Oregon Public Broadcasting


Transcript - A New Life in Oregon

John Mack Faragher: WHEN THEY GOT TO OREGON, WHAT THEY DISCOVERED THERE, A WORLD WITHOUT CONNECTIONS, WITHOUT COMMUNITIES, WITHOUT INSTITUTIONS, ALL OF WHICH REQUIRED AH WORK AT BUILDING UP. AND ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT WOMEN TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO IS THE EFFORT TO TRY TO BUILD LARGER CONNECTIONS IN THIS NEW WORLD. TO ORGANIZE A SCHOOL. TO BRING TOGETHER A LIKE MINDED PEOPLE IN RELIGIOUS FELLOWSHIP.

Stephen Beckham: THEY SAW TO IT THAT FUNDS WERE RAISED, AND A BUILDING WAS ERECTED AND A MINISTER EMPLOYED. SO THAT THEY WOULD HAVE SOME SENSE OF ORDER AND STABILITY AND VALUES BEING TAUGHT IN THEIR COMMUNITY.

Susan Butruille - HOME WAS WHAT THESE WOMEN WERE SUPPOSED TO DO, IT WAS WHO THEY WERE, IT WAS, HOME WAS WHAT DEFINED THEM. AND SO THEY SET ABOUT CREATING THEIR HOMES AGAIN, ONE MORE TIME.

Stephen Beckham: FOR MOST PEOPLE, THIS WAS A LOG CABIN, THE WOMEN HAD TO PLANT A GARDEN AND THEN THERE WAS WEEDING TO DO. THERE WAS TENDING THOSE DELICATE SEEDS THAT HAD BEEN BROUGHT FROM HOME. THERE WAS TRYING TO LIVE WHERE THINGS WEREN'T VERY FAMILIAR. THIS WAS A A PROCESS AND IT MIGHT GO ON FOR FOUR OR FIVE YEARS BEFORE A MORE PERMANENT HOUSE WOULD BE BUILT.

Narrator: THROUGHOUT THE THIRTY YEAR EMIGRATION, PIONEER WOMEN PLAYED AN INTRIGAL PART IN THE SETTLING OF THE OREGON FRONTIER. OF THE 30,000 WOMAN WHO TRAVELED WEST LESS THAN 1,000 LEFT WRITTEN ACCOUNTS. PIONEER LILY DIXON WILLIAMS LEFT HER FAMILY THE ONLY KNOWN ORAL HISTORY RECORDED SHORTLY BEFORE HER DEATH IN 1968. AT AGE TWELVE, LILY DIXON ARRIVED WITH HER FAMILY AT FORT WALLA WALLA. THEY WOULD EVENTUALLY RENT A CABIN IN KEATS GULCH FOR THE WINTER. IN THE SPRING THEY WOULD PURCHASE THEIR OWN LAND. LILY DIXON WOULD MARRY PIONEER DAN WILLIAMS IN 1886. LEAVING A LEGACY OF THREE CHILDREN AND NUMEROUS GRAND AND GREAT GRAND CHILDREN, THIS GRAND MATRIARCH OF OREGON HISTORY PASSED AWAY AT AGE 97.
(listen to her story)

Narrator: PIONEER TABITHA BROWN WALKED INTO OREGON IN 1842 WITH ONE PAIR OF GLOVES AND A COIN.

Susan Butruille: SHE USED THAT COIN TO BUY SOME LEATHER AND SHE MADE SOME GLOVES AND MADE $30.00 FROM THESE GLOVES. AND WITH THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO UM START ESTABLISHING HERSELF.

Narrator: SHE WOULD LATER OPEN A SCHOOL FOR GIRLS THAT WOULD LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR FOREST GROVE'S PACIFIC UNIVERSITY.

Susan Butruille: IN 1987, THE OREGON LEGISLATURE NAMED HER THE MOTHER OF OREGON.

Narrator: PIONEER LUCIA LORAINE BIGALOW WILLIAMS SETTLED IN SALEM WITH HER HUSBAND, ELIJAH IN 1851. UPON HER ARRIVAL, LUCIA BECAME ONE OF FOUR TO FOUND THE LOCAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH. NINE YEARS LATER, THAT CHURCH WOULD BECOME ONE OF THE FEW BI-RACIAL PARISHES IN OREGON. LUCIA WOULD FORM LIFELONG FRIENDSHIPS WITH SOME OF THE LOCAL TRIBESMAN. FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES THROUGHOUT HER DAYS. LUCIA'S GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER HELEN ALTHAUS CARRIED ON HER LEGACY WHEN IN 1997 SHE WAS AWARDED THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION LIFE SERVICE AWARD. FOR HER DEDICATION TO THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN OREGON.

Narrator: PIONEER MARY STEPHEN REACHED OREGON IN THE WINTER OF 1852. FIVE YEARS LATER, SHE WOULD MARRY ALBERT GATES. MARY AND ALBERT SETTLED IN ROCK CREEK IN WHAT IS NOW NORTHERN OREGON. YEARS LATER, MARY WOULD DONATE A LARGE PORTION OF HER LAND TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT. AS PAYMENT, OFFICIALS RENAMED THE TOWN GATESVILLE. LATER SHORTENED TO GATES. TODAY, THIRTY FIVE MILES EAST OF SALEM, GATES REMAINS A QUAINT TOWN. POPULATION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY FIVE.

Narrator: SOME SAY THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN OF THEM ALL WAS ABIGAIL SCOTT DUNIWAY.

Stephen Dow Beckham: ABIGAIL SCOTT DUNIWAY IS THE LEAST ORDINARY OF THE OREGON TRAIL WOMEN. DURING THE COURSE OF THE MIGRATION IN 1852, HER FATHER HAD ASKED HER TO BE THE HISTORIAN AND SHE WROTE THE JOURNAL. SHE TRANSFORMED THAT INTO HER FIRST NOVEL, CAPTAIN GRAY'S COMPANY.

Narrator: ABIGAIL WOULD EVENTUALLY START HER OWN NEWSPAPER. WHICH SOON BECAME THE LEADING VOICE FIGHTING FOR WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE IN OREGON.

Barbara Roberts: SHE WAS VERY OUTSPOKEN AND WAS DETERMINED THAT WOMEN WHO HAD WALKED TO OREGON WERE GOING TO HAVE THE VOTE. HER BROTHER WAS THE, WAS THE OREGONIAN EDITOR FOR THE LARGEST NEWSPAPER IN THE STATE, AND HE WAS ADAMANTLY OPPOSED TO WOMEN HAVING THE VOTE AND SHE WAS ADAMANTLY DETERMINED THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE THE VOTE AND SHE EVENTUALLY WON AND CAST THE FIRST VOTE IN OREGON.

Narrator: THE VOICES OF THOUSANDS OF OREGON TRAIL WOMEN WILL NEVER BE HEARD.

Barbara Roberts: THEY WERE THE SCHOOL TEACHERS AND THEY WERE THE MINISTERS WIVES WHO MADE CHURCHES OPERATE , THEY WERE THE STORE OPERATORS AND THEY WERE THE NURSES AND THEY WERE THE MOTHERS. THEY WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN THE SETTLING OF THE WEST. THEY WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN THE CHANGING OF THE WEST IN ITS MOST POSITIVE SENSES.

Voice Over: JULY 19, 1923 NOW I THINK I WILL WRITE THE LAST LINES I WILL EVER WRITE. IT'S BEEN A GOOD LIFE AND I HAVE BEEN BLESSED, WHAT A WONDERFUL PLACE THIS OREGON. PIONEER MARY RIDDLE AGE 89.

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