Joseph Gaston.

Portland, Oregon, its history and builders : in connection with the antecedent explorations, discoveries, and movements of the pioneers that selected the site for the great city of the Pacific (Volume 1) online

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JOSEPH GASTON



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PORTLAND

OREGON



n



ITS HISTORY AND BUILDERS

IN CONNECTION WITH

THE ANTECEDENT EXPLORATIONS, DISCOVERIES

AND MOVEMENTS OF THE PIONEERS THAT

SELECTED THE SITE FOR THE

GREAT CITY OF THE PACIFIC



By JOSEPH GASTON



mUxstraUh



VOLUME I



CHICAGO— PORTLAND
THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING CO.

1911



PREFACE



The preparation of this work was undertaken at the suggestion of the late
Harvey W. Scott. Having prepared a history of the city twenty years ago, and
being famihar with the whole history of Oregon and Portland, the publishers
were anxious to secure his services in bringing out a later and more extended
review of the still greater city. But the hands of the great editor were fully
occupied ; and great cares pressed upon his time and strength. Deeply interested
in this, as in all other things making for the history and development of the city,
he had done so much to build up, he turned to the undersigned and urged him to
undertake the task of which this book is the result ; and at the same time pledging
the assistance of his advice and counsel. His invaluable assistance was not to
be realized. Already overburdened with great work he hoped to accomplish, his
assistance could not be given beyond the generous grant and authority to use any
and all of his many contributions to the history of Portland and Oregon.

To secure the assistance of scholars with experience in particular lines of in-
vestigation, it was deemed important to create an advisory board. And for that
purpose a board of five gentlemen — to wit : Harvey W. Scott, Frederick V. Hol-
man, president of the Oregon historical society, William D. Fenton, vice-presi-
dent of the society, George H. Himes, assistant secretary of the society, and Dr.
George F. Wilson, a leader in his profession, were selected. To these gentle-
men the author is indebted beyond any words to express his obligation. Mr.
Himes, has been a most efficient and enthusiastic aid on many topics ; and has
placed his great collection of material in the rooms of the historical society at
the service of the author. Mr. Holman's monograph on Dr. John McLoughlin,
is the last word on that great character. And to Joseph R. Wilson, D. D., for
his like service on Marcus Whitman, and to Mr. John Gill for his sketch of Jason
Lee, both the author and the subscribers to this work are under obligations that
cannot be expressed in words or measured by dollars. We have in these sketches
of these three great pioneer men, the fairest, most complete and satisfactory rep-
resentation of them ever put in print.

To Mr. Fenton the history is indebted for his faithful review of the life and
services of "Father Wilbur;" and for much important matter relating to laws and
lawyers. And to Dr. Wilson obligations are many for the chapter on the medi-
cal profession, and medical college, and for first hand information about Schwat-
ka's exploratory expedition to Alaska, of which Dr. Wilson was the surgeon.

Acknowledgement is freely made for valuable assistance from many others.
To Mrs. Eva Emery Dye for her chapter on Oregon city ; to and

to General Thos. M. Anderson for much of the chapter on Vancouver; to Colonel
Henry E. Dosch for most of the chapter on the Lewis and Clark Exposition,
to Mr. W. D. B. Dodson of the Evening Telegram for the report on the Oregon
boys in the Spanish war; to W. S. U'Ren for the account of direct legislation;

8



4 PREFACE

to Dr. J. R. Cardwell for horticultural items; to Daniel McAllen for origin of
Lewis and Clark Exposition; to Miss Anna Cremen for accounts of Catholic in-
stitutions and original papers relating to Oregon militia; to Mrs. S. A. Brown for
account of night school and women's union ; to Mr. D. D. Clarke for report on
Bull Run water system; and to Mr, R. P. Blossom for original facts about first
settlers of the city.

And while every possible precaution has been taken to secure accuracy of
statement, it is not to be expected that the work wdll be wholly free from errors.
Investigation shows that the original sources of information, especially where they
are founded upon personal statements, are often confused and contradictory.
The aim and intention has been to show, that in the great purposes to be achieved
by the settlement of Oregon and Portland, and the organization and development
of society and civic institutions, there has been and is a unity in the history and
progress of -the country. That is a greater purpose in any history than exact-
ness in the statement of unrelated facts. And in expressing this final word, it
is a pleasure to be able to state that the citizens of Portland have not only given
this work a more liberal and enthusiastic support than any of its predecessors in
this field of research, but have also supported the History ■ with more liberality
and enthusiasm than has been given to similar undertakings by the same Pub-
lishers in the cities of Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and other like places, where
other histories have been brought out. And for all this we here express our sin-
cere gratitude.

Joseph Gaston.



, -■ v^ - - I ■'•■-)




HARVEY WHITEFIELD SCOTT



3n iWemoriam



"EXTRACTS FROM PUBLIC ADDRESSES OF HARVEY W. SCOTT."

Men yet living, men not yet old, have seen the Oregon country develop from
smallest beginnings to its present greatness (1905). But its present greatness
is only the promise of its future.

Portland is at the point of natural communication and exchange between the
interior and the sea. To this fact Portland owes her existence. This city has
done a mighty work already and is now just getting forward to the stronger posi-
tion which the future is to give her.

Our life, in Oregon, once isolated, is now under the influence of world-wide
conditions. Markets, manners, customs, habits, opinions, faiths are brought under
this all pervading control. Our industrial processes, our social usages, our re-
ligious creeds are all subject to the same law of influence and variation. These
changes come by almost imperceptible gradations, but become very marked from
one generation to another.

Pioneer life is now but a memory. It will soon be but a legend or tradition.
Once we had but a little world of our own. We shall have it no more. The
horizon that once was bounded by our own border enlarges to the horizon of
man.

Just now, we are having in Oregon a material development such as we never
hitherto have known. It is well; we all rejoice at it and all try to promote it;
and yet we should not become so fully occupied with it as to overlook the greater
importance of the other side of life — that is, right development of thought, feel-
ing, character.

The story of the toilsome march of the wagon-trains over the plains will be
received by future generations almost as a legend on the borderland of myth,
rather than as veritable history. Mystery was in the movement, mystery sur-
rounded it. It was the effort of that profound impulse which for a time far pre-
ceding the dawn of history, has pushed our race to discovery and occupation of
western lands.

It is only through industry, stimulated by the instinct for accumulation of
property, that the individual or a people can get forward. Nature made the
Oregon country a paradise ; yet for the native Indian it was no paradise, but
only a sort of dog-hole in which he dwelt in darkness, because he had not the
principle of growth within himself.

As a geographical expression, the west has ever been indeterminate. The
east has been treading on the heels of the west, yet never has overtaken it. Lat-
terly, the west has taken ship on the Pacific and through one of the movements
of history has overtaken the east. America has put a new girdle around the
earth and the west has moved on till it has reached the gateway of the morning

5



6 IN MEMORIAM

over by the Orient. Men of Oregon, of Washington, of California, of Idaho,
of Montana, of Utah, of Colorado, responding to the call of the country, have car-
ried the west on over seas.

It is probable that nothing else has contributed so much to the help of man-
kind in the mass, either in national or moral aspects, as rapid increase of human
intercourse throughout the world. Action and reaction of peoples upon peoples,
of races upon races, are continually evolving activities and producing changes in
the thought and character of all. This intercourse develops the moral forces as
rapidly as the intellectual and material. Populations are stirred profoundly by
all the powers of social agitation, by travel, by rapid movements of commerce, by
daily transmission of news.

The United States has a frontage on the Pacific as well as on the Atlantic
ocean. We must expand in the direction of the Pacific, where the future de-
velopment of our country lies. Over there is China. Over there is India. Over
there are the regions which the energy of the world is now beginning to develop.
This is one of the great movements of history, without any one in particular
bringing it about. It is irresistible; it is one of the onward movements of man-
kind.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I.
1506-1792.

The Land of Myster}' — The Proposition of Columbus — The Dreams of Navi-
gators — The Fabled Strait of Anian — De Fuca's Pretended Discover)- —
Maldonado's Pretended \'oyage — Low's Remarkable Map — Mscaino and
A^ilar Reach the Oregon Coast in 1603 — California an Island — Captain
Cook's Voyage and Death — Beginning of the Fur Trade — Spain Drives
England Out of Xootka Sound, and Then Makes Treat}' of Joint Occu-
pancy — Gray Discovers the Columbia River 17

CHA'PTER IL

1634— 1834.

The Landward Movement West — Two Differing Minds of Civilization, and
Two Differing and Independent Movements of Population, Move West-
ward — The French Catholic on the One Side, and the English Protestant
on the Other — La Salle. Hennepin. Marquette, Jonathan Cars-er, Mac-
kenzie, Pike, Astor, Ashley. Bridger, Bonneville and Wyeth 31

CHAPTER III.

1774— 1814.

The Evolutionary and Political Movements — The Pioneer American Pushing
West — The Revolutionan.- Break-up — George Rogers Clark and Old \'in-
cennes — Thomas Jefferson the Great Colonizer — The Lewis and Clark
Expedition — and Capture of Old Astoria 48

CHAPTER IV.

The Antecedent Geological Preparation of the Country — The Native Indians
— The Fur Trade and Traders — The Hudson Bay Company. McLoughlin.
Ogden — Indian Ideas on Land Tenure — The Possession of the Land, the
Bottom of All Troubles Between Whites and Indians 62

CHAPTER \'.
1834— 1842.

The Native Indian — How the Hudson Bay Company Managed Him — The
Flathead Mission — The Era of Evangelism — The First Missionaries and
Priests — Jason Lee. Marcus Wliitman — Blanchet and De Smet — The In-
dian's Fate and Future — The "Jargon" Language 7^



8 CONTENTS

CHAPTER VI.

The Oregon Trail — What Started the Emigration — The Far-reaching Influence
of the Movement — Lists of Emigrants — The Character of the Emigrants . . 92

CHAPTER VII.
1818— 1844.

Joint Occupancy with England — Free Trade to Oregon — No Man's Land —
The Hudson Bay Company Plays to the American Settlers — The Pro-
visional Government 105

CHAPTER VIII.
1774 — 1846.

The Title to the Country — Titles by Discovery — Paper Titles of Spain, France
and England — Title by Contiguous Settlement and Possession — The Ques-
tion in Politics and in Congress — The Treason of President Polk — Oregon
Saved by American Settlements 134

CHAPTER IX.

1842— 1848.

The Oregon Hall of Fame — Who Saved Oregon, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas
Benton, Hall J. Kelley, Lee, Whitman, McLoughlin, Meek — Abernethy,
Matthieu, Saved by All the Settlers Pulling Together 146

CHAPTER X.

1843— 1847.

Founding a City — Hall Kelley 's Plat — Precedent Efforts — Naming the Town
— Rival Towns with Map — Deep Sea Navigation Controls Location —
Tomahawk Claims — Townsite Titles — William Johnson Was Here First
— First Houses — First Ships and Owners — Preachers, Teachers, Doctors,
and Lawyers 193

CHAPTER XL

1847— 185 1.

The Townsite Proprietors — Map of the Claims — First Preachers — Gold Dis-
covered in California— Teachers, Doctors and Lawyers — First Steamboats
and Builders — First Stores and Shops — First Saw Mill — List of Those
Persons Living Here in i852^List of Old Pioneers Now Living
( Nov. loth, 1910) 206

CHAPTER XII.

1850— 1868.

The First Ferry — The First Wagon Road — The First City Election — Land
Titles, and Litigation Thereon — Judges, Matthew P. Deady and George
H. Williams Decide the Laws Made by the Provisional Government Are
Binding — The Public Levee — General Condition of the Country in 1856,
by H. W. Scott, of the Advisory Board 220



CONTENTS 9

CHAPTER XIII.

1849— 1858.

The Hudson Bay Company Offers to Sell Out — Organization of Territorial
Government — Lane Reaches Oregon City — The First Census of Oregon —
The Territorial and State Seals — Effect of the California Gold — Cost of
Goods — Character of Clothes — Territorial Progress — Discovery of Gold
in Oregon — Organization of State Government — State Officials, Notices of .231

CHAPTER XIV.

1850— 1893.

The Growth in Shipping, Population, Buildings, Newspapers, and Public
Works — The First Cargo of Wheat Shipped Foreign, i868^The Great Fire
of 1873 — Salmon Packing and Export Commences — The Express Com-
panies — The Telegraph Lines Come — The First Mails, Delegate Thurston,
and Postal Business 238

CHAPTER XV.

1850 — 1910.

Portland Water Transportation — The Lot Whitcomb, and Other Steamboats
— Nesmith's Account of the First Ship — Judge Strong's Account of the
First Boats — The Effect of Gold Discoveries in Eastern Oregon — The
Bridge of the Gods, and Other Obstructions to Navigation — The Great
Territory to Be Developed — The Formation of the First Great Oregon
Monopoly — The Oregon Steam Navigation Co. — The Northern Pacific
Railroad Buys Controlling Interest in O. S. N. Co. and Then Fails —
Ainsworth Picks Up the Old Stock for a Trifle — D. P. Thompson Un-
covers Great Profits of O. S. N. Co. — The Jay Gould Scarecrow — Ains-
worth Sells Co. to Henry Villard — The Oregon Steam Navigation Com-
pany — The Father of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company — River
and Ocean Steamers and Sail Vessels 258

CHAPTER XVI.

1863 — 1910.

Development of the Oregon Railroad System — First Money Subscribed, and
First Surveys — The Land Grants, and Land Grant Companies — Schemes
of the Californians, and Contest for the Land Grants — The Oregon Rail-
road and Navigation Company — The Portland, Dallas and Salt Lake Prop-
osition — Notices of Leading Actors in the Work — The Land Grant Law-
suit — Lands and Values — The Last Lands Granted by Congress in Aid of
Railroads — The Advent of Electric Railroads — List of Roads and Mileage
in Operation, 1910 — The Portland City Street Railway System 280

CHAPTER XVII.
1864 — 1910.

Steamboats and Shipping — Growth and General Improvements — Exports of
Produce, Lumber and Gold Dust — First Cargo of Wheat, and Present
Crop — Manufacture and Export of Flour — Review of City's Growth of
Commerce — Manufacture and Export of Lumber — Manufacture of Furni-
ture — Manufacturers of Iron and Steel — Manufacture and Export of Beer
and Hops 309



10 CONTENTS

CHAPTER XVIII.
185 1 — 1910.

The City Government — The Charters — The Succession of Mayors — The Pres-
ent Organization — The Public UtiHties — Development of the City 336

CHAPTER XIX.

1825 — 1910.

Wheat, Flour, and Dairying — Sheep, Wool, and Woolen Manufactures —
Horticulture and Export of Fruit — Live Stock and Meat Consumption .... 347

CHAPTER XX.

1833—1910-
The First Schools in Old Oregon — The First Schools in Oregon — The First
Schools in Portland — Organization of the Public Schools — History of the
Public Schools — Tabitha Brown's School — Denominational and Private
Schools — Colleges and Universities — Libraries, Reading Rooms and
Museums 365

CHAPTER XXI.

1834 — 1910.

The First Churches — The Development of the Churches — The Groups of
Great Preachers — The Founding of Sectarian Schools — The Steady Growth
of Religious Work — Notable Characters, Roberts, Wilbur, Blanchet, Scott,
Atkinson, Fierens, Lindsley, Morris, Christie and Stephen Wise 407

CHAPTER XXII.

i860 — 1910.

The Kind Hearts and Willing Hands — Portland's Benevolences — Hospitals,
Homes, and Noble Women 447

CHAPTER XXIII.

1839 — 1910.

The Pioneer Newspaper, with Much Local History — ^The Pioneer Printers —
Fleming, Craig, et al. — The Oregonian — Various Other Newspapers and
Their Editors 481

CHAPTER XXIV.

1859—1910-
Pioneers Days, Legal Tender — The Great Gold Discovery — The Beaver
Money Mint — ^The First Bank and Banker — The Vicissitudes of the Banks
— The Present Banks — The Foreign Banks — Financial Institutions — The
Financial Situation 5^1

CHAPTER XXV.

1850 — 1910.

Doctors and Medical Education — Dentists and Dental College — Sanitoriums
— Health and Sanitation — Parks and Play Grounds 536



CONTENTS 11

CHAPTER XXVI.

1845— 1910.

The Lawyers that Laid Foundations — The Laws They Made — Their Services
to the State — Legislation by the People 545

CHAPTER XXVn.

1858 — 1910.

The First Military Company — The Indian Wars — The Grand Army of the
Republic — Portland's Part in the War with Spain 568

CHAPTER XXVIII.

1874— 1905.

The First Portland Exposition — The Old Mechanics' Fair — The Merchants
and Manufacturers Exposition — The Lewis & Clark Exposition — Styles of
Architecture — The Great Flood 583

CHAPTER XXIX.
The Benefactors — The Literary People — Historians, Poets and Story Tellers 590

CHAPTER XXX.

The Exposition of the City — Its Commanding Position — The Resources that
Sustain It — Its Great Future 609

CHAPTER XXXI.

1850 — 1910.

The Social Life — Economics, Prices, and Wages — Economics, Morals and
Politics — The Political and Economic Drift — The Lesson of It All 623

CHAPTER XXXII.
1825 — 1910.

Vancouver — First White Settlement in Old Oregon — The Governor of the
Vast Wilderness — The Character of Old Vancouver — ^The Disputed Hud-
son's Bay Company Title — Modern Vancouver — Great Prospects in the
Future — The Home of Great Enterprises 641

CHAPTER XXXIII.

Historical Sketch of Oregon City by Eva Emery Dye, Author of "McLough-
lin and Old Oregon." "McDonald of Oregon." and "The Conquest." 650



INTRODUCTION



"Westward the course of Empire takes its way;
The four first acts already past;
The fifth shall close the drama with the day;
Time's noblest offspring is the last."

— Bishop Berkley.

Prophecies: "Fixity of residence and thickening of population are the prime
requisites of civilization; and hence it will be found, that, as in Egypt where
great civilization was developed in a narrow valley hemmed in by deserts, and in
Greece limited to a peninsula bounded by the sea on one side, and mountains on
the other, when the Caucasian race, startfng from India and pursuing its western
course around the earth, shall reach the shores of the Great Pacific ocean, it
will dam up in the strip of country between the Rocky mountains and the
sea, and there in the most dense population, produce the greatest civilization on
the earth." (Vestiges of Creation, 1838, anonymoiis, supposed to be written by
Robert Chambers of Edinburgh, Scotland.)

The French naturalist, Lacepede, and one of Napoleon's ministers, writing to
Jefferson in 1804 said: "If your nation can establish any easy communication
by rivers, canals and short portages between New York and a city that must 6e
built at the mouth of the Columbia, what a route for the commerce of Europe,
Asia, and America."

"The city carrying on a trade with the islands of the Pacific, and the people
about the shores of the ocean, commensurate with its wants, must advance in
prosperity and power unexampled in the history of nations. From the plentitude
of its own resources, it will be enabled to sustain its own operations, and will
hasten on to its own majesty, and to a proud rank on the earth." {Hall J. Kel-
ley, in his prospectus for a city where University park, Portland, is now located,

"I say the man is alive, full grown, and is listening to what I say, who will
yet see the Asiatic commerce traversing the North Pacific ocean — entering the
Oregon river — climbing the western slope of the Rocky mountains — issuing from
its gorges — and spreading its fertilizing streams over our wide extended Union !

The steamboat and the steam car have not exhausted all their wonders. They
have not yet found their amplest and most appropriate theatres — the tranquil
surface of the North Pacific ocean, and the vast inclined plains which spread east
and west from the base of the Rocky mountains. The magic boat, and the
flying car are not yet seen upon the ocean, and upon the plain, but they will be
seen there; and St. Louis is yet to find herself as near Canton as she is now to
London, with a better and safer route by land and sea to China and Japan than
she now has to France and Great Britain." {Extract from, an address by Thomas
H. Benton, U. S. Senator, at St. Louis, October ip, 1844.)

13



14 INTRODUCTION

"The work now formally inaugurated, shall, in its completion, be made the
servant and promoter of your future growth, prosperity and wealth, until here
on the banks of the Willamette, shall arise a city, which, holding the keys (md
being the gateway and handmaid to the commerce between the Atlantic and the
Indies, shall rival Venice in its adornment and Constantinople in its wealth."
(Extract from address of Joseph Gaston at ground breaking ceremonies for
construction of Oregon Central Railroad, April 15, 1868.)

"I tell you my friend if you have any money to invest, to purchase lots here
in Portland, or good lands nearby, and hold on to them, for this will be the great
city of the Pacific coast." {Advice given by James J. Hill to a friend, at Port-
land, May 2, ipio.)

The history of nearly every American state or city, has been largely the his-
tory of the men and women of the state or city. But the history of Portland,
Oregon, is more than that. Produced by the evolutionary forces of the domi-
nant race of man, pursuing its irresistible course around the earth from farthest
east to the confines of the west at the sundown seas, and there from natural
causes and superhuman forces, selecting, and converging at the gateway of a
continent and the seaport to the unobstructed highway to all nations uniting the
civilization of the ancient east to the all conquering powers of the youthful west,
we are to write the history of a city, unusual, unique and extraordinary among
all American communities. Portland is more than a population of so many thou-
sands ; more than its great and growing commerce ; more than the gateway to
the Pacific; and more than the lives of all its leading men. Its foundation and
existence stand for a principle; it is the result and fruit of evolutionary forces
which could not be turned aside ; and it has been, and must continue to be the
nerve center towards which and from which tend all the historic ideas and in-
fluences which turned the tide of dominion from Russia and Great Britain, and
made Portland, Oregon, in fact and truth, unconsciously, the guiding star of that
empire which westward took its predestined and irresistible way.

About the time that portentous events were concentrating continental forces
at the neck of woods where the great city on the Willamette and Columbia was
to be, we find national affairs on the other side of the Atlantic to be in a very
incoherent condition. George III, with all his follies and blunders, was passing
down from the British throne through the cloud of insanity, while his unspeak-
able son, George IV, with all his vices and crimes against common decency, had
taken his place. Austria was still at the head of that Holy Roman Empire,
which Voltaire sarcastically remarked, had ceased to be an empire, to be
Roman, or to be holy.

Alexander II, the grandson of the great Empress Maria, was on the throne



Online LibraryJoseph GastonPortland, Oregon, its history and builders : in connection with the antecedent explorations, discoveries, and movements of the pioneers that selected the site for the great city of the Pacific (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 104)