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Dr John McLoughlin

Dr John McLoughlin

Rivière-du-Loup, Bas-Saint-Laurent Region, Quebec, Canada
Death 3 Sep 1857 (aged 72)
Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
Burial Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 6413 · View Source
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"The Father of Oregon". Superintendant of Hudson's Bay Company, Columbia District (1824- 1846).

Died – In Oregon City, Sept. 3d, 1857, Dr. JOHN McLOUGHLIN, aged 73 years

The death of our venerable and distinguished fellow citizen, whose name and history are so identified with that of this city and Territory, deserves more that a passing notice.

He was born and educated in Canada, and soon after he obtained his degree he entered the service of the North West Company as a physician. Becoming a partner, he was placed in charge of Fort William, at that time the principle depot of the Company; during his administration, the fiercest competition grew up between that and the Hudson Bay Company, which became so sharp and desperate, that hostilities and battles took place between their mutual adherents, resulting in the loss of many lives and the entire destruction of the Fort. After this, the two companies were merged, and Dr. McLoughlin was placed in sole charge of the possessions and trade of the Hudson Bay Company west of the Rocky Mountains. He established the principle post at Fort Vancouver, and continued in charge there till 1844, when leaving the service of the Company, he removed to this city, having selected this as his claim in 1829, and from that time made improvements thereon. Here he remained until his death.

He was a man of large liberality in all the departments of life, as was manifested by his lavish generosity to a large circle of relatives, his constant readiness to relieve distress and assist the needy, and his prompt aid in every public undertaking. Though warmly attached to and devout believer in the doctrines of the Roman Church, he was so truly catholic that he cheerfully assisted other denominations, and was especially liberal in his donations for instructions of learning, even though under the management of those of a different creed. To the early emigrants, his succor was free and abundant. He literally “fed the hungry and clothed the naked.” His position at the head of a powerful corporation, his long experiences among the Indian Tribes, his influence over them based upon their knowledge of his strict integrity, his courage and his firmness under all circumstances, gave him great facilities as the pioneer and patron of civilization in Oregon, which he promptly improved. His conduct in this respect was the prime cause of difference between him and his employers; but, feeling that he had done his duty in assisting to develop the immense resources of this Pacific wilderness, rather than in forcing it, against the indications of Providence, to remain as the hunting ground of trappers and savages, he preferred to abandon his lucrative office and his allegiance, and, as an American citizen, employ his great energies, his wealth and experience in building up a new republic. It is to be regretted that his efforts were not fairly and honorably recognized, but that the legislation of Congress unrighteously selected him as a victim, and maliciously sacrificed his interests, apparently for no other reason than because he was of foreign birth and had been a chief Factor of the Hudson Bay Company, forgetting that, prior to this action, he had taken the oath of fidelity as an American citizen, and had used all the means which he honorably could, while in office, to advance American interests. This wrong inflicted upon Dr. McLoughlin, afflicted and grieved him, and embittered the last years of his life, not so much on account of the pecuniary loss it caused him, considerable as it was, as because of the accusation and false charges with which it was accompanied, the ingratitude it manifested, and the necessity it imposed upon him to appeal to a nation whose boast it is that it is free and generous and magnanimous, to restore to him rights of which, while standing on the brink of the grave, the aged and white haired pioneer, had been co cruelly robbed. Alas! that justice was so slow that he died without the satisfaction of knowing that restitution was made, and his claims recognized, except so far as was manifested by the honorable and just action of the Legislative Assembly of Oregon upon the subject.

It is not predicated that he was without faults, These, however, were rather the result of the circumstances of his life, and were less the offspring of the heart that of the head. Prompt to resent injuries imagined or fancied, his temper was short lived, and died with the setting sun. Accustomed to govern men and communities during his long life, he did not readily brook control, and perhaps was too careless of opinions and judgment of those whom he considered as inferior to him.

But his failings are buried with him, and will be no more remembered, while the community that was assisted and blessed by his energetic efforts, and those who knew him, will cherish the memory of his virtues, his lofty and stern integrity, his wide-spread philanthropy, his generous donations in behalf of religion and education, his zeal for moral progress, and his ardent patriotism.
And though we miss here forever his commanding presence, blending the simplicity of the pilgrim with the genial kindness of the patriarch, and the dignity of a king, we would

“No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.”

Family Members


Pioneer and Friend to Oregon, Founder of this Town.




  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Sep 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6413
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dr John McLoughlin (19 Oct 1784–3 Sep 1857), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6413, citing McLoughlin House Gravesite, Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .