When a Maine stonecutter named Calvin Tibbets ventured to Oregon in 1832, it was looking more British than American. Hudson's Bay Company, the Crown's proxy, had virtual control of the region and its employees had begun retiring to farms along the Willamette River.
Americans in Oregon before Tibbets had been explorers, fur trappers, scientists, and merchant sailors. His objective was different: to settle permanently and make it part of the United States. So he got along with French Canadian and Indian neighbors and set the stage for fellow American settlers as they arrived. First missionaries, then retiring mountain men, and finally, wagon train pioneers arrived in such great numbers that British interests were overwhelmed.
Tibbets died of cholera in 1849, living just long enough see his goal achieved and his Clatsop Indian wife, Louisa, died soon after. Orphaned daughter Grace was sent to a Catholic school in Oregon City, married a black pioneer, Richard Sorter, and moved to Kalama, WA. Grace and Richard would not have been welcome at Oregon Pioneer Association meetings, so the name of Calvin Tibbets faded into the shadows of Oregon history. My goals in writing Calvin Tibbets: Oregon's First Pioneer were to shine a bright light on Tibbets by making the case for his being considered Oregon's First Pioneer and to share this innocuous but ubiquitous fellow's many adventures with fans of early Oregon history.
The posts that follow expand on some of those adventures or veer onto side trips taken in preparation for public presentations. Snippets of book coverage of any topic of interest can be viewed for free using the Look Inside feature of its eBook version, which sells for just $5.49. The paperback edition can be purchased for $9.95 at bookstores listed on the Availability page or by clicking on the cover image in the right column.