John Commingers Ainsworth (1822-1893) was the major founder of the Oregon Steam Navigation (OSN) Company, the most powerful transportation monopoly in the Pacific Northwest. Ainsworth was also involved in a number of other ventures, including the Northern Pacific Railroad (NPRR) and various gold, silver and coal mining operations. The John Commingers Ainsworth Papers contain Ainsworth's diaries, autobiography, personal correspondence, photographs, and the business records of the Oregon Central Railroad, Oregon Steam Navigation Company, Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and various mining, building and shipping enterprises.
Hallock was born in Utica, New York. He trained as a cabinet maker, draftsman, surveyor, and civil engineer and became one of Portland's earliest contractors. The journal describes his experiences on the coast, daily transactions and experiences during construction jobs. He fished, trapped, observed the weather, visited, and was visited.