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P.O. Box 35
Philomath, OR 97370
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Benton County Historical Timeline: 1840s

Nov. 5, 1845

On November 5, 1845, Joseph C. Avery, eventual founder of Corvallis, registered his provisional land claim near the confluence of the Willamette and Marys Rivers.

Joseph Conant Avery<BR>1817 - 1876 Pioneer surveyor Joseph C. Avery's surveyor's chains used to measure and lay out the town of Marysville (Corvallis) in 1851. In 2008, Dorothy Jean Johnson Rath, the great-granddaughter of Corvallis founders J. C. and Martha Avery, donated the silver flatware service that belonged to her great-grandmother to the Benton County Historical Society. The flatware was made by the Schulz and Fischer Company of San Francisco in 1868. (A year later, this same company furnished the golden spike to railroad builder Leland Stanford.) Each piece of the service is engraved with Martha Avery's monogram. The Rath donation also includes a cape and veiled cap worn by Florence Avery, daughter of J. C. and Martha Avery, who was born in Illinois in 1844.    


Dr. Harry Conant founds the Monroe Gazette newspaper.



Chloe Donnely Boone teaches in Benton County near Greenberry. She is the first woman school teacher in Benton County. She is Daniel Boone's great-granddaughter.



Applegate Trail is established. For a short time, this was another route into the Willamette Valley.

Photo of Applegate Trail marker, taken circa 1985 at Monroe, Oregon    

Dec. 23, 1847

On December 23, 1847, the Oregon Territory House of Representatives created Benton  County. It is a vast tract of land. The county's boundaries are from the middle of the Willamette River south to the 42nd parallel (today the boundary between Oregon and California), then west to the Pacific Ocean. Its northern boundary is Polk County (approximately where it is today), going West to the Pacific.



Avery measured off a few town lots in the future town of Marysville, which later became Corvallis, Oregon. The city sold lots in Marysville.



David Henderson, a farmer who arrived in the Oregon Territory in 1846, files papers indicating his occupancy, in 1848, of 320 acres - the future townsite of Philomath, Oregon.



The First Methodist Episcopal Church is organized in Corvallis.



Many Benton County residents, primarily males, leave for California in pursuit of gold.

Brass and wood scale used by L.C. Burkhart of Albany, Oregon, in 1849 in Feather River, California, during Gold Rush. J.C. Avery wore this belt next to his body. It is not clear if he wore the belt around his waist, or across his shoulder. Mr. Avery went to the California gold fields after the discovery of gold in 1848. He returned home for the winter, returning to the gold fields in the spring of 1849, where he remained through the summer. When he returned in the fall of 1849, he brought with him a stock of general merchandise that he purchased in San Francisco, shipping it to Portland and then to his land claim on the present site of Corvallis, Oregon, where he opened the first store in the vicinity. The following year, in 1851, he platted the town of Marysville, Oregon Territory (later renamed Corvallis).    


George W. Bethers, an early Benton County settler, writes a momentous letter to the Religious Telescope, the Ohio-based official publication of the United Brethren Church. Bethers requests that the Church send a minister to the Marys River Settlement, an area of pioneer farms that included the future townsite of Philomath, Oregon.

George W. and Kezia Newton Bethers    

March 3, 1849

On March 3, 1849, the Oregon Territory is organized.

The J. C. Avery Building, which was used as the Territorial Capitol Building for a brief time in 1855. This view is at the final location on SW Adams Street, just west of Second Street. The building was shifted from its original location facing Second Street at Adams Street, to this location, slightly west, facing Adams Street, about 1882; it was demolished by the end of 1888.    


Return to Timeline Homepage

1840 | 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890

1900 | 1910 | 1920 | 1930 | 1940 | 1950 |1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000



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© 2008 - 2014 Benton County Historical Society & Museum
Philomath, Oregon
The Benton County Historical Society is a nonprofit corporation that operates museum facilities for the preservation of history and culture.  Its mission is to:

  1. Preserve the material and intellectual culture of Benton County, Oregon, by acquiring and caring for significant collections that illustrate and interpret the history of the area and its relationship to the world;
  2. Enrich people's lives through exhibitions and educational programs.