Emigrants to Oregon in 1839
copyright © 1995
The following list was compiled from a
variety of sources. Any additions or corrections would be most
welcome. Anyone wishing to be listed as a family researcher for a
particular family can contact me at the address at the bottom
of the page.
Family Histories of the French Canadians can be found at Ancestors of the French Canadians to Oregon prior to 1842 by Raymonde Gauthier
In 1837-38 Rev. Jason Lee, accompanied by several Indian boys, stopped in Peoria, IL to lecture on his mission and the beautiful Willamette Valley. The picture painted by these individuals was the only inducement needed for a small party of adventurers to join together and plan a journey to the Oregon Territory. This was the first organized emigration to Oregon with plans for permanent location, and although it broke up on the way and drifted on in fragments, some of the members became prominent citizens.
The Peoria Party was organized to go to Oregon and "raise the American flag and run the Hudson's Bay Company out of the country". The members included in this expedition were: Amos Cook, James L. Fash, Francis Fletcher, Owen Garrett, Joseph Holman, Quincy Adams Jordan, Ralph L. Kilbourne, Robert Moore, Obadiah A. Oakley, Thomas Jefferson Pickett, John Prichard, Sydney Smith, Chauncey Wood, John J. Wood, Charles Yates and Thomas Jefferson Farnham. They were later joined by John L. Moore, Robert Shortess and W. Blair. T.J. Farnham was elected leader and the company carried a flag, made by Farnham's wife, that had the motto "Oregon or the Grave!"
Several members of the expedition kept daily journals, and in later years, some wrote reminiscences. Farnham carried his journal strapped to his back and he sat down each night to record the days happenings. The most consistent theme found in all of the accounts was the severe weather encountered, the constant disagreements that wore away at the resolve of the members of the party and the hunger endured for days at a time when meat became scarce.
The members of the Peoria Party in the list below are designated with *PP.
At the same time the Peoria party was forming, a young physician from Helvetia, NY by the name of Dr. William Geiger, was also preparing to make the same journey. Having recently graduated from the Mission School at Quincy, IL., Rev. Geiger had received an appointment from the American Board of Foreign Ministers of Foreign Missions to go west and administer to the Indians. It happened, however, that the funds of the association ran low, and the new plans were defeated. Dr. Geiger, not willing to relinquish his intention of engaging in missionary work, set out on his own account. In Missouri he found a company forming that included Rev. J.S. Griffin and his new bride and Asahel Munger and wife. They had hired Paul Richardson, who had accompanied Wyeth on his first expedition, as hunter and guide. Their small group would be accompanying a party from the American Fur Company led by Mr. Harris. The company split at Fort Hall and Dr. Geiger, accompanied by Johnson and the Mungers, went to the Whitman Mission to winter. The Griffins, meanwhile, wintered at Lapwai. The members of the Missionary Party are designated below with *MP
Also forming that same year was a small company from Quincy, Illinois. Included in the party were Alvin T. Smith, a carpenter; Rev. Harvey Clarke and Rev. P.B. Littlejohn. As Rev. Clarke could not overtake the brigade of the American Fur Company that started in 1839, he traveled to Quincy late that winter and induced Mr. Smith to join the company with the intent of starting an independent mission among the Oregon Indians. The members of the party were all newly married and began their journey with two wagons. At Independence Henry Black, a frontiersman, joined them. For more info on "The Illinois Party" see the 1840 list.
Richard C. BALDRA (1838- ): m'd 1864 Sarah Jane Catching. Richard was the s/o William and Maria (Callaby) Baldra, born while they were residing at Norway House in Canada. He came with his parents to the Northwest in 1839 and settled with them in Washington Co.
Thomas W. BALDRA (1836- ): Thomas was the s/o William and Maria (Callaby) Baldra, born shortly after they arrived at York Factory in Canada. He came with his parents to the Northwest in 1839 and settled with them in Washington Co.
William BALDRA (1810- ): m'd 1835 Maria Callaby. William Baldra was born in Norfolk Co, England in 1810. He and married his wife, Maria Callaby 08 Nov 1835 at Tarrington, Norfolk Co, England. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Canada as farming wards of the Hudson's Bay Company. They landed first at York Factory on Hudson Bay where their first son was born; next moved to Norway House in Canada where their second son was born and then traveled to various Hudson's Bay Company posts until their arrival at Fort Vancouver in 1839. In 1842 they settled on Tualatin Plains, locating three miles north of Hillsboro.
Dr. Forbes BARCLAY (1812-1873): m. 1842 Maria Pambrun. came to Ft. Vancouver as chief physician for the Hudson Bay Co; remained there until 1850 when he moved to Oregon City; was mayor, coroner, superintendent of schools and physician; father of 7 children; home on the river bank above the rock ledge was social hub of the town; buried in Mt. View Cemetery, Oregon City, OR
Joyce BECK: m. bef 1839 John Johnson.
Miss BECK: m. bef 1839 Thomas Otchins; sister of Joyce Beck
*PP: W. BLAIR.: joined party at Arkansas River
Crossing of the Santa
Fe Trail; he was traveling with a Santa Fe trade company at the time;
Blair was always referred to as "the old man"; when the party split at
Bent's Fort, Blair remained with the Farnham party and traveled with
Capt. Kelly as a guide to Fort Davy Crockett at Brown's Hole on the
Green River; he stayed with the party until they reached Walla Walla
and then he cut off for Lapwai where he stayed for several years; Blair
went to California and eventually died there; described in Shortess
account as " W. Blair, b. Arkansas, Millwright, age c50, honest upright
man, but intellectually weak"; Farnham says of Blair
"A man of a kinder heart never existed. From the place where he joined us to Oregon Territory,
when myself or others were worn with fatigue, or disease, or starvation, he was always ready to
administer whatever relief was in his power. And in all the trying difficulties that occurred along
our perilous journey, it was his greatest delight to diffuse peace, comfort, and contentment, to the
extent of his influence. I can never forget the good old man. He had been cheated out of his property
by a near relative, of pretended piety; and had left the chosen scenes of his toils and hopes in search
of a residence in the wilderness beyond the mountains....An honest man--an honorable man--a
benevolent, kind, sympathizing friend--he deserves well of those who may have the good fortune to
become acquanted with his unpretending worth."
Marie CALLABY: m'd 1835 William Baldra.
Canada in 1836; spent 3 years on Red River in Manitoba; to OR in 1839;
husband and children in Washington Co
CHALIFOUX FAMILY RESEARCHER
Jean Baptiste Chalifoux (1801-1867): a French Canadian, was a Hudson's Bay Company employee and later a settler. He was born in Beauport, Quebec October 16, 1801, the son of Pierre Paul Chalifoux and Marie Angelique Bedard. The St. Paul Mission Historical Society has a family tree of Jean B. Chalifoux's ancestors compiled by George T. Brown which shows his direct line back to some of the very first colonists to New France in 1634.
Jean Chalifoux came to the Northwest about 1839. According to Hudson's Bay Company records, he started working for the company in 1841 and worked as a midman at Fort Vancouver. From 1842 to 1846 he was listed as a midman in Stikine, and from 1846 to 1847, a carpenter at Cowlitz Prairie, and from 1847 to 1848, a carpenter "retired and remaining in the Country at Cowelitz. He is listed as a laborer at Nisqually from 1853 through 1858, where he worked as a carpenter and blacksmith. At many of the reenactments performed during Fort Nisqually's "Candle Light Tour" in Tacoma, an actor can be seen portraying Jean Baptiste Chalifoux in the blacksmiths shop.
Jean married Iuse Musch Skaowit around 1840 and they had two daughters, Josephine and Elizabeth. Iuse Musch died of smallpox (some say it was measles) at Fort Nisqually in 1847, and Jean later married a woman called Sophia. They had a son in 1856, named Jean Baptiste, after his father. Mrs. Tolmie, wife of chief factor, Dr. Tolmie, took an interest in Jean's girls, Josephine and Elizabeth, and had their father take them to Victoria, where the girls were to be educated. Josephine became homesick and was returned to her father. She married Dominic Corcoran in 1857 in the home of Mrs. Francis Gravell, a little south of Roy. Elizabeth stayed in Victoria until the age of sixteen and in 1860, married Thomas Jefferson Carroll, a soldier stationed at Fort Steilacoom.
In October of 1849, Jean and fourteen other men, many of who had Native American wives and children, represented the jury which eventually indicted the six men of the Snoqaulmie Tribe for the murder of Leander Wallace.
About nine pages of Jean B. Chalifoux's daily activities at Fort Nisqually are documented in the "Journal of Occurances at Fort Nisqually" by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a branch of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1867, at age 67, Jean died in the Muck country at his daughter Elizabeth's home. His name can be found in many Northwest records such as census records, Land Donation Claims, and history books and is spelled in many different ways. Here are a few: Chaulifoux, Chaullifoux, Chalifoux, Chalifou, Chalifour, Sherlifou, Jellifaux
Basile COURVILLE: m'd 1851 Marianne Klickatat. born in NY near the Canadian border; mixed blood; settled in St. Louis area of Marion County; later moved to South Umpqua River in Douglas Co.
William Frederick CRATE: m'd Sarah Glazebrook. William was a young millwright from London who had been with the Hudson's Bay Company for several years. Around the beginning of 1839 he was sent to Fort Vancouver to construct water mills and to mill flour. In 1843 he is noted in the church records as being the father of Elizabeth. The woman was noted as a "woman of the country". By the 1850s his wife was listed as Sarah Glazebrook. It is unknow if this is the "woman of the country" previously referred to.
Jean Baptiste DALCOURT (1804-1856): dit Champagne; m'd Agathe Kohassa (Cayuse); Dalcourt first shows up in the records of Vancouver June 1839. He was noted as a hunter from Montreal. He settled about 1/2 mile south of the Methodist mission but in 1846 the claim was for sale by one McClane. By 1840 Jean Baptiste was using the name Jean Baptiste Champagne. His wife died in 1853 and in 1856 Dalcourt was drowned. Dalcourt was the father of six children (Esther, Amable, Therese, Ambroise, Pierre and another who died young)
Mr. DUTTON: see SUTTON
*PP: Thomas Jefferson FARNHAM (1803-1848): m'd
Eliza BURHANS; elected leader of Peoria Party,
after split of party at Bent's Fort they were led by Capt. Hall J.
Kelly to Fort Davy Crockett at Brown's Hole on the Green River; they
traveled to Fort Hall and then on to Oregon; Farnham later traveled
down into California where he took a ship home and wrote an account of
his adventure; returned to California c1846 where he died in 1848 of
fever; described in Shortess account as "b. Vt., lawyer, c35 yrs old"
*PP: James L. FASH (c1817- ): s/o John and Ann (Bogart) Fash; had a twin brother; apparently returned to Peoria, IL at some point as he is found there in 1845 getting married; I do not have information that would indicate whether he returned to Oregon at a later time or not; he was listed in one of the diaries as Trask rather than Fash.
*MP: William M. GEIGER Jr. (1816- 1901): m'd 1847 Miss Cornwall. born in NY but by 1833 had settled in ILL; he had known Narcissa Whitman in NY; stopped at Whitman Mission for the winter; taught school in place of Cyrus Shepard who was ill; in spring went on to Hawaii and California; stayed on at Capt. Sutter's on the Sacramento for several years and left for the east in 1842; at Fort Hall he met an American company going to Oregon led by Dr. Elijah White and changed his course and returned to the Willamette where he took up residence at Forest Grove; returned in winter of 1842-43 to help at Mission; practiced medicine, farmer, county clerk; shortly after his marriage in 1847 he and his wife took in Matilda Sager, a survivor of the Whitman Massacre; went to California in the fall of 1848 and returned in 1849; died Forest Grove, OR
John GREEN: arrived in or prior to 1840; one of eight that built the "Star of Oregon" in 1841; American
*MP: Rev. John Smith GRIFFIN (1807-1899): m. 1839 Desire Smith; attended schools and seminaries in New England and Ohio and was finished in Oberlin; ordained in the Congregational Church; the church of Litchfield county, CT. supplied him with the necessary outfit to go west as an independent missionary; left for St. Louis, MO in Feb 1839, met Desire C. Smith there and married her April 10, 1839; wintered at Spalding's mission at Clearwater; the following spring the Griffins set out with an Indian guide to work with the Snake Indians; their guide deserted them in the mountains and they pushed on to Fort Boise where their plans of establishing a mission without outside help proved to be hopeless; returned to Dr. Whitman's Mission and then went on to Fort Vancouver where he was appointed Chaplain and spent 1840 tutoring the children of the Fort; in the spring he settled on the Tualatin Plains on a farm he called "Rocky Mountain Retreat"; he organized a Congregational church in 1842 where he conducted services for several years; active in setting up Provisional Government; buried at Hillsboro.
Mrs. Edwin Oscar HALL: had spinal disease that prevented her from riding horseback
Rev. Edwin Oscar HALL: arrived with his wife by ship via Hawaii in May, after the annual Missionary meeting at Lapwaii in August, they brought a printing press to the Whitmans a few weeks later; Narcissa Whitman reports the printing of the region's "first book in the Indian language." The Halls went to Lapwaii mission in September 1839 and left by ship in March 1840.
Felix HATHAWAY: arrived in or prior to 1840;
American; one of a party
of eight that built the vessel "Star of Oregon"; ship carpenter,
bald-headed, jolly looking; worked at Thomas McKay farm in 1841 doing
Sarah Elizabeth HOISINGTON: m1. 1825 Asahel Munger Jr.; m2. 1843 Henry Buxton. d/o Job and Sarah (Knapp) Hoisington
JOHNSON FAMILY RESEARCHER
John JOHNSON: m'd Joice Beck. was a dairyman who was hired in England by John McLoughlin to help meet the needs of fulfilling contracts for dairy products to the Russians in trade for their furs; was working at Cowlitz Farm in 1841-42, family was from Holbeach, Lincolnshire, Eng
Mary Ann JOHNSON: m. John Bird. d/o John and Joice (Beck) Johnson; homesteaded in Clark Co, WA
William JOHNSON: a lay brother of the missionary party originally from New York, arrived with William Geiger in Spring 1839; was described by Geiger as highly educated; was raised in Philadelphia and was engaged to a young lady of that city who left him to marry a young bookbinder by the name of Diamond who was on his way to the Sandwich Islands to bind books for missionaries there; Johnson crossed the plains to see his former sweetheart once more; after seeing her he went to Acapulco, Mexico to see the country; he was arrested and kept in a Mexican jail for a time; was finally released and returned east to New Orleans, arriving broke and almost naked; borrowed money from a friend there and continued on to St. Louis where he related his story to Dr. Whitman who was on his trip east; Geiger never heard from Johnson again
Thomas Knight LAWSON: see Thomas Otchin
*MP: Asahel MUNGER (1805-1841): m'd 1825 Sarah Elizabeth Hoisington. s/o Asahel and Lydia (Boland) Munger Sr.; was a carpenter and joiner; became deranged and in a fit of religious fanatacism, expecting God to work a miracle, he fastened himself over the flames of his forge and died three days later from burns leaving a widow and a child.
*MP: Mary Jane MUNGER (1840- ): m'd 1854 Darious Smith. d/o Asahel and Sarah (Hoisington) Munger; born shortly after parents arrival in Oregon Territory; was living with husband in Washington Co in the mid 1860s
Thomas OTCHIN (1814- ): m'd Mary Beck. was dairyman hired in England by McLoughlin to help fulfill contracts for dairy products with Russia in exchange for furs, wife was sister of Joyce Beck; settled in Washington Co . His real name was Thomas Knight Lawson, but he changed it . His sister was Rebecca Lawson Tongue,who was marrried to Anthony Tongue. another prominant name in Washington County history
Maria PAMBRUN (1826-1890): m'd 1842 Dr. Forbes Barclay. d/o Pierre and Catherine (Humperville) Pambrun; buried Mountain View Cemetery, Oregon City, OR
John Edmunds PICKERNELL: arrived in 1839; an English sailor who went by the name of Edmunds
Desire C. SMITH (1805- ): m'd 1839 John Smith Griffin. born in Boston; one of the first lady teachers to answer the call to go west; crossed the continent on her honeymoon the summer of 1839; settled with husband on the Tualatin Plains and taught school to the native children; *1: MSS#1075 26pp diary of Desire S. GRIFFIN typescript in collection at OHS.
*PP: Sydney SMITH (1809-1880): m'd 1845 Miranda Bayley. s/o Capt. John S. Smith and grand-nephew of Ethan Allen; member of Peoria Party; shot himself during argument with another member of party, the bullet was extracted with a pocket knife and the wound dressed, he was then carried on a cot strung between two horses for several days until he could mount his own horse again; stayed with Farnham party after split at Bent's Fort: led by Capt. Kelly to Fort Davy Crockett at Brown's Hole on Green River; described in Shortess account as "Sydney Smith, B. NY, Lottery Broker, age c35"; letter from Farnham which was published in Peoria Register lists as "T. Smith"; continued on to Oregon where he spent time in Marion Co before eventually settling in Chehalem Valley; went to California during gold rush, forced home by an attack of scurvy, brought $3,000 in gold dush with him; merchant at Lafayette; buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Lafayette, Yamhill Co; *1: MSS#422, 27pp diary on microfilm in collection at OHS.
Silas B. SMITH:
James L. TRASK: see James L. FASH
Dr. Frederick Adolphus WISLIZENUS: a German physician from St. Louis with a desire to explore the west; traveled with a caravan of fur trappers led by Mr. Harris which also included a small missionary party headed for the Oregon country;
Ben WRIGHT: was in the territory by 1840; he and Sutton led Shortess over the Cascades to the Willamette Valley in 1840; fought in Indian Wars
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