|3rd Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives|
|Preceded by||Benjamin F. Harding|
|Succeeded by||Isaac R. Moores Jr.|
|Born||October 4, 1810|
Elizabethtown, Ontario, Canada
|Died||June 9, 1881 70) (aged|
Dayton, Oregon, U.S.
|Political party||Democrat, later Republican|
|Spouse(s)||Catherine Coffee m. 1830|
Sarah Ann Derbyshire m. 1836
|Profession||soldier, pioneer, businessman|
General Joel Palmer (October 4, 1810 – June 9, 1881) was an American pioneer of the Oregon Territory in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. He was born in Canada, and spent his early years in New York and Pennsylvania before serving as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Palmer traveled to the Oregon Country in 1845. He played a central role in blazing the last leg of the Oregon Trail, the Barlow Road, with Sam Barlow and others. Specifically, Palmer is noted for having climbed high on Mount Hood to observe the surrounding area when the party ran into difficulty. He wrote a popular immigrant guidebook, co-founded Dayton, Oregon, and served as a controversial Indian Affairs administrator. After Oregon became a state, Palmer served in both branches of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. He was selected as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives for one session in 1862, and in 1870 lost a bid to become Governor of Oregon.
The Palmer House, his former home in Dayton, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Joel Palmer was born in Elizabethtown, Ontario, Canada, on October 4, 1810.His parents, Hannah Phelps and Ephraim Palmer, were American Quakers. When he was two years old, they moved to New York's Catskill Mountains in response to the War of 1812. He received only three months of formal education in elementary school. In 1822, when Palmer was 12, his parents indentured him to the Haworth family for a period of four years. When he gained his freedom, he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to work on canals and bridges.
He was married to Catherine Coffee from 1830 until her death after childbirth.On October 8, 1832, Palmer became a United States citizen. Palmer married his second wife, Sarah Ann Derbyshire, in 1836, and bought land near Laurel, Indiana, in the Whitewater Valley, where he supervised a construction project for a canal. In 1843, he was elected as a Democrat to the Indiana House of Representatives for a one-year term. Representing Franklin County, he was re-elected to the legislature in 1844.
In the spring of 1845, Palmer traveled to Oregon without his family, as captain of a wagon train of 23 wagons. Stephen Meek served as the train's paid guide. Meek left the group at Fort Hall to lead some of the members on the Meek Cutoff.The remaining parts of the wagon train reached the end of the overland Oregon Trail at the Columbia River, and unwilling to wait for transport down the dangerous Cascade Rapids, Palmer's party joined Sam Barlow's party in a quest for passage through the Cascade Range around the south side of Mount Hood. Palmer climbed to the 9,000-foot level of Mount Hood on October 7, 1845—with little food and the scant protection of moccasins—to scout a route off the mountains. This was Mount Hood's first recorded climb; the Palmer Glacier on the mountain is named for him.
Because of the onset of winter, the Barlow, Rector, and Palmer parties were forced to leave their wagons on the mountain's eastern foothills. Palmer left on horseback for Oregon City, while Barlow and Rector blazed a trail to Oregon City on foot.Sam Barlow later returned with partner Philip Foster to establish the Mount Hood Toll Road, which became known as the Barlow Road.
In 1846, Palmer returned to his family in Indiana and in 1847 he published his diary as Palmer's Journal of Travels Over the Rocky Mountains, 1845–1846.This book provided equipment guidance and comprehensive route information for those crossing the Oregon Trail. The publication also had a general description of the Oregon Country, a detailed description of the Willamette Valley, and included a copy of the Organic Laws of Oregon adopted by settlers at the Champoeg Meetings. It was a popular guidebook for immigrants for the next ten years.
Also in 1847, Palmer traveled with his family to Oregon as captain of that year's major wagon train. While passing through the Walla Walla Valley he met Marcus and Narcissa Whitman at their mission shortly before their deaths in the Whitman massacre—the event that precipitated the Cayuse War. Perhaps motivated by meeting the Whitmans, Palmer later returned to serve as a peace commissioner to tribes considering joining the Cayuse.At the outset of the war he was appointed as commissary-general of the Provisional Government’s militia forces.
After the war, in 1848, Palmer joined the California Gold Rush but returned in 1849 to co-found Dayton, Oregon on the lower Yamhill River where he built a sawmill on his donation land claim.
In 1853, President Franklin Pierce appointed Palmer Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory.The debate of what to do with Native Americans ranged from full integration to total extermination. Palmer proved effective negotiating "Cessation of Hostility treaties" with the native tribes in 1854 and 1855, brokering nine of fifteen treaties. He joined Isaac Stevens, his counterpart for the Washington Territory, in the successful Walla Walla Treaty Council of the Yakima Indian War. Approximately 5,000 Indians attended deliberations from May 29, 1855 to June 11, 1855.
Palmer gained an anti-settler reputation among immigrants, newspapers and officials, who said he acted too favorably toward the Indians,even though he moved the tribes to reservations outside the Willamette Valley, seeking to avoid friction between settlers and natives by physical distance. In late 1855, while moving the Rogue River tribes to the Grand Ronde Reservation, violent resistance was threatened by settlers who felt the land should not be given to the tribes. Palmer succeeded, but the territorial legislature petitioned for his removal from office, which became effective in 1857.
After leaving office as Indian Affairs Superintendent, Palmer worked his farm on his land claim and operated his sawmill and several other enterprises. Between 1858 and 1861 he spent time in British Columbia as a merchant to prospectors in the gold rushes of the Thompson River, Similkameen Valley, and Fraser River.Palmer blazed a route to the gold fields of the Okanogan Valley and the upper portions of the Columbia River from Priest Rapids in 1860. In 1862, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives to represent Yamhill County. Now a member of the Republican Party, he was named Speaker of the House during that session.
That year Palmer also established the Columbia River Road Company to build a trail through the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the river.In 1864, Palmer was elected to the State Senate and served in that chamber through 1866. This included the 1865 special session of the legislature when Oregon adopted the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that abolished slavery throughout the United States. He ran for governor in the 1870 election as the Republican candidate, but was narrowly defeated by La Fayette Grover, largely for his Indian policies.
Palmer's brother, named Ephraim like their father, also immigrated to Oregon and served as a captain in the first regiment of the Oregon Infantry.In 1871, Joel was the state's Indian agent to the Siletz tribe, remaining in the office until 1873. All eight of Palmer's children completed higher education. Joel Palmer died in Dayton on June 9, 1881, at the age of 70. His former home that he built in 1852, Palmer House, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, and is now operating as a restaurant. Palmer's name is one of 158 memorialized in the frieze of the two chambers of the Oregon Legislative Assembly at the Oregon State Capitol, with his located in the Senate chamber. During World War II the liberty ship SS Joel Palmer, hull number 2025, was built and named in his honor. The Oregon Historical Society issues the Joel Palmer Award for the year's best article in its quarterly publication, Oregon Historical Quarterly.
The Nez Percé are an Indigenous people of the Plateau who are presumed to have lived on the Columbia River Plateau in the Pacific Northwest region for at least 11,500 years.
Walla Walla, sometimes Waluulapam, are a Sahaptin indigenous people of the Northwest Plateau. The duplication in their name expresses the diminutive form. The name Walla Walla is translated several ways but most often as "many waters".
The Cayuse are a Native American tribe in what is now the state of Oregon in the United States. The Cayuse tribe shares a reservation and government in northeastern Oregon with the Umatilla and the Walla Walla tribes as part of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The reservation is located near Pendleton, Oregon, at the base of the Blue Mountains.
Marcus Whitman was an American physician and missionary.
The Umatilla are a Sahaptin-speaking Native American tribe who traditionally inhabited the Columbia Plateau region of the northwestern United States, along the Umatilla and Columbia rivers.
The Cayuse War was an armed conflict that took place in the Northwestern United States from 1847 to 1855 between the Cayuse people of the region and the United States Government and local American settlers. Caused in part by the influx of disease and settlers to the region, the immediate start of the conflict occurred in 1847 when the Whitman Massacre took place at the Whitman Mission near present-day Walla Walla, Washington when fourteen people were killed in and around the mission. Over the next few years the Provisional Government of Oregon and later the United States Army battled the Native Americans east of the Cascades. This was the first of several wars between the Native Americans and American settlers in that region that would lead to the negotiations between the United States and Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau, creating a number of Indian reservations.
The Barlow Road is a historic road in what is now the U.S. state of Oregon. It was built in 1846 by Sam Barlow and Philip Foster, with authorization of the Provisional Legislature of Oregon, and served as the last overland segment of the Oregon Trail. Its construction allowed covered wagons to cross the Cascade Range and reach the Willamette Valley, which had previously been nearly impossible. Even so, it was by far the most harrowing 100 miles (160 km) of the nearly 2,000-mile (3,200 km) Oregon Trail.
The history of Washington includes thousands of years of Native American history before Europeans arrived and began to establish territorial claims. The region was part of Oregon Territory from 1848 to 1853, after which it was separated from Oregon and established as Washington Territory following the efforts at the Monticello Convention. In 1889, Washington became the 42nd state of the United States.
Narcissa Prentiss Whitman was an American missionary in the Oregon Country of what would become the state of Washington. On their way to found the Protestant Whitman Mission in 1836 with her husband, Marcus, near modern-day Walla Walla, Washington, she and Eliza Hart Spalding became the first documented European-American women to cross the Rocky Mountains.
The Rogue River Wars were an armed conflict in 1855–1856 between the U.S. Army, local militias and volunteers, and the Native American tribes commonly grouped under the designation of Rogue River Indians, in the Rogue River Valley area of what today is southern Oregon. The conflict designation usually includes only the hostilities that took place during 1855–1856, but there had been numerous previous skirmishes, as early as the 1830s, between European-American settlers and the Native Americans, over territory and resources.
Philip Foster was one of the first settlers in modern Oregon, United States. The farmstead he established in Eagle Creek in 1847 became a stopping post for pioneers heading west along the Oregon Trail. Approximately 10,000 emigrants are believed to have passed through. The farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Piupiumaksmaks was head chief of the Walla Walla tribe and son to the preceding chief Tumatapum. His name meant Yellow Bird, but it was often mistranslated as Yellow Serpent by Europeans.
Samuel Kimbrough Barlow was a pioneer in the area that became the U.S. state of Oregon, and was key in establishing the Barlow Road, the most widely chosen final segment to the Oregon Trail.
Jesse Applegate was an American pioneer who led a large group of settlers along the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Country. He was an influential member of the early government of Oregon, and helped establish the Applegate Trail as an alternative route to the Oregon Trail.
The Sager orphans were the children of Henry and Naomi Sager. In April 1844 the Sager family took part in the great westward migration and started their journey along the Oregon Trail. During it, both Henry and Naomi died and left their seven children orphaned. Later adopted by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, missionaries in what is now Washington, they were orphaned a second time, when both their new parents, as well as brothers John and Francis Sager, were killed during the Whitman massacre in November 1847. About 1860 Catherine, the oldest daughter, wrote a first-hand account of their journey across the plains and their life with the Whitmans. Today it is regarded as one of the most authentic accounts of the American westward migration.
The Palmer House is the historic residence of Oregon pioneer Joel Palmer (1810–81), who co-founded Dayton, Oregon, United States.
Robert "Doc" Newell, was an American politician and fur trapper in the Oregon Country. He was a frontier doctor in what would become the U.S. state of Oregon. A native of Ohio, he served in the Provisional Government of Oregon and later was a member of the Oregon State Legislature. The Newell House Museum, his reconstructed former home on the French Prairie in Champoeg, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Henry A. G. Lee was a soldier and politician in Oregon Country in the 1840s. A member of Virginia's Lee family, he was part of the Fremont Expedition and commanded troops during the Cayuse War in what became the Oregon Territory. He also was a member of the Oregon Provisional Government and the second editor of the Oregon Spectator.
Dr. Elijah White (1806–1879) was a missionary and agent for the United States government in Oregon Country during the mid-19th century. A trained physician from New York State, he first traveled to Oregon as part of the Methodist Mission in the Willamette Valley. He returned to the region after a falling-out with mission leader Jason Lee as the leader of one of the first large wagon trains across the Oregon Trail and as a sub-Indian agent of the federal government. In Oregon he used his authority to regulate affairs between the Natives and settlers, and even between settlers. White left the region in 1845 as a messenger for the Provisional Government of Oregon to the United States Congress, returning in 1850 before leaving again for California in the early 1860s.
The Oregon Superintendent of Indian Affairs was an official position of the U.S. state of Oregon, and previously of the Oregon Territory, that existed from 1848–1873.
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