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Dr. John McLoughlin
Immigration of 1842


In 1842 came the immigration of that year, which is now counted the first real immigration of American settlers to Oregon. I believe, however, that the immigration of 1843 should be called the first immigration of Oregon home-builders. But that question is not material in this address. The number of the immigrants of 1842 has been variously estimated, but, after a somewhat careful examination of the matter, I believe there were all told about one hundred and twenty-five. Of this number about fifty-five were men over eighteen years of age. These immigrants left their wagons at Fort Hall and used pack horses. They came from The Dalles to Oregon City, overland, by the Indian trail which passed near Mt. Hood. [Address of Medorum Crawford, in 1881. Sec Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association for 1881, p. 14.]

Many of the immigrants of 1842 were disappointed in Oregon. The country was then very new, and they became discontented. Dr. McLoughlin engaged many to labor at fair wages, and furnished goods on credit to those who could not make immediate payment. Some of them were of a roving or adventurous class, ever seeking new places. In the spring of 1843 nearly half of them went to California, leaving on their journey May 30, from Champoeg. Dr. McLoughlin furnished these emigrants to California with supplies, upon their promise to pay for the same to W. G. Rae, the Hudson's Bay Company's agent at Yerba Buena (now San Francisco). Most of them did not pay, and Dr. McLoughlin personally assumed the payment of this indebtedness.


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