Joel Palmer papers, 1783-1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881
Title
Joel Palmer papers
Dates
1783-1982 (inclusive)
1848-1880 (bulk)
Quantity
.9 cubic feet, (2 document cases)
Collection Number
Mss 114
Summary
Papers of an Oregon pioneer who served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory and Oregon State Legislator. Papers include: correspondence; typescript copies of diaries, including travel diaries for trips throughout the northwestern United States; original government documents; letters sent to Palmer's wife, Sarah Ann Derbyshire Palmer; and letters from Palmer's descendants.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

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.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers consist of four groups of materials acquired by the Oregon Historical Society at various times. The first group, designated Mss 114, consists of correspondence (1848-1869) concerning the conduct of Indian affairs in Oregon, enlistment of a state militia, and efforts to establish a Union League Council. Correspondents include Benjamin Alvord, Jesse Applegate, Benjamin Bonneville, Samuel Culver, Addison C. Gibbs, and Joseph Lane. Also included is a diary (1857) kept by Palmer while on a voyage from Oregon City to Washington, D.C. via Panama; typescript copies of diaries (1854, 1856, 1860-1861) recording his travels throughout the Pacific Northwest; hand written copy of an agreement (1854) between the United States, represented by superintendent of Indian Affairs, Joel Palmer, and the Calipooia Indian tribe; and articles of incorporation (1862) of the Columbia River Railroad Company.

The second group of materials, designated Mss 114-1, consists of letters sent to Sarah Ann Palmer from various relatives, and receipts and other ephemera of Joel Palmer. Among these are hand written copies of poems dated 1783, possibly from one of Palmer's ancestors.

The third group within the collection, designated Mss 114-2, contains mostly biographical information about Palmer, along with letters written by his descendants and letters relating to the dedication of a statue of Palmer in 1971.

A fourth group of papers, designated Mss 114-3, consists of general correspondence, primarily political and military in nature, legal papers, and a survey of an unidentified Indian reservation.

The final group of materials, designated Mss 114-4, includes a manuscript poem, Bristol, England, 1784; letters from Palmer to General Joseph Lane and others; manuscript copy of report to the U.S. Secretary of War or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs from General Joseph Lane, ca. 1849; a letter from W. B. Bonney to Joel Palmer, 1850 Jan. 17; letter to Joel Palmer from Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Bonneville, 1855 Mar. 27; printed copy of the treaty between the United States and the Rogue River Indians, 1855; manuscript extracts from "Articles of treatry made at Port Orford," 1857 Sept. 20; hand drawn map of the Columbia River and its tributaries, undated; and a pamphlet titled "History of the Grand Ronde Military Block House," 1911.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Portions of the collection are available on Mss Microfilm 114, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright holders.

Preferred Citation

Joel Palmer papers, Mss 114, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Mss 114Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Abstract of Disbursement--S.H. Culver-Rogue River Valley
1855
1/2
Abstract of Disbursement--Palmer
1856
1/3
Appointment--Joel Palmer
1862 October 16
1/4
Articles of Incorporation-Columbia River Rail Co.
1862 November
1/5
Authorization to Establish Union League Council
1864 January
1/6
Diaries (typescript transcriptions)
1854; 1856
1/7
Diary (original)
1857
1/8
Diary excerpts (typescript transcriptions)
1853-1854; 1872
1/9
Interview with Joel Palmer by Hubert Howe Bancroft (tyepscript transcription)
1878
1/10
Land Claim--Daniel Harvey to Palmer
1862 October 9
1/11
Land Claim--Indian Dick Johnson
1854 December 4
Letters
Box/Folder
1/12
Benjamin Alvord to Palmer
1864 November 8
1/13
Jesse Applegate to Palmer
1848 April 27
1/14
Benjamin L. Bonneville to Palmer
1855 March 27
1/15
W. B. Bonney to Palmer
1850 January 17
1/16
Addison Crandall Gibbs to Palmer
1864 August 19
1/17
J. M. Keeler to Palmer
1852 May 15
1/18
Joseph Lane to Palmer
1851 May 26
1/19
John H. Mitchell to Palmer
1876 January 9
1/20
G. W. Manypenny to Palmer
1856 April 1
1/21
E. Palmer to Joel Palmer
1864 November 25
1/22
O. C. Pratt to Palmer
1853 May 20
1/23
N. P. Robinson to Palmer
1864 November 29
1/24
R. R. Thompson to Palmer
1855 March 18
1/25
Palmer to Samuel H. Culver
undated
1/26
Palmer to William Holmes
1856 April 1
1/27
Palmer to Berryman Jennings
1848 April 1
1/28
Palmer to George Manypenny
1854 March 27
1/29
Palmer to George Manypenny
1856 October 14
1/30
Palmer to R. B. Metcalfe
1856 May 13
1/31
Palmer to Nathan Olney
1854 September 28
1/32
Palmer to W. H. Reese
1848 January 25
1/33
Palmer to R. R. Thompson
1855 December 10
1/34
Palmer to unknown correspondent
1855 July 3
Box/Folder
1/35
Notice--Belpassi, Union League
1864 February 6
1/36
Petition, Masonic lodge, Dayton, Oregon
1869 August 21
1/37
Resignation of Palmer, to President Franklin Pierce (hand written, probably copy made by Palmer)
1854 March 6
1/37
Title abstract for property in Dayton, Oregon
1866-1903
1/39
Treaty, Calipooia Tribe
1854 March 25
1/40
Treaty, Walla Walla and Wasco Tribes
1855 June 25
1/41
Voucher, W. R. Spratt
1856 August 15
1/42
Voucher, Steamer Enterprise
1856 July 12
1/43
Vouchers, S. H. Culver
1855

Mss 114-1Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/44
Receipts and other ephemera
1783-1890
1/45
Sarah Ann Palmer correspondence
1856-1896

Mss 114-2Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/46
Letters from descendants of Joel Palmer
1854-1982
1/47
Typescript copies of documents and notes
1849-1864

Mss 114-3Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Correspondence
Box/Folder
1/48
1850-1851
1/49
1852-1853
1/50
Includes draft of treaty between the U.S. and the Calapooia Tribe, 1854 February 16
1854 January-June
1/51
1854 July-December
1/52
1855 January-June
1/53
1855 July-December
2/1
1856 January
2/2
1856 February
2/3
1856 April
2/4
1856 May
2/5
1856 June
2/6
1856 July
2/7
1856 August
2/8
1856 September
2/9
1856 November
2/10
1856 December
2/11
1857
2/12
1858
2/13
1870
2/14
1871 January-June
2/15
1871 July-December
2/16
1872 January-June
2/17
1872 July-December
2/18
1873 January-July
2/19
1874
2/20
1880
2/21
undated
Box/Folder
2/22
Property abstracts
1854-1856
2/23
Promissory notes, chits, and other documents
184-1860
2/24
Contracts and licenses
1855-1856; undated
2/25
Indian reservation land survey
undated

Mss 114-4Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/26
Poem (manuscript), Bristol, England, titled "Verses on Miss B-d, G--d"
1784
2/27
Letter from Palmer to Colonel B. Jennings, Wascopam
Letter to Jennnings, quartermaster at Wascopam, urging necessity for furnishing men and supplies to restrain Indian outbreaks.
1848 April
2/28
Copy of report to U.S. Secretary of War or Commissioner of Indian Affairst from General Joseph Lane
Lists reports by Robert Newell, Quinn Thornton, and George Preston concerning number and condition of Indian tribes in Oregon Territory; also a report by Chief Justice Bryant concerning the trial of Indians charged with the murder of an American named Wallace at Puget Sound. Report made at Oregon City. 26 pages.
1849
2/29
Letter to Palmer from W. B. Bonney
Expresses general concern with progress of projects and welfare of mutual friends.
1850 January 17
2/30
Letter to Palmer from Colonel Benjamin Bonneville
From Fort Vancouver, inviting Palmer and his guests to inspection tour of Fort Vancouver
1855 March 27
2/31
Copy of treaty between the U.S. and the Rogue River Indians (printed)
1855
2/32
Abstract of disbursements by Joel Palmer
An account of services of employees, hire of special agents, transportation, freight, ferriages, in the removal of Indians, and general current expenses of Indian service in the Oregon Superintendency.
1856 February
2/33
Extracts from articles of treaty made at Port Orford, between Anson Dart, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Henry Spalding, and others (manuscript)
1857 September 20
2/34
Letter to Palmer from Senator John H. Mitchell
1876 January 9
2/35
Map, hand drawn, showing Columbia River and tributaries, Mt. Hood, Portland and other cities
Includes line showing "my route"
undated
2/36
Fragment of a love letter
circa 1800
2/37
History of the Grand Ronde military block house (pamphlet)
1911

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Indian agents--Oregon--Correspondence
  • Indian agents--Oregon--Diaries
  • Indians of North America--Oregon--Government relations
  • Indians of North America--Oregon--Treaties
  • Indians of North America--Oregon--Wars
  • Labor unions--Oregon
  • Pacific Coast Indians, Wars with, 1847-1865
  • Voyages to the Pacific coast
  • Personal Names :
  • Applegate, Jesse A., 1811-1888--Correspondence
  • Bonneville, Benjamin Louis Eulalie de, 1796-1878--Correspondence.
  • Bonney, W. B.--Correspondence
  • Lane, Joseph, 1801-1881--Correspondence
  • Maypenny, George Washington, 1809-1893--Correspondence
  • Mitchell, John H. (John Hipple), 1835-1905--Correspondence
  • Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881--Correspondence
  • Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881--Diaries
  • Raymond, W. W. (William Wakeman), 1815-1894--Correspondence
  • Wool, John Ellis, 1784-1869--Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Oregon Superintendency
  • Geographical Names :
  • Columbia River--History--19th century--Maps
  • Dayton (Or.)--History
  • Grand Ronde (Or.)--History
  • Oregon--History--To 1859.
  • Oregon--Militia
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Maps