Oregon Historical Quarterly/Notes and Comments number 2

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NOTES AND COMMENTS

Rainier–Tacoma Dispute Again.

Revival of the Rainier-Tacoma controversy may be recorded among the topics of current historical gossip. An Indian of the Nisqually tribe, Henry Sicade, appeared before the mountain-climbing Mazamas at Portland, June 5, 1918, speaking in behalf of Tacoma as the name of the lofty snowpeak, and relating "legends" of his people to support his argument. Sicade represented the Chamber of Commerce of Tacoma and was accompanied by S. W. Wall, newspaper man, and A. H. Denman, a photographer, both of that city.

The Indian word, Tacoma, was preserved by Theodore Winthrop in his The Canoe and the Saddle, a narrative of his travels in 1853. Winthrop said the word was "a generic term applied to all snowpeaks" (p. 36, John H. Williams' edition), and speaks of Mount Adams as "Tacoma the Second" (p 39). The word apparently designated any very lofty place or peak and not any one in particular. The present writer is indebted to Mr. George H. Himes for the following episode: About the year 1905, Mr. Himes was conversing near Rochester, Washington, with Jim Sanders, a Nisqually Indian. Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens were both in clear view. Suddenly the Indian, without previous allusion to the subject, exclaimed (pointing at Mount St. Helens) "Ten-as Tuh-ko-bud" in guttural accents, meaning "Little Tacoma." This Indian had been reared a Nisqually. His father was of that tribe, his mother, a Chehalis.

Mount Rainier was sighted and named May 7, 1792, by the British explorer, George Vancouver. Peter Rainier was then a rear-admiral of the British navy. Bestowal of his name upon the snowpeak was made by Vancouver in honor of a superior officer, although Rainier was not a party to the exploration.

The name has remained fixed to the mountain for 126 years and has been accepted by the United State Government. Mount Rainier National Park and Rainier National Forest are government titles. The mountain is known by the name Rainier all over the world. Usage, during a century and a quarter, has established the title.

It may be conceded that Tacoma is a native and euphonious word and would fitly designate the greatest of Pacific Northwest mountains. But Rainier is old and world-wide and fixed, and, moreover, is but one of many alien names in the Puget Sound region. Puget Sound is an example, and Mount Baker and Mount Saint Helens, and here in Oregon is Mount Hood.

Why Cascade Mountains?

If we were to reject Rainier for reasons of national pride or historical precedence or any other, the substitute choice would set up a troublesome debate. Mount Rainier was named Mount Harrison by Hall J. Kelley about 1838, Mount Baker was by him called Mount Tyler, and Cascade Mountains were by him designated Presidents' Range.

The name, Cascade Mountains, appears to have been an afterthought of Cascades of the Columbia River. The rapids are in the heart of the great range, and the river was the one passable route of travel and traffic from the days of Lewis and Clark. Cascades, as the name of the Columbia River narrows, is used by writers as far back as the Astor expedition. In early maps the name appears as either Cascade Range or Presidents' Range or both. Greenhow's History of Oregon and California contains a map, compiled in 1838, which gives the name Far West Mountains. Cascade Range appears in Wilkes' Narrative of Oregon in 1841. Good reasons could be adduced for changing to Presidents' Range. The name, Cascade Mountains is not a distinguishing one nor especially appropriate.

But the task of choosing "better" names in the Pacific Northwest would be endless. It may be better to bear with the ills we have than to take on others.

Portland's Canyon Road.

Portland received its most important stimulus of growth about 1850, from the farm trade of Tualatin Valley. The highway of that trade was the Canyon Road. Pioneers have pointed out that this road was the avenue that brought to Portland the leading market of the pioneers by enabling them to haul their goods to and from Portland easier than to and from Linnton, Saint Helens, Linn City (opposite Oregon City), Springville (near Linnton), Milton (near Saint Helens) or Willamette (below Clackamas Rapids.) As that period preceded railroad transportation some two decades, river transportation was highly valuable. The easiest route to navigation for the Tualatin farmers was the Canyon Road, and Portland, which had been founded in 1843–45, made good use of that route in the ensuing five years. A missionary settlement had started near Forest Grove in 1840 and a farm community was growing there.

The Canyon Road, along its present route through the hills, appears to have been opened in 1849. Joseph S. Smith, pioneer of 1847, and well known in early Oregon affairs, wrote in The Oregonian of July 13, 1884, that the road was first opened in the Autumn of 1849. Ed. C. Ross, also a pioneer of 1847, still living at Portland, says that this road was first surveyed by his stepfather, Israel Mitchell, in 1848. Mr. Ross adverted to the earlier and more difficult road, which was built by Francis W. Pettygrove, ascending the hills, and dating probably from 1845, afterwards called the Mountain Road, and then the Mount Zion or Carter Hill Road. This latter road is described in the diary of Elizabeth Dixon, wife of Cornelius Smith, and, afterwards, of Joseph C. Geer, all pioneers of 1847, printed by the Oregon Pioneer Association in its Transactions of 1907. The description is of February 24, 1848, and shows the road to have been very hilly and difficult of travel.

The first big public enterprise at Portland was the improvement of the Canyon Road, so that farmers would come to this village, in preference to its rivals, for trade. This enterprise started in 1850 and resulted next year in organization of the Portland and Valley Plank Road Company, whose directors were Thomas Carter (president), A. J. Hembree,, W. W. Chapman, George H. Flanders and J. W. Chambers. William M. King succeeded Carter as president, and afterwards D. H. Lownsdale was president. The first plank was laid amid ceremonies near the present Ladd School September 21, 1851. The improvement of this road was always inadequate and several revivals of the work took place in the ensuing twenty years. The road recently has been highly improved. A history of this road, written by George H. Himes, appears in The Oregonian, August 14, 1902, page 12.

A Proposed History of Methodism

A history of Methodism in the Pacific Northwest is to be written by the Rev. Dr. John Parsons, who will be assisted in compilation and publication by the Rev. C. E. Cline, J. K. Gill, C. B. Moores, of Portland; the Rev. E. S. Hammond of Salem, and L. M. Belknap. These men were delegated a committee on the work at the Oregon annual conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Springfield, Oregon, last year, except that Mr. Moores has since been named to succeed the late J. C. Moreland.

Ministers and laymen of the church in Portland conferred on the matter at a meeting held June 17 last, in First Methodist church, the Rev. Alexander McLean presiding. Many pioneer narratives of Methodism and its followers were recited at the meeting. Among the well known persons present were the Rev. Joseph Hoberg, of McMinnville, who was a pioneer circuit rider; the Rev. Henry Mays, a pioneer preacher; Dr. John Parsons, the Rev. C. E. Cline, T. T. Geer, ex-Governor of Oregon, Charles B. Moores and J. K. Gill. Historical retrospect gives Methodism a proud place in the settlement and progress of Oregon and the Quarterly hopes that this book may be made an authoritative and concise historical record. The patient work of research and verification has been very inadequate in the many books of Oregon history. This history of Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly vol. 19.djvu/183 Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly vol. 19.djvu/184 Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly vol. 19.djvu/185 Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly vol. 19.djvu/186 by George Gay in 1842 the first in Oregon on the line between Yamhill and Polk counties. Leaflets relating to the founding of the first civil government at Champoeg were distributed by George H. Himes of the Oregon Historical Society, and a sketch of the visit by Capt. Charles Wilkes, U. S. Navy, to the Gay premises in 1841, was given. Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly vol. 19.djvu/188