"The Hudson Bay Company
ruled the vast Oregon domain with excellent ability in the days where trapping
and trading were the principal occupations of the small population. As
settlers began to filter in by wagon trail or by schooner, the need of some form
of government was apparent. Neither the United States or Great Britain exercised control
nor afforded protection.
Petitions were sent to Washington but nothing was done. When a wealthy cattle owner Ewing Young died in 1841, without heirs, there were no laws governing estates and no authority to administer affairs. At Mr. Young's funeral a call was issued for a mass meeting to form some sort of provisional government.
At this meeting held February 17 - 18, 1841, at the Methodist Mission in the Willamette Valley. A "Supreme Judge, with Probate powers" and several minor court officials were elected, a committee was decided upon to prepare a constitution and draft a code of laws.
On May 2, 1843, the inhabitants of the Willamette Valley met at Champoeg, "for the purpose of taking steps to organize themselves into a civic community and provide themselves with the protection secured by the enforcement of law and order."
Most of the British and French Canadians were loyal to the Hudson Bay Company and Great Britain and refused to have any part in the founding of this provisional government that they knew would adhere to the United States. Fifty voted for organizing and 50 voted against with two French-Canadians apparently wavering. These two decided the matter by joining the American group and the provisional government was launched.
One Baptist is listed among the 52 whose votes saved the Oregon Country for the United States.
On July 5, the settlers again met at Champoeg and adopted "articles of compact" and a code of laws based largely on the laws of Iowa.
In a special election held July 25, 1845, the provisional government was confirmed and George Abernathy was chosen Governor and remained so by re-election during the three years of provisional government."
These accounts and others following, were written by Harley Hallgren for the 1934, Temple's Golden Jubilee Celebration.
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