Oregon City This was the final stop in the 2000 mile long trail--Oregon City.
Emigrant notes: "On our arrival in Oregon City, I found everything quite different from what I expected. There were three small churches, three stores, two blacksmiths shops, two flour mills and one weekly newspaper, the Oregon Spectator. My father purchased a house and lot and we moved into it soon after we arrived, and we commenced the sale of our boots and shoes. For fine boots, we got five dollars a pair." Emigrant Overton Johnson: "We were happy, after a long and tedious tour, to witness the home of civilization. To see mills, storehouses, shops. To hear the noise of the workman's hammer; to enjoy the warm welcome of countrymen and friends."
From Oregon City the emigrants fanned out in all directions to stake their claims and begin their new lives. They had reached the promised land. The provisional government allotted 640 acres of fertile Willamette valley farmland to every male citizen. The emigrants soon learned that the legend of Oregon was true. The sight of the valley brought delight to early travelers after their long journey across the dry plains. This great green bowl, encircled by mountainous walls, was more like the ‘Oregon’ they expected to find. "Its sheltered situation, embosomed in mountains, renders it good pasturing ground in the winter time; when the elk come down to it in great numbers, driven out of the mountains by the snow. The Indians then resort to it to hunt. They likewise come to it in the summer to dig the camash root, of which it produces immense quantities. When this plant is in blossom, the whole valley is tinted by its blue flowers, and looks like the ocean when overcast by a cloud." Captain Benjamin Bonneville:
Elijah Davidson, Squire S. Whitman, William Murphy and Thomas Lucas, took adjoining claims in Polk County. The site for the town of Monmouth was land donated entirely by Christian Church men.
1850-1853 Members of the Disciples of Christ (also know as the Campbellite Church after its founder Alexander Campbell, and later the Christian Church) depart from Warren County, Illinois for Polk County, Oregon to found a new town and build a Christian college. Many of these immigrants came to Illinois from other parts of the country to help plan and participate in the trek to the Oregon Territory. The Christian school was an incentive to those who had finally settled down in Illinois and did not want to undertake the long journey to an unknown land. 1854-5 Land is selected for a new town and the school in 1854. Ira Butler casts the tie-breaking vote and the name Monmouth is chosen over Dover for the new town. In 1855, the first board of trustees for the college is elected. Ira Butler is voted president, T.H. Hutchinson secretary, and T.H. Lucas treasurer. The Board of Trustees begins preparations for the college in Monmouth.
1853 Congress carves Washington Territory out of Oregon Territory 1854 Legislature prohibits sale of arms and ammunition to Indians Legislature prohibits sale of ardent spirits to Indians Legislature bars testimony of "Negroes, mulattoes, and Indians, or persons one half or more of Indian blood" in proceedings involving a white person
1854 Murphy, Elijah B Davidson, Whitman, Thomas Lucas and J. B. Smith donate 640 acres of land for a town. A vote is taken to decide on the name of the town. The choices are Cincinnati, Dover and Monmouth. A tie results between Dover and Monmouth, and Ira F. M. Butler, the chairman of the town committee, casts the deciding vote for Monmouth. 1855 March 18, the town is surveyed and divided into 16 blocks. Fifteen acres were designated for the university. One block was reserved for a public square. Sales of the rest of the land financed the university. 1855 Pacific Railroad Surveys examine potential routes Rogue River Indian War commences Yakima Indian War commences U.S. Army orders closure of settlements east of Cascades because of warfare with Indians
On Jan. 18, 1856 the territorial legislature granted a charter to the projected Monmouth University. That summer a twenty by thirty foot one-room school building was constructed in the block set aside for a public square for the express purpose of establishing a Restoration college. An initial group of 35 met to sign the roster subscribing to the statement, "The Bible alone is the only infallible rule of faith and practice." The town Monmouth, in Polk county Oregon, was organized in July, 1856, by a group of men who had come to Oregon for the express purpose of organizing a Christian College. Monmouth was the location chosen. According to the first clerk's book, which has been carefully preserved, 35 pioneers met in July, 1856, and organized a 'Christian congregation; the Bible the only infallible rule of faith and practice. ' Among the charter members were Elijah Davidson, John E. Murphy, Albert Lucas, Squire S. Whitman and others.
Monmouth University is founded. Forty life scholarships are issued at $500 each. A small grammar school building, 20 feet by 10 feet, was built on a corner of the public square. The Christian church shared the use of the building.
Monmouth University, patterned after Bethany College in West Virginia, is founded by the Disciples of Christ. The school shares space with the newly organized First Christian Church of Monmouth. The 20x30 foot building stands on the corner of Main Street and Monmouth Avenue. Board is available for students in good families at $2.50 to $3.00 a week. 1858, The first building to be built on university property is finished at a cost of $5,000. It measures 40 feet by 60 feet and also was shared by the Christian church.
1859 Elijah Davidson was a devout advocate of prohibition. In February 1859, Davidson and other trustees efforts to prohibit the importation, exportation, sale, and consumption of alcohol in Monmouth became a reality. One of the main arguments Davidson and his fellow religious supporters used to push prohibition legislation was, "to enable them to suppress and prevent nuisances, to render the possession of life and property more secure, and to enable them to improve and embellish the streets of the town."
1859 Congress grants Oregon statehood on February 14
1859 10. CARTER TARENT DAVIDSON, b, b. 24 Mar 1859, Independence, Polk Co., OR; d. 19 Jan 1932, , Josephine Co., OR. ) married CECELIA "CELIA" ANN BAILEY on 10 Feb 1884 in Foots Creek, Jackson Co., OR) (1st wife), She was born 21 Mar 1866 in Jacksonville, Jackson Co., OR. Children of CARTER DAVIDSON and CECELIA BAILEY are: I. Chester Clyde11 Davidson, B. 11 Apr 1885 II. Lester Earl Davidson, B. 08 Oct 1886 iII. GENNIEVA "JENNIE" EVA DAVIDSON, b. 26 Jul 1889, Williams, Josephine Co., OR IV. Jay Ellis "Dave"(Ellis Jay) Davidson, B. 23 May 1894 V. Estella Beatrice Davidson, B. 14 Nov 1896 VI. Carter Emerson Davidson, b. 21 Jul 1899 VII. Thelta Iris Davidson, B. 04 May 1908
1861 An ad appearing in the Oregon Statesman states that tuition at Monmouth University during its fifth year ranged from $5 to $9 per 60-day quarter. Boarding with private families is available for $2.50 to $3.50 per week. An orphan fund enables a number of orphans to attend the university for free. 1865 Name changes to Christian College. Merges with Bethel College. 1869 Monmouth University’s name is changed to Christian College and consolidated with Bethel College, another Disciples of Christ school near Monmouth. 1869 Grove of trees is planted on college property.
1870 Elijah Davidson died, (b. 1782) was an abolitionist, veteran of the Battle of New Orleans, pioneer preacher, organizer of multiple churches of Christ, city father to two different towns, died 24 Apr 1870 in Monmouth, Polk County, Oregon. On April 1, 1997: The college changed it’s name to Western Oregon University
143 years later, Monmouth was still a dry town that banned the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets, restaurants and bars. But, in the November 2002 election, Monmouth's status as the last dry town on the west coast ended