Oregon History

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TIMELINE

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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---Washington Territory is cut off from Oregon.
  • 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.
  • 1860---Daily stagecoach service beings 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 transcontinental railroad is completed.
  • 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)---Wallow 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.

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 (beginning on Family History Library film 857012). The volumes are generally arranged by county and many have individual indexes.

There are many internet articles on the history of Oregon on the internet.   To find some of them use a search engine with the terms Oregon and History.