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Francis Xavier Matthieu
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Birth: Apr. 2, 1818
Quebec, Canada
Death: Feb. 4, 1914
Marion County
Oregon, USA

The following are excerpts from the Morning Oregonian Feb. 5, 1914, courtesy of Bob Wilson. A lengthy article records the life and death of Francis Xavier Matthieu. Regrettably, unable to include the full account, I will try to cover, as much of his life, as possible.

Francis Matthieu was born, in 1818, in Terrebonne, a small village near Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He had little schooling in his early youth and when he was 12, he went to work at a dry goods store in Montreal.
When the rebellion, for equal rights of all Canadians began, he joined in. On account of his youth, he was not watched as closely as others and was able to render a the insurgents a valuable service. When the rebellion collapsed, his boyish appearance enabled him to escape from the country.
Reaching Albany, NY he went to work as a carpenter and after 15 months he went to Milwaukee, WI and then on to Chicago and St. Louis. In 1839 he joined the American Fur Company at Fort Pierre, as a trader among the Indians.
He spent time in Nebraska. Here he was even invited to feast with a local Indian tribe, the main course being dog. Francis, declined the offering, but, seeing this offended his hosts, paid another Indian to eat his share.
His territory lay in the Yellowstone country and from there he made an expedition to Santa Fe, returning in 1841 to Fort Laramie. Upon his return, he found the Indians had become dangerous and savage, having been supplied rum.
Shortly after, he made a decision to join an immigrant party, headed to the Oregon Territory, as their guide.
In 1842, he arrived at Fort Vancouver, without shoes or stockings. He negotiated a purchase of these items, but had to settle on a much larger size, as that was all that was available. When he was finally able to complete payment of these items, he traded a bushel of wheat, for the stockings, alone.
From Fort Vancouver, he traveled South and settled in French Prairie, one of the earliest Willamette Valley settlements. It was near here, at Champoeg, that Francis made his vote on, May 2, 1843, in favor of the Oregon Provisional Government and became a part of Oregon's lasting history.
In 1844 he married, Rose Osent, the daughter of Louis Osent, a Hudson Bay employee. This union was blessed with fourteen children.
In 1846 he purchased a donation land claim, which he retained through his life. In 1849, Francis, joined the rush for gold in California. This venture proving unsuccessful, he returned to Oregon and founded the town of Butteville, in 1851.
Mr. Matthieu was elected Justice of the Territorial Court and later served as County Commissioner. He was also elected as a Democrat to the State Legislature in 1874 to 1878. He was a member of the Masons and was one of the organizers of the first lodge in Oregon.
Francis' life spanned from trading posts and canoes, to railroads, steamships and department stores. At the time of his death, he was the last survivor of that Champoeg vote. He died at the home of his daughter, Rose Bergevin, at Butteville. Funeral service was held at his daughters home at noon, on Feb. 6. He was laid to rest in the Butteville Cemetery. His service and burial were overseen by the Mason's.

Other Notes:

The last survivor of the 52 persons that formed the first civil government west of the Rocky Mountains, May 2,1843 at Champoeg, OR. Monument reads "To honor one of those patriots who on May 2, 1843 saved the Oregon country to this Nation."

Mr. Matthieu was very prominent in early Oregon history; he and one other French-Canadian were the deciding votes which determined that Oregon Territory was to be under the US flag rather than the British. All of the other 50 French-Canadians voted the other way. If you have an opportunity, you might make a visit to Champoeg State Park, which is on the site of that historic gathering.

Family links: 
  Rosalie Osent Matthieu (1827 - 1901)*
  Rosa Matthieu Bergevin (____ - 1914)*
  Stephen Alfred Matthieu (1862 - 1939)*
  Earnest T Matthieu (1866 - 1943)*
*Calculated relationship
Butteville Cemetery
Marion County
Oregon, USA
Plot: Row 3, SE Corner, Plot 18
Created by: Susan Kelly
Record added: Feb 04, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17810071
Francis Xavier Matthieu
Added by: Tenalquot
Francis Xavier Matthieu
Added by: Sue Barnett
Francis Xavier Matthieu
Added by: Sue Barnett
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In honor of an early Oregon Trail Pioneer. If I've connected all the dots right, you may have known my 4th great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Shadden, who is listed as having signed the "Wolves Letter". Wishing you blessings and peace.
 Added: Dec. 27, 2009

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