Oregon Native Place Names in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Part 1

In the map collections of Oregon Historical Society there is a selection of Coast Survey maps. Most of these maps date from 1874 and there are some later. They are blueprint copies of the original maps, which are likely in College Park, Maryland in the NARA Cartography collection center. These maps I had found and photographed some five years previously (very badly). Then I “discovered” that a couple of the maps had some Native Place names. It is on maps # 770 b & c where there is documentation of the survey from Siletz to the Tillamook area. The maps give the common river and lake place names and the Native place names. When I first found the maps I was interested in the Salmon River place name, Nechesne. After encountering that name, I researched further and found it to be commonly known in various ethnographic sources. These last few months I have been engaged in more research directly within

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A Trip to Tillamook, By Way of the Salmon River: the First Journey of Warren Vaughn

I encountered this history, partially unpublished I believe, in the Oregon Historical Society Library. The published book of his journal focuses on the second trip down the coast to Tillamook and his settlement in the Tillamook Valley (Vaughn, Warren. Till Broad Daylight: A History of Early Settlement in Oregon’s Tillamook County. Wallowa, Ore.: Bear Creek Press, 2004.). There is also a good Oregon Encyclopedia article about Vaughn, based on his History of Tillamook, which avoids mention of this first mistaken journey to Siletz Bay. Vaughn’s first trip to attempt to get to Tillamook is quite detailed and gives much information about the native culture. This is clearly not the first trip down the Salmon River trail, and the account states as much. There were earlier trips by settlers from Grand Ronde valley, as stated. As well, there is an account from Jessie Applegate, of a journey by his brothers into the Coast Range. That family lived in Salt Creek, just west

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Wagon Roads From Grand Ronde to the Coast

In the 1860’s, the Indians of the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation needed a route to get to the coast to gather fish. The Indian agents developed a fishery at the Salmon River and allowed the tribes to travel the mountain trials to the river to gather fish. The trail was originally small and barely able to pass a wagon in the summertime, and took about 2 hours on a good horse. The soils and weather would not allow easy travel in the winter. This route was well traveled and allow the Salmon river peoples, the Nechesne, to get to the reservation and buy supplies. In the 1880’s, the trail became a road and an  incorporated company was brought in by the Indian Agents to develop and maintain the road better. The road became the Salmon River Wagon Road. When the road company could no longer maintain the road the Indians on the reservation took over the maintenance. There were as

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Devil’s Lake and Salmon River Encampment

Devil’s Lake is in Lincoln City, in fact it is the only such lake and state park completely contained within a city in Oregon. The lake extends along the eastern edge of Lincoln City and is defined by a ring of vacation and residential homes which ring the lake on all sides. The lake is drained by the “D” River, the shortest river in the world (self-defined) which is about 100 yards long and empties onto the main beach at Lincoln City. The Lake is part of a string of such lakes that line the coastline of Oregon, from the California Border to Astoria. These lakes are formed by being at the base of the western side of the Coast range from which rivers, creeks, and streams drain toward the coast. Along the coast there are extensive sand dune deposits which form a barrier at the eastern edges of many beaches, and the accumulated sand creates western barrier for these

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The Significance of Salmon River Encampment in 1875

In 1875, the United States Congress passed an act, March 3, 1875, to reduce the Coast Reservation. This act, terminated the Alsea Reservation, that section on the south, and opened that section to white settlement. The previous act in 1865 (President Andrew Johnson signing the Executive Order of December 21, 1865) had eliminated a section in the north and a section in the center, in part because of the Yaquina Bay oyster rush. This last southern section held the encampments at Alsea and Yachats. The tribes here were the Alsea, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coos Bay peoples. Federal records had many of these peoples on the Umpqua reservation, on the coast just south of the Coast Reservation, for 6 or 7 years until they were all removed to the Alsea Sub-Agency in about 1861. In 1865, when the Coast reservation was divided in half by opening lands for settlement, the Alsea sub-Agency was then called the Alsea Reservation. The 1875

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