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Joel Palmer Papers, 1783-1982

  • Mss 114
  • Collection
  • 1783-1982

The papers consist of four groups of materials acquired by the Oregon Historical Society at various times. The first group, designated Mss 114, consists of correspondence (1848-1869) concerning the conduct of Indian affairs in Oregon, enlistment of a state militia, and efforts to establish a Union League Council. Correspondents include Benjamin Alvord, Jesse Applegate, Benjamin Bonneville, Samuel Culver, Addison C. Gibbs, and Joseph Lane. Also included is a diary (1857) kept by Palmer while on a voyage from Oregon City to Washington, D.C. via Panama; typescript copies of diaries (1854, 1856, 1860-1861) recording his travels throughout the Pacific Northwest; hand written copy of an agreement (1854) between the United States, represented by superintendent of Indian Affairs, Joel Palmer, and the Calipooia Indian tribe; and articles of incorporation (1862) of the Columbia River Railroad Company.

The second group of materials, designated Mss 114-1, consists of letters sent to Sarah Ann Palmer from various relatives, and receipts and other ephemera of Joel Palmer. Among these are hand written copies of poems dated 1783, possibly from one of Palmer's ancestors.

The third group within the collection, designated Mss 114-2, contains mostly biographical information about Palmer, along with letters written by his descendants and letters relating to the dedication of a statue of Palmer in 1971.

A fourth group of papers, designated Mss 114-3, consists of general correspondence, primarily political and military in nature, legal papers, and a survey of an unidentified Indian reservation.

The final group of materials, designated Mss 114-4, includes a manuscript poem, Bristol, England, 1784; letters from Palmer to General Joseph Lane and others; manuscript copy of report to the U.S. Secretary of War or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs from General Joseph Lane, ca. 1849; a letter from W. B. Bonney to Joel Palmer, 1850 Jan. 17; letter to Joel Palmer from Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Bonneville, 1855 Mar. 27; printed copy of the treaty between the United States and the Rogue River Indians, 1855; manuscript extracts from "Articles of treatry made at Port Orford," 1857 Sept. 20; hand drawn map of the Columbia River and its tributaries, undated; and a pamphlet titled "History of the Grand Ronde Military Block House," 1911.

Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881

Outlet of Columbia River, 1822

Map depicting the outlet of the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. The map shows water depths, Astoria, Oregon, Gray's Bay, Cape Disappointment, and the locations of Native American tribal groups. The northern side of the outlet reads, "Country Low, open & marshy, interspersed with Pines. Thick undergrowth." The southern side of the outlet reads, "High Lands covered with Lofty Pines." The bottom includes a note that reads, "The Cape is a circular knob about 150 f. high," and a note that reads "Engraved for J. Melish's Description of the United States." Prime meridians: Washington, D.C. and London.

Vallance, J. (John), 1770-1823

Reverend Jason Lee's Diary, 1833-1838

Leather-bound diary of the Reverend Jason Lee, Methodist missionary who traveled on the Oregon Trail to Oregon Country in 1834. The first entry is dated August 19, 1833 and the last entry is dated June 1, 1838. Lee first describes his overland journey on the Oregon Trail, leaving Independence, Missouri in April 1834 and arriving at Fort Vancouver, Washington in September 1834. Subjects include obstacles faced on the Oregon Trail, various people met along the journey, and the party's leader, Captain Nathaniel Wyeth. Upon arriving at Fort Vancouver, Lee writes of meeting Dr. John McLoughlin, and heeding McLoughlin's advice that he build his mission 60 miles to the south in the Willamette Valley in Oregon Country. He then writes of building a mission house for the Methodist Episcopal Church, and of his attempts at converting local Native peoples to Christianity. [Lee originally intended to do missionary work among the Flathead Indian tribe, but the area where he eventually settled in the Willamette Valley, near present-day Salem, was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Lee used language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

Jason Lee papers

  • Mss 1212
  • Collection
  • 1834-1845

Collection consists of the personal and professional papers of Reverend Jason Lee. The papers date from 1834 to 1845. Included are Lee’s diary of his overland journey to Oregon and the construction of his mission with entries dating from 1834 to 1838; an 1844 report Lee made to the Methodist Missionary Board; miscellaneous papers related to the illness and death of Lee in 1845; and fragments of an undated biography of Jason Lee likely written by Harvey Kimball Hines. The collection also contains a folder of Anna Maria Pittman Lee's correspondence dated from 1834 to 1835.

Jason Lee was born on June 28, 1803, in Stanstead, Quebec. After his ordination in 1834, Lee and his nephew, Daniel Lee, journeyed overland to Oregon with the intention to establish a mission to minister to the Flathead Indians. He instead established his mission in the Willamette Valley near present-Day Salem, Oregon, in territory that was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Lee returned east in 1838 to justify his decision and recruit reinforcements for the Willamette mission, as well as missions at The Dalles and Clatsop plains. In 1840, The Great Reinforcement, a group of 51 men, women, and children, arrived in Oregon on the ship Lausanne in response to Lee’s promotion in the East. In 1843, Jason Lee participated in the founding of Oregon's provisional government and Willamette University. Lee was relieved of his missionary post in 1844. Lee married Anna Maria Pittman, who died in 1838, and then Lucy Lee who died in 1842. Jason Lee died on March 12, 1845.

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

"Flat Head Indian Missionaries."

Typed article written by Samuel Dickinson for Zion's Herald, a Methodist publication. Written in Louisville on March 28, 1834 and published in Zion's Herald on April 30, 1834. Dickinson writes that Reverend Jason Lee arrived in Louisville on March 22, 1834 while on his way to Oregon to become a missionary to the Flathead Indian tribe. The article sums up a missionary meeting in which Lee addressed a small crowd. Lee shared his views of the Flathead Indian tribe, and of the destruction that the white man's introduction of alcohol had caused. The article concludes by stating that Lee left for St. Louis on March 26, 1834. [Lee originally intended to do missionary work among the Flathead Indian tribe, but the area where he eventually settled in the Willamette Valley, near present-day Salem, was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Dickinson uses language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Dickinson, Samuel

Letter from E.W. Sohon to the Editors of Zion's Herald, 1834

Typed letter by E.W. Sohon to the editors of Zion's Herald, a Methodist publication. Written in St. Louis on April 11, 1834 and published in Zion's Herald on May 21, 1834. Letter is titled, "Flat Head Mission." Sohon writes that Reverend Jason Lee and other missionaries have arrived in St. Louis on their way to Oregon to build the Flathead Indian mission. He writes of Lee addressing a meeting, and of Lee's views concerning the importance of missions and the work they undertake with native tribes. Daniel Lee, nephew of Jason Lee, and other speakers echo these beliefs. [Lee originally intended to do missionary work among the Flathead Indian tribe, but the area where he eventually settled in the Willamette Valley, near present-day Salem, was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Sohon uses language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Sohon, E. W.

Letter from Jason Lee to the Christian Advocate and Journal, April 29, 1834

Typed letter written by Reverend Jason Lee to the Christian Advocate and Journal. Written at the Shawnee Mission on April 29, 1834 and published in the Christian Advocate and Journal on June 13, 1834. Letter is titled, "News from Rev. Jason Lee." Lee wrote this letter shortly after his departure from Independence, Missouri as he began his journey on the Oregon Trail to become a missionary in Oregon. He writes of the difficulties he had in finding an adequate crew of men to accompany him on the Oregon Trail. Page 2 of this document was written at a later date, on May 2, 1834. It quotes Mr. Lee's observations of the native tribes in Kansas as he travels on the Oregon Trail. [Lee used language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

Letter from Jason Lee to the Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist E. Church, February 6, 1835

Typed letter written by Reverend Jason Lee to the Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist E. Church. Written on the banks of the Willamette River in Oregon on February 6, 1835 and published in the Christian Advocate and Journal on October 30, 1835. Letter is titled, "Flat Head Indians." In this letter, Lee sums up the last leg of his journey on the Oregon Trail, from the Rocky Mountains to Oregon. Subjects include Soda Spring, the Lewis River, Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, and Lee's observations of Native tribes including the Nez Perce, Flathead, Snake, Cayuse, and Wallawalla peoples. He then summarizes his arrival in Vancouver, Washington, his interactions with John McLoughlin, and his subsequent move to the Willamette River, where he built a house. He writes of his observations of the local native tribes, including the Kalapuyan peoples. [Lee originally intended to do missionary work among the Flathead Indian tribe, but the area where he eventually settled in the Willamette Valley, near present-day Salem, was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Lee used language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

Letter from Jason Lee to the Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist E. Church, March 14, 1836

Typed letter written by Reverend Jason Lee to the Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist E. Church. Written at the Mission House on the Willamette River in Oregon on March 14, 1836 and published in the Christian Advocate and Journal on September 2, 1836. Letter is titled, "Oregon Mission." Subjects include illnesses in the region, the mission's "manual labor school", Lee's support for a temperance society, and John McLoughlin's support for the mission. [Lee used language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

Chart of the Columbia River for 90 miles from its mouth, 1838

A navigational map, “Chart of the Columbia River for 90 miles from its mouth [cartographic material] / drawn from several surveys in the possession of W.A. Slacum ; by M.C. Ewing.” Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by soundings. Oriented with north to the left. Profiles: Cape Disappointment N.N.E. by compass distance 10 miles -- Cape Disappointment N.N.E. 6 miles. "S. Doc. No. 470. 25 Con. 2d S." Series: Senate document (United States. Congress. Senate) ; 25th Congress, 2d session, no. 470. Imaged map dissected and mounted on cloth backing. Item has also been identified as bb017535.

Ewing, Maskell C.

Mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon Territory, 1841

A map of the mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon Territory as surveyed by the United States Exploring Expedition in 1841 under commander Charles Wilkes. Relief shown by hachures. Depths shown by soundings. Inset details soundings of the Bar of Columbia River. Item has also been identified as bb017536.

Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877

Early Oregon census and tax records, 1842-1880

  • Mss 1
  • Collection
  • 1842-1880

This collection consists of early census and tax records from the Oregon provisional and territorial governments and early Oregon statehood. The materials in this collection were gathered from early, mostly pre-1958, Oregon Historical Society Research Library accessions of census and tax related records. The early census and tax records document demographic and economic data for what are now portions of Oregon and California. Original census records include Elijah White's 1842 census; a census (1849) of males over the age of 21; Jackson County census rolls (ca. 1854-1855, 1858); a Washington County census (1856); a Washington County tax roll (1852); and an agricultural census for Clackamas County (1870). Typescript and photostat reproductions of census records include Joseph Meek's Census of Oregon (1845); Charles Wells’ Benton County census (1854); the United States Census roll for Coos County (1860); and a partial typescript of the 1880 United States Census for Wasco County. The collection also includes reports of the 1850 census for Butte and Calaveras counties in California.

Oregon Black History Project records

  • Mss 2854
  • Collection
  • 1844-1981

The Oregon Black History Project was a grant-funded project that conducted research on the history of African-Americans in Oregon up to the beginning of World War II. The project was directed by Elizabeth McLagan and culminated in her book "A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940," which was published by the Georgian Press of Portland, Oregon, in 1980.

The collection consists of administrative records, research files, and photographs gathered or created by the Oregon Black History Project. Most of the research files consist of notes and quotes, photocopies, or excerpts from primary and secondary resources concerning the history of African-Americans in Oregon from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century. Most of these source excerpts were assembled between 1976 and 1979. Topics include early African-American emigrants to Oregon; the slavery debate in Oregon; exclusion laws and other forms of discrimination or violence against African-Americans; African-American business, social, and activist organizations; and early 20th-century African-American newspapers such as The Advocate, the New Age, and the Portland Times.

Photographs include portraits of African-American Oregonians; African-American social groups and activities; residences; and businesses operated by African-Americans in Portland, Oregon. Some of the photographs are copies of images originally published in newspapers such as Portland Times and The Advocate.

McLagan, Elizabeth, 1947-

Last Will and Testament of Jason Lee, 1844

Handwritten last will and testament of Jason Lee, written on February 28, 1844 in the Port of Honolulu in the Sandwich Islands, today known as the Hawaiian Islands. Much of the will focuses on his daughter, Lucy Anna Maria Lee. Jason Lee died on March 12, 1845. The back of the document was signed by W.H. Willson, Judge of Probate, on March 25, 1846.

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

Meeting Minutes, Special Meeting of Methodist Board of Missions, 1844

Handwritten minutes from a special meeting of the Methodist Board of Missions, held July 1, 1844 in New York. The meeting was called to discuss the Oregon Mission. Reverend Jason Lee was present, along with members of the Oregon Committee of the Episcopal Church. The minutes describe Jason Lee addressing allegations of wrongdoing, speculation, and mismanagement at the Oregon Mission. Lee also addresses allegations against local Native tribes, and defends his decision to build the Mission House in the Willamette Valley. Other subjects include daily life in Oregon, the Hudson's Bay Company, and Lee's conversations with Dr. Joseph (sic) McLoughlin. Lee asks that the Board continue to support the mission. A typed preservation copy of this document is available in file Mss1212_B1F3_002.pdf.

Episcopal Church

Meeting Minutes, Special Meeting of Methodist Board of Missions, 1844, Preservation Copy

Typed preservation copy of Mss1212_B1F3_001. Minutes from a special meeting of a Board of the Episcopal Church, held July 1, 1844. The meeting was called to discuss the Oregon Mission. Reverend Jason Lee is present, along with members of the Oregon Committee of the Episcopal Church. The minutes describe Jason Lee addressing allegations of wrongdoing, speculation, and mismanagement at the Oregon Mission. Lee also addresses allegations against local Native tribes, and defends his decision to build the Mission House in the Willamette Valley. Other subjects include daily life in Oregon, the Hudson's Bay Company, and Lee's conversations with Dr. Joseph (sic) McLoughlin. Lee asks that the Board continue to support the mission.

Episcopal Church

Letter from Jason Lee to the Board of the Episcopal Church, 1844

Handwritten letter from Reverend Jason Lee to the Board of the Episcopal Church. Written in New York on July 23, 1844. Lee wrote this letter to correct several mistakes he found in the minutes written about his meeting with the Board a few weeks earlier on July 1, 1844. Lee asks that this letter be read aloud to the Board at the next meeting. The letter has several rips and tears on the sides, and portions of some words are missing. The minutes for the meeting on July 1, 1844 are contained in document Mss1212_B1F3_001.

Lee, Jason, 1803-1845

"The Late Jason Lee." Sketch written for the Christian Advocate

Handwritten article by Francis Hall for the Christian Advocate and Journal, entitled, "The Late Jason Lee." Page 5 is missing. Hall praises Lee's missionary work in Oregon and defends him from several allegations of wrongdoing. Other subjects include farming at the mission, Dr. John McLoughlin, and the Hudson's Bay Company. Several handwritten notes on back of document from D. Lee, possibly Daniel Lee, including one that reads, "A imfinished sketch from the pen of Hon. Francis Hall designed for the Christian Advocate in 1852. D Lee." Second handwritten note reads, "A sketch published in CA&J, 1845." [Lee originally intended to do missionary work among the Flathead Indian tribe, but the area where he eventually settled in the Willamette Valley, near present-day Salem, was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Hall uses language common to justifying the nineteenth century missionary movement, including using disparaging and inaccurate terms and/or descriptions of Native peoples.]

Hall, Francis

Letter from Daniel Lee to Brother Bond, 1845

Handwritten letter written in 1845 to Brother Bond by Daniel Lee, nephew of Reverend Jason Lee. Daniel informs Brother Bond of the death of Jason Lee, and writes of his late uncle's life. Subjects include Jason Lee's spiritual awakening, his health and state of mind in his final days, and the illness that led to his death. A preservation copy of this document, with more modern and legible handwriting, is available in Mss1212_B1F2_004.

Lee, Daniel, 1806-1895

Old Fort Astoria, Astoria, Oregon

A photograph of a drawing depicting old Fort Astoria in 1845. An American flag flies over the fort. The back identified the artist as Henry J. Barre, but the correct name is likely Henry J. Warre. Handwritten note on back of print reads, "Old Fort Astoria 1845 by Captain Henry J. Barre, British Army." Photograph of drawing taken by Arthur M. Prentiss.

Warre, H. (Henry), 1819-1898

Last Will and Testament of Jason Lee, 1845

Handwritten last will and testament of Jason Lee, written on February 20, 1845 by C.B. Richardson, Notary Public. Richardson writes that Lee was sick in bed during the dictation of this will, but that he is of sound mind. Two witnesses signed the document, Eli Banys and Joseph Morrell. Written in Lee's hometown of Stanstead, Québec, where he passed away on March 12, 1845.

Richardson, C. B.

Oregon elections collection, 1846-1888

  • Mss 1231
  • Collection
  • 1846 - 1912

Collection assembled by the Oregon Historical Society regarding elections in Oregon. Included are Poll Books for Sauvie Island (1859), Astoria Precinct (1857), Elkton Precinct (1856), Santiam Precinct (1860), and Butte Creek (1872); contributors to the 1873 election fund; certified documents of electors, president and vice-president, U.S. (1876, 1880, 1888); and newspaper clippings and list of contributors to the 1888 election. Additional materials include oversize ballots and tally sheets (in 2 flat boxes), and 1860-1862 election materials (1 reel of microfilm).

Oregon. Constitutional Convention (1857)

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