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Asa Lawrence Lovejoy

Asa Lawrence Lovejoy was born in Groton, Mass., March 14, 1808 At an early age his parents removed to Townson, in the same state, where he remained until he was some 16 years of age. About this time he went to Boston, entering a mercantile house. After following such pursuit for a short time he entered Cambridge college, and then Amherst, where he completed his education. He then studied law, and upon his admission to the bar removed to Sparta, Missouri, where he began the practice of his profession. He became imbued with the idea that there were better opportunities for a young man in the far West, and in the spring of 1842 joined Dr. Elijah White and party, and started for Oregon. He and L. W. Hastings thought it would be the proper thing to carve their names on Independence rock, when that point in the journey was reached, and while carrying out the idea were captured by the Sioux Indians. After a brief captivity they were ransomed for a few trinkets and some tobacco. On arriving at Waillatpu, he was induced by Dr. Whitman to accompany him back East, but before the trip was ended he was compelled to stop at Brent's fort on account of his inability to secure a fresh horse, the one he had having given out. He remained there until the spring of 1843, when he undertook to carry dispatches to Father De Smet, who was in the Yellowstone country.

When returning he was intercepted by some Snake Indians and Blackfoot Indians, who held him prisoner for nine days, when he succeeded in making his escape and way to Fort Boise, where he joined an emigrant train bound for Oregon, and arrived at Oregon City in November, 1843. Here he opened a law office, and from the first had a lucrative practice. He was twice a candidate for the office of provisional governor, but through combinations was defeated both times. From the time of his arrival until 1860 he held many important offices, discharging the duties of each with ability, honesty and to the satisfaction of all. His name and acts are indelibly stamped upon the history of Oregon, and none among the pioneers is more entitled to praise than he for faithful and efficient services rendered in molding the policy and progressive acts which built up the state.

He died in Portland, leaving a widow, two sons and two daughters. His wife was Miss Elizabeth McGary, a young lady of many personal attractions, refined manners and accomplishments, who in declining years is looked upon as one of the Oregon mothers whom all should bow to with the greatest respect and reverence. During Mr. Lovejoy's life and since his death the Lovejoy home has been one where the latchstring ever hung on the outside.

Source: Oregon Native Son and Historical Magazine, June 1899

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