Thomas R. Cornelius
|Member of the Oregon Territory Council|
|Preceded by||A. P. Dennison|
|Succeeded by||position dissolved|
|Constituency||Washington, Multnomah, & Columbia counties|
|Member of the Oregon State Senate|
1859 –1876 (except 1862)
|Preceded by||position created|
|Succeeded by||A. B. Wait|
|Constituency||Washington, Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook|
|President of the Oregon State Senate|
|Preceded by||John H. Mitchell|
|Succeeded by||Benjamin Franklin Burch|
|Born||November 16, 1827|
|Died||June 24, 1899 71) (aged|
|Political party||Whig, Republican|
|Spouse(s)||Florentine Wilkes (m. 1849)|
Missouri Smith (m. 1866)
Thomas Ramsey Cornelius (November 16, 1827 – June 24, 1899) was a prominent American politician and soldier in the early history of Oregon. Born in Missouri, he moved to the Oregon Country with his family as a young man, where he fought in the Cayuse War and Yakima Indian War against the Native Americans. He settled in Washington County near what later became Cornelius, named in his honor.
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada. Oregon is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City. The state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.
The Oregon Country was a predominantly American term referring to a disputed region of the Pacific Northwest of North America. The region was occupied by British and French Canadian fur traders from before 1810, and American settlers from the mid-1830s, with its coastal areas north from the Columbia River frequented by ships from all nations engaged in the maritime fur trade, most of these from the 1790s through 1810s being Boston-based. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 ended disputed joint occupancy pursuant to the Treaty of 1818 and established the British-American boundary at the 49th parallel.
A Whig and later a Republican, he served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature where following statehood, he served in the Oregon State Senate. In the Senate, he served one term as the president of that chamber. He also built the Cornelius Pass Road that bears his name. He was the father of Benjamin P. Cornelius, who was also prominent in state politics.
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.
The Oregon State Senate is the upper house of the statewide legislature for the US state of Oregon. Along with the lower chamber Oregon House of Representatives it makes up the Oregon Legislative Assembly. There are 30 members of the State Senate, representing 30 districts across the state, each with a population of 114,000. The State Senate meets at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
Cornelius Pass Road is an arterial road over Cornelius Pass in the Tualatin Mountains west of Portland, Oregon, United States, also extending several miles to the south. Running north–south, the road stretches between U.S. Route 30 on the north and Blanton Street, just south of Oregon Route 8, on the south. The road passes through Washington and Multnomah counties, crossing the Tualatin Mountains at Cornelius Pass, 581 feet (177 m) above sea level. TriMet's MAX Light Rail line travels over the road on a bridge.
Cornelius was born in Missouri, on November 16, 1827, to Elizabeth and Benjamin Cornelius.In 1845, Thomas and his family traveled over the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Country and set up a farm on the Tualatin Plains, north of what would become the community of Cornelius. After the Whitman Massacre in late 1847, Thomas volunteered for the militia of the Oregon Provisional Government in 1848. The militia prosecuted the Cayuse War in an attempt to punish those responsible for the killings at the Whitman Mission.
The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.
The Tualatin Plains are a prairie area in central Washington County, Oregon, United States. Located around the Hillsboro and Forest Grove areas, the plains were first inhabited by the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya group of Native Americans. Euro-American settlement began in the 1840s.
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 Indians east of the Cascades. This was the first of several wars between the Indians and American settlers in that region that would lead to the negotiations between the United States and Indians of the Columbia Plateau, creating a number of Indian reservations.
After gold was discovered in California, Cornelius journeyed there for a brief time, returning to the Oregon Territory in 1849. 640 acres (2.6 km2) of their Donation Land Claim near Cornelius. In 1855, a second war against the Native Americans started east of the Cascade Mountains against the Yakima tribe. Cornelius volunteered again for the militia. For three months, he led a company with the rank of captain before being elected as colonel after James W. Nesmith resigned his commission. Cornelius continued as colonel until the end of the war in 1856.The next year, he married Florentine Wilkes, and they had six children together before she died in 1864, including son Benjamin. The family would settle on
The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, and the sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850. The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous population decline from disease, genocide and starvation. By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory, to having one of its first two U.S. Senators, John C. Frémont, selected to be the first presidential nominee for the new Republican Party, in 1856.
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries, the region was divided between the UK and US in 1846. When established, the territory encompassed an area that included the current states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana. The capital of the territory was first Oregon City, then Salem, followed briefly by Corvallis, then back to Salem, which became the state capital upon Oregon's admission to the Union.
Benjamin Peyton Cornelius was an American politician and judge in Oregon. A Republican, he served in the Oregon House of Representatives and as the mayor of Hillsboro, Oregon. The son of Thomas R. Cornelius, he was also the sheriff of Washington County and a judge in that county.
In 1856, Cornelius was elected to upper chamber of the Oregon Territorial Legislature, called the Council.Serving as a Whig, he represented Washington, Columbia, and Multnomah counties in District 8. He won re-election to the Council in 1857 and again in 1858 to the final session of the territorial legislature. In 1859, he continued holding office in the newly formed Oregon State Senate after Oregon entered the Union on February 14, 1859 as the 33rd state.
In the Oregon Senate, Cornelius continued as a Republican, representing Washington County and several other counties through the 1874 legislature.His service was interrupted by the American Civil War during 1862 session, when he was authorized by President Abraham Lincoln to raise a regiment of cavalry for federal service. He was chosen as colonel of the troops and they deployed to a military post at Walla Walla, Washington, where he assumed command. He resigned during the summer of 1862 and returned home.
The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
Abraham Lincoln was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.
Walla Walla is the largest city and the county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, United States.
During the 1866 legislature, Cornelius was selected as President of the Oregon Senate.In 1886, he won the Republican nomination for Governor of Oregon, but lost the general election to Sylvester Pennoyer.
After his first wife died in 1864, Cornelius remarried in 1866 to Missouri A. Smith. 1,500 acres (6.1 km2), including covering three farms, a warehouse, and a sawmill. He built the Cornelius Pass Road that linked the Tualatin Valley to the Columbia River. Cornelius died on June 24, 1899, at the age of 71. He was buried at the Cornelius Methodist Church Cemetery.In 1872, he moved to Cornelius, which would be renamed after him, and opened a store. In addition to the store, Cornelius owned a total of
Benjamin Franklin Harding was an American attorney and politician born in Pennsylvania. He held political offices in the Oregon Territory and later served as a United States Senator from the state of Oregon.
James Willis Nesmith was an American politician and lawyer from Oregon. Born in New Brunswick to American parents, he grew up in New Hampshire and Maine. A Democrat, he moved to Oregon Country in 1843 where he entered politics as a judge, a legislator in the Provisional Government of Oregon, a United States Marshal, and after statehood a United States Senator and Representative.
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.
General Joel Palmer 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.
The Walla Walla Council (1855) was a meeting in the Pacific Northwest between the United States and sovereign tribal nations of the Cayuse, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Yakama. The council occurred from May 29-June 11, 1855. The treaties signed at this council on June 9 were ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1859. These treaties codified the constitutional relationship between the people living on the Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Yakama reservations. This treaty was one of the earliest treaties obtained in the Pacific Northwest. Washington's first governor Isaac I. Stevens secured this treaty, allowing larger portions of the land to be given to the two largest and most powerful tribes the Yakimas and Nez Perces. These reservations encompassed most of their traditional hunting grounds. The smaller tribes moved to the smaller of the three reservations. Stevens was able to acquire forty-five thousand square miles of land.
Hugh Donaldson O'Bryant (1813–1883) was the first mayor of Portland, Oregon, United States, serving from 1851–1852. He later served as the President of the Oregon Territory’ Council chamber of the legislature, and was a member of Washington Territory’s legislature.
Aaron E. Waite was an American judge and politician. He was the 4th Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court serving from 1859 to 1862. He was the first chief justice after Oregon became a state on February 14, 1859. A Massachusetts native, Waite also served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature.
The Provisional Legislature of Oregon was the single-chamber legislative body of the Provisional Government of Oregon. It served the Oregon Country of the Pacific Northwest of North America from 1843 until early 1849 at a time when no country had sovereignty over the region. This democratically elected legislature became the Oregon Territorial Legislature when the territorial authorities arrived after the creation of the Oregon Territory by the United States in 1848. The body was first termed the Legislative Committee and later renamed the House of Representatives. Over the course of its six-year history the legislature passed laws, including taxation and liquor regulation, and created an army to deal with conflicts with Native Americans.
Ralph Wilcox was the first teacher and practicing doctor in Portland, Oregon. He also served in the Provisional Government of Oregon, was a legislator during both the territorial period and when Oregon became a state, and a judge of Twality County during the provisional government. A native of New York, he committed suicide at work at the United States District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland.
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.
Samuel Parker (1806–1886) was an American pioneer of the Oregon Country, in what was to become the state of Oregon. Parker would later participate in the legislatures of the provisional, territorial, and state governments of Oregon.
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.
Levi C. Scott (1797–1890) was a politician in the Oregon Territory of the United States in the 1850s. A native of Illinois, he was a captain during the Cayuse War, helped lay the Applegate Trail, served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature, and in 1857 was a member of the Oregon Constitutional Convention. Scott also founded Scottsburg, Oregon, and is the namesake for several natural features in Southern Oregon.
Hiram Aldrich Straight was an American farmer and legislator in what became the state of Oregon. A native of New York state, he would live in Iowa before traveling the Oregon Trail to what was then the Oregon Country. In Oregon, he would serve in the Provisional Legislature of Oregon and the Oregon Territorial Legislature.
Isaac Ross Moores Jr. was an American businessman and politician in the state of Oregon. The son of Isaac R. Moores, he was born in Illinois and moved to the Oregon Territory in 1852. In Oregon, he would serve in the Oregon House of Representatives, including as Speaker of that body.
Absalom Jefferson Hembree was an American soldier and politician in what became the state of Oregon. A native of Tennessee, he served in the Provisional Legislature of Oregon and the Oregon Territorial Legislature before being killed in action during the Yakima War.
Benjamin Franklin Burch was an American farmer, soldier, and politician in what became the state of Oregon. A native of Missouri, he moved to the Oregon Country in 1845 and served in the Cayuse and Yakima wars. A Democrat, he represented Polk County at the Oregon Constitutional Convention, in the Oregon House of Representatives, and in the Oregon State Senate including one session as President of the Senate.
William Vance Rinehart was an American soldier who served as a Union Army officer in both the 1st Oregon Volunteer Cavalry Regiment and 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. He was later appointed as Indian agent at the Malheur Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon. Rinehart then moved to Seattle, Washington where he engaged in business and was active in state and local politics. He was elected to Washington state's first legislature, serving as a state senator from 1889 through 1890.