Agriculture

THE first independent and successful American farmer in Oregon
was Ewing Young, erstwhile fur-trader, who came in 1834 and in
the following year had crops growing and cattle grazing on the rich
acreage of the Chehalem Valley. Before his arrival, various ventures in
agriculture had been attempted, the earliest being by Nathan Winship
and his crew of the Albatross, who brought hogs and goats and did some
planting along the lower Columbia River bottoms in 1810. This ex-
periment was flooded out, and a year later the Astor expedition brought
hogs, sheep, and cattle, and planted vegetables at Fort Astoria. Dr. John
McLoughlin, of the Hudson's Bay Company, started a farm at Fort
Vancouver in 1825; and three years later he placed Etienne Lucier,
one of his trappers, who had become superannuated, on a tract of land
at the present site of East Portland. In 1829, James Bates established
a farm on Scappoose Plain, and three years later John Ball began wheat
growing in the Willamette Valley. These men were share-croppers for
the fur company. In 1835, Nathaniel Wyeth brought cattle, hogs, and
goats, with grain and garden seeds, to Sauvie Island, but later relin-
quished the land to Dr. McLoughlin, who established a dairy on the
island under the supervision of Jean Baptiste Sauvie.

Favorable reports concerning the fertile valleys of Oregon brought a
trickle of eastern farmers into the new and unclaimed country in the
late 1830's. Thereafter, immigration increased rapidly, until the trickle
became a stream and then a flood. The cry of "Free land!" echoed back
over the Oregon Trail, and the route became crowded with long pro-
cessions of covered wagons.

Wheat was the pioneers' first and principal crop. Many of the early
homeseekers arrived in the Willamette country destitute, and Dr. Mc-
Loughlin, partly with an eye to future profit and the enhancing of
British influence, staked them to clothing, tools, and seed-wheat, to be
repaid in kind, so that thousands of settlers were at length in debt to
him. In 1846 more than 160,000 bushels of wheat were produced in
the Oregon country. By an act of the provisional government, wheat