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Hudson’s Bay Company Forts in Washington

In Stevens’ report is found a list of all the forts of the H. B. Co., with their rank and value, and the amount of cultivated laud, making the whole foot up no more than $300,000, whereas they received twenty years later more than double that amount. The other information contained in the report relates to the segregation of the land claimed by the companies into donation lots, with the names of the squatters, and is of interest in the history of the early settlement of the country. The following are the names of the so-called trespassers: At Fort Vancouver, Bishop Blanchet, for a mission claim, the same 640 acres being claimed by James Graham of the H. B. Co. The county of Clarke also claimed 160 acres of the same land as a county seat, which was allowed, as I have mentioned elsewhere. Over all these claims the United States military reserve extended. Immediately east of Vancouver 640 acres were claimed by Forbes Barclay (British), and the same tract by an American, Ryan, who resided on it and cultivated it, while Barclay lived at Oregon City. Adjoining was a claim of 640 acres, which, after passing through several hands a servant of the company, Chief Factor Ogden, and Switzler was finally sold to Nye, an American. A tract 4 miles square above these claims, and embracing the company’s mills, was claimed by Daniel Harvey (British); but 640 acres, including the gristmill, were claimed by a naturalized citizen, William F. Crate; and 640, including the sawmill, by Gabriel Barktroth, also a naturalized citizen. A portion of this section, with...

Oregon in Control of Hudson’s Bay Company

As the ten-year period of joint occupation drew to a close, new commissioners were appointed by the two governments to effect a settlement of title to the disputed territory, but after much discussion they were unable to agree upon a boundary line, and, in 1827, a new treaty was signed extending the period of joint occupation indefinitely, to be terminated by either party upon giving one year’s notice. Thus, again, the settlement of the question was left to time and chance. In the meantime the British government, through the agency of the Hudson’s Bay Company, had gained a tangible foot hold in Oregon by actual occupation, and so strong and powerful was this company that it crushed all effort at competition. A few American fur traders did make the attempt to contest the field with the great English corporation, but through lack of unity of purpose and combination of capital they were driven to the wall. The first of these American traders was J. S. Smith, agent of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, who, with several associates, came in 1825. He and his party were attacked by the Indians, a number were killed and the venture proved, in every way, unsuccessful. Smith was followed by a second party of American trappers led by Major Pitcher. They came in 1828, but shared the same fate as their predecessors, all but three of them being murdered by the Indians. The next band of American trappers was led by Edwin Young, who, a few years later, became one of the first and most energetic settlers in Oregon. In 1831 the old American...

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