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.