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Dr. John McLoughlin
Abernethy Island


I have spoken of this settlement with Waller, in 1844, in order to treat separately of the taking of Abernethy Island from Dr. McLoughlin. The land controlling the water-power on the west side of the falls of the Willamette River was not taken nor claimed by any one until after the year 1841. It is on the west side where the water-power of the falls is now mostly used. It could have been had for the taking at the time Abernethy Island was "jumped." Dr. McLoughlin's land claim was on the east side of the river. As I have said, Felix Hathaway, in the employment of the Mission, in 1841 began to build a house on Abernethy Island, but after Dr. McLoughlin's remonstrance to Waller, the building operations on the island ceased at that time. Dr. McLoughlin erected a small house on the island. In 1841 the Oregon Milling Company was formed. Almost all of its members belonged to the Methodist Mission. Hathaway conveyed all his right and title to the island to the Oregon Milling Company, a part of the consideration to be paid by a Committee of the Oregon Milling Company in behalf of that Company. Rev. A. F. Waller is the one first named, of the Committee, in the deed. This deed is recorded at page 52 of Book 2, Record of Deeds of Clackamas County. This record shows the date of the deed as November 23, 1852. This is evidently an error of the copyist, as to the year. It doubtless was 1842, for Hathaway, by the deed, conveyed all his "right and title to the island on which said Company are now constructing mills" etc. This is a very religious deed. Hathaway in this conveyance covenanted to warrant and defend the island against all persons "(the Lord excepted)." Among the cargo of the Lausanne, which all belonged to the Methodist Mission, was machinery for flour-mills and for saw-mills. The Methodist Mission established both a saw-mill and a grist-mill, run by water-power, near Chemekete (now Salem). These were in operation in 1841. These mills were much nearer the Willamette settlements than Oregon City was. In the Fall of 1842 the Oregon Milling Company had erected a saw-mill on the island, intending to follow it with the erection of a flour-mill. It will be noted that there were then no courts in Oregon, for the Provisional Government was not organized until 1843. Dr. McLoughlin and the Hudson's Bay Company were not under the jurisdiction of the Provisional Government until 1845. In the fall of 1842 Dr. McLoughlin became satisfied that it was the intention of some of the Methodist missionaries to take his land and to deprive him of his water rights. To save his interests he forthwith built a saw-mill on the river bank near the island, and gave notice that he would erect a flour-mill in a short time.


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