Copyright 2000 - 2003 - Janine M. Bork
This page is part of the Union County, OR AGHP
(1836 - 1840.)
Young and Carmichael Abandon Erection of Distillery - Formation of the California Cattle Company - Visit to Willamette by Purser Slacum, U.S. Navy, Special Agent - First Petition to Congress of J.L. Whitcom and Others - Farnham, Holman and Others Leave Peoria, Illinois, for Oregon - Sir Edward Belcher's Surveying Expedition in Columbia River - Arrival of Rev. J.S. Griffin - Missionary Party of Clark, Smith and Littlejohn - Dr. Robert Newell Brings Wagons to Fort Walla Walla - Population of Territory at Close of 1840.
EWING YOUNG, whose arrival in the Willamette valley has been chronicled, growing tired of merely tending his stock, had resolved on a more active money-making pursuit. At this time, the salmon fishery enterprise of Captain Wyeth was about to be abandoned; and the firm had purchased the caldron which had been designed for pickling salmon, and had commenced the building. The officials of the Hudson's Bay Company, the Methodist missionaries, and a majority of the settlers, protested against the enterprise. It was urged that its consummation would be ruinous to a farming settlement, and most dangerous and hurtful in a new country with an Indian population and its class of inhabitants. As an inducement to abandonment, the offer was made to start the firm in a saw or grist mill or other business, and to reimburse them for the expenditure they had incurred. An address was presented to Messrs. Young and Carmichael, signed by nearly every person in the settlement. Public opinion was respected and the firm obeyed the popular wish. They abandoned their project and also refused the proffered remuneration.
The formation of the California Cattle Company was the principal feature of the fall and winter of 1836. It was a joint-stock company, whose purpose was to import from California horses and cattle. The shares were to be proportionate to the amount contributed. Half the stock was taken by the Hudson's Bay Company. Rev. Jason Lee, superintendent of the Oregon Methodist Mission, invested six hundred dollars. The settlers contributed amounts as they were able. Others engaged as drivers at one dollar per day, to be paid in cattle at actual cost. The party was headed by Ewing Young, P.L. Edwards, a lay member of the Methodist Mission, accompanied as treasurer. These officers were to receive compensation in cattle at prime cost.
It becomes necessary ere to introduce Purser William A. Slacum, of the United States navy, who arrived in Oregon in December, 1836, in a brig Loroit, chartered at Honolulu. He zealously co-operated in this cattle enterprise, rendering valuable aid to the American settlers. As before quoted from Mr.. Courtney M. Walker's pioneer article, it was probably owing to the published representations of Hall J. Kelly as to the treatment of Young and himself at Fort Vancouver, an also his observations upon the
country, that President Jackson had instructed William A. Slacum, United States navy, as special agent to visit Oregon and make investigations, as also to report upon the country, its soil, climate, resources, etc.
Of Slacum's visit to Fort Vancouver, Chief Factor McLoughlin remarks" On arriving, he pretended he was a private gentleman and had come to meet Messrs. Murray and companions, who had left the States to visit the country. But this did not deceive me, as I perceived who he was and his object. His report of the mission subsequently published in the proceedings of Congress established that my surmises were correct."
The arrival of Purser Slacum was opportune for the settlers. He offered to the purchasers and employés of the cattle company free passages in his vessel to San Francisco. Having arrived in California, they bought 800 head of cattle at $3 per head, and forty horses at $12 each. A number of the cattle were lost in swimming the rivers, some strayed, and some were killed by the Shasta Indians. They reached Willamette in October, 1837, with about 600 head.
The horses were put up at auction and distributed to the contributors, at the prices bid. The cattle were found to have cost, delivered at Willamette Falls, seven dollars and sixty-seven cents per head. The Methodist Mission received eighty head. Those settlers who had borrowed tame and broken cattle from the Hudson's Bay Company were now allowed by Dr. McLoughlin to return California cattle in exchange, thereby stocking their farms with cattle at less than eight dollars per head. As the Hudson's Bay Company desired to use the cattle for beef, Dr. McLoughlin accepted young stock for the share due the company.
There is no record of the arrival of any independent settlers during 1837.
(1838). In March, J.L. Whitcom (1) and thirty-five others, describing themselves as settlers residing south of the Columbia river, addressed the Congress the first memorial from within the territory, praying that Federal jurisdiction might be extended over Oregon. Lewis F. Linn, of Missouri, presented it in the United States Senate, January 28, 1839. It represents hat American settlement began in 1832. It temperately portrays the resources, climate and soil of the region, alludes to its advantageous commercial position, and foreshadows the importance of Pacific commerce. The relation of the settlers to Hudson's Bay Company is discussed, and the necessities of law for the well being of the community indicated.
"The territory must populate. The Congress of the United States must say by whom. The natural resources of the country, with a well-adjusted civil code, will invite a good community. But a good community will hardly emigrate to a country which promises no protection for life or property. Inquires have already been submitted to some of us for information of the country. In return, we can only speak of a country highly favored of nature. We can boast of no civil code. We can promise no protection but the ulterior resort of self-defense. By whom, then, shall our country be protected? By the reckless and unprincipled adventurer, or by the hardy and enterprising pioneer of the west? By the Botany Bay refugee, by the renegade of civilization from the Rocky Mountains, by the profligate deserted seaman from Polynesia, and the unprincipled sharpers from South America? We are well assured it will cost the government of the United States more to reduce elements so discordant to social order than to promote our permanent peace and prosperity by timely action of Congress. Nor can we suppose that
(1) Mr. Whitcom was mate of the vessel in which Dr. White and other Methodist missionaries came as passengers, arriving in the Columbia river in 1837. He had been employed by the mission as foreman.
so vicious a population could be relied on in case of a rupture between the United States ad any other power. Our intercourse with the natives among us, guided much by the same influence which has promoted harmony among ourselves, as been generally pacific. But the same causes which will interrupt harmony among ourselves will also interrupt our friendly relations with the natives. It is, therefore, of primary importance, both to them and us, that the government should take energetic measures to secure the execution of all laws affecting Indian trade and intercourse of the white men with Indians."
About the 1st of May, 1839, a party numbering eighteen (1) left Peoria, Illinois, for the purpose of establishing a settlement, fishery and commercial enterprise at the mouth of the Columbia river. Thomas J. Farnham, a lawyer and journalist, was captain. The late Joseph Holman, so long and favorably known at Salem, was of the party. He was a cooper by occupation; and he was to make barrels, in which salmon were to be packed and shipped. Amos Cook, Francis Fletcher and R.L. Kilbourn, who came through that year to Willamette, were of the party, as was also Sidney Smith, who arrived in Oregon at a later period. The wife of Farnham accompanied the march westward for several days, during which time she prepared a neat little banner, inscribed, "Oregon, or the Grave." Captain Farnham left his party at Bent's fort, and, with a guide, pushed ahead, reaching Fort Vancouver long in advance of any of his companions. He remained there until November, at which time he sailed in one of the Hudson's Bay Company's vessels to the Sandwich Islands, and thence to the States.
Joseph Holman justly and happily says: "Our's was the first party that crossed the plains to Oregon to become permanent settlers and citizens. We came to make homes; but not even the missionaries of that day actually came to stay as we did."
As this was the first bona-fide pioneer immigration of American citizens who voluntarily made the great march across the continent to settle and make permanent homes in Oregon, to occupy it, to hold it, to Americanize it, - the story of its march, its vicissitudes, its trials, recounted in the language of its prominent member, is deemed of vital interest. Said Joseph Holman:
"This company of eighteen men started with a two-horse team and some loose horses. Fort Independence, Missouri, was considered the frontier at that time, and there they changed their programme for travel. They sold the team and wagon, and outfitted anew with saddle horses and pack animals. Here they mounted their nags from the plains, and drove on before them pack animals that carried all their necessary baggage and supplies. Their train now consisted of over twenty, probably nearly thirty, mules and horses. They went south from Independence towards Santa Fé, took their route up the Arkansas river to Bent's fort, and thence to Bent's other fort, or trading-post, on the south fork of the Platte. They were now in exclusively Indian territory, where they had good grass and an abundance of buffalo. Sometimes the herds of bison were so impenetrable that they had trouble to drive them out of their way, and couldn't hear themselves speak for the constant roaring of these animals. They had meat in abundance, though none of them were good hunters. One of them would ride up by the side of a buffalo calf and shoot it with his pistol. Sometimes they only took out the tongues, as they were considered a great delicacy. They had neither flour nor salt, but lived on 'meat straight' much of the time, in fact, all the way to the Columbia river. Buffalo lasted on the plains as far as Bear river. For a month there was no time they could not go out and find droves of American bison. Occasionally they would stop a day to hunt whenever there was a scarcity of meat.
statement of Joseph HOlman; one of the party, to S.A. Clarke; see Pioneer
Days, Article, IV. Sunday Oregonian gives eighteen as the number.
T.J. Farnham, the captain, in his published "Travels in the Great Western
Prairies," commences thus: "On the first day of May, 1839, the author and
thirteen others were making preparations to leave Peoria."
"On the south fork of the Platte, they met a war party of Sioux, who stole two of their horses in the night time. Those were the only unfriendly savages they met all the way to Oregon. Their own party, though small, were well armed, and stood guard every night. The plains Indians, in that year, had only bows and arrows, with occasionally an old flint-lock gun that would not go off well. So our party, though small, could protect themselves easily against a much larger force of Indians with native weapons. They left Independence the last of May, and stopped a month at Bent's fort on the Southe Platte to recruit animals and secure a guide to Brown's Hole on Green river, where they all wintered.
"They reached Brown's Hole in September and found it located among the sage brush of the river bottom. Here they found Jo Meek and Dr. Newell, and other famous free trappers and hunters whose histories are associated with early times in Oregon. There was also a large band of Snakes or Sho-sho-nes. All these men said, "You had better wait until spring.' So we built our cabins to winter in and went back to Bear river, where we killed buffalo, to dry the meat and cure it for our winter supply. This we packed to our winter encampment at Brown's Hole. It was a trading place only, but it suited the traders to call it a 'fort.' We spent the winter as well as we could, and feasted on dried buffalo straight. The Indians sometimes had broken guns; and we mended the stocks, or did other such things for the savages as were necessary. We made saddles that we took to Fort hall and exchanged for supplies and clothing in the spring. There were plenty of deer and mountain sheep to kill. We wintered well, and had no sickness.
"At Bent's fort, on the South Platte, some of our party had turned back discouraged. A few stayed to trap there; some went to Santa Fé. Fletcher, who came with us, died recently in Yamhill county; Amos Cook lives near Lafayette; Kilbourn went to California in 1842. These made the four that came through with Dr. Newel in March from Brown's Hole to Oregon. All of the eighteen who started and came through were Fletcher, Cook, Kilbourn and myself (Holman). We encountered deep snows on the way to Fort Hall in the mountains. Our hardships were greater than we at any time before encountered. We had to spread down blankets on snow drifts for our animals to pass over, and also did the same on the frozen creeks. Finally our horses were nearly starved, and ourselves almost famished. We bought Indian dogs and ate them. We were a month in deep snows. The horses throve on young cottonwood growing in the creeks. We gave them this and they did well on it. They ate greedily. We had started early so as to avoid war parties of unfriendly savages. Three days from Fort Hall we found a single old buffalo bull. It was very poor, but we killed it. We had been three days without food, and were getting over our raving hunger when we killed the buffalo. At Fort Hall, we found dried salmon and a little corn, and thought it was very luxurious living.
"We remained three weeks at Fort
Hall, waiting for them to get ready to bring down their furs to Walla Walla.
Then we came down Snake river with two fur traders. We left Fort Hall in
May, and had a very pleasant journey from there to Walla Walla. We came
down the north side of the Columbia, crossed over at The Dalles, and then
took the Columbia river trail on the south side. We reached Vancouver the
same day that forty missionaries arrived there by sea, including Lee, Parrish
and others. Dr. McLoughlin was astonished to see us, and looked on us with
great surprise. He said he wondered that four men should cross the continent
alone. He sent us to the company's dairy to get something to eat. We were
dressed in buckskin and went bareheaded. We traded
him beaver skins for clothes, and looked like civilized men once more. Fletcher had some money, but they charged twenty per cent for exchanging it for British money or goods."
In "Notes by Dr. McLoughlin," reference is made to William Geiger and William Johnson having visited Fort Vancouver. "They represented themselves as having been sent by people in the States to examine the country and make report. Johnson sailed for the Sandwich Islands, Geiger went as far as California and thence returned by land." He became a permanent settler.
In the summer of 1839, the little handful of Americans in the Willamette valley experienced extreme solicitude, upon the appearance in the Columbia river of a British surveying expedition, commanded by Captain Sir Edward Belcher, Royal Navy. It consisted of her Majesty's ship Sulphur, 380 tons, with a complement of 109 men, attended by her Majesty's schooner Starling, of 109 tons, Lieutenant H. Kellett, Royal Navy, commanding.
This expedition for the survey of the Pacific coast, from Valparaiso to sixty degrees, thirty-one minutes north, and originally under command of Captain F.N. Beachey, R.N., had sailed from Plymouth, England, December 24, 1835. On reaching Valparaiso, Captain Beachey, in consequence of hill health, was compelled to return to England. Lieutenant Kellett commanded until January, 1837, at which time Captain Belcher joined the Sulphur at Panama. Nor were the jealous fears of these American settlers without occasion. Among the instructions by the British Admiralty, dated December 19, 1835, wa the following:
"Political circumstances have invested the Columbia river with so much importance, that it will be well to devote some time to its bar and channels of approach, as well as to its anchorage and shores.
From a narrative of the voyage by Sir Edward Belcher, we quote the following extracts:
"On the 28th of July, 1839, H.B.M. ship Sulphur reached the mouth of the Columbia river, when Lieutenant Kellett, having descried us, weighed and stood with the Starling to conduct us in."
* * * * *
"On the 9th of August, after being nearly devoured by mosquitoes, we reached Fort Vancouver, where we were very kindly received by Mr. Douglas, and had apartments allotted to us."
The instructions of the British government in fitting out this surveying expedition clearly foreshadowed the british programme of acquiring Oregon by acts of occupancy. It is evident that the territory north of the Columbia was deemed British soil. Captain Belcher numbers the American element in Oregon as "twenty American stragglers from California, ten clergymen, teachers, etc., American Methodist Mission and four missionary stations in the interior." British feeling against these whom they regarded as trespassers and intruders, who are denounced as "stragglers," is faithfully portrayed in Belcher's narrative. It is a British view of Oregon in the fall of 1839, and indicates the situation of the pioneers, - their duties, their dangers, their responsibilities, their outlook of the future.
In the fall, Rev. J.S. Griffin
and wife, accompanied by Asahel Munger and wife, having that season crossed
the Rocky Mountains, arrived at Fort Vancouver. They had designed to establish
a self-supporting Indian mission, independently of the patronage of any
missionary board. They expected that the Indians would return labor for
teachings bestowed, but very quickly experienced that such a theory with
such a people was barren
of results. Mr. Griffin and wife came to the Willamette valley. Munger attached himself to the Methodist Mission and became deranged. He was a blacksmith, a good mechanic. He fancied that Christ would work a miracle to convince people that certain doctrines he entertained were communicated to him by God. Going one evening into his shop, he fastened one hand by a nail to the side of, or above, the fireplace, and then hung himself into the fire. Before his situation had become discovered, he was so seriously injured that he died within three days.
(1840.) Revs. Harvey Clarke, Alvin T. Smith and P.B. Littlejohn, with their wives (Congregationalists), came as missionaries upon the self-supporting plan. Their intended field of labor was in the interior. Meeting with no success among the Indians, they became settlers in the Willamette valley. In march, this little colony in wo wagons, left Quincy, Illinois, for Independence, Missouri. They started westward the last of April, overtaking a spring caravan of the American Fur Company at Hickory Grove. At that point, Henry Black joined their party and came through with them. That caravan had also been joined, at several points on the road, by Joel Walker, Pleasant Armstrong, George Davis and Robert Moore, who became settlers of the Willamette valley this year. Arriving at the rendezvous, they met several Rocky Mountain men, free trappers, among whom were Dr. Robert Newell, Caleb Wilkins, Colonel Joseph L. Meek, George W. Ebberts, William Doughty and William Craig, several of whom settled this year in the Willamette. Says Mr. Smith: "These mountain men made us an escort to Fort Hall." The travels of these missionaries and their wives are interestingly described by Mr. Smith as follows:
"We brought wagons through to Fort Hall and left them there. One wagon and double harness we gave to Bob Newell to pay for piloting us from Green river to Fort Hall. From this place to Fort Boise, we packed our baggage and supplies, and rode on horseback ourselves. there had been no open road on the plains; but from Boise in there was a plain trail made by Indians and the fur-company men. Occasionally Indians would travel with us until the horses disappeared. After that, they left us. The ladies had side-saddles and easy-riding ponies, and made the journey very comfortably. They had two tents to sleep in, and so were protected from severe weather. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Littlejohn had horses that paced easily, but usually they traveled on a walk. The company became short of provisions at Green river, but there laid in a supply of antelope and dried buffalo meat. These were purchased from Indians with trinkets. At Fort Hall, we exchanged something with the Hudson's Bay Company agent for a supply of flour. We killed very little game on the plains; but, to Green river, hunters were always out to kill what they could.
"There was no disagreement, and, except the prolonged weariness of the journey, all went pleasantly. The fur-company men and hunters had not the same idea of keeping the Sabbath as our party had, and could not be induced to lie by and rest on that day; but when we were by ourselves, this side of Fort Hall, we concluded to live up to our principles. So the Sabbath we neared Fort Boise, we determined to rest. We did so; and those who did not take that view of matters went on and left us.
"Near Fort Hall, we got less
anxious concerning stock, as we thought we were out of the wild Indian
country. One morning we found two of my horses missing, with some others.
Wilkins could talk the language somewhat, and understood Indian ways well.
Several Indians had been traveling with us and camping close by, turned
their stock out near ours. Wilkins talked to one of these, and intimated
that he could find the horses if
he wished to. The Indian was saucy for reply, and Wilkins knocked him down, and, when he got up, told him to go and find our horses. He went off, and very soon returned with them."
To Dr. Robert Newell must be ascribed the credit of bringing the first wagon from Fort Hall to Fort Walla Walla, establishing the practicability of wagon travel from the western frontier of Missouri, via the Rocky Mountains, to the Columbia river.
The party consisted of Dr. newell and family, Colonel Joseph L. Meek and family, Caleb Wilkins and Frederick Ermatinger, chief trader in the Hudson's Bay company. It had been regarded as sheer madness to attempt to travel with wagons from Fort Hall, through the Snake river country, to the Columbia. The missionaries (Clark, Smith and Littlejohn), as already stated, had accompanied the annual caravan of the American Fur Company to the Green river rendezvous, and from thence had employed Dr. Newell as pilot to Fort Hall. On reaching that point, they found their animals so reduced that they abandoned their two wagons; and Dr. Newell accepted them in compensation for his services.
In a letter to the author, Dr. Newell wrote: "At the time I took the wagons, I had no idea of undertaking to bring them into this country. I exchanged fat horses to the missionaries for their animals; and, after they had been gone a month or more for Willamette, and the American Fur Company had abandoned the country for good, I concluded to hitch up and try the much-dreaded job of taking a wagon to Oregon. I sold one of those wagons to Mr. Ermatinger, at Fort Hall. On the 15th of August, 1840, we put out with three wagons. Joseph L. Meek drove my wagon. In a few days, we began to realize the difficult task before us, and found that the continued crashing of the sage under our wagons, which was in many places higher than the mules' backs, was no joke. Seeing our animals begin to fail, we began to lighten up, finally threw away our wagon beds, and were quite sorry we had undertaken the job. All the consolation we had was that we broke the first sage on the road, and were to proud to eat anything but dried salmon skins after our provisions had become exhausted. In a rather rough and reduced state, we arrived at Dr. Whitman's mission station, in the Walla Walla valley, where we were met by that hospitable man and kindly made welcome, and feasted accordingly. On hearing me regret that I had undertaken to bring wagons, the Doctor said: 'Oh, you will never regret it; you have broken the ice, and when others see that wagons have passed, they, too, will pas; and in a few years the valley will be full of our people.' The Doctor shook me heartily by the hand. Mrs. Whitman, too, welcomed us; and the Indians walked around the wagons, or what they called 'horse-canoes,' and seemed to give it up. We spent a day or so with the Doctor, and then went to Fort Walla Walla, where we were kindly received by Mr. P.C. Pembram, chief trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, and superintendent of that post. On the 1st of october, we took leave of those kind people, leaving our wagons, and taking the river trail; but we proceeded slowly. Our party consisted of Joseph L. Meek and myself, also our families, and a Snake Indian, whom I brought to Oregon, where he died a year after our arrival. The party did not arrive at the Willamette Falls (Oregon City) till December, subsisting for weeks upon dried salmon, and upon several occasions were compelled to swim their stock across the Columbia and Willamette."
Such were the privations and
hardships of reaching Oregon overland, as detailed by a Rocky Mountain
man who had been inured to such travel during his whole life. Such was
the heroic task to be assumed by the American pioneers.
The brig Maryland, Captain John H. Couch, from Newburyport, Mass., arrived in the Columbia river. She was owned by the father of Caleb Cushing, an able champion of the American right to Oregon in the Congress of the United States, and was the pioneer of a fleet of vessels which established commerce in the Columbia river. A few years later, the genial Couch abandoned the sea, and settled near Portland, and inaugurated the first successful independent mercantile operation in Oregon. The visit of a British surveying expedition, commanded by Sir Edward Belcher, R.N., stimulated the urgent petition of 1840, to Congress, of Rev. David Leslie and others, "residents in Oregon Territory, and citizens of the United States, or persons desiring to become such," praying that measures should be early adopted to embrace Oregon within Federal jurisdiction. The emphatic declaration of the intention to Americanize Oregon thus premises:
"They have settled themselves in said territory under the belief that it was a portion of the public domain of said States, and that they might rely upon the government thereof for the blessing of free institutions and the protection of its arms. But they are uninformed by any acts of said government by which its institutions and protection are extended to them; in consequence whereof, themselves and families are exposed to be destroyed by savages around them, and others who would do them harm. They have no means of protecting their own and the lives of their families, other than self-constituted tribunals originating and sustained by the power of an illy-instructed public opinion, and a resort to force and arms. That their means of safety are an insufficient safeguard of life, and property; that they are unable to arrest the progress of crime without the aid of law, and tribunals to administer it."
A lofty American sentiment pervades the document. It urges the immediate establishment of a territorial government. The value of the territory to the nation is demonstrated. The government is warned of the efforts of Great Britain to secure its acquisition. It refers to the continued presence of a British frigate upon the coast; the survey, in 1839, by Belcher's expedition of the Columbia river and the adjacent bays and harbors as meaning future occupancy; and charges the Hudson's Bay Company with seizing valuable points and portions of the territory to forestall and defeat American settlement. Congress is admonished that officers of the company are persistently asserting that the British Crown had granted to the Hudson's Bay Company the territory north of the Columbia river. Various acts of dominion over the soil exercised by the company are detailed; the memorialists earnestly protest against Anglicizing that region by networks of so-called trading-posts, - establishments designed rather to secure ultimate ownership of territory than for purposes of Indian trade.
The soil, climate and general features are faithfully delineated. The capacity of the territory to support a large population is conclusively illustrated. The magnificent lumbering resources, the fisheries, the large bodies of agricultural land, are heralded. After having invoked Congress to do its duty to the nation by asserting jurisdiction over Oregon, it says:
"Your petitioners would beg leave
especially to call the attention of Congress to their own condition as
an infant colony, without military force or civil instructions to protect
their lives and property and children, sanctuaries and tombs, from the
band of uncivilized and merciless savages around them. We respectfully
ask for the civil institutions of the American Republic. We pray for the
high privileges of American citizenship; the peaceful enjoyment of life;
the right of acquiring, possessing and using property, and the unrestrained
pursuit of rational happiness."
At the close of 1840, Judge Deady says: "the population of the country, exclusive of the company and Indians, was about 200. Of these, one-sixth were Canadians. Nine-tenths of them were located west of the Cascade Mountains, and almost all of them in the Willamette valley. But the power and prestige resulting from wealth, organization and priority of settlement, were still on the side of those who represented Great Britain. It was a common opinion among all classes, that in the final settlement of boundaries between the two countries, the territory north of the Columbia might be conceded to Great Britain; and the principal settlements and stations of the British and Americans were located with reference to this possibility. So stood the matter thirty-five years after the American exploration of the Columbia river by Lewis and Clark. A causal observer might have concluded that the country was doomed to remain a mere trapping and trading ground for the company, for generations to come. But a new force was now about to appear on the scene and settle the long-protracted controversy in favor of the United States. It was the Oregon argonauts, moving across the continent in dusty columns with their wives and children, flocks and herds, in search of the Golden Fleece that was to be found in the groves and prairies of the coveted lands of the Willamette. The actual occupation of Oregon for the purpose of claiming and holding the country as against Great Britain, and forming therein an American State, did not commence until after 1840. Very naturally the movement began in the wet, and had its greatest strength in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa" (1).
(1) Annual address of Hon. Matthew P. Deady. - Oregon Pioneers, 1875.