At 7 p.m. on June 13 author and retired journalist Gregory R. Nokes will present 'The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett'

See the first installment of the new lecture series, "Murdock Talks," this Wednesday at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City.

Burnett circa 1860At 7 p.m. on June 13 author and retired journalist Gregory R. Nokes will present "The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett: Oregon Pioneer and First Governor of California," a lecture based on Nokes' first, full-length biography of the same name about Burnett. Nokes describes how the former slaveholder could never seem to get beyond his single-minded goal of banning blacks and other minorities from the West.

Burnett helped organize the first major wagon train to the Oregon Country, served on Oregon's first elected government and was appointed Oregon's first Supreme Court judge. He opened a wagon road from Oregon to California. He worked with the young John Sutter to develop the new city of Sacramento. Within a year of arriving in California, voters overwhelmingly elected him as the state's first U.S. governor. He also won appointment to the California Supreme Court.

"It was one heck of a resume," Burnett said. "Yet with the exception of the wagon road to California, in none of these roles was Burnett considered successful or well remembered. Indeed, he resigned from many of his most important positions, including the governorship, where he was widely perceived a failure."

Other scheduled 7 p.m. Murdock Talks include "In Defense of Wyam: Native-White Alliances & The Struggle for Celilo Village" on July 18, "The Dying Traditions and New Life of Oregon's Funeral Industry" Aug. 15, "Willamette Valley Wineries" Sept. 19, "Willamette Falls Papermaking" Oct. 17 and "Willamette Locks" on Nov. 14. The museum is located at 221 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City.

This month Clackamas County Historical Society members are also presenting 6:30 p.m. Pints from the Past events. "The Heppner Flood" with Peg Willis is Monday, June 18, at the Antonia Ballroom in Canby. "Industrial History of Oregon City" is June 26 at the Midway Pub in Oregon City.

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