James Finley is an English instructor at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and lives in Portland, Oregon. His articles and reviews have appeared in Columbia, American History, Wild West, and Oregon Quarterly. He was one of the co-authors of Caverns, a collaborative novel written in 1989 by Ken Kesey and a team of graduate writing students at the University of Oregon.
Archibald Pelton (1791-1814/1815)
Fur trader Archibald Pelton was murdered in the early days of Astoria, and the trial of those accused of the crime is sometimes cited as the first murder trial in Oregon. Born to a Massachusetts farming family in 1791, eighteen-year-old Archibald Pelton found his way to St. Louis, where he signed …
The HMS Racoon (also Raccoon) was a British Royal Navy sloop of the Cormorant class, built and launched in 1808. During the War of 1812, the ship was the second British Royal Navy ship to enter the Columbia River (the first was the surveyor HMS Chatham in 1792) and the only …
Jane Barnes Robson (c.1790-??)
Jane Barnes is credited with being the first European woman to set foot in the Oregon Country. Originally a barmaid in Portsmouth, England, Barnes was recruited by North West Company partners John McDonald and Donald McTavish to sail aboard their company’s ship Isaac Todd as a seamstress, though it is …