A moment in Oregon History



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A Moment in Oregon History


Copyright 2009 – Rick Steber

August



August 3 - During the time of white settlement Chief Paulina was feared more than any other Indian of Central and Eastern Oregon. Paulina was thought to have been a Northern Paiute, a tribe that had inhabited the region for thousands of years. He fought the invasion of white settlers. Paulina was the leader of a band of renegades that made swift and daring raids on settlements and scattered ranches and homesteads. They drove away livestock and stole whatever they could carry, killing anyone who stood in their way. For nearly two decades Paulina evaded capture, and then one day in 1867, while driving a herd of stolen cattle, he was ambushed and killed. But the name of the renegade chief lives on in the white man’s world. Today there are eight geographic features and a town named for Chief Paulina.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 4 - In 1833 a Japanese junk was blown off course during a storm and wrecked on the North Pacific coast. Of the crew of seventeen, only three members were able to swim to shore. Here they were set upon by the natives and held as slaves. News of the wreck eventually reached Dr. John McLoughlin of the Hudson’s Bay Company. He was able to rescue the Japanese men and bring them to Fort Vancouver where the attended school and began learning to speak the English language. Dr. McLoughlin sent the men to England, where they remained for several years before sailing on to China. Historians are unsure if any of the men were ever able to return to their homeland.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)
August 5 - The first hops, used to provide flavor in the making of beer, were planted in the Willamette Valley in 1865. When the hops were harvested brewers raved about the quality, claiming the hops grown in the rich soil and under the sunny skies of Oregon, had a superior flavor. Oregon hops were sought after on the world market. But growing hops was labor-intensive and farmers sought any able-bodied worker to work in the harvest. Many homesteaders left their farms and worked and camped in the hop fields. Entire families, from the oldest to the youngest, picked hops for curing and gingerly packed the fragile flower cone buds for shipment to distant ports. By 1910 Oregon had become the leading producer of hops in the United States.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 6 - Walter and Thomas Montieth, brothers from New York, traveled to Oregon by ox team in 1847. At the confluence of the Calapooya and Willamette rivers they found an open plain and promptly bought the squatter’s claim to 320 acres, giving $400 and a horse for the deed. The brothers laid out a town they name Albany, after the capital of their home state. After adding 320 acres of adjacent land, the brothers began construction of a large house, built straddling the dividing line between the two claims, thereby filling the requirement that each man sleep on his claim. The Montieth house is currently owned by the City of Albany and operated as a museum showcasing the early days of Albany.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 7 – For centuries Memaloose Island, located in the Columbia River nine miles below The Dalles, was an Indian burial ground. This land was sacred to the Indians. But Victor Trevitt, keeper of the Mt. Hood Saloon and a prominent pioneer, died and his last request was to be buried on Memaloose Island. On the highest point of land a brick vault was prepared, the body lowered, the vault sealed and a fourteen-foot tall slab of marble was erected. The Indians considered this an infringement on their sacred ground. Never again did they use Memaloose Island as a burial ground.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 10 - James De Moss and his wife Elizabeth came west over the Oregon Trail in 1862 and settled near the town of Cove in Northeastern Oregon. Here they raised five children, teaching them to sing and play a variety of musical instruments. The family began playing and entertaining at mining camps and cow towns in Eastern Oregon. They traveled by wagon and camped out under the stars at night. For thirty years the talented De Moss family performed on stage, and as their fame grew they traveled to Canada and throughout Europe. In 1883 the family retired to a sprawling wheat ranch at De Moss Springs in Sherman County.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 11 –Jack London, the famous American writer of many novels and short stories set in the Yukon, passed through Medford in 1911 on his way to visit Crater Lake. He rode in a wagon drawn by a four-horse team and was accompanied by his wife and a Japanese servant. He later told a reporter of his impressions of Crater Lake, saying, “It is worth traveling hundreds of miles to see. I thought that I had gazed upon everything beautiful in nature as I have spent many years traveling thousands of miles to view the beauty spots of the earth, but I have reached the climax. Never again can I gaze upon the beauty spots of the earth and enjoy them as being the finest thing I have ever seen. Crater Lake is far above them all."

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 12 - President Thomas Jefferson, to bolster the claim of the United States to the Oregon Country, sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were co-commanders of the expedition. They entered the Oregon Country August 12, 1805, and three months later reached the mouth of the Columbia River where they established their winter camp, calling it Fort Clatsop. Early the following spring they started east on the return leg of their journey. Along the way they endured severe hardships and were in peril from Indians and the threat of starvation but finally reached St. Louis on September 23, 1806.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 13 - John Devine was an Oregon cattle baron. He was born in Virginia and arrived in Southeastern Oregon in 1868. He began acquiring a huge tract of land by guile, and by force when necessary. He established the headquarters of his sprawling empire at the famous Whitehorse Ranch, east of Steens Mountain. For two decades he grazed thousands of head of cattle and fought off the encroachment of homesteaders who tried to fence off the rangeland. Then came the brutal winter of 1889-90 when more than 75 per cent of his stock starved to death. Devine was forced to sell most of his property, but he managed to hold onto the Whitehorse Ranch where he remained until his death in 1901.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 14 - On August 14, 1933 a tiny spark landed in dry tinder at a logging site in the Coast Range. For ten days the fire burned and then, with continued hot temperatures, low humidity and a fresh storm blowing in off the Pacific, the fire exploded. A cloud of smoke mushroomed 40,000 feet into the sky and during the next two days, what became known as the Tillamook Fire, cut the heart out of Oregon’s most productive forest. It consumed well over a quarter-of-a-million acres of virgin Douglas fir timber. The total economic loss was said to be in excess of 600 million dollars. The fire burned until the arrival of the rainy season, and even then, throughout the long winter, blackened snags continued to smolder.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 17 - In August 1923 Silverton residents Frank and Elizabeth Brazier and their daughters Nova and Leona, embarked on a cross-country trip in their Overland Red Bird automobile. The Braziers dog, a bob-tailed Scotch collie and shepherd mix named Bobbie, rode outside on the luggage rack. On the ninth day of their vacation, in the town of Walcott, Indiana, Bobbie ran away. Six months later Bobbie appeared back in Silverton. Practically every newspaper in the United States ran a story about Bobbie’s amazing 3,000-mile journey home. Robert Ripley's "Believe It or Not" radio show featured Bobbie; a book was written, and Bobbie even starred in his own movie, "Bobbie, The Wonder Dog."

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 18 - Steven Meek, brother of popular Oregon marshal Joe Meek, signed on with William Sublette and trapped in the Rocky Mountains. He was a guide for Captain Bonneville and came to Oregon in 1835 where he worked for Dr. John McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver. When the beaver played out Meek turned his attention to guiding emigrants. He led a group across Eastern Oregon but it was a dry year and the pioneers suffered from lack of water. Meek was blamed and when gold was discovered Meek promptly left his home in the Willamette Valley and went to California. He returned with a fortune valued at $34,000 and for the remainder of his life Meek led an easy life. He hunted, fished and trapped. He died in 1865.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 19 - Russell Farnham left home at a young age, joined the Pacific Fur Company and arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1811 aboard the Tonquin. He was instrumental in establishing Fort Astoria, the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, and when the fort was sold to the North West Company Farnham was given the responsibility of carrying the proceeds of the sale and company records to John Jacob Astor in New York City. Farnham chose to take a ship to Siberia, and from there he traveled overland across Asia and Europe before taking passage to New York and presenting Astor with the important documents from the sale of Fort Astoria. Farnham never returned to Oregon.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 20 - In 1843 Bethenia Owens came west with her parents over the Oregon Trail. They settled near Astoria and at age fourteen Bethenia married, but the marriage soon failed and she returned home with her son. Against her family’s wishes, and the social restrictions of the time that discouraged women from gaining any education beyond that necessary to keep a home, Bethenia made up her mind to become a physician. When she graduated from medical school in 1880 she became the first woman physician in Oregon. In addition to her medical work, Bethenia devoted her life and energy to championing women’s rights and social and political causes. She died in 1926.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 21 - William Selby Harney was born in Tennessee on August 22, 1800. He served in numerous Indian battles from Florida to the Great Plains before being placed in command of the Oregon Department, where his military activities resulted in the forced confinement of the Indians of Eastern Oregon to reservations. He also explored the routes of possible roads and helped to open the area east of the Cascades to white settlement. During the Civil War, General Harney returned east and commanded the Union forces in Missouri. Harney County, created in 1889 and named in honor of General Harney, is the largest county in Oregon.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 24 - In the early days of sea exploration the Boston, a ship that had sailed from Boston Harbor, arrived on the North Pacific coast. Nootka Indians promptly captured the ship and killed the crew, except for two men who were spared to help the Indians forge metal into tools and weapons and to sew sails for their canoes. Two years later, another ship that had also sailed from Boston Harbor, rescued the men. With the coming of two ships from the same harbor the Indians believed Boston was an independent nation, and in later years the Chinook Jargon, a trade language of the Northwest tribes, applied the term “Boston Men” to all sailors from American ports.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 25 - Donald McKenzie was born in Scotland but came to America at an early age and signed on as a fur trader. He led a band of adventurers overland to Oregon, arriving at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1812. McKenzie was a big man, weighing over 300 pounds but he was blessed with boundless energy. He was a skilled trader and explorer and led expeditions up the Snake, Columbia and Willamette river drainages. The McKenzie River, with headwaters in the Cascades, is named for him. During his days as a fur trader McKenzie amassed a fortune and retired to New York where he died in 1851, at the age of 66.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 26 - In 1806, from a point near the mouth of the Willamette River, members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition saw a snowy peak to the southeast and named it Mount Jefferson, in honor of President Jefferson who had sent them on the expedition. At an elevation of 10,495 feet this is the second highest peak in the Oregon Cascades. Two men from Salem, Ray Farmer and E.C. Cross, were the first to climb Mt. Jefferson’s rocky pinnacle, accomplishing this feat in 1888. They left a cartridge on the summit, tucked into a rocky crevice. Years later it was found by other climbers and substantiated the two men’s claim to having been the first white men to reach the summit.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 27 - George Wood Ebbert came to Oregon in 1833 as a trapper employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company. He later served as a blacksmith for the Protestant missions at Lapwai and Waiilatpu and finally settled on a farm in the Willamette Valley where he was the first white settler at Champoeg. But Ebbert is most known for accompanying Joe Meek crossing the country in the dead of winter to report the Whitman Massacre. They asked President Polk for federal aid to keep the Indians in check. Returning to Oregon, Ebbert spent the remainder of his days living with his Indian wife and farming. He died in 1890.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)

August 28 - David Douglas was a world-renown naturalist and botanist who made several trips to Oregon between 1825 and 1833. When he was out in nature Douglas always traveled alone, collecting specimens in hostile regions without consideration to his personal safety. He won the respect of the Indians who called him Grass Man. Douglas is credited with naming many of Oregon’s native plants, including more than one hundred ferns and shrubs, as well as fifty species of trees. The Douglas fir, the state tree of Oregon, was named in his honor. In 1834, planning to return East with specimens he had collected in Oregon, David Douglas stopped off in Hawaii and here, while on a hike, he fell into a pit in which a wild bull had been trapped and was gored to death.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


August 31 - John Ledyard was an adventurer. He was born in Connecticut and shipped out as a young man to join the British Navy at Gibraltar. From England he sailed with Captain James Cook in a search for the fabled Northwest Passage. His reports on the voyage, published in 1783, convinced President Thomas Jefferson of the need to send an expedition to the Northwest. Ledyard continued his life of adventure: attempting to cross the vast reaches of Siberia to reach the North American coast and planning a safari into the interior of Africa. He was not able to accomplish all his dreams and died at age 38 in 1789.

By Rick Steber (To preview Rick’s new novel visit www.secretsofthebull.com)


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