April in Oregon History

Highbush blueberry, flower detail


(Click here for December) (Click here for January) (Click here for February) (Click here for March)



Joseph Gale, a western explorer, trapper, settler, politician, and entrepreneur, and a member of the Oregon Provisional Government Executive Committee, is born in Washington, D.C.



Botanist David Douglas arrives in Fort Vancouver aboard Hudson’s Bay vessel, the William and Ann.



John William French, later known as Pete French, is born in Callaway County, Missouri. A stockman of near-legendary status, he ran great herds of cattle and horses in southeastern Oregon at the end of the nineteenth century.


Robin Holmes, a former slave, files suit against his white former owner, Nathaniel Ford, in the only slavery case adjudicated in an Oregon court.    

Edwin Markham—known as the Dean of American Poetry, the Laureate of Labor, and the Poet Highwayman—is born in Oregon City.


One of Josephine County's oldest and most distinguished citizens, Abraham Lincoln Savage, is born near Grants Pass, the sixth of thirteen children. He spent his entire life in southwest Oregon as a teacher, school superintendent, county treasurer, and amateur botanist in one of the most diverse botanical areas of North America.


Leonard “Len” White, a pioneering riverboat captain on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, dies in Portland. is entire life in southwest Oregon as a teacher, school superintendent, county treasurer, and amateur botanist in one of the most diverse botanical areas of North America.


astoria fishing








On April 17, 1880, the Daily Astorian printed a notice from the Columbia River Fishermen’s Protective Union: "We…hereby pledge ourselves not to fish for less than sixty (60) cents per fish, and if any one of the members of this union be discharged on account of this resolution, we all agree to leave in a body. We also request every fisherman on this river to follow our example." The notice was signed by more than 400 fishermen.




Mary Gysin Leonard is the first woman admitted to the bar in Oregon.


Jesse Applegate, an influential early Oregon settler who is most remembered for his leadership role in establishing the Applegate Trail, dies in Yoncalla.


The city of Mt. Angel is incorporated, with the new post office of St. Benedict located at the Mt. Angel Abbey.


Sixty members of Coxey’s Army arrive in Portland on freight cars, from San Francisco—having picked up recruits in Ashland, Roseburg, Cottage Grove, and Salem.


Glenn Jackson, one of Oregon’s most influential figures in the twentieth century, is born in Albany. He is best known for his twenty years as a member of the Oregon State Highway Commission and its successor, the Oregon Transportation Commission.



Portland Mayor Harry Lane administers the police oath to forty-eighty-year-old Lola Greene Baldwin, the first woman hired under civil service rules in the United States as a full-time paid law enforcement officer.



President Theodore Roosevelt lays the cornerstone for the new clubhouse for the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club on Salmon Street in Portland. 


Willie Mae Young, who helped operate Portland's first black-owned cab company and was the first African American nurse to work at Portland's Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, was born on April 4, 1916, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. 



Four years after the armistice ended World War I, an emotional crowd packs The Dalles Civic Auditorium and Veterans Memorial to dedicate the new three-story building.


Fourteen-year-old Virginia Katherine McMath, better known as Ginger Rogers, dances onto the stage of the Craterian Theater in Medford.    


Eliot Thomas Lamb Eliot, one of the most influential clergymen in the history of Oregon. dies in Portland


Officials post Civil Exclusion Orders No. 25 and No. 26 on telephone poles and store windows throughout Multnomah County, ordering Nikkei to report for evacuation to detention camps.  


Elnora E. Thomson, the founder of the public-health nursing program at the University of Oregon’s Portland School of Social Work, dies in San Francisco at the age of 83.


Art Alexakis, the lead singer and main songwriter for Everclear, an alternative rock band he founded in Portland is born in Los Angeles.


The Portland Zoological Gardens (now called the Oregon Zoo) makes history when a 225-pound Asian elephant is born to parents Thonglaw and Belle.




The Portland Gay Men's Chorus is founded to perform a concert as part of that year's local Gay Pride Festival.


Dorothy Lawson McCall, the mother of Governor Tom McCall, dies at age ninety-three



Pioneer Courthouse Square, whose mission is to “welcome all to our community gathering place,” is dedicated.


The Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (the Northwest Tree-Planters and Farmworkers United) is founded. It is now one of the largest organizations representing Latinas and Latinos in Oregon.

The boundaries for Pla-ik-ni Village are finalized, five years after President Jimmy Carter signed the Chiloquin Act, which gave Edison Chiloquin and his descendants title to the 580 acres of land that he had refused to give up as part of the Klamath Termination Act.