Free talks to introduce women of old Oregon City
Local historian Karin Morey, who has been a resident of Clackamas County for 64 years, is giving a free talk at the Oregon City Public Library for anyone who wants to celebrate Women's History Month.
Morey says that Oregon City women of the 19th century were especially active in politics. They were key in saving the McLoughlin House and securing funding for a Carnegie Library. Women only had the right to vote in school elections, but they formed several organizations that served to improve the city.
"Our equal rights club was formed in the 1860s and stayed active all the way through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920," Morey said.
Oregon City's school board often has had at least one woman representative since its inception in the 19th century. The Oregon Supreme Court in the 1890s heard a case brought by someone unsuccessfully trying to challenge women's right to vote in school elections.
"Women did actually have some vote, and we had some women who served on the school board, usually as a secretary," Morey said.
Morey published a book on "Oregon City Floods" through Arcadia Publishing's Images of America collection. Through Amazon's Create Space, revised and republished the "Old Oregon City" book and "Meade Post No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic." As part of her interest in history, she began transcribing City Commission minutes that were handwritten during the 19th century. In the course of those transcriptions, she's learned a lot of Oregon City history that's been buried in the handwriting.
A member of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, Morey also is involved in her Rivercrest Neighborhood Association and the Citizen Involvement Committee. She is a former member of the Library Board and the Friends of the Library Board.
Morey received an associate's degree in general studies from Clackamas Community College in the 1970s, and she took Oregon and world history courses at local universities.
Morey's introduction to the women of old Oregon City will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at 606 John Adams St. Then between noon and 4 p.m. Saturday, March 31, make the trek up to Vancouver, Washington, for special exhibits highlighting women in the history of the founding of Oregon City and Fort Vancouver, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd.
Fort Vancouver's Assistant Curator Meagan Huff will host a "pop-up" exhibit on the history of Marguerite and Eloisa McLoughlin, wife and daughter to Oregon City founder Dr. John McLoughlin. The exhibit will feature artifacts from the national park's museum collection that were once owned by the two women. Huff said being able to see a bracelet that Eloisa kept to remind her of her first husband — or Marguerite McLoughlin's beautiful ivory sewing tools — strengthens our connection to Oregon history.
Also at Fort Vancouver, costumed volunteer interpreters will discuss women's history at the fort. Display items include a dress owned by Maria Barclay, the wife of the fort's physician who also had a house in Oregon City that has been preserved as part of the McLoughlin House unit of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Fort Vancouver Park Guide Julia DeNoto will highlight the roles of women in historic preservation. Congresswoman Julia Butler Hansen advocated for the preservation of Fort Vancouver, and popular author/historian Eva Emery Dye helped found the McLoughlin Memorial Association to save the retirement home of Fort Vancouver's chief factor, now located next to the Barclay House on Center Street in Oregon City.
"If Fort Vancouver or the McLoughlin House mean something special to you, come share and dedicate a part of your day [March 31] to connecting with these women," DeNoto said.