William G. T'Vault

William Green[1] T'Vault (1806–1869) was a pioneer of the Oregon Country and the first editor of the first newspaper published west of the Missouri River. T'Vault led a wagon train of 300 that arrived in Oregon in 1845, after traveling on the Meek Cutoff, a branch of the Oregon Trail. He settled in Oregon City, and was appointed Postmaster General by the Provisional Government of Oregon.[2]

William G. T'Vault
1st Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byPosition created upon statehood
Succeeded byBenjamin F. Harding
Personal details
BornMarch 26, 1806
DiedFebruary 4, 1869(1869-02-04) (aged 62)
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Rhoda Burns

T'Vault became president of the Oregon Printing Association, which was an outgrowth of the Oregon Lyceum, and published the first issue of the Oregon Spectator on February 5, 1846. He was fired from the Spectator after 13 issues. T'Vault claimed it was because of differences with other association members, especially George Abernethy, though the association claimed it because of T'Vault's poor spelling.[2]

T'Vault was a pro-slavery Democrat who became a member of the Provisional Legislature of Oregon in 1846. The same year he was part of a group that urged the United States Congress to disallow the land claims of earlier White residents of the region, including that of John McLoughlin at Willamette Falls. The petition was partially successful and McLoughlin's claim was not recognized.[2]

In 1851, T'Vault led an exploring party of ten people from Port Orford in order to seek an overland route to the interior of the region. The party was ambushed by Native Americans and five members were killed, but T'Vault survived.[2] He moved to southern Oregon and established the Table Rock Sentinel newspaper in 1855, and later the Oregon Sentinel in 1858. T'Vault represented Jackson County in the Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1858, its final year, and served as speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives during its first session, in 1858–59.[3] He advocated for the formation of an independent Pacific Republic and also practiced law in Jacksonville.[2]


  1. Clackamas County History 1844 to 1848
  2. Cogswell, Philip Jr. (1977). Capitol Names: Individuals Woven Into Oregon's History. Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society. pp. 61–62.
  3. Oregon Legislators and Staff Guide: 1859 Special Session. Oregon State Archives. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.

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