Oregon’s 150th Birthday

General Joe Lane

General Joe Lane

While we celebrate 90 years of reunions, the State of Oregon is celebrating its sesquicentennial.  Founded in 1859, sixteen years after our ancestors arrived in the first wagon train to bring their wagons all the way to Oregon, it was the 33rd state in the Union.  The Hewitts, Mathenys, and Coopers com-prised approximately five percent of the roughly 900 settlers in the Great Migration wagon train, a key factor in Oregon history.

Henry Hewitt’s brother, Adam, helped bring the provisional government into existence, and, for many years, our families participated in it.  The Oregon Territory was established in 1848 and included the present states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, Western Montana, and a corner of Western Wyoming, with a total of 13,500 European American settlers living mostly in the Willamette Valley.  The first governor of the Oregon Territory was Joseph Lane of Indiana, whom Charlotte Matheny Kirkwood mentions in Into the Eye of the Setting Sun (pg. 114):

General Joe Lane was sent to Oregon as a result of Joe Meek’s journey.  He was a fine, dignified old gentleman, and I remember him very well from when he visited at our house.  Father was a Democrat and so was General Lane.  This was the same General Lane who captured Santa Ana’s wooden leg.”

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