Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile historic east–west, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming; the western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Oregon. The Oregon Trail was laid by fur traders and trappers from about 1811 to 1840, was only passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared farther west, reached all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, at which point what came to be called the Oregon Trail was complete as annual improvements were made in the form of bridges, cutoffs and roads, which made the trip faster and safer. From various starting points in Iowa, Missouri, or Nebraska Territory, the routes converged along the lower Platte River Valley near Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory, led to rich farmlands west of the Rocky Mountains.

From the early to mid-1830s the Oregon Trail and its many offshoots were used by about 400,000 settlers, miners and business owners and their families. The eastern half of the trail was used by travelers on the California Trail, Mormon Trail, Bozeman Trail, before turning off to their separate destinations. Use of the trail declined as the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, making the trip west faster and safer. Today, modern highways, such as Interstate 80 and Interstate 84, follow parts of the same course westward and pass through towns established to serve those using the Oregon Trail. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson issued the following instructions to Meriwether Lewis: "The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by its course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Colorado and/or other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce."

Although Lewis and William Clark found a path to the Pacific Ocean, it was not until 1859 that a direct and practicable route, the Mullan Road, connected the Missouri River to the Columbia River. The first land route across what is now the United States was mapped by the Lewis and Clark Expedition between 1804 and 1806. Lewis and Clark believed they had found a practical overland route to the west coast. On the return trip in 1806, they traveled from the Columbia River to the Snake River and the Clearwater River over Lolo pass again, they traveled overland up the Blackfoot River and crossed the Continental Divide at Lewis and Clark Pass and on to the head of the Missouri River. This was a shorter and faster route than the one they followed west; this route had the disadvantages of being much too rough for wagons and controlled by the Blackfoot tribes. Though Lewis and Clark had only traveled a narrow portion of the upper Missouri River drainage and part of the Columbia River drainage, these were considered the two major rivers draining most of the Rocky Mountains, the expedition confirmed that there was no "easy" route through the northern Rocky Mountains as Jefferson had hoped.

Nonetheless, this famous expedition had mapped both the eastern and western river valleys that bookend the route of the Oregon Trail across the continental divide—they just had not located the South Pass or some of the interconnecting valleys used in the high country. They did show the way for the mountain men, who within a decade would find a better way across if it was not to be an easy way. Founded by John Jacob Astor as a subsidiary of his American Fur Company in 1810, the Pacific Fur Company operated in the Pacific Northwest in the ongoing North American fur trade. Two movements of PFC employees were planned by Astor, one detachment to be sent to the Columbia River by the Tonquin and the other overland under an expedition led by Wilson Price Hunt. Hunt and his party were to find possible supply routes and trapping territories for further fur trading posts. Upon arriving at the river in March 1811, the Tonquin crew began construction of what became Fort Astoria; the ship left supplies and men to continue work on the station and ventured north up the coast to Clayoquot Sound for a trading expedition.

While anchored there, Jonathan Thorn insulted an elder Tla-o-qui-aht, elected by the natives to negotiate a mutually satisfactory price for animal pelts. Soon after, the vessel was attacked and overwhelmed by the indigenous Clayoquot, killing many of the crew, its Quinault interpreter survived, told the PFC management at Fort Astoria of the destruction. The next day, the ship was blown up by surviving crew members. Under Hunt, fearing attack by the Niitsitapi, the overland expedition veered south of Lewis and Clark's route into what is now Wyoming and in the process passed across Union Pass and into Jackson Hole, Wyoming. From there they went over the Teton Range via Teton Pass and down to the Snake River into modern Idaho, they abandoned their horses at the Snake River, made dugout canoes, attempted to use the river for transport. After a few days' travel they soon discovered that steep

John D. Boon

John Daniel Boon was an American merchant and politician in what became the state of Oregon. A native of Ohio, he immigrated to the Oregon Country where he farmed and operated a general store. A Democrat, he served as the Treasurer of the Oregon Territory and was the first Oregon State Treasurer, his former home and store are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. John Boon was born and raised in Athens, Ohio on January 8, 1817. In Ohio he was a member of the Baptist church, in 1842 he joined the Wesleyan denomination of the Methodist Episcopal Church and trained as a minister. Boon married Martha J. Hawkins and they had seven children together. In 1845, the family moved to the Oregon Country. In Oregon he farmed and worked at Lewis H. Judson's sawmill the before opening a mercantile in Salem; as a minister he married Senator James Nesmith to Pauline Goff in 1845. In 1846, Boon served a term in the Provisional Legislature of Oregon. While living in the Rickreall area of the county, he would preach at the Jefferson Institute, an early school and meeting place.

In 1851, Boon was elected by the Oregon Territorial Legislature to the position of Territorial Treasurer. A Democrat, he served from December 16, 1851, until March 1, 1855, when Nathaniel H. Lane replaced him in that office. After a single term out of office, the legislature returned Boon to the treasury where he served from January 10, 1856 until March 3, 1859, when the office was dissolved with Oregon’s admittance to the Union as the 33rd state. Boon had been elected to the position of State Treasurer in 1858 to take effect upon statehood, with him assuming that office on March 3, he operated the treasury out of his general store on. His term ended on September 8, 1862, thus he was the last treasurer of the Oregon Territory and the first of the state of Oregon. Boon was involved in various industries while serving as treasurer, including transportation and telegraph companies, he helped organize the Woolen Mill Company in Salem in 1856. Others in the founding group included George Henry Williams, La Fayette Grover, Joseph G. Wilson.

In 1860, while still in office he built a new brick building for his store, the first brick building in that part of Salem. The building is now a McMenamins brewpub known as Boon's Treasury. Both his store and his former home, John D. Boon House, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After leaving office he returned to his mercantile business full-time, his son John L. Boone fought in the American Civil War and was a state senator in California. John D. Boon was buried at Salem Pioneer Cemetery. Following his death, his name was sometimes spelled Boone by his children. Rev John Daniel Boon at Find a Grave

Charlie Dexter

Charles Dana Dexter was a Major League Baseball outfielder from 1896 to 1903. An alumnus of the University of the South, Dexter played for the Louisville Colonels, Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs organizations. On December 30, 1903 Charlie Dexter and fellow player John Franklin Houseman were in a box watching a show at the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago when the Iroquois Theatre fire broke out. In 1934, Dexter shot himself to death in Iowa. List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference Charlie Dexter at Iroquois Theater