George Riddle Witnesses Change and Turmoil in Early Oregon

Date: 

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

Author: 

Sharon Bywater

Episode: 

3 343

George Riddle was only 11 in 1851 when his family emigrated West in a covered wagon. They settled south of Roseburg, Ore., in an area known as Cow Creek.  During his life, George and his family witnessed the turmoil and change of the growing state.

Riddle served in the Oregon Cavalry during the Civil War.  While riding through Corvallis, he came upon a group he recognized as Cow Creek Indians.  Before the Indian wars, his family had lived peacefully with the neighboring Cow Creek tribe.  He had learned their language and hoped they could remain on their land, but the ones he met in Corvallis were sad and homesick.  He never saw any of his Cow Creek neighbors again.

Riddle served in the Oregon Legislature in 1872 and again in 1897, the year that Oregon failed to send its second U.S. Senator to Washington.  In those days, the State Legislature elected senators, not the public. In an atmosphere of political turmoil, the Legislature had failed to obtain a quorum to vote on the issue.

Riddle wrote a book about his family’s early pioneer experiences titled the “History of Early Days in Oregon.”

Sources: Campbell, Sarah. "Oregon's Felonious Bigamist Senator and the Hold-up Session." State of Oregon Law Library, https://soll.libguides.com/blog/oregon-s-felonious-bigamist-senator-and-... Hamilton, Eva. "The Riddles of Southern Oregon." Medford Mail Tribune, 8 May 1966, p. B1.        

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