1842 Oregon Census

List of Settlers West of Rockies, 1842

By Elijah White, Indian Agent

From Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1842-1880. (Oregon Superintendency)

NATF 234, reel 607, frames 0112-0119

Extracted by Connie Lenzen, CGRS

 

In 1842, Dr. Elijah White, the first Oregon Indian Agent, led a wagon train of pioneers from "the States" into the Willamette Valley. This was a return home for him. He had been appointed by the Methodist Church as a physician to its Willamette Valley mission in 1836. In 1841, he resigned, due to differences with Jason Lee over mission policies and returned to the States.

One of the first things White did was to take a census of settlers in the Oregon Territory. It included the numbers of men, women, and children and a summary of their crops for the 1841-1842 year. White intended to show that it was possible to farm the Territory and that the British had a foothold. Unless American settlers moved in, the Canadians (British) would be in the majority. The Territory was under a "joint occupancy" agreement, but an overwhelming number of British settlers could tip the balance of power, and Oregon could go British.

At that time, Oregon extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from Canada to northern California. The people named in this census, however, were living in the Willamette Valley and at Wailatpu near present day Walla Walla, Washington. Most were in the area called French Prairie, north of present-day Salem, Oregon. They were an eclectic mix of retired Hudson's Bay employees, American Mountain Men, Methodist Ministers, and Catholic priests.

Dr. White used phonetic spelling and often wrote over letters. This extractor is familiar with most of the names and had to force herself to not "correct" the spelling.

It appears as the names are in neighborhood order, meaning that next door neighbors are next to each other in the list. This is valuable for many of the early settlers were related to each other by marriage.

There are eight pages in this list. The names are not indexed, but it does not take long to scan through the pages. There are navigation links at the bottom of each page.

Copies of the microfilm containing the census - in Dr. White's own handwriting - are located at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, the Oregon State Archives in Salem,, Oregon, and the Alaska-Pacific Branch of the National Archives in Seattle, Washington. A family researcher really should try to get a copy of the film to verify this extraction.

Page 1
Name of head Males over 18 Females over 18 Children Acres under improvement Bush.of wheat in 1842 Bushels of grain in 1842 Horses Neat stock Sheep Hogs
McKey, Thos. 3 1 4 130 900 500 83 221 114
Remick, Wm. 1 4
Moss, S. W. 1 50 3 12
Newel, R. 1 1 4 35 315 200 15 36 1 35
Everts, Geo. 1 11 3 45 800 60 16 33 32
Wilkins 1 1 2 in partnership with Everts
Black 1 1 23 8
Owen, R. 1 1 1 90 16 10 9 4
Baldro, Wm. 1 1 3 20 5 3
Waggoner, P. 1 1 4 12 90 30 11 14 4
Williams 1 1 5 10 40 10 3 15 1
Meek, Jsph 1 1 3 40 800 50 13 90 80
Doughty,Wm. 1 1 3 Partner with Meek above.
Meek, Steph 1 2 Just arrived
Brown 1 1 Just arrived
Walker, C M. 1 1 2 200 12 5 20 16
Blair, Wm. 1 8 64 1
Phlett, Jas. 1 1 5 10 15 8
Phlette, David 1 1 5 10 15 8
Phlett, John 1 1 2 Three Brothers late from Red River
Clarke, A. 1 1 25 200 36 10 20 6
Smith, A. T. 1 1 Partner with Clarke
Johnson, Wm. 1 3 4 Just arrived
Spencer 1 1 5 1 Later from Red River
Tibbetts, C. 1 300 15 41
Griffin, T. J. 1 1 1 40 60 400 7 9 10
Obeshaw, A. C. 2 2 5 50 300 400 15 19 13
Shortess, Robt. 1 40 650 100 11 27 3
Crawford, M. 1 1 4 Just arrived
Coombs, E. 1 1 Just arrived
Pomeroy, D. 1 Just arrived
White, E. 1 13 23
McLaughlin, J. 1 1 180 500 335 18 50 40



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© 2000

Connie Lenzen, CGRS


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Everything was working today, December 10, 2000.