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MailTribune.com
  • Everyone has a mother, even Oregon

  • I know that the honorary father of Oregon is Dr. John McLoughlin, the pioneer who came to our fair state, well, before it was a state, with the Hudson's Bay Company. But who is the mother of our state? Surely, we Oregonians have a mother somewhere in our history.
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  • I know that the honorary father of Oregon is Dr. John McLoughlin, the pioneer who came to our fair state, well, before it was a state, with the Hudson's Bay Company. But who is the mother of our state? Surely, we Oregonians have a mother somewhere in our history.
    — Amy D., Murphy
    You are correct about John McLoughlin having been named the father of Oregon, Amy.
    Back in 1957, the Oregon Legislature bestowed that honor on the fellow who arrived here in 1824, well before Oregon became a state in 1859.
    Nearly three decades later, the Legislature — in 1987 — named pioneer Tabitha Moffat Brown as the state's other honorary parent.
    Lawmakers proclaimed that she "represents the distinctive pioneer heritage, and the charitable and compassionate nature, of Oregon's people."
    In 1846, the native of Massachusetts was widowed and 66 years old but determined to move to the Oregon Territory. After a harrowing journey, she arrived in Salem on Christmas Day of that year.
    Legend has it that she found a coin, used it to buy needles and began sewing buckskin gloves to survive. But she was also caring for the sick and for children.
    With the help of local ministers, she founded the Oregon Orphans' Asylum and School at Tualatin Plains in 1848. The territorial government chartered the asylum as the Tualatin Academy the following year. The academy eventually became Pacific University.
    Tabitha Moffat Brown died May 4, 1858. She is buried in Salem's Pioneer Cemetery under the inscription: "Mother Symbol of Oregon, Co-Founder of Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon."
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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