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Provisional Government Monument

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Provisional Government Monument, Champoeg State Heritage Area (bobcat)


The monument was dedicated in 1901 to mark the spot where the first American government on the Pacific Coast was created. In the early 1840s, before wagonloads of emigrants arrived via the Oregon Trail, Willamette Valley settlers met at Champoeg, the first town in the Willamette Valley, to create a probate court to oversee the distribution of cattle baron Ewing Young's estate (Young had died intestate in 1841 - see the Ewing Young Loop Hike). The settlers also discussed collective action to deter wolf predation of Ewing's roaming livestock.

In time, these early meetings assumed a larger scope. In 1843, a diverse group of 102 white male settlers gathered on the banks of the Willamette River to vote on a provisional government for the Oregon Territory. Government was established by a 52-50 vote, the deciders cast by a pair of French-Canadian trappers.

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