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Fifty Years in Oregon was written by Theodore T. Geer, a grandson of Joseph Carey Geer and a shirttail ancestor of ours.

I have put much of the book on this website. I started because several chapters describe the early roots of our family history in Oregon. I kept going because I found many of the chapters from this perspective on the early settlers and the history of Oregon to be quite interesting.

Table Of Contents

This book was originally published in 1912 by The Neale Publishing Co. If you are interested in a copy, search at Powell's Books.

Fifty Years in Oregon

BY T. T. Geer, formerly Governor of Oregon, and one of her native sons



At the last minute of the last night of the session of the Legislature in 1901, John H. Mitchell was elected to the United States Senate for his fourth and last term. The term of George W. McBride was about to expire, and though he was a candidate for re-election and had the support of Mitchell, he could not secure a sufficient number of votes to insure his success at any time. A number of Republicans warmly supported Mitchell who would not vote for McBride, and it was freely and publicly said during the entire contest that the ultimate purpose was to prevent McBride’s election, though ostensibly favoring him, until the last moment, when the “game” was to bring Mitchell into the race and force his election under the guise of a necessity to avoid a vacancy in the Senate.

H. W. Corbett was an active candidate against both McBride and Mitchell and remained in the field until the very last minute, but he could never muster the required number of votes. Therefore, “as a last resort,” and “according to program,” as many said, the name of Mitchell was sprung just before adjournment and, amid one of the most exciting experiences ever seen or felt in a Senatorial election, he was chosen by receiving” the necessary forty-six votes fully fifteen minutes after the hour fixed for adjournment had arrived.

A ballot had been taken five minutes before midnight, the last to be had — which was realized, — and Mitchell, after the result had been canvassed, still lacked one vote. There were at least twenty of his faithful adherents on the floor of the House working “like beavers” among such members as they considered doubtful supporters of Corbett, urging them personally, “for God’s sake,” to change to Mitchell and not “disgrace the State and themselves by adjourning without electing a Senator.” Mitchell was not chosen on the first ballot after his name had been presented, and this sort of personal soliciting had been prosecuted vigilantly for an hour.

When it was known, however, that the last ballot was taken, and there still lacked one vote, there was such skirmishing and rushing about among the members as one would scarcely believe would be tolerated in a legislative body. When that scene is recalled, with a faithful picture of all its sidelights, one ‘can scarcely wonder at the tenacity with which the people cling to and support what is known as the present “Oregon System” of Senatorial elections.

The result of the last vote had been counted by Charles W. Fulton; but he knew, as did every man in the vast audience of spectators, that there was lacking one vote and that there was no election. Fulton saw there were a score of men on the floor darting here and there among the members, working like mad trying to induce some one man to change his vote — any man, — and for this reason did not “see” the clerk, who himself had delayed the matter until he could not invent another reason for not presenting the tally to the presiding officer. But with the skill of a trained politician, and with that fidelity to Mitchell which he had always displayed, Fulton continued to watch the efforts of those who were begging members to change their votes “to save the good name of the State,” and “overlooked” the clerk, who held the tally sheet as high as he could reach.

Finally, three men surrounded Mattoon, of Douglas County, who had supported Corbett loyally through the entire contest, and, with tears in their voices, if not in their eyes, urged him “for the love of the State and for his own good name to be the one man who would subordinate his personal desires to the public welfare and, change to Mitchell.” Literally, they lifted him to his feet and, as he stood, he addressed the presiding officer.

This was the signal for a possible change, and at once the tremendous din which filled the house ceased, as it was realized that something was to happen.

I was standing by the side of Mitchell in the large committee room which joins the Representative Hall on the northeast, from the connecting door of which we could see the proceedings. When Mattoon rose to his feet and remained “put” after his “assailants” had taken their hands off him, I said to Mitchell: “Senator, there is your forty-sixth vote.”

“No,” he said, and his face was not more barren of color when I saw him in his coffin a few years later, “that’s Mattoon, and he is merely going to give his reason for not changing his vote.”

But Mattoon said:

“Mr. President, as is well known, my choice for United States Senator has been, and is at this moment, Hon. H. W. Corbett, but it is now plain to be seen that he cannot be elected; therefore, in order that we may not adjourn without the election of a Senator, I change my vote to Hon. John H. Mit,”

At that moment such a yell arose in that hall as seemed to jar the very foundations of the Capitol itself, and as it has recently been claimed that it is not really safe, and that cracks are to be seen in its walls, my opinion is that the damage was begun at that time.

It was not generally known that Mitchell was a spectator of the dramatic scene; but of course a few knew where he was, and when the vote was finally declared, he was called for by thousands of voices and, almost carried on the shoulders of a score of friends, was taken to the President’s platform where he made a very felicitous address, thanking the legislators for their “partiality” and expressing his gratitude for their “continued confidence,” etc.

And that was John H. Mitchell’s last election to the United States Senate. Before that term expired he was in his grave, safe from further political or personal attack, sent hither prematurely, it is generally admitted, by reason of his prosecution for complicity in land frauds against the Government.

The election of Mitchell in 1901 was marked by a surprise to the people of Oregon in that it was accepted with good grace by Harvey W. Scott, the veteran editor of the Oregonian, his political and personal enemy during a bitter warfare of thirty years’ duration. Asked for an explanation of his abandonment of the “fight against Mitchell” by those who had been his warmest supporters in that ugly crusade, and who were not disposed to permit any cessation of it merely because he had been successful again, Mr. Scott said, in substance: “What’s the use? Shall it be continued until the end? And for what? The people of Oregon appear to like Mitchell, and nothing appeals to them as against Mitchell’s personality. I’m done. If anybody wants to keep up the fight, well and good, but I am getting along in years and do not propose to follow further the fight against Mitchell.”

And he did not. Even during Mitchell’s last days — days of sorrow, adversity and of disgrace — Mr. Scott avoided any personal spleen in the discussion of the affair and they were, at least on the surface, good friends. On Mitchell’s return to Portland, after his election in 1901, his friends gave a little supper in his honor, and my recollection is that Mr. Scott was present and extended his congratulations. Afterward they frequently met in public and private, and gave every evidence of a disposition to forget the bitterness of the past and to recognize that they were both gray-haired men who had reached that time of life when charity is a better personal characteristic than malevolence and persecution.

For thirty years the “fight between Scott and Mitchell” was the dominating factor in Oregon political life. All the difficulties of the Republican party, and they have been legion, have been directly traceable to the break between these two really strong men when they were both young, and such successes as the Democratic party has had in this State can be as directly followed to that source.

Mitchell and Scott were as unlike in temperament and method as it is possible for two men to be. Scott was able, irascible, unrelenting in his pursuit of an antagonist, and during the fifty years of his active life had at his disposal a newspaper of wide circulation, which last leverage he did not fall to use to its fullest power. And it was great. He was a very positive man, courageous, without question, and a master in the use of incisive English. He was a born fighter and critic. It was usually only the man whom he thought wrong that he discussed in the Oregonian.. His opinion was, evidently, that to do right is to be expected of a man, and as long as that was his course, he was not worth a mention; but the moment he espoused a cause or expressed an opinion that Scott thought wrong, or incorrect, his vitriolic pen was brought into service with a vigor that compelled one’s admiration — provided it was the other fellow who was under consideration!

Some men have been thought to have a “double,” but Harvey Scott had none. For forty years he had at his command the only paper in Oregon which had any considerable circulation; the Oregonian was of such character that it “printed all the news” and was read by the general public of all parties. Whatever Mr. Scott said was known and commented upon everywhere, and his opinions were not successfully combated for the reason that there was no way of disseminating an opposite opinion. He could belittle a cause, or a man, before thousands of people, and the other side was powerless to retaliate because there was no possible way of reaching the public ear.

It was the reason, I think, that Mr. Scott developed in the course of his lifetime an overbearing disposition. He had little patience with opposition. He could batter down by the sheer force of his powerful pen, aided by the unopposed circulation of the Oregonian, any man or cause which incurred his displeasure and, quite naturally, in the course of forty years of such experience, to dominate became his second nature.

Mr. Scott was a man of moods. A visit to his sanctum was always the occasion of speculation on the part of the caller as to the kind of reception he would receive. Sometimes he would be the very personification of affability and his greeting would be effusive to a degree, but on other occasions he would look like a cloud-bank portending a Texas cyclone. But it may at least be said in his defense that he was not hypocritical.

I remember that I once called upon him, while in Portland, during the days when I lived on the farm, and found him decidedly in what might be called the “dumps.” He was in his familiar coatless costume and hard at work at his desk. After the usual greetings, I said:

“Well, how are you getting along, Mr. Scott?”

“Oh, poorly enough!” was his reply. “Working myself to death and getting little for it. If there’s nothing in life but ceaseless hard work, what is it all worth?”

“But,” I said, “you have built up a great newspaper here, and at least have made a name for yourself that is well and favorably known allover the United States.”

“There’s nothing in a so-called great name,” he replied. “You are missed and mourned for a day after you are gone, and that is the last of a ‘great name’?”

“But, even if that were so,” I continued, endeavoring to lead him into a more cheerful train of thought, “here is the Oregonian, which is admired and quoted everywhere for its ability and enterprise. It is something to have been identified with it as its editor for thirty years and more.”

As we were talking, we were standing by one of the windows in Mr. Scott’s editorial rooms. From that great elevation we could clearly see Mt. Hood, fifty miles away, presenting one of the most magnificent pictures which Nature’s brush has painted anywhere on the face of the earth. Mr. Scott resumed:

“But the Oregonian can never have a big circulation. If I had cast my lot in New York or Chicago I might have something to show for my endless toll; but as it is, we have only a narrow strip up the valley and eastern Oregon on which to draw for support — and what does that amount to — what does it promise? Now, look at that mountain out there” — pointing to Mt. Hood — “how far do you suppose it is through it at its base?”

“Oh, about twenty miles, perhaps,” I answered, not seeing the drift of the conversation.

“Well,” he continued, “then it covers in the neighborhood of four hundred square miles, a huge pile of rocks that we call beautiful — and it does well enough to look at. But suppose it was a prairie country, like Illinois — there would be thousands of readers of the Oregonian where now there is not one!”

And, of course, there was no fitting answer to that.

Another phase of Mr. Scott’s moods was shown when I called upon him, in answer to his request, just before the Astoria Convention in 1898. There were two Republican conventions in Multnomah County that year, the “Mitchell” and the “Simon,” each electing a full delegation to the State convention, and the situation promised much trouble there. I had already carried Marion County in the contest for the nomination for Governor, which virtually settled the matter in my favor, but I was not the real choice of either faction in Multnomah County, though they seemed to have acquiesced in the sentiment which prevailed in the State at large.

I had gone to Portland to see Mr. Scott on the day these two conventions met, though I did not know the date of the approaching events. I was talking to a friend in the old “Multopor” Club rooms when somebody ‘phoned the news that the Mitchell convention had passed resolutions warmly endorsing me for Governor. This was a surprise, since I had not expected it and did not know the convention was in session, and, furthermore, I had not yet seen Mr. Scott, and was fearful lest such action would incense him and, possibly, turn his support from me, since he had been an active advocate of Governor Lord’s re-nomination.

It was for this reason that I went to the Oregonian office, dreading that I should find Mr. Scott in a great rage. But when I entered his office he was in the best of humor, which led me to surmise that, since he did not mention the fact, he had not yet heard the news of the action of the Mitchell convention. This made the situation more disagreeable than ever, as it now devolved upon me to break the news to him, and to be a witness of the explosion which was sure to follow. After a few minutes I said:

“Have you heard what the Mitchell convention has done, Mr. Scott?”

“No,” he said, looking up with an expression of inquiry, “what has it done now?”

“Why, it passed resolutions endorsing my candidacy,” I said, expecting the worst.

“Well,” he said, with the utmost calmness, “you want all the support you can get — anybody does, always.” It was one of Mr. Scott’s good days.

Mr. Scott was a very vigorous man physically, as well as mentally, and was in robust health until an unexpected complication appeared in the early part of 1910. In August of that year, accompanied by his family, he went to Baltimore for a consultation with an eminent specialist, but was unable to rally from the effects of an operation and died on Sunday afternoon, August 7. In his honor, memorial services were held at Pacific University, Forest Grove, on September 29. In closing my estimate of this truly great man I cannot do better than to incorporate here the following address, delivered by me on that occasion:

At the close of Mr. Scott’s life it could have been truly said that he had filled a larger place in the history of the State of Oregon than had any other man — and this is in itself a wonderful tribute when it is remembered that Oregon has had its full share of men who have won their way to an eminent place in the annals of the nation. But Mr. Scott’s life-work was in an entirely different channel from that of his contemporaries, and comparisons of relative merit or intellectual powers are, therefore, impossible. It has been well said by some one that he graduated from this institution in a class by himself and remained in that class during his entire career.

In approaching the duty of saying a few words as to Mr. Scott’s work and his characteristics, temperamentally, I find myself confronted by the impression that he was a man most difficult to analyze, though this is made much easier when it is accompanied by the reflection that his work was of such nature that it in large measure prevented his association with his fellows. The performance of the stupendous ends he accomplished week in and week out, not only for a decade but for nearly fifty years, never permitted any loitering or other waste of time. And beyond this was the necessary preparation which supplied the foundation for the intellectual battles he waged all this time in a manner which, whatever else may have been said by his adversaries, never failed for want of dynamic force nor revealed any lack of familiarity with the essential facts. And this concession was always made by his opponents.

To those who take the time fairly to study Mr. Scott’s life-work, therefore, the reason for his apparent moroseness or lack of affability is easily understood. The wonder is that he could find sufficient time during his waking hours to qualify himself for the duties he undertook and which he performed with such marked ability. He was never unprepared, and his preparedness meant not only a familiarity with the literature of the day — newspaper, magazine, periodical and book — but a sustained knowledge of ancient history in all its bearings upon modern questions, political, religious, social and economic. In this connection, I feel disposed to say that I believe Mr. Scott was widely conversant with more subjects than any other man who has taken part in the public affairs of Oregon, and this will probably be universally conceded. Indeed, the boundaries of Oregon might be extended to include the nation itself without bringing to light a very great number of serious competitors in this respect.

And all this is not to be wrought by the idler or the man who is prone to build up a reputation as a “hail fellow well met.” To the man who has had to do with a dally newspaper, even of the more unpretentious sort, the value of time down to hours and minutes is understood to be a matter of vital importance, and there are many times each day when the editor has not a moment to spare, even with his best friend, from the duties which call for immediate attention. At such a time, if a man with an idle hour on his hands drops in for a chat with the editor, he is likely to meet with a reception strikingly lacking in that effusive cordiality which he thoughtlessly and fondly expected.

In other words, the busy editor of a great dally newspaper is necessarily a man who lives much to himself and gradually becomes the companion more of books and exchanges than of his personal friends and acquaintances.

I belong to the “Constant Reader” class of the Oregonian having relied upon its news columns for information as to the world’s doings and been a student of its editorial department for more than forty-five years. I remember quite well when Mr. Scott became connected with the paper and the marked improvement in its tone which people generally said was noticeable. Since the spring of 1869, now forty-one years ago, I have been a subscriber in my own name to the Oregonian though at that time I was but eighteen years of age.

Aside from his family and his immediate associates and co-workers, I knew Mr. Scott as well, perhaps, as did almost any other man, and I desire to bear this testimony to the undoubted fact that he was in great measure misunderstood by the body of the people of Oregon, to whose welfare, material, moral and social, he devoted the best years of his life. He never traveled over the State, seldom visited the State Fair, for instance; rarely, if ever, paid a visit to the smaller towns; was an entire stranger to most of its interesting localities off the main line of its railroads — and for these reasons was not well known personally to many of its people. And yet, for all this, he was in close communication with a greater number of the citizens of Oregon every day in the year for half a century, and upon a greater variety of subjects in which they were vitally interested, than any other twenty-five men whom the State has produced during that time.

Mr. Scott’s aggressiveness was proverbial, for he was in no wise a “mollycoddle.” Upon all questions of general concern his opinions were firm and his expression of them was always outspoken. During the many bitter contests that have been waged in this State during the past forty years Mr. Scott was always on the firing line, and the files of the Oregonian during that time bear eloquent witness to his magnificent fighting qualities, and usually to his superior generalship. On the greater questions of national import he was able, by reason of his comprehension of underlying principles, as established by the experience of mankind, to take the right side and his greater claim to fame rests upon the fact that he was a deep thinker and a ripe scholar. He was not to be moved from safe ground, as proven by the experience and experiments of other people, by the clamor of the hour or the mouthings of the demagogue. Here is where Mr. Scott stood as a mighty sentinel for the people’s good, and though for a time he might stand alone, he never swerved from an unquestioned loyalty to his convictions. This marked him as a great man among his compeers and both created and sustained his reputation — wide as the nation — as one of the few great editors of his generation.

In this connection, it should be said that in the successful career which Mr. Scott made for ‘himself during fifty years of persistent endeavor he was very fortunate in his environments, for at the time of his graduation, and when he was in search of a vocation, Portland, then in its infancy, was just beginning to attract attention as the coming chief city of the Northwest, and the Oregonian was taking its place as probably the leading newspaper of the new country. To this should be added the other favorable circumstance that the paper was directed then and ever since by a business man of unusual sagacity; it lacked only a man well qualified as an able and vigorous editorial writer. A great emergency, if it may be properly termed such, was calling for a man fully prepared to accomplish great things and Mr. Scott, who was but little past his majority and not yet fully settled, appeared as the right man at the right place at the right time. Twenty years later, or ten, or at any time since this would not have been possible, but it must be said of Mr. Scott that he fully met the requirements of the situation then and signally filled the succeeding demands of a great business as it reached out into every section of the Northwest.

From personal conversations with him, I know that at times Mr. Scott felt, that, in a sense, his would have been a greater fame had his lot been cast in one of the larger Eastern cities, since he realized through the restricted opportunities presented in a sparsely populated section of the country his efforts through a half-century of persistent application would have been better appreciated had his field included millions of the people instead of thousands. Nevertheless, his attachment to the “Oregon Country” was deep as its lovely rivers, high as its majestic mountains and broad as its fertile plains. He was distinctly loyal to its every interest, had an abiding faith in its great future and felt an unbounded admiration for the pioneer men and women who wrested it from the savages and who did so much toward transforming it into the magnificent commonwealth which it is today.

Considering the great work he was doing for the material and moral uplift of the people of the Northwest, and that he had at his disposal one of the best newspapers of the United States as a vehicle for reaching them every day, Mr. Scott’s death may be regarded as the deepest affliction which the King of Shadows has wrought upon them, as a whole, since the days of the intrepid Whitman and the generous McLoughlin. In the very nature of things, no one man will ever take his place, for the position he filled in Oregon journalism will never be open to another. There are thousands of native Oregonians of my age, or near it, who cannot remember anything of importance relating to the history of the state in which Harvey W. Scott was not an active character on the public stage and an influential moulder of public opinion. To us, especially, his death leaves a void which seems ever present, as the removal of a principal figure in a cherished landscape materially alters and apparently dwarfs every other feature which has hitherto seemed of transcendent beauty.

The name of Harvey W. Scott is writ large in the history of the State he did so much to exploit, and after life’s fitful fever he has passed on to the land of the Great Unknown. He came from the common people, was the product of early self-denial and persistent industry, was an exponent of the simple life, which he illustrated in his daily methods of living, hated cant and mere pretense, was a great student, was a most genial companion when the demands of duty would permit it, conducted a great newspaper which was kept comparatively free from those things which should not be read in the home, and, better than these, he was a ‘kind father and a devoted husband. More than this can rarely be said of any man.

In many respects the career of John H. Mitchell has not been duplicated by that of any other public man in the history of the United States. He was a candidate for the United States Senate in 1866 and was defeated by the narrowest margin; was again a candidate in 1872, and elected; was retired at the end of his term in 1878; was again a candidate in 1882, but defeated; was again elected in 1885 by the aid of Democratic votes; was reelected in 189l without opposition in his party — for the first time; was defeated in 1897 by his enemies who prevented the organization of the Legislature with that end in view; was again elected in 1901 and in the middle of his term was indicted in the Federal courts for complicity in land frauds against the Government, was tried, convicted and sentenced to pay a heavy fine and to a term of imprisonment, the latter of which he escaped only by the interposition of the King of Shadows.

Yet, there is no doubt that, if the matter could have been left to a popular vote of the people of Oregon after the verdict had been rendered, they would have given him an overwhelming endorsement and a ringing exoneration from all blame, for there is a general belief among the people he served so long and faithfully that he was literally “hounded to his grave” on the thinnest of technicalities.

Kind hearted to a fault, he had at all times left nothing undone for his constituents that was within his power to accomplish and, especially, was due to him, more than to any other dozen men, the National aid to the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland in 1905, the result of which, as a means of advertising the great resources of Oregon, has been worth more in the material advancement of the State than all that had preceded it since the first settlement of the Northwest. Concerning this latter public service, Harvey W. Scott, his lifelong political enemy, wrote him the following letter on November 28, 1903. Mr. Scott being the President of the Board of Directors of the Centennial Exposition:

Hon. John H. Mitchell, United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

My Dear Sir: On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition I desire to extend to you our thanks for the earnest and efficient service you are rendering in bringing the claims of this Exposition forward for National recognition. It is impossible to imagine better work than you are doing in securing for this great undertaking the considerate attention of Congress and of the country.

Such service, moreover, is appreciated by the whole people of Oregon and of the entire Northwest. Wishing for you continued health and success in all your work, I am,

Yours very truly,

A short time after the death of Senator Mitchell the State Bar Association held a meeting in Portland in honor of his memory, at which the principal speaker was Hon, George H., Williams, Oregon’s “grand old man,” during the course of which he gave this estimate of the dead Senator’s work and characteristics:

“He represented every locality, every interest and every party in the State. Whenever a citizen of the State wrote him a letter he was sure of an answer, and whenever an Oregonian went to Washington while he was there he was sure of kindness and civilities from the Senator. He deserves to be remembered particularly for his efforts in behalf of the Lewis and Clark Centennial. He knew how to do things in Washington. He gave a banquet to which he invited a number of influential congressmen and there, between the sherry and the champagne, he had them pledged to vote for an appropriation for the Fair. I was talking with a lady the other day who said the Senator had visited her house and, while conversing about public affairs, referred to his work for the Lewis and Clark Fair. ‘And now,’ said he, ‘my right to visit the grounds is hardly recognized,’ and his eyes filled with tears as he made the remark. I have been classed as a Mitchell man in the foolish differences in the Republican Party, and will say here that I have been favorable to his election because, in my judgment, with his influence, experience and standing in the Senate he could do more for Oregon than any other man who could be elected.”

Of the charge upon which Mitchell was tried and convicted, General Williams said:

“What I want to say is that there was no moral turpitude in what he did. He injured no one, he wronged no one. His employer willingly paid him for his labor… Everybody who knew Senator Mitchell knows that in thousands of cases he has rendered similar or greater services for individuals in the departments without any compensation therefor. Such was his common practice. In this particular instance, he appears to have received fees, but there is little doubt that he would have rendered the same service upon request if no fees had been paid… Senator Mitchell had a right to go to the departments to urge the issuing of patents for any other lawful purpose, and, so far as his influence with the departments was concerned, it made no difference; whether he rendered his services gratuitously or not. He committed an error and not a crime.

“Senator Mitchell is now beyond the praise of friends or the malice of enemies. When the winter comes the flowers of summer fade, the leaves fall to the ground, the storm-clouds gather and there is gloom instead of sunshine, and so with Senator Mitchell; he has passed into the winter of life. All the summer flowers of his career had faded — the joyous fruits of his labor had perished — a storm-cloud gathered over his head and in its shadow he laid down and peacefully passed to where winter and storm can never disturb the serenity of God’s eternal years. Senator Mitchell sleeps in the bosom of the State in which he lived so long and served so well, and if I were to erect a tombstone at the head of his grave, I would have no inscription on it but the name, ‘John H. Mitchell,’ and, underneath, in large and lasting letters, that beautiful, comforting and consoling word, ‘Rest.’

“Senator Mitchell died on the 9th of December, 1905, five days before which event he had written a letter to his daughter, Mrs. J. P. Fawcett, in Canton, Ohio, in the course of which he said: “My health is far from robust, the terrible strain through which I have passed during the last year is fast telling upon me, and I feel that I cannot stand it much longer. Oh, God! How I have wished many and many a time that I might have died before this disgrace came upon me, my children and my State. I have this one consolation, that notwithstanding the verdict of the jury, I am absolutely an innocent man.”

At the meeting of the Bar Association, Judge William D. Fenton said:

“Had Senator Mitchell remained at the bar and devoted the time to himself and his family that he did to the people of Oregon and to his country in general, he would have been worth a million instead of a paltry estate of $3,000, against which are debts amounting to $l0,000. This man sacrificed his life in the service of the State. He measured up to the standard of public usefulness.”

The feeling at the time of Senator Mitchell’s trial was that he was more sinned against than sinning, that through the promptings of a generous heart he merely did that for pay in a few instances which he did thousands of times without thought of remuneration, and that a useful public servant was sacrificed on the rising but ephemeral tide of “Muckrakism.” If living, today, in the face of all that was proven, though, indeed, he committed some errors, and did some foolish things as his troubles were approaching which operated against him during his trial, it would doubtless be a safe wager that few men, if any, could poll a higher popular vote for United States Senator than Hon. John H. Mitchell.

During the last days of Senator Mitchell’s life he had no more devoted friend than Col. David M. Dunne, United States Collector of Internal Revenue, who, within a few weeks will begin a campaign for dollar subscriptions for the purpose of erecting a ten thousand dollar monument to the memory of Oregon’s Senator who for a full generation stood so close to the hearts of the common people.

After thirty years of acrimonious warfare, Harvey W. Scott and John H. Mitchell, intellectual giants, are resting beneath the sod in Riverside Cemetery which overlooks the beautiful city of Portland, free from that strife that was theirs almost unceasingly for almost a full half-century.


Next Chapter - The creation of the "Oregon System" for popular election of senatorial selections and thoughts on Charles Fulton.


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 the Alibris service 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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