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Biography of James Birnie

JAMES BIRNIE. – Mr. Birnie was a Scotchman by birth. He was born at Paisley, county Renfrew, Scotland, in the year 1800. In 1816 the ambitious lad left his native health and emigrated to Montreal, Canada. Here, under the tutelage of a Catholic priest, he studied the French language for about two years, at the end of which time he entered the employ of the Northwest Fur Company as one of its clerks, and was sent across the Rocky Mountains to Fort Spokane, where he arrived towards the close of 1818. The fort at this time was in charge of a Mr. Haldin, with whom Mr. Birnie remained for several years. He then went to the Kootenai country, where he was married to the daughter of a Frenchman, a Mr. Bianlien, from Manitoba. Here he spent several years trading with the Indians, buying furs, etc., and then returned to Fort Spokane. In 1821 the Northwest and Hudson’s Bay Company amalgamated as one concern. In 1824 Dr. McLoughlin removed a part of the forces at Astoria up the Columbia river and established Fort Vancouver. During this year, or the beginning of 1825, Mr. Birnie was appointed Indian trader and bookkeeper for the consolidated companies, then known as the Hudson’s Bay Company, and was stationed at Vancouver, where he remained until 1831. He was then sent to the Northwest coast to succeed Captain Simpson, deceased, and to complete the building of Fort Simpson, which work he speedily accomplished. After several years service at Fort Simpson, he returned to Astoria, and for a second time took charge of that trading post. It...

Biography of Hon. William Strong

HON. WILLIAM STRONG. – There is no name more thoroughly associated with Oregon and Washington judicature than that of William Strong. His marked characteristics are indelibly impressed upon the system of law of both states, especially that of the latter. To long and distinguished service as associate justice of the supreme court, and in the ex-officio character of judge of the district courts in both states while they were territorial governments, must be added his connection with their legislation, and also his brilliant career as a law practitioner, for over a generation, in all the courts of both states. He was born at St. Albans, Vermont, on the 15th of July, 1817. His youth was spent in the vicinity of Rushville, new York, where he received his preparatory education. At the age of seventeen he entered Yale College, from which he graduated with distinguished honors in the class of 1838. Having selected the law for his profession, he engaged in teaching the ensuing two years, whereby he earned those means, which contributed largely to enable him to gratify his desire. So ambitious was he that, by industry and close application to study in the intervals from teaching, he had made sufficient progress in his studies to secure a license in 1840 to practice law. Admitted to the bar, he immediately removed to Cleveland, Ohio, and at once entered upon a large and lucrative practice, and took a foremost rank in the profession. On the 15th of October, 1840, he married Lucretia Robinson, whom he survived but about two years. In 1849, having resolved upon migrating to Oregon, his many...

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