WVGS Executive Board Meeting: 
Thursday, October 10th, 2019 - 11:30 am to 1:00 pm 

Broadway Commons - An Upstairs Room 
1300 Broadway Street NE 
Salem, Oregon 

General Meeting: The Public is welcome!
Saturday, October 12th, 2019
 
The Anderson Room (downstairs) at the Salem Public Library
585 Liberty St SE 
Salem, Oregon

10:30 am – 11:45 am   The General Membership Meeting.
A short meeting will be held to conduct society business.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
  
      Program: “The Aurora Colony”
      Speaker:  Patrick Harris

The Forty Eighters: The 1846 treaty between the British and the United States assured that the British would be moving out of Fort Vancouver making the Oregon Country available to unchallenged American settlement. The following year of 1847 was marked by major American emigration across the Oregon Trail including the transportation of fruit seeds and starts which were soon planted in the French Prairie region of the Willamette Valley. In the summer of 1848, a ship came into the Portland harbor announcing gold had been discovered in California. At least 30 of the emigrants from 1847 went overland to the gold fields and did well in their mining. I refer to them as the “Forty Eighters” because they arrived in California ahead of the Forty Niners’

In 1853 William Keil sent ten scouts from Missouri who arrived at the then American controlled Fort Vancouver. Oregon had been declared an American Territory in 1848 but it was not until 1853 for Washington. Thus, the scouts were sent north and selected the Willapa Bay region. Keil arrived with his first migration in 1855 but he did not like the weather or the isolation on the coastline and regrouped his people in Portland where he met some of the first 1847 emigrants who were by then brining their apples and pears to the California market which they first were exposed to in 1848.

Keil purchased a saw and a flour mill from these settlers in 1856 in the prairie region and he named the site Aurora Mills after his daughter. From that year until the settlement of colony business in 1883 the Aurora community managed a Christian cooperative society at Aurora based on communal living, or the actual sharing of labor and property. The Colonists were especially known in the Willamette Valley for their brass band which often travelled to community events such as the state fair and for the German food which was served to stage and after 1870 railroad passengers. Several previous writers have emphasized that Keil desired isolation for his community, but the actual records tell a completely different story of a community intimately involved in the political and social life of the Willamette Valley. 
 
Patrick Harris has a master’s degree in History from Portland State University (1981). He served as the Executive Director of the Aurora Colony Historical Society from 1983 to 1996 and then as ED at the Clackamas County Historical Society to March of 2006. He returned to Aurora as the Curator of Collections that year and continues there to this day. 
 
  This will be our last meeting at the Salem Public Library until the earthquake renovations are complete. Once we’ve had the opportunity to meet at the VFW hall, the pros and cons of it and the LDS church will be discussed and the membership will decide where to meet for the duration of the library shutdown. 

               Our programs are always open to the public.
Autosomal DNA Q&A with Denise Sproed
By Appointment - 5:00 pm to Library Closing, Tue-Fri
Salem Public Library
The WVGS Desk (Main Level, Southwest)
585 Liberty St. SE
Salem, Oregon

Go to the 'Research' page to submit an appointment request.
Upcoming General Meeting Programs:
November - Inside the VFW (at the VFW HALL on Hood St)
December - Annual Christmas party and Auction (also at the VFW)

Do you have suggestions for a program? Let Doug Crosby know!