CLACKAMAS COUNTY

Clackamas county, named from the tribe of Indians inhabiting the shores of a small tributary to the Willamette coming in below the falls, was one of the four districts into which Oregon was divided by the first legislative committee of the provisional government, in July 1843, and comprehended 'all the territory not included in the other three districts,' the other three taking in all south of the Columbia except that portion of Clackamas lying north of the 'Anchiyoke River.' Pudding River is the stream here meant. Its boundaries were more particularly described in an act approved December 19, 1845, and still further altered by acts dated January 30, 1856, October 17, 1860, and October 17, 1862, when its present limits were established. Or. Archives, 26; Or. Gen. Laws, 537-8. It contains 1,434 square miles, about 71,000 acres of which is under improvement. The surface being hilly, and much of it covered with heavy forest, this county is less advanced in agricultural wealth than might be expected of the older settled districts; yet the soil when cleared is excellent, and only time is required to bring it up to its proper rank. The value of its farms and buildings is considerably over three millions, of live-stock a little over four hundred thousand, and of farm products something over six hundred thousand dollars. In manufactures it has been perhaps the third county in the state, but should, on account of its facilities, exceed its rivals in the future. It is difficult to say whether it is the second or third, Multnomah county being first, and Marion probably second. But the difference in the amount of capital expended and results produced leave it almost a tie between the latter county and Clackamas. Marion has $608,330 invested in manufactures, pays out for labor $147,945 annually, uses $1,095,920 in materials, and produces $1,424,979; while Clackamas has invested $787,475, pays out for labor $156,927, uses $816,625 in materials, and produces $1,251,691. Marion has a little the most capital invested, and produces a little the most, but uses $278,295 more capital in materials, while paying only $8,982 less for labor. Comp. X. Census, ii. 1007-8. The principal factories are of woollen goods. Assessed valuation considerably over six millions. Population, 9,260. Oregon City, founded by John McLoughlin in 1842, is the county seat, whose history for a number of years was an important part of the territorial history, being the first, and for several years the only, town in the Willamette Valley. It was incorporated September 25, 1849. Its principal feature was its enormous water-power, estimated at a million horse-power. It had early a woollen-mill, a grist-mill, a lumber-mill, a paper-mill, a fruit-preserving factory, and other minor manufactures. The population of Oregon City is, according to the tenth census, 1,263, although it is given ten years earlier at 1,382. It is on the line of the Oregon and California railroad, and has river communication with Salem and Portland. A few miles north of the county seat is Milwaukee, founded by Lot Whitcomb as a rival to Oregon City, in March 1850. It is the seat of one of the finest flouring mills in the state, and is celebrated for its nurseries, which have furnished trees to fruit-growers all over the Pacific coast. Its population is insignificant. A mile or two south of Oregon City is Canemah, founded by F.A. Hedges about 1845, it being the lowest landing above the falls, and where all river craft unloaded for the portage previous to the construction of the basin and breakwater, by which boats were enabled to read a landing at the town. It afterward became a suburb of Oregon City, boats passing through locks on the west side of the river without unloading. About half-way between the falls and Portland was established Oswego, another small town, but important as the location of the smelting-works, erected in 1867 at a cost of $100,000, to test the practicability of making pig-iron from the ore found in that vicinity, which experiment was entirely successful. Other towns and post-offices in Clackamas county are Clackamas, Butte Creek, Damascus, Eagle Creek, Glad Tidings, Highland, Molalla, Needy, New Era, Sandy, Springwater, Union Mills, Viola, Wilsonville, Zion.


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