Medorem Crawford papers , 1842-1891

Overview of the Collection

Crawford, Medorem, 1819-1891
Medorem Crawford papers
1842-1891 (inclusive)
1.5 linear feet, (3 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 129
Medorem Crawford helped lead emigrants overland to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1860s. From 1864 to 1869 he was Oregon collector of internal revenue, and from 1871 to 1875 he served as appraiser of customs. The collection is comprised of diaries, correspondence and account books. Some of the diaries describe overland journeys. The major part of the collection are the diaries for 1859-1861, 1863, 1864, 1869-1871, 1876-1877, 1885-1886.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Medorem Crawford came to Oregon in 1842 from Havana, New York. He was a provisional government legislator, 1847-1849, a state legislator, 1860, and farmed near Dayton. In 1861, 1862, and 1863 he was in command of emigrant trains overland to the Pacific Northwest, the last two years as an Army captain. From 1864 to 1869 he was Oregon collector of internal revenue, and from 1871 to 1875 he served as appraiser of customs.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Crawford papers include Medorem Crawford diaries for 1859-1861, 1863, 1864, 1869-1871, 1876-1877, 1885-1886. Also included are the diaries of Medorem Crawford, Jr., 1861, and Leroy Crawford, 1862. The diaries for 1861 and 1863 describe Crawford's overland expeditions. The 1864 diary describes a trip by stage from Atchison, Kansas to Oregon, via Marysville, California.

A series of Medorem Crawford account books includes a Methodist Mission store account, 1843-1844, accounts of the O'Neil and Crawford ferry, 1844, a store ledger, 1845-1847, and a Clackamas Mill account, 1849-1850.

Expedition accounts consist of vouchers for the 1862 escort and a draft report of overland escort duty in 1864 by Leroy Crawford.

The correspondence includes 10 letters of Medorem Crawford, and 34 letters from his father, S. G. Crawford, from Havana, New York. Other correspondents are: John Crawford, Sidney moss, James W. Nesmith, Ronald Crawford, John L. Morrison, Jesse Applegate, J. Quinn Thornton, and David Carter. A letterpress book contains Medorem Crawford's outgoing correspondence, 1866-1879.

Medorem Crawford's 1842 overland journal has not been located. It was published, probably from the copy now in the Western Americana Collection at Yale University, as vol. 1, no. 1 of the Sources of the History of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon, 1897). The report of the 1862 expedition was published as Senate Exec. Doc. 17, 37th Congress, 3rd Sess. (1863).

The Western Americana Collection, Yale University, has a collection of Crawford papers, some of which appear to be official reports based on Crawford diaries. The Medorem Crawford papers were sold piece-meal by a book dealer, and it is probable that other diaries and letters were acquired by libraries and private collectors. A manuscript calendar of the letters is in the library.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Overland journeys to the Pacific
  • Pioneers--West (U.S.)--Diaries
  • Wagon trains

Personal Names

  • Crawford, Leroy
  • Crawford, Medorem, 1819-1891
  • Crawford, Medorem, 1819-1891

Geographical Names

  • Oregon National Historic Trail
  • Oregon Territory--History
  • Oregon--History--1859-

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Journals (accounts)