Monday, September 02, 2013

Oregon's territorial delegate didn't purjer himself in front of the Supreme Court and Washington's first Republican territorial governor wasn't a Lincoln pall bearer

First on Samuel Thurston, which I wrote about here, but I'll do it again.

Its pretty interesting, I took at look into this claim, that Samuel Thurston (the first territorial delegate from Oregon to Congress) lied in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to take revenge on English settlers that predated American claims. I read as much as I could, including Thurston's own diary, and couldn't come up with a single time he even went in front of the Supreme Court.

An old version of a Historylink article on Thurston repeated the claim:
Section 11 of the Land Claim Act was a vendetta against former Hudson’s Bay agent Dr. John McLoughlin, and sought to deny him a land claim in Oregon City.  Methodists wished to build a mission and settlements on the same property and by the time Thurston arrived in Oregon, the dispute was intense. Siding with the Methodists, Thurston falsely testified to the United States Supreme Court, discrediting McLoughlin on the basis of citizenship.

So, I emailed the author two years ago to see if she could point me towards a reference. It doesn't look like she came up with anything, because the current article has no reference at all to a Supreme Court incident.

So, onto William Wallace (featured recently in the Suburban Times), the Lincoln era territorial governor and delegate of Washington. He's a very interesting man, he defended Leschi and was also instrumental in Idaho being invented.

But, was he a Lincoln pall bearer? Maybe? Not at least in the sense of what you'd think of a pall bearer (here and here). It is possible that he at one point helped carry the Lincoln coffin as it was transported from Washington D.C. to Illinois. But, when you look at the list of pall bearers, the most prominent men who were recognized in the era for their duty, there's no Wallace.

It is just a bit funny that one of Lincoln's sons was named for a William Wallace, whose wife was named Frances, one of Mary Todd's sisters. But, our Williams Wallace's wife's name was Lucena.

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