Some Interested Men




The missionaries

  jason lee   abernethy   blanchet

Jason Lee

Lee also played an important role in promoting white settlement in the Willamette Valley. While generally failing in his efforts to Christianize Native Americans, he helped lay the foundation for the annexation of Oregon to the United States. 


George Abernethy

Abernethy came to Oregon in 1840 as part of the "Great Reinforcement" to the Methodists' endeavors in the Willamette Valley....An astute politician, Abernethy became Oregon's first and only provisional governor, winning election in 1845 and 1847.


Francois Blanchet

François Norbert Blanchet arrived in Oregon in November 1838 as vicar general to the diverse Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest, the French Canadians, the British, the Americans, and others who occupied the vast Oregon Country. 


The strategists

  asahel bush    dryer   Tvault 

Asahel Bush

Asahel Bush was a key figure during Oregon's formative years, using the power of the press to influence the political landscape. Born in Westfield, Massachusetts, at fifteen he became an apprentice printer and then studied law while supporting himself with newspaper work. 


Thomas Jefferson Dryer

Thomas J. Dryer was the first editor of the Portland Oregonian and an active member of Oregon's political scene. From 1850 to 1861, he combined editorial advocacy and civic activities in Portland to be a major player in Territorial politics.


William Green T'Vault

William Green T’Vault had a wide-ranging career in early Oregon. A truculent and controversial political figure during the territorial and Civil War periods, T'Vault was a slavery-and-secession advocate who became a prominent, strident voice for the minority of Oregonians who agreed with him.


The philosophers

   applegate   palmer   champoeg 

Jesse Applegate

Applegate was active in Republican Party politics and wrote numerous letters expressing his political views, which were often published in the editorial pages of newspapers. In 1857, he was elected as a delegate to Oregon's constitutional convention, but he left the convention ten days later in frustration.



Joel Palmer

Joel Palmer, who first saw the Oregon Country in 1845 from a wagon, spent three decades participating in central events in Oregon’s political history. At his death on June 9, 1881, the Portland Weekly Standard called him “a good and noble citizen,” and the Oregonian noted he had given “the flower of his life for the best interests of Oregon.”


Joseph Gervais

Joseph Gervais was a prominent French Canadian settler in the Willamette Valley. He was one of the small number of French Canadians who voted for the American-led effort to organize a provisional government in Oregon in 1843.


The heavies 

  packwood   dart   Burnett

William Packwood

William Henderson Packwood holds a unique place in Oregon history as the youngest participant of Oregon's Constitutional Convention of 1857. This mostly self-educated pioneer became one of Oregon's most versatile entrepreneurs. 


Anson Dart

In 1850, Anson Dart (1797-1879), of Wisconsin, was appointed as the first superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory. He received his orders on July 20, 1850, and arrived in Oregon in October with his secretary, P. C. Dart. His mission was to negotiate treaties between the federal government and tribal nations. 


Peter Burnett

Peter Hardeman Burnett was a leader on the Oregon Trail, a town-builder, a legislator, and the region’s first judge. He is remembered in Oregon as the author of the first exclusion law banning blacks from Oregon Country. 


The showmen

  joseph lane   deady   thurston

Joseph Lane

Joseph Lane was the first governor of Oregon Territory. A leading Democrat, he was a U.S. senator and candidate for vice president in 1860. Fiercely independent and ambitious for personal political power, Lane was a successful advocate of his constituents' interests and an outspoken and controversial defender of slavery.


Matthew Deady

Matthew Paul Deady was a lawyer, politician, and judge in the Oregon Territory. When Oregon became a state in 1859, Deady was named Oregon's first U.S. district court judge, and he sat at the federal court in Portland until his death more than three decades later.


Samuel Thurston

In Congress, Thurston was able to exploit Oregon's strategic importance to get a favorable land claim bill passed. He was also able to complete some personal vendettas. Acting on his distaste for the Hudson's Bay Company, Thurston managed to exclude John McLoughlin's claim at Oregon City from the Oregon Donation Land Claim Act. Thurston also defended Oregon's decision to exclude blacks from the state, saying that they would join forces with Indians and threaten Euro American dominance in the territory.


The man left behind


John McLoughlin

One of the most powerful and polarizing people in Oregon history, John McLoughlin championed the Hudson’s Bay Company’s (HBC) business interests in the Pacific Northwest. He was a striking figure, with steel blue-grey eyes, a ruddy complexion, a tall, muscular frame, and shoulder-length white hair.