Last weekend I went camping at Champoeg State Park. While the park does have several miles of bike paths, and a tranquil oak grove next to the river, it’s primary function is historical landmark. In case you didn’t grow up in Oregon, and didn’t learn about Champoeg in 3rd grade, I’ll fill you in on the details.
On May 2nd, 1843, 102 men (approximately 50% of all adult white males living in the Oregon Territory at the time) gathered in Champoeg. At this gathering, the men discussed the need for a more unified government. Many fir traders were settling and taking up farming, and families were beginning to move into the area. Some semblance of law needed to govern these early settlers.
So the men voted. Should they stay under the gerisdiction of the Hudson Bay Company, and the British crown, or should they form a new provincial government and become a territory of the United States of America. The vote was 52 to 50 in favor of joining the US. After the vote, a deligation was sent to bring word of the decision to Washington. Three years later, on June 15, 1846, the US signed the Oregon Treaty with the UK officially making the Oregon Territory a part of the United States.
I’m not currently planning to expand the Champoeg story out into a full volume in my time traveling series. Still I can’t help but revel in the reality that if just two men had voted differently at that gathering 167 years ago, I may now be Canadian. Isn’t history fasinating.
Joke of the Day
What do Alexander the Great and Kermit the Frog have in common?
The same middle name.