Joel Palmer papers, 1783-1982 PDF
- Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881
- Joel Palmer papers
- 1783-1982 (inclusive)17831982
- .9 cubic feet, (2 document cases)
- Collection Number
- Mss 114
- Papers of a migrant to Oregon 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.
- Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- 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 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 Sarah Ann Derbyshire (1836). Shortly he and Derbyshire married, 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
Portions of the collection are available on Mss Microfilm 114, Oregon Historical Society Research Library
The Oregon Historical Society owns the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners.
Joel Palmer papers, Mss 114, Oregon Historical Society Research Library
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Mss 114Return to Top
Abstract of Disbursement--S.H. Culver-Rogue River Valley
Abstract of Disbursement--Palmer
|1862 October 16|
Articles of Incorporation-Columbia River Rail Co.
Authorization to Establish Union League Council
Diaries (typescript transcriptions)
Diary excerpts (typescript transcriptions)
Interview with Joel Palmer by Hubert Howe Bancroft (tyepscript transcription)
Land Claim--Daniel Harvey to Palmer
|1862 October 9|
Land Claim--Indian Dick Johnson
|1854 December 4|
Benjamin Alvord to Palmer
|1864 November 8|
Jesse Applegate to Palmer
|1848 April 27|
Benjamin L. Bonneville to Palmer
|1855 March 27|
W. B. Bonney to Palmer
|1850 January 17|
Addison Crandall Gibbs to Palmer
|1864 August 19|
J. M. Keeler to Palmer
|1852 May 15|
Joseph Lane to Palmer
|1851 May 26|
John H. Mitchell to Palmer
|1876 January 9|
G. W. Manypenny to Palmer
|1856 April 1|
E. Palmer to Joel Palmer
|1864 November 25|
O. C. Pratt to Palmer
|1853 May 20|
N. P. Robinson to Palmer
|1864 November 29|
R. R. Thompson to Palmer
|1855 March 18|
Palmer to Samuel H. Culver
Palmer to William Holmes
|1856 April 1|
Palmer to Berryman Jennings
|1848 April 1|
Palmer to George Manypenny
|1854 March 27|
Palmer to George Manypenny
|1856 October 14|
Palmer to R. B. Metcalfe
|1856 May 13|
Palmer to Nathan Olney
|1854 September 28|
Palmer to W. H. Reese
|1848 January 25|
Palmer to R. R. Thompson
|1855 December 10|
Palmer to unknown correspondent
|1855 July 3|
Notice--Belpassi, Union League
|1864 February 6|
Petition, Masonic lodge, Dayton, Oregon
|1869 August 21|
Resignation of Palmer, to President Franklin Pierce (hand written, probably copy made by Palmer)
|1854 March 6|
Title abstract for property in Dayton, Oregon
Treaty, Calipooia Tribe
|1854 March 25|
Treaty, Walla Walla and Wasco Tribes
|1855 June 25|
Voucher, W. R. Spratt
|1856 August 15|
Voucher, Steamer Enterprise
|1856 July 12|
Vouchers, S. H. Culver
Mss 114-1Return to Top
Receipts and other ephemera
Sarah Ann Palmer correspondence
Mss 114-2Return to Top
Letters from descendants of Joel Palmer
Typescript copies of documents and notes
Mss 114-3Return to Top
Includes draft of treaty between the U.S. and the Calapooia Tribe, 1854 February 16
Promissory notes, chits, and other documents
Contracts and licenses
Indian reservation land survey
Mss 114-4Return to Top
Poem (manuscript), Bristol, England, titled "Verses on Miss B-d, G--d"
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.
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.
Letter to Palmer from W. B. Bonney
Expresses general concern with progress of projects and welfare of mutual friends.
|1850 January 17|
Letter to Palmer from Colonel Benjamin Bonneville
From Fort Vancouver, inviting Palmer and his guests to inspection tour of Fort Vancouver
|1855 March 27|
Copy of treaty between the U.S. and the Rogue River Indians (printed)
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.
Extracts from articles of treaty made at Port Orford, between Anson Dart, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Henry Spalding, and others (manuscript)
|1857 September 20|
Letter to Palmer from Senator John H. Mitchell
|1876 January 9|
Map, hand drawn, showing Columbia River and tributaries, Mt. Hood, Portland and other cities
Includes line showing "my route"
Fragment of a love letter
History of the Grand Ronde military block house (pamphlet)
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.
- Form or Genre Terms :