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America's History in the Making

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Excerpted from The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California

The portion of this section, which is found south of the Columbia river, contains much the most extensive and productive plains and valleys of all Oregon, which are in all respects, by far, the most valuable portions of that country. The most extensive valley here found, is the Wallammette valley, which lies upon the Wallammette river, and is about one hundred and fifty miles in length, and thirty or forty in width, on each side of the river. It is a very beautiful and productive valley, and as it is well timbered, well watered, and as it yields a superabundance of all the grasses, and the various other kinds of vegetation, it is admirably suited to agricultural, and grazing purposes. In the vicinity, and northwest from this valley, are the Fualitine plains, which are about fifty miles in length, and fifteen in width. These are equal in beauty and productiveness, if not superior to the Wallammette valley. They produce the various kinds of vegetation, with much profusion, and they are very well timbered, and well watered; hence their adaptation to the purposes of grazing and farming, are readily seen.

Lansford Hastings, The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California. 1st ed. (Cincinnati: George Conclin, 1845). E-book available from www.forbesbookclub.com/bookpage.asp?prod_cd=ICVLC (2001).

Creator Lansford Hastings
Context Thousands of people East of the Mississippi River considered moving west in the 1840s, but they often did not know what to expect.
Audience Prospective emigrants
Purpose To persuade readers to come West and to prepare them for what they would find

Historical Significance

Lansford Hastings came to Oregon in 1842 and soon moved to California. He was one of the leading advocates of U.S. settlement of these areas, and his influential guide was published in 1845.

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