|Delegate to the|
U.S. House of Representatives
from the Oregon Territory's
December 3, 1849 –March 3, 1851
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Lane|
Samuel Royal Thurston
|Died||April 6,1851 34) (aged|
At sea off Acapulco,Mexico
Samuel Royal Thurston (April 15, 1816 – April 9, 1851) was an American pioneer, lawyer and politician. He was the first delegate from the Oregon Territory to the United States Congress and was instrumental in the passage of the Donation Land Claim Act.
Thurston was born in Monmouth, Maine, and grew up in Peru, Maine; his father died when he was young.  After attending Dartmouth College, he graduated in 1843 from Bowdoin College in Maine, graduating with honors.  He then studied law under Robert Dunlap, married, and moved with his wife to Iowa. 
Thurston came to the Oregon Country in 1847 as an emigrant over the Oregon Trail. In Oregon he settled in Hillsboro, where he practiced law.  Then in 1848 he was elected to the Provisional Legislature from Tuality District where he served with fellow Hillsboro resident David Hill.  In 1849, Thurston was selected to represent the Oregon Territory in the U.S. Congress.
In the struggle for the control of Oregon lands, Thurston was an ally of Jason Lee against John McLoughlin, the chief of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver who Thurston, for shamefully political reasons, accused of helping thwart settlement in the territory. As Congressional delegate, Thurston authored the Donation Land Claim Act so as to give McLoughlin's HBC claim to the state legislature. Thurston and Lee made false statements about McLoughlin before the United States Supreme Court in an effort to publicly discredit him. The statements resulted in the denial of McLoughlin's land claims to his homestead in Oregon City.
Thurston's major political achievement was in helping pass the Donation Land Claim Act in 1850. The act legitimized existing land claims in the Oregon Territory and granted 640 acres (2.6 km²) to each married couple who would settle and cultivate the land for four years. The act is considered a forerunner of the 1862 Homestead Act.
In 1850 he wrote an address to Congress urging the prohibition of free African-Americans from the Oregon Territory, in which said:
[It] is a question of life or death to us in Oregon. The negroes associate with the Indians and intermarry, and, if their free ingress is encouraged or allowed, there would a relationship spring up between them and the different tribes, and a mixed race would ensure inimical to the whites; and the Indians being led on by the negro who is better acquainted with the customs, language, and manners of the whites, than the Indian, these savages would become much more formidable than they otherwise would, and long bloody wars would be the fruits of the comingling of the races. It is the principle of self preservation that justifies the actions of the Oregon legislature. 
While returning to Oregon via Panama, Thurston died of the effects of a tropical fever off Acapulco, Mexico while aboard the steamer California.  According to a contemporary obituary:
He died on the 9th [of April 1851] ... eight days from Panama ... His arduous labors at Washington had prepared his system for an attack of the malignant fever incident to the Isthmus, from the effects of which he had not recovered before experiencing a severe attack of diarrhea, which, together with an affection of the liver, under which he had sometime labored, terminated his earthly existence. 
Thurston's body was originally interred in Acapulco, but his remains were brought to Oregon two years later by an act of the Oregon Legislature. His body was reburied in the Salem Pioneer Cemetery in Salem. The inscription reads: "Here rests Oregon's first delegate, a man of genius and learning. A lawyer and statesman. His devotions equaled his wide philanthropy, his public acts are his best eulogium."
Thurston County, Washington, originally part of the Oregon Territory and now home of Olympia the capital of Washington, was named in his honor. 
John McLoughlin, baptized Jean-Baptiste McLoughlin, was a French-Canadian, later American, Chief Factor and Superintendent of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver from 1824 to 1845. He was later known as the "Father of Oregon" for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country. In the late 1840s, his general store in Oregon City was famous as the last stop on the Oregon Trail.
The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which an applicant could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain, typically called a homestead. In all, more than 160 million acres of public land, or nearly 10 percent of the total area of the United States, was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders; most of the homesteads were west of the Mississippi River.
The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, sometimes known as the Donation Land Act, was a statute enacted by the United States Congress in late 1850, intended to promote homestead settlements in the Oregon Territory. It followed the Distribution-Preemption Act 1841. The law, a forerunner of the later Homestead Act, brought thousands of settlers into the new territory, swelling their ranks along the Oregon Trail. 7,437 land patents were issued under the law, which expired in late 1855. The Donation Land Claim Act allowed white men or partial Native Americans who had arrived in Oregon before 1850 to work on a piece of land for four years and legally claim the land for themselves.
Theodore Thurston Geer was the tenth Governor of Oregon, serving from January 9, 1899, to January 14, 1903. The Republican politician was in office when the legislature adopted the "Oregon System", Oregon's system of initiative and referendum. He also served in the Oregon House of Representatives, including time as its Speaker.
John Pollard Gaines was a U.S. military and political figure. He was a Whig member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Kentucky from 1847 to 1849, and he served as Governor of the Oregon Territory from 1850 to 1853, stepping down after a turbulent term in office. He was the owner of Margaret Garner, whose enslavement and sexual assault is the basis for Toni Morrison's novel, Beloved.
The Statesman Journal is the major daily newspaper published in Salem, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1851 as the Oregon Statesman, it later merged with the Capital Journal to form the current newspaper, the second-oldest in Oregon. The Statesman Journal is distributed in Salem, Keizer, and portions of the mid-Willamette Valley. The average weekday circulation is 27,859, with Sunday's readership listed at 36,323. It is owned, along with the neighboring Stayton Mail and Silverton Appeal Tribune, by the national Gannett Company.
La Fayette Grover was a Democratic politician and lawyer from the U.S. state of Oregon. He was the fourth Governor of Oregon, represented Oregon in the United States House of Representatives, and served one term in the United States Senate.
Kinton is an unincorporated community in Washington County, Oregon, United States. It is located near the northern shore of the Tualatin River, near the intersection of Oregon Route 210 and River Road, a major county arterial that runs northwest towards Hillsboro. Kinton is located approximately eight miles north of Newberg, six miles southwest of Beaverton, and seven miles southeast of Hillsboro. The community was once the site of a ferry crossing the Tualatin River between Kinton and nearby Scholls. While the ferry has long since been replaced with a bridge, OR 210 is still known locally as Scholls Ferry Road. Kinton is in Oregon's wine country, with several notable wineries in the area.
Asa Lawrence Lovejoy was an American pioneer and politician in the region that would become the U.S. state of Oregon. He is best remembered as a founder of the city of Portland, Oregon. He was an attorney in Boston, Massachusetts before traveling by land to Oregon; he was a legislator in the Provisional Government of Oregon, mayor of Oregon City, and a general during the Cayuse War that followed the Whitman massacre in 1847. He was also a candidate for Provisional Governor in 1847, before the Oregon Territory was founded, but lost that election.
David Hill was an American pioneer and settler of what became Hillsboro, Oregon, United States. He served in the Provisional Government of Oregon in both the executive and legislative branches, and later as a legislator in the first Oregon Territorial Legislature. Hill made a transaction with the county court in 1850 that led to the renaming of Columbus to Hillsborough in honor of Hill.
The Willamette Cattle Company was formed in 1837 by pioneers in the Willamette Valley of present-day Oregon, United States. The company was formed with the express purpose of purchasing cattle in Mexican California. Nearly 750 head of cattle and 40 horses were purchased in total. Ewing Young led the overland party as they drove these animals north back to the Willamette Valley.
William P. Bryant was an American jurist from Kentucky. He served as the first chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court in the Oregon Territory. United States President James K. Polk appointed Bryant, of Indiana, to the court once the Oregon Territory was established in 1848. In Indiana he served in both houses of the Indiana General Assembly and was a county judge. Bryant also fought in the Black Hawk War against Native Americans.
The Provisional Government of Oregon was a popularly elected settler government created in the Oregon Country, in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Its formation had been advanced at the Champoeg Meetings since February 17, 1841, and it existed from May 2, 1843 until March 3, 1849, and provided a legal system and a common defense amongst the mostly American pioneers settling an area then inhabited by the many Indigenous Nations. Much of the region's geography and many of the Natives were not known by people of European descent until several exploratory tours were authorized at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Organic Laws of Oregon were adopted in 1843 with its preamble stating that settlers only agreed to the laws "until such time as the United States of America extend their jurisdiction over us". According to a message from the government in 1844, the rising settler population was beginning to flourish among the "savages", who were "the chief obstruction to the entrance of civilization" in a land of "ignorance and idolatry".
Salem Pioneer Cemetery is a cemetery in Salem, Oregon, United States.
Columbia Lancaster was an American lawyer and politician who served as the first Delegate from the Territory of Washington to the United States House of Representatives.
Oregon's Territorial Legislature was a bicameral legislative body created by the United States Congress in 1848 as the legislative branch of the government of the Oregon Territory. The upper chamber Council and lower chamber House of Representatives first met in July 1849; they served as the region's legislative body until Oregon became a state in February 1859, when they were replaced by the bicameral Oregon State Legislature.
William Williams Chapman was an American politician and lawyer in Oregon and Iowa. He was born and raised in Virginia. He served as a United States Attorney in Iowa when it was part of the Michigan and Wisconsin territories, and then represented the Iowa Territory in the United States House of Representatives. He later immigrated to the Oregon Country, where he served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature.
Albert E. "A.E." Wilson was an American pioneer and merchant in Oregon Country. Raised in the United States, he moved to what would become the U.S. state of Oregon where he operated stores, was involved in politics, and was elected as the first judge of the Provisional Government of Oregon.
Robert Crouch Kinney was an American businessman and politician in what became the state of Oregon. A native of Illinois, he helped found Muscatine, Iowa, before crossing the Oregon Trail and settling in what became Oregon. In Oregon he was a prominent businessman in the milling business and served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature before being a member of the Oregon Constitutional Convention.
The Oregon black exclusion laws were attempts to prevent black people from settling within the borders of the settlement and eventual U.S. state of Oregon. The first such law took effect in 1844, when the Provisional Government of Oregon voted to exclude black settlers from Oregon's borders. The law authorized a punishment for any black settler remaining in the territory to be whipped with "not less than twenty nor more than thirty-nine stripes" for every six months they remained. Additional laws aimed at African Americans entering Oregon were ratified in 1849 and 1857. The last of these laws was repealed in 1926. The laws, born of anti-slavery and anti-black beliefs, were often justified as a reaction to fears of black people instigating Native American uprisings.