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Joseph Lane: Wikis


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Joseph Lane

1st Governor of Oregon Territory
In office
1848 – 1850
Preceded by position created
Succeeded by Kintzing Prichette

4th Governor of Oregon Territory
In office
1853 – 1853
Preceded by John P. Gaines
Succeeded by George Law Curry

In office
1851 – 1859
Preceded by Samuel Thurston
Succeeded by position dissolved

In office
1859 – 1861
Preceded by position created
Succeeded by James W. Nesmith

Born December 14, 1801(1801-12-14)
Buncombe County, North Carolina
Died April 19, 1881 (aged 79)
Roseburg, Oregon
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Polly Hart
Occupation general, politician

Joseph Lane (December 14, 1801 – April 19, 1881) was an American general during the Mexican-American War and a United States Senator from Oregon.


Early life

Lane was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina on December 14, 1801. He moved to Kentucky at a young age, and then moved to Indiana, where he was engaged in farming for a while. Lane and his wife, Polly Hart Lane, had ten children.[1] While in Indiana, he served in the State House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate from 1822 to 1846.

Military career

At the outbreak of hostilities with Mexico, Lane was appointed colonel of the 2nd Indiana Volunteer Regiment and served along the border. The same year he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and commanded the Indiana Brigade at the Battle of Buena Vista. After the battle he was appointed major general of volunteers and led the relief force which lifted the Siege of Puebla defeating Antonio López de Santa Anna at the Battle of Huamantla along the way.

Oregon territory and statehood

He was appointed by President James Polk to be governor of Oregon Territory in 1848. Lane arrived in Oregon in March 1849, following a hazardous winter trip on the Oregon Trail. One of his first duties was to obtain the surrender of five Cayuse accused in the Whitman Massacre. The accused were brought back to Oregon City for trial, where they were convicted and hanged.[2]

In 1851, Lane became delegate to Oregon Territory in the U.S. Congress, and was subsequently elected as one of Oregon's first two United States Senators when Oregon became a state in 1859. In 1853, Lane agreed to become acting Territorial Governor for three days (May 16-19) to help remove unpopular John P. Gaines from office. Lane then returned to his post as Congressional delegate.[3]

Vice-presidential nomination and political decline

Lane was nominated for Vice President by the pro-slavery southern wing of the Democratic Party in 1860 alongside Presidential candidate John C. Breckinridge, the most ardently pro-slavery candidate in the election; thus the Breckinridge-Lane ticket was the only one to appear on the ballot in some Southern states.

With his defeat as Vice President and the beginning of the Civil War, Lane's pro-slavery and pro-secessionist sympathies effectively ended his political career.[2] However, Lane made headlines in his final day of proceedings as a U.S. Senator with an exchange of speeches between himself and Tennessee Senator and future president Andrew Johnson. In February 1861, Johnson made an ardent stand in favor of the Union and warned against the Southern states attempting to force his home state into secession; when a referendum on secession in Tennessee failed shortly thereafter, generally credited to Johnson's speech, Lane took the Senate floor on March 2 to accuse the southern Senator of having "sold his birthright." Johnson's response was to suggest that Lane was a hypocrite for accusing Johnson of betraying his heritage when Lane so staunchly supported a movement of active treason against the United States.[4]

Retirement and legacy

Lane retired at the expiration of his Senate term in 1861 to Roseburg, Oregon where he died in 1881. He is interred in the Masonic Cemetery.

He had been baptized Catholic in 1867.[5] His home there is now a museum maintained by the Douglas County Historical Society.[6] Known as the Creed Floed House, the Floed-Lane House, or simply the Joseph Lane House, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.[7]

Lane County, Oregon is named for him. A son, Lafayette Lane, served in Congress from 1875 to 1877, and another son John fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy.[5] Joseph's grandson, Harry Lane, was a mayor of Portland, Oregon and then U.S. Senator from 1913 until his death in 1917.[5]

Joseph Lane Middle School in Roseburg is named for him, as is Joseph Lane Middle School in Portland.


  1. ^ Corning, Howard M (1956). Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 142.  
  2. ^ a b "Notable Oregonians: Joseph Lane - Governor". Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  3. ^ "Joseph Lane". Oregon State Library. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  4. ^ Means, Howard. The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation. Harcourt, 2006, pp. 69-71,
  5. ^ a b c Lansing, Ronald B. 2005. Nimrod: Courts, Claims, and Killing on the Oregon Frontier. Pullman: Washington State University Press. p. 266.
  6. ^ Floed Lane House
  7. ^ "Oregon National Register List". Retrieved 2007-08-31.  

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
George Abernethy(1)
Territorial Governor of Oregon
1848 – 1850
Succeeded by
Kintzing Prichette
Preceded by
John P. Gaines
Territorial Governor of Oregon (acting)
May 16, 1853 – May 19, 1853
Succeeded by
George Law Curry
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel Thurston
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon Territory

March 4, 1851 – March 4, 1859
Succeeded by
Position dissolved
(Oregon statehood)
United States Senate
Preceded by
Position created
(Oregon statehood)
United States Senator (Class 3) from Oregon
Served alongside: Delazon Smith, Edward D. Baker
Succeeded by
James W. Nesmith
Party political offices
Preceded by
John C. Breckinridge
Democratic Party vice presidential candidate(2)
1860 (lost)
Succeeded by
George Hunt Pendleton
Notes and references
1. George Abernethy served as head of the Oregon Country's provisional government before official territorial status was granted by Congress in 1848.
2. The Democratic party split in 1860, producing two vice presidential candidates. Lane was nominated by Southern Democrats; Herschel Vespasian Johnson was nominated by Northern Democrats.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Joseph Lane (December 14, 1801April 19, 1881) was an American general during the Mexican-American War and a United States Senator from Oregon.


  • Having now finished the observations on this, probably, the last occasion I shall have of communicating with you, all me to express the hope, that whatever errors I may have committed, will be attributed to no want of zeal in the discharge of my official duties, and that they may find a correction in the intelligence and patriotism, of the gentleman who will succeed me. And in my retirement, whatever may be my lot, I shall not cease to invoke that Beneficent Being, to whose providence we are so signally indebted for the general prosperity of the Territory; for the continuance of his blessings upon Oregon—upon you—and upon your constituents, from whom I have received uniform kindness and support in the discharge of my duties.

External links


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