Lane, Joseph, 1801-1881

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1801-12-14
Death 1881-04-19
English

Biographical notes:

Joseph Lane was born in North Carolina December 14, 1801, and moved to Kentucky when he was three years old. At age fourteen Lane moved away from his family to Indiana. At the age of twenty-one Lane married Mary Hart Polly. The couple had eight children. From 1822 to 1846, Lane served in the Indiana State Legislature. After serving in the war against Mexico, where he became a major-general in 1847, he accepted the position as Territorial Governor of Oregon. Lane was sworn in as Governor on March 3, 1849. Purchasing land along the Willamette River, near Oregon City, Lane built a home. In the 1850s, Lane operated an unsuccessful lumber mill and worked in the mines in Northern California. Lane became a delegate to Congress in 1851 as a Democrat, and became Oregon's first Senator, serving from 1859 to 1861. There were two initial pieces of legislation that Lane proposed while he was in Congress. He wanted to move Oregon's capital from Oregon City to Salem, which failed. Lane also proposed roads leading from Walla Walla, Washington to the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon. While Lane served in Congress, a majority of his efforts were spent on the issue of slavery. Lane believed that the states, not federal government, should dictate slavery decisions in each state. Lane was re-elected to Congress in 1857 and continued to focus on state's rights. Lane also focused on Native American issues in Oregon. In 1857, Lane and other Oregon leaders pushed Native American tribes in the Umpqua Valley back onto reservations. Lane unsuccessfully tried to enact Congressional legislation that would use federal funds to enforce containing Native Americans to reservations. While the legislation did not pass, Lane continued to push for measures that would benefit the people represented by Oregon's pioneer government. Lane's role in Congress ended in March 1861, as his pro-slavery beliefs did not resonate with the public. While he did not contribute to Oregon politics after 1861, he did run for and lost his bid for a state senate seat in 1880, at the age of 79. In 1870, Lane's wife died, and Lane continued to live with much of his extended family near Roseburg, Oregon. He died on April 19, 1881. Lane County, Oregon is named for Joseph Lane.

From the description of Joseph Lane papers, 1872-1887. (University of Oregon Libraries). WorldCat record id: 53196871

Joseph Lane was born in North Carolina in 1801. He distinguished himself while serving in the Mexican War and was later appointed by President James Polk to be the first governor of the Oregon Territory (1849-1850). After serving as governor, he was elected delegate to the U.S. Congress for Oregon, a post he held for four terms before being appointed one of Oregon's first U.S. Senators. In 1860, Lane ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate with John Breckenridge. He left Congress shortly after the election and spent his last twenty years outside public office.

From the description of Joseph Lane papers, 1848-1875 (bulk 1850-1858). (Oregon Historical Society Research Library). WorldCat record id: 34303162

Joseph Lane, first Territorial Governor of Oregon, Territorial delegate to Congress, and U.S.

Senator, was born in North Carolina in 1801. His family moved to Kentucky when he was a

young man, and Lane later went on to Indiana, where he married Mary (Polly) Hart in 1820 and became active in politics. Distinguishing himself in the Mexican War, he was eventually appointed by President James K. Polk to be the first governor of the Oregon Territory, arriving in Oregon City on March 2, 1849. Known for his good relations with the Cayuse and Rogue River Indians, Lane was recognized as the principal architect of the peace treaty with the Rogue River Indian tribal chiefs, which was signed at Table Rock in September 1853.

On June 18, 1850, Lane resigned his governorship and was soon elected Oregon

delegate to Congress, a position he held until 1859. While in Congress he advocated policies of economic growth, peace with the Indians, postal reform, and internal improvements for Oregon, as well as amendments to the Oregon donation land law. When Oregon was admitted to the Union on February 14, 1859, Joseph Lane and Delazon Smith became the first of the state's U.S. Senators. Lane remained in the Senate until his retirement on March 3, 1861.

After attempting to secure the Democratic presidential nomination in 1852, and again in 1856, Lane was selected as the vice-presidential candidate in 1860 on the John Breckinridge Democratic ticket, which did not oppose Confederate secession. After the ticket's defeat, Lane lost his political support in Oregon and announced his retirement from public life. He spent his last twenty years on his farm near Roseburg, Oregon.

From the guide to the Joseph Lane papers, 1848-1940, 1850-1858, (Oregon Historical Society)

Joseph Lane was born in North Carolina on December 14, 1801, and he and his family moved to Kentucky when he was three years old. Lane moved away from his family to Indiana at age fourteen to work as a clerk in a store. After acquiring a farm and his own business at the age of twenty-one, Lane married Mary Hart Polly. The couple had eight children.

In his early twenties, Lane served on the Indiana state legislature from 1822 to 1846. After serving in the war against Mexico, where he became a major-general in 1847, he accepted the position as governor of Oregon. He moved with his oldest son, leaving the rest of his family behind. Lane was sworn in as governor on March 3, 1849. Purchasing land along the Willamette River, near Oregon City, Lane built a home. In the 1850s, Lane operated an unsuccessful lumber mill and worked in the mines in Northern California.

Lane became a delegate to Congress in 1851 as a Democrat, after beating opponent William H. Wilson. He became Oregon’s first Senator, serving from 1859 to 1861. There were two initial pieces of legislation that Lane proposed while he was in Congress. He wanted to move Oregon’s capital from Oregon City to Salem, which failed. Lane also proposed roads leading from Walla Walla, Washington to the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon. The proposal was passed and the roads were built over a series of years.

While Lane served in Congress, a majority of his efforts were spent on the issue of slavery. Lane believed that the states, not federal government legislation, should dictate slavery decisions in each state. The slave debate grew in Oregon during the 1850s as it grew as a national issue. Although Lane did not fight as a solider in the Civil War, he used his efforts to support slave states by proposing a variety of legislation in Congress.

Lane was reelected to Congress in 1857 and continued to focus on state’s rights. Lane also focused on the Native American issues that Oregon faced. In 1857, Lane and other leaders in Oregon pushed Native America tribes in the Umpqua Valley back onto reservations. Lane unsuccessfully tried to enact Congressional legislation that would use federal funds to enforce containing Native Americans to reservations. While this piece of legislation did not pass, Lane continued to push for measures that would benefit the people represented by Oregon’s pioneer government.

Lane’s role in Congress ended in March, 1861, as his pro-slavery beliefs did not resonate with the public. While he did not contribute to Oregon politics after 1861, he did run for and lose his bid for a state senate seat in 1880, at the age of 79. In 1870, Lane’s wife died and Lane continued to live with much of his extended family just outside of Roseburg, Oregon. He died on April 19, 1881. Lane County, Oregon is named for Joseph Lane.

Joseph Lane had one son, Lafayette Lane, who served in Congress from 1875 to 1877 and a grandson, Dr. Harry Lane, that served in Congress from 1913 to 1917.

Sources: Henderickson, James E. Joe Lane of Oregon: Machine Politics and the Sectional Crisis, 1849-1861 . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.

Oregon. Office of the Secretary of State. Oregon Blue Book . Salem, Oregon. 2001-2002.

From the guide to the Joseph Lane papers, 1848-1887, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Governors--Oregon
  • Governor
  • Indians of North America--Relocation
  • Gold mines and mining
  • Whitman Massacre, 1847
  • Tututni Indians--Wars
  • Rogue River War, 1853
  • Pacific Coast Indians, Wars with, 1847-1865
  • Indians of North America--Wars
  • Pacific Northwest History
  • African Americans
  • Military
  • Native Americans
  • Pioneers
  • Governor--Correspondence
  • Indians of North America--Warfare
  • Oregon
  • Diaries
  • Indians of North America
  • Slavery--Justification
  • Indians of North America--Oregon--Wars
  • Legislators--United States--Correspondence
  • Vice--Presidential candidates--United States--Correspondence
  • Indians of North America--Oregon--Government relations
  • Government and Politics
  • Governors--Oregon--Correspondence
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848
  • Indians of North America--Relocation--Oregon
  • Legislators--Correspondence
  • Indians of North America--Government relations
  • Indians--Warfare
  • Vice--Presidential candidates--Correspondence

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Oregon Territory (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Oregon Territory (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)