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Fifty Years in Oregon

EXPERIENCES, OBSERVATIONS, AND COMMENTARIES UPON MEN, MEASURES, AND CUSTOMS IN PIONEER DAYS AND LATER TIMES

BY

T.T. Geer

formerly Governor of Oregon, and one of her native sons

NEW YORK
THE NEALE PUBLISHING COMPANY
1912

T.T. Geer was my grandmother's (Florence Gradon Ragen) great uncle. This section of our website contains the contents of his book titled "Fifty Years in Oregon". I have attempted to describe the general contents of each of the chapters below.

Fifty Years in Oregon Table of Contents
Chapters 1-2 Additional perspective on our family history. These chapters relate our family's trip to Oregon via the Oregon Trail a history also covered through recollections from Ralph Carey Geer and Calvin Geer. They also trace our family's ancestors back to England in the 1600s.
Chapter 3 Recounts the trail westward taken by John Eoff, T.T. Geer's other grandfather, John Eoff.
Chapters 4-5 The history, from a settler's perspective, of the United States' acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase and the subsequent westwards expansion to the Oregon territory.
Chapter 6 The aspirations of Hall J. Kelley to settle the Oregon and his efforts, starting in 1817, to be a pioneer.
Chapters 7-8 The story of Jason Lee, a Methodist minister who came to Oregon as a missionary in 1834 and was one of the founders of the first university in Oregon.
Chapter 9 The journey of Anna Maria Pitman who traveled to Oregon around South America.
Chapter 10 The founding of Willamette University and the role of David Leslie as its initial president.
Chapter 11-13 Brief histories of many of the founders of Willamette University including Asahel Bush, John Flinn, Lafayette Grover, and Dr. W.H. Willson.
Chapter 14 A brief history of Thomas Pearne, one of the first Methodist ministers in Oregon.
Chapter 15 Reminiscences from Geer's early years at the Central School in Salem.
Chapter 16 Notes from Geer's years at Willamette University where he was taught by Professor Grubbs, Professor L.J. Powell and others. Includes reminiscences of the great flood of 1861 as well as the murder trial of George Beale.
Chapter 17 Thomas M. Gatch was president of several universities in the Northwest including Willamette University, Portland Academy, Oregon State University, and the University of Washington.
Chapters 18-19 The trail diary of Elizabeth Dixon Smith, my great-great-grandfather's second wife who traveled across the Oregon Trail in 1847.
Chapter 20 James W. Nesmith delivered an address in 1876 to the Oregon Pioneer Association that offers some additional perspective on traveling along the Oregon Trail.
Chapter 21 In 1841, the first organization meetings for the Oregon Territory were held and the first "laws" were put in place by the early settlers.
Chapter 22 Ewing Young, through his death, unwittingly funded the early stages of the Oregon Provisional Legislature.
Chapter 23 In 1843, in Champoeg, the settlers voted with their feet to form their own provisional government and break with the Hudson Bay Company.
Chapter 24-25 F. X. Matthieu, who helped break the 50-50 tie in the vote, reminisced about the early part of the century, including his time with the Indians.
Chapter 26 The first meetings of the Oregon Provisional Legislature from 1843-1847 gave some structure to the territory.
Chapter 27 General Joseph Lane became the first Governor of the new Territory of Oregon by Presidential appointment in 1848.
Chapter 28 In 1857, Oregon held its Constitutional Convention and, in 1859, Oregon became a state.
Chapter 29 Daniel Waldo, a member of the Oregon Provisional Legislature, was one of the original settlers in the Salem area.
Chapter 30 Childhood memories and T. T. Geer's first trip to Portland.
Chapter 31 In 1862, T. T. Geer fell upon hard times with the divorce of his parents and, after moving from home to home in Salem, moved to the Grand Ronde Valley.
Chapter 32 The Civil War sparked many disagreements among the boys of Salem as they formed their own militia, armed with wooden muskets. Includes stories of Sam Driver and the Rev I. D. Driver.
Chapter 33 James Hendershott was one of the original community leaders in Oro Dell in the Grand Ronde valley.
Chapter 34 The Presidential campaign of 1868 triggered an early interest in the Republican party by T. T. Geer, who started his career in politics with letters to the Butte Mountain Times.
Chapter 35 Thrift (and its close neighbor, poverty) were characteristics of the early settlers in Oregon.
Chapter 36 Early Oregon politics with the vote to transfer the Union County panhandle to Baker County.
Chapter 37 Political campaigns of Union County in the early 1870s were lively with the likes of James Hendershott, Sam Hannah and others.
Chapter 38 Fishing in Wallowa Lake, T. T. Geer reflects on the incredible bounty of the Northwest.
Chapter 39 T. T. Geer continues to grow up in Forest Cove.
Chapter 40 Comments on the presidential election (Hayes versus Tilden) of 1876; Geer loses his first bid to join the Oregon Legislature but decides to return to the Willamette Valley.
Chapter 41 Geer leaves the Grande Ronde Valley to return to the Willamette; notes from the journey including details of their brief stay in Pendleton.
Chapter 42 Geer returns to farming in the Waldo Hills in 1877; notes on the changing communications with rural railroads, a local post office, and the telephone.
Chapter 43 Geer wins election to the Oregon Legislature in 1880; stories from his first session including Z. F. Moody, Terry Tuttle, and J. W. Blevans.
Chapter 44 Legislative Session of 1880: Notes on A. J. Lawrence, George Chamberlain, and William Galloway
Chapter 45 Geer has a run-in with Sylvester Pennoyer, Governor of Oregon, about the Oregon Railroad Commission; stories of George Waggoner.
Chapter 46 Anecdotes from the Oregon Legislature, session of 1889: James Blundell, John Waldo, and John Apperson.
Chapter 47 Geer wins the Speakership of the Oregon Legislature in 1891; with H. B. Miller, attempts to unseat Binger Hermann as Senator.
Chapter 48 President Harrison and Jeremiah Rusk (Secretary of Agriculture) visit Oregon in 1891.
Chapter 49 In the session of 1892, there were several characters in the Oregon Legislature.
Chapter 50 Geer campaigned across the state for Judge William Lord against Sylvester Pennoyer in the governor's election of 1894.
Chapter 51 The presidential election of 1896 cast a wide swath through Oregon as the debate over the "gold standard" versus free silver ended with McKinley as the victor.
Chapter 52 Geer was named one of Oregon's three electors in the electoral college in 1896; he visited with McKinley after the election was secured. Geer was later snubbed, however, by McKinley for an appointed office.
Chapter 53 In Geer's gubernatorial campaign in 1898, he visited every county in Oregon, starting in the western half.
Chapter 54-55 Geer's campaign continued across the eastern half of the state.
Chapter 56 Geer musters out the Oregon volunteers for the Spanish-American war of 1898.
Chapter 57 In 1902, Geer was invited, as a guest speaker on behalf of Governor Nash, to visit Ohio.
Chapter 58 After campaigning in Ohio, Geer visits his grandfather's (Joseph Carey Geer) home in London, Ohio.
Chapter 59 Stories of Homer Davenport, the cartoonist, as a young man before he became famous.
Chapter 60 Various moral reflections about personal character and, in particular, making poor assumptions about who one is talking to. Includes stories about Al Reed and Levi Ankeny.
Chapter 61 The inside story on John Mitchell's election to his fourth term and discussion of his moral character; similarly, reflections on Harvey Scott, founder of the Oregonian.
Chapter 62 The creation of the "Oregon System" for popular election of senatorial selections and thoughts on Charles Fulton.
Chapter 63 Geer reminisces on Thomas H. Tongue public service as well as the time that they descended into Crater Lake.
Chapter 64 Notes on various pioneers, including Benjamin Simpson, Samuel Thurston, and Samuel Barlow.
Chapter 65 Oregon pioneers were often creative in the ways in which they handled civil service and civil obligations.
Chapter 66 Geer is reminded by President McKinley and several personal recollections not to pre-judge based on initial presumptions.
Chapter 67-68 Geer climbs Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.
Chapter 69 Musings on the parks and natural beauty within Oregon State.
Chapter 70 Geer ends his book with a few notes on his second wife and his father's ultimate return to their original homestead.

 

If you are interested in finding this book, Fifty Years in Oregon, it can often be located at Powell's Books in Portland which is one of the largest used book stores in the United States or, through Alibris which catalogs used books from stores across the country. For more information on the Geer Family, visit the Geer Family website. Other resources and references include:



 

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