Hello! My name is Anna and I’ve always been fascinated by the setting of Oregon. Part of my college history course is to blog about a historical event that impacted the growth of the United States. So I figured that this would be a good fit since I get credit for the class and get to learn more at the same time! 🙂
It has been great learning about this topic, and here’s just a quick summary of the history of Oregon Cascade settlers.
Lewis And Clark were sent by President Thomas Jefferson to navigate and map out the land west of the Mississippi River. By 1840’s the area was a popular place for settlers of European descent to make a claim to the land. They had made it to Willamette along the Rickreall and Salt Creeks. By 1848 they were pouring into Willamette Valley into the Umpqua Valley as well.
The next areas we found settled were the Umpqua River and even the southern coast where Port Orford sits. They were a rugged bunch who were brazen enough to venture onto Neahkahnie Mountain in Tillamook Bay.
By 1850, the census counted 11,873 settlers, with nearly 60% male and the rest female. It had two main sources of people: large, extended families and single men from Europe or the Northeast.
The California Gold Rush created an opportunity that many Oregon settlers could not resist. They set their families up while they went on the search for gold. They did return with booty the follow fall.
The great population draw into the new state of California during the heyday of the gold rush created great opportunities for the established farmers in Oregon.
The Cascade Mountain area of Oregon was first seen on a large scale when Lewis and Clark came through the area during their great expedition in 1805. They were the first white people of any size to see the great mountain ranges and the magnificent forests in the region.
Many settlers followed as word of the beauty and the possible great farm and forest lands giving sustenance enough for settlement. Fort Vancouver being established in the 1820’s caused excitement in regard to western settlement as the Hudson Bay Company trappers and established trails among areas from Mt. Shasta all the way up to Puget Sound.
Real settlement of the area did not really begin to take place until the early 1840s when the Oregon Trail became the best path through the west on out into Oregon.
Once enough settlers made their way west on the Oregon trail, the railroads soon began to follow, which brought thousands of settlers out to the Cascades and Oregon country.
People found that the soil was generally good for farming, as the centuries of volcanoes have enriched the soil with potassium, ideal for growing crops. The areas were well watered by the rivers and glaciers, which added to the excitement of moving west to live.