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Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881

  • n83209232
  • Person
  • 1810-1881

Joel Palmer, pioneer leader and author, was born October 4, 1810 in Ontario, Canada. The son of Quaker parents who moved to New York at the start of the War of 1812, Palmer moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania at the age of sixteen. In 1830 he married Catherine Coffee and following her death married again to Sarah Ann Derbyshire (1836). Shortly after marrying Sarah, he moved to Indiana and worked on the canals. In 1843 and 1845, he served as a representative in the Indiana legislature.

During the spring of 1845, Palmer started overland to Oregon. During his journey he kept a diary of his experiences, which was published in 1847 as Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains.This publication served as a guidebook to immigrants for information on equipment and route details. The next year he returned to Indiana and made a second trip back to Oregon.

Palmer served as commissary-general of volunteer forces in the Cayuse War, and as peace emissary to persuade neigboring tribes not to join the Cayuse Indians. After the war, Palmer left for California and upon his return laid out the town of Dayton, Oregon, in Yamhill County, where he filed his donation land claim and built a sawmill. In 1853, he became superintendent of Indian affairs for the Oregon Territory. Serving with distinction, Palmer had the difficult task of securing Oregon lands from warring Indian tribes while preventing the outbreak of hostilities. During his tenure, he negotiated 9 treaties of cessation. He was removed as superintendent in 1857 for pursuing too lenient an Indian policy.

Palmer served as speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives in 1862 and state senator, 1864-1868. In 1870 he was defeated as the Republican candidate for governor. He died June 9, 1881 in Dayton, Oregon.

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

  • n80005497
  • Person
  • 1829-1916

Carleton E. Watkins, renowned nineteenth-century photographer of the American West, began his career in photography in 1854 at the age of 25. Born in Oneonta, N. Y. in 1829, Watkins relocated to California in the spring of 1851 and by 1853-1854 was living in San Francisco. There he was taught the art of photography by Robert Vance (1825-1876), owner of daguerreotype studios in San Francisco and San Jose. By 1856, Watkins had moved on to work as an ambrotypist in the portrait studio of James M. Ford (1827-circa 1877) in San Jose.

Sometime between 1856 and 1858, Watkins began operating as a freelance photographer in the San Jose and San Francisco areas and experimented with large-format outdoor photography using wet-plate collodion negatives. His largest surviving body of work prior to 1861 documents Las Mariposas, the California mining estate of Col. John C. Frémont. In 1861, Watkins traveled to Yosemite with a mammoth-plate camera. The thirty mammoth plates and one hundred stereoscopic negatives that he made during this trip were partly responsible for government protection of Yosemite as a national park and were published in Josiah Whitney’s The Yosemite Book in 1869, one of the first American books devoted solely to landscape photography. Watkins returned to Yosemite many times between 1861 and 1881 to photograph the park and even set up his own gallery there to showcase and sell his photography.

In 1865, Watkins opened his "Yo Semite Gallery" at 425 Montgomery Street in San Francisco. That same year, he won an award for "Mountain Views" at the San Francisco Mechanics' Institute Industrial Exhibition and, in 1867, won a bronze medal for his mammoth plates of Yosemite at the Paris International Exposition, earning him an international reputation as a landscape photographer. In July of that same year, Watkins traveled to Oregon to photograph Portland, Or. and the Columbia River area. Beginning in Portland, Watkins traveled south to Oswego and Oregon City on the Willamette River to photograph the area and north again across the Columbia to Vancouver in the Washington Territory. He then traveled east along the Columbia River, following the trade route of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, finally leaving Oregon in November of 1867 with fifty-nine mammoth plates and one hundred stereograph negatives. Fifty of these mammoth views were exhibited in Portland in 1868 at Shanahan’s Art Gallery, garnering Watkins much acclaim. He also won the top award that year for a major exhibit of Pacific Coast photography at the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute Industrial Exhibition.

In 1875, financial troubles and a nationwide economic slump caused Watkins to lose his studio in San Francisco, his gallery in Yosemite, and the entire collection of what is now known as his “Old Series” negatives. His business was sold to Isaiah W. Taber, who continued to print these negatives under his own studio imprint. However, by 1876, Watkins was up and running again, determined to re-photograph many of his famous views for what he called his “New Series of Pacific Coast Views.” As part of this series, Watkins made a return trip to Oregon in 1882, stopping at Portland and the Columbia River before continuing north to photograph the Puget Sound area of the Washington Territory and Victoria, British Columbia. He returned to Oregon again in 1883 to photograph Cascade Locks on the Columbia River, as well as other features of the river valley, and again during the winter of 1884-1885, when he photographed a winter blizzard that snowed in an Oregon Railway and Navigation Railroad train on its tracks in the Columbia River Gorge.

Carleton Watkins continued to photograph until the early 1890s, when his health began to fail. For the rest of his life, he lived in near blindness and poverty. All of his negatives were destroyed in the April 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco. For the next decade, Watkins lived under the custody of his daughter and the Napa State Hospital for the Insane and died on June 23, 1916. His photographs remain some of the earliest and most well-regarded visual records of the landscape of the American West and its early settlement.

Bradley, Henry W.

Born June 1813; died 27 April 1891. Bradley learned the daguerreotype process in New Orleans, Louisiana, before 1850. In 1850, he moved to San Francisco, California, where he opened a daguerreotype gallery as well as a daguerreotype supply business that he operated until 1878. From 1852 to 1855, Bradley operated the "National Daguerreian Gallery" in San Francisco. He also opened a branch outlet in Sacramento, California. In 1863, Bradley, with William Herman Rulofson, formed a partnership named "Bradley & Rulofson," in San Francisco. Bradley left the firm in 1878. In 1885, Bradley retired to Alameda, California where he continued to photograph.

Meyer, Fred G., 1886-1978

  • Person
  • 1886-1978

Fred G. Meyer was born Frederick Grubmeyer in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York. He moved West in the 1900s starting in Alaska and eventually making his way to Portland, Oregon. He married Eva Chatfield Chiles who would become his business partner and the inspiration behind Eve's Restaurants which were coffee shops attached to many Fred Meyer stores. Fred G. Meyer died in 1978 at the age of 92. His will established a charitable trust to create a philanthropic organization now known as the Meyer Memorial Trust which is now one of the largest private foundations in the nation. The first Fred Meyer grocery store opened in downtown Portland, Oregon in 1922. Meyer opened more stores in downtown Portland in the 1920s and 1930s, then expanded into the outlying areas of Portland and beyond. By the 1990s there were stores bearing the Fred Meyer name throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona and Alaska. In addition to the supermarket stores, Fred Meyer, Inc. also included jewelry stores, restaurants, federal savings and loan banks, print shops, bakeries, dairies and music stores. In 1999, Fred Meyer, Inc. merged with Kroger, Inc., making the combined company the largest grocery store chain in the country.

Morgan, Howard, 1914-

  • n91098376
  • Person
  • 1914-2012

Howard Morgan (1914-2012) served in the Navy during WWII. He represented Clackamas and Multnomah counties in the Oregon House of Representatives in 1949, was Chairman of the Democratic Party of Oregon in 1955, was Oregon Public Utility Commissioner from 1957-1959, and also a member of the Federal Power Commission in 1961.

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