By Patricia Kohnen


To find a particular name or year use the "Find" feature on your web browser/navigator. On Netscape, for instance, open the "Edit" menu at the top of the page. Then choose "Find Next". You'll see a place to type in the name you want to research. Your browser/navigator then will automatically take you to the first place in the Time Frame where that name appears. For example, if you typed "Daniel Boone," your browser would automatically take you to 1811, on page 14 of the Time Frame


[A NOTE ON SOURCES: material in the Time Frame combines sources to numerous to mention in detail. If you wish to know more bibliographical information (like when and where something was published) about a particular source, then check the website The Oregon Territory and It's Pioneers. Trail journals are listed at this site in the year the individual came to the Pacific Northwest. For example, Sargent Patrick Gass's journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is listed on the Oregon Trail website under the name Gass, Patrick in 1804.]






On maps, the Oregon Trail starts just west of St. Louis, Missouri. In time, the beginning of the Trail is a bit harder to place.


The first wagon train rolled onto the Trail in 1841 and emigrants eventually wore the road into a great highway, in some places a hundred feet wide and ten feet deep. Before then, however, many travelers had come to Oregon by a variety of routes: early explorers and traders from the west by sea; French Canadians and British emigrants overland from the north; companies of traders from Spanish California from the south; and, following the fur trade, a small number of American trappers and missionaries from the east.


Any number of trails already crisscrossed Oregon before the arrival of the first Europeans. The earliest Oregon newcomers found that coastal tribes, who had never before seen whites, already possessed a few guns, knives, kettles, and even silver spoons. Native Americans of the Oregon Plateau traded west of the Cascades and east of the Bitteroot Mountains while coastal tribes traveled inland for a lively yearly commerce at traditional sites on the Columbia River.




Traditionally, the story of the Oregon Trail begins with the European/American discovery of the Columbia River and the voyages of captains Gray and Vancouver in 1792. These explorers' ships were just two of the 28 trading vessels in the Northwest in that year. After the mid-1780's, a thriving sea-otter fur trade centered at Nootka Sound (on present-day Vancouver Island) as part of a vast trading network which linked London, New England, Hawaii, Canada's coastal islands, Russian Alaska, and China in the late 1700's. In spite of well-traveled trade routes along the Pacific Coast, the mouth of the Columbia River remained hidden from explorers behind constant rain and mist until 1792.




This Time Frame is designed to help researchers place individuals and events on the Oregon Trail into context. As well as a great number of very diverse people, the formation of the Trail involved many shorter journeys on future segments of the Trail. Sometimes the context of the Trail shifts to its western end in Oregon, sometimes to the fur trade out of St. Louis and Canada, and often to the travels of the mountain men who explored the region in between.






Robert GRAY and the ship Columbia sailed on their second voyage from Boston to the Northwest on September 29, 1790. They spent the winter of 1791-92 at an encampment just north of Nootka Sound (on present day Vancouver Island), explored the local Pacific coast, and collected sea-otter furs for sale in China.


On May 11, 1792, the Columbia crossed the treacherous sand bar at the mouth of the Columbia River and explored the waterway. Among the 50 men aboard the first ship to sail into Oregon's Columbia River were Robert HASWELL, first officer, Andrew NEWELL, seaman and veteran of Gray's first voyage, ATTOO, cabin boy returning to his native Hawaii, Joseph BARNES, a seaman who had signed on in China, John AMES and Benjamin POPKINS, armorers, Barlet PEASE, cooper, Thomas NICHOLS, tailor, Obadiah WESTON, sail-maker, Thomas TRUMAN, cook, Samuel YENDELL and Nathan DEWLEY, carpenters, George DAVIDSON, painter of the ship (and painter of art), and Samuel HOMER, a 10 or 11 year old boy. Gray and the Columbia sailed home by way of China, completing their second trip around the world, and returned to Boston on July 25, 1793.


On April 1, 1791 Captain George VANCOUVER in the sloop Discovery and his lieutenant Captain William R. BROUGHTON in the tender Chatham left Falmouth, England, on an official British expedition to the Northwest coast of America, then known as New Albion. Among Vancouver's crew were lieutenants Joseph BAKER, PUGET, and WHIDBEY. They arrived in the Northwest in mid-April 1792 and concentrated on exploring the Straits of Juan de Fuca. In October 1792, Vancouver sent Broughton to search for navigable waterways south of the Straight. Broughton noted the Columbia River's mouth but dismissed the river as unsuitable for sea-going commerce.


April 27, 1792: The captains of the Discovery and the Columbia met just 2 days sail from Cape Disappointment. Gray showed Vancouver his map pin-pointing the location of the Columbia River (then unnamed; Gray had spotted the river mouth sometime during his explorations the previous year and charted its location). Although Vancouver had noted "river-colored water" in the sea as Discovery had passed a spot off the Oregon coast just two days earlier, he dismissed Gray's report just as he had dismissed the colored water as the outflow of a few minor streams. To Vancouver, Gray was simply a gullible amateur who had swallowed another legend about a great Northwest river.


May 11, 1792: Captain Robert Gray took the Columbia across the perilous sand bar and into the Columbia River.


October 1792: Vancouver dispatched Lt. William Broughton to search for navigable rivers to the south. Broughton traveled just far enough into the Columbia River to judge it "not suitable for major commerce."


July 25, 1793: Gray and the Columbia returned to Boston harbor after a voyage of 2 years, 313 days.




Spring 1793: VANCOUVER's vessels returned from Hawaii to the Pacific Coast with Lt. PUGET now in command of the Chatham.


April 1793: Lt. Puget and the ship Chatham explored the northern Pacific Coast while Vancouver and the Discovery made way up the coast of California. The Chatham reached Nootka on April 15 and the Discovery on May 20. After exploring further north, the Vancouver expedition returned to Nootka on October 5, 1793.


Alexander MACKENZIE completed an expedition in 1793 that was the first to come OVERLAND TO THE PACIFIC through the Rocky Mountains. The party of 9 men left Ft. Chepewyan (near Athabasca Lake, northeast Alberta) in October 1792 and in July 1793 reached the Pacific at Fitzhough's Sound (north of Vancouver Island) traveling by way of the Peace and Findlay rivers. By late July, the party had descended the Fraser River and again reached the Pacific at the Bellacoola River (near the present Canada-US border). Among those who left Ft. Chepewyan with MacKenzie: Alexander MACKAY, Francois BEAUDIEUX, Baptiste BISSON, Francois COURTOIS, Jacques BEAUCHAMP, Joseph LANDRY, and Charles DUCETTE.


In January 1794, the Spanish and British agreed that the outpost at Nootka would officially return to the British Crown but that both nations would then cease to occupy Nootka Sound.


[SOURCES: Vancouver and Haswell kept journals during the voyage. Other primary source materials in Frederick Howay's Voyages of the Columbia to the Northwest Coast . "Dr. John Scouler's Journal," Oregon Historical Quarterly #6, records another early voyage to the Northwest.] 




The American ship Sea Otter, under command of Capt. Samuel HILL, entered the Columbia River. The Otter was one of many ships pursuing the fur trade along the coast from California to Alaska, some of which may have sailed the Columbia River or anchored off the Oregon Coast without leaving records. Ships in Pacific Northwest waters during the first two decades of the 19th century included British, Spanish, and Russian fur-traders/explorers, New England whalers, Boston traders, some French expeditions, and even few Japanese junks.


In 1797-8 David THOMPSON, Jean Baptiste HOULE and others with the Northwest Fur Company made contact with the Mandan villages of the Upper Missouri River region.




In the fall, a party of Kutenai (Indians from Canada west of the Rocky Mountains) visited traders of the Northwest Company at Rocky Mountain House (on the upper Saskatchewan River). Charles LAGRASSE, Pierre LEBLANC, and LeBlanc's wife returned to Kutenai country with them.


Duncan MCGILLIVRAY and David THOMPSON, head traders for the Northwest Fur Company, visited the Pikuni (or Piegan) Blackfeet to assure safe conduct for Company hunters now moving from the Saskatchewan River to trade in the Bow River region (present-day southern Alberta).





Fur trader Manuel LISA established a post and trade in the Osage country west of St. Louis.


James PURSLEY traveled to New Mexico from St. Louis on a hunting expedition. Trade out of St. Louis into this more southern region rapidly followed and included the Arkansas and Colorado river basins and traffic to Taos and Santa Fe. Some names associated with this trade later became familiar figures of the Oregon Trail: Robert CAMPBELL, Captain GAUNT, Jim BRIDGER, DRIPPS, FONTENELLE, BLACKWELL, TRAPP, JERVAIS, BRENT, ST. VRAIN, and VAN DUSEN.


In March 1802, Gros Ventres killed 14 Iroquois and 2 Canadians trapping for the Northwest Fur Company in the Bow River region (present-day southern Alberta).




In 1802, the Tlingits attacked the small outpost of the RUSSIAN AMERICAN COMPANY on Sitka Sound. After, Aleuts, Inuits, and Konigas would become Russian allies and employees while the Tlingits remained fierce enemies.


In 1803, the Russians sent their first expedition to California in pursuit of the sea-otter trade.



During 1803, President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the LOUISIANA PURCHASE from France (then under First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte). For 80 million francs, the United States added all of France's territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.




In 1804, rival companies engaged in the fur trade out of Canada merged, with most trade after the merger under the Hudson Bay Company or the Northwest Fur Company.


The American ship Lelia Bird under Captain William SHALER could not find a safe passage across the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1804. Abandoning the attempt to enter Oregon, the ship sailed south to trade in California.


The American ship Boston was also attacked by the Nootka people of southern Vancouver Island in 1804. The Nootka killed all but 2 of the crew. JOHN JEWETT WAS HELD CAPTIVE until rescue in 1805. YUTRAMAKI, chieftan in the Makah tribe (a people closely allied to the Nootka) had not been able to secure Jewett's release from MACQUINNA, chief of the Nootka. Instead Yutramaki passed a message to Capt. Samuel HILL of the Lydia who arranged ransom either before or after his visit to Oregon.

In 1805, Native Americans on Vancouver Island attacked and killed 8 of the crew of the Athualpa.

In 1805, the Lydia of Boston, Capt. Samuel HILL, entered the Columbia River to acquire timber for spars; it returned to Nootka Sound by November 1805. From this-and probably several other fur trading ships-Oregon Native Americans were aware of a European-settled nation far to their east even before the arrival of the LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION.




President Jefferson assigned Meriwether LEWIS, his personal secretary, to head an exploring expedition into the lands added the United States territory in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis chose his friend, William CLARK, as co-leader and assembled a party of men for the journey. The Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis on May 14, 1804, reached the Columbia River by October 16, 1805, wintered at their outpost (Ft. Clatsop, present-day site of Seaside, OR), and returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806.


In the winter of 1805-06, the governor of Louisiana equipped a small party to scout northward to the Yellowstone River. The scouts included Phillipe DEGIE and Francois RIVET. Five of this party (including Rivet) had helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition reach their Mandan winter camp in the winter of 1804-05. In 1805, Rivet and some others had not returned downstream to St. Louis but remained to trap in the high country.


[SOURCES: The Lewis and Clark Expedition journal, including a roster taken April 1805, has been published in various editions as Expedition to the Sources of the Missouri and Pacific Ocean (first edition 1814, Philadelphia and London); see also Donald Jackson's Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Related Documents, 1783-1854: 1962, Illinois. Sgt. Patrick Gass and Sgt. Charles Floyd also kept journals on the expedition.]




David THOMPSON was in charge at Rocky Mountain House for the Northwest Company with Nicholas MONTOUR, Jacques QUESNAL, and others under his command. In 1806, he ordered Jacques (Jacco) Raphael FINDLAY to improve a trail from Rocky Mountain House on the upper Saskatchewan River over the Rockies and into Kutenai Indian country. Findlay, his wife, and children followed the Blaeberry River and reached the Columbia on their round trip over the Rockies.


To bypass hostile Native Americans in the Northwest, the RUSSIAN AMERICAN COMPANY contracted with the American ship Peacock (Captain Oliver KIMBALL) in 1806-1807 to carry Russian fur traders to California. Timofei TARAKANOV sailed with this expedition and later (1808) with the disastrous Sv. Nikolai voyage to the Oregon Country.


Paul SLOBODCHIKOV led another group of Russian traders sailing on the American ship O'Cain. Slododchikov quarreled with the ship's owner, Johathan WINSHIP, and left with his men in Baja Calfornia. There he bought the Tamana (a ship built for King Kamehameha I) and sailed to Hawaii with a crew of 3 Hawaiians and 3 Americans. He renamed the ship the Sv. Nikolai and anchored at Sitka Sound, Alaska, in August 1807.





Manuel LISA, a fur trader, and a small party of men journeyed from St. Louis to establish a post at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Big Horn rivers (Montana) among the Crow nation. Lisa intended to begin fur trade with the initially friendly Blackfeet and dispatched John COLTER (a veteran of the Lewis and Clark expedition) to the headwaters of the Missouri River during the winter of 1807-08.


Colter traveled with a group of Crows, however, and fought along side them when they were raided by Blackfeet, the Crows' traditional enemies. On another journey, this time with a white companion, Colter was again attacked and he killed two Blackfeet. After 1808, the Blackfeet became enemies of the American traders in the mountains.




David THOMPSON a geographer, explorer, and trader with the Northwest Fur Company departed in 1807 to explore the Columbia all the way to the ocean. His wife Charlotte and their children accompanied him on his explorations between Rocky Mountain House and the Great Divide and on his journey to the Northwest.


David Thompson so severely criticized Jacco FINDLAY's preparation of the trail that Findlay resigned from the Northwest Company and became a free trapper allied with the HBC. He worked out of Edmunton House (under James BIRD and Peter FIDLER in 1807) and rejoined the Northwest Company in 1810.


In September 1807, John MCCLELLAN, Francois RIVET, and a large party of American and Canadian independent trappers (perhaps including Charles COURTIN, Registre BELLAIRE, and Michel BORDEAUX DIT BOURDON) encamped in the Bitterroot Valley. McClellan sent word to Thompson of the Northwest Company (then on the Columbia River) not to encroach on their Bitterroot trading territory.


In the winter of 1807-08, eight men of the Bitterroot camp, including the leader John McClellan, were killed in a battle with Blackfeet or Gros Ventres.


[SOURCES: Journal by David Thompson (for 1784-1812) describes his travels and explorations.]





John COLTER explored the Wind River, Yellowstone, and Idaho valley regions in 1808. Back in St. Louis, his description of Yellowstone was disbelieved and the fantastic region was named "Colter's Hell."




The American ships Derby, Capt. SWIFT, and Guatimozin, Capt. GLANVILLE, entered the Columbia River in 1808.


Simon FRASER led an exploring expedition in the Northwest this year.


Registre BELLAIRE, a former employee of the Missouri River trader Charles Courtin, was hired by David Thompson to work for the Northwest Company in the Columbia River region in 1808. Carlo CHATA (Charlot TseTse) also worked for Thompson between 1808 and 1810. In this year, or perhaps slightly later, Nicholas MONTOUR was placed in charge of Kootenay House.


In 1808, the RUSSIAN AMERICAN COMPANY recaptured Sitka Sound from the Tlingits with help from Aleut allies. Continued Tlingit hostility convinced Chief Manager Aleksandr BARANOV to concentrate future Russian efforts to the south, beginning with the Oregon Country.


THE WRECK OF THE SV. NIKOLAI (St. Nicolas): In September 1808, the Russian American Company dispatched a ship from New Arkhangel, Alaska, to found an outpost in the Oregon Country. In October, the Sv. Nicholai wrecked near the Quillayute River (present-day La Push, WA). The crew of 22-- Russians, Aleuts, and one American-fought with the Quileute Indians and fled south to the Ho River. The Hoh Indians took 2 men and 2 women captive. The rest fled to the interior and spent a miserable winter. (The names of the crew of the Nikolai and their fates are detailed in the 1810 section)


[SOURCE: The Wreck of the Sv. Nikolai (Oregon Historical Society Press, 1985), by Kenneth N. Owens, editor, and Alton S. Donelly, translator, contains the journal of Timofei Tarakanov and the oral tradition narrative of Ben Hobucket, a Quileute, as well as a debunking of the fraudulent journal of "Vassilie Petrovich" (H.H. Bancroft's source)]





David Thompson of the Northwest Company extended trading operations into the Flathead (probably Salish) region. Traders with Thompson in 1809 included the metis Michel Bourdeaux dit BOURDON, Michel KINVILLE, Francois SANS FACON, Francois GREGOIRE, Pierre GREGNON, and Francois RIVET.


Upon arrival, the Northwesters found about 20 metis (mixed white and Indian people, usually descendants of European/Canadian fur traders and Indian wives) already engaged in the fur trade in the Flathead region. This vanguard of Canadian emigration to the Northwest included the mixed-race clans of the Iroquois, emigrants from the Saskatchewan River region, and remnants of McClellan's 1807-08 American expedition into the Bitterroots.


In territory that would later become Washington State, the SURVIVORS OF THE WRECK OF THE SV. NIKOLAI, tried to reach the coast after a miserable winter spent in the foothills of the Olympics. Anna Petrovna BULYGIN, the wife of the ship's navigator and captive of the Makah people, persuaded Bulygin, Timofei TARAKANOV, and a few others to surrender and take refuge with the Makah.


The rest attempted to escape by sea, leaving the Ho River in canoes, and were killed or captured by Hohs or Quileutes. The survivors of the Sv. Nickolai spent the next year in captivity among the Hoh, Quileute, and Makah. (The names of the crew of the Nikolai and their fates are detailed in the 1810 section)


At least three of the SURVIVORS OF THE NIKOLAI REACHED THE COLUMBIA RIVER in 1809. One, an un-named Aleut man, was ransomed by Capt. George Washington EAYRES (of the American ship Mercury) when he was offered for sale by his Indian captors on the bank of the Columbia River. Another, ship's apprentice Filip KOTELNIKOV, had been bought by Chinooks from the Hohs or Quileutes and apparently decided to remain with the Chinooks voluntarily. BOLGUSOV, another of the crew who had been sold to Columbia River Indians, was ransomed by Captain BROWN OF the American ship Lydia in 1810.




Manuel LISA, Andrew HENRY, and 9 partners formed the MISSOURI FUR COMPANY in 1809 and headquartered operations in St. Louis. The Company became disorganized during the War of 1812 but was re-established.


John Jacob ASTOR received a charter in New York to form the AMERICAN FUR COMPANY in 1809.





In 1810, Indians on the Columbia River shore offered to sell BOLGUSOV, a survivor of the wreck of the Sv. Nikolai, as a slave to CAPTAIN BROWN of the American ship Lydia. Brown ransomed Bolgusov and sailed north to the territory of the Makahs where the other survivors were held captive.


On May 6, 1810, the Lydia anchored off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula near Cape Flattery and Neah Bay. Brown negotiated the release and ransom of the 13 captives and set out northward for New Archangel, Alaska, arriving June 9, 1810.


The 13 ransomed were Timofei TARAKANOV, Dmitrii SHUBIN, Ivan BOLOTOV, Ivan KURMACHEV, Afansii VALGUSOV, Kasian ZYPIANOV, Savva ZUEV, Abram PETUKOV, John WILLIAMS (American), two Aleut men, and two Aleut women. Navigator BULYGIN and wife Anna Petrovna Bulygin died in Makah captivity. Five others died in battles with the Quileute or Hoh or died in captivity: IAKOV PETUKOV, Kozma OVCHINNIKOV, Khariton SOBACHNIKOV, and two Aleuts.

One Aleut man and a Russian named BOLGUSOV were ransomed on the Columbia River by American captains. Another, naval apprentice Filip KOTELNIKOV, apparently decided to stay voluntarily with the Chinooks on the Columbia River.


Some of the Nikolai passengers had developed affection for their captors. One captive rescued from the Quileutes (an Aleut woman) was brought along on a later expedition sent to punish and enslave the Quileute; she called out to them from the ship and warned away their canoes. YUTRAMAKI (or Machee Ulatilla), a Makah chief, was particularly praised for his nobility and protection. In 1805, this same Yutramaki had arranged for the release of American John JEWETT from Nootka captors.


May 26 through July 19, 1810: In spring of 1810 Capt. Nathan WINSHIP of Boston and a small crew arrived in the trading ship Albatross and attempted to establish a post on the Columbia River on an island about 3 miles from the present day site of Quincy, OR (at Oak Point about 40 miles from the mouth of the Columbia). Winship intended to leave a small party under the leadership of a man named WASHINGTON to stay the winter. Instead, during construction of the post, Winship imprisoned some Chilwitz (Echeloot) men mistakenly believing they were the party who had attacked the Russian post at New Archangel (Alaska). As the Chilwitz prepared for war, Winship and his crew retreated down the Columbia.


A party of trappers with the NORTHWEST FUR COMPANY set out from the Hudson Bay fort region for an expedition to the Pacific. They were led by David THOMPSON on a route through the Athabasca Pass (through a region named later as Alberta Province along the border of British Columbia).


By 1810, Jacco FINDLAY had rejoined the Northwest Company and worked as a clerk under Finan MCDONALD at Salish House.


During the summer of 1810, Salish Indians with the Northwest Company's BOURDON, Jean Baptiste BOUCHE, Jacco FINDLAY, and Finan MCDONALD crossed the Rockies heading east. The company held off an attack by Pikuni Blackfeet, retreated, and built the stronghold of Spokane House.




In 1810 a MISSOURI FUR COMPANY party under Andrew HENRY built Ft. Henry on Henry's Fork (present day site of St. Anthony, Idaho). George DRUILLARD and 5 of his (mixed race) tribesmen were with this American party. Members of Henry's party were attacked by Kainah Blackfeet (also called Bloods) in 1810 when they tried to establish trade. The party wintered at the fort and abandoned it to go east in the spring of 1811.


With his eastern Rockies-based American Fur Company driven out of business by competition from the MACKINAW COMPANY in the north and the Missouri Fur Company and others in the south, JOHN JACOB ASTOR formed the PACIFIC FUR COMPANY to pursue the fur trade from west of the Rockies. Astor dispatched one party by ship from New York and another overland from St. Louis in 1810 to begin operations for the Pacific Fur Company.


The original Pacific Fur Company partners were John Jacob Astor of New York, an American from New Jersey named William Price HUNT and three former members of the Canadian Northwest Fur Company, Alexander MCKAY, Duncan MCDOUGAL, and Donald MACKENZIE.


In 1810 the two parties representing ASTOR'S PACIFIC FUR COMPANY, set out to establish the first trading post on the Columbia River. One party sailed from New York on the ship Tonquin, under the command of Captain Jonathan THORNE. The other party set out overland from St. Louis led by William Price HUNT. Both parties expected to arrive at the mouth of the Columbia River at about the same time. Astor also dispatched the ship Beaver with a load of supplies and some additional workers for the company.


[The roll of the overland Astorians 1810-12 appears in Oregon Historical Quarterly #34 as well as the trail journal of Robert Stuart]


Astor's ship, the TONQUIN, put to sea on September 8, 1810. Aboard were Captain Jonathan THORNE, fur company partners Alexander MCKAY, Duncan MCDOUGAL, David STUART, his nephew Robert Stuart, 12 clerks, and enough voyagers to make a crew of 20.


In Hawaii, 20 to 30 Hawaiians joined the Tonquin for the voyage to Oregon.


Astor's overland expedition to Oregon was led by William Price HUNT with partner Donald MACKENZIE. MacKenzie and Hunt left Montreal by canoe and arrived at Mackinaw (at the confluence of lakes Michigan and Huron) on July 23, 1810. Ramsey CROOKS (a Scotsman) joined them at Mackinaw and the party headed down river to arrive at St. Louis September 3, 1810. (Their journey took them via Green Bay to the Fox River, then the Wisconsin River to Prairie du Chien and on to the Mississippi River).


AT ST. LOUIS, the party recruited Joseph MILLER as a partner (he was a fur trapper from Maryland--Bancroft's Oregon, vol. 1 says Miller came west with Henry and met Astorians in Idaho). The Pacific Fur Company partners and men departed From St. Loius October 10. 1810 to establish winter quarters up the Missouri River. At Nodowa, the site of their winter camp, Robert MCCLELLAN (a war veteran) and John DAY (a hunter from Virginia) joined the Astorian party.





ASTOR bought out the Mackinaw Fur Company in 1811 and added it to his holdings in the American Fur Company and the Pacific Fur Company. Briefly, just until the War of 1812, Astor's merger of the Mackinaw and the American fur companies operated under the name the SOUTHWEST FUR COMPANY but revived after the war as the AMERICAN FUR COMPANY.




After wintering at Ft. Henry (Idaho), MISSOURI FUR COMPANY members under Andrew HENRY abandoned the post to go east in the spring of 1811. Several men remained to trap in the mountains (Robert STUART would encounter some of these men on his way to St. Louis from Oregon in 1812: John HOBACK, Jacob REZNOR, Edward ROBINSON, and Joseph MILLER.)




On New Year's Day, 1811, W.P. HUNT left the Astorians' winter camp on the Missouri River with 5 men to return to St. Louis. In St. Louis, Manuel LISA of the Missouri Fur Company was recruiting men for a rescue party and supplies and new recruits were scarce. Hunt was able to hire Pierre DORIONE as guide and Sioux interpreter, but only two of the five men who accompanied him to St. Louis returned (Dr. John BRADBURY, a botanist of the Linnean Society of Liverpool and James NUTTALL, a scientist).


In April 1811, on his way back to winter camp (up the Missouri River at Nowdowa) Hunt encountered Daniel BOONE (then 85 years old) and John COLTER. Hunt left Nodowa camp with a party of 60 and reached the Platte River on April 28, Omaha Village on May 10 and just below the Arikara village the first of June 1811.


At this place, a trapper company under command of Manuel LISA (Missouri Fur Company) and BRECKENRIDGE were encamped. Hunt and the Astorians departed from the Missouri River overland on July 23, 1811.


Pierre DORIONE, Alexander CARSON, and GRADPIE traveled ahead and lost the main party. The party with Hunt, by veering sharply westward, rejoined them at the Little Missouri River in mid-August. The Astorians with Hunt reached Ft. Henry on October 8, 1811.


At the deserted Ft. Henry (westernmost Wyoming), Louis ST. MICHEL, Pierre DELAUNEY, Pierre DETAYE,and Alexander CARSON were instructed to trap for furs and then make way to the Columbia River. (Francois LANDRY, Andre LACHAPPELLE and Jean TURCOTTE may also have left the party here or further west near the Mad River). John HOBACK, Jacob REZNOR, Edward ROBINSON, a remnant of the party that came west with Henry in 1810, were also still trapping in the Ft. Henry area (this party probably included Joseph MILLER and a man named CASS. One source, Jackson's Children of the Fur Trade, says that William CANNON and DUBRIEUL were also left by the Astorians to hunt in the Snake River region in 1811).


[SOURCE: John C. Jackson's Children of the Fur Trade (Mountain Press Publishing Company, Montana, 1995) relies on a huge number of primary sources (such as Hudson Bay Company archives and Harriet C. Duncan's 6-volume Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest) to trace the history of Metis (part-Indian) French Canadians.]


A trapper with the Astorians named CLAPPINE drowned in a canoe accident near Caldron Linn in late October 1811. Hunt's company cached supplies and furs at this place on the Snake River (between the American and Shoshone Falls) and headed for Oregon.


The route westward was unclear and Hunt's company split up. John REED led one party. Eighteen men under under HUNT and Pierre DORION followed after. Ramsey CROOKS led another 18 and reunited with Hunt and company on December 6, 1811. The rest of the Astorians together with John Reed, Donald MACKENZIE,and Robert MCCLELLAN, were by this time well ahead of Hunt's company.


At this point, Hunt left CROOKS and John DAY (then ailing) to make their way slowly along the Columbia River while Hunt's company doubled back to the last place where they had been able to find and purchase provisions (Woodpile Creek). On December 29, Madame DORION, wife of Pierre Dorion and mother of four- and two-year-olds (all on the expedition) gave birth to a healthy baby. Hunt, Dorion, and company resumed the journey westward on January 2, 1812.




THE SHIP TONQUIN ARRIVED AT THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA on March 22, 1811. (It put to sea September 8, 1810). Eight men, the crews of two small boats, were drowned during attempts to locate a channel across the bar during stormy weather.


Donald MCDOUGAL and David STUART went ashore at the landing site at Baker Bay to scout on April 5, 1811. They returned to the ship with Chief COMCOMLY of the Chinooks on April 12 and reported a better site for a post at a spot later named George Point. Captain THORNE set some of the crew and a small portion of the supplies ashore and sailed Vancouver Island.


Rather than begin trade with the Native Americans on Vancouver Island (at Clayoquot Bay), Thorne so antagonized them that they attacked the Tonquin. All on board were killed and the Tonquin burned, exploded, and sank to the bottom with all supplies.


An Indian interpreter named JOSEACHAL (a Quinault) returned to Ft. Astoria, the sole survivor of the WRECK OF THE TONQUIN. Joseachal said that four survivors of the original attack had holed up in the cabin of the Tonquin with the severely wounded clerk, James LEWIS. Lewis told them to escape and then ambushed Neeweetee (that is, Nootka or Clayoquot) Indians still aboard by setting fire to the ship's store of ammunition. The three remaining survivors were later captured and killed while the interpreter made his escape.


["Lamazee" has been misidentified as the Indian interpreter in many histories; this person, Lamazee, was also called Jack Ramsey. The correct account is in Robert F. Jones's "The Identity of the Tonquin's Interpreter," Oregon Historical Quarterly 98, no. 3]


The shore crew on the Columbia River could only hope for a speedy arrival of the overland party and began work on FT. ASTORIA. David STUART set out with 6 men of this company to establish another post beyond the upper Columbia (on the Okanagan River in territory that would later be Washington State). Stuart's party met a Pacific-bound expedition led by David THOMPSON during their journey up the Columbia River. Thompson, an employee of the Northwest Fur Company, continued with his party down the Columbia, set up camp outside Ft. Astoria, and established a presence for the NORTHWEST FUR COMPANY.


In summer of 1811, David THOMPSON, Michel BOURDON, BOULARD, Ignace L'IROQUOIS, and others of a Northwest Company boat party arrived at Ft. Astoria after travel down the Columbia River. Boulard, who was ailing, stayed at the fort and was replaced by a Hawaiian named COX for the return journey. Those paddling up river with Thompson also included Maurice PICARD, Thomas CANASWAREL, and Ignace SALIAHONE who had left his family at Ft. George. (Thompson was at Spokane House on June 14, 1811; at Astoria August 6; back to Spokane August 13 where he met Jacco FINDLAY; and to Salish House by November 11).


On September 26, 1811 the Astorians had completed quarters built of stone and clay. On October 2, they launched a new small schooner and named her Dolly.


A detachment from David STUART's post on the Okanagan arrived on October 5, 1811; David Stuart had sent half the company back to Astoria while he and the rest wintered over at the Okanagan post. Registre BRUGIER may have been with this party or with another Pacific Fur Company party which returned to Ft. Astoria in October 1811. At the fort, Gabriel FRANCHERE recognized Brugier from their previous association in the Iroquois trade out of Saskatchewan.


[SOURCES: Journals by Ross Cox, Gabrielle Franchere, Alexander Ross, William P. Hunt, Robert Stuart, and David Thompson].





Astorians with William Price HUNT left their camp at the lower Snake River on January 2, 1812 and reached the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers on January 21, 1812.


At about this date in January, Donald MACKENZIE, Robert MCCLELLAND, and John REED arrived at Ft. Astoria with a portion of the OVERLAND PACIFIC FUR COMPANY (ASTORIAN) EXPEDITION. Those with William Price Hunt arrived about a month later on February 15, 1812 (they had camped at Wishram Village, Celilo Falls, on January 31 and made the rest of the journey by canoe). Only 35 members of the original party of 59 reached the mouth of the Columbia River. Sickness, starvation, drownings, hostile Indians, fatigue and desertions took their toll during the 17 months of travel. Ramsey CROOKS and John DAY had been seen by neither party since December 1811.


Meanwhile, the Astorians left behind to hunt IN IDAHO traveled mostly northeast towards the Missouri River. While a party of four was on its way north towards the Missouri headwaters in late 1811 or early 1812, Pierre DETAYE was killed by Crows. Alexander CARSON, Pierre DELAUNEY, and Luis ST. MICHEL had also been attacked but reached the Missouri River region. Others with the Astorian fur trappers-Francois LANDRY, Andre LACHAPPELLE and Jean TURCOTTE-traveled with a party of Shoshones who were attacked by Blackfeet while traveling northeast from the Snake River. This party retreated to the Snake River at Caldron Linn.


[One historian, Daniel Lee in Ten Years in Oregon, claims that Landry, LaChapelle, and Turcotte "deserted" Crooks and Day in February 1812 and purposely led a party of Shoshones to plunder the cache. Other accounts, more likely, say the 3 stayed with Shoshones-who had guided Hunt and the main company in October 1811-and both the Shoshones and the Astorians were robbed of the cached supplies by marauding Blackfeet. In any case, the cache was discovered and plundered before the eastbound Astorians looked for it in August of 1812]


On March 22, 1812 three parties set out from Ft. Astoria to begin fur trade: RUSSELL, FARNHAM, Donald GILLES, and a party of 8 were to go to the cache at Caldron Linn . Robert STUART was to reinforce his uncle's post on the Okanagan and John REED, MCCLELLAN and their company were to go east with dispatches for Astor in New York. For 400 miles up the Columbia River, the routes for all three parties were the same and they traveled together


During portage at Deschutes, REED and his small party of companions were attacked by Indians. Two of the attackers were killed and the others driven off. In the melee, Reed was severely injured by tomahawk blows to his head and the dispatches were lost.


All three parties of Astorians changed their courses to go to David Stuart's post on the Onkanagan River. David STUART joined them for the return trip to Ft. Astoria.


Along the Columbia River, the party found the long-missing John DAY and Ramsey CROOKS. At the end of the previous year, Walla Walla Indians had taken in and sustained the two men. When they resumed their journey to the mouth of the Columbia River in 1812, traveling alone, they had been attacked by another tribe of Indians near Deschutes. They were uninjured but robbed of every supply.


The company returned to Ft. Astoria on May 11, 1812.


Meanwhile, May 6, 1812, the Astorian SUPPLY SHIP BEAVER arrived at the Columbia River.


By the end of June, the Astorians were ready to make a new attempt at trading expeditions. This time ROBERT STUART led the party bound for the States including John DAY, Andrew VALLE, Ramsey CROOKS, Benjamin JONES, Robert MCCLELLAN and Francois LECLAIRE. DAVID STUART went to establish a new post (300 miles beyond Okanagan) and parties with Donald MACKENZIE, Ross COX, and John CLARKE went to explore the upper Snake River region.


Once again, all the Astorians traveled together up the Columbia River. At the junction of the Walla Walla and Columbia Rivers, on July 31, 1812, ROBERT STUART AND HIS PARTY SET OUT OVERLAND FOR THE STATES (see the section titled "West to East" below for the chronology of this journey). DAVID STUART traveled north to establish another post 300 miles beyond Ft. Okanagan. Donald MACKENZIE, John CLARKE, and Ross COX parted company at the juncture of the Clearwater River and the Snake. John Clarke's party went up the upper Snake and the Lewis River to make a post at Spokane. Meanwhile MacKenzie's company canoed the Lewis River to the Sahaptin and made camp among the Nez Perce.


The summer INDIAN RENDEZVOUS of 1812 in Oregon (at the confluence of the Columbia and Walla Walla rivers) included David THOMPSON, David STUART, and Alexander ROSS. Ross reported that this traditional trading meet attracted about 1500 Cayuses, Walla Walla (Palouse), and other Shehaptin Indians (of the Plateau region). He also estimated 400 horses.


David Stuart and other Astorians joined David Thompson for the return trip down river to Ft. Astoria.


In August 1812, W.P. HUNT and the ship Beaver left Ft. Astoria to pursue the fur trade along the north coast. Duncan MCDOUGAL, left in charge of the fort, expected their return in October.


From his Shahaptin River camp, MacKenzie dispatched John REED and a small party to go east to the cache at Cauldron Linn on the lower Snake River. In the Caldron Linn region, Reed encountered Pacific Fur Company trappers who had wintered east of the Blue Mountains (Alexander CARSON, Louis ST. MICHEL, Pierre DELAUNEY, Joseph LANDRY, Andre LACHAPELLE, and Jean TURCOTTE). All the trappers headed back to MacKenzie's camp on the Shahaptin with the sad news that the Caldron Linn cache had been thoroughly plundered.


John CLARKE, Ross COX, and Donald MACKENZIE reunited at Spokane House (Clarke's post) in the fall of 1812. Here they received news of the War between the United States and Britain. The news had been brought by John George MCTAVISH who had come from Lake Winnepeg OVERLAND WITH MEN OF THE CANADIAN NORTHWEST FUR COMPANY.


In November or December 1812, Ross COX and Russell FARNHAM left the Flathead country to hunt buffalo in the Upper Missouri region. Buffalo-hunting Salish (one of the tribes often called "Flatheads") were now accompanied by fur traders on their traditional incursions into Blackfoot territory; this caused frequent skirmishes and brought Americans and Canadians further into conflict with the Blackfeet.


In late 1812 or very early 1813, MacKenzie returned to Ft. Astoria. David Stuart sent some of his company back to the mouth of the Columbia but he himself wintered at Okanagan.


After conference with Duncan MCDOUGAL at Ft. Astoria in January 1813, MACKENZIE and a party of men once again traveled up the Columbia, this time to confer with David Stuart and John Clarke about the news of war and the failure of the ship Beaver to return as scheduled.


Because of native hostility to Europeans and Americans in territory south of Alaska (and because of the increasing presence of British and Americans in Oregon) the RUSSIAN AMERICAN COMPANY abandoned all attempts to create trading outposts in the Oregon Country. Instead, Ivan KUSHKOV founded ROSS COLONY in California in 1812, an outpost that remained until 1841.




Meanwhile during summer and fall of 1812, Robert Stuart and 6 men continued their OVERLAND JOURNEY BACK TO ST. LOUIS from Oregon.


Near the mouth of the Willamette River, John DAY became too mentally ill to continue the journey. Stuart disarmed him and sent him back to Ft. Astoria under the care of Wapato Island Indians.


By August 20, Stuart and company had reached Hunt's former camp on Woodpile Creek. In western Idaho on August 25, Stuart's party encountered some of the men who came overland with the Pacific Fur Company in 1811 and with the Missouri Fur Company in 1810: John HOBACK, Edward ROBINSON, Jacob REZNOR, and Joseph Miller (Martin CASS had been with them during the winter). One of the four fur trappers encountered in western Idaho, Joseph MILLER, joined the Astorian caravan for the journey back to St. Louis.


By August 29, 1812, they reached Cauldron Linn and discovered that the caches of supplies left the year before had been plundered. On September 18 the party passed Mad River.


The returning Astorians discovered South Pass through the Rocky Mountains and traveled as far east as Chimney Rock in 1812. They retraced their steps westward to the Nebraska-Wyoming line and then spent three miserable months wintering over before setting out again for St. Louis.


While Astorians with Robert Stuart journeyed back to the States, Donald MCKENZIE, David STUART, and John CLARKE explored the upper Columbia River region.




Astor sent the SHIP LARK (a supply ship for Ft. Astoria) from New York in March 1813. It would never reach Oregon but sank in a storm off the coast of Hawaii late in 1813.


The same month, on March 25, 1813, the British dispatched two ships from England, the Isaac Todd and the Phoebe, under secret orders to destroy any American settlement on the Columbia River or the Pacific Coast. The ships Raccoon and Cherub joined them during the voyage as the slow-sailing Todd slipped further and further behind. The Raccoon was sent ahead to the Northwest as the other BRITISH WARSHIPS battled and defeated the American ship Essex off the coast of Valparaiso, Chile.




[SOURCE: Journal by John C. Luttig (for the upper Missouri 1812-13)].


Baptiste ROI and Francois DORUIN traveled from St. Louis to the Otoe village (present day Yutan, Nebraska) in spring of 1813. Major Eli CLEMSON was in charge of Ft. Osage.


Robert STUART's PACIFIC FUR COMPANY PARTY, which had left Astoria in June 1812, left their winter camp to resume the journey to St. Louis. In early April 1813 they arrived at the Otoe village near Grand Isle and met Doruin and Roi. Here they learned of the war between the US and Britain. They reached Ft. Osage (then under LT. BROWNSON) on April 16, 1813


On April 30, 1813, ROBERT STUART AND THE PACIFIC FUR COMPANY TRAVELERS ARRIVED IN ST. LOUIS from Oregon. Their route through Idaho and Wyoming was almost precisely the path later followed by the Oregon Trail.




Donald MACKENZIE had returned from inland Oregon to Ft. Astoria with news of the war between the US and Britain. After conference with Duncan MCDOUGAL at the fort in January 1813, MacKenzie, Alfred SETON, John REED and a party of 17men once again traveled up the Columbia to return to Mckenzie's encampment on the Shahaptin River. He also carried letters from McDougal for David STUART and John CLARKE about the news of war with Britain, the failure of the ship Beaver to return as scheduled, and the possibility of ending Pacific Fur Company business in Oregon.


At the Deschutes portage, where Reed had been attacked the previous year, MacKenzie and two volunteers tried to demand the return of Reed's rifle from Indians encamped there. The chief refused to smoke the pipe of peace during uneasy negotiations and MacKenzie felt threatened. He was able to trade a blanket and ax for the rifle and retreat in safety.


Shortly after passing Deschutes on the Columbia River, MacKenzie's party encountered John George MCTAVISH and two boatloads of Canadians then on their way downriver to Astoria. The two parties camped together overnight and then proceeded in opposite directions on the Columbia.


MacKenzie arrived at his encampment to discover that his caches had been plundered of all trading goods and furs. He dispatched parties to search for the thieves and another, under John REED, with messages for Clarke and Stuart.


On May 25, John CLARKE and a party of men with 28 horses left the encampment at Spokane and Lewis rivers. On May 30, at the confluence of the Pavion and Lewis rivers, the party stopped to retrieve and repair canoes left with Indians at their camp. Clarke's silver goblet was stolen and he threatened to hang the chief. The next night, when another Indian was caught stealing goods, Clarke promptly "tried" and hanged the thief.


Clarke's violent act, condemned by David Stuart and Donald MacKenzie, caused much upset among the various tribes gathered for summer INDIAN RENDEZVOUS at the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers. At this rendezvous, attended by Stuart, MacKenzie, Clarke and others of the Pacific Fur Company, Alexander Ross recorded the statement of TUMMEATAPAM: "What have you done my friends. You have spilt blood on our lands."


The Pacific Fur Company trappers returned to Ft. Astoria from Indian rendezvous on June 12, 1813. Some who had originally intended to go to trade on the inland plains instead returned to Astoria. A group of 20 with David STUART was attacked while making portage at the Cascades. Stuart was wounded by arrows and their goods stolen but the party returned safely to Ft. Astoria.


In mid-July, John G. MCTAVISH and his party of men from the Northwest Fur Company left Astoria to begin an overland journey back to Canada.


Shortly after, in August 1813, William P. HUNT and some of the crew of the Beaver finally returned to Ft. Astoria after nearly a year without communication with the fort. In 1812, the Beaver had an accident in a storm off of Alaska and had limped into Hawaii for repairs. Hunt chartered another ship, the Albatross, for his much delayed journey back to Oregon. The news of the War of 1812 had also reached Hawaii by this time.


The Pacific Fur Company partners sold Ft. Astoria to the Northwest Company in October 1813, much influenced by news of the war and ships dispatched from England to take Ft. Astoria.


Afterwards, the Albatross returned to Hawaii and Pacific Fur Company partner MCDOUGAL changed his allegiance to the Northwest Fur Company. While he remained at Ft. Astoria, Alexander ROSS and a party went to Walla Walla country.


Former Northwest Company employee, Registre BELLAIRE, and former Astorians John DAY, William CANNON, and Alexander CARSON worked together as free trappers along the Willamette in the winter of 1813-14.


Employees of the Northwest Fur Company who wintered 1813-14 at Ft. George included Iroquois Pierre CAWANARDE, Thomas OCANASAWARET, Jacques OSTISERICO, Etienne OWAYAISSA, Jacques SHATACKOANI, Ignace SALIOHENI and George TEEWHATTAHOWIE. J. SAGANAKEI, a Nipissing, and M. MANICQUE, a Wyandot, were also at the fort. Thornbun FINDLAY and Raphael FINDLAY Jr. (sons of the Northwest Company's Jacco Findlay) were employed by Ft. George from 1813-14.


When the British warship Raccoon (Captain BLACK) arrived at Astoria, Dec. 12, 1813, the Fort was already in British hands. The British officially took charge of Ft. Astoria on December 13, 1813 in a flag raising ceremony held by the captain of the Raccoon. Ft. Astoria was officially renamed FT. GEORGE and became an outpost of the Northwest Fur Company.


Back in Hawaii on December 20, 1813, HUNT met the survivors of the ship Lark. THE LARK, sent by Astor from New York to resupply Ft. Astoria, had sunk in a storm off of Hawaii before ever reaching the Columbia River.





The British ship Raccoon sailed way from Ft. Astoria on New Years Day, 1814 after re-naming the post FT. GEORGE and raising the British flag.


On January 20, 1814, 85 men in 18 canoes set out from Ft. George to avenge the attack on Stuart's party at the Cascades portage the previous year. J.G. MCTAVISH led four days' of negotiations demanding return of stolen property while the Cascade chiefs demanded the trappers turn over the men who had killed two of the tribe. The trapper company headed back to the fort on the fifth day after being robbed during the night.


In Hawaii, HUNT obtained the brig Pedler and sailed for Oregon with Capt. NORTHROP, and the survivors of the wreck of Astor's ship, the Lark. At Astoria on February 28, 1814, the Pedler took aboard those Americans unwilling to join the Northwest Company and sailed for New York, April 14, 1814. Former Pacific Fur Company partners MACKENZIE, CLARKE, and STUART soon set out from Ft. Astoria overland. MacKenzie traveled to the Willamette River while John Clarke and David Stuart returned to their posts north of the Columbia River.


On April 17, 1814, the British ship Issac Todd arrived at Ft. George at Astoria. Donald MCTAVISH took charge of Ft. George and planned to travel overland to Montreal after order had been established at Astoria. McTavish and his clerk, Alexander HENRY Jr., were drowned attempting to reach the Todd in an open boat from Ft. George. The Issac Todd sailed away for China under the command of Capt. Frazer SMITH.


The Isaac Todd had left behind four Spanish cattle at Ft. George. These and the goats and hogs brought by the Astorians became the basis for domestic livestock in Oregon.


In May of 1814 Ross COX, who had joined the Northwest Fur Company, traveled with 5 companions to the Yakima country (around Spokane House).


Alexander ROSS, Tom MCKAY, and 2 unnamed Canadians traveling with native wives were also in this region and traveled to a village where over 3000 had camped to gather camas roots. Negotiations were wary and tense but Ross traded for 100 horses.


Registre BELLAIRE in 1814 hired 4 Hawaiians to pursue the fur trade with him in the Walla Walla Valley region.


Pierre DORION, an overland Astorian who had gone to hunt in the Snake country in 1813, was killed by Indians in 1814. His widow and 2 children hailed an upriver-bound boat of trappers for rescue near the mouth of the Umatilla River at the Columbia in 1814.




In 1814, the US Congress forbid any British or Canadian concerns to trade with Native Americans of the Missouri River Basin. By 1816, J.J. Astor had bought out all British holdings in US territory east of the Rocky Mountains.


The WAR OF 1812, which included the burning of Washington D.C. in August 1814, exaggerated American resentment toward and competition with the British. The battle of New Orleans (January 1815) was fought after the Treaty of Ghent officially ended the war on December 24, 1814. News of peace and the implementation of the Treaty took even longer in the Northwest. The agreed upon British-American joint occupancy of the lands between Russian Alaska and Spanish California was not made official in Oregon until 1818.


[SOURCES: See earlier entries for journals kept by Astorians and Northwest Company explorers. Alexander Henry Jr., a Company clerk, arrived in Oregon by ship in 1814 and kept a journal from 1799-1814.]




In the summer of 1815, James MCMILLAN, Nicholas MONTOUR, and Ross COX hunted in the Spokane Plains.




THE PEMMICAN WAR: In June of 1816 in eastern Canada there was a battle between the mostly metis (descendants of European Canadian fur traders and Indian wives) forces of the Northwest Fur Company and rival interests represented by the colonial governor and the Hudson Bay Company. Fur traders displaced or in legal trouble due to this battle (such as Tom MCKAY) often found their way to the Northwest.


The British Earl of Selkirk had imported a large number of displaced Scots to found a colony at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers (an area southwest of Lake Winnipeg later called Manitoba Province). Clerks of the Northwest Company spread word among the metis free trapper/traders in the region that they were to be displaced from their homeland and cut off from their supply of Indian pemmican, a preserved food essential in the trappers' life. The metis first besieged Brandon House and then attacked Selkirk's settlement, killing the governor and 21 emigrants.


In 1816 the NORTHWEST FUR COMPANY established headquarters, named FT. NEZ PERCE, at the confluence of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers. The fur trade headquartered here focused on the central Rockies and the Snake River watershed.


Donald MCKENZIE returned to the Columbia River in 1816 and formed the Snake River Hunting Brigade which, this year, included a number of Iroquois, Abanakees, and Hawaiians.


In 1816, a party of the Northwest Company killed an Indian chief near the Falls of the Willamette when tribute was demanded. A second expedition, probably this same year, paid restitution and established peace.




A French ship on a round-the-world exploring expedition, the Bordelais, anchored at Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in September 1817. The ship's captain, Lt. Camille DE ROQUEFEUIL received a report about 4 Americans living "at Tchinouk behind Cape Flattery" and 3 were named specifically: CLARK, KEAN, and LEWIS.


Ross COX retired from the fur trade this year and headed east; along the way, July 1817, he met Tom MCKAY then going from the Red River region back to Oregon. Joseph LAROCQUE came west from Canada to the Northwest in 1817 with a reinforcement of 40 (mostly Iroquois) for the Northwest Fur Company.


Donald MCKENZIE, who had married Tom McKay's sister at Ft. William in eastern Canada, returned to Ft. George (Astoria) in the fall of 1817.




Arriving in the US sloop-of-war Ontario on August 9, 1818, Capt. J. BIDDLE received possession of Ft. George to enforce the agreement that ended the War of 1812.


In 1817, 25 TRAPPERS LEFT CANADA FOR THE NORTHWEST. Due to deaths on the way, only 18 arrived in Astoria in 1818. [Information from Hubert Howe Bancroft's Oregon, vol. 1; it's unclear if this was a party separate from LaRoque's company]. The survivors included Andre LACHAPELLE and Louis PICHETTE (dit DUPRE).


Captain J. HICKLEY and US Commissioner J.B. PREVOST arrived at Ft. George aboard the British frigate Blossom on October 6, 1818; the British formally ceded Ft. George at this time. The Canada Northwest Company, however, continued as the sole operators of the fort, now a trading post rather than military outpost of Britain.


During 1818, a fur trapper party led by P.S. OGDEN of the Northwest Company was attacked by inland Columbia River Indians. Ft. Nez Perce was fortified with a substantial stockade and cannons (and renamed FT. WALLA WALLA either in 1818 or a few years later).


In September of 1818, McKenzie ordered 25 Iroquois to hunt in the Indian Creek area of the Northwest. Instead, the hunters dispersed among the local tribes.


In convocation held at the mouth of the Walla Walla River, Donald MCKENZIE received permission for the HBC from the leaders of many Indian tribes and family groups to trap beaver in the Snake River region.


While Alexander ROSS completed work on Ft. WallaWalla in 1818, Donald MCKENZIE trapped along the Bear and perhaps Green Rivers. He spent the winter of 1818-19 among the Shoshone along the Snake and Portneuf Rivers.


In the winter of 1818-19, Thomas MCKAY led a hunting brigade south towards the sources of the Willamette River. His mostly Iroquois hunters killed 14 Indians in a battle on the Upper Umqua River. The party fled back to Ft. George but Louis LABONTE, Joseph GERVAIS, Etienne LUCIER, Louis KANOTA, and Louis PICHETTE dit DUPRE (all free trappers) stayed to hunt in the region in 1819.





In February of 1819, Ignace GIASSON led "Iroquois" (actually European Canadian/Iroquois metis) hunters into New Caledonia, a region that later became Pacific coast British Columbia. One of this party, Charles TAYURESSE, settled in the Columbia River region the next year.


Louis LABONTE, Joseph GERVAIS, Etienne LUCIER, Louis KANOTA, and Louis PICHETTE dit DuPre (all free trappers) stayed to hunt in the Umpqua region in 1819 while Thomas McKay led a Northwest Company brigade back to Ft. George.




The US Army established CANTONMENT MISSOURI north of the site of present day Omaha.


[A list of ships that visited the Northwest between 1819 and 1840 (with information about their nationality, captains, and destinations) is in Hubert Howe Bancroft's History of the Northwest Coast, vol. I 1543-1800 (vol. XXVII of Works of...): 1884, A.L. Bancroft & Company, San Francisco, pp 340-42]




Cantonment Missouri (US Army) was relocated to Council Bluffs and renamed FT. ATKINSON; the fort was named for General Henry Atkinson who commanded the right wing of the US Army Western Department and headquartered at St. Louis. Other forts and posts near this eastern end of the Oregon Trail were operated by private companies such as the Missouri Fur Company's Ft. Recovery and the American Fur Company's Ft. Sioux City.


Lt. Steven H. LONG led a US Army exploring expedition up the Platte and South Platte rivers in 1820. He reported that the "American Desert" was uninhabitable. [Sources: Edwin JAMES, a member of the Army explorers, wrote Account of an Expedition ... under the Command of Major Stephen H. Long: published 1823, Philadelphia; also see The Personal Narrative of James O. PATTIE of Kentucky, during an Expedition from St. Louis: edited by Timothy Flint and published in Cincinnati, 1831.]


In September of 1820, John HALDANE sent a group of 50 or more Iroquois from Spokane House to hunt in the Flathead (Washington Salish) region. Meanwhile, Jacco FINDLAY had sent a rival force of hunters from Saskatchewan.




RUSSIA CLAIMED ALASKA south to 51o and forbid entry to Alaskan waters for the ships from any other nation in 1821.


The British government ordered the Northwest Fur Company to be absorbed by the HUDSON BAY COMPANY in 1821. The HBC was franchised to control trade from west of the Rockies and north to 54o 40' (Russian Alaska). During the 1820's the HBC established 13 trading posts/forts with headquarters at Ft. Vancouver.


Trappers and traders who had been laid-off by the merger of the Northwest Company and the HBC formed the COLUMBIA FUR COMPANY to continue trade in the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Mississippi river regions without affiliation to Britain or Canada.


Michel BOURDON led the HBC's Snake Brigade. During the summer of 1821, the hunters lost 2 and killed 7 in skirmishes with the Blackfeet.





April 3, 1822: Andrew HENRY, commander, and Daniel S.D. MOORE left St. Louis on an exploring expedition. Lt. Governor of Missouri, William H. ASHLEY, had obtained the services of Andrew Henry, a large company of men, and two keelboats for an expedition to scout fur trade possibilities in the upper Missouri River region.


Shortly after passing Council Bluffs, Iowa, in May 1822, one of the boats hit a snag and sank with $10,000 in supplies. A small party with Moore hurried back to St. Louis while Henry and the remaining boat continued the expedition. Back in St. Louis, Ashley recruited a new crew of 46 and set out to follow Henry. At Ft. Osage (about 50 miles below the Kansas River), Ashley's boat picked up the 20 men marooned by the sinking of Moore's boat.


In August 1822--at the Mandan Villages (present-day Bismark, North Dakota)-- Assinoboin Indians stole all of the expedition's horses. Due to hostile Blackfeet, Ashley's company abandoned their original plans to build a fort at the Missouri River's Great Falls and instead established a base at the mouth of the Yellowstone River in October 1822.


Daniel T. POTTS, one of the 8 men who had deserted Henry's party at Cedar Post, wandered alone until he found Ashley's encampment. In the Fall of 1822, Ashley returned to St. Louis, leaving over 150 trappers in the Yellowstone region to pursue the fur trade.




Fourteen* trappers with the Hudson Bay Company Snake Brigade refused to follow Michel BOURDON through hostile Blackfeet territory on their return to Ft. Nez Perce. Perhaps intending to defect to Americans in the Yellowstone, the Snake Brigade deserters spent the winter of 1821-22 among the Mountain Crows near the Wind River. Some cached the furs gathered during the previous season and joined the (better paying and less autocratic) Missouri Fur Company. John GREY (a half-Iroquois) and 16 others returned to Ft. Nez Perce with Bourdon.


*[The 14 were: Joseph ST. ARMAND, Pierre CASSAWASA, Francois FRENETOROSUE, J. GARDIPE, Francois Wm. HODGENS, J. MCLEOD, Francois METHOD, Thos. NAKARSHETA, Patrick O'CONNER, Louis ST. MICHAEL, Ignace TAHEKEURATE, Lazard TEYCALEYECOURIGI, Ignace SOKHONIE and Sokhonie's stepson. [HBCArchives, Spokane District Report, 1822-23]


Jean Baptiste LOLO dit St. Paul, an experienced interpreter for the Northwest Company, arrived at Ft. St. James in the New Caldonia District (north of the Fraser River in present-day British Columbia).





On March 10, 1823, William ASHLEY again set out from St. Louis with a party of over 100 men. This fur trade expedition faced a disastrous journey, beginning with an accidental drowning of one man and an explosion of ammunition that killed three. Among Ashley's party were James CLYMAN, Jedediah SMITH, Mike FINK, William SUBLETTE and Moses HARRIS.


At Ft. Recovery (near White River), Ashley heard about an ATTACK BY ARIKARAS on a party of the Missouri Fur Company, a different attack on Ft. Cedar, and Arikara Chief Gray Eye's vow to avenge the death of his son. Ashley decided not to trade with the Arikara but his route still took the voyageurs past the Arikara villages. Ashley and his interpreter, Edward ROSE, parleyed with Little Soldier and The Bear. Negotiations with the Arikaras were wary but the traders still arranged for over 200 buffalo robes and a score of horses.


In the middle of the night on June 2, 1823, trapper Aaron STEVENS was murdered at the Arikara village and Rose ran back to warn Ashley. At that time 40 of Ashley's men were on shore (under the leadership of Jedediah Smith) with the horses; there were about 90 men in the boats.


At dawn, the Arikaras attacked the shore party. The boatmen refused Ashley's order to sail for shore and he was only able to save about 7 or 8 of the shore party in small skiffs (many in the party ashore refused rescue, preferring to fight). Routed by the Arikaras, the shore party fled and swam for the boat. Fifteen were dead and over a dozen wounded. Ashley ordered Jedediah Smith and a French Canadian to find Henry and warn him of the hostilities.


Ashley picked up the scattered survivors and withdrew 25 miles downstream. The men refused to make another attempt to pass the Arikara villages and only about 30 were willing to remain with Ashley. The rest went downstream in one of the party's 2 boats while Ashley and company withdrew to the mouth of the Cheyene River. Mike FINK of Ashley's party accidentally shot someone dead while playing a William Tell-type game; the victim's companion killed Fink after Fink threatened him during the resulting argument.


A roster of others in the battle with Arikaras: Killed, John Matthews, John Collins, James McDaniel, Westly Piper, George Flager, Benjamin F. Sneed, James Penn Jr., John Miller, John S. Gardner, Ellis Ogle, and David Howard; wounded (Gibson and 2 others later died), Reed Gibson, Joseph Monso, John LARRISON, Abraham Ricketts, Robert Tucker, Joseph Thompson, Jacob MILLER, David MCCLANE, Hugh Glass, Auguste Dufrain, and Willis (a black man).


In late June of 1823, the Missouri Fur Company faced attack by Blackfeet about 10 miles from Crow Village on the Yellowstone River; Robert JONES, Michael IMMELL and 5 others were killed. In July of 1823, Blackfeet attacked a party of 11 traveling with Henry in the Yellowstone region and killed 4.


On June 22, 1823, Colonel Henry LEAVENWORTH, commander of Ft. Atkinson, marched with 200 soldiers in 6 companies against the Arikaras traveling overland and by keelboat. Indian agent Benjamin O'FALLON and Major William S. FOSTER remained at the fort in Leavenworth's absence. With Leavenworth were Lt. W.N. Witcliff, Major A.R. Wooley, John Gale (surgeon), Lt. N.I. Cruger, Maj. D. Ketchum, Sgt. Bradley, Lt. Morris, Capt. B. Riley, and Lt. M.V. Morris.


A company of 40 men led by Joshua PILCHER of the Missouri Fur Company set out from St. Louis on June 27, 1823 to join Leavenworth. Pilcher's party included some of Ashley's deserters as well as Sergeant PERKINS and Captain William VANDERBURG, both members of the Fur Company.


On July 4, 1823 a US Army keelboat accidentally sank, drowning Sgt. STACKPOLE and 6 privates. Leavenworth's army delayed for repairs at Ft. Recovery (near White River). Pilcher and his troops caught up with them at the fort.


Meanwhile, Jedediah SMITH reached Andrew HENRY in the Yellowstone country with the report of the Arikara massacre. Henry left 20 of his men to guard the fort and set out with the rest to find Ashley. Shortly after Ashley and Henry met, they received news of Leavenworth's army and decided to join the battle. Their combined force numbered 80 and they joined Leavenworth near Ft. Brasseaux.


On August 9, 1823 the 500 Sioux warriors who had also joined Leavenworth's forces near Ft. Brasseaux raced ahead of the troops and engaged the Arikara in battle-they lost 2 and killed 15. The main force with Leavenworth killed 50 more and decisively defeated the Arikara. On August 10, 1823, after a peace parley with the Arikara, the Sioux withdrew homeward.


With the Sioux forces and most of his own round-shot gone, Leavenworth decided to make a treaty with the Arikara. Pilcher and the Missouri Fur Company strongly objected to this decision (they filed an official complaint later). Talks were held August 11 and 12, 1823, and the Arikaras made token reparations to Leavenworth. The Arikara then fled for refuge among the Mandans.


Leavenworth's troops entered the Arikara villages on August 13, 1823 and were surprised to find the site totally deserted. After a fruitless attempt to find the Arikaras, they set out to return home the next day. Two members of the Missouri Fur Company, Angus MCDONALD and William GORDON, stayed behind and torched the deserted Arikara villages. Trading-post operator TILTON later reported that homeless Arikaras among the Mandans were forming war parties.


On August 20, 1823 another attack on Henry's trappers left two dead (James ANDERSON and August NELL) while another war party staged a horse-raid on his fort (TILTON, who kept a post in the Mandan village later reported that the attacks were by Mandans, not by Blackfeet as supposed.) Henry dispatched Moses HARRIS, John FITZGERALD, and George HARRIS to the lower Missouri River to report on the fur company's troubles. Moses Harris gave his report at Ft. Atkinson on December 18, 1823 and traveled on to St. Louis. Meanwhile HENRY and his company of trappers fled and ascended the Yellowstone River to the Powder. There they met with Crows, traded for horses, and set out westward.


Sometime during the latter half of 1823 William L. SUBLETTE, Jedediah SMITH, and about 11 others split off from Ashley's party to explore the Rocky Mountains rather than return to St. Louis.


Also in 1823, Ewing YOUNG led an expedition from Missouri to New Mexico that included Joseph WALKER, later a well-known pathfinder.


By the end of 1823, Missouri Fur Company partner, Captain Joseph PERKINS, had brought $24,000 in furs from the Yellowstone country to Franklin, Missouri in this single year.




In the spring of 1823, the men who had deserted the HBC Snake Brigade the previous fall to winter along Wind River, were attacked and robbed by River Crows (enemies of their allies, the Mountain Crows). Due to this attack and another by Cheyennes only 6 of the original party of 14 reached Ft. Atkinson on August 23, 1823. Four others had fled to Taos.


Michel BOURDON, in charge of the Snake Brigade for the HBC, was killed by Blackfeet on the Salmon River with 3 of his men. Finnan MCDONALD and his men* then killed 70 of the (Piegan Blackfeet) tribe and won their concession to allow the HBC passage through Lemhi Pass down the Missouri River.


*(With McDonald were Jean B. Bouchard, Alex Carson, Ingnace Dehodionwasse, Charles Groslui, Jean Bapt. Grandriau, Antoine Godin, Ignace Katcheioronguese, Louis Kanota, Louis Konitagen, Ignace Konitagen, Lazard Hayaiguarelita, Charles Loyer, Charles LaGrasse, Martin Miaquin, Antoine Paget, Jos. Perrault, Francois Sansfacon, Sauteau St. Germain, Fran. Sasanirie, Baptiste Sowenge, , Pierre Tennotiessin, Jacque Thataracton, Laurent Karowtowshow, Jacques Osistericha, Pierre Tavenitogen and his 2 sons. [HBCArchives, Spokane District Report, 1822-23])




Thomas FITZPATRICK traveled to the Sweetwater River with James CLYMAN in 1824. Soon after they cached their pelts, they were attacked by Indians and fled down the Platte to Ft. Atkinson (Kansas) where they arrived near starvation.


Later in 1824, William ASHLEY led a caravan up the Platte from Ft. Atkinson to pursue the fur trade in the Green River region. Short on supplies, they descended the river and met Etienne PROVOST (PROVO) at his encampment in the Uintah Basin. At Salt Lake they met Northwest Fur Company members with P.S. OGDEN. This huge party of Americans and Canadians also included SUBLETTE and Moses HARRIS, who had been trapping in the Rockies, as well as Jim BECKWOURTH and Caleb GREENWOOD.


General Henry ATKINSON traveled with a party to make official treaties with the Missouri River tribes in 1824. Edward ROSE, hired as a guide and interpreter to the Yellowstone region, left the company in Montana to live among the Crow Indians.


On April 17, 1824 a TREATY BETWEEN RUSSIAN AND THE UNITED STATES set the southern border of Russian Alaska at 54o 40' and the eastern border at 141o.




Alexander ROSS led the Snake Brigade from Flathead Post in 1824. John GREY (the same part-Iroquois individual known as Jean Gray or Ignace HATCHIORAUQUASHA) and Old Pierre TREVANIGAN led a group of dissidents and received allowance to hunt for their own, rather than the Company's, benefit. They returned to the main Snake Brigade with 7 Americans (including Jedediah SMITH) whom they had met in Bear Valley. The dissidents' furs had mysteriously disappeared, probably into the caches of the better-paying Americans.


Joseph PORTNEUF was with the Hudson Bay Company party sent to establish a post on the Fraser River in 1824.


[SOURCES: Papers and journals by Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson Bay Company's northwestern division, begin with 1824; William H. Ashley Papers for activities at the eastern end of the Trail. The HBC also kept extensive archives.]





The transformation of tiny FT. VANCOUVER into the massive headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company in the Northwest began in 1825 with the arrival of Dr. John MCLOUGHLIN. Completed in 1826, Ft. Vancouver included an extensive farm, factories, warehouses, homes, barracks, a chapel, and medical facilities. Until the mid- to late-1830's the HBC was the only source of imported supplies, manufactured goods, trade, transport, and manpower west of the American fur trade at Green River. Under McLoughlin's leadership, the Fort extended aid, loans, and trade to American missionaries and settlers as well as to the ex-employees and members of the Hudson Bay Company.


Governor George SIMPSON, commander of Hudson Bay Company operations in North America, christened Ft. Vancouver by smashing a bottle of rum against the flagstaff in March 1825.


Governor Simpson sent the sons of two chiefs (Spokane Nicholas GARRY and Flathead J.H. PELLY) to Canadian missionaries for education. The two returned in 1829.


In spring 1825, Gov. Simpson ordered all Iroquois HBC employees to be exiled from the Columbia River to eastern Canada. He also cancelled HBC operations at Spokane House.


P.S. OGDEN led the 1825 Snake Brigade for the HBC into the Bear River and Salt Lake regions.


[SOURCES: Journals/letters by Peter Skene Ogden, John McLoughlin, David Douglas, and George Simpson.]




In 1825, William ASHLEY's caravan left Chouteau's Landing (Kansas City), traveled up the Platte, and joined Rendezvous at Salt Lake. The party took along a mounted cannon, the first wheeled vehicle on this trail.


P.S. OGDEN of the Hudson Bay Company and his hunters met American trappers near Salt Lake in May 1825. Many (23 out of 55) of his force (mostly Iroquois) transferred their allegiance (and packs of furs) to the American encampment. Joseph PORTNEUF was one of the few not to desert Ogden.


Three men who had deserted the Snake Brigade in 1822 rejoined the Brigade in 1825, probably at this Rendezvous (Francois METHOD, Jack MCLEOD, and Lazard TEYCALECOURIGI). In 1825, Etienne PROVOST had led four of the deserters from Taos to Rendezvous. During the journey with Provost, Patrick O'CONNER was killed by Snake Indians near the Salt Lake.


Another source (Jackson's Children of the Fur Trade) reports that Rendezvous was held on Henry's Fork of the Green River and that Pierre TREVANITAGON and company partnered with the American Johnson GARDNER for an expedition to the Flatheads after Rendezvous.


ASHLEY, SUBLETTE, and Moses HARRIS returned to St. Louis with the season's catch of furs.


A fur trapper caravan of 60 men under Jedediah SMITH (a partner of Ashley) left St. Louis in November 1825 and wintered on the Republican Fork of the Kansas River. Because the company was short on supplies, Smith sent Moses HARRIS and Jim BECKWOURTH ahead to the Pawnee Village and another small party back to Ashley in St. Louis for resupply.


Edward ROSE joined SMITH's party for the trip as far west as South Pass in the Rocky Mountains. Robert CAMPBELL was with Smith. In 1825, Jedediah SMITH (then a member of Ashley's company) became the first American to come overland from St. Louis to California, traveling by way of Utah and Nevada.


[Reminiscences or journals for 1825 in Oregon by David Douglas (journal from 1823-1827), John McLoughlin (his letters and records from 1825 to the 1840's), and Peter Skene Ogden (journal 1824-26)].




The Columbia Fur Company, formed in 1821, transferred its interests to (Astor and Ashley's) NORTH AMERICAN FUR COMPANY.


In Spring 1826, William ASHLEY, Jedediah SMITH, William CAMPBELL, Moses HARRIS, and William SUBLETTE and the trapper caravan left St. Louis. A party with Campbell traveled via the Platte River and the others followed the Sweetwater River. In the mountains they met William O'FALLON who had spent the winter in the high country.


After working in small parties in the Salt Lake region, the trappers gathered for RENDEZVOUS at nearby Cache (Willow) Valley with Louis VASQUEZ, James CLYMAN, Henry G. FRAEB, Daniel T. POTTS, and many others. After Rendezvous, Jedediah Smith, David JACKSON, and William Sublette bought out Ashley's interest in their partnership and formed a new partnership.


Ashley took a party back to St. Louis while others wintered 1826-27 at the confluence of the Weber and Ogden rivers in the Salt Lake Valley.


In December 1826, a party with Jedediah SMITH reached San Diego, California.


In Oregon [according to Daniel Lee] MCLEOD and DOUGLAS were attacked by Indians at the Dalles. The Kinse (Cayuse) came to their rescue.


[SOURCE: Reminiscence of 1826 by George T. Allan].




The British ship Cadboro arrived on the Columbia River from England for the first time in 1827 to become one of the regular HBC ships in the Oregon trade. The Broughton, a sloop built at Ft. Vancouver, was launched this year.


William SUBLETTE and Moses HARRIS set out from winter camp near Salt Lake in January 1827 and reached St. Louis in March 1827.


Meanwhile, William ASHLEY was advertising for a new company of fur trappers and had made overture to Pierre CHOUTEAU of Pratte, Chouteau, and Company. William SUBLETTE, who had bought Ashley's fur company interest in 1826, was furious. After negotiation with Sublette, Ashley agreed to send James B. BRUFEE and Captain Hiram SCOTT with supplies to be delivered to Sublette's company in exchange for future furs (this complex arrangement also included deals with the Missouri and American fur companies)


Beginning in 1827, Major PILCHER and a party of trappers from the Missouri Fur Company traveled to the Colorado basin and as far to the northwest as Ft. Coleville, WA, on a two-year trading expedition.


Robert CAMPBELL and Pierre TREVANITAGON were with the Smith-Jackson-Sublette partnership in 1827-28.


The HBC's Snake Brigade roster (fur trappers and hunters in the Columbia River to Snake River trade) included Thomas TAWAKON (or Tewateon); he was one of the many part-Iroquois or full-blooded Iroquois still in the Columbia region despite Gov. Simpson's 1825 order expelling them to eastern Canada.


Americans with Sam TULLOCK and the HBC Snake Brigade with P.S.OGDEN shared winter camp 1827-28.




In spring 1828, Indians attacked Americans near the mouth of the Portneuf River. About this time, Archibald GOODRICH married Nancy of the Dalles (later Mrs. J.B. DOBIN), the widow of another HBC man who had been killed in an earlier battle.


Pierre TREVANTITAGON was killed by Piegan Blackfeet. Pierre's Hole, on the west side of the Tetons, bears his name. In 1828, Thierry GODIN was also killed by Blackfeet.




Two British SHIPS WRECKED AT THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER in 1828. The wreck of the William and Ann killed 26 of the crew, most of them victims of an attack by Clatsops. Two Clatsop leaders were later killed in retaliation. The crew and officers of the second ship lost in 1828, the Isabella (Capt. RYAN) abandoned their vessel without fatalities. After the loss of another ship in 1830, the HBC occupied Ft. George continuously. The American ships Owyhee (Capt. DOMINUS) and Convoy (Capt. TOMSON) arrived at Ft. Vancouver in 1828 without mishap.


Jedediah SMITH, John TURNER, and two others reached Fort Vancouver in 1828 after most of their party was massacred by Rogue warriors near the mouth of the Umpqua River. Smith was leading an exploring party traveling to Oregon from northern California.


Trader Frances ERMATINGER and LOLO dit St. Paul were stationed at Ft. St. James in New Caledonia.


The Hudson Bay Company's Alexander MCLEOD led the Southern Brigade from Ft. Vancouver to northern California in 1828 while P.S. OGDEN was in charge of the Snake Brigade (which between 1828 and 1831 also included the 3 FINDLAY brothers, Augustin, Miequim, and Pinesta).


(THE HBC OPERATED YEARLY CARAVANS: the Montreal or York Factory Brigade to Hudson's Bay from Ft. Vancouver; the Snake Brigade, to mountain Rendezvous and back from 1829-1843; the New Caledonia Brigade between forts Vancouver and Alexandria; and the Southern Brigade from Ft. Vancouver to northern California).


William CANNON and J. GERVAIS were with the 1828 Southern Brigade that suffered a difficult return journey due to heavy snows in the mountains near Shasta.




Moses HARRIS, Jim BECKWOURTH, and PORTULEUSE trapped along Bear River in 1828.


W.H. ASHLEY's fur company traveled again into the mountains from Missouri in 1828. Trapper Hiram SCOTT died this year in western Nebraska.


A party with Ewing YOUNG traveled this year from Missouri to Southern California.


[SOURCES: Trail journals or diaries for 1828 by Harrison G. Rogers and Jedediah Smith].




The Missouri Fur Company's Major PILCHER and a party of men returned to St. Louis in 1829 traveling from the Northwest by way of the Athabasca River. The troop--which had set out in 1827 and journeyed as far as Ft. Coleville, Washington--faced near starvation on a harrowing trip back to the States.


William SUBLETTE, Moses HARRIS, and company trapped in the Yellowstone region in 1829.


William SUBLETTE, Moses HARRIS, Joe MEEK, Jedediah SMITH, David E. JACKSON, and Thomas FITZPATRICK met at Pierre's Hole in 1829


They traveled together and at the Shoshone River on the Big Horn Plains joined Milton SUBLETTE and a company of 40 men. The combined company reached Wind River in December 1829.



Peter Skene OGDEN and Donald MANSON established Ft. Simpson for the HBC in 1829.


At Ft. Vancouver, Dr. John MCLOUGHLIN used the case of Etienne LUCIER in 1829 to formulate a new policy for ex-HBC employees. Company rules forbade ex-employees from settling Indian lands and mandated their return to their place of origin.


Since settlement seemed inevitable, McLoughlin encouraged ex-employees to farm in the Willamette Valley only. He provided loans for discounted supplies and a pair of cattle (the animals on loan for founding the settler's own herd). [TOPA 1880 has McLoughlin's memoranda on Etienne Lucier and settlement].


The two chiefs' sons, Spokane Gary and J.H. Pelly, sent for missionary education in Canada in 1824 returned to their tribes. Their experiences were impressive enough that the tribes sent a delegation to St. Louis with Lucien FONTENELLE and Andrew DRIPPS from the next Rendezvous.


[SOURCES: Journal of voyage to Oregon in 1829 by Johnathan S. Greene; Francis Ermatinger (arrived at Ft. Coleville in 1829) papers].




Beginning in this year and peaking in 1833, epidemics decimated tribes in the Lower Columbia, the Willamette Valley, and Klamath Lakes. Small pox had reached the Oregon coast by 1782 and continued to appear ever further inland. From 1830 onward, a yearly "ague" (influenza?) affected both whites and Indians.


In February 1830, Moses HARRIS, William SUBLETTE and others in their fur-trading party returned to St. Louis. In Spring, they again headed west.


The SMITH-JACKSON-SUBLETTE partnership caravan from St. Louis to Wind River region for summer Rendezvous in 1830 was the first train of wagons to travel up the Platte River trail. The caravan included 10 wagons, two dearborns, and 81 men. Some historical narratives call this expedition THE OPENING OF THE OREGON TRAIL.


In 1830 new partnerships and reorganized fur companies began to rival the Hudson Bay Company's exclusive dominance in the trade. Jedediah SMITH, William SUBLETTE, and David JACKSON reformed the ROCKY MOUNTAIN FUR COMPANY in August 1830 by buying out their former partners: Jim BRIDGER, J. Baptiste GERVAIS, Willaim CRAIG, George EBBERT, and Thomas FITZPATRICK. Henry FRAEB and Milton SUBLETTE were also members of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company.


Also in 1830, Andrew DRIPPS and Henry VANDERBURGH re-established the AMERICAN FUR COMPANY. Free trappers, estimated to number in the hundreds by this time, joined one or another company or made their own partnerships. (Lucien Fontenelle replaced Vanderburgh as Dripps's partner after Vanderburgh's death in 1832)


After selling his interest to the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, Jedediah SMITH led a party, including Joe MEEK, into the Judith Basin (Shoshone country). After 1830, Jedediah Smith and his partners concentrated on trade along the Santa Fe Trail; Smith was killed the next year, 1831, at the Cimarron River.


IN OREGON, Joseph PORTNEUF of the HBC and 2 of his children drowned at the Dalles. Portneuf River, Idaho, was named for him.


During 1830, from St. Louis, William WALKER of the Ohio Wyandots and G.P. DISOWAY urged a Protestant mission to be organized and sent to the Flatheads.


[SOURCES: Reminiscences for 1830 by James Douglas; Smith-Jackson-Sublette letter of 1830 to the US Secretary of War is in US Senate, 21st congress, 2nd Sess., S. Ex. Doc. Serial 203; diary of 1830 journey by Warren A. Ferris; the Papers of William L. Sublette; John Work kept a field journal of the Snake country expeditions by the Hudson Bay Company 1830-1832].




In 1831, a fever (measles?flu?) killed many Indians of inland Oregon all the way to the Walla Walla Valley.


John DUNN and George B. ROBERTS, naval apprentices from England, arrived on the ship Ganymede for posts with the Hudson Bay Company.


American Fur Company trapper Paul FRASER was killed in September 1831.


George NIDEVER, a fur trader and journal keeper, spent the winter of 1831-1832 at the Arkansas and Green Rivers.


In 1831, a Nez Perce and Flathead delegation went to the mouth of the Kaw (Kansas) River in western-most Montana. Iroquois who had retired from the HBC and the Northwest Fur Company had settled there and were ministered to by a priest from St. Louis.


[SOURCES: Trail journals or reminiscences for 1831 by John Dunn, George B. Roberts, and George M. West].




Perhaps in retaliation for the death of his father at the hands of Blackfeet, Antoine GODIN led trappers in the Battle of Pierre's Hole in 1832 against the Gros Ventre.




Captain Benjamin BONNEVILLE led a fur company caravan from Ft. Osage that took wagons for the first time across the Continental Divide. Bonneville traveled through Utah, Nevada, and Oregon leading a party of 110 men. Along the way, they established a fort on the east side of the Rocky Mountains on the Powder River. At Salt Lake, Joseph WALKER split off with a party of 40 men to explore a route to California. Traveling via Humbolt Pass in the Sierra Nevada, Walker and company followed the Merced River into the Juaquin Valley.


Nathaniel WYETH, an entrepreneur, made his first visit to Oregon in 1832 with a small party to scout opportunities in the northwest. Wyeth's expedition left Boston in March 1832. William SUBLETTE led the party from Missouri to Pierre's Hole.


Also during March, George NIDEVER encountered others who had probably wintered in the mountains, Moses HARRIS and William O'FALLON.


William Sublette led Wyeth's party and about 150 trappers into RENDEZVOUS at Pierre's Hole, July 1832. At least fifty more trappers, including 16 free of ties to any company, joined them for business and celebration. The free trappers at Rendezvous included George NIDEVER, Moses HARRIS, and Zenas LEONARD. Etienne PROVOST, head of William O'Fallon's company, arrived with supplies for W.H. VANDENBURGH. Henry G. FRAEB and Milton SUBLETTE were also at this Rendezvous.


Four Indians (Nez Perces?) traveled to St. Louis from Rendezvous in 1831. Two died there and the two others returned home after talking to General Clark, the resident U.S. Indian Agent at St. Louis. A much-exaggerated account of this meeting and plea for missionaries to the Flatheads appeared in the Christian Advocate publication, March 1833.


After Rendezvous, Wyeth's party split into two groups and barely subsisted on forage during the trip from Rendezvous to the Columbia River. Wyeth's company arrived at Ft. Vancouver October 29, 1832. The supply ship Wyeth had sent to meet them from Boston had been lost at sea.


A trapper named ABBOTT came west with the first Wyeth expedition and stayed to trap at the Salmon River. He was killed with a companion by Bannock Indians in 1832.


[SOURCES: John Wyeth, who published his journal, took a roster of the 1832 Wyeth expedition; Bancroft Library manuscripts such as Robert's "Recollections" and McLoughlin's 'Private Papers"; Robert Campbell, who kept records, journeyed part of the way with Wyeth in 1832 and all the way to Oregon in 1834.]




At the Missouri end of the Trail in 1832, the ROCKY MOUNTAIN FUR COMPANY reunited with fur company holdings controlled by Pierre CHOUTEAU Jr. (a conglomerate from several old partnerships). Within two years his father and uncle, Pierre and Auguste Chouteau, bought out all Astor interests in the St. Louis-based fur trade. By 1839, the Chouteaus and their partners controlled all US fur trade east of the Rocky Mountains.




The HBC'S SOUTHERN BRIGADE led by LAFRAMBOISE to California, left Oregon April 1832 and wintered 1832-1833 in California. In 1832 the Southern Brigade included 28 HBC men (including Carlo CHATA) 22 women, 44 children, 6 Native American males, and 200 horses. Illness, food poisoning, an attack near Stockton, CA, and bad hunting made 1832-33 a disastrous expedition. [Work's account of this trip is in Alice Bay Maloney, editor, Fur Brigade to the Bonaventura...: 1945, San Francisco].


[SOURCES: Trail journals or reminiscences for 1832 by Alfred Baldwin, John Ball, and John Wyeth; John Work also kept a field journal of the Snake country expeditions 1830-1832].





In March 1833, a Japanese junk wrecked 15 miles south of Cape Flattery. Only 3 of the 17 in the crew were rescued. In May 1833, Capt. MCNEIL of the Llama brought these survivors to Ft. Vancouver. The 3 sailed for England in October hoping to eventually find passage home to Japan.


In Spring 1833, the disastrous HBC Southern Brigade journey from Ft. Vancouver to California returned after a year of travel.


FT. NISQUALLY was founded by the HBC in 1833 at the southern end of Puget Sound, WA., by Archibald MCDONALD and Pierre CHARLES. This year, or perhaps a bit later, PLUMANDEAU and Francois FRAIGNANT partnered to establish a farm south of Nisqually on the Cowlitz River. Like others, they created their own settlements while remaining employees of the HBC. Michel COGNOIR and Joseph ROCHBRUNNE joined them later at Cowlitz.


In 1833, MONTOUR, BERLAND, Antoine PLANTE, and three FINDLAYs (sons or other descendents of Jacco Findlay) were stationed at Ft. Coleville.


[SOURCE: Papers of Dr. William F. Tolmie, a HBC doctor who arrived by ship in Oregon in 1833.]




Hall J. KELLY, an American promoter of Oregon settlement since 1815, set out westward from New Orleans. He was imprisoned in Spanish New Mexico solely on the basis of his US citizenship and later released.


Charles LARPENTEUR recorded the journey of the AMERICAN FUR COMPANY caravan from Missouri to Green River for Rendezvous.


In the Spring of 1833, a company of trappers with Moses HARRIS were attacked by Arikaras. Harris arrived at the 1833 Rendezvous on foot.


The RENDEZVOUS attracted the usual trappers and traders such as DRIPPS and FONTENELLE but also featured a bizarre event. A mad wolf, probably wild with rabies, attacked Thomas FITZPATRICK, Charles LARPENTEUR, George HOLMES, and Dr. Benjamin HARRISON (father of U.S. President Harrison).


Holmes died of the wolf bite but the others recovered. Moses Harris and Benjamin Harrison traveled back to St. Louis in 1833.


Joseph Rutherford WALKER led an expedition to the Pacific by way of the Sierra Nevada. Among the company were Joseph MEEK and William CRAIG.




In 1833, Wilbur Fisk, a professor at Weslayan University in Middletown Connecticut called on his former student, Jason LEE, about the need for a mission to the Flatheads. Lee then changed his plans from a mission in Canada to a mission in Oregon. Most Methodist missionaries to Oregon were associated with Weslayan University.


The METHODIST EPISCOPAL MISSION Board began planning a mission to the Flatheads in October of 1833. In December 1833, Jason Lee met in Boston with Nathaniel WYETH, just returned from Oregon, and heard his plans for a second expedition in the spring of 1834.




In 1834, the Hudson Bay Company continued to send reinforcements by sea or overland from Canada, but TWO OVERLAND PARTIES added a number of Americans to settlements in the Willamette Valley. One traveled from Missouri to Oregon. The combined caravan included members of the Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society with JASON LEE, plus Nathaniel WYETH's second expedition (under the name the Columbia River Company), and trader/trappers on their way to Rendezvous and trapping season in the mountains. The second overland caravan came from southern California, adding members along the way, and was led by Hall J. KELLEY and Ewing YOUNG.




Jason Lee and his nephew DANIEL LEE left from New York in March 1834, were joined by lay brother missionary Cyrus SHEPARD in Pittsburg and reached Missouri in April. In Richmond Missouri, Jason Lee recruited P.L. EDWARDS, a non-missionary assistant, and C.M. WALKER, another helper hired for a year of service.


The AMERICAN MISSIONARY BOARD was also interested in evangelizing the northwest. In May of 1834 the reverends John DUNBAR, Samuel ALLIS, and Samuel PARKER were sent to scout a mission to the Flatheads. Parker arrived too late to join the fur company caravan and went back to Ithaca, New York. Allis and Dunbar traveled west from Missouri with a party of Pawnees. The two established the PAWNEE AGENCY on the Upper Missouri River. Back in the east in 1834, Parker lectured on the need for missionaries to the Indians in Oregon and inspired both Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Prentiss (future husband and wife then unknown to each other) to apply to the American Board of Missions.


AT INDEPENDENCE, Missouri, Lee and Wyeth joined with fur company members on their way west. On April 28, 1834, William SUBLETTE led the caravan of about 70 men and 250 horses from Independence. Capt. Joseph THYNG traveled as Wyeth's assistant. Sublette and Robert CAMPBELL, both members of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, established Ft. William in 1834, a short-lived post replaced by Ft. Laramie.


Wyeth's expedition, Lee's party, and the fur traders reached Rendezvous on the Green River in late June and the future site of Ft. Hall (on the Snake River east of American Falls) by late July. Wyeth and a small party stayed to construct the fort while Lee, encumbered by a herd of cattle, pressed onto Oregon guided by Thomas MCKAY and STUART (who had joined them after Rendezvous). Thomas McKay left the party at his newly-constructed Ft. Boise.


Osborn RUSSELL and 12 men were left by Wyeth at the end of July 1834 to operate the brand-new FORT HALL as the party with Wyeth speeded on horseback to the Columbia River. By the time Lee's party reached Ft. Walla Walla (commanded by the HBC's P.C. PAMBRUN) Wyeth and his party had joined them.


Lee had left Ft. Hall August 1 with STEWART and his servants. A Cayuse guide led them through the Blues and they arrived at Ft. Walla Walla on September 1, 1834.


Jason Lee left the cattle at Walla Walla and went ahead to Ft. Vancouver. He was there to greet the rest of the overland party that arrived by September 16, 1834. Meanwhile, Wyeth's supply ship, the May Dacre, had docked at Wapato (later Sauvie) Island. Re-supplied by the ship and Dr. MCLOUGHLIN at Ft. Vancouver, the missionary party reached the future site of the Salem Methodist Mission on the Willamette River, all members and supplies trickling in by October 6, 1834. The next Sunday, the missionaries held their first service at the home of Joseph GERVAIS.


Lee and his assistants immediately began work on the first mission in the Willamette Valley, the METHODIST MISSION AT CHEHALEM (Salem, later known as the Old Mission). French Canadians already living in the Willamette Valley, Louis LABONTE junior and senior, helped the missionaries to get settled in Oregon. Louis SHAUGETTE died in 1834 and his three orphaned children were taken in at the Mission.


Thomas NUTTALL, a botanist from Harvard, and John Kirk TOWNSEND, a scientist, came overland with the main company in 1834. They left Oregon in 1834 on Wyeth's May Dacre for a quick round trip to Hawaii.




In the summer of 1834, a party of about 16 men with numerous horses and mules left Monterey to journey from northern CALIFORNIA TO OREGON. Hall J. KELLEY and Ewing YOUNG had met in San Diego and, by the time they made their way to the Bay area, planned to take a company to Oregon. Various other travelers, mostly American, joined them along the way, some parting company in northern California and others proceeding to Oregon.


Kelley fell ill in southern Oregon, and LAFRAMBOIS, leader of a small party of HBC trappers on their way to Ft. Vancouver, carried him ahead for medical treatment at the fort. Young and the rest of the party reached the Salem region of the Willamette Valley by October 1834.


 Meanwhile, the Hudson Bay Company ship, the Cadboro, had sailed from Monterey, California to Ft. Vancouver. On board was a letter from Governor FIGUEROA, Spain's commander in California, to DR. MCLOUGHLIN that maligned Kelley and Young as horse thieves and bandits. McLoughlin sheltered Kelley out of compassion for his health but forbid any trade with the company from California and posted warnings against Young.


Much later, probably in late 1835, McLoughlin had revised his opinion of the California party due to further inquiries to California and probably due to assurances about Young's character by those, like C.M. WALKER, who had previously known him. By this time, Young held a strong personal animosity towards McLoughlin and Kelley was convinced of a British conspiracy against any Americans in Oregon. In the Willamette Valley, however, ex-HBC employees (now settlers with families) helped the missionaries settle at Chehalem and the newcomers from California and Missouri mingled with the French Canadian farmers in Champoeg and the Tualatin Plains.



William KITTSON traveled from Kootenay Post to take charge of Ft. Nisqually. Under his command at Nisqually in 1834 were Pierre CHARLES, William OUVRE, William BROWN, Silvan BOURGEAU, Anawescan MCDONALD, John MCKEE, Tai and Simon PLUMANDEAU, and Louis SAGOHANENCHTA (an Iroquois married to a Nisqually woman).


[SOURCES: Trail journals or reminiscences for 1834 by Alexander C. Anderson, William M. Anderson, Robert Campbell, P.L. Edwards, Hall J. Kelley, Daniel Lee, Jason Lee, Cyrus Shepard, and John K. Townsend.]





A small pox epidemic spread throughout the Northwest in 1835.


KELLEY left Oregon to return to the States in spring of 1835 on the ship Dryad (Capt. KEPLIN) taking with him a petition about the mistreatment of Americans in Oregon at the hands of the Hudson Bay Company. [Kelley published a pamphlet upon his return to Boston; a copy is in House Report 101, 25th Congress, 3rd Session.]


WYETH established a second post, on Wapato (Sauvie) Island, in 1835.


In spring 1835, C.M. WALKER's term of mission service was over and he left to clerk for Wyeth on Wapato (Sauvie) Island. At this time, Cyrus SHEPARD came from Ft. Vancouver to Salem to be an assistant at the mission.


Thomas Jefferson HUBBARD shot THORNBURG, a tailor with Wyeth's 1834 expedition, on July 4, 1835 in an argument over an Indian girl. Hubbard was acquitted of murder on grounds of self-defense.


The British ship Beaver arrived in 1835 after a speedy 163-day voyage from England. It became the FIRST STEAMSHIP in the Northwest but proved to draw too much water for the Columbia River route. Instead it traveled between Vancouver Island and Nisqually and sometimes for fur trade farther north.


In October, the ailing DANIEL LEE left Oregon to spend the winter of 1835-36 in Hawaii. Thomas NUTTALL, a botanist from Harvard who came overland in 1834, left Oregon on the same ship, the British Ganymede, as Daniel Lee.


In December of 1835, Ignace SHONOMENE dit LE VIEUX IGNACE LA MOUSE (Big Ignace) took his sons (Charles and Francois dit SAXA) to St. Louis for baptism. Big Ignace was an Iroquois who had lived among the Flatheads for many years. Ignace and his sons returned to Oregon with the fur brigade in 1836 and then went east with W.H. Gray in 1837.


A tiny overland party from the States and a disastrous expedition from California add just a few names to the list of ARRIVALS IN OREGON IN 1835:




In 1835, the Methodist Episcopal Missionary Board sent Samuel PARKER and Marcus WHITMAN to prepare for missionary efforts in the northwest. Whitman joined Parker in Independence, Missouri in April of 1835. Whitman and Parker traveled FROM MISSOURI with the fur traders under FONTENELLE to Rendezvous in Wyoming. By June they had reached the Pawnee Agency and by August 12, RENDEZVOUS on the Green River. (Fontenelle had remained at Laramie while Thomas FITZPATRICK led the fur company and the missionaries to the mountains). At Rendezvous, Dr. Whitman removed an arrowhead from the shoulder of a trapper and another from the back of Jim BRIDGER.


Whitman returned to the States after Rendezvous, August 1835, bringing with him two Nez Perce youths, Richard SAKAHTOOAH and John AITS. While Whitman went east to recruit more missionaries, Parker traveled through to Oregon with Charles CAMPO, an interpreter.


Parker traveled with a company of 10 Nez Perce. They left Rendezvous on September 18 and arrived at Ft. Walla Walla (commanded by P.C. PAMBRUN for the HBC) on October 6, 1835. Rather than establish a mission as planned, PARKER TOURED OREGON and then sailed for Hawaii (in 1836). At the Dalles, October 1835, Parker met WYETH, then on his way east to Ft. Hall. Parker sailed on Wyeth's out-bound ship, the May Dacre, to tour the Columbia River and then returned overland to Ft. Vancouver. At the fort he met Etienne LUCIER who escorted him on a tour of the Willamette River and Champoeg.


According to John Toupin (writing in 1848), P. C. Pambrun, with John TOUPIN as his interpreter, escorted Parker to the Walla Walla Valley. There a deal was made for the future site of Waiilatpu Mission, promising yearly payment, in talks with Cayuses Splitted Lip (Yontippe), Red Cloak (Waptachtakmal) and Pilankaikt. A similar arrangement was made with the Nez Perce of the Lapwaii region on the lands of Old Button. [SOURCE: Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21.]




In late spring 1835, a company of 8 men and a "squaw with 2 children" (probably the family of John Turner who was with his Native American wife) set out for Oregon FROM CALIFORNIA. John TURNER was making his second trip to Oregon with this party (all of the men are identified by name except for one). In June 1835, an Indian ATTACK AT THE ROGUE RIVER in Oregon killed Dan MILLER and one other (not named). All 6 survivors were wounded severely. An Irishman named BIG TOM was left at the North Umqua, too injured to move, and another named SAUNDERS was abandoned at the South Umpqua. These 2 were later reported dead by Indians visiting Ft. Vancouver.


Near to starvation, John TURNER, WOODSWORTH, and William J.BAILEY eventually made their way to the Methodist Mission at Salem in late summer. Bailey's face had been split by ax from jaw to neck and he was permanently and badly scarred. George GAY, who had separated from the others at the Willamette River, made his way north and reached Wyeth's post on Wapato (Sauvie) Island in August 1835. (The group was disoriented when they reached the Willamette and Gay went directly north away from the southern end of the river knowing that it was not the Columbia where help was available). Gay, who had provided the survivors with moccasins made from his buckskin breeches, arrived at Wapato with only his shirt in August 1835. The fate of the woman and children is not recorded. [H.O. Lang in Personal Reminiscences of the Early Pioneers records verbatim J.W. Nesmith's account of the attack as related to him by a survivor]


[SOURCE: Trail journal and reminiscence for 1835 by Samuel J. Parker].






In March 1836, the British ship Columbia (Capt. Dandy) brought Mr. and Mrs. William COPENDALE from England. He was to oversee agriculture at Ft. Vancouver while she was to operate the dairy. Dr. John McLoughlin, commander of the fort, gave the two a chilly reception and delayed assigning them quarters. McLoughlin apparently resented the implied criticism and outside interference in fort operations.


Mrs. Jane and Rev. Herbert BEAVER arrived on the ship Neriad (Capt. Royal) in March 1836; an Anglican, Beaver had been assigned as a chaplain/missionary to Ft. Vancouver from England.


After winter at Ft. Vancouver, Congregationalist clergyman Samuel PARKER again met Nathaniel WYETH, this time as Wyeth was going down-river and Parker was on his way up the Columbia in April 1836. Parker then attempted to return to the States. His Nez Perce guides refused to go to Rendezvous through hostile Blackfeet territory around the Snake River and Grande Ronde. Parker balked at joining them on an alternate route through the Salmon River mountains so he returned to Ft. Vancouver by May 1836. John TOUPIN then escorted him for at least part of his tour of area around Waiilatpu, along the Clearwater, Spokane, and Snake rivers. Meeting Archibald MCDONALD at Ft. Coleville, Parker went back to Ft.Walla Walla in May 1836.


The ship Columbia, with Parker aboard, sailed for Hawaii in May 1836 and returned to Oregon in September 1836. Parker was back in New York by May 1837. The Whitmans had expected to see him when they arrived in 1836 and were still wondering about his whereabouts in September 1836.


Beginning in 1836, Donald MCLEOD and Thomas MCKAY together led trapping parties into the Snake River region while maintaining homes in the Willamette Valley.


In 1836, the first Catholic church in Oregon was built in Champoeg; without an priest, it was not blessed and dedicated until December 1839.


Archibald MCDONALD took charge of Ft. Coleville this year for the Hudson Bay Company.


MISSIONARY REINFORCEMENTS for the Methodist Mission left for Oregon by ship in 1836. The party left New York in July of 1836 on the Hamilton and arrived in Hawaii in December 1836. A second ship with Methodist missionaries left Boston early the next year.




Narcissa and Marcus WHITMAN, newlywed missionaries with the American Board of Missions, came overland to Oregon in 1836. On their way west they retrieved two Nez Perce youths at Ithaca, New York, to take them home. Richard SAKAHTOOAH and John AITS, the Nez Perces, had come east from Rendezvous with Marcus Whitman in the fall of 1835. Eliza and Henry SPAULDING, who had originally planned a mission to the Missouri Osages, instead decided to join the Whitmans when they came through Ohio in mid-March, 1836. A bachelor missionary assistant, William H. GRAY, met the Whitman party at Richmond, Missouri on April 19, 1836.


The WHITMAN PARTY--now two missionary couples, a bachelor assistant, and 2 Nez Perce youths returning to Oregon--were delayed by preparations at the Missouri border until late-April. The party hurried to catch up to the fur company caravan. Within a few days they caught up with the company, led by Thomas FITZPATRICK and Joseph THYNG, at the Loup Fork of the Platte River. With the fur traders were Major PILCHER, US Indian agent to the Yankton Sioux, and an English captain named STUART (likely William Drummond Stewart).


At the Otoe Indian agency Dr. Whitman treated Mr. Dougherty's brother for illness. At the Shawnee agency, a man named Merrill worked with Dunbar. Donald MCLEOD and Thomas MCKAY joined the overland party at Ft. Laramie.


The caravan of 19 carts and 3 wagons (belonging to the English captain) reached Rendezvous on the Green River in late June or mid-July, 1836.


The company rested at RENDEZVOUS for 2 or 3 weeks. Numerous fur traders, the fur caravan from the east, another caravan from the northwest, Bannocks, Snakes, Flatheads, and Nez Perces all gathered for celebration and trade at Rendezvous.


Nathaniel WYETH, an American entrepreneur who first came to Oregon in 1832 arrived at Rendezvous from the west. He had just closed his operations in Oregon and sold Ft. Hall to the HBC. (Joseph Thyng is listed as commander of Ft. Hall from March 1836 to the Fall of 1837). The end of Nathaniel Wyeth's enterprises stranded about 22 of his employees in the Northwest.


Hudson Bay Company officer, John MCLEOD, had formally received possession of Wyeth's fort and was on his way after Rendezvous back to Ft. Vancouver. Because fur company members were returning to St. Louis or heading into the mountains to trap, it was fortunate for the Whitman party that an escort was available to Vancouver. McLeod and his companion Thomas MCKAY guided them to Oregon.


Native Americans (likely Nez Perce or Cayuse) named Samuel TEMONI, KENTUCK, and TACKENSUATIS (Rottenbelly) had joined them at Rendezvous for the journey. A traveler or trapper named John HINDS also accompanied the Whitmans to Waiilatpu so he could receive treatment for a serious case of dropsy (edema). Miles GOODYEAR, a sixteen-year-old from Iowa hired by the Whitman party at the Missouri frontier as servant and herder, left the company at Wyeth's Fort (Ft. Hall) to become a trapper in the mountains. (Goodyear later founded Ogden, Utah).


The Whitman party reached Fort Walla Walla by early September 1836. The Whitmans were escorted from Walla Walla to Ft. Vancouver by P.C. PAMBRUN and the scientist TOWNSEND. At Ft. Vancouver, they met John MCLOUGHLIN , James DOUGLAS, and Jason LEE. Eliza Spaulding and Narcissa Whitman stayed at Ft. Vancouver while the new missions were constructed.


By November of 1836, the mission families moved in to their new homes at WAIILATPU and LAPWAII. John MCLEOD, who had just returned to Ft. Vancouver from the Umqua River region, escorted them from the fort to Waiilatpu. Hawaiians--named Nina and Jack--arrived to aid at the mission.




Alexander CARSON, a free trapper who came west with the Astorians in 1812, was killed in 1836 by Indians in Yamhill County (on "Alec's Butte" later named after him).


Antoine GODIN was killed by Piegan Blackfeet near Ft. Hall in 1836.


The Neriad, on its second voyage between the Islands and Oregon of the year, brought back Daniel LEE from Hawaii, September 1836.


John HINDS died at Waiilatpu in November 1836. He had come with the Whitmans to Oregon from Rendezvous to receive treatment from Dr. Whitman for dropsy.


The COPENDALEs left Ft. Vancouver to return to England in November 1836.


In 1836, Ewing YOUNG and Lawrence CARMICHAEL attempted to found a distillery at Wyeth's (abandoned) Ft. William on Wapato Island. This prompted the immediate organization of the first Oregon Temperance Society and an offer by John MCLOUGHLIN, 9 Americans, and 15 French Canadians to buy out the distillery company. Young refused the offer but closed the distillery in favor of a saw- and grist-mill business. (According to Rev. Frost, the first batch of liquor, ready in December 1836, proved to have no alcoholic kick.)


 John Kirk TOWNSEND, a scientist who came overland in 1834, left Oregon in December 1836 on the ship Columbia.


William A. SLACUM, a US Naval officer was appointed US Congressional investigative agent to Oregon after testimony before Congress by H.J. Kelley about the "mistreatment" of Americans in the Northwest. He arrived on the ship Loriot (Capt. BANCROFT) at the mouth of the Columbia River December 22, 1836. He received news of his appointment while on sea duty off the Pacific Coast in late 1836 and made way for Oregon. Due to weather and navigational delays, the Loriot spent little time in Oregon--Slacum interviewed James DOUGLAS and Dr. MCLOUGHLIN of the HBC at Ft. Vancouver, visited others near his docking site at Wapato Island, and then spent 4 days touring French Prairie with Jason LEE.


[Sources: "Letters and Papers of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions," vol. 138, "Oregon Indians, 1838-1844" both at the Oregon Historical Society Library. Trail journals or reminiscences for 1836 by Herbert Beaver, William H. Gray, Eliza Hart Spalding, Henry H. Spalding, Marcus Whitman, and especially Narcissa Prentiss Whitman.]





In January 1837, US Navy Lt. SLACUM offered free transport to San Francisco on his ship, the Loriot, to members of the newly formed WILLAMETTE CATTLE COMPANY and made way by river to the coast. The ship finally put to sea Feb.10 1837. The Loriot anchored at least once during the voyage to San Francisco at Ft. Ross, with a few Oregonians going ashore to take temporary jobs there and in San Francisco.


When the Loriot delayed along the Columbia River, Webley J. HAUXHURST decided to leave ship and return to the Willamette Valley. There he married "Mary" of the Yamhill tribe in February 1837.


Capt. Edward BELCHER, British commander of the ships Sulpher and Starling, surveyed the Pacific Coast from 1837 to 1840 to counter the Russian presence in the Northwest. [He wrote Narrative of a Voyage Around the World, 1836-42: 1843, London.]


James DOUGLAS replaced HENZIE at Ft. Vancouver in April 1837.


Mrs. PAYETTE and Mrs. RONDO died in Champoeg in 1837.


In 1837, Capt. HOLMES and 4 of his crew in a small boat drowned near Ft. George; Captain THYNG, originally with this party, had fortuitously been forgotten ashore.


In 1837, white fur traders deliberately spread small pox among the Blackfeet of the upper Missouri River region. News of this infamous crime traveled quickly to the tribes of the Northwest.




After months of negotiations in Spanish California, the CATTLE COMPANY was ready to JOURNEY BACK TO OREGON. At the Juaquin River, four young men joined with the caravan for their first trip to Oregon. Three of the Cattle Company members--John TURNER, George GAY, and William BAILEY--had previously traveled the same route from California to Oregon. On that trip, in 1835, half of their party had been killed by Rogue River Indians and the others badly wounded. Their desire for revenge probably provoked Indian attacks against the Oregon cattle drovers in 1837 in the Siskiyou Mountains and along the Rogue River. Turner threatened revenge on the Rogues throughout the journey and Gay and Bailey shot an Indian on the Klamath River in 1837 without any provocation. [from the diary of P.L. EDWARDS, a traveler with the 1837 cattle drive]


The WILLAMETTE CATTLE COMPANY returned overland from California to the Salem area by fall of 1837. With them were 500-700 head of cattle and at least 4 men who had decided to leave California for Oregon.




Two shiploads of MISSIONARY REINFORCEMENTS for the Methodist Mission arrived in Oregon in 1837. The passengers of the Hamilton, which had reached Hawaii in December of 1836, finally made the month's voyage to Oregon, arriving May 18, 1837 on the ship Diana. This party included the Elija WHITEs, the Alanson BEERS, bachelor WH WILLSON, and three single women, Misses DOWNING, PITTMAN, and JOHNSON. The second party sailed from the east coast and arrived in Oregon in the Sumatra, sailing from Boston on January 20, 1837 and reaching Ft. Vancouver on September 7, 1837. On board were the David LESLIEs, Miss Margaret SMITH, and another bachelor, HKW PERKINS.


Diana crew members Joseph L. WHITCOMB, Captain HINKLEY and Mrs. Hinkley accompanied passengers of the Diana on a canoe trip down the Willamette to the mission site at Salem. Whitcomb, the Diana's former second officer, stayed in Oregon to help at the mission.




Marcus and Narcissa Whitman's only child, daughter Alice Clarissa, was born March 14, 1837 at the Waiilatpu Mission. Touloukeke visited and named Alice "Cayuse Tenni" (Cayuse Girl).


April in the Walla Walla Valley: a frequently fatal illness swept through the Cayuse villages. Sticcus came to Waiilatpu for care. McLoughlin sent an orphan girl (one of 18 at Ft. Vancouver in 1837) to help the Whitmans at Waiilatpu. Spalding dispatched Ellis, the Blue Cloak, and High Hat with W.H. Gray for a journey from Lapwaii to the States. (More about this journey is in the "On the Trail" section for 1837)


In May 1837, Umtippe (Splitted Lip, a Waiilatpu Cayuse chief) threatened to kill Dr. Whitman if Umtippe's wife is not cured of her illness, accusing the doctor of poisoning her with his treatment. His younger brother, Yehekiskis, recently had shot the tewat (shaman, medicine man) who had unsuccessfully treated a war chief at Walla Walla. [SOURCE: the diary of Narcissa Whitman provides the proper date for this incident reported in the Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21. Toupin reported that this incident happened in 1838 but Narcissa wrote in her letters for 1837 about this incident and, in April 1838, that Umtippe was again very friendly with the Whitmans after a time of tension.]


That summer, Umtippe asked Whitman for the goods that Parker had promised to pay yearly for the occupation of Waiilatpu; he warned Whitman to leave if he refused to pay. [SOURCE: the diary of Narcissa Whitman provides the proper date for this incident reported in the Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21.]


In July, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Elija WHITE at their home with the Methodist Mission near Salem and named Jason Lee White. During this year a daughter, named Eliza, was born to Henry and Eliza SPAULDING at Lapwaii Mission.


In July 1837, Susan DOWNING, an affianced missionary teacher who had arrived on the Diana, married Cyrus SHEPPARD in a ceremony at the Methodist Mission in Salem presided by Rev. Jason Lee. To the congregation's surprise, Nancy and Charles ROE announced their conversion and desire for a clergy-blessed marriage. Then, after the Roe nuptials, JASON LEE announced that he and Anna Maria PITTMAN would also wed. Jason changed places in the pulpit with his nephew, DANIEL LEE, and wed Anna Maria.


The Sheppards and the Lees followed the wedding with a weeks-long trip on horseback to the coast.


In August, Harriette PAMBRUN was born at Ft. Walla Walla.


[SOURCES for 1837: Anna Maria Pittman wrote a diary of voyages on the Hamiltion and Diana ; P.L. Edwards kept a diary during the 1837 cattle drive; William H. Gray recorded his journey from Oregon to the East in 1837]




About 120 fur trappers/traders gathered for Rendezvous in 1837 including Thomas FITZPATRICK, Moses HARRIS, and Etienne PROVOST.


William Henry GRAY, an assistant to Whitman for the American Board of Missions, went east in the spring of 1837 with the HBC troop under Francis ERMATINGER to Rendezvous. Traveling with Gray were at least two Lapwaii area Indians (Cayuse or Nez Perce). Gray wanted to reach the States to recruit more help for the mission. Flathead (Salish Indian) escorts and Big Ignace La Mousse (a French Canadian/ Iroquois living among the Flatheads) joined Gray for the trip to Missouri at Rendezvous as the HBC headed back to Ft. Vancouver. (Gray was too impatient to wait to travel with St. Louis-bound trappers.) On the Upper Missouri River an attack by Sioux killed all of Gray's Flathead companions including the son of the chief, HIGH HAT. Gray and two other white men (who had joined the company at Rendezvous) narrowly escaped with the help of a "French trapper". [William H. Gray's Journal of His Journey East, 1836-1837]


After Rendezvous 1837, the Oregon Indians Ellis and Blue Cloak decided that their horses were too fatigued to continue toward Missouri. When they returned to Lapwaii in the fall of 1837, Spaulding condemned them to 50 lashes for deserting Gray. Ellis, surrounded by a large party of his own men, simply left. The Blue Cloak, however, came to evening services at the mission. Tonwitakis (a young chief of the Nez Perce) seized him and demanded that Spaulding punish Blue Cloak or be whipped himself. Spaulding also fined Blue Cloak one horse. [Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21.]


[SOURCES: Oregon Trail journals or reminiscences for 1837 by P.L. Edwards, Anna Maria Pittman Lee, William A. Slacum, Elija White.]




TWO PARTIES TRAVELED OVERLAND IN 1838, one eastward from Oregon to the States and another from Missouri west to the Oregon country.




After he came back to the States from Oregon, missionary William GRAY met and married Mary Augusta DIX within one week in February 1838. Gray also recruited 3 more newlywed couples and a young single man for missionary work in Oregon: the C. EELLS, the A.B. SMITHs, the E. WALKERs, and a bachelor named Cornelius ROGERS.




In 1838, James BIRNIE of the HBC succeeded John DUNN as commander of Ft. George (Astoria).


Michel ATENESSE and Etienne AANIAESSEI, part-Iroquois fur hunters, settled on French Prairie near present-day Brooks in 1838.


Henry K.W. and Elvira (Johnson) PERKINS moved from the mission at the Dalles to the Methodist mission at Salem in February 1838.


Mrs. And Rev. Herbert BEAVER, an Anglican missionary couple, returned to England by ship in March 1838 after performing many baptisms, marriages, and burials despite the mostly Catholic affiliations of the population at Ft. Vancouver. The haughty Beavers did not fit in with Fort society and were deeply--and vocally--shocked at marriages in the country style (without clergy). Rev. Beaver specifically insulted Mrs. McLoughlin, and Dr. McLoughlin beat him with his own cane. Back in England, Beaver filed charges to have McLoughlin dismissed but was himself dismissed with a small award for damages.


In April, Charles CAMPO (an interpreter for Rev. Samuel PARKER had who accompanied him from the mountains in 1835) came from the high country to Oregon and settled near Waiilatpu Mission.


In May 1838, Dr. John MCLOUGHLIN left Ft. Vancouver for a visit to England.


In May 1838, another HBC caravan, the annual southbound troop overland from Canada, brought Fathers FN BLANCHET and M. DEMERS, the first Catholic priests in the Oregon Country. J. GERVAIS and Pierre BILLIQUE came from the Willamette Valley to greet them at Ft. Vancouver.


Tourists with the southbound HBC caravan from Canada included Mr. and Mrs. WALLACE of England, a British botanist named BANKS with his wife, Mrs. WILLIAMS (the daughter of Sir George Simpson), two girls surnamed TREMBLAY, and 5 others. In an accident on the Columbia River near the Dalles 8 to 10 travelers with the company drowned, including Banks and Wallace.


In June 1838, Joseph and Maria MAHI (or Maki), a Hawaiian husband wife, arrived at the Whitmans' to work with a bachelor named Jack to assist at the mission.


When Anna Maria PITTMAN-LEE (Mrs. Jason Lee) died in childbirth in June 1838, Jason Lee didn't receive news of her death until September at the Shawnee Mission in Westport, Missouri.


Also in June, Sarah HULL, a Native American child cared for by the Whitmans, died at Waiilatpu of illness.


The infant son of Dr. Elija and Mrs. WHITE drowned in August when a CANOE OVERTURNED near the Dalles as Mrs. White and Rev. LESLIE were returning from a visit to Mrs. PERKINS Wascopam.




The Winter of 1837-38 was a very hard winter for the trappers and traders in the mountains with heavy snows, little forage, and hostility from the Blackfeet. Lucien FONTENELLE, Andrew DRIPPS's partner, committed suicide.


In 1838, Archibald MCDONALD was in charge of Ft. Coleville and, at nearby Lapwaii, George EBBERTS wintered with the SPAULDINGS. At Waiilatpu, Narcissa WHITMAN took care of Thomas MCKAY's daughter, Margaret, and a Native American girl from Lee's mission near the Willamette Falls, Sarah HULL.


During this year, Philip THOMPSON and William CRAIG constructed Ft. Crockett.


In early March, William M. NEWELL was born to Kitty M. Newell, a Nez Perce, and Robert Newell, a trapper, at Brown's Hole on the Black Fork of the Green River (site of Ft. Crockett).


In March 1838, a Methodist missionary company traveled with the HBC east-bound caravan under Francis ERMATINGER from Oregon to Rendezvous. After Rendezvous, the missionary party continued their journey through to the States (most of this party returned within a year or two to Oregon). The Methodist mission company included F.Y. EWING, P.L. EDWARDS, Jason LEE, Thomas MCKAY's two (and possibly 3) eldest sons, and two Chinooks, Thomas ADAMS and William M. BROOKS.


In Spring 1838, the fur company under Andrew DRIPPS, William SUBLETTE, and William Drummond STEWART headed west from St. Louis for Rendezvous at the Green River. Johann August SUTTER, a Swiss emigrant on his way to California, traveled with the trappers as did Moses HARRIS. The four newly-wed MISSIONARY COUPLES JOINED THE CARAVAN at the Pawnee Agency northwest of Independence, Missouri, and hired Moses "Black" HARRIS as their guide to Rendezvous. Trappers with FITZPATRICK also joined the troop at the Pawnee Agency.


Dripps, the Fur Company, and the missionary couples arrived from the east while Ermatinger, the HBC caravan, and a States-bound party from the Oregon missions arrived from the west for RENDEZVOUS at Wind River.


In July 1838 at Ft. Hall, express riders sent from Oregon with the news of Mrs. Jason Lee's death met Gray's party. Spaulding had sent these 6 Native American messengers from Lapwaii through hostile Blackfoot territory to bring the dispatch. At Fort Hall, Gray hired Paul RICHARDSON (a company guide) and E.G. CURTIS to return to the States with the news. The two men delivered the message to Jason Lee at the Shawnee Mission in Westport, Misouri, in early September 1838.


Moses "Black" HARRIS guided the missionary party--Cornelius ROGERS,the EELLS, A.B. SMITHs, the W.H. GRAYs (Gray had gone east from Oregon in 37 and was returning with a wife), and the Elkhana WALKERs--through the mountains. Ermatinger and the HBC caravan then led the missionaries with Gray to WAIILATPU where they arrived in September 1838.


Gray arrived at Waiilatpu on August 14, 1838 with his wife and one companion. He had left the others "100 miles the other side of Snake [Boise] Fort." [from the diary of Narcissa Whitman].


Trapper CONNERS (formerly of the HBC and AFC), his Nez Perce wife, and newborn traveled with them from Wind River. The Grays, Conners, and Cornelius Rogers went to Lapwaii mission; the E. Walkers and the Eells went beyond Ft. Coleville to make a new mission to the Flatheads (Salish) at Tshimaikan. The AB Smiths stayed at the Whitmans.


After Rendezvous in 1838, Joe WALKER, who had wintered in the area, became Dripps's unofficial partner in place of Fontenelle.




Throughout the summer and into early fall the two newly-arrived priests, Fathers BLANCHET and DEMERS, toured Coleville, Okanagan, Walla Walla, Nisqually and Cowlitz holding services and dedicating missions along the way. At Ft. Vancouver, September 1838, Blanchet and DeMers presided over the first mass in the Oregon country. By mid-October they had taken their posts in Champoeg and Nisqually. CATHOLIC CHURCHES were dedicated at Ft. Vancouver, Walla Walla, and Coleville.


In 1838 Nancy nee MCKENZIE (or MATOOSKIE, the abandoned country wife of John George McTavish and the daughter of Roderick McKenzie) and her husband, Pierre LEBLANC, arrived in Oregon from the Red River district. Their 5 year old daughter had drowned at the Athabasca portage and LeBlanc and 3 more children drowned at the Dalles. Matooskie LeBlanc became a ward of Ft. Vancouver.


In the Fall of 1838, a daughter was born to Cyrus and Susan (Downing) SHEPPARD; they named her Ann Marie Lee Sheppard after the late Mrs. Jason Lee. The same Fall a son was born to H.K.W. and Elvira (Johnson) PERKINS.


DANIEL LEE and HKW PERKINS built WASCOPAM METHODIST MISSION at the Dalles in 1838 during Jason Lee's absence. Perkins left the Dalles in October 1838 and stayed in the Willamette Valley (until February 1839).


William H. GRAY returned to Lapwaii in September 1838 and told the story of how High Hat was murdered during their trip back to the States in late 1837. Ellis charged that Rev. Spalding (who had punished Blue Cloak and threatened Ellis for not accompanying Gray) must have wanted them to die. The Lapwaii Indians then blockaded the mission for a month. John TOUPIN, after three visits, finally persuaded them to make peace. [Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21.]


In September1838, the Elkanah WALKERs and the Cushing EELLS made a new American Board mission at Tshimaikan. Archibald McDonald (of the HBC's nearby Ft. Coleville) suggested that they site the mission on Big Head's land.


In September 1838, Umtippe, a Waiilatpu Cayuse, believed he was dying and vowed to will his lands to Alice Whitman, known as Cayuse Girl. The toddler at Waiilatpu Mission had constant visitors and was learning Cayuse along with English. (Umtippe outlived Alice and died October 1841).


A son was born in December to another American Board missionary couple, Elkanah and Mary (Richardson) WALKER at Tshimiakan. The family had arrived in Oregon in September.


During the winter of 1838-39, the home of the David LESLIEs burned.


[SOURCE: Missionary Elkanah Walker kept a journal 1838-1848.]




In the autumn of 1838, Jason LEE lectured about Oregon in Peoria, Illinois. Thomas ADAMS, one of the Chinooks who came with Lee from Oregon, stayed in Peoria to recover from an illness. Lee and Adams may have inspired the emigration of the Peoria Party and others from Illinois to Oregon in 1839. (One or more of Thomas McKay's sons may have also remained in Peoria).


In December, Congress received a proposal to make Oregon a Territory of the US.


[SOURCES: Trail journals or reminiscences for 1838 by Thomas M. Anderson, Francis N. Blanchet (reminiscence, his journal begins after the trail journey), Mary A. Dix Gray (diary), Cushing Eells, Myra Fairbanks Eells, Mary Richardson Walker, Asa B. Smith, Johann Sutter, Elkanah Walker, Mary (Mrs. Elkanah) Walker].




In 1839, the HBC's James Douglas took a census of the Willamette Valley and counted 51 (non-native) adult males. American settlers numbered 18 and Canadians, 23 (presumably the other 10 were missionaries).


During 1839, Iroquois Pierre GAUCHER and YOUNG IGNACE (who had settled among the Flatheads) traveled from the Oregon Country to St. Louis. Their petition convinced Jesuit P.J. Verhaegen to dispatch Father Pierre DeSmett to Oregon in 1841.




In January 1839, Jason LEE petitioned Congress to extend US authority to Oregon.


In 1839, the North Litchfield Association of Connecticuit dispatched TWO MISSIONARY COUPLES, the Asahel MUNGERs and the J.S. GRIFFINs, to reinforce the American Board missions (Waiilatpu and Lapwaii).




The Winter of 1838-1839 was another harsh winter in the mountains. Andrew DRIPPS and company spent the winter in the Wind River area. Joseph WALKER was in the Snake River and upper Columbia region. C.M. WALKER was in charge of Ft. Hall, the HBC's Archibald MCDONALD headed Ft. Coleville, and TOLMIE ran Ft. Walla Walla; William CRAIG was proprietor at Ft. Crockett at Brown's Hole on the Black Fork of the Green River and PAYETTE was in charge of Ft. Boise.


In Missouri in spring of 1839, the missionary party--the Mungers, the Griffins, and bachelor William GEIGER--joined the American Fur Company caravan with a few other travelers on their way to settle in Oregon. Nine trappers with the Chouteau's company (traveling with Moses HARRIS and Dr. WISLIZENUS) traveled west to Rendezvous this year, perhaps independently or perhaps with the main company. At least two parties of single men, most of them on their way to California, also joined the fur caravan from Missouri. German physician Dr. Wislizenus of St. Louis, Ben WRIGHT, and Peter LASSEN joined as a group to accompany the fur caravan. Another group bound for California (John STEVENS, Charles KLIEN, William WIGGINS, David D. DUTTON, and D.G. JOHNSON) joined the caravan in Missouri.


IN ILLINOIS TWO PARTIES OF YOUNG MEN also started for the Oregon country. Robert MOORE is the only recorded name for one of these parties, probably of about a dozen men, which scattered after Bent's Fort (Colorado). The other Illinois company, called THE PEORIA PARTY, numbered about 18 and was led by T.J. FARNHAM. The Peoria Party left the States May 1, 1839, traveled by way of Santa Fe, and also split up at Bent's Fort, July 1839.


While at Bent's Fort, the Peoria Party encountered a trapper company bound in the other direction to Santa Fe. The company furnished their physician, Dr. WALWORTH, to treat Peorian Sydney SMITH who had accidentally shot himself early in the journey. A.M. BLAIR, an older man who had been with the Santa Fe-bound company, decided to join the caravan to Oregon. When the Party split up at Bent's, some went back to the States, some joined the trappers' life in the mountains, and others came through to Oregon, either in 1839 or after a winter in the high country.


KELLEY, a mountain man from Kentucky, guided Farnham, Blair, JOURDAN, C. WOOD or J. WOOD, and Sydney SMITH through to Ft. Clair and then Rendezvous. (One man named Wood returned to the States from Bent's Fort and the other from Ft. Hall.) WOOD and O.A. OAKLY were persuaded to return to the States from Bent's Fort by a mountain man named Paul RICHARDSON who was on his way to Missouri with a small party. Peorians Joseph HOLMAN, Robert SHORTESS, R.L. KILBOURNE, Amos COOK, and Francis FLETCHER traveled together but separately from Farnam's group.


The late summer RENDEZVOUS at Green River--where the HBC company from the west and the American Company from the east met with independent trappers--was the usual place to arrange for guides for the next leg of travel. In 1839 the American Fur Company arrived with only 4 cart-loads of supplies from Missouri, a sad contrast to the height of the fur trade. In 1839 and the early 1840's many trappers left the trade to settle in the Willamette Valley or, like SUBLETTE and Louis VASQUEZ (who came to the 1839 Rendezvous), changed to occupations as guides and trail suppliers. In 1839 after Rendezvous, about 15 independent trappers accompanied the Oregon-bound HBC caravan from Rendezvous to take up residence in the Willamette Valley.


The RENDEZVOUS hosted the American Fur Company, including DRIPPS, FRAEB, Kit CARSON, MITCHELL, Caleb WILKENS, OWENS, William CRAIG, and Jim BRIDGER, the missionaries, settlers bound for Oregon or California, and independent fur trappers, such as William JOHNSON, Joe MEEK, and Robert NEWELL. Louis VASQUEZ and William SUBLETTE also came from Missouri sometime this season.


AFTER RENDEZVOUS, the gathering split into various parties that headed westward or eastward at different times. The main westward caravan, the Hudson Bay Company troop under Francis ERMATINGER, left Rendezvous and headed for Ft. Hall with the missionaries, 15 independent trappers, the settlers, and the 2 parties of California-bound immigrants.


There was no guide available for California at Ft. Hall so 2 of the party turned back for the States (one of these possibly Charles KLEIN whose fate is otherwise unknown). Other originally California-bound travelers decided to go through to Oregon (Dr. WISLIZENUS, Ben WRIGHT, Peter LASSEN, John STEVENS, William WIGGINS, David D. DUTTON, and D.G. JOHNSON).


Dr. William M. GEIGER and William JOHNSON, slightly ahead of the other 39ers, reached Waiilatpu in early August. The HBC troop led by Ermatinger arrived soon after, bringing 15 trappers, the missionaries, and the other emigrants. Among the trappers may have been KEISER and LAWSON who reportedly settled in the Willamette Valley this year.


After Rendezvous, leaving after the main caravan, Kelley guided FARNHAM, A. M. BLAIR, JOURDAN, and Sydney SMITH through to Ft. Crockett. Perhaps with some members of the splintered Peoria party, Joe MEEK, Robert NEWELL, and SHORTESS traveled together to Ft. Hall from Ft. Crocket. From Hall, Shortess pushed on with a French Canadian named SILVERTRY, but most of the others spent the winter in the mountains and probably returned to Ft. Crocket.


Newell brought his family and Meek's family from Ft. Hall back to Crockett while Joe Meek was on a hunting trip. Newell hoped the goods he brought from Hall, purchased with his furs, would allow him to set up as an Indian trader at Crockett.


In August 1839, Farnam's party met and passed Joe Meek as he was on his way alone between Ft Hall and Ft. Crockett. After Ft. Crocket or perhaps Ft. Hall, a Shoshone guide took Farnham, Smith, and Blair as far as Waiilatpu (near present day Walla Walla, WA). Members of the Peoria Party still with Farnham arrived at Waiilatpu in September. Blair and Smith went on to Ft. Walla Walla while Farnam stayed at the Whitman's.


By September HOLMAN, KILBOURNE, COOK, and FLETCHER had reached Ft. Crockett on the Green River.


Sometime after early September--in retaliation for a Sioux raid--trappers led by Phillip F. THOMPSON (a partner of Pruett SINCLAIR) raided the Snakes (Shoshones) near Ft. Hall. Newell, Craig, Joe WALKER, Kit Carson, and 25 others recovered the horses and returned them to the Shoshones. The trappers were divided over whether or not to condemn Thompson's raiders for their actions.


In October, Joe Walker and Madison GORDON came upon Meek, freezing on his way to Ft. Crockett (also called Ft. Misery). They reached Brown's Hole around the end of the month. Sometime in October, Courtney Walker Meek was born to Virginia Meek, Joe's second wife.


Winter 1839-1840: Robert Moore stayed the winter at Bent's Fort. Spending the winter at Brown's Hole/Ft. Crockett were Robert Newell, Kitty M. Newell, Francis Ermatinger Newell (age 4 1/2), the infant William Newell, Joseph Meek, Virginia Meek and their newborn, and Helen Mar Meek (Joe's 2-year-old daughter by his first wife who had deserted him). With them were LARISON and Craig and their Native American wives along with trapper/traders CERE, DOUGHTY, WILKENS, and Joe Walker. Newcomers Kilbourne, Holman, Fletcher, and Amos Cook also stayed the winter. There were also well over a dozen additional trappers in the region for the winter; among them (unless they were among the 15 who went through to Vancouver with Ermatinger and the HBC after Rendezvous) may be un-named travelers from Illinois. Mountain men John Green, H. Black, George Davis, Osborne Russell, Calvin Tibbits, John Turner, James O'Neil, Felix Hathaway, Nicholas U. Stansbury, Nicolaus Altgier, James Travers, and Charles Mattes are also possibilities (these trappers and 39ers were all established in the Willamette Valley by summer 1840).




January 1839, Marcus and Narcissa WHITMAN spent several weeks at the mouth of the Tukanon River for intensive language study among the Nez Perces.


In March 1839, a son was born to William and Mary (Dix) GRAY at Lapwaii.


Rev. Edwin. O. HALL arrived with his wife by ship via Hawaii in May 1839. After the annual Missionary meeting at LAPWAII in August, they brought a printing press to the Whitmans--a few weeks later N. Whitman (see her entry 1836) reports the printing of the region's "first book in the Indian language."


George W. EBBERT moved from Lapwaii Mission to the Willamette Valley May 20, 1839 with his Native American wife. By late 1839, he was living across the river from William Johnson's place near the Falls.


In June 1839, Alice Clarissa WHITMAN, Marcus' and Narcissa's daughter, drowned in the Walla Walla River. She was just over two years old.


Marcus Whitman was called, July 1839, to attend Mrs. Eells at Tshimaikan Mission for a serious spinal illness. While he was away, two children in one Indian family died suddenly. Narcissa Whitman, who tended to the burial and had previously given one of the children medicine, was accused by the local Indians of killing the children.


July 1839, a son named Henry was born to the PERKINs at the Dalles.


George, the teenaged adopted son of Mr. and Mrs. Elija WHITE, drowned in the Willamette River in August 1839 while trying to ford it on horseback.


In October 1839, Dr. MCLOUGHLIN brought 4 British men (3 of them married) back with him from his visit to England.


In the late Fall of 1839, James DOUGLAS of the HBC led 50 or 60 men to the lands recently leased by Britain from Russia in the northwest. Among the company were William Glen RAE, John MCLOUGHLIN JR., John KENNEDY, and Roderick FINDLAYSON.


FARNHAM visited Ft. Vancouver until October and then toured settlements in the Willamette Valley (staying with Dr. Bailey, David Leslie and Elija White). He returned east by way of Hawaii in the ship Neriad in November 1839. Farnham returned to the States with a petition, signed by 67 Oregonians, pleading for US jurisdiction and protection in the Northwest. From Hawaii, Farnham wrote a letter to the US Secretary of War with more extreme accusations against the British.


These communiqués from Farnham, and an even more accusatory letter to Congress from Captain Spaulding (later of the ship Lausanne), may have led to the dispatch of the US Exploring Expedition (arrived in Oregon in 1841).


During this year, Tom MCKAY relocated to the Willamette Valley and George EBBERTS resettled in Champoeg. Dr. Forbes BARCLAY of the HBC arrived in Vancouver by ship. Donald MANSON established FT. SIMPSON while W.H. WILLSON (who came by ship in 1837) founded NISQUALLY METHODIST MISSION.


CATHOLIC CHURCHES were dedicated at NISQUALLY and CHAMPOEG in 1839.


In the fall of 1839, the A.B. SMITHs left Waiilatpu to establish a new American Board mission among the Nez Perces at Kamiah. [from the diary of Narcissa Whitman]. Ellis, a Nez Perce, gave permission for the mission on condition that Smith not cultivate the land, saying, "You will dig your own grave if you do." [from the Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21.]


In October 1839, Father Modeste DEMERS took his official post at Cowlitz (St. Francis Xavier). Cowlitz was then only a community of 46 people.


In December, Father Francis N. BLANCHET blessed the church (built in 1836) at Champoeg. The first mass was held the following January.


The GRAYs left Lapwaii mission for Ft. Walla Walla in the winter of 1839 and resettled in the Willamette Valley.


Cyrus SHEPPARD, a missionary who came to Oregon in 1834 with Jason Lee, died in the winter of 1839-40 of complications after his leg was amputated.




A large number of Methodist missionaries with Rev. Jason LEE and some civilian emigrants boarded The Lausanne and set sail for Oregon on October 10, 1839. (The ship arrived at Ft. Vancouver on June 1, 1840.)


[SOURCES: Trail journals or reminiscences for 1839 by George W. Ebbert, Thomas J. Farnham, Desire C. Smith Griffin, John S. Griffin, Asahel Munger, O.A. Oakly, and Robert Shortess. Farnam's published article in the Peoria Illinois Register (May 4, 1839) provided the names of most of the Peoria Party of 1839. SUMMARY OF OREGON TRAIL TRAVELERS IN 1839--members of the PEORIA PARTY: Farnham, J. Wood, C. Wood, O.A. Oakley, Jourdan, Sydney Smith, Holman, Shortess, Kilbourne, Amos Cook, and Fletcher; Robert Moore is the only recorded name from another ILLINOIS PARTY of about a dozen members in 1839; a private party JOINING IN MISSOURI: William Geiger, J. Wright, Peter Lassen, and Dr. Wislinzenus [these names recorded by Farnham at Ft. Crockett]; ANOTHER PRIVATE PARTY, ORIGINALLY CALIFORNIA BOUND, [traveled with the missionary party]: D.G. Johnson, Charles Klien, John Stevens, William Wiggins, and David D. Dutton. Published a a variety sof sources, Farnham wrote Travels to the Rocky Mountains (1841), Travels in the Great Western Pairies, Travels in the Californias (1844), History of Oregon Territory (1844), and Life, Adventures, and Travels in California (1846); the 1839 Oregon Petition to Congress appears in 26th Cong., 1st Sess., Sen. Doc. 514]




By late summer of 1840, the POPULATION IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY included: "American settlers, twenty-five of them with Indian wives, 36; American women, 33; children 32; lay members, Protestant Missions, 13; Methodist Ministers,13; Congregational, 6; American Physicians,3; English Physicians, 1; Jesuit Priests, including DeSmet, 3; Canadian French, 60. Total Americans 137; total Canadians, including Priests, 63. Total population, not including Hudson's Bay Company operatives within what now is a portion of Montana, and all of Idaho, Washington and Oregon, 200."*


Arrivals on THE SHIP LAUSANNE and a small party overland of missionary/settlers had boosted the population. Several trapper/traders and their families quit the backcountry and came to make homes. The last of the Peoria Party of '39 trickled in. By this time, Ft. Crockett (Ft. Misery) was in ruins, the beaver trapped-out, and the fur companies disbanding


[*Lists of the American population of the Willamette Valley come from Rev. W.H. Gray, [quoted here from Lang's Personal Reminiscences of the Pioneers] the Oregon Spectator of 1849, and the roster of those leaving for California with the US Exploring Expedition, Sept. 1841. Missionary Elija White made a more extensive census in 1842]




Winter 1839-1840: Robert MOORE stayed the winter at Bent's Fort in Colorado. Spending the winter at Brown's Hole/Ft. Crockett were Robert NEWELL, Kitty M. Newell, Francis Ermatinger Newell (age 4 1/2), the infant William Newell, Joseph MEEK, Virginia Meek and their newborn, and Helen Mar Meek (Joe's 2-year-old daughter by his first wife who had deserted him). With them were John LARISON, William CRAIG, and their Native American wives along with trapper/traders Michel CERE, William DOUGHTY, Caleb WILKENS, and Joe WALKER. Newcomers (a remnant of the Peoria Party of 1839) R. L. KILBOURNE, Joseph HOLMAN, Francis FLETCHER, and Amos COOK also stayed the winter.


February 7: Robert Newell, Joe Meek, John Larison, William Craig, William Doughty (trappers with families) plus Holman, Cook, Fletcher, and Kilbourne left Ft. Crockett for Ft. Hall.


March 23 or 4: After a grueling 45-day journey in heavy snow, the Newell/Meek party reached Ft. Hall.


April 29: The American Fur Company (under Dripps, Fraeb, and Bridger) left St. Louis with 3 independent missionary couples: the Alvin T. SMITHs, Harvey CLARKs, and the Philo P. LITTLEJOHNs.


Around late April, Holman, Cook, and an un-named HBC man left Ft. Hall for Ft. Boise. According to Holman (dictating from his deathbed in 1880) in early spring, Holman, Cook, Fletcher, and Kilbourne left Ft. Hall travelling together to Walla Walla. Holman and Cook definitely arrived together in May at Ft. Walla Walla.


May 6: Joel Walker's family from the Osage country of Missouri joined the main body of the AFC and the missionaries on the plains east of St. Louis. Walker had hunted a buffalo, and it was the first many in the caravan had seen dressed for preservation.


Henry BLACK and Pleasant ARMSTRONG, bachelor trappers, also joined the caravan from Missouri early in the journey. Robert MOORE (of the 1839 Peoria Party) and George DAVIS (described as a drifter in search of land) joined west of Laramie.


Late May: HOLMAN, COOK, and 2 un-named trappers arrived at Walla Walla from Ft. Hall. FLETCHER also arrived but separately from this group. William DOUGHTY and C.M. WALKER (who resigned as head of Ft. Hall to relocate to the Willamette this year) are the mostly likely candidates for the un-named trappers or for Fletcher's companions. KILBOURNE, reported traveling earlier in the journey with Doughty, may also have arrived in May.


In the spring of 1840, Joe WALKER left Ft. Crockett with a company of 12. The expedition was a company of trapper/traders from the Snake River region to Los Angeles. By late fall the expedition had reached Los Angeles from Arizona. Along the way, they encountered Andrew DRIPPS, FRAEB, and Jim BRIDGER, traveling together after Rendezvous on Green River.


June 13: Francis ERMATINGER and HBC supplies arrived at Ft. Hall from Ft.Vancouver.


June 30: Rendezvous at Green River. Attendees included the Newells, Meeks, Craig, the American Fur Company brigade from St. Louis, the Joel Walkers, and the independent missionary couples. At this last Rendezvous, Dripps wrapped up business and disbanded the American Fur Company. The terribly expensive Moses HARRIS had escorted the missionaries for some of their journey but was replaced by Robert Newell as a guide. Harris was so angry that he took a drunken potshot at Newell; the shot missed by a mile but the other trappers expelled Harris from Rendezvous.


July 20: The missionaries arrived at Ft. Hall escorted by Robert Newell. With them were the Meeks, John Larison, Caleb Wilkens, William Craig, Henry Black, Jandreau, and others.


Larison and Craig left Ft. Hall while Newell's party lingered through September.


July 21: A.T. Smith sold his wagon at Ft. Hall in exchange for 8 pack-horses worth of goods and delivery at Ft. Walla Walla by the HBC caravan. He reserved the option to buy back the wagon at Walla Walla for $80.


WAGONS: Because Newell's wagon will be the first over the Blue Mountains and into the Valley (he shipped it in April of 1841 down the Columbia and Willamette), who owns which wagon became important to historians. Caleb WILKENS acquired a wagon from the Joel WALKERs. The missionaries paid Newell two wagons for his services as a guide and Newell traded one of these to Ermatinger for the services of an HBC driver. Meek drove Newell's other wagon to Walla Walla while Ermatinger's was driven by a German named "NICOLAS" (who may be Nicholas Stansbury, a frequenter of Ft. Hall, or Nicolaus Altgier). The way through high sagebrush was so difficult that the travelers jettisoned the wagon beds and transported the bare chassis and wheels.


July 22: The missionaries, the Joel Walkers, Henry BLACK, Pleasant ARMSTRONG, GREEN, Robert MOORE and others left Ft. Hall.


August 2: Between Ft. Hall and Ft. Boise, the missionary/Walker caravan split up. The Walkers and some of the trappers went ahead while the missionaries rested on Sunday. The Walker party was denied entry to Wascopam Mission at the Dalles towards the end of their journey for not strictly keeping the Sabbath.


August 4: The missionaries reached Ft. Boise (a HBC outpost on the Snake 8 miles below the mouth of the Boise River).


Early August: The Joel Walker party likely arrived at Waiilatpu and then traveled on to Ft. Walla Walla. At this time, the Whitmans were at the Spaulding mission at Lapwaii; they returned before:


August 14: The missionaries arrived at Whitmans' mission. Henry BLACK, who drove the A.T. Smith's wagon from Green River to Ft. Hall while A.T. SMITH was ill, left immediately for the Willamette. According to AT Smith's diary, Caleb WILKENS also arrived in August and went with the Joel WALKERs to the Willamette.


The LITTLEJOHNS stayed with the Whitmans after reaching Oregon. (They went to the Willamette Valley, September 1841 and were at Lapwaii mission in 1842). The Harvey CLARKS went to Kamiah with the A.B. SMITHS. The A.T. SMITHs stayed with the Spauldings at Lapwaii.


R. L. KILBOURNE and William DOUGHTY likely arrived at Walla Walla later in August.


September 13: The Walkers arrived in the Willamette Valley. By the end of this month, they had sown a crop with the aid of EWING YOUNG and Dr. McLaughlin. Young hired Joel and his son for occasional work and MARTHA YOUNG (Mary Young Walker's sister) as a seamstress and laundress.


On September 22, Joseph MEEK, Osborn RUSSELL, and 2 un-named trappers returned to Ft.Hall from a hunting trip. The Meeks and Newells (possibly Kilbourne and Doughty, and probably Russell) left Ft. Hall with their wagons on September 27.


September 29: A.T. Smith, who went exploring on Sept. 15, returned to the Whitmans'. He examined his "things that Mr. Ermatinger brought" so Ermatinger or his agent must have been through Waiilatpu during September.


Early November was likely the time of arrival for the party with Newell at the Whitman mission. Narcissa Whitman, a diarist, does not mention this arrival. The Whitmans may have been away or Narcissa may have been ailing. HELEN MAR MEEK was left in the Whitman's care.


On November 20, CRAIG and LARISON arrived in the Lapwaii region. To Spalding's annoyance, former mountain man Craig homesteaded quite near the mission.


The MEEKs and NEWELLs arrived in the Willamette Valley on December 15. Doughty was already settled in his own home when Wilkens, the Newells, and the Meeks arrived. The Meeks, Newells, and Caleb Wilkens settled in the Hillsboro area after staying a while in the former-trapper community west of the Falls that included Ewing YOUNG, the Joel Walkers, William Doughty, and C.M. WALKER.




February 13, Daniel LEE and PERKINS met at Ft. Vancouver (Perkins had come from Walla Walla).


In March, an American Board missionary couple, the Edwin HALLs, left Oregon by ship.


Over 1200 Native Americans from the Columbia River and a variety of inland tribes, attended a RELIGIOUS REVIVAL led by Jason Lee in April at the foot of a rocky precipice near the Dalles. This peaceful gathering lasted several days, with communion administered to hundreds.


In May 1840, Mrs. Elkana WALKER gave birth to a daughter. Mrs. Asa MUNGER also had a child around this time.


At Waiilatpu, Narcissa Whitman wrote that Indians want to use the new house as a church, complain about no payment for Waiilatpu land, and expect to roam freely through any mission building. Toukike complained about Narcissa always accompanying Marcus Whitman. Also in spring 1840, another Hawaiian couple arrived to assist at the mission.


In the spring of 1840, the Rev. and Mrs.GRIFFIN made an attempt to make a mission to the Snake Indians. On their way east in 1840, their guide abandoned them at the Salmon River and the Griffins returned to Waiilatpu and Ft. Vancouver by Fall 1840 traveling by way of Ft. Boise. They were at Ft. Vancouver in the winter of 1840-41 where Griffin served as chaplain.


In the summer or spring of 1840, Indians seized and threatened missionary Asa B. SMITH with death if he did not leave the mission at Kamiah. Smith had farmed the land although Ellis had ordered him not to as a condition for founding the mission. [from the Letter of John Toupin, 9/24/1848 in Senate Documents, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 12, Ex. Doc. 40, pp 18-21.]


In 1840, Capt. John COUCH, a representative of the Cushing merchant family of Massachusetts, arrived in Oregon on his ship the Maryland; he soon abandoned plans to found a fishery and sailed back to Hawaii.


In Spring 1840, Dr. WISLIZENUS, Ben WRIGHT, Peter LASSEN, John STEVENS, William WIGGINS, David D. DUTTON, and D.G. JOHNSON left Oregon by ship for Hawaii; these men had come overland from Missouri in 1839 intending to go to California but were unable to arrange for a guide from Ft. Hall.


Ft. Langley burned in April 1840. Much Native American unrest was reported at this time in the northernmost British outposts. The crew of the ship Beaver, under Captain and HBC chief trader James DOUGLAS, established Ft. Durham (Tako). During the winter, this same company brought William Glen RAE and John MCLOUGHLIN JR. to command Ft. Stikeen and established a presence in the northern British lands.


Chief Factor Samuel BLACK, in charge of Kamloops (the Thompson River forts) was murdered in his own home in 1840. Donald MANSON succeeded him as commander.


The LAUSANNE, which had set sail from the east coast in October 1839, reached the Columbia River on May 21, 1840. The U.S. government had secretly subsidized this venture at $50 per passenger David CARTER and two Hawaiian missionary assistants had boarded the Lausanne when it docked in Hawaii.


DANIEL LEE, the Clatsop chief Chenamus, and Chenamus's wife Sally met the ship near Astoria. Lee sailed with the ship to Ft. Vancouver, meeting in person for the first time his fiancée, Maria WARE. At Astoria, Daniel Lee gave Thomas ADAMS (a Chinook) the sad news of the death of William BROOK, another Chinook who had, like Adams, gone to the States with Jason Lee in 1838.


On its way up the Columbia River on May 26, the Lausanne passed the ships Columbia, and later the Cadborough, on their way to sea. Dr. McLoughlin had sent a man named George Washington to meet the Laussanne from Ft. Vancouver with fresh food and to help pilot the ship. After Washington struck a sand bar (no damage) a Chinook who styled himself King George took over at the helm. (Another account--Rev. Frost's--names Latty as ship's pilot after Pilar Rock. This person was likely to have been George Ramsey, or Lamazee, a Chinook).


The ship LAUSANNE arrived at Ft. Vancouver, June 1, 1840. Aboard were approximately 18 children and 32 adults, most of them missionaries including JASON LEE and his new bride. The Laussane missionaries, who came to expand Episcopal Methodist missions in Oregon, were dubbed the Great Reinforcement. Joseph HOLMAN arrived at Ft. Vancouver, the same day as this ship that brought his future bride, Almira PHELPS.


Soon after the Laussanne arrived, MISSIONARIES were assigned to various posts, some of them not yet constructed. Elija WHITE, Jason LEE, and Gustavus HINES traveled south into Oregon to consider a site in the Umqua River region. They stayed with the HBC's commander of FT.UMPQUA, Gagnier, and toured the Umqua and Rogue rivers region with GAGNIER's wife as interpreter and guide. They decided the area was unsuitable for a mission and soon returned to Salem.


Elija WHITE argued with Jason Lee, apparently (or only partially) about the operation of the Salem Methodist Mission by Rev. David LESLIE in their absence. WHITE RETURNED TO THE STATES on the Lausanne and came back to the Northwest after his appointment as the official Indian agent for Oregon.


Meanwhile, other missionary arrivals from the Lausanne assumed their assignments: the H. B. BREWERs were stationed at Dalles mission with H.K.W.PERKINS; the J.L. PARRISHes, the Lewis JUDSONs, and the HINES were assigned to the Willamette Valley; and, with the help of Dr. John McLoughlin, Alvan WALLER and his wife established a new mission at the Willamette Falls.


The Ira BABCOCKS were originally assigned to the Dalles, but with the hasty departure of Dr. White, Dr. Babcock took over duties in the Willamette Valley. Fever swept the Willamette Valley in 1840 and by the middle of the year had killed approximately 500 Native Americans living near the Willamette River. Some children newly taken in by the Salem mission school died as did Lamberson Parrish, the small son of Rev. Josiah L. and Elizabeth (Winn) Parrish who had arrived on the Lausanne.


In June 1840, Lausanne missionary Chloe CLARKE was assigned to be a teacher to the Nisqually mission with other new arrivals, the J.P. RICHMONDs and bachelor WH WILLSON. Willson and Daniel Lee had only partially completed the Nisqually mission and, in July 1840, Willson escorted the missionaries to their new post and continued construction. He became acquainted during this time with Chloe Clarke and they were married in August 1840.


On August 9, Solomon Smith and his family arrived in the Clatsop region from the Willamette Valley.


The William KONE and J. H. FROST families stayed at Ft. George (Astoria) while they constructed a new mission on the Clatsop Plains (about 7 miles from the fort near the mouth of the Columbia River). Former fur trappers Solomon SMITH and TIBBETS, and an African American sailor named WALLACE (who came to Oregon on the brig Maryland) helped construct the mission (completed February 1841).


In late July at the Dalles, Caleteweet (a Wishram) murdered Chapali (a Walla Walla). The missionaries would not allow the Walla Wallas to form a revenge party.


During the Summer of 1840, AF WALLER, a Lausanne missionary passenger, established a saw and gristmill as well as a mission at Willamette Falls, with Dr. McLaughlin supplying the lumber. Dr. TOLMIE of the HBC, with the help of Iroquois and Klickitats, cut a cart road around the Falls.


On August 16, there were many quarrels and murders among the Clatsops, perhaps due to the presence of alcohol.


In late August, a man named MCKAY, in charge of a fishery near Pillar Rock, was murdered. BIRNIE dispatched a letter to Ft. Vancouver from Astoria and posted Chenamus's (Clatsop) warriors as guards for Ft. George and the nearby Methodist Mission. TOLMIE and a party arrived to search for the killers and held 2 women of Skumaquea's tribe to serve as guides and hostages.


Skumaquea brought a Quiniutle Indian and a runaway slave to Birnie and named them as the killers. They escaped. Meanwhile, MCLOUGHLIN arrived at Astoria from Ft. Vancouver. The slave was shot during an attempt to recapture him and the Quiniutle was caught and hanged for the murder.


HBC leader COFFIN came with a brigade from Ft. Coleville to Ft. Vancouver in late summer 1840 and then returned with letters and dispatches.


Indians at the Dalles demanded, but did not receive, a compensation payment for a boy who died of illness at the mission.


At Waiilatpu, "John OWYHEE", the Hawaiian missionary assistant who had arrived just a few months earlier died of illness. His widow and newborn returned to the Islands the next year.


At the Dalles in October 1840, JASON LEE arrived for the traditional yearly religious convocation much later than expected. Only one-third or one-quarter as many Indians as usual came to hear him.


In October, Narcissa WHITMAN, who was ill between mid-August and October 19, reported in a letter to a friend that the Spaldings are antagonistic towards her. Marcus Whitman was then in Coleville to try to help missionary Asa B. Smith placate hostile natives. Two brothers (relatives of the one who went East in 1829 to request missionaries) were demanding that Smith leave. In a letter, Marcus said he was at a loss about how to supply independent missionaries. He returned to Waiilatpu on October 9, 1840.


Nevertheless, during the winter of 1840-41 the independent missionaries resided at the Presbyterian missions (American Board). The Harvey CLARKS stayed at Kamiah (a new mission to the Flatheads) with the ASAHEL B. SMITHS. The ALVIN T. SMITHS were with the Spaldings at Lapwaii, and the Philo LITTLEJOHNS stayed with the Whitmans.


The Griffins returned to Waiilatpu and Ft. Vancouver by fall 1840 traveling by way of Ft. Boise after an abandoned trip to the east. They were at Ft. Vancouver in the winter of 1840-41 where Griffin served as chaplain.


In mid-September 1840, Solomon H. SMITH went from Clatsop Plains to the Willamette Valley and back to get supplies for his family and for the Methodist Mission.


CATHOLIC CHURCHES were dedicated at Clatsop and Whidbey Island in 1840.


In December construction was begun on another Methodist Mission on the Clatsop Plains (near Astoria). Tibbitts and Wallace, recent arrivals in the area, helped Rev. J.H. Frost construct a second mission between Youngs Bay and Point Adams.


[SOURCES: Historians WH Gray and HH Bancroft both recorded rosters for the Lausanne--these have been corrected for mistakes and omissions by consulting the diaries of Henry Brewer and Chloe Clarke. Details on overland arrivals come from a variety of sources, chiefly Joseph Holman and Narcissa Whitman (who kept records in 1840) and various recollections written years later by others. Trail journals or reminiscences for 1840 by Henry B. Brewer (diary of Lausanne voyage and 3 years in Oregon), Amos Cook (reminiscence), Joseph H. Frost (reminiscence written soon after experience), Gustavus Hines (reminiscence), Joseph Holman (Oregon Trail diary), Lewis H. Judson (Journal 1837-49), Angus McDonald (papers), Joseph Meek (letters), Chloe A. Clarke Willson (journal of Lausanne voyage), Robert Newell (reminiscence), Josiah L. Parrish (reminiscence), John P. Richmond (account of journey from Ft. Vancouver to Puget Sound), Alvin T. Smith (trail journal), Joel Walker (reminiscence)]



Historian Charles Mattes calls the BIDWELL-BARTLESON PARTY "the first emigrant party…for Oregon." Thomas Fitzpatrick led this caravan of 36 men and families from Westport Landing on the Kansas River to Oregon. Some of the party turned off onto the trail for California at Ft. Hall. Also this year, an undetermined number of trappers, French Canadians, and Hudson Bay Company employees left their former occupations to settle in the Willamette Valley.




In January, Louise WALKER was born to Mary and Joel Walker near Salem. The Walkers, who arrived in the late summer of 1840, were the first non-missionary settler family to Oregon from the States. On January 18, 1841, missionaries H.K.W. and Elvira Johnson PERKINS had their second child, a daughter.


In February 1841, two more of the 1840 arrivals on the ship Lausanne got married: David CARTER and Orpha LANKTON. In June the couple visited the Dalles and by November returned to the Willamette Valley.


A NEW MISSION ON THE CLATSOP PLAINS (about 7 miles from the Fort George near the mouth of the Columbia River) was ready for occupancy in February 1841. Mrs.W.W. KONE had been so ill that she needed to be carried to her new mission post. The William Kones and J. H. FROST families stayed at Ft. George (Astoria) while the mission was constructed with the help of former fur trappers Solomon SMITH, Calvin TIBBETS, and an African American sailor named WALLACE.


WALLER, BABCOCK and LESLIE transported the ailing Mrs. Kone to Ft. Vancouver in February 1841. On April 18, she gave birth to a son.


A discussion after EWING YOUNG's funeral during the winter of 1840-41, led to plans for a meeting about ORGANIZING A GOVERNMENT IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY. The first meeting was held on February 17, 1841 at the Methodist Mission with Gustavus Hines as secretary (Sydney Smith also took notes) and Jason Lee presiding. At this meeting George LeBreton was named to chair the "committee of arrangement" and it was recommended that a committee of 7 be elected to draft a constitution and code of laws to govern settlements south of the Columbia River.


On February 18, the settlers met again with David Leslie presiding in place of Lee, and with Hines and Smith elected as secretaries. The attendees elected a constitutional committee (Rev. F.N. Blanchet, Rev. Jason Lee, David DonPierre, Gustavus Hines, Mr. Charlevon (or Chanlevo), Robert Moore, J.L. Parrish, Etienne Lucier, and William Johnson) and several acting officers (LeBreton as Court Clerk/Recorder, Ira L. Babcock as Supreme Judge, William Johnson as High Sheriff, and, as Constables, Xavier Landeroot, Pierre Billique, and William McCarty).


CHEMEKETA METHODIST MISSION also opened in 1841, a new Methodist Episcopal mission not too far from the Old Mission at Salem.


Daniel and Maria Ware LEE had a son, Wilbur Fisk Lee, born 3/23/1841


Ex-trapper Robert "Doc" NEWELL's WAGON arrived by boat in the Willamette Valley in April 1841. This wagon will be touted as the first wagon to come overland from the States past Ft. Hall. A missionary party brought it to Fort Hall in 1840 and gave it to Newell as payment for guiding them. In Fall of 1840, Newell drove this wagon--or at east the bare chassis--over the Blue Mountains and through the sage brush as far as Whitmans' Mission at Waiilatpu.


On May 2, 1841, the U.S. ship Vincennes under Lieutenant CHARLES WILKES anchored at Discovery Bay. It was met by a large canoe carrying English-speaking coastal Native Americans who asked if the sailors are Boston or King George (American or British).


US EXPLORING EXPEDITION: The Vincennes was the flagship of a six-vessel squadron, which left Virginia for a voyage in 1839. Its two-fold mission was to make the first military circumnavigation of the globe under the US flag and to explore the Northwest country. In May, the U.S. ship Vincennes under Lieutenant Charles Wilkes anchored at Discovery Bay.


During the summer the Expedition visited missions at Lapwaii, Waiilatpu, and the Willamette Valley as well as a number of farms and settlements. It made extensive reports on Hudson's Bay Company activities and American prospects. [The Beinecke Collection at Yale University contains the diaries of Silas HOLMES (of the US Peacock) and of Lt. George Foster EMMONS (of the overland US Exploring Expedition)]


According to Wilkes: "…the missionary field was over-crowded;…the missionary field was but small, and insufficient for the expenses which have been lavished on it…. [other] various characters settled there [the Valley]. They generally consist of those who have been hunters in the mountains, and were still full of the recklessness of that breed. Many of them, although they have taken farms and built log houses, cannot be classed among the permanent settlers"


In early May, Narcissa WHITMAN reported that the LITTLEJOHNs were mulling over a return to the States by ship. The HBC caravan began its yearly eastward trek from Ft. Vancouver. Missionary Asahel MUNGER (who had become too mentally ill to continue since his arrival in 1839) and his family journeyed with them hoping to find an eastbound American caravan at the traditional Rendezvous on the Green River. (But, by 1841, the fur trade had collapsed and there was no American Rendezvous.)


The H.B. BREWERs daughter Susan was born 5/8/1841. Mary Kinney (Mrs. David) LESLIE died giving birth to a healthy child in mid-May. A child was born on May 23, 1841 to Rev.W.W. and Mrs. RAYMOND of the Clatsop Methodist Mission and the LITTLEJOHNs also had a baby in mid-May.


A funeral was held for P.C. PAMBRUN, the HBC's commander at Ft. Walla Walla on May 16, 1841; he had died four days after a fall from a horse. The widow Pambrun, CATHERINE HUMPHERVILLE PAMBRUN, and her nine children sheltered for a time at Waiilatpu Mission after her husband's death. She took the family to the Willamette Valley by the end of 1841 and left HARRIET PAMBRUN, the youngest, in Narcissa WHITMAN's care.


OVERLAND PARTIES OF THE US EXPLORING EXPEDITION traveled south in May and reached the HBC establishment at Astoria. By late May, a party under Wilkes reached Ft. Vancouver and received a friendly welcome from Dr. MCLOUGHLIN of the HBC.


Governor George SIMPSON, head of Hudson Bay Company operations in North America, came by ship to Ft. Vancouver in 1841 before the arrival of the U.S. Exploring Expedition at the fort. Neither Britain nor the U.S. had deliberately timed the visits of their agents to coincide.


William H. and Chloe WILLSON's newborn died in 1841 and the next month the Willsons were reassigned to the Willamette Methodist mission (near present day Salem).


On May 30, HBC officer Francis ERMATINGER left Vancouver for Ft. Hall, 3 weeks behind the Mungers and the main body of the HBC.


The group of settlers which had considered OREGON GOVERNMENT in February, met again on June 1, 1841 this time at the newly built Methodist Mission at Chemetka. BLANCHET requested to be excused from the Constitutional committee and William J. BAILEY was elected as his replacement. The committee was advised to confer with Lt. Wilkes, commander of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, and with Dr. John McLoughlin, commander of Ft. Vancouver. On the first Monday of August the settlers were to meet in order to prepare recommendations which would be presented to a meeting at large on the first Thursday of October, 1841. [There are no records of meetings after June 1, 1841]


On June 4, 1841 Wilkes and company set off up the Willamette in a boat provided by McLoughlin. Wilkes encountered a group of young men building a boat. The boatwrights, discouraged about finding a livelihood and white brides in Oregon, hoped to head south. Their boat would be the first sailing vessel manufactured in Oregon THE OREGON STAR sailed the next year with all its builders except for Henry WOOD including Felix HATHAWAY, Joseph GALE, R.L. KILBORNE, Pleasant ARMSTRONG, George DAVIS, Charles MATTS and John GREEN.


During 1841, James DOUGLAS established a post at Yerba Buena (San Francisco) for the Hudson Bay Company.


The US Exploring Expedition visited Lapwaii on June 25.


In late June/early July, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman spent six weeks with the Eells at Tshimiakan. While they were gone, W.H. Gray harvested the wheat and began work on his own adobe house at Waiilatpu. Iatin, a Waiilatpu Indian, told Gray he must pay for lumber and firewood; Iatin said that during a visit to the Willamette he had learned how owners don't allow others to use their land.


In July, after the wheat harvest was in but while the corn and potatoes were still in the ground, some Cayuse trampled the Whitman's field with their horses


In July, Calvin TIBBETTS, Solomon SMITH, and TAYLOR (described as "an old sailor") made a round trip cattle drive from the coast near Clatsop to the Willamette Valley. A "sailor boy"-- a young man (name not recorded) who arrived on the ship Wave (HBC Capt. More)--went with them. He returned to become a helper at Clatsop mission and to take an Indian wife.


On July 18, 1841 the SHIP PEACOCK, part of the US Exploring Expedition, wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia.


Henry ELD, with a party of the US Exploring Expedition landed at Baker Bay and reached Ft. Vancouver by the end of the month of August.




The PUGET SOUND AGRICULTURAL COMPANY, under the aegis of the HBC, imported to the Northwest 21 families of experienced British farmers and herders along with superior breeds of sheep and swine. Despite good capitalization, the attempt to found an agricultural colony promptly failed. The "colonists" simply headed south to establish their own farms on free land. A total of 121 arrivals (19 households) went to two stations in 1841: Cowlitz river landing on the Columbia and another near Ft. Nisqually (both in present-day Washington State).


James DOUGLAS, who had warned Gov. Simpson that Nisqually was poor farm land, scouted for a site and assigned families to their parcels in November 1841. William BALDRA, John JOHNSON, and Thomas OTCHINS (earlier Oregon arrivals) transferred from the HBC to the Puget Sound AC. Angus MCDONALD, a HBC chief trader, was placed in charge of the operation. A few French Canadians were already settled in the region (Simon PLAMANDON, Francis FRAGINENET, Michel COGNOIR, and Joseph ROCHBRUNNE).


James SINCLAIR led the immigration from the Red River Country (Manitoba) to the Nisqually and Puget Sound region. The new emigrants to Oregon Country included the David FLETTs, the Charles MCKAYs, and the three Bird sisters, daughters of Gov. James Bird. Traveling via Ft. Ellice, Ft. Carlton, Edmonton, Banff, and the Whitman Pass, the emigrants reached the upper Columbia River by August 12 and Ft. Walla Walla by Oct 4.


Most of the newcomers abandoned the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. All but the BIRSTONs, the CALDERs, one FLETT brother, the TAITs, and the JOYELLEs had left the Puget Sound area by late 1842 to make homes on the Tulatin Plains or the Willamette Valley. Joe KLYNE left to join the HBC's California brigade and one family had stayed in the Kutenai region.




In March 1841, Joseph WALKER (Joel's brother), Henry FRAEB, and other mountain men reached Brown's Hole (Ft. Crockett), where Joe had left his Shoshone wife and children. In June or July, the company headed for the Southwest


In Spring of 1841, the BIDWELL-BARTLESON PARTY departed for Oregon from Missouri. With them were Father Pierre J. DESMET, his aide, Father Nicholas POINT, and Methodist preacher, JOSEPH WILLIAMS. Although missionary fervor motivated some emigrants this year, most travelers on the trail from this year forward came for land and a new life. Many of the long-term mountain men and trailblazers switched to occupations as buffalo hunters, guides, and trail trade-post operators during and after 1841.


During this year, Jim BRIDGER and Louis VASQUEZ, former trapper/traders, built a trading post on the Black Fork of the Green River. The post opened in time for the 1842 travel season.


Thomas FITZPATRICK led the Bidwell-Bartlson caravan of 36 men and families from Westport Landing on the Kansas River to Oregon, with some of the party turning off for California at Ft. Hall. Rufus B. SAGE, a trail journalist like Bidwell, traveled with fur traders from Westport to Ft. Platte.


In early May, the eastbound Hudson Bay Company brigade left Ft. Vancouver for the usual journey for trade at the RENDEZVOUS on the Green River. Missionary Asahel MUNGER and his family traveled with them hoping return to the States with an eastbound American caravan after Rendezvous. HBC leader Francis Ermatinger also came to Rendezvous, leaving Ft. Vancouver on May 30, about three weeks after the main HBC brigade.


During summer on the trail, Joseph WALKER met the overlanders with a herd of horses and mules brought from California.


William SHOTWELL became the first trail emigrant to die of an accidental gun shot; such accidents became frequent among the inexperienced and heavily armed travelers on the Oregon Trail.


Joseph WILLIAMS recorded the building of adobe-walled FT. JOHN (at the site of Ft. William/Laramie).


James JOHN, who had been traveling with Joseph Chiles and Weaver, left the main caravan at Bear River (between Ft. Bonneville and Ft. Hall).


After Fort Hall, John BIDWELL and General John BARTLESON led a large number of the travelers on to the trail for California. With a few traveling ahead, the rest continued to Oregon led by Fitzpatrick.


An Oregon Trail traveler named FOWLER, the Josiah and/or Samuel KELSEY family, David ROSS, David HILL, OLD (Joseph?) WILLIAMS, and CARROLL passed through the Dalles on the way to the Willamette Valley in early September of 1841, slightly ahead of the other 1841 overland travelers.


Rev. Joseph WILLIAMS and his family, a member of the Methodist missions, arrived at the Dalles September 24, 1841.


The MUNGERS returned to Waiilatpu on October 1 disappointed in their search to find Rendezvous and eastbound travelers. They were soon followed by the westbound overlanders: "2 families from Missouri and 12 Jesuits from New Orleans," and the company under Fitzpatrick.


By October 6, twenty-four settlers had passed through Waiilatpu on their way to the Willamette. Mary Ann BRIDGER, the six year old daughter of Jim Bridger, came to live with the Whitmans sometime in 1841, perhaps arriving with a group of overlanders.


Narcissa WHITMAN wrote; "Doubtless every year will bring more & more into this country….These emigrants are nearly destitute of every kind of food when they arrive here & we were under the necessity of giving them provisions to help them on. Our little place is a resting spot for many a weary, way-worn traveler and will be as long as we live here. If we can do good that way, perhaps it is as important as some other things we are doing."




In September 1841, American Board missionaries--the John S. GRIFFINs--and all the independent missionaries who had arrived in Oregon in 1840--the Harvey CLARKs, the Philo LITTLEJOHNs, and the Alvin T. SMITHs--left the Presbyterian missions at Kamiah, Waiilatpu, and Lapwaii to move to the Willamette Valley. By the end of December, the independents formally dissolved their mission and became settlers. The Littlejohns later returned to Lapwaii mission to continue as assistants to Rev. Spalding.


Father Pierre DESMETT, the FIRST AMERICAN CATHOLIC PRIEST in the Northwest, dedicated St. Mary's on the Bitteroot River (Flathead mission) in September 1841.


In September, the US EXPLORING EXPEDITION LEFT FOR CALIFORNIA overland and by ship. Three families and 4 or 5 single men, originally emigrants to Oregon, left with Lt. Emmons's party traveling overland. Men with Emmons included: Midshipmen Eld and Colvoressis; Assistant Surgeon Dr. Whittle; T.R. Peale, naturalist; W. Rich, botanist; Brackenridge, assistant botanist; J.D. Dana, geologist; A.T. Agate, artist; Seamen Doughty, Merzer, Waltham, and Sutton; Sgt. Stearns; Cpl. Hughs; Privates Marsh and Smith; and Baptist Guardipii, guide.


Departing Oregon with his family was Joel WALKER, "who came from Missouri with all his family last year [1840]: he did not like the country and wished to go to California by earliest convenience. His principle objection he told me [Eld] was to the climate, which was too wet for business."


The US Exploring Expedition caravan reached Sutters Mill on the Sacramento on October 19. The Walkers and several other former Oregonians returned within 2 or 3 years.


In October, Umtippe, a Waiilatpu area chief, died of illness. His brothers, Waptashtomakt (Red Cloak) and Ichishkaiskais, demanded payment from the Whitmans for the use of Waiilatpu mission.


Also in early October, Peopeomoxmox entered the Waiilatpu mission house and was told by W.H. Gray that he must leave. Insulted, Peopeomoxmox put his rope on a mission horse and Gray cut the rope. The Cayuse returned in the afternoon and took the horse in front of Whitman who then asked him if he wished to make himself a thief. Sakiaph (brother of PeopeoMoxmox) then threatened to kill the cattle and Whitman said he had shown his true heart.


Later Tilauak, a relative of Peopeomoxmox, came with a group of young men and ordered Gray to leave Waiilatpu, berated Whitman for taking Gray's side, and said they labored in vain on Gray's new house. After more argument, Tilauak pulled Whitman's ear and hit his chest several times without reaction from the missionary. Whitman also simply put his hat back on his head when Tilauak threw it in the mud several times. Tilauak left in disgust after Whitman asked, "perhaps you are playing." An Indian named McKay then told all his tribesmen to stop working at Waiilatpu.


At Ft. Walla Walla, HBC commander McKinlay sent word through an interpreter that he thought these Indians were behaving like dogs. On his own, the interpreter added a threat that Governor Simpson and a party in Cowlitz had removed their cattle to safety in readiness to retaliate for Black's murder. That evening, Palaistiwat brandished a hammer at the Waiilatpu house window and Sakiaph forced the door. Whitman disarmed the Indians of their hammer and ax, but was beaten by fists in the process. Narcissa Whitman and Gray took the weapons up stairs.


Sakiaph returned with a club and challenged Whitman and made a similar display with a gun asking him if he was afraid to die. Tilaukaik finally said it was impossible to bully Whitman into a fight. Waptashtamakt during this argument told Whitman that J. Gray (a part-Iroquis at Grande Ronde) had told them how the Iroquois killed until they were paid for their land. Whitman sent Rogers to Ft. Walla Walla to warn McKinlay that the Indians had threatened to go to the fort.


Few came to worship at Waiilatpu the next day and someone broke windows at the house. The Indians set off armed to the fort but the following day met peacefully with McKinlay, Ft. Walla Walla's commander. The Cayuse, in a group including Waptashtakmakt and Tilaukaik, heard McKinlay say that the fort needed no extra troops but that he would send for more from Ft. Vancouver to protect Whitman if necessary. All vowed peace.


On October 5, 1841, Whitman, with an interpreter from the Walla Walla, met with the Cayuse. Waptashtamakt (brother of Ichishkaiskais) still demanded cattle as payment for Waiilatpu. Tilaukaik said that now a payment would be more like extortion than a proper tribute. Kamashpahi also counseled to forget the matter. The meet ended in a feast also attended by Ichishkaiskais.


In late October FT. WALLA WALLA accidentally burned destroying all the stored goods brought overland by the independent missionaries in 1840.


Cornelius Rogers, disappointed in seeking the hand of Pambrun's daughter, returned the inheritance Pambrun had left him; Rogers then left the mission at Waiilatpu to go to the Willamette Valley.


The Oregon Star arrived at Astoria from the Willamette with supplies for the new mission in October 1841. In November, Solomon Smith left the mission (near Point Adams) to make a home on the Clatsop plains.


Duflot DE MOFRAS, an attaché of the French embassy, arrived in Oregon on the ship Cowlitz from Hawaii in October 1841. He was dispatched from Madrid in 1839 and charged with gathering information for France on northwestern Mexico, California, and Oregon. By chance, the timing for this official visit was the same as for the United State's first official Exploring Expedition to Oregon (and at the same time as an official inspection by the Hudson Bay Company commander, Gov. George SIMPSON from Canada). DeMofras wrote later that he hoped the French Canadians of the Northwest would throw off English rule and establish their own province or a sovereign state within the United States. [Exploration du Territoire de l'Oregon: 1844, Paris]


November 3, the Columbia set sail from Astoria for Hawaii. Aboard were the William W. KONEs who resigned from the mission at Clatsop, the A.B. SMITHs who had resigned from Kamiah mission in September to go to Ft. Vancouver, and Mary OWYHEE whose husband had died the previous August at Waiilatpu.


Narcissa and Marcus Whitman were alone in their Waiilatpu home with the girls, Helen Mar Meek and Mary Ann Bridger. Missionary-assistant Mungo Mevway had gone from Waiilatpu to the Eells at Tshimiakan Mission. The Packett family remained at Waiilatpu Mission only while Mr. Packett was too ill to return to Tshimiakan.


French attaché DeMofras left in late November 1841 on the same ship for San Francisco that carried HBC Governor George SIMPSON, the HBC's Dr. John McLoughlin, and MCLOUGHLIN's daughter, Maria (Mrs. Glenn) RAE. Weather delayed the ship Cowlitz along the Columbia River until Dec. 21, 1841 and it finally reached Hawaii on March 1, 1842.


In the winter of 1841 John MCLOUGHLIN JR. was murdered at Ft. Stikeen. Donald MANSON replaced him as commander. Edward RODGERS wintered with the Whitmans at Waiilatpu.


Rev. Asahel MUNGER, who came to Oregon with the American Board missionaries in 1839, committed suicide in December 1841. His widow married widower Henry Buxton, a former member of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, in Twality in 1843. (Buxton's wife, Frances, had died during the fall of 1841-42; she never recovered from a fall from her horse during the 1841 journey to Oregon country).


At the eastern end of the Trail, Francois X. MATTHIEU and a party of trappers returned from Santa Fe to Ft. Laramie in 1841.


[SOURCES: Oregon Trail journals by John Bidwell, Rufus Sage, James John, and Titan R. Peale; reminiscences by Pierre J. DeSmett (also letters), "Mrs. Daboin" (daughter of Louis Gagnon), David Flett, Joseph Heath, Gregory Mengarini, F.X. Matthieu, and Nicholas Point. Charles Wilkes, Silas Holmes, and George F. Emmons reported on the US Exploring Expedition. Duflot de Mofras wrote about his voyage and exploration of the Northwest.]




In the autumn of 1842, an immigration of 112-140 [there are varying estimates] persons, chiefly men with their families, arrived in the Willamette Valley, a large portion of whom found their winter's residence at or near the mission establishment, at what is now Salem. A considerable portion of the overland immigrants of 1842 left Oregon for California with Lansford W. HASTINGS in the late spring of 1843.




Methodist Missionary Rev. ELIJA WHITE had left Oregon in 1840 on the ship Lausanne after a bitter dispute with Rev. Jason Lee. The owners of the Lausanne, Fry and Farnam, and its captain, Spaulding, urged White to travel to Washington D.C. and introduced him to government contacts. In January 1842, Congress appointed Elija White as sub-Indian Agent, meaning he had authority but only a partial salary (plus his expenses) until Oregon became an official U.S. Territory. Ironically (in view of White's disagreement with Jason Lee) White's sponsors had been convinced of the need for a government agent in Oregon by a letter that Lee wrote to the Cushing shipping family. Throughout his stay in the States, White promoted emigration to Oregon and made a last minute pitch to potential emigrants in Platte and Jackson counties in Missouri just before departure on the Oregon Trail.


By treaty, the United States and Britain set the border between Maine and Canada on August 9, 1842. Similar discussions about a border in the Northwest had failed.


Thomas D. KEIZUR and family emigrated from Arkansas to Missouri hoping to join the emigrants to Oregon; they arrived too late at the frontier and spent a year in Missouri before joining the next year's wagon train. James W. NESMITH also arrived too late for the 1842 train; he came as far west as Jefferson County, Iowa in 1842, spent a year as a carpenter on the construction of FT. SCOTT, and joined the 1843 emigration from Independence, Missouri.




A caravan of emigrants, mostly from Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas, gathered for the traditional travel season near the town of Independence, Missouri. Elija WHITE, for a while over-all leader, and Lansford W. HASTINGS (later replacing White as leader over most of the company) led the WAGON TRAIN FROM MISSOURI on May 14, 1842.


Lt. John C. FREMONT left Missouri shortly after the caravan of emigrants, leading a troop of 21 men on an exploring expedition. This expedition, much less extensive than the one he would lead in 1843, traveled only as far as Ft. Laramie and the Wind River Mountains. Fremont's company included Kit CARSON, Lucien MAXWELL, and Charles PRUESS, an artist and map-maker.


James COATES piloted the emigrant wagon train to Ft. Laramie (under commander BISSONETTE), the furthest extent of his familiarity with the route. Here the travelers fortuitously met Jim BRIDGER and Thomas FITZPATRICK on their way east with pelts for the fur trade. Bridger continued to the States while Fitzpatrick guided the caravan west to Ft. Hall.


The wagon train--actually a collection of open wagons, carts, horse-riders and pack animals, with herds of cattle and horses-- attracted new members along the way:


Steven MEEK and his companion Andrew BISHOP joined at South Fork. At Ft. Laramie, Francois X. MATTHIEU, Paul OJET, Peter GAUTHIER, and about three other French Canadians joined the caravan to Oregon.


A man named BAILEY was accidentally shot when he passed behind a wagon just as the owner drew a blanket from the front causing the gun to go off; Bailey was buried near Independence Rock.


A.L. LOVEJOY and L.W. HASTINGS were captured passing through Sioux territory. (They had laid down their rifles while carving their names on Independence Rock.) Their Sioux captors released them for a ransom of tobacco and a few trinkets. The Sioux continued to harass the 1842 wagon train until a peace parley and gift exchange was held at the Sweetwater River.


The caravan rarely traveled as one huge company. At the Sweetwater River, White, Fitzpatrick and about a dozen others traveled ahead of the main group through South Pass in the Wind River Mountains. At Green River, the slower-moving company under Hastings further split into a faster horse troop and a group with wagons.


The caravan reunited at Ft. Hall, but White and his companions, now piloted by (probably Angus) MCDONALD, pushed far ahead after Hall.


Osborne RUSSELL and Elbridge TRASK, American fur trappers, joined the caravan on August 22, 1842.


Traveling by way of Burnt River and a more direct route to Ft. Walla Walla, White and company arrived at Ft. Vancouver on September 20, 1842 about a month ahead of the Hastings caravan.


Hastings kept south of the Snake River until near Ft. Boise and arrived at Waiilatpu (45 miles from Walla Walla) in mid- to late-September.


At Waiilatpu, A.L. LOVEJOY parted company with the caravan and Hastings. He decided to join Marcus WHITMAN for a return journey on the trail to the east. Whitman and Lovejoy headed for the States on October 3, 1842.


The main body of the caravan with Hastings reached the Willamette Valley on October 5, 1842.




During 1842, after the sale of his own ship in Hawaii, Capt. John H. COUCH sailed back to Oregon to begin the trade negotiated by Jason Lee and King Kamehameha III. Aboard with Couch were A.E. WILSON and Andre LEBRETON who managed the Cushing store in Oregon City.


This same year, James DOUGLAS and a crew sent by the Hudson Bay Company explored the coast of Vancouver Island.


In 1842 Miss PHILLIPS and Mr. and Mrs. W. RAYMOND were posted to the Methodist mission at Clatsop Plains.


Father J.B. BODUC, a Catholic priest, arrived at Ft. Vancouver by ship from Canada.


Beginning in January 1842, the Methodist Mission selected trustees and organized the college that would later become Willamette University. THE OREGON INSTITUTE opened on Wallace Prairie, just south of Salem, in October 1842.


On February 26, 1842, Lucyanna Maria LEE was born. Lucy Thomas Lee (the second Mrs. Jason Lee) died shortly after. The Gustavus HINES took in Lucyanna Lee after the death of her mother. In 1843, the Hines, Lucyanna , and Jason Lee sailed for Hawaii hoping to find a ship bound for the States.


March 12, 1842, a baby was born to the W.H. GRAYs at Waiilatpu Mission. A Hawaiian named Nina, a man named Cook, and 2 children were with the Grays at that time. On March 16, a son was born to the Elkana WALKERs at Tshimiakan and named Marcus Whitman Walker.


June 1842, Jason LEE, the ABERNETHYs, and the PARRISHes arrived at Clatsop Mission. W.W. RAYMOND also arrived about this time and dismantled the Kones' (river) mission house to move it to the Clatsop Plains.


Trouble was reported in the Clatsop region due to liquor sales to the Indians. An American ex-seaman made threats against Lee and offered 5 blankets as a bounty on his head.


Early in 1842 the Nez Perces had fined Indians of the Red River School for the death of a Nez Perce who had died in their care. Marcus Whitman reproved them for this act and convinced the mother of the deceased to return the property. Between February 12 and 14, a group of Indians led by Apashwakaikin and Himinilipilip came to Waiilatpu to confront Marcus Whitman, angered that he had interfered. The confrontation was heated--PACKETT and 2 others came to Whitman's assistance--but ended without violence.


On March 23, while Whitman was away, Apashwakaikin confronted Narcissa Whitman in a rage. He went away to sulk and expressed no more interest in the plough he had asked for. After Whitman's return, probably during the summer, Tilkaniak and Iatin were also hostile to Whitman. Iatin was enraged when Whitman docked his son's pay for neglecting the mission cattle. Iatin told others in Whitman's family and people at his own camp that he would burn the mill.


Tilkaniak purposely trampled the unharvested corn. He said he had no servants and needed a place to pen his horses; besides, the corn was a growth of Tilkaniak's own land. Whitman admitted he had never paid for the land but stated that he had been invited to Waiilatpu by other chiefs.


Tilkaniak hit Whitman twice on the chest and told Narcissa Whitman to shut up. He threatened to whip the Indians Whitman had told to drive Tikaniak's horses away. Another chief intervened and defused the incident.


In the fall and winter of 1842, the OREGON LYCEUM debated the issue of forming a provisional government immediately or waiting for the extension of U.S. jurisdiction; those who wished to wait until Oregon became a U.S. territory (if this happened within four years) won the debate.


In Spring of 1842, five travelers of a party with Father Pierre DESMETT drowned in the Willamette River when their canoe overturned. At the time of the accident, DeSmett and others of his party were making a portage on shore on the way to Ft. Vancouver.


On May 23, 1842 a child was born to John P. and America (Talley) RICHMOND.


The Oregon Star, the first ship built in Oregon, set sail June 1842 and reached the Pacific Ocean in September 1842. On board were a group of young men who hoped to find white brides and better opportunities in California: Felix HATHAWAY, Joseph GALE, R.L. KILBORNE , Pleasant ARMSTRONG, George DAVIS, Charles MATTS and John GREEN.


In August 1842, American priest Father Pierre DESMETT set out from Oregon for the Missouri border to request reinforcements for the Catholic missions of the Northwest. During his absence, Father Nicolas POINT founded Sacred Heart Church at Coeurs D'Alene (Idaho).


Henry BLACK, who had gone to California with the US Exploring Expedition from Oregon in 1841, returned to Oregon with a herd of cattle. He married August 7, 1842 to the widow Mrs. Lisette WARFIELD (the name "Warfield" also appeared on the roster of civilian families bound for California with the Exploring Expedition in 1841).


Alvan F. WALLER had established a Methodist Episcopal mission at the Willamette Falls with the help of Dr. McLaughlin in 1840. When Steven MEEK, an arrival of 1842, attempted to build on an island near the Falls, Waller said that the Methodist mission claimed a mile square of the land around the Falls. Meek left, but MCLOUGHLIN became concerned about his own land claim that he thought included this island.


A son, Lewis B. JUDSON, was born to Lewis H. and Almira (Roberts) Judson in 1842. A son was born to the BREWERs at the Dalles mission in July, and the Daniel LEE's second son was born September 7.


Calvin TIBBETTS, a former mountain man who lived on the Clatsop Plains, and others went to California for cattle and returned in September 1842. A least one man, Peter BRAINARD, emigrated from California to Oregon by joining the cattle herders on the return trip. Trapper Philip F. THOMPSON also returned to Oregon from California in 1842.


Widower Rev. David LESLIE planned to take all 5 of his daughters back to the States in 1842, but at the last minute the eldest, Satira Leslie age 15, married Cornelius ROGERS on the deck of the brig Chenamus. The newlywed Rogers took the two youngest, Aurelia Leslie and the baby, into their care in the Willamette Valley.


Leslie and the two next-to-eldest daughters sailed to Hawaii in September 1842. The brig Chenamus, captained by John Couch, also carried Susan and Joseph WHITCOMB, John and America RICHMOND, and Margaret and William J. BAILEY away from Oregon. Another Leslie daughter died of illness in Hawaii. 


The OREGON STAR arrived in San Francisco September 17, 1842. The ship was sold in San Francisco in exchange for a herd of cattle. In 1842, some of the Star's ex-sailors returned to Oregon along with some former Oregonians now dissatisfied with California. The sailors came back overland with a party of 42 men [this story is in Transactions of the Oregon Pioneers, 1891]


On September 23, 1842, Elija WHITE announced to a meeting at Champoeg his appointment as official U.S. Indian agent to Oregon and shared news about Washington D.C.'s interest in the Oregon country.


In October 1842, the Methodist missionaries and some settlers established the Island Milling Company to operate a mill on an island near the Willamette Falls. This launched a long and acrimonious land dispute with Dr. John McLoughlin.


Alvin T. SMITH and Harvey CLARK, former missionaries, opened an elementary school on Tualatin Plains in November 1842; this later became PACIFIC UNIVERSITY.


On October 3, 1842, Marcus WHITMAN and Asa L. LOVEJOY began a journey eastward to the States.


On the night of October 6, with Marcus Whitman recently departed from Waiilatpu to journey to the States, an Indian attempted to break into Narcissa Whitman's bedroom. She struggled with him over the door and called out for John (who was actually no where near). The intruder fled.


Mungo MEVWAY and his wife arrived at Waiilatpu the morning of Oct. 7. Mevway left his wife with Narcissa and went to Ft. Walla Walla. W.H. Gray and McKinlay wrote back from Walla Walla that Narcissa should take refuge with them. When Mevway gave her this message, Narcissa belittled the whole incident and returned to normal life at Waiilatpu with the Mevways, John, Feathercap and his wife, Pitiitosh's wife, and Indian McKay. Ellis paid Waiilatpu a visit from Lapwaii.


On October 12, however, Narcissa Whitman agreed to go with Mr. and Mrs. McKinlay to stay at Ft. Walla Walla. Lapwaii also had trouble with nearby Indians and the Spaldings came for refuge at Ft. Walla Walla on Oct. 22. Shortly after, Narcissa Whitman left Ft. Walla Walla for more comfortable accommodations at Wascopam Mission down-river at the Dalles.


On November 11, 1842, Elija WHITE, Thomas MCKAY, interpreters Cornelius ROGERS and Baptiste DORION, went to investigate the Indian troubles at Waiilatpu and Lapwaii. Philo LITTLEJOHN and William GEIGER, on their way from the Willamette Valley to Waiilatpu and Lapwaii, joined them for the journey. Archibald MCKINLAY joined them at Ft. Walla Walla. Traveling with six armed men the party reached Lapwaii on December 3. There and at Waiilatpu, discussions with the Cayuse calmed down the hostilities. The party returned to the Dalles on Christmas Day 1842.


According to Daniel Lee and Elija White, writing in later histories, the Nez Perces and the Cayuses codified laws at this time and agreed to elect over-all leaders. (Writing at Wascopam at the time, Daniel Lee mentioned Narcissa's visit as well as White and the other travelers but mentioned no Indian troubles.) According to Narcissa Whitman very few Indians remained in the region at this time, most having abandoned the mill-less Waiilatpu and others having gone to traditional winter lodges. Narcissa wrote that she didn't "think much of the new Indian agent" and that White's threats of troops had upset the Cayuse. His interpreter Dorion also apparently had told them that Marcus Whitman would return with American troops. Another meeting with the Indians was scheduled for May 1843.


Sometime during December 1842, the SPALDINGs and the LITTLEJOHNs returned to Lapwaii mission. Shortly after they passed through Waiilatpu along the way, the mill at Waiilatpu burned--Narcissa surmised that this was an accident because the Cayuse Indians (most of whom grew wheat) seemed genuinely upset at the loss of the mill.



[SOURCES: the roster of Medorum CRAWFORD appears in Sources of Oregon History, vol. 1, in Bancroft's History of Oregon, p.256, and in Lang's Personal Reminiscences of the Pioneers, p. 249. In his (published) journal, Crawford also listed families already settled in the Yamhill district when he arrived. Lansford HASTINGS wrote a trail guide]


 In winter of 1842, Marcus WHITMAN and Asa L. LOVEJOY were about two weeks' travel beyond Taos on their journey from Oregon to the States. Whitman struck out alone at this point hoping to reach an eastbound company of trappers at Bent's Fort in time to join them. Instead, Whitman lost his way, wandered, and arrived at Bent's long after Lovejoy. Meanwhile, Lovejoy had implored the trappers to wait for Whitman while he searched for him. Whitman parted from Lovejoy at Bent's Fort and headed east with the trappers arriving in St. Louis in February 1843. [Lovejoy's account of the eastward journey appears in full in H.O. Lang's Personal Reminiscences of the Early Pioneers.]


Mount St. Helens erupted December 12, 1842. In Oregon, the winter of 1842-43 was exceptionally cold; ice blocked the Columbia River until March 13, 1843.


[Oregon Trail journals for 1842 by Medorem Crawford, John C. Fremont, Lansford Hastings, Asa L. Lovejoy, Obadiah Oakly, and Gertrude Smith (daughter of Darlin Smith); reminiscences by Vandeman Bennett, F.X. Mattieu, Sidney W. Moss, and Elbridge Trask.]





In February 1843, Marcus WHITMAN, head of American Board Missions in Oregon, arrived at St. Louis after a winter journey from Oregon with Asa LOVEJOY. Lovejoy, who had parted company with Whitman at Bent's Fort (Colorado) made his way westward to Ft. Hall during the early part of 1843. Meanwhile, Whitman continued east to New England and visited Washington D.C. and Boston.




In April and May 1843, emigrants gathered in the Independence, Missouri region; they came from throughout Missouri and various nearby states, traveling in groups under independent leadership and without an over-all organization for a wagon train beyond the Missouri border.


In mid-May, the groups united into one large wagon train. THE WAGONS AND EMIGRANTS SET OUT from Independence, Missouri, on June 1, 1843. Marcus WHITMAN hurried to catch up with the wagon train and joined them AT THE PLATTE. (He had arrived in St Louis from Oregon in February of 1843 and then traveled to Washington D.C and Boston. He was at the Shawnee Mission on May 28)


Capt. John GANTT was hired in Independence as the caravan's pilot to Ft. Hall. AT THE KANSAS RIVER, the overlanders chose leadership for the troop of 700 to 900 people and around 120 wagons: Peter H. BURNETT as captain, J.W. NESMITH as sergeant and nine men as councilors. William MARTIN became the leader when Burnett resigned about 7 days into the march.


A party of several lay brothers with Fathers Peter DEVOS and Adrian HOEKEN had been dispatched by the Catholic Church from St. Louis slightly ahead of the 1843 wagon train. The caravan with Burnett caught up with them at the Kansas River crossing.


They divided into the Cow Column and Light Column AT THE BIG BLUE RIVER. Jesse APPLEGATE took command of the wagons, herders, and slower moving travelers.


Early in the journey, the wife of John HOBSON, an Oregon-bound settler, died of illness and Marcus Whitman promised to take in the two small Hobson daughters at Waiilatpu Mission in Oregon.


John C. FREMONT (1813-1890, a lieutenant in the engineer corps) led his second EXPLORING EXPEDITION during 1843. His troops left the Missouri and Kansas rivers junction on May 2, traveling slightly behind the 1843 wagon train. They turned off the emigrant road at Soda Springs to explore the Great Salt Lake.


Mishaps along the Trail: Mary FURLONG, a small girl traveling with the Applegate party, was frightened by the sight of an Indian and fell into the campfire; badly burned, she was wrapped by her mother in a sheet of tar. Joel HEMBREE, age approximately six, was run over by a wagon. A young man named Edward STEVENSON drowned in the Big Sandy River (a tributary of the Green River) on August 9.


The civilian caravan from Missouri reached Ft. Hall by late August. GRANT, the HBC commander in charge of Ft. Hall, advised the emigrants about the Trail ahead of them. They rejected REMEAU of the HBC's offer to guide them, preferring Marcus Whitman. On his way east, he had left a letter of travel directions at Green River. A.L. LOVEJOY (who went east with Whitman in the winter of 1842-43) met the wagon train in 1843 AT FT. HALL and returned to Oregon.


Near the vicinity of the AMERICAN FALLS ON THE SNAKE River, William J. MARTIN with John GANTT led a portion of the emigrants ONTO THE TRAIL FOR CALIFORNIA. STICCUS, a Cayuse leader sent by the then-ailing H.H.Spalding from Lapwaii, piloted the rest of the travelers from the Blue Mountains into the Columbia River region.


Further west along the trail from Ft. Hall, at the Malheur River, Joseph B. CHILES and Pierson B. READING split from the caravan to go to Sutter's Fort in California.


Marcus Whitman, often traveling ahead of the main party, piloted the emigrants to Oregon after Ft. Hall. The company reached FT. BOISE (commanded by Payette) on September 20.


Meeting STICCUS along the way (before Sticcus had reached the main caravan of travelers), Whitman traveled far ahead with a small party.


Mrs. RUBEY died of illness and was buried at Grand Ronde on October 1, 1843.


By this point on the trail, many of the travelers were destitute. James WATERS, with the vanguard of the 1843 trail travelers, rushed ahead to Ft. Vancouver. He returned to the main body of the caravan with much needed supplies, provided by Waters and Dr. John McLoughlin on credit.


Other travelers, rather than traveling directly to Ft. Walla Walla, took a 90-mile detour to the mission at Waiilatpu. The 1843 trail emigrants nearly depleted the Whitmans' store of food.


On the last leg of the journey, in Columbia River rapids near the Dalles, a canoe accident drowned Edward APPLEGATE (son of Jesse and Melinda), Cornelius STRINGER, and MCCLELLAND and crippled Elisha Applegate (son of Linsay and Betsy).


In the region around the Cascades, William MCDANIEL, OTEY, and B. HAGGARD lost the trail and wandered for 20 miles before finding the Columbia River shore.


The 1843 wagon train trickled into the Willamette Valley over a period of weeks: some found a way through the mountains or along the shore with wagons and cattle; some went by way of Lapwaii, Waiilatpu and Walla Walla; and still others went directly to Ft. Walla Walla where they embarked in canoes down the Columbia River. Most had reached the Willamette Valley by late November 1843.


Meanwhile FREMONT'S EXPEDITION had rejoined the Oregon Trail from their side trip to the Great Salt Lake. At a little bay along the Columbia River just below the Cascades, Fremont encounter a German botanist named LUDER who was working on his own.


The company with Fremont arrived November 4, 1843 at the Dalles, Oregon. Fremont's Expedition continued on to California after purchasing supplies at Ft. Vancouver. They crossed the summit of the Sierra Nevadas in January 1844, on their way to Sutter's Fort, California. Back in the States, Fremont was awarded a presidential nomination as "Pathfinder"; he also won a popular reputation as the "discoverer" of Oregon.


A FINAL NOTE: On September 28,1843, J.W. Nesmith passed the Lone Pine, a frequently noted Trail landmark about 30 trail miles before the valley of Grande Ronde. By the time Lt. Fremont and his troops passed this place, someone had cut down the tree. The Lone Pine, which lent its name to the present-day city of La Pine, was only a stump after 1843.




Sometime during 1843:


The Hudson Bay Company built FT. VICTORIA on Vancouver Island.


Father J.B. BOLDUC opened the ST. JOSEPH School for boys in Champoeg.


The ship Fama arrived in Oregon with the Francis W. PETTYGROVEs, the Philip FOSTERs, the Peter HATCHes, and Nathan MACK.


Pierre PEPIN, who had boarded at the home of widow Nancy GOODRICH at Ft. Vancouver in 1838, returned to Oregon. In 1843 Pepin fulfilled his vow to marry Nancy Goodrich's daughter Susanne once she was of age.


Edmund SYLVESTER arrived on his brother's ship, the Pallas, which was importing Indian goods to Oregon for Cushing and Company. The Pallas left Oregon with 300-400 barrels of salmon.


On January 2, a daughter was born to the PERKINS at the Dalles. A man named COOPER arrived at the Clatsop Mission area on January 3.


In January 1843, Rev. James OLNEY (one of the Lausanne missionary reinforcement of 1840) drowned. He had worked as a carpenter for the Methodist Mission at Salem.


Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius ROGERS, Nathaniel CROCKER, 2 1/2 year-old, Aurelia LESLIE, and two Clatsop Indians were drowned in the Willamette Falls in February, 1843. The youngest Leslie daughter, an infant, was at that time staying with the W.H. Grays. Narcissa Whitman [letter, 2/7/43] described the accident: "the river was very high, the current frightfully rapid, boiling and whirling…


They had made one portage on foot just above the main fall as far as the trail will admit, and got into the canoe, as is usually done, and the canoe was dropped down to the landing place with a strong rope….All got in except Mr. Raymond and four Indians who had the management of the rope; they dropped down to the landing place in safety and Dr. White stepped on a log [going from boat to shore] and instantly the canoe took a sheer out into the current…it shot the canoe into the suction of the falls…at once as to sweep them over the frightful precipice in an instant….Two Indians were saved by plunging into the current….individuals below the falls [saw] the canoe [make] the final plunge, [and] instantly came to their relief. Four were seen swimming for a time but three of them sank almost immediately; one of them continued swimming until the boat came within 30 yards of him when he sunk in a whirl 'to rise no more'. This was Brother Rogers."


In February, Elija WHITE operated on Rev. FROST's throat at Clatsop and, February 27, left to return to Ft. Vancouver.


In February 1843, Narcissa Whitman was writing from Wascopam; the Perkins had invited her to stay with them after her stay at Walla Walla. By this time, SPALDING had returned to Lapwaii taking the LITTLEJOHNs with him and GEIGER was at Waiilatpu.


On March 31, Narcissa Whitman wrote she had recently heard that the Indians were preparing for war. White's mention of force to keep peace had been taken as a threat. White's interpreter Dorion had also told them that Marcus Whitman would return to Oregon with American troops.


The first government in Oregon independent of the Hudson Bay Company and the missions was born out of the WOLF ORGANIZATION. (Meetings held in 1841 seemed to have produced no permanent organization). The first meeting, on February 2, 1843 gave the loosely affiliated group its name; a small group met at the new Oregon Institute to discuss protecting herds of cattle and horses from predators. At the meeting, chaired by I.L. BABCOCK, W.H. Gray moved (and Force seconded) that a committee of six be chosen. As reported by Secretary W.H. WILLSON, the committee included GRAY, BEERS, GERVAIS, WILLSON, BARNABY, and Lucia (LUCIER).


The next meeting was held March 6, 1843 at the home of Joseph Gervais in Champoeg. James O'Neil chaired and George LeBreton was Secretary (Montour declined). W.H.Gray was chosen Treasurer and a panel of 6 were elected to verify claims of hunters who killed predators (Charles McKay, Gervais, Montour, S. Smith, Dougherty, O'Neil, Shortess, and Lucier--Clark and Willson declined). LeBreton and Bridges were to collect a herd-tax in order to pay for these bounties. The committee chosen at the last meeting gave a report. A new committee was appointed to consider civil and military organization (Babcock, chair, White, O'Neil, Shortess, Newell, Lucier, Gervais, Hubbard, McKay, W.H. Gray, and Smith, with G. Gay deleted).


On March 25, 1843, Robert SHORTESS, with A.E. WILSON as secretary, created a strongly-worded petition against the Hudson Bay Company and the British that was signed by 65 settlers at Oregon City, mostly new arrivals in Oregon. Shortess (and/or a courier for the most eastern part of the journey) delivered the petition to William C. SUTTON for delivery to the U.S. Congress (Sutton was at this time already well east on the Trail). Shortess returned to Oregon City with the 1843 westbound wagon train in September.


March through May 1843, more meetings were held about forming a PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT IN OREGON. The Wolf Organization legislative committee met in the buildings of the newly opened Methodist Oregon Institute. They planned a referendum on creating an independent government in Oregon and selected a slate of candidates.


In April 1843, Rev. FROST arrived from the Clatsop Mission to visit Abernethy and Waller in Oregon City.


Elija WHITE, who had a Congressional appointment as Oregon's Indian Agent, was also acting as a peace officer in early 1843. By April he was holding 8 in the Oregon City jail and had punished two Americans for selling liquor and operating a distillery. In April 1843, there was trouble with Indians living near the mission at the Dalles. Elija WHITE, LEBRETON, and an Indian interpreter went to the Dalles settle the problems. [Note: the "April" date for trouble at the Dalles (taken from a 19th cen. history) does not jibe with the information from N.Whitman's letters listed below.]


On April 3, Grant brought Narcissa WHITMAN from the Dalles to Ft. Walla Walla. HINDS, PERKINS and Elija WHITE joined them. On May 23, 1843 Narcissa WHITMAN attended a huge convocation at Waiilatpu with PEOPEOMOXMOX, ELLIS, and other Cayuses and Nez Perces, to make peace. MCKINLAY brought assurances from Dr. McLoughlin that no war was intended. Narcissa Whitman later wrote that the Walla Walla Valley Indians were now focused on a threat from the Americans and lamented that White was "ignorant of Indian nature."


After the meet, on June 1, McKinlay and Iatin escorted Narcissa to Ft. Vancouver with Iatin returning to the interior with dispatches.


Rev. David LESLIE returned to Salem from Hawaii in late April 1843 on the ship Llama. Margaret Jewett (Smith) BAILEY returned to Oregon from Hawaii on the same ship. Daniel Lee met the ship at Ft. Vancouver.


On May 2, a general meeting was held about forming a PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT with I.L. Babcock as chair and Willson and LeBreton as secretaries. The report of the legislative committee was refused and the gathering decided to take a vote on the whole notion of forming any government at all. A "great majority" moved to the right side of the room in favor of government and most of the dissenters left the meeting. (The Archives do not support the often repeated story that the measure passed by the slimmest of votes--by only 2 French Canadians who joined the "American side". Newell names more than 2 French Canadians or ex-HBC employees who voted for government; Hines list of those opposed to government includes the names of some who were in favor and even some who held office).


A slate of candidates were elected for a later referendum on provisional government. (A.E. Wilson, supreme judge, W.H. Willson, Treasurer, LeBreton, Court Clerk, Meek, Sheriff, Burns, Judson, and A.T. Smith, magistrates, John Howard, Major of Constables, C. McKay, Wm. McCarty, and S.Smith, captains, and, as constables, Ebbert, Bridges, Lewis, Campo, and Matthieu.)


From May 16, 1843 to June 28 the legislative committee, appointed at the May 2 meeting, met to draft the articles of a constitution. The group met in various sub-committees and included Hill, Shortess, Newell, Beers, Hubbard, Gray, O'Neil, Moore, and Dougherty.


L.W. HASTINGS LED A COMPANY TOWARD CALIFORNIA from Champoeg, Oregon, on May 30. Most of these were Oregon Trail travelers of 1842, now bound for California.


Hastings arrived at the Sacramento River with only 16 men, about two-thirds of his original party. Although this party faced Indian attacks at the Shasta mountains and Sacramento River, there had been no fatalities on the way; about a third of the company had turned around and headed back to Oregon when they met a NORTH-BOUND GROUP FROM CALIFORNIA.


L.P. LESSE and John MCCLURE led the party who reached the Willamette Valley from California in the summer of 1843. Henry BLACK and Joel WALKER returned with this company to Oregon in 1843, driving a herd of horses and cattle.


The LITTLEJOHNs' only son drowned in the mill-race at Lapwaii in the summer of 1843.


On July 5, 1843, a gathering at CHAMPOEG voted on a GOVERNMENT REFERENDUM and slate of candidates proposed during the earlier meetings of the Wolf Organization. Hines chaired the meeting and Moore read the recommendations of the legislative committee. The voters divided the Valley into four districts, each with a justice of the peace and constables, and elected a triple-executive (three presidents), a supreme judge, a secretary, a treasurer, and the four magistrates with their force of constables under captains and a major. All together the police force numbered about a dozen.


Elected and sworn in July 5, 1843: David Hill, Alanson Beers, and Joseph Gale, the Executive, G.W. LeBreton, Court Clerk/Recorder, Robert Moore, magistrate (in place of Burns), L.H. Judson, magistrate, James A. O'Neil, magistrate of Yam Hill, J.L. Meek, Sheriff, C. Compo, constable, W.H. Willson, Treasurer, and Joel Turnham, constable (in place of Bridges). Others were presumably sworn in later and were likely the same as those nominated on May 2 (However, Amos Cook, not listed on the May slate of candidates, was sworn in as a constable). On September 13, Osborne Russell was appointed Supreme Judge.


After more than a month of treatment at Ft. Vancouver for illness, and visiting in the Willamette for most of July, Narcissa Whitman went to visit the Birnies at Ft. George, Astoria. Daniel Lee and David Leslie escorted her to arrive at the coast August 11. After the visit (made just before some of the Methodist missionaries would sail for Hawaii) Jason Lee escorted her as far as Clatsop and Daniel Lee and Leslie the rest of the way to the Willamette.


Due to ill health, a disorder of his throat, Rev. J. H. FROST resigned from the mission at Clatsop and returned with his family to the States in August 1843. The DANIEL LEEs and the RICHMONDs (formerly of the Nisqually Mission) left on this same ship, the Diamond under Capt. Fowler. Joseph L. and Elizabeth (Winn) PARRISH were posted to the Methodist mission at mouth of Columbia River as replacements for the Frosts.


Lucyanna LEE, the HINES, and Jason Lee also left Oregon for Hawaii in the fall of 1843 hoping to find a ship bound for the States. (They arrived February 1844 in the Islands). Ira BABCOCK, then on his way back to Oregon via Hawaii, told Lee that Lee had been replaced as head of the Methodist mission. Lee left for the States by himself in 1843, and Lucyanna Lee returned to Oregon with the Hines in June of 1844. (This same ship from Hawaii to Oregon in 1844 also carried Lee's replacement, Rev. George GARY and the BABCOCKs. Gary would close most of the Methodist Mission operations in Oregon.)


Marcus WHITMAN, who had arrived at Waiilatpu in early September, had made arrangements for the overlanders at the mission and then made calls as a physician to Lapwaii, Tshimiakan, and the Willamette Valley. During the last week of September 1843, Narcissa and Marcus Whitman were finally reunited. They took the motherless Hobson girls with them from Ft. Walla Walla to Waiilatpu. By late December, Narcissa was so ill she feared death but had recovered by the end of January, 1844.


Late in 1843, Father DEVOS sailed for Europe to recruit more Catholic missionaries. (He returned in 1844 with 5 priests, 6 nuns, and 7 lay brothers.)


[SOURCES: Oregon Trail journals for 1843 by Jesse Applegate (lived 1811-88), Peter H. Burnett, Myron Eells, John C. Fremont, Richard Hill Graham, Laura Hawn, Overton Johnson, Edward Henry Lenox, James Willis Nesmith, William T. Newby, Pierson Barton Reading, Richard Rowland, Alva C. Riggs Shaw, John M. Shively, Sidney Smith, Theodore Talbot, and William H. Winter. Reminiscences by Jesse A. Applegate (lived 1835-1919; his adventures as a boy on the trail are a delight to read), L.C. Cooper, William Doke, Matthew C. Field, E.A. Farwell, Ninevah Ford, Mary Furlong, Nancy M. Hembree, Nancy Dodson Hembree, Absolom Hembree, Sarah Hill, P.C. Keizur, Thomas Keizur, Charlotte Matheny Kirkwood, Jesse Looney, N.P. Mack, John Burch McClane, Samuel Penter, Francis W. Pettygrove, and Daniel Waldo.]


The demise of the early provisional government (as well as of the Methodist Missions) began early in 1844. The arrival of the great migration of 1843 in November, contention between the United States and Britain over jurisdiction, and U.S. Congress's legislation on Oregon ended the early pioneer era.


SKETCHY NOTES for 1844; your suggestions are welcome---see the address at the bottom of the page. 


This year, a Presidential election year in the States, pitted the Whigs and Henry Clay against the Democrats and James K. Polk. The Whigs were conciliatory towards the admission of slave-holding Texas and wished to settle the Oregon boundary conflict without war with Britain or Mexico. The Democrats balanced the north and south wings of their party by calling for the admission of a slave Texas and a free Oregon; they claimed the Continent west of the Rockies and north to 54o 40' a "clear and unquestionable" part of the United States.


January 1844: Waiilatpu hosted the Littlejohns, Alex (a Frenchman), the Looneys with their 6 children, Mr. East and family, a young man named Smith, David Malin, Perrin Whitman, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, the 2 Hobson girls, Mary Ann Bridger, and Helen Mar Meek. Food was scanty.


Looney went to live at "the Prince's house" (Tilaukaikt?). Mr. East took the widow Eyres child with him to Lapwaii.


Writing in February from Salem where she worked at the Oregon Institute, Chloe Clarke Willson wrote that murders and unrest had been reported among the local Indians.


In 1844, a party of 15 Klamaths and Molallas (these tribes were allied and intermarrying) came to the Willamette Valley and camped with the Calapuya. At this time Elija White negotiated an "agreement" with these tribes to be governed by the same rules as the Nez Perce (that is, to choose an over-all leader to negotiate and to obey laws to preserve the peace). Cockstock represented a group that dissented from this agreement.


[Like most Oregon Indians, the Molallas were not a single tribal entity but a very loose affiliation of families and clans who spoke the same dialect. They recognized no supreme leader but chose a "chief" according to their particular village or for a particular task (i.e. war chief, hunting chief). No leader had legal or dictatorial power; he was simply followed by those who agreed with him.


Apparently, between 1780 and 1820, the Molallas had been displaced towards the southwest up to the east side of the Willamette River by the invasion and withdrawal of the Paiutes. The Paiutes had forced most Oregon tribes to flee north of the Columbia River, drove a wedge between the Cayuse and Molallas, and left the Deschutes area unoccupied. When the Paiutes withdrew, circa 1820, the Klamath moved north and other tribes came back to traditional lands. After 1820, northwestern Shehaptins (the Tenino/Tequina Warm Springs Walla Wallas), however, perhaps occupied some of the Molallas' former territory. Although the Molallas' language and house style was most similar to the Cayuse (a Plateau tribe neighboring the Molallas to north and northeast), they associated more with the Klamaths to the south. Their territory, a flexible region for this semi-nomadic people, was west of the Cascades and centered on the mid-Deschutes and Warm Springs area].


Jason and Lucyanna Lee and the Hines arrived in Hawaii from Oregon on the Columbia in February 1844.


Babcock, on his way through the Islands back to Oregon, had told Lee that Lee had been replaced as head of the Methodist Missions in Oregon by Rev. George Gary. Jason Lee left Hawaii on the Hoa Tita, leaving his daughter in the care of the Hines. He sailed by way of Vera Cruz and arrived in New York in May 1844. He died within a year, March 1845.


March 4, 1844: At Champoeg, a meeting was held to consider a petition to the U.S. Congress for extension of U.S. authority over Oregon. Elija White apparently organized this meeting but did not attend. According to John McLoughlin, the meeting was boycotted by most Americans due to their dislike for White. Although at the time, English-speaking settlers out numbered French-speakers (about 234 to 122), the majority at the meeting were French Canadians.


At the meeting, Father Langlois presented a petition signed by the French-speaking settlers which suggested a simpler form of local government free of association with the United States or Britain. With the Americans arguing against local government and the French Canadians in favor, every American-backed proposal was voted down. The original "Memorial" (for U.S. jurisdiction and strongly anti-British) was referred for consideration by a future meeting. (It was presented to Congress December 2, 1845 but prompted no further action).


[A photostat of the French Canadian petition, with a translation into English, appears in OHQ 13 (1912). A list of the signers of this petition (often mistakenly dated May 2, 1843 but properly March 4, 1844) appears in Jackson's Children of the Fur Trade, pg. 300. OHQ 38 has an article about the meetings in 1844 which includes a photostat of the American "Memorial" and extensive quotes from Dr. John McLoughlin regarding Willamette Valley government meetings 1843-44.]


Sydney Smith presided over the meeting. (He was mistakenly called to chair although Solomon Smith of Clatsop was originally proposed as chairman--family records support this tale of how the "wrong Smith" became chairman. To further confuse matters, Smith signed the "Memorial" to Congress from right to left creating a signature that looks more like S. Leets Jr.) Other officers were vice-presidents Joseph Gervais and Francis Rivet and secretaries Charles E. Pickett and S.M. Holderness.


In Oregon City in the evening of March 4, 1844, a melee on the Willamette River landing left 2 Americans and one Molalla Indian dead. This brief skirmish was known as the Cockstock Affair and is described in totally contradictory accounts in H.H. Bancroft's History of Oregon and H.O. Lang's History of the Willamette Valley. [Refs re Cockstock: OHQ 13, 140-59, OHQ 34, 227-9, OHQ 38, 427-8, and OHQ 40, 24-25; also Bancroft, vol. I, pp274-76, Lang, pp279-281, and Victor, Early Indian Wars…, pp73-76; summonses in Provisional and Territorial Papers nos. 103, 104, 107, and 475]


One account: George W. LeBreton died 5 days after being wounded in the Cockstock incident. He had been brought to Ft. Vancouver for care by Mr. [Henry N.?] Peers. [The HBC's George B. Roberts wrote about this to F. F. Victor in 1879. H.O. Lang's history says LeBreton died on the spot and Rodgers lingered at Ft. Vancouver]. The other white fatality was Sterling Rodgers. [An S.P. Rodgers is listed as an overland arrival of 1843.]


On March 25, 1844, Sheriff Meek delivered summonses to 16 witnesses as ordered by Oregon Supreme Judge Osborn Russell: Walter Pomery, Peter Hatch, F.W. Pettygrove, John P. Brooks, Allen Davie, Philip Foster, J.M.Wair, W. Wilson, J.W. Nesmith, J. McCadden, James Houck, Wm. Remwick, A.L. Lovejoy, J. Daugherty, James Conner, Elija White, and Samuel Gardener. The examination was to take place at Hugh Burn's residence west of the Willamette Falls.


March 9, 1844: Due to the Cockstock Affair, a meeting was held at the home of Andre LaChapelle in Champoeg to organize a militia. Called the Oregon Rangers, the militia began with an organization of 25 men (the roster was recorded March 16, 1844).


On April 29, one of the 3 leaders of the militia, Thomas Keizer, wrote to the Executive of the Oregon Provisional Government requesting means and munitions. At this time the Rangers had no charter (and no instance to fight Indians). Keizer was elected to the Provisional Government the next month, and, when the legislature finally met, it adopted without modification the report of the Committee on Military Affairs.


May 14, 1844: About 200 voters turned out for the election of a new Provisional Government for Oregon. Elected were: P.G. Stewart, Osborn Russell, and W.J. Bailey, the Executive, Dr. I.L. Babcock, Supreme Judge, Dr. John E. Long, Clerk and Recorder, Philip Foster, Treasurer, and Joseph L. Meek, Sheriff. The Legislature included Robert Newell, Peter Burnett, M.M. McCarver, Matthew Gilmore, A.L. Lovejoy, David Hill, Daniel Waldo, and Thomas Keizer.


The Hines, Lucyanna Lee, and the Babcocks sailed from the Islands to Oregon on the Chenamus under Capt. Couch in April 1844. [Some accounts say they arrived in May (Chloe Willson) and others place Gary on the same ship (Brewer); the voyage from Hawaii took about a month minimum.]


David Leslie returned from Hawaii on or before May 1, 1844 (diary of Chloe Clarke Willson, Salem)


Gary arrived in Oregon in June 1844 and dissolved all the Methodist missions except for the one at the Dalles under (Perkins? and) Brewer (which soon was under the Presbyterian Missions).


On June 18, 1844, the Legislature met for the first time (Long and Gilmore did not attend). Peter Burnett acted as recorder and M.M. McCarver was chosen speaker.


The next day, June 19, the Legislature considered rules with Lovejoy, Burnett, and Waldo the committee in charge. (The day before the legislature had also appointed committees for Ways and Means, Military Affairs, Land Claims, Roads, and Judiciary.)


The first bill passed June 22 to create the additional district of Clatsop out of Tuality and replace the term "district" with "county". The northern boundary of Oregon became the Columbia River and the boundaries of Yam Hill County were altered. On June 24, the Legislature dealt with taxes, roads, and temperance. Later acts established the militia, a single-person executive, individual court justices, among other changes to the previously adopted "Laws of Iowa". These and other acts--such as revision of the land claim law and a ban on both slavery and free Blacks in Oregon--completely transformed the original Provisional Government adopted in 1843.


[Sources on the Provisional Legislature, 1844, are in the Oregon State Archives Mss 1125-1131 and 1381; H.O. Lang reports and tabulates the 1844 election in History of the Willamette Valley, pg. 281]


Late 1844: Father DeVos returned from Europe with a recruitment of 5 priests, 7 nuns, and 5 lay clergymen.


Late 1844, the Hines and Lucyanna Lee left Oregon for the States. Mrs. Hines agonized during the whole voyage about having to return Lucyanna to her father. By the time the ship arrived in New York, Jason Lee had died without seeing his only child again.


October 15, 1844, M.R. Alderman--who did not recognize property rights for any member of the HBC--violently ejected Dugald McTavish from his own home and land. [McTavish had filed a plat with surveyor Jesse Applegate on December 16, 1843 and the Provisional Government recognized (and taxed) the claims of British subjects in Oregon.] Sheriff Meek served Alderman with a summons to criminal court on October 28, 1844. In 1845, this same Alderman made similar attacks against John McLoughlin, David McLoughlin, and Jacob Hawn and was again arrested.




"Word goes out there is a wagon road to the Pacific, and the eager throng each year wear the Trail deeper and deeper; the Mormons now appear with their ox wagons and carts, their hand-carts and wheelbarrows, to deepen the Trail and line it with their dead--this in 1846-47. Then followed the California throng on the Oregon Trail for a thousand miles or more to stir the soil that the wind might carry it away, leaving the sunken pathway a little deeper. This in 1849. Now, again comes the throng--another high tide, to the Oregon Country, when another ten years is tolled off and a great army cover the plains--gold seekers, home builders, religionists, and adventurers of every kind. Now we see the Trail filled with wagons two abreast….The graves have become common; five thousand have died in the one year alone….The trail is now ten feet deep and a hundred wide in many places, but yet destined to be worn deeper and deeper by the return tide of stock in the fullness of time, a million a year for many years, trampling the graves into dust and wearing the Trail into almost incredible widths and depths--fifteen feet deep and two hundred feet wide in one place encountered tells the wonderful story better than song or fiction."


From Ezra Meeker, one of the earliest Oregon Trail historians, The Story of the Lost Trail to Oregon.




A BIBLIOGRAPHY of secondary sources and anthologies of primary sources (such as trail journals) is at Oregon Trail Bibliography. Some specific sources are listed in brackets at the end of each year's entry within this article, Time Frame.



Your comments, additions, and corrections are always welcome. Please contact Pat Kohnen