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NPS McLoughlin House Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, or more simply,
the McLoughlin House, was the home of Dr. John and Marguerite McLoughlin.
John Mcloughlin’s History
Jean-Baptiste McLoughlin, who become known as simply Dr. John McLoughlin was born October 19, 1784 as a French-Canadian, and was a trained physician. In 1824-1845 he was known for being Chief Factor and Superintendent of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, and later became an American citizen in 1851. He was an imposing figure at 6″4″, and the images I’ve seen of him make him look like a wild man.
McLoughlin assisted the American cause in the Oregon Country, by offering assistance to starving American emigrants arriving at Vancouver after crossing the long and difficult Oregon Trail.
Many Hudson’s Bay field employees took indigenous wives. Marguerite was Metis, born to an aboriginal woman and an original partner of the North West Company, Jean-Étienne Waddens. Most of the traders who took Metis wives left them behind, but McLoughlin brought her home to Oregon City, so perhaps he loved her. Her son Thomas (from an earlier marriage to Alexander McKay) became McLoughlin’s stepson.
The McLoughlin House was home for John and Maguerite McLoughlin in Oregon City. He owned sawmills, a gristmill, a granary, a general store, and a shipping concern. He was responsible for building schools and churches as well. In the 1840s, his general store was famous as the last stop on the Oregon Trail.
He served a Mayor for Oregon City. In his later years he was known as the “Father of Oregon”. He died September 3, 1857, at 73 years old.
Images courtesy of the NPS.
McLoughlin Memorial Association saved McLoughlin’s home from demolition and moved to its present location in 1909. It was added to the National Park System in 2003 as a unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which also includes the neighboring Barclay House.
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