THE FIRST “OREGONIAN”
ISSUED NEARLY FIFTY YEARS AGO, IN TERRITORIAL DAYS.
Features of the Paper-Copy Framed and in
Possession of State Historical Society.
PORTLAND, DEC. 30, ,<1899>—(To the Editor.)--Portland, O.T.,
Wednesday, December 4, 1850” is the date of the first issue
of The Oregonian, a copy of which lies before the writer as
these lines are written. The page is 16 x22 inches in size,
with six columns of printed matter. The first page after the
usual prospectus, contains two stories, “The Wrapper—a
Legend of the West” and “The Fashionable Church,” the last
being continued by one column on page 4. The remainder of
that page is filled up by one column of the selected “Wit
and Humor,” and the following advertisers: John S. Egan,
dealer in paints, etc.; Adams & Co.’s express; James King,
of William, banker, San Francisco (it will be remembered
that his murder in 1856 created the vigilance committee);
George R. Parburt, lawyer, San Francisco; Barnum house; San
Francisco, John Mitchell, Adam Cannon and Thomas
Spooner, proprietors; Turnbull & Walton, commission
merchants, San Francisco; Packet Line between Portland and
San Francisco, the barks Ann Smith, Drew and brigs Tarquina,
Molthrop, being in commission, with Stark & Co., as San
Francisco agents and Couch & Co., Portland agents; Couch &
Co., also announce the willingness to sell or charter “the
A-1 coppered and copper-fastened fast sailing brig Emma
Preston, 135, 85-95 tons burthen”, A. P. Dennison, agent,
Portland, states that the steamer Columbia will run twice a
week from the foot of the Clackamas rapids to Astoria,
touching at Milwaukie, Portland, Vancouver and St. Helens;
Couch & Co., Portland, and Allan, McKinley & Co., Oregon
City, announce that the Tumwata” and “Skukum Chuck,” Captain
James Coburn will run regularly between the two places; Z.
H. Webber and A. B. Hallock announce themselves house
carpenters and ship builders; Stephen Coffin calls attention
to the fact that he has for sale pickles, brushes, medicine
chests, Manilla sugar, windows, books and stationery, brass
clocks, writing paper, goods for the Indian trade; the
proprietors of the town of Willamette—S. M. Holderness, G.
W. and A. G. Walling, and C. W. Savage—situated at the “foot
of Clackamas rapids, on the west side of the Willamette
river,” call attention to its desirable location; A. A.
Durham wants to sell lumber at his mill at Oswego, the names
of John H. Couch and Benjamin Stark, under the firm name of
Couch & Co., appear as “bankers, wholesale and retail
merchants”; while Stark & Co., composed of Couch and John S.
Sherman, were located in San Francisco, and Sherman & Stark
in New York; G. Montgomery made boots and shoes, and
warranted them to be waterproof; John W. W. McKay had a boot
and shoe store on Front Street, between Pine and Ash; George
H. Flanders announce himself as a wholesale and retail
merchant. The fifth column contains a full-grown prospectus,
and an announcement form D. H. Lownsdale, special agent of
the postoffice department; and the sixth in advertisement of
John Ricketson, dealer in dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes,
etc. on Front street and Lemuel Bills, pump and aqueduct
builder. He says he is prepared to mold candles at
reasonable prices and offers to pay cash for tallow.
Location, Water Street between Jefferson and Columbia. This
column is closed by insertion of the law passed at the first
session of the 31st congress, governing Indian matters in
Oregon territory, signed by Howell Cobb, speaker of the
house, and Millard Fillmore, vice-president, as president of
the senate, and approved June 6, 1850, by Zachary Taylor,
On page two E. M. Geiger is “authorized
to receive subscriptions.” “To the people of Oregon,” Mr.
Dryer, the founder, addressed himself, stating his political
and moral convictions in a column article. Then an item is
given showing that the paper has been made the official
organ of the United States, followed by brief editorials to
the “Oregon Land Hill” and “Public Roads.” Then a column
editorial is given explaining a provoking delay in the
issuance of the paper; then follow items about the bark
“Gold Hunter”, “Portland & Valley Railroad,” the advantages
of fore-and-aft schooners over square-rigged vessels for the
Oregon trade; the lack of wood sidewalks; the receipt of the
“Western Star” from Milwaukie; the annual message of
Governor Gaines; prospect of Judge James M Crane being
elected to the senate in California, to succeed John C.
Fremont; prices current, and prospect of enlargement on the
arrival of the new Washington hand press, which is on the
way from New York. W.W. Chapman also has a communication on
the “Portland & Valley Railroad.”
Five columns of page 3 are filled with
the remainder of Governor Gaines’ message and the Oregon
Land Bill. The sixth column contains the following
advertisements: James L. Loring, general merchandise, the
subscriber declaring he “will sell at a small profit”;
Pillow & Drew, watchmakers and jewelers, make pins and rings
out of California gold; Robert Thompson, dry goods, grocers,
provisions, etc.; Norris & Co.—Shubrick Norris, Gabriel
Winter, B. G. Latimer—grocers and commission merchants;
tanning and currying, by King, Fuller & Co.; drug store, by
Welsh & Kaye, physicians and surgeons; the Astor house,
where John D. Witt, offers to provide good board to any
“gentleman or gentlemen” for $8 per week, and a notice
dissolving the firm of Norton & Dennison--Z. C. Norton and
Ami P. Dennison—and continuing the business by Z. C. Norton.
The office of The Oregonian was situated
on the corner of Front and Morrison streets. Subscription,
$7 per year; $4 for six months; single copies, 25 cents.
Agents: C. M. K. Paulison, San Francisco: George Gibbs,
Astoria; Philip Foster, Clackamas; S. H. Goodhue, Salem; A.
The paper thus described was acquired by
the undersigned; as assistant secretary of the Oregon
Historical Society, among a lot of old papers left by the
late William G. Buffum, of Amity, Yamhill County. It will
soon be framed with glass on both sides, so that all who
desire can see it by calling at the rooms of the Oregon
Historical Society in the City Hall.
GEORGE H. HIMES
Ass’stant Sec. Oregon Historical Society.