Transportation

IN the late spring of 1837 a little company of men and women, sent
out from Boston to reinforce the four lonely brethren at the Metho-
dist mission station in the Willamette Valley, arrived in the lower
waters of the Columbia, after a voyage of ten months by way of Cape
Horn and the Sandwich Islands. Near the mouth of the Willamette
River they were met by Jason Lee, who had made the journey of 75
miles from the mission by canoe, and with him they paddled up the river
to the station. In mid-July two women among the newcomers were
united in marriage to Lee and his co-worker Cyrus Shepard. "As the
sickly season came on," according to a contemporary record, the newly-
married couples "performed two tours through the country, for the
benefit of their health." The first was a ten-days' journey on horseback,
southward along the Willamette River, eastward to the headwaters of
the Molalla, northward to Champoeg, and back to the mission. Very
shortly thereafter they set out on foot "to perform a land journey to
the Pacific coast," following a trail some 80 miles long from the valley
to the ocean that had been used by Indians and by retired Hudson's Bay
trappers. Though they found this route "exceedingly difficult, on ac-
count of the abruptness of the ascending and descending, and the numer-
ous large trees that had fallen across it," the party arrived at the Pacific
in four days; and the same length of time was required "in crossing the
mountains, jumping the logs, fording the streams, and traveling over the
prairies" on the return. By the end of August they were back at the
Willamette station, "better qualified, from the improvement of their
health, to pursue the business of their calling."

Most of the common methods of travel available in the Oregon
country a century ago are represented in the above brief narrative—by
canoe on the waterways, by horseback in the valley bottoms and level
open country, afoot through the mountains and other forested areas over
narrow trails cut by Indians and trappers. With the coming of the
homeseekers, however, the principal trails were rapidly broadened into
roads. Thousands of immigrants in ox-drawn wagons, with their leaders