Bancroft's Works Volume XXX.
History of Oregon Vol. II 1848-1888Page 15 - Oregon Ocean Traffic
[Includes Names of Passengers, Ships, & Captains]


Herewith I summarize the Oregon ocean traffic for the 14 years since the first American settlement, most of which occurrences are mentioned elsewhere. The Hudson's Bay Company employed in that period the barks Ganymede, Forager, Nereid, Columbia, Cowlitz, Diamond, Vancouver, Wave, Brothers, Janet, Admiral Moorsom, the brig Mary Dare, the schooner Cadboro, and the steamer Beaver, several of them owned by the company. The Beaver, after her first appearance in the river in 1836, was used in the coast trade north of the Columbia. The barks Cowlitz, Columbia, Vancouver, and the schooner Cadboro crossed the bar of the Columbia more frequently than any other vessels from 1836 to 1848. The captains engaged in the English service were Eales, Royal, Home, Thompson, McNeil, Duncan, Fowler, Brotchie, More, Darby, Heath, Dring, Flere, Weyington, Cooper, McKnight, Scarborough, and Humphreys, who were not always in command of the same vessel. There was the annual vessel to and from England, but the others were employed in trading along the coast, and between the Columbia River and the Sandwich Islands, or California, their voyages extending sometimes to Valparaiso, from which parts they brought the few passengers coming to Oregon.

The first American vessel to enter the Columbia after the arrival of the missionaries was the brig Loriot, Captain Bancroft, in Dec. 1836; the second the Diana, Captain W.S. Hinckley, May 1837; the third the Lausanne, Captain Spaulding, May 1840. None of these came for the purpose of trade. There is mention in the 25th Cong., 3d Sess., U.S. Com. Rept. 101, 58, of the ship Joseph Peabody fitting out for the Northwest Coast, but she did not enter the Columbia so far as I can learn. In August 1840 the first American trader since Wyeth arrived. This was the brig Maryland, Captain John H. Couch, from Newburyport, belonging to the house of Cushing & Co. She took a few fish and left the river in the autumn never to return. In April 1841 the second trader appeared, the Thomas H. Perkins, Captain Varney. She remained through the summer, the Hudson's Bay Company finally purchasing her cargo and chartering the vessel to get rid of her. Then came the U.S. exploring expedition the same year, whose vessels did not enter the Columbia owing to the loss of the Peacock on the bar. After this disaster Wilkes bought the charter and the name of the Perkins was changed to the Oregon, and she left the river with the shipwrecked mariners for California. On the 2d of April 1842 Captain Couch reappeared with a new vessel, the Chenamus, named after the chief of the Chinooks. He brought a cargo of goods which he took to Oregon City, where he established the first American trading-house in the Willamette Valley, and also a small fishery on the Columbia. She sailed for Newburyport in the autumn. On this vessel came Richard Ekin from Liverpool to Valparaiso, the Sandwich Islands, and thence to Oregon. He settled near Salem and was the first saddle-maker. From which circumstance I call his dictation The Saddle-Maker. Another American vessel whose name does not appear, but whose captain's name was Chapman, entered the river April 10th to trade and fish, and remained till autumn. She sold liquor to the Clatsop and other savages, and occasioned much discord and bloodshed in spite of the protests of the missionaries. In May 1843 the ship Fama, Captain Nye, arrived with supplies for the missions. She brought several settlers, namely: Philip Foster, wife, and 4 children; F.W. Pettygrove, wife, and child; Peter F. Hatch, wife and child; and Nathan P. Mack. Pettygrove brought a stock of goods and began trade at Oregon City. In August of the same year another vessel of the Newburyport Company arrived with Indian goods, and some articles of trade for settlers. This was the bark Pallas, Captain Sylvester; she remained until November, when she sailed for the Islands and was sold there, Sylvester returning to Oregon the following April 1844 in the Chenamus, Captain Couch, which had made a voyage to Newburyport and returned. She brought from Honolulu Horace Holden and family, who settled in Oregon; also a Mr. Cooper, wife and boy; Mr. and Mrs. Burton and 3 children, besides Griffin, Tidd, and Goodhue. The Chenamus seems to have made a voyage to the Islands in the spring of 1845, in command of Sylvester, and to have left there June 12th to return to the Columbia. This was the first direct trade with the Islands. The Chenamus brought as passengers Hathaway, Weston, Roberts, John Crankhite, and Elon Fellows. She sailed for Newburyport in the winter of 1845, and did not return to Oregon. In the summer of 1844 the British sloop-of-war Modeste, Captain Baillie, entered the Columbia and remained a short time at Vancouver. On the 31st of July the Belgian ship L'Infatigable entered the Columbia by the before undiscovered south channel, escaping wreck, to the surprise of all beholders. She brought De Smet and a Catholic reenforcement for the missions of Oregon. In April 1845 the Swedish brig Bull visited the Columbia; she was from China: Shilliber, supercargo. Captain Worngrew remained but a short time. On the 14th of October the American bark, Toulon, Captain Nathaniel Crosby, from New York, arrived with goods for Pettygrove's trading-houses in Oregon City and Portland: Benjamin Stark jun., supercargo. In September the British sloop-of-war Modeste returned to the Columbia, where she remained till June 1847. The British ship-of-war America, Captain Gordon, was in Puget Sound during the summer. In the spring of 1846 the Toulon made a voyage to the Hawaiian Islands, returning June 24th with a cargo of sugar, molasses, coffee, cotton, woollen goods, and hardware; also a number of passengers, viz.: Mrs. Whittaker and 3 children, and Shelly, Armstrong, Rogers, Overton, Norris, Brothers, Powell, and French and 2 sons. The Toulon continued to run to the Islands for several years. On the 26th of June 1846 the American bark Mariposa, Captain Parsons, arrived from New York with goods consigned to Benjamin Stark jun., with Mr. and Miss Wadsworth as passengers. The Mariposa remained but a few weeks in the river. On the 18th of July the U.S. schooner Shark, Captain Neil M. Howison, entered the Columbia, narrowly escaping shipwreck on the Chinook Shoal. She remained till Sept., and was wrecked going out of the mouth of the river. During the summer the British frigate Fisgard, Captain Duntre, was stationed in Puget Sound. About the 1st of March 1847 the brig Henry, Captain William K. Kilbourne, arrived from Newburyport for the purpose of establishing a new trading-house at Oregon City. The Henry brought as passengers Mrs. Kilborne and children; G.W. Lawton, a partner in the venture; D. Good, wife, and 2 children; Mrs. Wilson and 2 children; H. Swasey and wife; R. Douglas, D. Markwood, C.C. Shaw, B.R. Marcellus, and S.C. Reeves, who became the first pilot on the Columbia River bar. The goods brought by the Henry were of greater variety than any stock before it; but they were also in great part second-hand articles of furniture on which an enormous profit was made, but which sold readily owing to the great need of stoves, crockery, cabinet-ware, mirrors, and other like conveniences of life. The Henry was placed under the command of Captain Bray, and was employed trading to California and the Islands. On the 24th of March the brig Commodore Stockton, Captain Young, from San Francisco, arrived, probably for lumber, as she returned in April. The Stockton was the old Pallas renamed. On the 14th of June the American ship Brutus, Captain Adams, from Boston and San Francisco, arrived, and remained in the river several weeks for a cargo. On the 22d of the same month the American bark Whiton, Captain Gelston, from Monterey, arrived, also for a cargo; and on the 27th the American ship Mount Vernon, Captain O.J. Given, from Oahu, also entered the river. By the Whiton there came as settlers Rev. William Roberts, wife and 2 children, Rev. J.H. Wilbur, wife, and daughter, Edward F. Folger, Richard Andrews, George Whitlock, and J.M. Stanley, the latter a painter seeking Indian studies for pictures. The Whiton returned to California and made another visit to the Columbia River in September. On the 13th of August there arrived from Brest, France, the bark L'Etoile du Matin, Captain Menes, with Archbishop Blanchet and a Catolic reenforcement of 21 persons, viz.: Three Jesuit priests, Gaetz, Gazzoli, Menestrey, and 3 lay brothers; 5 secular priests, Le Bas, McCormick, Deleveau, Pretot, and Veyret; 2 deconds, B. Delorme, and J.F. Jayol; and one cleric, T. Mesplie; and 7 sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Captain Menes afterwards engaged in merchandising in Oregon. L'Etoile du Matin was wrecked on the bar. On the 16th of March 1848 the U.S. transport Anita, Midshipman Woodworth in command, arrived in the Columbia to recruit for the army in Mexico, and remained until the 22d of April. About this time the American brig Eveline, Captain Goodwin, entered the Columbia for a cargo of lumber; she left the river May 7th. The Hawaiian schooner Mary Ann, Captain Belcham, was also in the river in April. The 8th of May the Hudson's Bay Company's bark Vancouver, Captain Duncan, was lost after crossing the bar, with a cargo from London valued at t30,000, and uninsured. She was in charge of the pilot, but missed stays when too near the south sands, and struck where the Shark was wrecked 2 years before. On the 27th of July the American schooner Honolulu, Captain Newell, entered the Columbia for provisions; and about the same time the British war-ship Constance, Captain Courtenay, arrived in Puget Sound. The Hawaiian schooner Starling, Captain Menzies, arrived the 10th of August in the river for a cargo of provisions. The Henry returned from California at the same time, with the news of the gold-discovery, which discovery opened a new era in the traffic of the Columbia. The close of the period was marked by the wreck of the whaleship Maine, Captain Netcher, with 1,400 barrels of whale-oil, 150 of sperm-oil, and 14,000 pounds of bone. She had been two years from Fairhaven, Mass., and was a total loss. The American schooner Maria, Captain De Witt, was in the river at the same time, for a cargo of flour for San Francisco; also the sloop Peacock, Captain Gier; the brig Sabine, Captain Crosby; and the schooner Ann, Captain Melton; all for cargoes of flour and lumber for San Francisco. Later in the summer the Harpooner, Captain Morice, was in the river.

The sources from which I have gleaned this information are McLoughlin's Private Papers, 2d ser., MS.; Douglas' Private Papers, 2d ser., MS; a list made by Joseph Haristy of the Hudson's Bay Company, and published in the Or. Spectator, Aug. 19, 1851; Parker's Journal; Kelley's Colonization of Or.; Townsend's Nar.; Lee and Frost's Or.; Hines' Or. Hist.; 27th Cong., 3d Sess., H. Com,. Rept. 31, 37; Niles' Reg., 1xi. 320; Wilkes' Nar. U.S. Explor. Ex., iv. 312; Athey's Workshops, MS., 3; Honolulu Friend; Monthly Shipping List; Pettygrove's Or., MS., 10; Victor's River of the West, 392, 398; Honolulu News Shipping List, 1848; Sylvester's Olympia, MS., 1-4; Deady's Scrap-book, 140; Honolulu Gazette, Dec. 3, 1836; Honolulu Polynesian, i. 10, 39, 51, 54; Mack's Or., MS., 2; Blanchet's Hist. Cath. Church in Or., 143, 158.


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R. GESS SMITH