Honeybee pioneers on the Oregon Trail

honeybeeEuropean colonists brought the first honeybees to North America in 1622. It was more than 200 years later that the first honeybees crossed the Rocky Mountains and finally reached Oregon.

Oregon trail map

The Oregon Trail

John Davenport is credited with successfully importing the first hive of honeybees. He brought his bees over the Oregon Trail and arrived in the Willamette Valley in the early 1850s where he turned the bees loose on his farm in Marion County.

Calif. honeybeesWithin a few years other hives were brought from California and were sold for the staggering sum of $125 per hive.

If you have enjoyed this moment in Oregon’s history, you can find more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs– on my website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

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A Moment in Oregon’s History: 1823 – Moses “Black” Harris

Moses "Black" Harris (on the left) in an Alfred Jacob Miller Painting

Moses “Black” Harris (on the left) in an Alfred Jacob Miller Painting

Moses “Black” Harris was a Kentucky-born descendent of slaves who became a respected mountain man. In 1823 he joined William Ashley’s caravan of young trappers and in 1836 served as a guide for the Whitman-Spalding party, and as a guide for the Nathaniel Ford party in 1844.

whitman-spaulding mapHe settled in Oregon and built a cabin on the Luckiamute River in the Willamette Valley. Here he delighted the arriving pioneers with his wild tall tales and story telling abilities. He was in The Dalles in 1845 and formed a rescue party to save a member of the Lost Wagon Train.

He passed away from cholera at Independence, Missouri on May 6, 1849.

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks.

Stay tuned for the publication of my new book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.

A Moment in Oregon’s History: 1945 Japanese Balloon Bomb Incident

Japanese Balloon BombsOn May 5, 1945 the Reverend Archie Mitchell, his wife Elsie and five children from the small town of Bly were on an outing near Gearhart Mountain. Archie was getting the picnic from the car while Elsie and the children walked into the woods. A moment later there was a terrific explosion.

Elsie and the five children, ranging in age from 11 to 14, were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb.

The balloon was filled with hydrogen gas and was one of 9,000 such balloons with bombs attached that Japan unleashed during World War Two. The bombs were intended to start forest fires along the Pacific coast. 

The six who perished near Bly were the only known casualties inflicted by Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland during World War Two. 

If you have enjoyed this moment in Oregon’s history, you can find more tales of the wild west, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, on my website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

A Moment in Oregon’s History: May 1905

Groundbreaking ceremony at the Expo

Groundbreaking ceremony at the Fair

A group of Portland’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens decided to attract attention to their city by having an international fair, with the theme built around the 1905 centennial anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Forestry Building Exterior

Forestry Building Exterior

Funding was acquired from federal and state governments, as well as from local businesses and citizens.The extravaganza featured the largest log structure in the world, over one hundred thousand light bulbs outlining the many temporary buildings, and extensive exhibits on topics ranging from agriculture to technology. The Lewis and Clark Exposition was a huge success with attendance of more than three million visitors.

Rick Steber