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State of Oregon,

The history of this State properly begins with the discovery of the mouth of the Columbia River by Captain Gray, of Boston, in the ship Columbia, May 7, 1792, who gave the name of his vessel to that river. His report caused President Jefferson to send the explorers Lewis and Clarke (qq. v.) across the continent to the Pacific (1804-6). In 1811 John J. Astor and others established a fur-trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River, and called it Astoria. The British doctrine, always practised and enforced by them, that the entrance of a vessel of a civilized nation, [36]

State seal of Oregon.

for the first time, into the mouth of a river, gives title, by right of discovery, to the territory drained by that river and its tributaries, clearly gave to the Americans the domain to the lat. of 54° 40′ N., for the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Gray, in 1792, was not disputed. In 1818 it was mutually agreed that each nation should equally enjoy the privileges of all the bays and harbors on that coast for ten years. This agreement was renewed, in 1827, for an indefinite time, with the stipulation that either party might rescind it by giving the other party twelve months notice. This notice was given by the United States in 1846, and also a proposition to adjust the question by making the boundary on the parallel of 49°. This was rejected by the British, who claimed the whole of Oregon. The President then directed the proposition of compromise to be withdrawn, and the title of the United States to the whole territory of 54° 40′ N. lat. to be asserted. The question at one time threatened war between the two nations, but it was finally settled by a treaty negotiated at Washington, June 15, 1846, by James Buchanan on the part of the United States and Mr. Pakenham for Great Britain, by which the boundary-line was fixed at 49° N. lat.

In 1833 immigration to this region,

Scene on the Columbia River, discovered by Captain Gray.


Oregon Indians.

overland, began, and in 1850 many thousands had reached Oregon; but very soon many of the settlers were drawn to California by the gold excitement there. To encourage immigration the Congress, in 1850, passed the “donation law,” giving to every man who should settle on land there before Dec. 1 of that year 320 acres of land, and to his wife a like number of acres; also, to every man and his wife who should settle on such land between Dec. 1, 1850, and Dec. 1, 1853, 160 acres of land each. Under this law 8,000 claims were registered in Oregon. Settlers in Oregon and in Washington Territory, in 1855, suffered much from Indians, who went in bands to murder and plunder the white people. The savages were so well organized at one time that it was thought the white settlers would be compelled to abandon the country. Major-General Wool, stationed at San Francisco, went to Portland, Ore., and there organized a campaign against the Indians. The latter had formed a powerful combination, but Wool brought hostilities to a close during the summer of 1856. The bad conduct of Indian agents, and possibly encouragement given the Indians by employes of the Hudson Bay Company, were the chief causes of the trouble.

In 1841 the first attempt to organize a government was made. In 1843 an executive and legislative committee was established; and in 1845 the legislative committee framed an organic law which the settlers approved, and this formed the basis of a provisional government until 1848, when Congress created the Territory of Oregon, which comprised all the United [38] States territory west of the summit of the Rocky Mountains and north of the forty-second parallel. The territorial government went into operation on March 3, 1849, with Joseph Lane as governor. In 1853 Washington Territory was organized, and took from Oregon all its domain north of the Columbia River. In 1857 a convention framed a State constitution for Oregon, which was ratified, in November of that year, by the people. By the act of Feb. 14, 1859, Oregon was admitted into the Union as a State, with its present limits. Many Indian wars have troubled Oregon, the last one of importance being the Modoc War, 1872-73 (see Modoc Indians). Population in 1890, 313,767: in 1900,413,536. See United States, Oregon, in vol. IX.

Territorial governors.

George Abernethyappointed1845
Joseph Lane to 1849
J. P. Gaines to 1849
Joseph Lane to 1853
George L. Curry to 1853
John W. Davis to 1853
George L. Curry to 1854

State governors.

John Whiteakerassumes office1859
Addison C. Gibbsassumes office1862
George L. Woodsassumes office1866
Lafayette Groverassumes office1870
S F. ChadwickactingFeb. 1, 1877
W. W. Thayerassumes office1878
Zenas Ferry Moodyassumes office1882
Sylvester Pennoyer, Demassumes officeJan. 1, 1887
William Paine Lordassumes office1895
Theodore T. Geerassumes office1899

United States Senators.

Name.No. of Congress.Term.
Delazon Smith35th1859 to 1860
Joseph Lane35th to 37th1859 to 1861
Edward D. Baker36th1860 to 1861
Benjamin Stark37th1862
Benjamin F. Harding37th to 39th1862 to 1865
James W. Nesmith37th to 40th1861 to 1867
George H. Williams39th to 42d1865 to 1871
Henry W. Corbett40th to 43d1867 to 1873
James K. Kelly42d to 45th1871 to 1877
John H. Mitchell43d to 45th1873 to 1879
Lafayette F. Grover45th to 47th1877 to 1883
James H. Slater46th to 49th1879 to 1885
Joseph N. Dolph47th to 54th1883 to 1895
John H. Mitchell48th to 55th1885 to1897
George W. McBride54th to ——1895 to ——
Joseph Simon55th to ——1898 to ——

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