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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/228

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A HERO OF OLD ASTORIA[1]

"McDonald of Oregon," is the hero of Old Astoria, the first native born Oregon traveler and explorer. It is a scant score of years since Ranald McDonald died, yet the archives of ancient chivalry are filled with crusaders such as he. The story of the American Northwest and the story of modern Japan can never be told without telling the life-story of McDonald of Oregon. Twenty years ago William Eliot Griffis, the famous writer on Japan, said: "It was McDonald who began educational activity in Japan the story of which will some day be fully written." Hildreth, the American historian, Nitobe of Japan, and others, accord to him the highest honor; but none knew where to find McDonald, none knew he belonged to Oregon. When recently "McDonald of Oregon" fell into the hands of Dr. Griffis, he wrote forthwith to my publishers and to me, "I had hoped to tell that wonderful story, I searched America for his record, but never dreamed of looking to Oregon." But Oregon is making a mark on the literary map of the nation, her heroes, past, present and to be, will loom larger in the limelight of the future.

It is now some twenty years since the story of John McLoughlin engaged my pen. "Oh, you must see Ranald McDonald," cried the old traders and voyageurs. "McDonald knows more of the old time than anybody."

"But where shall I find this McDonald?" "Oh, over at old Fort Colville," and at Colville I found him, the strangest, most romantic and picturesque character of Northwest annals, not even excepting Dr. McLoughlin. But when I spoke of McLoughlin as "King of the Columbia," with lifted head and hand McDonald protested "Nay, nay, I am the King of the Columbia." And when his story was told I was, indeed, compelled to admit that claim to kingship.

As early as 1823 Archibald McDonald came over the Can-

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  1. Address by Eva Emery Dye, author of "McLoughlin and Old Oregon," "McDonald of Oregon," and "The Conquest," at Historical Institute, Astoria, Sept. 7, 1911.