McLoughlin-Fraser family papers, 1796-1964  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

McLoughlin-Fraser family
McLoughlin-Fraser family papers
1796-1964 (inclusive)
1.5 cubic feet, (2 document cases, 2 custom boxes, 5 reels of microfilm)
Collection Number
Mss 927
Papers of and relating to Dr. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, Washington, and later a land owner in Oregon City, Oregon; and materials of and relating to McLoughlin's descendants and relatives in the Fraser, Rae, Harvey, Wygant, and Winch families. Most of the materials are copies or transcriptions, with some original documents. Includes correspondence, legal documents, historical materials, and genealogies.
Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Letter book, 1847-1848 (photocopy), may be copied if proper credit is given to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington.

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

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Dr. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and "Father of Oregon" was born to John and Angelique (Fraser) McLoughlin on October 19, 1784 in Riviere du Loup in Lower Canada near Quebec. His son, Joseph, was born to his first wife, a Chippewa woman. In about 1812 he married his second wife, Marguerite (Wadin) McKay by whom he had four children. After briefly practicing medicine in Montreal, he joined the fur trade, becoming a partner in the North West Company which united with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. In 1824 he was made Chief Factor of the Columbia District which moved its headquarters from Fort George (Astoria), constructing Fort Vancouver in 1825. There McLoughlin was a leading figure in the development of the Oregon Country.

McLoughlin dealt profitably and successfully with the native people as well as generously providing seeds and other needs to white missionaries and settlers on credit, against the wishes of the HBC. In the 1840s furs started to become scarce and settlers began to arrive in larger numbers. In 1846 McLoughlin retired under criticism from the Company and moved to Oregon City, where he built a two story house, now a museum, and ran a store for a time. But, due to an act of Congress, he was forced to give up much of his land claim. He became an American citizen in 1849 and died in Oregon City on September 3, 1857. A portion of the land claim was returned to his heirs after his death, but he died feeling betrayed by both the British and the Americans.

John and Marguerite McLoughlin's daughter Eloisa was born February 13, 1817, moving to Fort Vancouver with her parents in 1825. In 1838 she married HBC employee William Glen Rae, a clerk and trader by whom she had three children. In 1845 Rae committed suicide in San Francisco and Eloisa returned with her children to Fort Vancouver, subsequently moving to Oregon City with her parents. There in 1850 she married Daniel Harvey who ran flour mills and sawmills. They had three children together and moved to Portland in 1867. Eloisa died in 1884.

Margaret Glen Rae was a daughter by Eloisa's first marriage. She married Theodore Wygant in 1858. They had four children. Wygant was born in New York November 22, 1831, the son of William and Amelia (Fowler) Wygant. He came to Oregon City in 1850, worked on the Canemah and later was Captain of the Surprise. He was an agent for several Oregon City steamboats for ten years and later moved to Portland where he became the Secretary-Treasurer of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company and later ran a real estate business.

Theodore and Margaret Wygant's eldest daughter, Alice, married Portland architect William Widden. Their second daughter, Maria Louise, never married. Their third daughter Nellie Amelia married Martin Winch. Winch was born December 15, 1858 and came to Portland in 1871 with his mother and brother to live with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Simeon G. Reed. His education ended at the age of sixteen when he went to work as an office boy for Oregon Steam Navigation Company. Later he worked for the Oregon Rail Road and Navigation Company and conducted a printing business on the side. His uncle also engaged him to look after his financial affairs. After the deaths of his aunt and uncle he succeeded in carrying out his aunt's will by establishing and endowing Reed College to benefit Portland, where the Reeds had started their fortune. Amelia and Martin had one son, Simeon Reed Winch.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The McLoughlin-Fraser family collection contains family, business and legal papers from the period 1796-1964. It contains typescript copies of family correspondence from the period 1807-1843, including correspondence between John McLoughlin, John McLoughlin Jr., David McLoughlin, Julia McLoughlin, Malcolm Fraser, John Fraser, Simon Fraser, Alexander Fraser, John G. McTavish, Donald McTavish, William McGillivray, George Simpson, and J.F. Pelletier. It also includes genealogical data.

Papers of John McLoughlin include correspondence, originals and photocopies, circa. 1825-1855; documents, including land claim documents, 1843-1857; Hudson's Bay Company papers; and photostats of estate papers. McLoughlin's statement to the HBC, ca. 1845, is in this collection. (A microfilm copy of this letter is also available.) There is also a photocopy of a letter copy book from the period 1847-1848 from the original at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Vancouver, Washington. (See the publication restriction above.) The collection also contains miscellaneous ephemera, biographical data, including material by and from historian Burt Brown Barker, original receipts, and a typescript of an interview with Aloisa Rae Harvey, made in 1878 by publisher Hubert Howe Bancroft.

The David McLoughlin papers from the period 1855-1928 include posthumous correspondence, much written to George H. Himes of the Oregon Historical Society, concerning David McLoughlin, and biographical data, including letters from H. A. M. DeChesne on family matters. Other papers include a land survey of Joseph McLoughlin's claim at the mouth of the Yamhill River from 1846, an invitation to McLoughlin Day exercises at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905, and documents regarding family members including the wills of William Glen Rae (1841) and John Rae (1865); the marriage settlement between Eloisa McLoughlin Rae, Daniel Harvey and John McLoughlin in 1850; and Theodore Wygant's reminiscence of his 1850 overland journey to Oregon. The collection also contains specifications for the restoration and development of the McLoughlin House by the McLoughlin Memorial Association, plus copies of letters and documents from the period 1796-1857 microfilmed from the originals held by the Association, and a microfilm copy of John McLoughlin's letter book from the period of March 11, 1829 - September 1, 1832.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Portions of the collection are available on Mss Microfilm 927, 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

McLoughlin-Fraser family papers, Mss 927, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is arranged in two series:

  • Series A: paper records
  • Series B: microfilmed records

Location of Originals

Family letters and documents, 1775-1857 were microfilmed from originals held by the McLoughlin Memorial Association, Oregon City, Or.

"Life of John McLoughlin..." by his daughter, Eloise Harvey, is a transcript of the original at the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, Calif.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection was donated to the Oregon Historical Society by Reed College in 1974. The typescript photocopy regarding land claim and estate matters was a gift of C. H. Jack McGill in June 1979. Typescript copy of John McLoughlin letter of 1852 June 8, gift of Thomas C. Elliot, 1946.

Related Materials

Additional materials relating to John McLoughlin and his descendants can be found in the Winch family papers, Coll 52, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

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

Series A:  Paper recordsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
McLoughlin and Fraser family materials
Letters sent by John McLoughlin
Volume 1
Letter book of John McLoughlin (original)
Contains hand written copies of outgoing letters from Fort Vancouver, most in McLoughlin's hand.
Letter book of John McLoughlin (photocopy)
Photocopy of original at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Contains hand written copies of letters sent from Oregon City.
Letters received by John McLoughlin (originals and photocopies)
Letters to and from John McLoughlin (photostatic and photographic copies)
Letters to and from John McLoughlin (typescript copies)
Letters to and from John McLoughlin (typescript copies)
Transcripts made for Burt Brown Barker's Letters of Dr. John McLouhglin (1948)
circa 1811-1838
Statement of John McLoughlin to the Hudson's Bay Company in London
Hand written copy, possibly contemporary of original. At top of first page is a note, in pencil, by historian Frances Fuller Victor: "This document seems to be a defence of himself addressed to parties in London."
circa 1845
McLoughlin family letters (typescript copies)
"Transcribed from originals in possession of McLoughlin House, Oregon City, October-November, 1951."
Papers of David McLoughlin
Includes correspondence with George Himes of the Oregon Historical Society.
Estate papers of John McLoughlin (photostatic copies and typed transcripts)
Includes the will of John McLoughlin and list of silver.
Documents of John McLoughlin (photostatic copies)
Receipts of John McLoughlin (originals)
Statement regarding Oregon City Claim (hand written copy)
1844 March 1
Land claim and estate papers (photocopies of typescript transcriptions)
Land survey of Joseph McLoughlin (hand written copy)
Abstract of title to Oregon City land
Land claim documents (originals and contemporary copies)
Land claim document (original)
Hand written document, probably in John McLoughlin's hand, probably copied from other documents.
Advertising card for McLoughlin Day, Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition
McGill University roster, with name of John McLoughlin (photocopy)
Specifications for McLoughlin House restoration by Glenn Stanton (typescript)
circa 1934-1941
Specifications for McLoughlin House restoration by Glenn Stanton (typescript)
circa 1934-1964
John McLoughlin biographical sketches and biographical materials (typescript, printed, and hand written copies)
Includes the following (and other documents):
  • "Speeches of presentation and acceptance of the oil painting of Dr. John McLoughlin delivered by Hon. John Minto and His Excellency, Sylvester Pennoyer, Governor of Oregon, in the House of Representatives," 1889 February 5
  • "Dr. John McLoughlin's last letter" (reprint from the American historical review, 1915 October
  • "The Fraser family of Murray Bay" (typescript)
  • "Bagpipe music proved heap great medicine : a story of Dr. John McLouhlin and the days at old Fort Vancouver," by W. W. Walkem, 1915.
  • "Genealogie du Colonel Malcom Fraser" (typescript)
  • "Last will and testament of William Glenn Rae" (typescript)
  • Obituary of John McLoughlin (typescript)
  • "Research to establish the financial standing of Dr. John McLoughlin," by Burt Brown Barker
  • "Dr. John McLoughlin : benfactor of Oregon settlers," by Leslie M.Scott (typescript)
circa 1889-1950
"The life of John McLoughlin / Governor / of the Hudson's Bay Company possessions / on the Pacific slope, / at Fort Vancouver / By his daughter, Mrs. Harvey / Portland, Oregon 1878." (typescript)
Typescript transcription of an interview of Eloisa Rae Harvey, by Hubert Howe Bancroft, from original at the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, California.
Rae and Harvey family materials
Will of William Glen Rae (hand written copy)
Will of John Rae (certified hand written copy)
Marriage settlement between Eloisa McLoughlin Rae, Daniel Harvey, and John McLoughlin (hand written contemporary copy)
Letter to Daniel Harvey from Edward Roberts
1863 July 18
Documents related to disputed will of Eloisa Rae Harvey
Wygant family materials
"Notes of Theodore Wygant" -- Reminiscences of Wygant's overland journey to Oregon in 1850 (typescript)
Theodore Wygant et. al. versus Forbes Barclay, administrator of Henry Lambert estate
Maria Louise Wygant--Family history, quotations, recipes, and clippings (bound volume)
Maria Louise Wygant--Family history notes
Includes brief excerpts from the diary of her father, Theodore Wygant
circa 1905-1929
Maria Louise Wygant--Estate papers
Primarily concerns sale of timber on property in Grays Harbor, Washington, by O.P. Burrows.
Notes about John McLoughlin
Includes documents relating to the preservation of the McLoughlin house in Oregon City and copies of related documents, probably collect by Maria Louise Myrick.
circa 1901-1909
Maria Louise Wygant estate papers concerning Wygant Park and Hood River County
Includes correspondence with Oregon State Highway Commission
Volume 2
[Maria?] Louise Wygant scrapbook
Primarily news clippings about John McLoughlin, family members, local and international events.
circa 1875-1929
Winch family materials
Deeds and estate papers relating to Martin Winch
Relates to property at SW Broadway and Main Street, Portland
1882-1883; 1893-1919
Deeds, Martin Winch properties
Martin Winch legal documents
Martin Winch deeds
Deeds, Martin Winch
Deeds, Simeon Reed Winch, for property on Cornell Road, Portland

Series B:  Microfilmed recordsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
John McLoughlin letters
Contains Letters, 1796-1857; and letter book, 1829 March 11-1832 September 1. Originals are in the Oregon Historical Society collection (Mss 927).
Family letters and documents
Originals in the McLoughlin Memorial Association, Oregon City, Oregon.
John McLoughlin statement to the Hudson's Bay Company, London
See Mss 91 Microfilm, which contains this material.
circa 1845
John McLoughlin letters
John McLoughlin letters to Simon Fraser, 1805-1826; and other documents.
circa 1775-1855

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Pioneers--Oregon--Biography
  • Pioneers--Oregon--Correspondence

Personal Names

  • Harvey, Eloisa Rae, 1817-1884--Correspondence.
  • McGillivray, William, 1764-1825--Correspondence.
  • McLoughlin, David, 1821-1903--Correspondence.
  • McLoughlin, John, 1784-1857--Correspondence.
  • Simpson, George, Sir, 1786 or 7-1860--Correspondence
  • Wyagnt, Theodore, 1831-1905--Correspondence.

Corporate Names

  • Hudson's Bay Company.
  • McLoughlin House.

Geographical Names

  • Fort Vancouver (Wash.)--History.
  • Oregon --History--To 1859.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Letter books
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Reminiscences
  • Scrapbooks
  • Wills

Titles within the Collection

  • Life of John McLoughlin, Governor of the Hudson Bay Company possessions of the Pacific slope, at Fort Vancouver.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • McLoughlin, John, 1784-1857 (creator)
    Corporate Names
    • McLoughlin Memorial Association (creator)