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State of Oregon Genealogy

The State of Oregon was organized as territory on Aug. 14, 1848 and entered the union as the 33rd state on Febuary 14, 1859. It has 36 Counties.

The State of Oregon is bordered by California (south), Idaho (east), Nevada (southeast), Washington. It has a land area of 98,386 square miles making it the 9th largest state. The 2010 population was 3,831,074. The capital is Salem and the official state website is www.oregon.gov/.

The State's largest cities (2010) are Portland, 583,776; Eugene, 156,185; Salem (Capital) 154,637; Gresham, 105,594; Hillsboro, 91,611; Beaverton, 89,803; Bend, 76,639; Medford, 74,907; Springfield, 59,403; Corvallis, 54,462.

The State of Oregon nname may have come from the French word Ouragan (which means Hurricane) and was a former name of the Columbia River. Oregon's nickname is " Beaver State ". The State Motto is "She Flies With Her Own Wings" and "The Union" .

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Oregon History

In 1829, fur trappers of French-Canadian descent came to the Oregon region. They were affiliated with the Hudson Bay Company and created the first white settlements in the area. Those settlements were near what is now St. Paul. At the time the settlement was at Champoeg on the Willamette River. American missionaries began coming to the region in the 1840s, settling in various parts of what was then the territory of Oregon. Various churches sponsored those missions, including the Catholic, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian church groups.

In the early 1840s, settlers began coming to the Oregon area, thanks to encouragement from missionaries. Many of those settlers came from the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri River valleys and were farmers. In fact, over the two decade span of 1840 to 1860, over 53,000 immigrants came to the area because they were promised a better life and free land to live on. White male settlers were given between 160 and 320 acres of land by order of the 1850 Oregon Donation Land Act. Wives of those settlers were also allowed to receive that amount of land.

The first Oregon city to be established was originally called Willamette Falls, but that name was later changed to Oregon City. The Hudson Bay Company's chief broker, Dr. John McLoughlin, founded the city in 1829. In 1844, the city of Portland was founded. It was originally made up of 16 blocks of land along the banks of the Willamette River. When the California gold rush was going on, Portland became a hub where ships and wagons met to exchange goods. Gold was found in Rogue River Valley in 1850, which caused the city of Jacksonville to be founded in 1852. 1852 was also when Roseburg was founded as a town and California-Oregon Trail way station. There were many conflicts between settlers and Native Americans in both northeastern and southern Oregon from 1847 to 1856. However, those disputes settled down a bit around the time that Oregon gained its statehood, which was in 1859.

The region experienced a prosperity boom from 1862 to 1865, thanks to the Grant and Baker County gold mining success. The cattle industry also gave the economy a large boost, since cattle were driven to the mines across the Cascades as food for the miners and other workers in the area. That led to many cattle towns being founded, including Prineville, Burns, and Lakeview. Then sheep became a major industry in the area, especially in the northeastern part of Oregon. That led to towns like Heppner, Condon, and Pendleton popping up in the area between Umatilla and Dalles.

In the 1870s, Oregon became home to several immigrants of European descent. The coast was settled by Scandinavian fishermen, while Astoria was settled by a group of Finns. Tillamook became a Swiss settlement that was known for starting an area cheese industry. Also in the 1870s, Portland became known as one of the world's major wheat ports. That led to an influx of foreign immigrants to that area, including Scottish, Irish, German, Jewish, Scandinavian, and Chinese people.

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