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This large open field near the Willamette River can be seen from the viewing deck of the shampooing visitors center. You'd never guess that there was once a town in that field a town that has come to be the birthplace of Oregon government shampooing. Hi I'm Jane Ferguson and I'm Mark sparks we're going to devote the final leg of our journey through Oregon's early history to the story of what happened here in shampooing and how. The shampooed visitors center in shampoo it state park is a very good place for learning about Oregon's past with its free displays. Some are living history demonstrations and other services. It's operated by the Oregon state parks division. This state park is also the site of the shampooing historical pageant performed each summer. The pageant is a theatrical tribute to events in Oregon's history.
What do you think of when you think of government I think of the president and Congress and taxes. Those are just a part of the big complicated operation that our modern government has become. But the idea of government is really very simple. It's a system of rules that help people live together in peace and safety. So the very first forms of government here in Oregon where the customs and traditions of the local Indian tribes become a pure tribe lived in the shampooing area before the coming of the white man lived by the laws of nature by moving to different places during the year. They could find plenty of roots nuts and berries to eat. Family traditions and the commands of their tribal chiefs helped them live quiet peaceful lives. Shampooing is located on the east bank of the Willamette River about 15 miles south of Morgan City. When the first settlers arrived here the natural clearing near the river it shampooing made it an excellent place for them to leave their boats and return to their nearby farms later steam boats travelling up and down the Willamette stopped
here to pick up Valley crops at harvest time. We're standing in a field about a half mile from the visitor's center. With me now is Sally Jacobson who has been the park historian here at Cherbourg. Sally morning Mark here's my question by the 1840s the settlement of shampoo it has become an important business and shipping center for most of the Bally's farmers. So where's the town. Well actually we're standing right in it. You have to use your imagination a bit. But the corners of Montcalm and Napoleon Avenue are in front of us and there's an old Masonic Lodge and over there was the bowling alley it was built in 1858 appalling alley. That's right. So what happened. Well in 1861 a flood came through and wiped out
most of the town. Later in 1892 a large flood came through and wiped out the town totally and then it was abandoned. What's this marker. Well this marks one of the streets of the early shampooers town site. We've done enough archaeological work to determine where the boundaries were and where some of the buildings were. We have plans to do some archaeological work so we can find out more what life was like for those early settlers. Sounds like quite a project. Good luck. Thanks. We feel that shampoo is importance in Oregon's history makes it worth the effort.
The first settlers in this area look to Dr. McLaughlin for thank or for assistance. But as to factor for the Hudson's Bay Company he could only do so much especially for the American settlers in 1840 who run the Oregon country was still being shared equally by the British and Americans according to a treaty. But that year something happened that made some of the settlers start thinking about the need for their own government. That year you when young the pioneer cattlemen of the Willamette Valley died he owned a large herd of cattle and considerable property but he had no family and left no will his neighbors wondered what was going to happen to Young's land an animal. At Jason Lee's Methodist mission south of shampooing a general meeting of the settlers was called at that meeting the need for some kind of government in the valley was discussed. Dr. Ira Babcock was chosen as supreme judge and given power to decide what to do with Ewing Young's property.
The handling of Young's estate is believed to be the first official act of what was to become Oregon's provisional or temporary government. At that time there were still more French Canadians than American settlers here in the Willamette Valley. Most of the Canadians were still loyal to England on the Hudson's Bay Company. So if the Americans wanted their own government they had to be careful not to do anything that would make enemies of their French Canadian neighbors for some time. Settlers here have been trying to get the United States government to take control of the Oregon country. The settlers thought if that happened their land claims would be safe. But the government was too busy with other problems to take any action. The settlers decided to act on their own. And this is story marker and shampooing commemorates the approximate site of a very
important vote a series of meetings was planned to discuss problems the settlers were having with lives and other animals killing their cattle and horses. But the real reason for these so-called meetings was to talk about the possibility of starting an independent government. One of those meetings in March of 1843 another plan was voted on a plan to have a committee of 12 men drop a report on the idea of forming their own government. The settlers voted in favor of starting a committee. One of the 12 men on that committee was 18 and Lucy a French Canadian farmer we mentioned earlier. It was agreed that the committee would present its report at a public meeting to be held here at shampooing on May 2nd 1843. A.
There was a good turnout that day about an equal number of American and French Canadian settlers. They listened to the committee's report a report which favored the forming of a provisional government. There was a vote and the report was voted down. Were there plans going to end right there. Imagine you were one of those settlers and think about what was at stake. Trying to start our own government will almost certainly make Dr. McLaughlin and the Hudson's Bay Company angry. Without his help we probably wouldn't have been able to plant our first crops. We owe him a great deal for organizing would mean we could elect a sheriff to keep the peace. How do we pay for a government probably with taxes with all our other expenses we can't afford to pay taxes to with our own government. We can be independent of the British once and for all and then perhaps the United States will make Oregon a territory. Just that much sooner. We agree on so few other things. How can we expect to agree on a government that won't work. More and more settlers are on the way. Without some kind of authority who is going to protect my
land claim. No one was sure what was going to happen next. And although there are many different accounts of that final vote count the story told by the last living survivor of that meeting goes something like this. It had been suggested that everybody divide into two lines those for the committee's report on the right but was not in favor on the left. Suddenly Joe Meek a mountain man with a booming voice called for a vote by shouting Who's for divide. All for the report of the committee and an organization. Follow me. Two lines were formed and heads were counted and according to the most popular story the final count was fifty voting no to 52 voting in favor. There would be an independent government. The fifty two names carved in this monument are thought to be the names of the men who voted for the beginning of Oregon's provisional government. And though we're not sure about some of the names all accounts agree that one of those who voted for the report here it was our French Canadian farmer étienne Lucy.
Oregon history has its share of colorful here else like Lewis and Clark and Dr. McLaughlin. But it also has heroes who may not be found in all the history books. Thousands of men and women who took a stand and made a difference. People like Lucy A who helped make possible the first government in the Pacific Northwest. A. Provisional Government at its capitol in Oregon City Abernathy was elected governor. With the arrival in 1845 of over 3000 in the country. It became clear that it was time to settle the question once and for all. The British wanted to keep everything north of the Columbia River. For a while it looked like the two countries might have to go to war
again. The question agreed on a boundary. Border between the United States and Canada. Once again the settlers thought Oregon was about to become an official territory of the United
States. But there were more delays. Some settlers even wanted Oregon to become a separate Republic a country all by itself. Finally in 1848 President James K. Polk signed a bill making Oregon a territory. Joseph lane of Indiana hero of the Mexican War was appointed territorial governor by the president and in March of 1849 here in Oregon City Governor Lane gave an address from this balcony at Rose farm built an eight hundred forty eight rose farm has been fully restored in recent years. It was the meeting place for Oregon's first territorial legislature.
Even after Oregon became a U.S. territory the independent spirit of the settlers was clear in the territorial motto she flies with her own wings. Morgan City was the territorial capital until 1851 when Salem became the capital during the next decade. The Oregon country changed its shape again in 1853 at the request of the settlers living north of the Columbia River. The United States government created the Washington Territory and in 1859 Oregon took its shape.
Nearing the end of our story of Oregon's road to statehood we've arrived at our final stop here in Salem. The traffic noise of the city's busiest streets is nothing compared to the loud arguments that went on back when this was the territorial capital during the 1850s. Everyone had his own idea about what was best for the Oregon territory. By the end of the decade it was time to become a state as a territory. Oregon couldn't elect most of its own officials they were appointed by the national government. And though they were given a territorial representative in Congress he wasn't allowed to vote. Becoming a state would have some very real advantages in 1857 a state constitution was adopted and plans for a state government went full speed ahead in spite of the fact that Oregon still had not been formally admitted to the union. Finally in 1859 people in the streets of Salem heard that President James Buchanan signed a bill into law making Oregon the thirty third state new norm.
It was February 14th 1859. Valentine's Day. We're near the end of our search for the landmarks of the old Oregon country. It's been quite an adventure. It really has. And looking at the murals on display here in the state capital helps me remember some of our stops along the way. Where Near the end of our search for landmarks of the old Oregon country it's been quite an
adventure. It really has. And looking at the murals on display here in the state capital helps me remember some of our stops along the way. The stories of Oregon's first people the many Indian tribes and of their first encounters with the explorers who came by sea men like Robert Gray the man who discovered the Columbia River. The story of the explorations of Lewis and Clark of Dr. John McLaughlin and the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver and the coming of the first missionaries and settlers to this land of the great wagon tree migration of 1843 and the challenges of the Oregon Trail. And finally of how a group of very independent pioneers joined together to form the first government on the Pacific coast and helped give birth to this great state.
Oregon becoming a state marks the end of our journey but in more ways than one it was the beginning of a whole new era an era full of new discoveries new heroes and new landmarks. That's right. And I think maybe that's one of the most important lessons I've learned that there are many places from Oregon history all around us just waiting to be discovered. I'll never look at an organ map the same again. Thanks for coming along with us. We hope you enjoyed this expedition too. Now it's your turn to do some exploring on your own and pioneers to more exciting by learning from the pioneers of yesterday. So long for now.
Landmarks of the Old Oregon County
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Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland, Oregon)
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Episode Description
This episode covers the history of the town of Champoeg, Oregon. Mark Sparks and Jane Ferguson visit the Champoeg Visitors' Center to learn more about the place where Oregon came to be as the 33rd American State.
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Landmarks of the Old Oregon County is a documentary series looking at historic landmarks throughout the Northwestern United States.
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Host: Sparks, Mark
Host: Ferguson, Jane
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Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)
Identifier: 116147.0 (Unique ID)
Format: Betacam
Generation: Original
Duration: 00:30:00:00?
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Chicago: “Landmarks of the Old Oregon County; 233,” 1991-06-07, Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 1, 2021,
MLA: “Landmarks of the Old Oregon County; 233.” 1991-06-07. Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 1, 2021. <>.
APA: Landmarks of the Old Oregon County; 233. Boston, MA: Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from