Page:History of Oregon Newspapers.pdf/77

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
68
HISTORY OF OREGON NEWSPAPERS

The growth of the country did not require telegraphic correspondence, and its growth was delayed for almost another decade.

In a footnote to that paragraph Bancroft says:

It (the line) was finished to Oregon City November 15, 1856, but it was of so little use that it was never completed or kept in repair. Neither the interests of the people nor their habits made it requisite.

The footnote goes on to say that in 1868 the California company had completed their line to Yreka, for which during the Civil war period the Oregonians had reason to be thankful, and having taken long strides in progress during the half-dozen years between 1855 and 1861 they eagerly subscribed to build a line from Yreka to Portland. . .

Apparently Bancroft's proofreader missed a typographical error on the date, for how could the Oregon people be grateful in the Civil war period for something that did not come about until 1868? Leslie M. Scott, editor and compiler of H. W. Scott's History of the Oregon Country, gives the date as 1858 in his compiler's index to the work. (47)

The same Bancroft footnote relates that "a new line to the East was erected in 1866, which was extended to San Francisco, and a new line to Astoria. . ."

David Watson Craig, whose name is mentioned frequently in these pages as one of the pioneers of Oregon journalism, had a part in the establishment of the telegraph line in Oregon. "The Pacific Telegraph enterprise to which you allude," Craig wrote in a letter to George H. Himes (48), "was begun in 1855, and the line reached Oregon City in November of that year, Friday the 19th, I think, and was extended up to Dayton and Lafayette that winter. The next year, 1856, the poles were set as far as Salem. . . Warren Davis, county clerk of Multnomah county, was the first operator at Portland. . . I was the first operator at Oregon City, and then I instructed Gallatin Richardson and turned the office over to him. . .Oregon City was the best station on the line. Dr. McLoughlin used it constantly; he was then shipping a great deal of flour to San Francisco and elsewhere."

Like almost all the newspapers of the day, the Oregonian devoted its editorial energies largely to the advancement of political aims. (49) The Oregonian, starting as a Whig organ, became the leading Lincoln Republican champion of the day in Oregon—but that particular service belongs to the statehood period. Even the issue of statehood appears to have been settled largely on the ground of partisan political expediency. The Oregonian first opposed the