City of Salem
Salem, Oregon was founded by
Jason Lee, "Methodist Missionary to the Flat heads". "Dr.
Mc Loughlin whose real purpose was to confine American settlements to the south
of the Columbia River, advised Lee to avoid the more dangerous Flathead country
and settle near French Prairie, where he would have protection, and where land
would lend itself to cultivation." (Oregon- Oregon writes Project
1940- continues). Then he could gather the Indians around him, "teach
them first to cultivate the ground and live more comfortably than they could do
by hunting, and as they do this, teach them religion.
Lee's first mission failed because the "great sickness" which wiped out about four fifths of the Indians in this district, so Lee began another mission station at Salem, June 1, 1840. A houses was erected and a combined sawmill and gristmill---soon decided to lay out a town and sell lots to finance the Oregon Institute, a "Literary and Religious Institution of learning," which turned its emphasis to the schooling of white children following the great emigration of 1845. Oregon Institute was the fore runner of Williamette University which was chartered in 1853.
Salem was selected as the territorial capitol in 1851, by the territorial legislature meeting at Oregon City.
The State Legislature voted to move the capital to Corvallis in 1855, but moved back after one session because the US Congress had appropriated money for erection of a capital and other public building in Salem and the Comptroller of the US Treasury refused to recognize the bill moving the capital.
The facts in the paragraph above were taken from the notes of Harley Hallgren, written for the 1934 Golden Jubilee of Temple Baptist Church.