MARION COUNTY

Marion county, one of the original four districts of 1843, called Champoeg, had its name changed to Marion by an act of the legislature of September 3, 1849, in honor of General Francis Marion. Champoeg, or Champooick, district comprised all the Oregon territory on the east side of the Willamette, north of a line drawn due east from the mouth of Pudding or Anchiyoke River to the Rocky Mountains. Its southern limit was fixed when Linn county was created, and the eastern boundary when the county of Wasco was established in 1854. Its northern line was readjusted in January 1856, according to the natural boundary of Pudding River and Butte Creek, which adjustment gives it an irregular wedge shape. It contains about 1,200 square miles, of which 200,000 acres are under improvement. Its farms and buildings are valued at nearly eight million dollars, its live-stock eight hundred thousand, and its annual farm products at more than a million and a half. The assessed valuation of real and personal property is four million dollars, of all taxable property over six millions. The population is between fourteen and fifteen thousand. Salem, the county seat and the capital of the state, was founded in 1841 by the Methodist Mission, and its history has been given at length. It was named by David Leslie, after Salem, Mass., in preference to Chemeketa, the native name, which should have been retained. It was incorporated January 29, 1858, and has a population of about 5,000. The Willamette university, the state-house, county court-house, penitentiary, churches, and other public and private buildings, situated within large squares bordered by avenues of unusual width and surrounded by trees, make an impression upon the observer favorable to the founders, 'who builded better than they knew.' Salem has also a fine water-power, and mills and factories, and is in every sense the second city in the state. Gervais, named after Joseph Gervais of French Prairie, incorporated in 1874, is a modern town built up by the railroad. Butteville, which takes its name from a round mountain in the vicinity - butte, the French term for isolated elevations, has been adopted into the nomenclature of Oregon, where it appears in Spencer butte, Beaty butte, Pueblo butte, etc. - is an old French town on the Willamette at the north end of French prairie, but not so old as Champoeg in its vicinity. They both date back to the first settlement of the Willamette Valley, and neither have more than from four to six hundred in their precincts. Jefferson, the seat of Jefferson Institute, was founded early in the history of the county, although not incorporated until 1870. It is situated on the north bank of the Santiam River, ten miles from its confluence with the Willamette, and has fine flouring mills. The population is small. Silverton is another of the early farming settlements, which takes its name from Silver creek, a discovery of silver mines at the head of this and other streams in Marion county, about 1857. It was not incorporated until 1874. Aurora was founded by a community of Germans, under the leadership of William Keil, in 1855. The colony was an offshoot of Bethel colony in Missouri, also founded by Keil in 1835. On the death of Keil, about 1879, the community system was broken up. Three hundred of these colonists own 16,000 acres of land at Aurora. Other towns and post-offices in the county are Hubbard, named after Thomas J. Hubbard, who came to Oregon with Wyeth and settled in the Willamette Valley, Sublimity, Mohama, Fairfield, Aumsville, Turner, Whiteaker, Stayton, Woodburn, Bellpasie, Stipp, Brooks, Saint Paul, and Daly's Mill.


Return to Bancroft's Works Main Index
Return to Bancroft's Works County Index
Return to "A Place Called Oregon"