fort Colville, about the same time. In
October, 1835, considerable progress had been made at Fort
Vancouver, as evidenced by the following enumeration: there
were 450 cattle, 100 horses, 200 sheep, 40 goats, 300 hogs, 5000
bushels of wheat, 1300 bushels of potatoes, 1000 bushels of 58
Leslie M. Scott
barley, 1000 bushels of oats, 2000 bushels of peas and large
variety of garden vegetables; also seedling fruits—apples,
peaches, grapes, strawberries, etc. A dairy there contained
50 cows. At Fort Colville were a five-acre garden patch, a
water gristmill, and a supply of hogs. Operations at Cowlitz
farms went on quite extensively also; we have the testimony
of Sir George Simpson, Governor-in-Chief of Hudson's Bay
Company, that in 1841 there were at that place: 1000 acres
under the plow; a large dairy; 8000 bushels of wheat; 4000
bushels of oats and much barley, potatoes, and other products.
There were then at the farm at Puget Sound, 6000 sheep, 1200
cattle and many hogs and horses. The British used these
supplies not only for their own consumption, but also for
trade with the Russians in Alaska.
Until 1846 the British and the Americans held Oregon
jointly; that is, they had equal right to occupy the land and
use its resources. Up to 1843 law and order were preserved
by the British Hudson's Bay Company, through Dr. McLoughlin, chief factor at Fort Vancouver. After that, governmental
functions were exercised by a Provisional Government, instituted by American farmer-settlers, until establishment of the
Oregon territorial government in 1849, following the treaty
of 1846 with Great Britain, under which the United States
secured the Old Oregon country up to the present boundary
of Canada.
Until 1835 agriculture was wholly in British hands, except
that John Ball, an American, raised a crop of wheat near
Champoeg (west of Aurora, in Willamette Valley) in 1833,
on what was called French Prairie. The Hudson's Bay Company had extended its farming operations to French Prairie in
1830, by locating there a number of its retired fur hunters,
many of them bearing French names, from the old French
settlements of Canada; hence "French Prairie." The earliest
independent American settler was Ewing Young, who had
crops growing in Chehalem Valley (near Newberg) in the
Spring of 1835.    In that same year, Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, Soil Repair in Willamette Valley
an American, who hoped to establish a business in Oregon
rivaling that of the Hudson's Bay Company, had hogs, cattle,
and goats, from Sandwich Islands, and grain and garden
plants, at Wapato (Sauvie's) Island, on Columbia River.
Wyeth relinquished his outfit to the British Company, which
in 1841 had there a dairy of 100 cows. In the year that
Young and Wyeth were laying the foundations of American
agriculture—1835—Jason Lee, the American Methodist missionary, began farming near Salem. Dr. Marcus Whitman,
the American Board missionary (Presbyterian-Congregational-
Dutch Reformed) did the same near Walla Walla in 1837.
Whitman and his associates were massacred by Indians in
1847, and after that, little or nothing was done in farming
in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington for twenty or
twenty-five years. Progress in Willamette Valley and at
Puget Sound, however, went on.
After these pioneer American farmers—Young, Wyeth, Lee,
Whitman—came a growing influx of American agriculturists
from the Middle West, until their ascendancy over the British
resulted in their establishment of the Provisional Government
of 1843 and in the boundary treaty of 1846, under which
British abandoned claims north of Columbia River as far as
the present Canadian line. American farmer-settlers spread
to Puget Sound with the Simmons party in 1845; to Umpqua
Valley with the Applegates in 1849, and to Rogue River Valley
in 1852. The most successful farmer of the Simmons party
was George Bush, a colored man of rare intelligence, industry
and force of character.
The Willamette Valley was the first part of the Oregon
Country to attract settlers, and thence they spread over the
Northwest. This was natural and necessary. This valley was
a paradise for pioneers. Nature had endowed it with every
possible attraction. Moreover, through the rivers, it was accessible from the sea.   The first settlers in the Pacific North- 60
Leslie M. Scott
west were agriculturists and they found that the Willamette
Valley opened to them better opportunities than elsewhere.
California was still Mexican territory (until 1848). Puget
Sound was difficult of access and was slowly settled from the
Columbia by way of the Cowlitz. East of the Cascade Mountains, Indians were hostile and expelled the settlers; besides,
that region was far distant from the sea and from the ships
that were essential to agricultural needs and commerce. Finally, discoveries of gold took a white population there, and river
steamboats on the Columbia hastened the opening of the
country in the 60s. Military posts then protected the white
population. After 1882-83 railroads greatly stimulated the
growth of the country. Meanwhile, beginning in the early
70s, wheat growing in Wasco, Umatilla and Walla Walla
counties was developing an immense industry and making
that country one of the world's great granaries. Extension
of the railroad to Puget Sound in 1889 led to quick and
enormous development of the country about that great estuary
and to creation of ports of commerce there.
Western Oregon, the seat of the original settlement, has
made slow progress. Likewise the Coast region of Oregon.
The latter has lacked roads and railroads, its ports have been
neglected and its soils have been turned to little use. Eastern
Oregon contains an immense area that has been little utilized,
except for sheep and cattle.
The favorite product of the pioneer farmers, in Willamette
Valley, was wheat. This for several reasons: It was a
ready article for sea export; was a convenient measure of
value and medium of exchange; could be hauled long distances over rough roads. Moreover, wheat was well adapted
to the soil and the long dry weather of Summer. It was the
one "best crop" for the pioneers. They could not have made
both ends meet with any other. Not lack of wisdom was their
portion, as has since been laid up to them by some critics, Soil Repair in Willamette Valley
but stern necessity. Indeed, the early settlers were a race
wise in their generation. And their lot was hard enough
even in a fertile land. The lot of pioneers is hard everywhere.
Their continuous wheat-growing was followed by the inevitable—the so-called exhaustion of the soil. This, in turn,
was followed by realization of the cause and by cessation of
wheat. But farmers have learned that "exhaustion" is the
.wrong word for the condition of their soils. As their Governor,- Dr. Withycombe, has been pointing out to them many
years, they need to restore the humus, the organic matter, that
the long wheat-growing has taken away. There has been
no chemical change, no mineral loss of importance in the soil.
The restorers are clover and vetch, chiefly clover, with the
aid of lime and drainage. The achievement need not be difficult nor highly expensive, nor require long time. Twenty
or thirty acres a year in clover will work wonders. And be it
remembered that clover is a native plan in the Willamette
Valley, although the red variety was imported. The first
red clover seed was brought here by Charles W. Bryant, to
Washington County, Oregon, from New York, in 1854. The
first importation of white clover came with J. L. Parrish,
the Methodist missionary, in 1840. Large quantities of lime-
rock are cheaply available in Southern Oregon.
Livestock is due to contribute largely to the improvement
of agriculture in Willamette Valley. Always since pioneer
settlers came, farm animals have been first auxiliaries in country life; there is not much really new for them now to do.
But their functions can be enlarged and increased. In the
departure from grain farming, cattle and hogs have proved
themselves a most helpful resource; also sheep and goats.
The herds and flocks of the Willamette Valley are among
the finest of the world. And it should be added that in the
breeding of horses, best animals are produced for heavy draft.
Much has been done also in the line of speed horses. Oregon
is famed in thoroughbred animals. 62
Leslie M. Scott
The early domestic animals were, as may be supposed, of
"grade" stock. Although not blue-blooded, nor blue-ribboned,
they were indispensable to pioneer life. The Willamette
Valley proved itself a paradise for the domestic animals of
the early settlers. There were, in the soil and in the vegetation and in the air in the mild climate, elements that stimulated the growth and the increase of the bone and sinew. It
may seem strange to say that even without infusion of "better
blood" from elsewhere, there was remarkable improvement in
size, strength, and form in the succeeding generations. Particularly noticeable was this in horses.
The first domestic animals brought to Old Oregon appear
to have been the hogs, which as already noted, arrived at
Astoria in 1811, on Astor's Tonquin. The British, in 1824-25,
began fur-trading and agricultural activities at Vancouver, on
the Columbia, whence they expanded to French Prairie, on
Willamette River, to Nisqually, at Puget Sound, and to Cowlitz Farms, on Cowlitz River. The British brought to Oregon
cattle, sheep and hogs, which multiplied fast. But it was not
until 1837 that any considerable supply of cattle was available.
In that year, Ewing Young brought a herd from California.
These were known as "Spanish cattle" and their blood remained in Oregon long; perhaps is flowing yet. They were
hardy and vicious and made much trouble for the settlers.
Many went wild and roamed the woods. With the arrival
of American pioneers from the Middle West, beginning in
the 40s, came the more docile breed of Shorthorn or Durham
cattle. David M. Guthrie, of Polk County, pioneer of 1846,
was probably the earliest to bring in high-bred Shorthorns.
In 1847 John Wilson brought another fine herd from Illinois.
Captain Bensen and J. C. Geer, Sr., also brought good cattle
that year. The first large influx of cattle came across the
plains in 1846. I am informed by Mr. George H. Himes
that the first Shorthorn bull was driven north of Columbia
River in 1857, by S. D. Ruddell, of Thurston County, Washington.
Not until the early 70s were pure-bred cattle introduced in Soil Repair in Willamette Valley
the Northwest. In 1871 W. S. Ladd and S. G. Reed imported Shorthorn, Ayershire and Jersey infusions for their
stock farm in Washington County. In 1870 Benjamin Stewart
brought Devons to Yamhill County. The breeders that have
contributed to the improvement of Willamette Valley herds
since that time have been numerous and a large volume could
be written of their achievements. Suffice it here to say, the
cattle industry in the Willamette Valley has been built slowly
and on a lasting basis. In the dairying branch much has
been done and much is promised for the future. It may be in
place to note that an important fodder product for this work
is kale, which was introduced at Milwaukie in 1876 by Richard
Scott. Another highly valuable food is vetch, which was
introduced here in 1870 by William Chalmers, and which
grows very luxuriantly in Willamette Valley. This pea plant
has a first cousin in the wild pea which thrives here abundantly in brush places, thus indicating the favorable natural
conditions. The total value of cattle in Oregon was given in
the 1910 census as $17,570,685.
Sheep breeding began in Old Oregon with the early pioneers, both British and American. In 1910 the value of sheep
in the three states, as summarized in the Federal census was:
Oregon, $12,213,942; Idaho, $15,897,192; Washington, $1,-
931,170. In Oregon, sheep were third after horses and cattle
as the chief livestock assets. In Idaho, sheep were second
after horses.
The early sheep in Oregon were merinos. The first appear
to have been imported by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833,
by sea. In 1842 Joseph Gale (American) drove a flock of
sheep overland to Oregon from California. These were
Spanish merinos. The first sheep driven across the plains
—in 1844—were those of Joshua Shaw and son, Alva C. R.
Shaw, of Polk County. Pure-bred merinos first came in 1851,
brought from Ohio by Hiram Smith.   In 1853 R. R. Thomp- 64
Leslie M. Scott
son brought to Oregon across the plains a large flock, assisted
by David P. Thompson, both of whom later were famous in
the Pacific Northwest. Other early breeders of pure-bred
sheep were J. L. Parrish, T. L. Davidson, and Ralph C. Geer.
Early in 1860 R. J. Jones and S. B. Rockwell imported purebred American and French merinos from Addison County,
Vermont. I am indebted to Governor Withycombe for the
following copy of a bill of sale for some of these sheep:
"March 31, 1860. We have this day sold to Joseph Holman
and J. L. Parrish, one French merino buck, $500; four
breeding ewes at $275, $1100; two young ewes (not in lamb),
$100; total $1700. Received payment in cash and notes.
(Signed) R. J. Jones, S. B. Rockwell."
It may be added that first-class live stock was present in
sheep considerably earlier than in cattle or hogs, or horses,
also that Oregon has long been a leading wool state and
that its combing wools have been excelled by none in the
In the foregoing, the advent of pure-bred cattle in 1870-71
has been noted. About the same time W. S. Ladd and S. G.
Reed imported from England prize-winner Berkshire and
Essex swine. Two years before, Thomas Cross, of Salem,
had also imported some high-bred Berkshires. It may be
noted that the Berkshire family was common in Oregon for
ten or fifteen years before these additions. As early as 1856
this kind of swine was here. The earliest hogs of the settlers were brought by Hudson's Bay Company, and old pioneers have many recollections of the troublesome beasts. No
fences would hold the hardy animals; they wandered wherever
their fancies took them and started many neighborhood enmities; out of this family of porkers developed the celebrated
"razor back"—a vigorous specimen that frequently went wild
in the forests and imitated its boar ancestors.
These "razor-backs" were too busy to let fat grow on their
bones.   They were always on the move and were rooters of Soil Repair in Willamette Valley
the first order of excellence, for which function they were
equipped with an uncommonly long snout. Tradition has it
—vouched for by humorous pioneers—that these beasts could
reach through a rail fence even to the ninth row of potatoes.
A breed known as the "China," mostly white, very prolific,
medium size, was known at Puget Sound, reputed to have
been imported in the early 40s from England. I am informed
by George H. Himes that David J. Chambers had "Chinas"
at Puget Sound when the Himes family arrived there in 1853.
In recent years the beginnings of large pork production have
started in Willamette Valley. While nearly every farmer has
had his swine from earliest pioneer times, he has grown
them usually in a small way. Not until the last few years
has he begun to enlarge this business, as the farmer long ago
did in the corn regions of the Middle West.
The most valuable group of farm animals has always been
that of horses. From earliest time these faithful allies of
agricultural life have thrived in Willamette Valley and elsewhere in Oregon. The pioneer horses were medium sized,
strong and fleet—a combination animal for all-round service.
Later came Clydesdale and Percheron and Belgian infusions.
The American horse, like the American citizen, is a mixture
of old-world families, and, as we are fond of saying that the
human family in America has been improved by the intermingling, we may say this just as truthfully of the horse
family. The English and the Dutch and the French colonists
in America brought over their favorite breeds of horses; so
did the Spaniards somewhat earlier, from whose importations spread the equines that were in possession of the Indians
when the whites began exploring the continent. The "Cayuse"
ponies of the Upper Columbia River probably did not precede
Lewis and Clark more than 150 years.
Although the pioneers used oxen for crossing the plains
in preference to horses for "prairie schooners," horses were 66
Leslie M. Scott
commonly employed and every immigrant planned either to
bring horses with him or to obtain them at his destination
in Oregon. The Middle West horses, evolved from 200 years
of rough pioneer life, were a vigorous breed and were much
improved through successive breeding in the Pacific Northwest. A good stallion came across the plains in 1843 with
John G. Baker, a native of Kentucky. This animal, while
not a thoroughbred, was a high class one. Another Kentucky stallion came across in 1851 with S. D. Ruddell from
Missouri, and was taken to Thurston County, Washington,
the next year. It may be in- point to say that just as Kentucky sent to Oregon through Illinois and Missouri a large
part of its pioneer settlers, so also it sent horses, and these
horses, like the citizens, were most valuable in the progress
of the country.
It may be appropriate here to note the methods of pioneer
harvesting in Old Oregon, inasmuch as the progress of farm
machinery always keeps pace with, or precedes, the growth of
an agricultural community. As may be supposed, the old-
time hand sickle and flails were in use in the earliest time. The
first cradles for mowing were brought by Jason Lee in 1840,
on the ship Lausanne, from New York. There were three
types of cradles in pioneer times- the "turkey-wing," with
handle almost straight; the "muley." with handle somewhat
crooked; the "grapevine," with handle much bent. Some of
the latter type are still in use. Late in the 50s the first mowing machines appeared and in the early 60s they had come
into general use. The threshing machine arrived nearly a
decade earlier. Thomas Otchin had one near Hillsboro in
1850. Chaff pilers were employed early. Dr. Whitman had
one in operation at Waiilatpu, near Walla Walla, in 1846. The
first chaff piler at Puget Sound was made by Isaac Wood
and sons, and used four and one-half miles east of Olympia,
in 1855. George W. Bush, the leader in farming at Puget
Sound, introduced the first mower and reaper in 1856. Nathan Soil Repair in Willamette Valley
Eaton used the second mower beginning in 1857. The first
thresher and separator was introduced north of the Columbia
at Cowlitz Farms in 1856, by T. W. Glasgow, Daniel J.
Hubbard, and John B. Forbes. This machine was brought
to Thurston County in June-July, 1857. Mr. George H.
Himes, now curator of the Oregon Historical Society, worked
on the machine in August, 1857, on the farm of David J.
Chambers, four miles east of Olympia. "The output of this
machine," writes Mr. Himes in a recent note, "was five
hundred bushels of wheat, or seven or eight hundred bushels
of oats a day, as against fifty and seventy-five bushels when
tramped out by horses and winnowed by the primitive
Apple and pear production in "train load lots" is a development of the last fifteen or twenty years. The pioneers grew
apples for home and local consumption; in the mining days
of California they shipped considerable quantities thither.
, But the "fancy" fruit packed in labeled boxes, filling whole
box cars and train loads, is a late idea of realization.
The pioneers found the Willamette Valley a paradise for
apples. A wild crab apple is native in Western Oregon, and
this wild fruit and the finest of cultivated grew in equal
luxuriance; indeed the late Harvey W. Scott, forty years
editor of the Portland Oregonian, used to tell of beautiful
large apples, grafted on the native stock, growing to fine
fruit beside the little crab apples on the same tree. Throughout the three Northwest states apples are probably more
widespread than any other fruit. From early pioneer times,
Oregon was named the "Land of Big Red Apples." They
had no enemies, neither worm nor aphis nor scale, and needed
little tillage. The origin of the fruit industry is commonly
ascribed as beginning with the "traveling nursery,' which
Henderson Luelling hauled from Missouri to Milwaukie, in
1847. In that same year J. C. Geer, Sr., carried to the Willamette Valley a bushel of apple seeds.    Mr. Ralph C. Geer 68
Leslie M. Scott
years afterward commended the Luelling nursery as having
brought "more wealth to Oregon than any ship that ever
entered the Columbia River" (History of Willamette Valley,
page 302).
As for the more rapid progress of agriculture in Eastern
Washington than in Oregon, the explanation lies in certain
natural and man-made differences. Between Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon, the advantage of low elevation is
on the side of the former. Besides, Eastern Washington is
better watered; the Columbia River traverses the whole
breadth of the country and with its tributaries has cut down
the general level below that of Eastern Oregon. Again, the
great railroad systems, terminating at Puget Sound, have
covered Eastern Washington with a network of lines and
branches, while in Eastern Oregon there has been little or no
railroad transportation to compare with it. These advantages have stimulated activity as nowhere in Oregon.
Wheat-raising did not bring about the old lethargy of the
Willamette Valley; was only a reacting symptom of it. The
real reason for wheat-raising there, was the fitness of soil and
Summer dryness to such crop; then unreadiness of the old
population to change methods of tillage; next, the lack of
"new blood" immigration. The easy farming of the pioneers
seems to have produced a race of descendants too easy-going.
Soil was so fertile and climate so mild that the children of
pioneers fell into lazy habits of farming. The new generation and a fresh race of newcomers are pulling away from
the old methods. They are restoring the soil and establishing the annual repair method; are cutting down the size of
farms and incidentally, thereby trying to reduce the labor
problem, have discarded the old idea that Summer dryness
necessitates grain growing; are learning how to conserve, Soil Repair in Willamette Valley 69
for the dry Summer, the heavy rainfall of the three other
seasons—this without artificial irrigation.
The pioneers were an active race, both in mind and in
body. They were sharply aware of the new inventions as
each came along and managed to bring them here, chiefly
by sea, despite the general poverty of the country in the 50s.
It would not be fair to judge the first generation of pioneers
from the example of their slip-shod descendants, who have
permitted the old farms in Willamette Valley to go unkempt
and farm machinery to rust and waste in the fields. The
first pioneers were not moss-backs; far from it. They were
a stirring race of men and women; their twenty-five hundred
mile trek across the plains shows them to have been hardy
and untiring; absence of crime among them shows their sense
of individual responsibility highly developed; also their regard for the golden rule. Marital infidelity was rare and
divorce was unknown. They toiled early and late, and thought
hardship the natural and inevitable portion. These habits
were produced through generations of hard work and individual thrift in the Middle West and in the Atlantic Coast
colonies. Their descendants in the Willamette Valley somehow did not inherit these characteristics, perhaps because life
here was "easy," on account of rich soil and mild climate.
It is well known that the sturdiest peoples are those which
have had to struggle hard against natural disadvantages,
such as those of Northern Europe. It seems not good for
men and women to live without effort. Perhaps there was
too much ease for tbe successors of the pioneers in the Willamette Valley. If so, this condition did not last long. The
soil after a while "petered out" and its possessors had to go
to work with a vim. In recent years they have been working to good purpose and the effects are good both on the
land and on the individual character.      THE QtJART£RLY
of the
Oregon Historical Society
JUNE, 1917
Copyright, 1917, by the Oregon Historical Society
I The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributor^ its pages.
^vg'G • ELLIOTT—Where Is Point Vancouver?   -
^€&N:$£? REES—Idaho—Meaning and Origin
HALL fACKSON KELLEY—Fred Wilbur Powell
^ERED WILBUR POWELL—Hall Jackson Kelley
GEO. H. HIMES—Obituaries ?
73- 83
'; £83-; 92
Entered at the post office at Portland, Oregon, as second-class matter;
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XVIII
JUNE, 1917
Number 2
Copyright, 1917, by the Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages.
By T. C. Elliott.
The text for this discussion will be found in "Voyage of
Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean," by Capt. George
Vancouver, Quarto Edition, London, 1798, Volume Two,
Chapter Three, Page 64, Line 33, et seq., as follows: "Having
now passed the sand bank I landed for the purpose of taking
our last bearings; a sandy point on the opposite shore bore S.
80 E., distant about two miles; this point terminating our view
of the river I named it after Captain Vancouver; it is situated
in latitude 45° 27', longitude 237° 50'."
Captain Vancouver is quoting the language of his lieutenant,
Wm. R. Broughton, then in command of "the Armed Tender
Chatham," and on detached duty making a survey of the
Columbia River, the first survey ever made of the channel of
the river above Gray's Bay near Astoria. The date of the
record is October 30th, 1792. Lieut. Broughton had left the
Chatham at anchor off what is now the Quarantine Station
opposite Astoria on the 24th of the same month and had
ascended the river with most of the crew in two boats, the
pinnace and cutter, making observations and soundings, and
bestowing names upon islands and tributary streams; and on
the day of this entry he had named the most prominent landmark in all Oregon, MT. HOOD.
The inquiry of the title is pertinent at this time for the fol- 74
T. C. Elliott
lowing reasons: The completion and popular use by tourists
of the Columbia River Highway eastward from Portland and
particularly the building of a public resort at Crown Point
on that highway serves to bring to the attention of people
from all parts of the world the wonderful scenic stretches
of the Columbia river both above and below that Point, and
it is very fitting that Point Vancouver be generally known as
a landmark of historic interest. No recent map, official or
commercial, of either Washington or Oregon or of the River,
designates such a Point, and no chart of the river issued by
the U. S. Government indicates it as such, and most of the
steamboat men now using the river have never heard of it
and know the place merely as Cottonwood Point. Also histories and historical narratives are being frequently published
showing a strange ignorance of the proper location of this
Point, confusing it with the site of the former Fort Vancouver
of the Hudson's Bay Company and the present city of Vancouver, twenty-five miles down stream. The latest histories
(oi the State of Washington, edited by C. O. Snowden and
i Edmond S. Meany, contain this error. Point Vancouver has
in fact been allowed to become unknown, physically, geographically and historically.
This prevailing ignorance may be attributed primarily to
lack of careful research, but incidentally to two other conditions: the minor physical prominence of the Point—low and
sandy and submerged during high stages of water—in the
immediate vicinity of well-known and prominent land-marks,
and the faulty record left by Capt. Vancouver. The latitude
and longitude being given, the location of the Point would
seem to be very easy of determination, but unfortunately the
recorded latitude would place it in the tall timber of Clackamas
County, about nine miles south of the Columbia river. The
longitude also is too far East, and nearer correct as to a promontory five or six miles to the northeastward. Capt. George
Vancouver was one of England's noted navigators and his
work of discovery was of great value, especially that in the Where Is Point Vancouver?
waters bordering upon Vancouver's Island, B. C, and in our
own so-called Puget's Sound, and his name is rightly honored.
But his death occurred while the manuscript of the original
edition of his "Voyage of Discovery" was being prepared for
publication, and the completion of that work fell to his brother.
In that way errors crept into the published charts and narrative, and in a second edition of six volumes the brother corrected some of these errors; but those relating to Point Vancouver were probably due to Mr. Broughton's instruments.
Mr. J. B. Tyrrell, of Toronto, a civil engineer of wide
experience, suggests to the writer that sextants and quadrants
in use in 1792 often had instrumental errors of a minute or
two, and that the chronometer used by Mr. Broughton could
not have been adjusted since the expedition left England.
Also "with regard to his survey up the river from the point
where he left the 'Chatham' the two longitudes given are
respectively at 236° 17^' (the Chatham) and 237° 50' (Point
Vancouver), or a difference of 1° 32y2'. The actual difference in longitude as shown on the charts and maps in my
possession is, £& far as I can measure it, exactly this amount,
and you will agree with me that in ascending a river where
the directions had all to be taken with the compass and the
distances had to be estimated such result shows marvelously
accurate work. On the whole, I would consider Broughton's
survey, considering the time spent on it and the means at his
disposal, such a survey as the best surveyors might be proud of."
It would be of interest in this connection to reproduce in
series the various maps indicating the Columbia river prior
to its actual discovery and when it was known merely as the
"River of the West or the Oregon"; for instance, the map
published in 1778 by Jonathan Carver in his "Travels," etc.
Upon such maps the course of the river was naturally only
a guess. The survey of Lieut. Broughton in 1792 made possible the first scientific chart ever drawn showing the actual
course of the river inland for a distance of more than one 76
T. C. Elliott
hundred miles and a map drawn from that chart is reproduced herewith, taken from those in the original edition of
Vancouver's "Voyage of Discovery."
The white men who next visited this part of the Columbia
river came to it from the interior, the members of the Lewis
and Clark Expedition in 1805-6. Captain William Clark was
the engineer of that party and the maps drawn by him are
remarkably accurate. These are contained in the Thwaites,
Edition of Lewis and Clark, published in 1904-5 by Dodd-
Mead & Company. The river was at practically the same stage
of water as in 1792, and it is not probable that many changes
took place in the channel and shore line between 1792 and
1805-6, considering the few during the hundred years since
that date. Lewis and Clark made no mention of Point Vancouver in their journals or maps.
The next record of the course of the Columbia river was
that made by the famous astronomer and geographer of the
Canadian "North-West Company," Mr. David Thompson, in
1811, and shown on the wonderful map drawn by him in the
years 1813-14, and printed in his "Narrative" recently published by the Champlain Society of Toronto, Canada. David
Thompson's visit was in the summer during a period of extremely high water; Celilo Falls were entirely submerged
that year. He was conversant with the survey of Lieut.
Broughton, for his journal entry of Saturday, July 13th, 1811,
written when camped just above Rooster Rock, reads:
"Camped at 8:5 P. M. a little above Point Vancouver." And
when returning up the river on Thursday, Jul. 25th, in company with David Stuart, Alex. Ross and others of the Pacific
Fur Company, he records: "middle of course turned N. E.
Yz m. to a good campment at 7 P. M., fine meadow land below
Point Vancouver." The fine meadows were at Washougal,
Washington; Mr. Thompson recorded the latitude and longitude of this encampment, but his map was too comprehensive
to include mention of Point Vancouver.
The next map of the Columbia river which may possibly IS
Where Is Point Vancouver?
be called scientific was that of Lieutenant Charles Wilkes,
Commander of the U. S. Exploring Expedition in 1841, and
covered the course of the river from Cape Disappointment
inland as far as the mouth of the Yakima river. Commander
Wilkes was a guest for some time at Fort Vancouver, and
doubtless drew much information from the officers of the
Hudson's Bay Company; and his subordinate, Lieutenant
Drayton, ascended the Columbia in company with Chief Factor
Peter Skene Ogden as far as Fort Walla Walla. Mr. Wilkes'
map places Point Vancouver a little below Cape Horn, the
most prominent landmark on the north side of the river in
that vicinity. The officers of the Hudson's Bay Company
infrequently mention Point Vancouver in the journals of their
travels up and down the Columbia river, and they knew and
assigned its proper location. Presumably Mr. Wilkes drew
his map from Mr. Drayton's report as to the most prominent
point of land in the vicinity and the longitude of Vancouver's
Necessary to this discussion is an intelligent knowledge
of Lieut. Broughton's movements on Oct. 30th, 1792, and that
part of Capt. Vancouver's narrative will now be reproduced
verbatim. The night of Oct. 29th-30th was spent by his party
on the Oregon shore opposite the lower end of Government
island. On the morning of the 30th they returned a mile
down stream, crossed the river and proceeded along the north
Oct. 29th. "At the several creek and branches they had
passed they lost successively most of their Indian companions, excepting one elderly chief, who, in the most civil and
friendly manner had accompanied them from the first, and
had a village still further up the river. Having received
many presents, he had become much attached to the party,
and, to manifest his gratitude, he now went forward to provide them with lodgings, and whatever acceptable refreshments his village might afford. About seven in the evening
he reached his habitation, where he much wished them to 78
T. C. Elliott
remain; but preferring a more secluded resting place, they
resorted to a shallow creek a mile further up the river, and
about eight miles from Belle Vue Point, where they passed
the night. Here it was low water about two, and high water
at half past five o'clock the next morning. Oct. 30th. At
seven they again departed, but were obliged to retire some
distance to clear a shoal spit that lies off this creek; after this
they proceeded to the northern shore. This shore was well
wooded, composed of stony beaches, and the soundings were
regular from 2 to 7 fathoms. The southern shore, though
low and sandy, was also well clothed with wood; the breadth
of the river was about a quarter of a mile, and its direction
was the same as before mentioned.
The wind blew fresh from the eastward, which, with the
stream against them, rendered their journey very slow and
tedious. They passed a small rocky opening1 that had a rock
in its center, about twelve feet above the surface of the water;
on this were lodged several large trees that must have been
left there by an unusually high tide. From hence a large
river bore S. 5 E., which was afterwards seen to take a south-
westwardly direction, and was named BARING'S RIVER2;
between it and the shoal creek is another opening3; and here
that in which they had rested stretched to the E, N. E., and
* had several small rocks in it. Into this creek4 the friendly old
chief who had attended them went to procure some salmon,
and they pursued their way against the stream, which had
now become so rapid that they were able to make but little
progress. At half past two they stopped on the northern shore5
to dine, opposite to the entrance of Baring's river. Ten canoes
with the natives now attended them, and their friendly old
chief soon returned and brought them an abundance of very
fine salmon.   He had gone through a rocky passage, and had
1 Now known as Camas Slough but really the river channel behind Lady's
2 The Sandy River, called by Lewis and Clark the Quick Sand River.
3 The river channel on  south  side of Government Island;   for some reason
Mr. Broughton did not recognize this as an island.
4 Camas Slough.
5 The party dined on the south side of Lady's Island opposite to the lower
or false mouth of Sandy River. Where Is Point Vancouver?
returned above the party, making the land on which they were
at dinner an island. This was afterwards found to be about
three miles long, and after the lieutenant of the Chatham, was
named JOHNSTONE'S ISLAND.6 The west point of Baring's river is situated in latitude 450 28', longitude 2370 41'7;
from whence the main branch takes rather an irregular course,
about N. 82 E.; it is near a half a mile wide, and in crossing
it the depth was from 6 to 3 fathoms. The southern shore
is low and woody, and contracts the river by means of a low
sandy flat that extends from it, on which were lodged several
large dead trees. The best passage is close to Johnstone's
island; this has a rocky bold shore, but Mr. Broughton pursued the channel on the opposite side, where he met with some
scattered rocks; these, however, admitted of good passage
between them and the main land; along which he continued
until towards evening, making little progress against the
stream. "Having now passed the sand bank," says Mr.
Broughton, "I landed8 for the purpose of taking our last bearings ; a sandy point on the opposite shore bore S. 80 E., distant
about two miles; this point terminating our view of the river,
I named it after Captain Vancouver; it is situated in latitude
450 27', longitude 2370 5o'9."
The same remarkable mountain10 that had been seen from
Belle Vue point again presented itself, bearing at this station
s. 67 E.; and though the party were now nearer to it by 7
leagues, yet its lofty summit was scarcely more distinct across
the intervening land, which was more than moderately elevated. Mr. Broughton honored it with Lord Hood's name;
its appearance was magnificent; and it was clothed in snow
from its summit, as low down as the high land, by which it
was intercepted, rendered it visible.   Mr. Broughton lamented
6 Now Lady's Island, opposite Camas, Washington, called by Lewis and
Clark Brant Island; Johnstone Straits in British Columbia waters was named in
honor  of  this  same  Lieutenant  Johnstone.
7 Corrected observation would read about Lat. 45°-34' and Long. 237°-36'.
8 This station was on the Oregon shore and seems to have been just above
the mouth of the upper or true mouth of the Sandy River.
9 Corrected location would be nearly at Lat. 45°-33' and Long. 237°-42f.
10 Mount Hood. T. C. Elliott
that he could not acquire sufficient authority to ascertain its
positive situation, but imagined it could not be less than 20
leagues from their then station.
Round Point Vancouver the river seemed to take a more
northerly direction; its southern shores became very hilly,
with bare spots of a reddish colour on the sides of the hills,
and their tops were thinly covered with pine trees. The opposite shore was low, well wooded, and mostly composed of
shingly beaches. The breadth of the river here was a quarter
of a mile; it afforded a clear good channel on the northern
shore, with soundings across from 6 to 2 fathoms, shoaling
gradually to the bed of sand that stretches from the opposite
side. During this day they had constantly rowed against the
stream, having increased their distance only 12 miles up the
river; and notwithstanding there had been a sensible regular
rise and fall to the water, it had not in the least degree
affected the stream, which had run constantly down with
great rapidity.
Mr. Broughton at this time calculated the distance, from
what he considered the entrance of the river, to be 84, and
from the Chatham, 100 miles. To reach this station had now
occupied their time, with very hard labour, seven days; this
was to the full extent for which their provisions had been furnished; and their remaining supplies could not with all possible frugality last more than two or three days longer. And
as it was impossible under the most favorable circumstances,
they should reach the vessels in a less space of time, Mr.
Broughton gave up the idea of any further examination, and
was reconciled to this measure, because even thus far the river
could hardly be considered as navigable for shipping. Previously to his departure, however, he formally took possession
of the river, and the country in its vicinity, in His Britannic
Majesty's name, having every reason to believe that the subjects of no other civilized nation or state had ever entered this
river before; in this opinion he was confirmed by Mr. Gray's Where Is Point Vancouver?
sketch, in which it does not appear that Mr. Gray either saw,
or was ever within 5 leagues of, its entrance.11
"The friendly old chief, who still remained of their party,
assisted at the ceremony, and drank His Majesty's health on
the occasion; from him they endeavored to acquire some
further information of the country. The little that could be
understood was that higher up the river they would be prevented passing by falls. This was explained, by taking up
water in his hands, and imitating the manner of its falling
from rocks, pointing at the same time to the place where the
sun rises; indicating that its source in that direction would be
found at a great distance.
"By the time these ceremonies and inquiries were finished,
the night had closed in; notwithstanding this, Mr. Broughton
re-embarked, and with the stream in his favor sat out on his
return. All the Indians now very civilly took their leave,
excepting the old chief and his people, who, their route being
the same way, still bore them company. Little opportunity
had been afforded, especially at the latter part of their journey
up the river, to ascertain the depth of the channels; to supply
this deficiency, the two boats spread, and sounded regularly
all the way down. By this means a bank was found extending
entirely across Baring's river, and from thence across the main
branch, which they had navigated, to the rocky passage at the
west end of Johnstone's island; the greatest depth having been
only 3 fathoms, Mr. Broughton was confirmed in the opinion
he had previously formed, that any further examination of
this branch would be useless.
"After passing to the west of the rocky passage, the best
channel is on. the southern shore, but even that is intricate,
and the greatest depth of its water is only 4 fathoms. They
took up their abode for the night about half a mile from their
preceding night's lodging; having returned in three hours the
same distance that had taken them twelve hours to ascend."
11 Lieut. Broughton and Capt. Vancouver argue that the mouth of the Columbia river was at Tenas-Illihee Island, between Cathlamet Point and Skamokawa;
and that all the wide stretches of river below that constituted a bay or estuary. 82
T. C. Elliott
It will be conceded that Point Vancouver can be best located
from a station on the bank or shore of the Columbia river in
relatively the same spot that Lieutenant Broughton stood upon,
and by taking the same observations that he took. Recognizing that fact, the writer, in company with Mr. George H.
Himes and Mr. Leslie M. Scott, of the Oregon Historical
Society, and Mr. E. O. S. Scholefield, Archivist of the Province of B. C, on October 30th, 1916 (an anniversary date),
took a launch at Camas, Wash., and carefully followed the
track of Lieut. Broughton on the river, lunched about where ;
he dined, and afterward stood upon the extensive bar of sand
on the Oregon shore between the false mouth and the upper,
or true mouth, of the Sandy river and checked the narrative
of Capt. Vancouver (from Broughton's report, of course) with
the physical appearance of the opposite shore and surrounding
country. An observation of Mt. Hood was impossible on that
day, but steamboat men have repeatedly assured the writer
that Mt. Hood is not visible from the river levels at any point
much above the true mouth of the Sandy river. It at once
became conclusive that Point Vancouver is that low and quite
broad point of land situated southeast from Washougal and
southwest from Cape Horn, Washington, and nearly opposite
to the railway station of Corbett, Oregon; forming the extreme^
southern end of the extensive meadows stretching southeastward from Washougal and around which the river flows from
Mt. Pleasant to Washougal. This point in 1792 was probably
composed entirely of sand, but is now overgrown with cotton-
wood trees and brush and a sand island in front of it is also
covered with brush. From this physical condition it has come
to be known by the river-men as Cottonwood Point. It is
quite possible that in October, 1792, the sandy island was joined
to the shore line and formed the point, or made it appear more
like a point than observation from other stations,, such as
Crown Point, now indicates.
Is it not possible that official cognizance of this landmark
may soon be taken and Point Vancouver be designated on the
maps and charts issued by the national government ? IDAHO —ITS MEANING, ORIGIN AND
By John E.  Rees.
Considerable speculation has been indulged and much
thought expended regarding the word "IDAHO"; its origin,
meaning and the manner in which it came to be applied. Other
writers have expressed opinions and published their knowledge concerning this word or name, creating rather an extensive literature on the subject; while both the wise and the
otherwise haj££«guessed at its meaning. My object in this
article is/^tn endeavor ito assemble this information and offer
an explanation of the word from the light of other facts perhaps not yet known and at any rate not yet published. These,
it seems to me, will give a fairly good interpretation of the
"Idaho" has been so nicely explained and elaborated so profusely by the poetical and idealist, that Idahoans feel proud of
a name which signifies such a noble and expressive thought
as the "Gem of the Mountains"; and whatever the word may
have originally meant, this is its meaning to us now, and one
not to be now molested. It is not my wish or purpose in this
article to disturb this meaning nor to detract one iota from its
inspiring sentiment, but simply to offer a version of the matter,
for history's sake, from my knowledge of the Shoshoni Indian
language, gained by forty years' residence near the Lemhis,
one division of the Shoshoni tribe and among whom I was
Indian trader for fifteen years.
"Idaho" is a Shoshoni Indian .exclamation. The expression
from which the word is derived is heard repeated as often,
perhaps, in a Shoshoni Indian camp, in the early part of the
morning, as is heard the English expression, "It's sun up,"
repeated in the home following the early dawn. The word is
contracted from a meaning which requires much writing to
correctly express it in English.   Those who are used to trans- 84
John E. Rees
lating languages readily understand the difficulties of this
labor, which at times becomes almost an impossible task. The
word "Idaho" consists of three component parts, each of which
must be analyzed to correctly understand its derivation and the
idea thereby conveyed. The first is "Ee," which in English
conveys the idea of "coming down." This syllable is the
basis of such Shoshoni words as mean "raining," "snowing,"
etc., which words when properly translated would be, "water
coming down," "snow coming down," etc. The second syllable
is "Dah," which is the Shoshoni stem or root for both "sun"
and "mountain," the one being as eternal and everlasting to the
Indian mind as is the other. The third syllable, "How,"
denotes the exclamation and stands for just the same thing in
Indian as the exclamation mark ( !) does in the English language. The Shoshoni word is "Ee-dah-how," and the Indian
thought thus conveyed when literally translated into English
means, "Behold! the sun coming down the mountain."
The mere word does not indicate much, for it is composed
of simple syllables, the significance of which requires pages
of written English to correctly convey the idea which this
exclamation suggests to the aboriginal mind. Every one who
has lived in a mountainous country has observed at sunrise
the rim of sunlight coming down the mountainside, as the
sun was rising in the opposite direction. This is the Shoshoni
"Ee-dah-how." It can only occur in and among the mountains which is represented by the English thought, "the lofty
mountains upon which the morning breaks." Also it can occur
only at those times when the atmosphere is still, clear and
bright, elements producing that invigorating and exhilarating
feeling which only high mountainous countries possess.
In the imagination this sunlight on the mountainside can be
interpreted to mean "Sunshine Mountain," or "Shining Mountain," and the rim of sunlight can also represent the "Diadem
on the Mountain," while a peculiar sunlit peak could be imagined a "Sun-Crowned Peak," or a brilliant display of sunlight
upon a snow-capped mountain where the rays of sunshine are Idaho—Meaning and Origin
refracted into their natural colors may convey to us the thought
or image of the "Gem of the Mountains"; but when the word
is uttered in a Shoshoni camp, at early dawn, the hearer knows
that a rim of sunlight is coming down the mountainside as the
sun is rising in the opposite direction, and that it is time for
him to be up and at the labors of the day; just as much so as
a person hearing the English expression, "It's sun up," knows
that the sun has risen in the sky and he should be up and at
The idea conveyed by "Ee-dah-how" may be a kind of sun
worship as contended by some, but it appears to me to be no
more so than is the English expression, "It's sun up." This
exclamation expresses to the primeval mind a confidence in
the continuance of nature, for the sun has returned to replenish all things, and this display on the mountainside is the evi-,
dence; and to the Indian mind this exhibition of an eternal
sun making its first appearance upon an everlasting mountain
denotes a stableness worthy of his attention and is his signal
to arise, as he habitually does at the first appearance of
The effect which day and night might have had upon the
habits of primitive man is a subject within the province of the
anthropologist. However, we are informed that civilized man
is ofttimes influenced by custom survivals and will, long after
the necessary fact for a certain action has ceased, continue to
act as if it were still in existence. Whatever might have been
the reason, in times past, we know and realize that the expression, "It's sun up," Has a meaning to the majority of mankind
of an influence which the rising sun has upon his actions. The
emphasis in this expression, "Ee-dah-how," is placed upon
the "Dah" syllable, as it is the keynote to the utterance, for the
eternal sun arrayed upon the everlasting mountain is the splendor which the speaker wishes to especially impress upon his
hearer. The Indian has a name for sunrise, sunset, morning
and evening, but "Ee-dah-how" conveys the idea of a beginning or renewal of natural phenomena and the sunrise is the 86
John E. Rees
symbol, while other parts of the day follow in sequence only
and do not attract the same attention, sentiment or acknowledgment.
The Shoshonean Indians were the third family, in the extent
of territory occupied, of the fifty-five that formerly inhabited
fthe United States. The Shoshoni are one tribe of this great
^Shoshonean family of which the Comanche are another. The
two tribes speak almost the same language, varying only in
dialect; their traditions are very similar and they readily converse with and understand each other. Ethnologists consider
the Comanche an offshoot of the Shoshoni. It was not many
years ago, geologically considered, when they lived adjacent
to each other in Southern Wyoming, from which place the
Shoshoni were gradually beaten back by other Indians into
the mountains, while the Comanche were forced southward.
So that the first rush of miners to Pike's Peak in 1858 and
what afterwards became known as Colorado, found this tribe
within this territory and located especially along the Arkansas
river. The country was at that time a part of Kansas. Here,
also, they came in contact with the "lofty mountains upon
which the morning breaks," which were quite numerous and in
commanding evidence. As all the elements were present, it
was no wonder that they found the expression, "Ee-dah-how,"
a familiar one in this new Eldorado, and the word "Idaho"
was known to almost every one and was said by all who had
any knowledge of it, to mean "Gem of the Mountains." The
first permanent settlement made by those hardy pioneers in
this new territory in 1859 was named for this Shoshoni word
and called "Idaho Springs." In 1861, when Congress organized this new territory, "Idaho" was proposed as its name
which should have been applied to it, but the Spanish word
"Colorado," which referred to a river and country foreign to
this new country and which had no application whatever, was
selected instead. This selection was suggested by Senator
Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, who was afterwards Vice-
President associated with General Grant in the Presidency, and Idaho—Meaning and Origin
who was chiefly responsible for the naming of Colorado, Idaho
and Montana.
The next heard of this word was when "Idahoe" was applied
to a steamboat launched at Victoria, B. C, in the fall of i860.
It was built for the Yale Steamboat company to run upon the
Fraser river, and was so called by one of the owners for his
former home in Colorado, "Idaho Springs," which was an
Indian word signifying "Gem of the Mountains," but the
name of the steamboat was soon changed to "Fort Yale," and
it was afterwards blown up by a boiler explosion.
The permanent settlement of Idaho territory began with the
discovery of gold at Pierce City, on Oro Fino creek, in i860.
It was then a part of Washington Territory and the name
"Idaho" was not known or applied at that time. The rush to
these mines was made principally by the Columbia river route
and so extensive did the traffic, carried on by river boats,
become that a company was formed called* the Oregon Steam
Navigation company, of which Colonel J. S. Ruckel was a
stockholder. One of the steamboats constructed by this company,, plying on the Columbia river, was called the "Idaho,"
and launched in i860. Mr. George H. Himes, curator of the
Oregon Historical Society, informs me that he heard Col.
Ruckel tell Mr. D. C. Ireland, who was the local newsgatherer
of the "Oregonian," in answer to the question as to the origin
and meaning of the name "Idaho," which he had applied to
this steamboat, "That it was an Indian word meaning 'Geni
of the Mountains,' and that he got it from a Colorado friend
who was interested with him in mining operations in that
state, and he thought the name very appropriate for a steamboat that ran on a river like the Columbia which penetrated
a range of mountains like the Cascades." Thus the name became transferred to the great Northwest, and as Joaquin
Miller said, "The name was familiar in 5,000 men's mouths
as they wallowed through the snow in '61 on their way to the
Oro Fino mines."
However, the word became corrupted by these miners into John E. Rees
"Idao," but happily through the writings of the poet, Joaquin
Miller, the bard of the Sierras, the proper orthography was
restored and for the first time in history an attempt was made
to give the origin and meaning of this name and to publish
it to the public. Mr. Miller said, "I was riding pony express
at the time rumors reached us through the Nez Perce Indians
that gold was to be found on the headwaters and tributaries of
the Salmon river. I had lived with the Indians and Col. Craig,
who had spent most of his life with them, often talked with
me about possible discoveries in the mountains to the right, as
we rode to Oro Fino, and of what the Indians said of the then
unknown region. Gallop your horse, as I have a hundred
times, against the rising sun. As you climb the Sweetwater
mountains, far away to your right, you will see the name
Idaho written on the mountain top, at least, you will seeisB
peculiar and beautiful light at sunrise, a sort of diadem on
two grand clusters of mountains that bear away under the
clouds fifty miles distant. I called Col. Craig's attention to
this peculiar and beautiful light. 'That,' said he, 'is what the
Indians call E-dah-hoe, which means the light or .diadem on
the line of the mountains.' That was the first time I ever
heard the name. Later, in September, '61, when I rode into
the newly discovered camp to establish an express office, I
took with me an Indian from Lapwai. We followed an Indian
trail, crossed Craig mountain, then Camas Prairie, and had all
the time E-dah-hoe Mount for our objective point. On my
return to Lewiston I wrote a letter containing a brief account
of our trip and of the mines, and it was published in one of
the Oregon papers, which one I have now forgotten. In that
account I often mentioned E-dah-hoe, but spelt it Idaho, leaving the pronunciation unmarked by any diacritical signs. So
that perhaps I may have been the first to give it its present
spelling, but I certainly did not originate the word."
In 1858 the territorial legislature of Washington created a
county within this territory which contained all lands north
of the Clearwater, east of the Columbia and west of the Rocky Idaho—Meaning and Origin
mountains. It was named Shoshone for the largest tribe of
Indians in this section of the country, and in 1861, when the
population in the mines demanded it, another county was
formed including all lands lying south and west of the Clearwater and named Nez Perce for the next largest tribe of
Idaho Indians. The rest of the Idaho territory was formed,
in 1862, into the largest county ever created within the state,
embracing all lands lying south of Nez Perce and east of Snake
river and called Idaho county in recognition of this word. In
1863, Boise county was created, so that Idaho had four counties in existence, formed by the Washington legislature, when
the territory was organized.
Hon. John Hailey, Idaho's state historian, in his "History
of Idaho," says, "The organic act passed by Congress and
approved by the President March 3, 1863, creating and organizing a territorial government for the people residing within
and those who might come hereafter, in certain limits and
boundary lines of territorial lands, gave to that territory the
name Idaho. Various reasons are given for the origin of the
name Idaho. By some it is claimed that it is an Indian name.
One story is that some miners had camped within sight of
what is now Mount Idaho. In the morning they were awakened
by the Indians calling 'I-da-ho' and pointing to the rising sun
just coming over the mountain, hence the term 'The Rising
Sun.' Another is that the name was taken from a steamboat
built by the late Col. J. S. Ruckel to run on the Columbia river
in the early days. This boat was named The Idaho. W. A.
Goulder, one of the oldest living (now dead) pioneers of Idaho,
saw this steamer on the Columbia in i860 and noticing the
name asked the meaning and was informed that it was an
Indian word, 'E-dah-hoe,' and stood for 'The Gem of the
Mountains.' Frederick Campbell, one of the pioneers of the
Pike's Peak excitement, says that the word Idaho is an Ara-
paho Indian word and that in Colorado a spring was named
Idaho before the word was known in the Northwest, and that
it was even suggested for the name of Colorado." 90
John E. Rees
Col. William H. Wallace was delegate in Congress from
Washington territory when the bill was passed in 1863, organizing, from the eastern portion of Washington, a new territory,
which was named Idaho. Mrs. Wallace was in Washington,
D. C, at the time and her account of the episode, which was
afterwards published in the Tacoma Ledger, is as follows:
"I may refer with pride to my connection with the establishment of the territory of Idaho, at the expiring days of the
session of Congress, 1862-3. Quite a delegation was present
at Washington city who favored the division of Washington
territory, which then included all of Idaho and Montana west
of the Rocky mountains, extending as far south as the northern
line of California and Nevada. It was an immense region and
contained South Pass, the great entrance of Oregon, Washington and California, by the great immigrant route. The Colonel
was overjoyed at the assured passage of the bill, which he had
in charge and his friends who had assembled at his rooms
joined with him in conferring upon me the high privilege of
naming the new territory. I answered, 'Well, if I am to name
it, the territory shall be called Idaho, for my little niece, who
was born near Colorado Springs, whose name is Idaho, from
an Indian chief's daughter of that name, so called for her
beauty, meaning the 'Gem of the Mountains.' Dr. Anson G.
Henry, the surveyor-general of Washington territory, then on
a visit to Washington City, was in the room. He clapped his
hands upon his knees and said to me, 'Mrs. Wallace, Idaho it
shall be/ The evening of the day upon which the bill was
passed my husband came home and said, "Well, Lue, you've
got your territory, and I'm to be governor of it.' A short time
after the bill was signed my husband was appointed its first
governor, and at the first election held in the newly organized
territory, he was selected delegate to Congress."
There were others beside Mrs. Wallace who claimed the
honor of naming Idaho territory, and while their contributory
suggestions may have had some influence in designating it, yet
the true history of the application of the word to this particu- Idaho—Meaning and Origin
lar geographical territory for political administration discloses the fact that it occurred in an ordinary way and that
instead of any sentiment influencing the act, it was simply a
result of legislative enactment. In the fall of 1861, Wallace,
Garfield and Lander were candidates for Congressional delegate from Washington territory and while stumping the country during the campaign met at Pierce city. The people inhabiting this section of the country were so far from Olympia,
the capital, and had for some time agitated a division of the
eastern part of Washington territory; so through the solicitation and request of these people each of these candidates
agreed that whoever was elected would favor this division and
every one agreed that "Idaho" should be the name of the
new territory. That this agreement was carried out is proven
by the fact that Mr. Wallace, the successful candidate, at once
had introduced in Congress a bill creating the new territory of
The Congressional history of this act shows that in the committee to which the bill had been referred three names were
suggested, namely, Shoshone, Montana and Idaho, and that
in the bill as it passed the House of Representatives the name
of "Montana" was applied to this new territory. When the
matter came before the Senate for consideration, the bill was
modified very materially, for while it scarcely included what
is now Idaho, the modified bill included all of the present
states of Montana and Wyoming, in which form it was
approved and became the law. Later these states were created
out of Idaho. Senator Wilson moved to strike out the word
"Montana" and insert "Idaho" in its stead. To this Senator
Harding of Oregon agreed, saying, "Idaho in English means
'Gem of the Mountains'." Senator Wilson's amendment was
agreed to and when the bill went back to the House it was
concurred in and the new territory was henceforth designated
Thus Senator Wilson selected the name Idaho, whilst Senator Harding was instrumental in continuing its meaning.
1ml 1 92
John E. Rees
How the Shoshoni Indian word "Ee-dah-hOw" was eventually transformed into the English word "Idaho" is a task for
the etymologist; but, whatever may be its etymology, the word
"Idaho" and its meaning, "Gem of the Mountains," are forever fixed as correlated terms in the vocabulary of the people
of IdalKh HALL JACKSON KELLEY—Prophet of Oregon
En Route—Boston to Vera Cruz
Failure only seemed to strengthen Kelley's determination
to effect his purpose. "I planned anew, enlisting a small party,
chiefly with a view of having travelling companions. I now
lay my route through Mexico, via Acapulco and the Sandwich
"That circuitous route, instead of a direct one across the
Rocky Mountains, was wholly induced by a desire of effecting
some arrangements with officers of the Mexican government
and distinguished individuals in that country, relative to the
lumber and fish trade between the Columbia River and the
Mexican western ports, and for extending, in proper time, my
colonizing operations into High California; and, also, by a
desire of turning the attention of the people in the cities of
Mexico to some better system of education than had ever been
adopted by them; and generally, to such internal improvements,
moral and physical, as would most likely lay a better foundation for freedom, and multiply in their land the conveniences
and comforts of life."2
His troubles continued, and there were further delays. This
part of the narrative can be best stated in his own words:
"Late in the spring [of 1832] I left [Washington] for N.
E. to complete arrangements for my final departure for the
other side of the continent.
"On my arrival at Palmer, and within sight of home, where
my loved family dwelt, I was arrested by an officer, who
served upon me a precept which had no foundation in justice,
i Kelley, Hist, of the Colonization of Oregon, 20-1.
2 Kelley, Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 69-70. Hist, of the Settlement
of Oregon, 42. As early as February 12, 1832, however, Kelley, wrote to Edward
Livingston, secretary of state, setting forth the impracticability of conducting an
expedition including women and children overland via St. Louis later than the
month of June, and inquiring as to a feasible route across Mexico. 94
Fred Wilbur Powell
and was only designed to detain my person and plunder my
property. I was manacled, and taken to the village, to the
door next to my home, where my companion and children
came to greet me; yet did they grieve at my afflictions, and
their hearts were sorrowful at what was being done unto me.
This attack was from an unscrupulous hireling, in the shape
of a lawyer, living in a dark alley in the city of Boston. . . I
Unwilling to tarry, to contend in law, and delay the enterprise,
I answered the demand, unjust as it was, and so freed myself
from the clutches of my cruel pursuers.
"A few days later I was threatened with another suit, which
had the same design.
"To avoid the delays and vexations which these proceedings
would necessarily cause me, I left the place for Boston, from
whence I sent for my family and effects. Before the latter
could be removed, they were plundered to the amount of several hundred dollars.
"These brutal acts were not instigated by my townsmen, but
by brutish men from Boston whose object was to prevent
progress in my undertaking. In view of a contemplated long
absence, I did not forget to provide sufficiently for the support
of the dear ones of my household, making arrangements with
friends who had this 'world's goods' in abundance, and who
were accustomed to show kindness and to give good cheer.
"The time for my departure drawing near, I went to Bradford, where my family resided, to take the painful leatve. The
moment of parting arrived. My companion looked sober; and
probably felt sad, though her affectionate regards had been
J somewhat alienated by deceiving monsters, who had ill advised
her. My children, young, unconscious of the nature of the
parting, were cheerful about the room. My heart was burdened, and I could scarcely speak a sorrowing good-by. Taking my valise, I left; and, when beyond hearing, grief
burst forth, and I wept aloud.3   I proceeded to Boston.
3 According to Temple (Hist, of the Town of Palmer, 266), Mrs. Kelley went
to Gilmanton with her children to live with Dr. Kelley. Hall Jackson Kelley
"The journey was a lonely one, and tiresome. My days
now were all eventful, and every moment seemed to bring
increased cares and anxieties. Just before my final departure
for Oregon, I took a few days to go about Boston, and solicit
from the munificent contributions to my funds, which I feared
would be inadequate for my purposes, since my enemies, by
their cunning and cruelty, had made so frequent drafts upon
them. I called upon a wealthy merchant in Beacon street.
It was in the afternoon of Thanksgiving day, when I hoped to
find him in good spirits, and disposed to make me a donation.
But I was disappointed. He replied to me as follows: 'I am
interested in the commerce of the Pacific, being part owner
in two ships now on that ocean. The merchants have had a
meeting, and are determined to prevent your breaking up their
trade about the Pacific'
"Left Boston for Oregon the first of November, 1832.
Having provided a vessel for the party and the transportation
of my effects to New York, I joined the party in that city;4
there tarried two or three weeks, occupying what was called
the parsonage house, in Stuyvesant street, with the party.
After a few days a band of desperadoes at midnight, beset the
house, and attempted to force an entrance; first, at the windows, and then at the door, but not succeeding, they soon
hastened away.
"A short time after, two men came to my quarters, one calling his name Foster, the other giving his as Lovett. They
said they wished to emigrate to Oregon; and would like to
accompany me thither; that they were printers by trade, and
had money which could be immediately collected to procure
outfits, and to meet expenses; and, with a view of giving me
proof of their sincerity, took me to a printing office, which
they represented as their place of business. They were well
dressed, and of insinuating manners. But the sequel showed
them to be accomplished and adroit villains, ready to perform
4 Having gone by land jn order that he might "secure some household effects,"
which he had left at Three Rivers.—Colonisation of Oregon, 2\. 96
Fred Wilbur Powell
any act affecting my person, plans, or property, however
atrocious or hazardous.   .   .   .
"Learning that a vessel was about to sail for the Sandwich
Islands, I applied to the benevolent owner for a passage thither,
for a son of mine belonging to the party. A free passage was
at once generously offered him. As he was of tender years,
and fearing that he would not well endure the fatigues of the
land route, I was glad of the chance to provide for him a sea
voyage. He was to wait at the Islands, until my arrival with
the party from Acapulco.
"The party with my effects embarked for New Orleans.
Myself proceeded to Washington."5
While in New York he obtained on credit money for expenses and presents for the Indians. Religious societies gave
him Bibles and books and tracts; and individuals also contributed.6 Upon his arrival at Washington he communicated with
the state department, asking for authority to explore Oregon
and setting forth the plans of his expedition,7 although he had
already been informed by the secretary of war that the decision
in the matter lay with congress and not with the executive.8
From William S. Archer of Virginia, chairman of the house
committee on foreign affairs, he received assurance that public
protection would be given to any settlement which he might
make in the Oregon territory.   From the house committee on
5 Settlement of Oregon, 24-7; also Colonization of Oregon, 21-2; McMasters,
United States; VI, 112, citing United States Gazette, January 4 and February 8,
1833.   Kelley says nothing further about his son.
6 Settlement of Oregon, 113.
7 Letter to Secretary Livingston, February 23, 1833. In this letter Kelley
said: "The prevailing motive I have for settling on the Columbia river is to aid
in carrying the principles of civilization into that uncultivated part of the earth.
For this obiect, I have shipped many enterprising persons, and my own effects—
I have sent before me my own son of inexperienced and tender years. For this
object I have left to the care of friends an affectionate wife and three small children. I have denyed myself, for a season all social and domestic enjoyments; and
am the subject of suffering privations and great hardships; and, finally, for this
object, I now live, or if its accomplishment requires the sacrifice, I am ready to give
myself a martyr.
Under_ date of February 27, he transmitted a copy of the "emigrants' covenant" to Livingston.
8 "The executive can give no aid to individuals in their efforts to establish a
colony upon the Oregon river. Our laws make no provision for the occupation
of the country, nor for any negotiations with the Indians for that purpose. Congress alone can authorize the measure proposed."—Letter of Lewis Cass to Kelley.
Jules' Register, XLII, 388 (1832) from the Boston Courier. Hall Jackson Kelley
library he obtained a set of United States statutes. Edward
Everett was a member of both committees, and his cooperation
was probably the cause of these favors.
Kelley also made formal application to the Mexican government through Jose M. Montoya, charge d'affaires at Washington, for permission to enter the port of Vera Cruz with a
vessel free from port charges, to land his effects, and to transport them across the country to Acapulco without liability of
any kind to the revenue laws. Montoya agreed to forward the
letter, and he also countersigned the passport which Kelley
obtained from the state department. Thus equipped Kelley
left Washington for New Orleans on March i, 1833, proceeding by the Cumberland road and the Ohio and Mississippi
rivers under a grant of free passage from the post office
department.9   To continue from his narrative:
"At New Orleans I again met the party provided with good
quarters at my expense.   .   .   .
"Two of the party, who a few days before leaving New
York were known to be destitute of money, and poorly clad,
whose passage I had paid, were now found dressed in new and
costly apparel, and had plenty of money. Without the remotest
cause of action, they brought, one after another, suits at law
against me, until I was harrassed with five such cases. The .
Foster and Lovett who joined the party in New York, resorted \
to acts of felony, forging several papers; one, a draft of fifteen
hundred dollars in my favor on J. Ogden, a wealthy merchant
m New Orleans, purporting to have been drawn by a friend
of mine in Wall street, New York.   .   .   .
"Getting access to my property in storage, they stole over
a thousand dollars of it, and started with it for Texas. Fortunately, they were on the same day overtaken, brought back,
examined before Judge Perval, and with the crime of larceny
labeled to their character, were committed to prison, where,
doubtless, it was the divine purpose they should realize a portion of the reward of evil doers.    After a day and a night
9 Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 70; Colonisation of Oregon, 23; Petition,
186.6:3; Settlement of Oregon, 113. Fred Wilbur Powell
imprisonment, they sent for me. My ears ever being open to
the cries of distress, whether of the human or the brute race,
I hastened to the window looking into the place of their 'torment.' They besought me'with tears to intercede in their
behalf, and obtain their release. I did so, importuning the
public authority which had committed them, and they were
released . . . . I . . . required from them a written confession of their guilt. They gave it, though reluctantly, solemnly pledging never again to trouble me, then left, but not
to keep their pledge. Straightway, using the freedom which
humanity had just given them, they proceeded to carry out new
plans and plots of treachery and revenge.
"By anonymous letter and other ways I was threatened with
assassination, did I not hasten from New Orleans.10
"Those two blood-thirsty pursuers finding a vessel ready to
sail for Vera Cruz, in conformity, doubtless, to the counsel
of others inconniyance, embarked for that port; there to lie
in wait, and destroy me if they could. Before sailing, having
had permission to enter the store house where my effects were
deposited, and receive a chest belonging to one of them, notwithstanding their solemn pledge to cease from troubling, they
managed to abstract from my packages a chest similar to theirs,
packed with articles designed for Indian presents, of the value
of over $200, leaving their own, which contained nothing of
value, in its stead. I was present, but being near-sighted, and
my mind filled with anxieties, I did not, at the hurried moment,
notice the difference between them.
"I was surprised, but not frightened at this threatening
aspect of the enemy's power. Finding a spirit to vex and to
destroy me infected most of the party, I gladly dismissed them
10 "New Orleans, March, 27th, 1833.
"Dear Sir:—I accidentaly overheard yesterday, some of your Origon company
forming a conspiricy against you, and are determined to take your life either by
some means or other, others thought it would be most too rash an act and had
better take you up for swindling, and that they considered a very easy matter
according to the lawyers account.
"I am realy afraid that your life is very much at stake, and now take my
advise, and leave th« country as soon as possible if you want to come off with a
sound head. "I remain,
"A frnd."
—p. 29. Hall Jackson Kelley
all, and, having adjusted my business as best I could, I secured
a passage to Vera Cruz in the schooner Gen. Lafayette, Capt.
Hoyt.  .   .   .
"The Capt. had suddenly changed the day for putting to
sea, having determined to sail earlier than the time appointed
for that purpose. Although my goods were brought to the
levee, agreeable to a previous understanding, and the freight
had already been paid, he refused to receive them. I was not
to be foiled in that way. Being cramped for time, a few half
dollars from my pocket, brought aid from the bystanders, and
my effects were rushed on board, with the exception of about
two hundred dollars' worth, including the body and hind
wheels of a wagon, which were left and lost.
"As the vessel was leaving her moorings, seizing the last
opportunity, I leaped on deck, there to endure still greater
indignities and sufferings than had been experienced on shore.
"I will not stop to mention all that I suffered on that passage.
During most of the voyage the sea was boisterous, and the
heavens were darkened with clouds and storms. Although
I had purchased as good accommodations as the schooner
afforded, yet was I denied a retreat to any place not open to
the angry heavens. No reasoning, no appeals to justice or
mercy could abate the rigor of this brutal treatment. Fourteen days and nights I lay on the quarterdeck, terribly seasick, and exposed to the worst of weather, sometimes drenched
in salt water, and again in fresh. A portion of my freight
remained on deck by the side of the bulwarks, exposed to the
breach-making sea. This much was greatly injured, so that
a part having lost its value was thrown overboard, and a part
less injured was given to the poor at Vera Cruz. The language of the Capt. was uniformly abusive, and his whole conduct unfeeling towards me.   .   .   .
"Something more should be said of the captain. He was
illiterate, ill-bred, ill-tempered, and intemperate, also.   .   .    .
"An occurrence happening on the 26. of May nearly proved
fatal to the vessel and the lives of all on board.   At early dawn 100
Fred Wilbur Powell
a Spanish gentleman comnig on deck, cried out, 'Land! land!'
Our frail bark was fast nearing the rocky shore, which was
not more than 50 or 75 rods distant. Fortunately, the fog,
which had enveloped it, was now rising. The helmsman had
just time to wear ship, and save being dashed upon the rocks.
A similar occurrence happened on the 10th. In the evening,
returning from a trip to or near the bay of Campeche, while
the captain was in one of his stupefactions, we heard the
breakers roar and could see their foaming crests. They were
close by on the lee bow. The mate wears about and goes U
sea. The captain, who was in his berth, being informed, raised
himself partly up and said, T can't help it.'
"On the 11th [of May] the schooner entered the bay of
Vera Cruz, and anchored under the guns of Fort St. Juan de
Ulloa. I now left the captain, but he was not quite ready to
leave me, nor to leave the object of wasting my property.
1 Settlement of Oregon, 27-31;  Colonisation of Oregon, 23-6. CHAPTER  SIX
En Route—Across Mexico
Even to-day a trip across Mexico is attended with delays and
difficulties. The foreigner is met with suspicion, and, if he be
an American, with positive dislike. Nothing but a fanatical
belief in his mission could have led Kelley to disregard or at
least underestimate the obstacles to be encountered in passing
through that country before the day of railroads, in the midst
of pestilence, brigands, and civil war. Yet this is what he
undertook to do in 1833, alone, encumbered with baggage, and
ignorant of the language of the people. His account of his
experiences in Mexico is especially complete, and it will be
given here in his own words as far as possible.
"Landing at the port of Vera Cruz, Lovett, the treacerous
actor at New Orleans, called on me to offer his greetings, and
to tender his services in repacking my effects, and preparing
for my early departure from that place of pestilence and death.
. . . His cunning and insinuating manner drew to him some
friends, and there were some about him, friends to nobody.
To have suggested to others my bad opinion of him would have
exposed myself at that time to the assassin's power. Indeed,
being privately reminded of ingratitude at the time of embarkation at New Orleans, his jealousy was aroused, and he told
me with great emphasis, if I named any circumstance exposing
his character in that place, I must do all my repenting at Vera
Cruz, and be prepared for the worst results. However, not
intimidated, I gave him wholesome advice, forbade his taking
a step with me into the interior, or traveling the same road
the same day. ... In view of this threatening aspect of
things, I was not wanting in circumspection and civilities, both
in regard to this villain, the captain, and their accomplices.
"Soon after my arrival, a snare was laid by him, which he
and a colored man, his associate, were unable to spring upon 102
Fred Wilbur Powell
me; artfully attempting to draw me into a dark hole in the
city, unquestionably with the design of taking my life.   .   .   .
"The following transactions seemed to indicate that the captain and the officers of the customs were each to share in the
plunder of my property. Some days after the cargo of the
vessel was discharged, one of the sailors informed me that a
package of my stuff was found concealed under old rigging in
the hold. It consisted of such pieces and remnants of cotton
and woolen fabrics as would be useful to me in Oregon, and
was worth from $100 to $150. My anxiety was to know how
to get possession of the goods without prejudice to my character. I had no disposition to smuggle, or to do a dishonorable
act. To bring it publicly on shore, it was said, would endanger
the vessel; or to bring it clandestinely, would afford a plausible
reason for supposing it merchandise for that market, which
was far from being the fact. I was told that, for a reward, a
custom house officer would bring the package to me. An engagement was made. The property was brought between two
suns, and left at the place appointed, and twenty silver dollars
were paid for doing the business. It appeared like a fair and
legal transaction, but, with the officer, it was smuggling, under
revenue laws made and provided for that purpose.   .   .    .
"On landing, having engaged boarding quarters, and got my
passports endorsed by proper authorities, I turned my thoughts
to my baggage, which was of much value, a portion of it
needful for present use. Some of it was in loose packages.
Most of it was placed in the custom house for safe keeping,
until my departure thence, agreeable to the advice of the American consul. In view of my ill health, lonely condition and the
distracted state of public affairs in that country, he thought
it would be unsafe at the hotel. Unskilled at that time in the
Spanish language, I had no direct communication with the
revenue officers, but it was understood on my part, and also,
I supposed, on the part of the consul, that it would be readily
and freely given up when called for. . . . With the hope of
obtaining some indemnity  from the captain  for my losses, Hall Jackson Kelley
which he had carelessly or wantonly caused me, I delayed my
departure over two weeks.   ...
"I hastened arrangements for resuming the journey, and
called for the property deposited in the custom house. To my
surprise, it was refused, on the ground of a requisition of custom house duties. I had never, at home or abroad, declined
to render 'unto Caesar the things that were Caesar's,' but to
pay a tax in Mexico on property not dutiable, I unhesitatingly
declined to do. A bond would have been given, if requested,
guarding against the sale of so much as a single article in that
country.  .   .   .
"After several days of entreaty, through the consul, explaining the object of my journey, giving my reasons for taking
that circuitous route to Oregon, and presenting the passport
from the State Department of the United States, the cupidity
of the revenue officers relaxed a little, and I was permitted
to select four packages from the eight. The amount of duties
demanded was nearly the invoice value of the property. By
what rule of calculation, or principle of right they had fixed
upon any specific amount of tax, or had taxed at all, I could
not understand.  .   .   .
"In the proper construction of the passport furnished me
by the State Department of the U. S. A., protection should
have been given both to my person and property. But protection was given to neither."1
On May 2J, 1833, Kelley left Vera Cruz by stage and arrived
the following day at Jalapa,2 where he remained eighteen days,
familiarizing himself with the country round about. From
Jalapa he wrote to Anthony Butler, the American charge
d'affaires at the city of Mexico, complaining of the detention of
his property at Vera Cruz. He proceeded on foot to Puebla,
and after three days left by stage for the City of Mexico.
Almost the first man he met upon his arrival was Foster,
1 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon, 31-6.
2 Lovett, the "monster villain," remained at Vera Cruz, where he soon died
of yellow fever.—Ibid., 32. g|§|p||£ 104
Fred Wilbur Powell
who was boarding at his expense, having some of his papers
upon which an arrangement to that effect had been made with
the proprietor of the stage house. This charge was paid upon
threat of seizure of baggage; but Kelley refused to pay for
Foster's passage from Vera Cruz or for his lodgings. His
baggage was attached, and the irrepressible Foster laid claim
to some of it, but the magistrate decided the matter in Kelley's
Kelley then transferred his quarters from the stage house
to the Washington hotel, which was the only other public
house open to foreigners. The proprietor was an American,
and "among the guests there were Col. Austin, the founder
of the first settlement of the Americans in Texas, Col. Hodg-
kiss and Gen. Mason from Virginia, and several other distinguished Americans. Their purpose in that country was to
bring about the annexation of Texas to the United States." -
Upon invitation of the American consul, James S. Wilcox,
Kelley spent several weeks as his guest at his residence on
Lake Chalco, a short distance from the city.3
At the American legation Kelley renewed his appeal for the
release of his goods, but was told that there was little likelihood
of favorable action by the Mexican government, a prediction
which was in accord with the fact.4
Unlike most zealots, Kelley seems to have been incapable of
giving his whole attention to his main project. When he left
New England the enthusiasm for railroads was at its height.
3 Settlement of Oregon, 36-9.
4 Letter of Anthony Butler to Carlos Garcia, secretary of state, July 11, 1833,
and reply of Garcia, September 17, 1833, in 25 cong. 2 sess. H. ex. doc. 351:481-2,
487. Butler declared that the action of the customs officers was not only in violation of the laws and usages of nations, but also in contravention, of positive treaty
stipulations. "I use the expression of being contrary to treaty stipulations, bfr
cause, even admitting that the articles detained were intended for commercial
purposes, instead of being designed solely for the personal use of the individuals I
forming the expedition, yet, in such event, the object being merely to land the
goods at one port, and, passing through the country, to trans-ship them at another,
the treaty provides that such merchandise would be entitled to drawback; that is
to say, that the bond given for duties, if the goods were sold within the republic,
shall be cancelled and delivered up to the owner, upon the reshipment of the
merchandise. If, however, the articles landed by Mr. Kelly be examined, they
will be found to consist of implements of agriculture, tools for different branches
of the mechanical profession, and remnants of coarse goods, such as are indis- I
pensably necessary for persons forming a new settlement in a wilderness entirely-,!
removed beyond the limits of civilization." According to Kelley, his loss at Vera
Cruz amounted to $1150.—Kelley, Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 7.    I Hall Jackson Kelley
If railroads were good for New England, why not for Mexico
"While exploring the country between Vera Cruz and the
City of Mexico, I became satisfied of the feasibility of a railroad route between one and the other of those places. Desirous of seeing Mexico benefited with the same kind of institutions and improvements as those effecting such great things
for my native New England, I planned and advised that improvement—especially would I have internal improvements
commenced without the least possible delay, in a country,
where the common people were but little in advance of the
heathen; where most of the roads were in a state of nature,
and the earth bore but few marks and evidence of civilization
dwelling there.
"The improvement suggested by me was a topic of frequent
conversation with Wilcox . . . and with other enterprising
foreigners. It was one of the subjects of a communication
to President Santa Anna, describing, according to my apprehension, what would be the utility of railroads."5
In the midst of all his troubles, this strangest of mortals
was open-eyed and active in studying the natural phenomena
about him. The plants, animals and minerals received his
careful attention, and his curiosity as to the heights of mountains must be served. He also interested himself in the welfare
of the natives, and vaccinated some of them. "I lost no time,
neglected no opportunity, relaxed no effort to do the good
I had proposed to do in that country." He even indulged in
recreational activities, a fact for which he half apologized.
"I engaged in no idle amusements, expended not so much
as a dollar 'for that which is naught/ yet occasionally I took
a game at checkers with my distinguished fellow-boarders at
the hotel, and once did I attend the theatre to witness a bullfight, and learn concerning that ancient, barbarous custom.
5 Kelley, Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 74-S» 89-92. "Shortly after my
return to Massachusetts [in 1836], I had the satisfaction to learn, that the road
had been commenced. It does not follow, as a thing in course, that the undertaking originated from anything I had said; but, there is a possibility; yes, a probability, and some strong indications of such being the fact.'—Ibid., 76. 106
Fred Wilbur Powell
Neither the games nor the visit to the theatre were without
some benefit to me."6
His more important business, however, was not forgotten.
With singular lack of understanding of the attitude of the
Mexican government toward the intrusion of Americans upon
its domain, "While in the City of Mexico he made arrangements to become an empresarias for settling the interior of
Alta California with emigrants from his own and other civilized lands, intending to commence the work, when the tide
of emigration to those western shores should set high, and it
should be practicable to take that position."7 These arrangements, he admitted, were made only "in part," and while they
were made with "public authority," we are not told as to the
officer who was approached or his reply.8 His health having
become impaired, he made no attempt to enter into any arrangement with the Mexican government to encourage trading relations with the settlers on the Columbia.9
His observations on the instability of the government and
needs of the people are quite as applicable to the conditions of
to-day. In a letter written on August 24, 1833, to J. B. Thornton, he said, "The civil outbreaks and commotions constantly
occurring in Mexico are not likely to result in any beneficial
effects to the people. The fundamental principles of government must be different, more in harmony with the principles
of Christianity. The policy of the governing power must be
changed. Under present circumstances, while the whole nation
is living in sottish ignorance, without schools for the youth,
and without a heaven-taught ministry, unenlightened and inexperienced, as to practical freedom and the blessings of Christian civilization, that policy should be more arbitrary, and the
government less republican.   .   .   .
"Mexico should have more light, and the sympathy of
neighbors.   Other nations should help her.   It would be right,
6 Settlement of Oregon, 36, 39, 41.
7 Kelley, Petition, 1854:3; Narrative of Events and Difficulties, Appx. A, 89-92.
8 Settlement of Oregon, 66; Petition, 1866:4.
9 Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 70. Hall Jackson Kelley
that her elder sister republic, the powerful and opulent United
States, should help her, and make her a loan of a few millions
of money, to be applied exclusively in laying the foundations
of freedom just described. Unless such a foundation is laid,
and the monsters, ignorance and superstition, are driven from
the land, political delusions, clandestine disorders, war and
bloodshed and human sufferings will continue."10
Unforeseen delays having made it impossible for him to be
at Acapulco at the appointed time, he now decided to go instead
to San Bias via Gaudalajara.
"Just before leaving the city, and proceeding onward, Col.
Hodgkiss, a countryman distinguished in the war of 1812,
presented me with an elegant sword, a testimonial of his respect
for me; and perhaps partly in view of the perilous journey to
be pursued along the roads at that time known to be infested
with banditti. . . . The consul presented me with two noble
mules, and a theodolite.  .   .   .
"My personal arms were a light gun, a brace of pistols, and
the sword just presented me. In the baggage were three guns
and other weapons such as are usually used in human slaughter.  Thus was I accoutred in complete Cossack panoply.  .   .   .
"Just before resuming the journey, two strangers, a French
gentleman and a countryman from Philadelphia, Giredot and
Keyser, came and proposed to accompany me to Gaudalajara.
Their company was very acceptable, and proved to be of much
benefit to me.   I was now ready to go forward.
"Just as I was leaving, when outside the gate, Foster introduced to me a savage looking man whom he called Frederick,
and who was going, he said, to San Bias, and desired to travel
with me; said he would assist in. driving the burthened animals. I consented, believing a refusal would be of no avail;
that Foster had picked him up for an accomplice in carrying
out his bloody purpose. I learned afterwards by the French
gentleman that he was a foot-pad, and associate with the highwaymen in that portion of the country.
10 Settlement of Oregon, 40-1 108
Fred Wilbur Powell
"My servant engaged in the city to take charge of the mules,
and to serve as a guide, at the end of two days refused to go
farther. I settled with him, paid him his price, and for a
further compensation he plundered my baggage of some small
articles, not, however, of much value. After four days, Giredot and Keyser, finding it too tiresome to travel in a slow walk,
and impatient to go forward, left me. They had travelled with
me two or three hours in the morning, and then hastened to
their night quarters. Foster and Frederick were now my only
servants and guide. At eight o'clock in the evening, after a
hard day's journey, having missed the road, I stopped, pitched
my tent by the side of the path and unburdened the mules.
Early the next morning I started in search of some populated
place for food and provender for the beasts, and also for information as to the right road. After traveling nearly a league
I entered a village, went from house to house, but the doors
were kept closed; none cared to give me answer—not so much
as a cup of water. Returning to the encampment, I ordered
the animals to be got ready to leave. While in the tent making ready the baggage, Foster, outside, called out, 'Robbers
are coming.' Looking out, I saw ten or fifteen men, variously
armed, near approaching. To show non-resistance, I grounded
my gun at the tent door. The supposed robbers.came up in
front, their captain advanced, and with trembling hands
stooped down and picked up the gun. Then, full of courage,
called out Bamos, bamos. On my coming out, he demanded
my side-arms. They were now silent for a while, as though
waiting for a reinforcement. Soon I saw, under a cloud of
dust, a crowd of women and children. They came and seated
themselves in a line on the ground. All fears of their having
bad intentions were now dispelled. They were silent. Four
men, on horseback arrived; one was the Elcelde of the village
where I had just been so unsuccessful in finding friends. He
addressed to me a few words, all of which I did not understand. I then exhibited the traveling passport given me by the
chief executive of the United States, and a letter from a dis- Hall Jackson Kelley
tinguished countryman, stating the objects of my sojourn in
Mexico. These papers were translated into his own language.
He read them and bowed. I bowed also, and we shook hands.
Among the women was a fair and thoughtful looking old lady,
who had come prepared with tortillis and fruit to relieve our
hunger. She uncovered a basket, and, looking kindly at me,
said, 'Senora, toma.' We partook of her bounty; though I
had fasted twenty-four hours, was not hungry, but Foster ate
much, and ate like a dog on the point of starvation. This lady
I supposed to be the mother of the Elcelde. ... I thought
I could see an excellent spirit in her. . . . After opening a
package of Indian presents, I addressed her, 'Senora, toma
(take),' and gave her in return, lace and ribbons, with which
she seemed pleased, ten times the value of what had been
received. The Elcelde and his suite having conducted me to
the right road, bade me good-by, and returned to their village,
and I proceeded on my route.
"After two days reached Yula, where I found my two fellow
travelers awaiting my arrival. Here I passed two or three
days in exploring the region about the city, most of the time
in the market place, studying human nature, observing the
manners and customs of the people, and seeking knowledge,
and picking up memorials of antiquity. History informs us
that the Annuhac tribe, the earliest aborigines of Mexico, in
their migration southward from the place of their landing on
the American shores, made Yula their first stopping place.
After two or three days, with my companions in company, I
again moved forward.  .   .   .
"In Curetero I delayed one day, bought a horse, and there
were stolen from my effects articles of six or eight dollars
value. The baser sort of the natives are much given to thieving, and practice with wonderful skill the sleight of hand, and
can steal before the eyes of another without his knowledge.
Though I kept a constant watch over my property, yet I was
constantly losing. My fellow travelers have again left me and
gone ahead to hunt rabbits, I passed through Salais, and put up 110
Fred Wilbur Powell
for the night in a puebla, three leagues beyond that place. The
hunters were with me, and we made a good supper on rabbits.
"About the middle of the next day reached Salamanca. Outside of the town a man on horseback met me and said he would
conduct me to a mason and to the Custom House. At the latter
place my passports and papers were examined. The custom
house officer said I was unlawfully carrying four guns. I
replied that the passports gave me a right to carry them. He
said, however, I might sell one of them to his son, then standing at the door, and proceed on with the three. Accordingly,
one was offered to the lad at half its value. But this was not
the thing; the gun he wanted without price. I took back the
passport and walked out, returned to the inn and ordered the
servant to make ready to leave. The marshal now brought
forward a large horse, which he offered to exchange for a gun.
The animal, on examination, was discovered to be blind in one
eye and to be badly foundered. It was more than two hours
before I could get rid of these insolent officers of the government. I finally got out of the city, but had not proceeded half
a league when a man came in great speed, offering to sell his
horse for a gun. I assured him I had no wish to buy, and
desired him to leave. At length, with much difficulty, I
induced him to wheel about and leave me. He hastened back
to report, no doubt, to the officer of the customs. I began to
think I had now escaped the heathen city; but alas! in less
than an hour afterwards, whom should I see following but
him who was a few hours before so courteous and attentive
to me in the city. He comes to renew his attempt to rob me
of the gun. He first said he must have the gun and $4.00 for
the horse offered me. He demanded it—demanded me to stop
and turn back; seized hold of my bridle, flourished his sword
and discharged his pistol, crossing the path ahead of my horse,
and again, the third time, discharged the pistol.
"To get rid of his troubling, I proposed to submit the matter
to the Elcelde of the next village. It was nearly dark before
we reached one.   Providentially, I met there my two friends. Hall Jackson Kelley
Giredot, conversant in the Spanish language, and serving me
as an interpreter, stated the case to the magistrate, and the
robber was ordered to turn back and pursue me no further.
In the morning the Padre, whom I believed to be an honest
man and disposed to deal justly with me, proposed to buy the
gun, offering me for it a large and powerful looking horse,
apparently without a blemish. His price was fifty dollars;
mine the same. An exchange was at once made, and I proceeded on my way.
"The new steed proved to be but partly domesticated—wild
and difficult to manage. About noon, meeting three armed
men on horseback, whom I supposed to be robbers, I dismounted, holding my gun in the right hand and the bridle
reins in the left. They passed on the off side, and pricked the
animal with a sword, causing him to jump; and he escaped,
leaving me with a dislocated little finger. Making a circuit
of a few rods, he set his head towards the place of his former
master, taking along with him a valise mailed back of the
saddle, containing a small amount of money, some jewelry and
valuable papers. I was now in trouble, and feared I should
not easily get out of it. I was alone—my two friends had gone
ahead, and neither Foster nor Frederick, having charge of the
mules, and unacquainted with the roads, were suitable persons
to hunt for the horse. Looking about, I saw at no great distance an Indian standing in front of his habitation. I called
to him and offered him a dollar (three or four were in my
pocket) to find and bring back the runaway animal. He was
at once upon the track, and in two hours returned with the
horse, but without the valuables. He reported that the valise
was hanging on one side of the animal with one end cut open,
emptied of its contents. I proceeded on several leagues to a
large town, where I stopped for a day to give rest to the lame
and wearied animals. My friends, G. and K., were overtaken
at this place, and rode in company with me, as they had previously done, one or two hours in the morning, and then took
their final leave of me.   I again, however, met them on my 112
Fred Wilbur Powell
arrival at Gaudalajara. Foster and Frederick, while ascending a hill, cut each of them a stick and hastened forward with
one of the mules and a horse, laden with my tent, a gun and
some other light articles, leaving me to drive the other, which
was lame, and traveled slow. Having passed the summit of
the hill, and out of sight, they also took their final leave. They
probably believed they had already betrayed me into the merciless hands of robbers in the mountains just ahead, who would
make an end of me. Frederick doubtless had so planned, being
acquainted, as I had been given to understand, with the banditti
infesting that portion of the country, and having had in the
cities through which we passed communication with some of
the highwaymen, looking after such wayfaring travelers as
they would like to make their victims. I was now alone, unacquainted with the road, and it seemed almost impossible for
me to go forward. I proceeded on a mile or more, hoping to
find some habitation. Leaving the packed animals, I rode to
the summit of a swell of land. I saw in the distance a cabin,
and approached near it. A man came out, seized a stone and
advanced towards me. I made enquiries of him concerning the
way to Gaudalajara and for some person to guide me thither.
He pointed out the right road, but thought it unsafe for me to
travel. It led over a mountain, the same in which I had been
told were a band of robbers. I left him, and on my way to the
mules, another man was seen coming from the direction of the
mountain. He rode up to me, and inquired as to my condition,
spoke kindly, as though he would have me believe him a friend;
had a crucifix in his bosom as though a Christian man. I
asked him if he would conduct me to Gaudalajara; said he
would for two dollars a day. I consented to give it. Taking
charge of the mules, he led on the way. . . . On the summit,
at the distance of a few rods, were seen five armed men on
horses, looking steadfastly at me. The guide said, 'Lahombres
malos.' Among their weapons was the lasso, the most effectual
one used in their line of business. I raised my gun as though
about to make demonstration.   They seemed as motionless as Hall Jackson Kelley
though they had no power of action. A gun in the hands of a
foreigner appears terrible to Mexican robbers, and they may
have been intimidated by mine, and have thought it a less risk
of life to capture me in some other place. I was not much
frightened, but, thinking myself in an unsafe place, hastened to
get out of it. I soon reached the foot of the mountain and a
cluster of cabins (three I recollect), and there saw the five
identical men whom I had just passed, still on their horses. I
was ordered to dismount. The animals were stripped of their
burdens and led to some place where I supposed they were
supplied with provender. There were four women, but no
children or young persons. With a good deal of presence of
mind I made my conversation agreeable to them, spoke of my
lonely travels, of robberies and of the loss of my money; and
made them presents, hair combs and scissors, which they
seemed to think of great value. In return they gave me food—
a bountiful supply of tortilles. Early in the evening they conducted me to the place of my lodging. ... I was comfortable, and slept quietly and safely through the night. The
women had doubtless induced the men to change their programme of proceedings from a merciless to a more humane
one—to go on with me, and on the way, at some place of
ambush, take possession of the mules and their cargoes, and let
me go. In the morning I saw the men again on their horses
leave the place. Soon after, the treacherous guide brought forward and made ready the animals and left with me. At the
end of three or four leagues, in a lonely place, the conductor,
who had appeared so honest and so much a friend, stopped the
largest of the mules, the leading one of them, the one laden
with the most valuable and bulky portion of the property,
under pretense of adjusting the fastenings of the load, and said
to me, 'Go on.' I did so, driving the other mule, then before
me. After proceeding a few rods, and looking back, lo, both
the mule and driver were missing. They had gone back behind
some clumps of bushes near the roadside. Moving on some
hundred or more rods, and leaving the mule near a lonely 114
Fred Wilbur Powell
house, I turned about with the determination to rescue the
captured mule, even at the peril of life, if so it needs be.
On the way I met the same five men in whose hands and power
I had been the previous day and night. When opposite the
homes where the mule driven forward was left, they discharged
a pistol, which was a signal for the conductor to bring forward
the mule and again join me. In a few minutes he was on the
road hastening towards me, and now, with both mules, we
proceeded on the way, and at the distance of a league, reaching
a fording place at the head waters of the Rio Grande, emptying into the ocean near San Bias. It was a dark and solitary
place, and near nightfall; the path was narrow, flanked with
thick bushes leading oblique to the river, and the men proposing to take my life lay concealed among them. No one could
be seen crossing until quite on the hither bank of the stream.
When the mules had come to the water's edge, the conductor,
back of them, wheeled about and said, with an air of triumph,
and, to me, a ghastly smile, T am going no further; are you
going oni" Instantly two men were seen on horseback, close
at hand. One of them said, 'Turn, and go with us,' and commanded the conductor (speaking with authority) to drive along
the animals. They had been apprised of the movements of
the robbers, and had come to my help. . . . They belonged
to the village called Argua Caliente, situate near the house
where the mule had been left. It was not seen by me at the
time of passing, owing to a swell of land which intervened,
or I should there have stopped and freed myself from the
company of my bloody pursuers. One of them was the Elcelde
of the village. On the way I spoke of my enterprise—the reason of the sojourn in that country and the cause of my loneliness. I tarried in that village two days, at the house of the
Elcelde, by whom I was made the participant of the most generous hospitality. I have not time to speak of the respect there
paid me, or of the dance (Fandango) given in honor to the
stranger so providentially in the village. Leaving the mules,
fatigued and worn down by hardships, to rest, I proceeded on Hall Jackson Kelley
to Gaudalajara, accompanied by one of the sons of my hospitable friend, where, after giving myself and horse a few
days' rest, returned for them.
"The first thing after my arrival at Gaudalajara was to find
my two runaway companions, and make search for the two
villains who had robbed me of the horse and his valuable burden. Among the foreigners residing and doing business in
that city were Terry and Sullivan, two of my countrymen. My
first call was upon them. . . . Mr. Terry . . . said that
a foreigner but a few days in the place had sold him a gun.
He brought it forward, and it was the identical gun stolen.
'We will go,' said he, 'and see the man; I know where he quarters.' Foster, at the first sight of me, seemed agitated and
turned pale. Terry demanded of him the return of the twenty
dollars paid for the gun. Foster replied, 'It is mostly gone to
meet expenses.' He was told if he did not return it, he should
be put where the dogs would not bite him. He handed Terry
twelve dollars, saying, 'This is all I have.' I then said to Foster, 'You must immediately leave the place, and leave me forever, or I will commit you to the hands of the public authority
as being a felon, a robber and the chief of rascals.' 'I will
leave,' replied he, 'for San Bias, and there go on board the
first vessel for the Sandwich Islands.' And he did leave, and
so also did Frederick, but not until he had taken the tongue
from the mouth of my best mule and ruined that noble and
valuable animal. The gun and tent were restored to me; but
a cane, a present by Mr. Jewett, a countryman and friend
residing at Jalapa, was lost." From Gaudalajara Kelley went
to San Bias on the Pacific coast.11
Before leaving Gaudalajara, however, he called upon Richard M. Jones, a son-in-law of Joseph Lancaster, who was
principal of the state institute in which the instruction was
conducted according to the Lancastrain method. Having observed the workings of this system in Philadelphia, Kelley
ii Settlement of Oregon, 42-50. Foster
thence to Monterey, where he was drowned,
mad pursuers," observed Kelley.—Ibid., 52-3.
went on to the Sandwich Islands and
"Here was an end of another of my 116
Fred Wilbur Powell
urged upon Jones the adoption of the Philadelphia plan. He
had already communicated with President Santa Anna upon
the subject while at the capital. But while we are told that
Jones promised to exert his influence in favor of the plan in
operation at the Manual Labor Academy of Pennsylvania, and
while we know that the Lancasterian system was received with
considerable favor in Mexico, there is no evidence that Kelley's
influence counted for anything more than encouragement.12
12 Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 75, Appx. A. 87-9; Petition,,'1
Settlement of Oregon, 52. The system was established by law in the Phila<
public schools in 1818 but abandoned in 1836.
,.,   .866:4;
Philadelphia CHAPTER SEVEN
En Route—San Blas to Fort Vancouver.
From San Bias Kelley continued his journey by water to La
Paz on the gulf coast of Lower California and thence to Lorett.
His course then lay northward by land to San Diego, where
he arrived with a single guide on April 14, 1834.1 Of his
experiences on this part of the journey, much of it through a
country that to-day is wild and forbidding, there is unfortunately little in the writings of Kelley to inform us.2 That
he collected "specimens of some of the precious metals of
Lower California, which he put into the hands of that eminent
geologist, Dr. [Charles T.] Jackson, of Boston,' he declared
in one of his petitions to congress.3
While at La Paz he shipped his theodolite and some of his
baggage to the Sandwich Islands. He also seems to have lost
his "elegant sword." While in the wilderness of Lower California, he devised "an instrument for making astronomical
observations," notwithstanding the imperative need of directing his attention to matters terrestrial in a country whose thieving natives almost aroused his admiration. "About the same
time," he continued, "the breech of my gun was broken short
off near the lock, and stolen by an Indian for its silver ornaments. A new one was soon provided, by substituting, in part,
a section of a wild bull's horn. It is a curious repair, and an
obvious improvement in the gun stock—it has better shape and
is more convenient for use."4
At Pueblo, near San Diego, Kelley met the man whose name
was to be associated with his own in the history of the settle-
1 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon,  53-4.
2 "That portion of the narrative from the time of leaving Gaudlaxara to that
of arriving at San Diego, owing either to mistake or inadvertence, or loss of
manuscript   ...    is wanting."—Ibid., xi n.
3 Kelley, Petition, 1866:4. "I found gold, silver and copper and other of
the precious metals, in Lower California."—Settlement of Oregon, 118.
4 Kelley, Memorial, 1848:14. This gun he presented to the Amherst college
museum a few years before his death. 118
Fred Wilbur Powell
ment of Oregon. This was Ewing Young, "a native of Tennessee, a man remarkable for sagacity, enterprise, and courage,"
according to Kelley. Young "had been twelve years a hunter
about the wilds of Oregon, California and New Mexico; and
had lost, perhaps, some of the refinements of manners once
possessed; and had missed some of those moral improvements
peculiar to Christian civilization." With him was a small party
of hunters. "This was the man to accompany me; because,
like myself, he had an iron constitution, and was inured to
hardships.   He was almost persuaded."5
From San Diego Kelley took passage to San Pedro on the
ship Lagoda out of Boston, and continued by land to Monterey, the seat of government.6 His chief aim was to get someone to accompany him. "The country between the 38th and
44th parallels appeared dark and threatening, no civilized men
save hunters, as I could learn, had roamed there. To penetrate
that trackless region alone seemed too hazardous. In hopes,
therefore, of collecting a party of emigrants to travel with me,
in whatever place countrymen could be found for hearers, I
preached Oregon." His appeal was soon to be answered, for
Young was then on his way to join him. "The last of June,
1834, he arrived at my encampment on the prairie, five miles
eastward of Monterey, and consented to go and settle in Oregon, with, however, this express understanding—that if I had
deceived him, woe be to me."7
There was much to be done, however, before the journey
could be resumed. The matter of trading relations demanded
attention, and arrangements had to be made for supplies both
for the long trip northward and for the settlers after their
arrival on the Columbia. It was also necessary to obtain all
available information as to the country yet to be traversed.
As was his custom, Kelley sought out the leading men and
laid his plans before them.   "The Catholic priests in California
5 Memorial, 1848
Oregon, 56-9.
6 Settlement of Oregon, 54.
7 Memorial, 1848:13; Settlement of Oregon, 59.
Hist, of the Colonisation of Oregon, 7; Settlement of Hall Jackson Kelley
were a learned and hospitable class of men. I received from
them not only facilities for traveling, but much valuable information concerning that country and its aboriginal inhabitants.
I held a correspondence with the Rev. Fr. Felipe Ayroyo de
la Cuesta of St. Miguel; and Don Marias Montaiier of Ogedo;
and with Gen. Jose Figueroa, the political governor."8 Both
by letter and in person he sought to obtain Figueroa's patronage and co-operation. He informed him of his ultimate purpose of founding a colony in the northern part of California,
and asked that he might explore that country and prepare a
map for the guidance of those who would wish to settle there.
But the governor, while professing to be favorable to the proposal, declared that he was without authority to grant a license
to prepare a map or funds for the proposed undertaking, and
offered to send Kelley's letter with his endorsement to the
Mexican government.9 There had been delays enough already,
however, and Kelley determined to push on.
"With a party of nine men, I set off on the 8th of July for
the land of my hopes. Young had fifty horses, each of his
men had one or more, and myself had six, with a mule. My
personal arms were a light gun, which was always in my hands,
and always ready for action; a brace of pistols, and a Spanish
dirk. . . . Included in the mules' cargo were articles for
Indian presents, such as cotton cloth scarlet velvet sashes,
beads, etc., stationery, my journals and papers, a Nautical
Almanac, thermometer, a 'compass, and an instrument . . .
for making astronomical observations. . . .10 In a trunk
made of a wild bull's hide were deeds, charts, historical
accounts and other papers, showing myself to be in possession
of a good title, which certain Americans, myself among them,
had to the largest and fairest portions of Quadra's [Vancouver]
Island, and also showing myself to be the attorney and advocate of the claimants."11
8 Memorial, 1848: 13.
9 Petition, 1866: 4-5; Settlement of Oregon, 67-8
I o Memorial, 1848:13-4.
II Settlement of Oregon, 20. 120
Fred Wilbur Powell
The number of men in the party is variously stated in the
different accounts of this part of the journey. The same is
true of the number of horses. This is not at all strange, for
the numbers varied at different stages. It would seem also
that the word "party" as used by Kelley included both himself
and Young, while Young used it to define those who were
subordinate to him. Young's account, as quoted by Kelley,
"We set out from Monterey with seven men and forty or
fifty horses, and on our way through the settlements12 bought
some more. When we arrived at the last settlement, St.
Joseph, we encamped there five days to get some supplies
of provisions. I left the camp and went to the bay of San
Francisco, to receive some horses that I had bought before
leaving Monterey. . . . When we set out from the last settlement, I had seventy-seven horses and mules. Kelley and
the other five men had twenty-one, which made ninety-eight
animals which I knew were fairly bought. The last nine men
that joined the party had fifty-six horses. Whether they
bought them, or stole them, I do not know."13
On the second day out from San Jose, a small band of men
overtook the party. These were the men referred to in Young's
statement. They were unwelcome, but there was no way to
get rid of thm. Kelley declared, "I neither gave consent or
dissent to their traveling with the party; for I could not prevent it; and Capt. Young did not object." Both Kelley and
Young gave the number of newcomers as nine, but four evidently dropped out, for Kelley's later references to them give
the number as five. These men Kelley characterized as "marauders," and the term was aptly chosen, as is evident from his
account of what followed.
"After a few days, those men, finding that I was not dis-
12 Santa Cruz was one of the settlements visited.—Kelley, Memoir, Committee
on Foreign Affairs, Territory of Oregon, supplementary report, 50, 25 cong. 3 sess.
H.  rep.   101.
13 Settlement of Oregon, 56-7; also Bancroft, Hist, of the Northwest Coast, II,
548 n. The latter - is probably based upon Kelley's account. Kelley said that
there were "120 valuable horses and mules which mostly belonged to Young."—
Colonisation of Oregon, 7.    But he failed to say when they had that number.   Hall Jackson Kelley
posed to connive at their villainy, sought an opportunity to
destroy me. One of them discharged his rifle at me, and very
nearly hit the mark; and at a subsequent time the rifle was
again leveled at me, but at the moment a word from Young
staid the death-charged bullet.  .   .   .14
ATwo of them had belonged to the party of twenty-five,
under [Joseph] Walker [of the American Fur company], of
whom Capt. Bonneville speaks in his 'Adventures Beyond
the Rocky Mountains.' Walker's chief object had been, for
more than a year, to hunt and destroy Indians. Those two
persons themselves informed me about it, and spoke often of
the black flag, and the rifle, and the arsenic. The other three
were runaway sailors—may have been pirates; they were now
marauders and Indian assassins. I will illustrate. Some days
after, crossing the [San] J[o]aquin river towards evening,
we passed an Indian village; three of the monster men, finding the males absent, entered their dwellings, ravished the
women, and took away some of their most valuable effects, and
overtook the party at the place of encampment. I saw in their
possession some of the articles of their plunder. The next
day, after proceeding two or three miles over the prairie, one
of the party cried out, 'Indians are coming,' and there were
fifty or more Indians advancing towards us. I turned and
advanced towards them; the men in the rear of the animals
were with me. The Indians halted and I halted, at the distance
of perhaps two rods from the chief. He was tall, good-looking,
stood firm and seemed undaunted before us. A red card was
pendant from his plumed cap, he held in the right hand his
bow, and in the left a quiver. He addressed me as though he
would explain what brought him and his men to that place.
He spoke in the language of nature, and I thought I understood what he said. I addressed him, also, in the language of
■ nature, by gestures and significant motions; tried to induce
a retreat, and save the lives of his young warriors; pointed to
our rifles and to their bows, and to the ground; and I tried to
14 Settlement of Oregon, 57. 122
Fred Wilbur Powell
have him understand that I was his friend and the friend of
his people; and that my men had given him occasion to pursue
us, and provocation for revenge. My party seemed fierce for
fight; but were persuaded to let the pursuers retreat unharmed.
The chief gave a word of command, and they turned about and
hastened from us; and he himself stood awhile, looking toward
us as though he feared not death. Turning slowly upon his
heel, he walked away. Two of the party started to follow,
I begged they would not; they persisted, saying they would
do him no harm. In fifteen or twenty minutes after this, I
heard the reports of their rifles. On their return I inquired
if they had shot the chief. The reply was, 'No, we fired a
salute'; but, alas! I saw among their effects the identical card,
the bow, and the quiver, and I wept. After a few days I saw,
on the opposite side of the Sacramento, ten or a dozen Indians.
Young said 'they were hostile Indians.' They were the same
Indians that had just escaped the bloody hands of the party,
and were pursuing us to avenge the wrongs done them. Some
days after this we crossed the river called American, and
encamped on its banks, and the animals put to feed near by.
"Nearly opposite the encampment was an Indian village,
and till late in the evening was heard a doleful noise, and beating on hollow logs. In the morning it was found that seven
of our animals had been killed, doubtless by those provoked to
pursue us. When the party were about to leave, seven Indians
crossed the river twenty or thirty rods from us. Five of them
ventured to come up to the camp; the other two stood upon the
bank, as though they were afraid to come. They were as
naked as when born, and bore with them presents—a bag of
pinions, and salmon, just caught and nicely dressed. Standing
in a semi-circle not more than ten feet distant from me, their
orator began to speak and explain as to their innocence; and
probably as to those who had killed the animals. Immediately
one of the party (of the five marauders) said, 'These are the
damned villains, and they ought to be shot.' 'Yes/ said Young.
No sooner said than they seized their rifles and shot down those Hall Jackson Kelley
five innocent, and to all appearances, upright and manly men,
and perforated their bodies with balls, while weltering in their
blood. I heard but a single groan. Two or three of the party,
mounting their horses, hastened to murder in like manner the
other two, and they were shot while fording the stream.
"Now my conductor, looking sharply at me, said, 'Mr. Kelley, what do you think of this?' I felt it my duty to give an
evasive answer: 'We must protect ourselves in the wilderness
among hostile Indians.' Doubtless, if my answer had not been
that way, I should have been also shot."15
Although Kelley had failed to obtain official permission to
survey the country through which he passed, he made as
thorough an examination as possible and recorded the results
of his observations. Upon the basis of these notes and of the
information subsequently obtained in Oregon, he prepared a
"Map of Upper California and Oregon," which in 1839 ne Put
into the hands of Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts, chairman
of the house committee on foreign affairs. According to his
statement, this map "was examined by Col. Fremont, who
explored the same country in 1837 or '4° t1843-4], and was
pronounced remarkably correct. It was the first ever made by
an American of the valley of the Sacramento."16 From the
confusion of dates and from the fact that Fremont did not
refer to this map in any of his reports, it may be inferred that
the examination of the map was made after Fremont's return
and not before.
This map, together with a reproduction on a smaller scale,
is now in the bureau ,of indexes and archives of the department
of state, having been recovered by Kelley and transmitted to
Joel R. Poinsett, secretary of war, under date of June 12, 1839.
It is a rough draft, but as Kelley said in his letter, "It is the
knowledge imparted by the map that gives it value, and not
the mere mechanical execution of it." Upon it a dotted line
indicates Kelley's route through California and Oregon.
In California as in Mexico, the possibilities of development
IS Ibid., 108-10; see also Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon, I, 396-7. 124
Fred Wilbur Powell
through the construction of railroads engaged Kelley's attention, if we are to credit a statement first made eighteen or
twenty years afterwards:
"While in California, in 1834, exploring the valley of the
Sacramento, where, at that time, none, but wild men dwelt;
and none but savage hunters roamed; cogitating upon internal
improvements, I planned a branch to extend from some point
in the route, after the transit of the Rocky Mountains, to the
Bay of San Francisco."17
Meanwhile the "iron constitution" of Kelley, which had sustained him through pestilence-ridden Mexico and borne up
under innumerable hardships, had become weakened, and he
fell a victim to malaria.
"When exploring the low and pestilential tracts in the
Southern region of the Sacramento valley,18 I contracted the
fever and ague. It rapidly increased and soon became terrible.
Just after . . . entering Oregon . . . my party was
providentially made to halt at the very moment when the endemic was having its worst effects upon me, and when I could
no longer be borne on horseback. My strength had rapidly
wasted, and at times I fainted and fell from the saddle.
"While in a thickly wooded mountain, it suddenly came on
dark, and we were obliged to stop for the night in the midst
of woods and thick darkness. Lowering partly down from the
animal, I fell, the stones and leaves on which I fell composed
my bed. In the morning it was found that some of the horses
and pack mules had strayed away. We, however, proceeded on
two or three miles, and encamped on an open stretch of ground.
Capt. Young, my conductor, and the men who had been of his
hunting party, returned to the mountains to search after the
lost animals. This caused a delay. The five marauders, who
had attached themselves to my party, two days after leaving
17 Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 71-2; Settlement of Oregon, 8. "This,"
he continued, "coincides with the views or the Hon. T. H. Benton, expressed in a
speech made by him in Congress, upon the subject of a railroad to the Pacific."
18 "I crossed the rapids of the Sacramento at what was said to be its lowest
ford, in latitude 39. deg. 35 min. Several of our horses were borne away by the
torrent."—Memoir, 51. This was .north of Butte City, on the line between Butte
and Glen counties. Hall Jackson Kelley
the Bay of San Francisco, remained in camp, and were jocose
and profane about the fire. I was now shaking like an aspen
leaf, prostrate and helpless in my tent.
"The place of this encampment was upon the high land near
the sources of the principal rivers watering the two countries,
to settle which I had spent my best days, my fortune, and all
my earthly comforts. Death appeared inevitable; earth seemed
at an end, and the portal of glory to be opening. Conversation
in the camp paused. . . . Then, suddenly, another voice was
heard. A stranger coming into the camp inquired, 'Where is
Capt. Kelley?' He came to my tent and said he was Capt.
La Flambois [Michel La Framboise], from the Columbia
River; and had been with his trappers to the Bay of San
Francisco, where he had heard of me; and that he had hastened
to overtake my party, having had nothing more for his guide
than the traces of our encampments. He kindly took charge
of my effects, and removed me to his camp. This good Samaritan first administered a dish of venison broth; and then,
in proper time, a portion [sic] of quinine. The third portion,
taken on the second day, dismissed the endemic monster. After
two days at that place I was able to stand upon my legs, but
unable to walk. Before leaving . . . the Captain engaged
an Indian chief to take me in a canoe forty or fifty miles down
the Umpqua. At first the chief declined, saying, that the upper
part of the river was not navigable. Finally, in view of a
bountiful reward, he consented to try. In the morning I was
placed on my mule, and borne six miles to the place of embarkation. The chief at one end, his son at the other, and myself
sitting upright in the centre of the boat, we floated swiftly
along the current. The hoary-headed chief, with wonderful
skill, descended the rapids. Often was he in the foaming
stream, holding on to the bow to save the boat from pitching
or sinking into the angry flood. The voyage was made in a
day and a half, and there was much, in that time, to cheer my
spirits, and give me strength. The heavens were serene, the
air salubrious, and the country on both sides was charming. 126
Fred Wilbur Powell
At the landing, the faithful Indian received of my property a
fine horse, saddle and bridle, a salmon knife and a scarlet
velvet sash, and was satisfied.19 Rondeau, whom the Captain
had appointed to be my attendant and guide, was ready at the
bank to conduct me, a few miles distant, to the camp of my new
party. I mounted with a little help, and rode off, feeling like
a new man.
"My journeying in that wilderness was full of interesting
incidents and things terrible."20
"On the 27th of October, I reached the end of a perilous
journey of over 6000 miles—most of the distance without traveling companions; and more than half, in wilderness or savage
countries. Hardships had almost worn me out. Landed in
front of Fort Vancouver. Capt. La Framboise assisted me out
of the boat. With the help of his arm, I walked slowly and
feebly to the fort, and entered a room at one end of the mansion-house, opening from the court. After a few minutes, the
chief factor, Mr. McLaughlin, came in—made a few inquiries
about my health and business, and, ordering some refreshment^
retired. None of his household, none of his American guests
called, nor had any of them been seen at the river, or on the
way to the fort. No countryman, though many were in the
house, came to sympathize in my afflictions or to greet my
"After I had taken an hour of repose on a bed which was
in the room, the Captain entered with compliments of Mr.
McLaughlin, saying it would be inconvenient to accommodate
with a room inside the fort, as they were all occupied, but I
could have a room outside, and a man to attend upon me.
Again, sustained by the arm of my friend, I was led to the
place assigned me outside the stockade; and so was cast out
from the fort, as though unworthy to breathe the same air,
or to tread the same ground with its proud and cowardly inmates.   The house had one room, with a shed adjoining.   The
19 "Which shows that he did not know how to trade with the Indians."—Bancroft, Northwest Coast, U, 549 n.
20 Settlement of Oregon, 17-9; Memorial, 1848:14-5. Hall Jackson Kelley
latter having been long occupied for dressing fish and wild
game, was extremely filthy. The black mud about the door
was abundantly mixed with animal putrescence. It was not a
place that would conduce much to the recovery of health. It
was, however, the habitation of a Canadian, a respectable and
intelligent man, a tinner by trade."21
The immediate reason for this inhospitable reception at the
fort where all comers had been made welcome, at least ostensibly, may be best stated in the words of Dr. McLoughlin:
"As Gen. Fiqueroa [sic], Governor of California, had written me that Ewing Young and Kelley had stolen horses from
the settlers of that place, I would have no dealings with them,
and told them my reasons. Young maintained he stole no
horses, but admitted the others had. I told him that might
be the case, but as the charge was made I could have no dealings with him till he cleared it up. But he maintained to his
countrymen, and they believed it, that as he was a leader among
them, I acted as I did from a desire to oppose American interests. I treated all of the party in the same manner as Young,
except Kelley, who was very sick. Out of humanity I placed
him in a house, attended on him and had his victuals sent him
at every meal."22
Figueroas letter had been brought from Montgomery on the
company's schooner Cadboro, which had made better time
than Kelley's party, and so enabled McLoughlin to take the
necessary steps to protect the interests of his company and of
those dependent upon it. Warning notices were posted, and
the Canadians were forbidden to trade with the members of
the party.23 But Kelley declared that the accusing letter did
not implicate him with the unwelcome marauders, and he maintained that McLoughlin's action was based wholly upon the
21 Memorial, 1848:15-6. "I arrived at Vancouver unwell, and was hospitably
welcomed by Mr. McLaughlin, the chief factor. Medical aid was rendered me; a
house in the village was furnished for my use, and all my physical wants were
supplied; but I was forbidden to enter the fort!"—Memoir, 60.
22 McLoughlin. Defence, addressed to parties in London, Oregon Historical
Society Quarterly, I, 195; also Bancroft, Northwest Coast, II, 550.
23 Bancroft, Northwest Coastt II, 552; Hist, of Oregon, I, 91-2- Young
demanded and received a retraction from Figueroa—Walker, Sketch of Ewing
Young, Oregon Pioneer Association, Transactions, 1880:57.
|| 128
Fred Wilbur Powell
desire to prevent the settlement of Americans on the Columbia.
He claimed that Captain Dominis of the brig Owyhee of Boston, who was in the Columbia in 1829, had communicated to
McLoughlin information as to Kelley's purpose to colonize
Oregon, and that the chief factor at once prepared to protect
the monopoly of his company by discouraging trade with
Americans and by preempting the most desirable sites.24
Again it is necessary to record the defeat of Kelley; but
again it must be said that while the result of his efforts was
personal failure, the actual result was success. Through the
American Society he had started the movement which led to
the coming of Wyeth and demonstrated the practicability of
the overland route; he had aroused the churches to the opportunity for work among the Indians, which led to the coming
of the Lees and other missionaries. Now he had brought into
the Oregon country nine men, most of them American citizens, who with Calvin Tibbetts were to remain as settlers, thus
establishing American occupation and ultimate domination in
that territory.25 All this was not apparent at the time; least of
all to Kelley. To those at Fort Vancouver he appeared as a
strange, almost pathetic figure; the wreck of a man in his
prime, whose race was about run. In his Recollections of the
Hudson's Bay Company, as quoted by Bancroft, George B.
Roberts said: "I remember the visit of Hall J. Kelley. He
was penniless and ill-clad, and considered rather too rough for
close companionship, and was not invited to the mess.    He
24 Settlement of Oregon, 86-7; Colonisation of Oregon, 6. He also said that
Dominis gave McLoughlin a copy of the General Circular; but that pamphlet was
not issued until 1831. We may well believe, however, that the Hudson's Bay
authorities were informed of the movement for Oregon settlement in congress in
1828, for they were men of sagacity, and it is unlikely that they failed to keep
in touch with the British legation at Washington. It is possible also that Dr.
McLoughlin may have learned of the movement for emigration from the American
trapper and fur trader, Jedediah Smith, who was at Fort Vancouver from August,
1828, to March, 1829.—Elliott, Dr. John McLoughlin and his guests, Washington
Historical Society, Quarterly, III, 67-8.
25 The members of the party, in^-addition to Kefiey and Young, were: Brandy-
wine, Lawrence ""Carmichael, Elisha "Ezekiel, Joseph*^jale, Webley John"^awkhurst
John "Howard, Kilborn, John ^TeCarty, and George *Winslow. Ezekiel was a
wheelright; Hawkhurst, a native of Long Island, was a carpenter; Gale was a
native of the District of Columbia; Winsiow was colored. The names are given
in Bancroft, Oregon, I, 76-711, upon the authority of Gray, Oregon, 191, supplemented by Lee and Frost, Ten Years in Oregon, 129. Gray made no mention of
Kelley. Hall Jackson Kelley
may have thought this harsh. Our people did not know, or
care for, the equality he had perhaps been accustomed to. It
should be borne in mind that discipline in those days was rather
severe, and a general commingling would not do." Again,
"Kelley was five feet nine inches high, wore a white slouched
hat, blanket capote, leather pants, with a red stripe down the
seam, rather outre, even for Vancouver."26 To such straits had
our dreamer come! But his "vision" had at last become a
reality, and the lordly chief factor himself was soon to face
it and to be overcome by it.27 Somewhere it is written, "Sometimes we are inclined to class those who are once-and-a-half
witted with the half-witted, because we appreciate only a third
part of their wit."
26 Bancroft, Northwest Coast, II, 550.
27 "I early foresaw that the march of civilization and progress of peopling the
American Territories, was westward and onward, and that but a few years would
pass away before the whole valuable country between the Rocky Mountains and
the Pacific, then used as hunting and trapping grounds, and as the resting place
of native tribes, must become the abode of another race—American. This could
neither be successfully resisted, nor did I deem it politic or desirable to attempt
it. In this spirit I prepared myself to encourage, hasten, and further what I
thought would be not only attended with good, but inevitable    .    ...
From 1824 to the present hour, I have spared neither time nor means, but
liberally used both, to facilitate the settling of Oregon by whites; and that it
has been my good fortune to do much in years gone by to relieve distress and
promote the comfort and happiness of immigrants, I may fearlessly assert, and for
proof need only to refer to the candid and just Americans who first came to the
country."—McLoughlin, letter to Oregon Statesman, June 8, 1852, Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, VIII, 295-9.  CHAPTER EIGHT
In Oregon—An Unwelcome Guest
It is difficult to account for Kelley's surprise at finding himself unwelcome at Fort Vancouver. For ten years he had lost
no opportunity to assail the Hudson's Bay company, and he
had every reason to believe that Dr. McLoughlin was fully
informed as to his past activities and his plans for the future.
The success of those plans would work irreparable loss to the
company and the nation for which it exercised civil jurisdiction over the Northwest Coast. Yet he seems to have expected
the chief factor to treat all differences between them in a lofty
and impersonal maimer, and to accord to him all the courtesies
due to an accredited diplomatic agent. Indeed he was not
without credentials of a kind. In his baggage were papers
showing him to be the attorney of the claimants to the lands
on Vancouver Island bought of the Indians by Captain John
Kendrick in 1791, but his immediate plan was to form a settlement on the Columbia. These papers were not presented to
Dr. McLoughlin, but Kelley believed that they were examined
and the rest of his baggage overhauled during his illness,1 At
the worst he fared better than any of the others of his party,
for while he was given food and shelter, such as it was, his
followers received no favors whatever.
His resentment at the attitude of his countrymen is more
easily understood. At the time of his arrival, there were at
Fort Vancouver seven men who had accompanied Wyeth on
his second expedition, and their presence in that country was
the result, direct or indirect, of his efforts. These men were
the Lees and their three lay associates, Thomas Nuttall, the
celebrated botanist who had served as lecturer and curator at
Harvard, and John K. Townsend, a young naturalist. Jason
Lee was born in Canada of American parentage, and Nuttall
1 Kelley, Hist, of the Settlement of Oregon,
Memorial, 9-11, 26 cong. 1 sess. H. doc. 43.
tor Petition,  1866:6; Bulfinch, 132
Fred Wilbur Powell
was an Englishman, but their associations had been with American interests. Like Kelley, Nuttall held the degree of A. M.
from Harvard. Of these men Kelley said, "There were some
of my countrymen at that time at Vancouver, the recipients
of the generous hospitality and favors of Mr. McLaughlin.
Though for several months within five or six minutes of my
sick room, yet none of them had the humanity to visit me."2
The first person who visited him was Young, but "his call
was not so much to sympathize as to speak of the personal
abuse just received from Dr. McLaughlin." To Kelley the
absence of active sympathy in Young was the result of the
misrepresentations of slanderous tongues, but Young may have
had in mind the difference between the real Oregon and the
place so glowingly pictured to him by Kelley at Pueblo and
Monterey.3 That the man was not taken at his own rating is
undoubtedly true, for who could understand him, least of all
those who were his adversaries? "Before I had been long in
the country," he declared, "I learned that the factor and his
agents were preparing in every artful way to render my abode
there uncomfortable and unsafe. The most preposterous calumnies and slanders were set on foot in regard to my character,
conduct and designs.4 . . . Seeing that falsehood was making such sad work with my character, and that calumny and
mockery were the order of the day, I addressed to John McLaughlin, Esq., a manifesto, prepared, of course, with a feeble
hand, declaring myself not to be a public agent acting by
authority from the United States, as represented at Vancouver;
but to be a private and humble citizen of a great nation—
moved by a spirit of freedom, and animated with the hope of
being useful among my fellow men." Just how this commuJiM
cation was calculated to effect a reconciliation does not appear.
That it did not soften the heart of the chief factor is certain;
for when in the latter part of November Kelley requested a
2 Kelley, Memorial,  1848:16.
3 Settlement of Oregon, 58-9.
4 Kelley, Memoir, Committee on Foreign Affairs, supplemental report,  Territory of Oregon, 6o, 25 cong. 3 sess. H. rep. 101. Hall Jackson Kelley
passage to the Sandwich Islands in one of the company's vessels, he met with a refusal, although he was willing to pay
whatever might be reasonably required. Nor would Dr. McLoughlin have any business transactions with him. When a
silver dollar was sent to the company storehouse for certain
necessary articles desired by Kelley, the articles were not forthcoming under the pretense that the money was not genuine.
"The dollar was current, and the metal pure," naively remarked
When he was able to get about, some of his party visited
him and asked him to plat out the land on the site which he
had chosen for a settlement. "A day for that service, two or
three weeks off, was appointed; but, prior to its coming, other
visits were made of an unfriendly nature. . . . Also two letters were received from the party, threatening my life, if seen
on the Wallamet. All things considered, I thought it prudent
to keep from that quarter."6 One of these letters was from
Yet there were those whose attitude was not unfriendly.
"Those who treated me with respect were the Indians and the
common people. The Rev. Jason Lee privily called, at times,
and talked freely of obligations of himself and the public to
me, always expressing his haste. Mr. Stuart, now in the
British Parliament, whose mind differed from other minds at
Vancouver, something as light differs from darkness, honored
me with his society and expressions of his kind regards—not
fearing the displeasure of Mr. McLaughlin."8
About the first of February, his health being improved, Kelley began to make exploring excursions about the Columbia
and to collect all available information as to the geography
and economic characteristics of the country, with particular
reference to the activities of the Hudson's Bay company and
to the possibilities of blocking those efforts through an influx
5 Kelley, Narrative of Events and Difficulties, 57-8.
6 Ibid., 56.
7 Settlement of Oregon, 58.
8 Memorial   1848:16. 134
Fred Wilbur Powell
of American settlers and traders. He later made a survey of
the Columbia river from Fort Vancouver to its mouth and
recorded the results upon his map of Upper California and
Oregon, to which reference has been made in the preceding
chapter.9 This was not an instrumental survey, however, for
his theodolite was then at the Sandwich Islands. The results
of his observations were later presented to congress in a memoir, which will receive attention in later chapters.10
Dr. McLoughlin naturally kept himself informed as to all of
Kelley's movements, for here was a man who openly challenged his authority. Said Kelley: "All my movements were
watched. . . . Had I been willing to place myself under the
control and direction of the Company, all would have been
peace; but so long as I was disposed to act independently, as
an American on American soil, seeking authentic information,
for general diffusion, and pursuing the avowed purpose of
opening the trade of the territory to general competition, and
the wealth of the country to general participation and enjoyment, so long was I an object of dread and dislike to the grasping monopolists of the Hudson's Bay Company. My abode
in Oregon was thus rendered very disagreeable."11
It is interesting at this point to note the interpretation of
Dr. McLoughlin's attitude as given by Mrs. Frances Fuller
"It was not altogether Kelley's Mexican costume that
excluded Kelley from Vancouver society. Other travelers who
had arrived in unpresentable apparel had been made presentable by the loan of articles from the wardrobes of the factors
and partisans resident there at the time. It could not be said
either that Kelley was uninteresting or uneducated. Quite
the contrary, indeed. What he had to tell of his adventures in
Mexico and California must have been just the sort of tales to
while away winter evenings in Bachelors' Hall.
"I fancy the situation was about this:   McLoughlin was pre-
9 Memoir, 55; Memorial, 1848:16; Petition, 1866:5.
10 See Appendix.
11 Memoir.  60. . _ HH Hall Jackson Kelley
pared to dislike Kelley even without Governor Figueroa's condemnation, on account of his published denunciation of the
Hudson's Bay Company. He was under no obligation to admit
him to the society of the fort, although he would not have
him suffer sickness and hunger under the shadow of its walls.
The fact that he was an American while giving him a patriotic
excuse, if not motive, for ignoring claims on his compassion,
also, on the other hand, furnished a politic motive for indulging his natural humanity. For at that time there were several
Americans being entertained at Vancouver. . . . The treaty
rights of Wyeth were not disputed, nor were the scientific
observations of the scholars opposed. It was Kelley, as colonizer and defamer of the company, who