FIRST - Chief Factor, Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Rose Red
N 45° 37.384 W 122° 39.718
10T E 526351 N 5052224
Quick Description: FIRST Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver was Dr. John McLoughlin (1784-1857).
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 5/5/2006 7:39:46 PM
Waymark Code: WMC0R
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 50

Long Description:

FIRST Chief Factor of Fort Vancouver was Dr. John McLoughlin (1784-1857), 6 feet 4 inches tall of heavy proportion. McLoughlin was a former North West Company (1779-1821) employee in charge of Fort William who was retained by the London based Hudson’s Bay Company after the merger. From 1824 to 1846 McLoughlin was the FIRST Chief Factor in charge of the HBC’s Columbia Department—a 700,000 square mile area from Russian Alaska to Mexican California and the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean with outposts in Hawaii. This was also the collection point for furs being shipped to London, England.

The second site for Fort Vancouver was on the north bank of the Columbia River, slightly upstream from the mouth of the Willamette River on the opposite side. The fort itself, after an initial (FIRST), arduous four years on a nearby bluff, was rebuilt on a plain with easy access to the water, but just beyond the flood plain. McLoughlin's superiors were well pleased with the choice, not only for its situation, but most importantly for its rich pasture and amenable climate.

With its role as the administrative headquarters and principal supply depot for this expanse of land, Fort Vancouver became one of the most important fur trade posts in North America. McLoughlin developed trading posts and friendly relations with the Indians.

He not only carried on activities associated with the fur-trading industry, but he also developed agriculture and husbandry, and opened up markets for the exportation of lumber, salmon, and flour at a time when the region was still looked upon as merely a great trapping ground.

The power wielded by Dr. John McLoughlin was thus great; but it was not as extensive as it appeared on the surface. McLoughlin was himself subject to orders from the HBC’s directors in far-off London, and from George Simpson, governor of the firm’s dominion in North America. Sometimes these orders extended to the minutest details of the trade.

Dr. John McLoughlin had to resign in 1845 for helping save the lives of the new American settlers at his company’s expense (the last 100 miles of the Oregon Trail were the most perilous). He was also at odds with his bosses for other reasons, some of them of his own making. He moved to Oregon City in 1846. Peter Skene Ogden became the SECOND Chief Factor of Fort Vancouver.

I tried to find a plaque with the words FIRST Chief Factor both at the museum and at the fort to no avail. I did find a reference in the cabin inside the fort entrance which I photographed (see photo). It is just implied that Dr. John McLoughlin was the FIRST Chief Factor.

Instructions for logging waymark: visit the museum and/or the fort. Log your impressions. A photograph is required taken at the museum (with Dr. John McLoughlin's portrait, if possible) or the fort with you and/or your GPSr in the picture.

FIRST - Classification Variable: Person or Group

Date of FIRST: 01/01/1824

More Information - Web URL: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Seek&Find visited FIRST - Chief Factor, Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory 3/27/2007 Seek&Find visited it
TheBeanTeam visited FIRST - Chief Factor, Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory 1/26/2007 TheBeanTeam visited it

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