Chronicles of Boone County

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Major John Pollard Gaines

Born to Elizabeth and Abner Gaines in 1795, John P. Gaines moved with his family from Augusta County, Virginia to Boone County, Kentucky shortly thereafter.1) Gaines volunteered for service in the The War of 1812. 2) After returning to Boone County, Gaines practiced law and became a member of the Kentucky State Legislature. From 1846 to 1848, he served in the Mexican War. Gaines was elected to Congress in 18473) despite being held as a prisoner of war, and his opponents' urging that “votes for gaines might be votes for a dead man.”4) He was then appointed Governor of the Oregon Territory by President Taylor in 1850, a position that future President Abraham Lincoln would turn down.5) After selling his slaves (including Margaret Garner) and farm in Richwood to his brother, Archibald K. Gaines, Gaines began making preparations for his long trip to Oregon. Gaines' seven-month-long journey to Oregon by ship would prove fatal, as two of his daughters died of yellow fever along the way.6) Dissent brewed in Oregon, due to the length of his absence and the rest of his term would prove just as tumultuous.7) Shortly after he took office, in 1851, his wife, Elizabeth died after been thrown from a horse. He left office in 1853, but stayed in Oregon with his second wife Margaret.8) Gaines died in Oregon in 1857 of typhoid fever.9)

More Information

1) , 4) , 6)
Frances Marion Hanger, “John Pollard Gaines, Oregon's Governor 1850-53,” The Oregonian, August 16, 1908, 5.
2) , 9)
“Governor John P. Gaines Obituary” Weekly Oregonian, December 15, 1857, 2.
3) , 8)
Elizabeth Comer, “Gaines Tavern,” 6.
Abraham Lincoln: Thanks But No Thanks, Oregon Territory,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, February 12, 2009.
Gaines, John Pollard (Gov)Oregon, Statesman Index Books, 1850-1866
major_john_pollard_gaines.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/21 15:52 by kbilz