Oregon History

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Oregon Wiki Topics
Oregon flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Oregon Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources
Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge - Oregon

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Brief History[edit | edit source]

The following important events in the history of Oregon are affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

For additional information on links in this article, please search Wikipedia.

  • 1792---Robert Gray discovers the River of the West and names it for his ship, the Columbia.
  • 1805---The Lewis & Clark Expedition arrives at the mouth of the Columbia and spends the winter at Fort Clatsop before returning the following spring.
  • 1811---The Pacific Fur Company establishes an outpost at the mouth of the Columbia and calls it Fort George (today's Astoria).
  • 1814---The first white woman, Jane Barnes, arrives at Fort George.
  • 1817---William Cullen Bryant first uses the name "Oregon" in his poem, Thanatopsis.
  • 1819---Spain gives up claim to the territory.
  • 1824-1825----Russia gives up claim to the territory.
  • 1824---Fort Vancouver is established as the Hudson's Bay Co. headquarters.
  • 1827---Dr. John McLoughlin establishes the first sawmill.
  • 1834 (Jul)---Fort Hall is established in present-day Idaho.
  • 1834 (Sep)---Jason Lee's party arrives in Oregon and establishes the Willamette Mission.
  • 1836 (Sep)---Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spaulding arrive overland, becoming the first white women to cross the continent.
  • 1838 (Nov)---Catholic missionaries, Blanchet & Demers arrive in the Pacific Northwest.
  • 1839---The first printing press is brought from Honolulu to Lapwai, where a Nez Perce primer is the first printed book.
  • 1841---Civil government is established by the settlers, by a meeting at Champoeg.
  • 1842---Willamette University, the first west of the Mississippi is founded in Jason Lee's home.
  • 1843---Oregon is divided into districts, when ClackamasChampoegTwality, and Yamhill Districts (later to be called counties) are created.
  • 1844---American taxes are collected on a voluntary basis.
  • 1844 (Jun)---Clatsop County is created from Twality.
  • 1845---A second Provisional Government is created and George Abernathy elected governor.
  • 1845 (Dec)---Polk County is created from Yamhill.
  • 1846 (Feb 2)---The Oregon Spectator, Oregon's first newspaper begins publication at Oregon City.
  • 1846 (Jun 15)---Great Britain gives up claim to Oregon Territory, and by treaty the northern boundary is established at 49 degrees north latitude.
  • 1847 (Nov 29)---The Whitmans are killed in a raid at Waiilatpu, which begins the Cayuse Indian War.
  • 1847 (Dec 23)---Benton County is established from Polk.
  • 1847 (Dec 28)---Linn County is established from Champoeg.
  • 1848 (Aug 14)---The Oregon Territory is created. Abraham Lincoln refuses the governorship.
  • 1849 (Mar 3)---Joseph Lane, the appointed governor, arrives in Oregon.
  • 1849 (Sep)---Twality County is renamed to Washington County.
  • 1850 (Sep 27)---The Oregon Donation Land Act is enacted by the U.S. government. which guaranteed settlers land ownership if they would settle on and cultivate land in the territory.
  • 1851---A law is passed allowing black settler, George Washington Bush, to settle in Oregon. And the first Chinese, Sung Sung, settles at Portland
  • 1851 (Jan 23)---The City of Portland is incorporated.
  • 1851 (Jan 24)---Umpqua County is created.
  • 1851 (Jan 28)---Lane County is created from parts of Linn and Umpqua County.
  • 1851---The stake was driven beginning a survey of the Oregon country.
  • 1852 (Jan)---Douglas County and Jackson County are both created from part of Umpqua County.
  • 1853---The Washington Territory was organized, reducing the size of the Oregon Territory by about half.
  • 1853 (Dec)---Tillamook County is created from parts of Clatsop, Polk, and Yamhill Counties. Coos County is created from parts of Umpqua and Jackson Counties.
  • 1854---John W. Hillman and a party of prospectors discover Crater Lake, which they called Deep Blue Lake.
  • 1854 (Jan)---Wasco County is created from parts of Clackamas, Marion, Linn, Lane, Douglas, and Jackson Counties. Columbia County is created from Washington County.
  • 1854 (Dec)---Multnomah County created from Washington and Clackamas Counties.
  • 1855---The Yakima Indian War begins.
  • 1855 (Dec)---Curry County is created from Coos County.
  • 1856 (Jan)---Josephine County is created from Jackson County.
  • 1859 (Feb 14)---The United States Congress ratifies the Oregon State Consitition, establishing Oregon as the 33rd state.
  • 1860---Daily stagecoach service begins between Portland and Sacramento.
  • 1861---The village of Champoeg is destroyed in a flood.
  • 1862 (Sep)---Baker County and Umatilla County are both creted from Wasco County.
  • 1863---Douglas County absorbs the remainder of Umpqua County, which ceases to exist.
  • 1864---A popular vote establishes Salem as the state capitol. Earlier seats of the territorial government had been at Oregon City, Corvallis and at Salem.
  • 1864 (Oct)---Grant County is formed from Wasco and Umatilla Counties. Union County is created from Baker County.
  • 1869---The first Public High School is created in Oregon.
  • 1872---The Oregon Pioneer Association is formed.
  • 1874---Lake County is created from parts of Jackson and Wasco Counties.
  • 1876---The University of Oregon is established in Eugene.
  • 1877---The Nez Perce War begins.
  • 1878---The Banock Indian War begins.
  • 1880---The first person of Japanese ancestry, Miyo Iwakoshi, settles in Oregon.
  • 1882 (Oct)---Klamath County is created from Lake County. Crook County is created from Wasco County.
  • 1883---The Northern Pacific Railway reached Oregon.
  • 1885 (Feb)---Morrow County is created from Umatilla County. Gilliam County is created from Wasco County.
  • 1886---Mary Leonard becomes first woman admitted to Oregon bar.
  • 1887 (Feb)---Wallowa County is created from Union County. Malheur County is created from Baker County.
  • 1888---The Oregon Historical Society is incorporated.
  • 1889 (Feb)---Harney County is created from Grant County. Sherman County is created from Wasco County.
  • 1893 (Feb)---Lincoln County is created from parts of Benton and Polk Counties. 
  • 1899 (Feb)---Wheeler County created from parts of Crook, Gilliam, and Grant Counties.
  • 1899 (Dec)---The first automobile arrives in Oregon.
  • 1902---Initiative and referendum laws were adopted, the first in any state.
  • 1905---Lewis &Clark Centennial Exposition beings in Portland.
  • 1908---Hood River County is created from Wasco County.
  • 1908 (Apr 1)---Lola Baldwin named head of the Women's Division of the Portland Police, and becomes the first female police officer in the U.S.
  • 1912---Oregon women get the vote.
  • 1914---Jefferson County and Deschutes County are both created from Crook County.
  • 1921---The Klu Klux Klan is organized in Oregon.
  • 1933---The Tillamook Burn destroys 240,000 acres of timber land.
  • 1937---Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Bonneville Dam.
  • 1942---The first woman is called to jury duty in a U.S. Federal Court, in Oregon.
  • 1948 (May 30)---A flood destroys the city of Vanport, a city of 17,500 residents built to house wartime workers.
  • 1961---Freeway connecting Salem and Portland is completed.
  • 1966---The I-5 freeway, linking California to Washington completed.
  • 1967---The Beach Bill is approved, making all of Oregon's beaches open to the public.
  • 1971---The Bottle Bill is approved.
  • 1978---The Oregon Trail is listed as a National Historic Trail by U.S. Congress.
  • 1978---Mt. St. Helens erupts, in Washington.
  • 1993---Oregon holds the nation's first statewide vote-by-mail election.

Historical Content[edit | edit source]

Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:

  • Parents' names
  • Maiden names of women
  • Place of birth, death, or marriage
  • Occupation
  • Migration
  • Military service
  • Descendants

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies. The United States Research "History" page cites nationwide bibliographies of local histories which include histories of Oregon.

  • A notable genealogical collection is the Daughter's of the American Revolution (DAR) Collection. This collection consists of transcripts of Bible, cemetery, church, marriage, death, obituary, and will records. It was microfilmed in 1971 at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and is available on 33 reels at the Family History Library [1]The volumes are generally arranged by county and many have individual indexes
  • A Bibliography of American County Histories [2][3]
  • United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress [4][5]

State Histories Useful to Genealogists[edit | edit source]

Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of Oregon are:

  • History of Oregon is a helpful source for studying the history of Oregon. [6]Volumes 2-3 are collected biographies.

United States History[edit | edit source]

The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:

  • The Almanac of American History, [7][8]This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
  • Dictionary of American History, Revised ed [9][10]This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
  • Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium [11][12][13]This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.

To find more books and articles about Oregon 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Oregon history." FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search lists many more histories under topics like:


[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at;

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. (beginning on Family History Library film 857012).
  2. Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (FHL book 973 H23bi)
  3. Worldcat
  4. Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. (FHL book 973 A3ka.)
  5. Worldcat
  6. Charles Henry Carey, History of Oregon, 3 vols. (Chicago: Pioneer History Pub. Co., 1922; FHL book 979.5 H2cc; fiche 6046590).
  7. Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
  8. Worldcat
  9. Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
  10. Worldcat
  11. Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G & C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
  12. Limited view at Google Books
  13. Worldcat
  14. Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w
  15. Worldcat