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William H. Packwood papers

 Collection — Multiple Collection Box: [CA 1915 Jan 24] 1
Identifier: CA 1915 Jan 24

Scope and Contents

The collection (1915) contains a letter to Fred Lockley regarding Packwood's boyhood, along with a typed memoir of the Packwood family's overland journey to Oregon in 1849.


  • 1915 January 24


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

"William Henderson Packwood (1932-1917) holds a unique place in Oregon history as the youngest participant of Oregon's Constitutional Convention of 1857. This mostly self-educated pioneer became one of Oregon's most versatile entrepreneurs. His occupations included soldier, Indian fighter, miner, cattle rancher, merchant, ditch and road builder, ferry owner, and public servant. He was a founding father of two Baker County mining boom towns—Auburn and Sparta. He is also the great-grandfather of Oregon Senator Robert Packwood."

"Packwood was born October 23, 1832, near Mount Vernon, Illinois. The family settled in Sparta for a while and then, when he was fourteen, moved to Springfield, where Packwood clerked in a store, often meeting Abraham Lincoln on his way to work."

He first came to Oregon in the 1950s. "In 1857, Curry County sent the twenty-four-year-old Packwood as its delegate to Oregon's Constitutional Convention to draft a constitution in preparation for statehood. In later years, Packwood took pride in his work on the state seal committee, which adopted his suggestion of a sea view and an elk."

"The gold rush of 1862 lured Packwood to Eastern Oregon. Arriving at Blue Canyon, he helped lay out the town of Auburn, which that summer swelled to several thousand miners—customers for Packwood's hastily built mercantile store. In September 1862, before there was a state-sanctioned court, Packwood was elected as one of three judges who condemned a murderer to hang."

"Auburn briefly served as the county seat for newly-created Baker County. Packwood was appointed Baker County's first school superintendent; he then married the county's first teacher, Johanna O'Brien, and appointed a successor for her position. Their long marriage produced five children."

[Source: Oregon Encyclopedia online,]


0.025 linear feet (1 container) : 1 folder

Language of Materials



William Henderson Packwood (1932-1917) was an Oregon pioneer, who in 1857, was the youngest delegate sent to Oregon's Constitutional Convention. The collection (1915) contains a letter to Fred Lockley regarding Packwood's boyhood, along with a typed memoir of the Packwood family's overland journey to Oregon in 1849.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff, and Tanya Parlet, 2013.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the William H. Packwood Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA