Newspapers and Radio
THE Oregon Spectator, first newspaper published west of the Rocky
Mountains, made its initial appearance on February 5, 1846, at
Oregon City; it was issued by the Oregon Printing Association. With
a swagger typical of that period, it flaunted on its banner, "Westward
the Star of Empire Takes Its Way." Colonel William G. T'Vault,
prominent in early Oregon newspaper history, was the first editor of
the Spectator, but his aggressive nature balked at the association's rule
against political discussions. T'Vault resigned after a few weeks and
went to southern Oregon. He edited the Umpqua Gazette at Scottsburg
after several years, and later moved the paper to Jacksonville under
the name of the Table Rock Sentinel. Charged by his enemies at Jack-
sonville with harboring abolitionist sympathies, a heinous accusation in
Oregon in those days, the doughty colonel declared, "If I thought
there was one drop of abolition blood in my veins, I would cut it out."
The statement silenced his critics.
Henry A. G. Lee, a descendant of the Virginia Lees, succeeded
T'Vaul on the Spectator, and in turn was followed by George L.
Curry, later Territorial governor. Curry, too, found the inhibition
against political discussion irksome, and he resigned to found in Oregon
City the Free Press, Oregon's second newspaper. The Free Press, issued
first in March 1848, gave up the ghost when the gold rush emptied
Oregon of its few printers.
The last of Oregon's three pre-Territorial publications, a 16-page
magazine, was the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, begun
June, 1848, and published and edited on Tualatin Plains by the Rev-
erend John S. Griffin. The press that was installed for this magazine
had been used in Oahu, Sandwich Islands, by the American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions for the printing of hymns, cate-
chisms and gospels in the islanders' native tongue. It was later given
to Dr. Marcus Whitman and the Reverend H. H. Spalding, Presby-
terian missionaries in the Oregon country at Waiilatpu and Lapwai.
The press arrived at Fort Vancouver in 1839 and was carried by canoe