Oregon City Womans Club

At the Early Meetings:

December 1904, members met at Mary M. Charman's home on Main Street and enjoyed a review of Life of Empress Josephine presented by Mrs. Hiram Straight and Mrs. Linn Jones. 

March 1906, members passed a resolution protesting the destruction of Oregon Grape for commercial purposes. The club would later adopt the Oregon Grape as their official plant

October 1906, the agenda included an address by Cornelia Marvin "A Public Library for Oregon City", as well as music by Miss Irene Reynolds.

June 1907, the club hosted the annual Pioneer Recognition at Willamette Hall. 48 guests shared memories of their arrival in the Oregon Territory in the 1840s and 1850s.

April 1908, the Oregon City Enterprise adds a regular column edited by the Oregon City Woman's Club. "The object of the club in this is to tell something of what club women all over our land are accomplishing for the betterment of their fellows, what our State Federation and local clubs are doing, and to present question of public interest from the woman's standpoint and call attention from time to time to some of our local needs."

January 1910, members contribute  $20 to the Scholarship Loan Association of the state federation. They report that twelve young women had been able to complete their education with help from the fund and had been able to repay their loans.

The women of Oregon City have a long history of contributing to the community, providing leadership in civic affairs and promoting education and public health.

Living in one of the commercial centers of the territory, male residents of Oregon City included doctors, lawyers, bankers, mill owners, business people and skilled workers. City living meant more free time as, instead of the long hours on a farm to produce what the family needed, there was a wide variety of stores within walking distance of home. With dressmakers, milliners, bakeries and butcher shops a short walk away, or providing home delivery, many of the wives and daughters were able to spend their time promoting literacy, supporting education, sharing literature and the arts and raising funds to help those less fortunate than themselves.

In 1903, led by local author Eva Emery Dye, the women of Oregon City came together as the true "movers and shakers" of the city's future.

Many of the early members had similar backgrounds. A portion were descendants of early Oregon City pioneers who had arrived in the 1840s and 1850s. Others had arrived around the turn of the century as their husbands sought new opportunities in the law, manufacturing and mercantile businesses.

Founding members Jennie Barlow Harding and Sarah Meldrum McCown were from pioneer families and were both very active in the life of Oregon City. For more about them click here.

Eva Emery Dye, who arrived with her husband Charles in 1890, had two books published prior to the founding of the Woman's Club. Her first book, McLoughlin and Old Oregon, included information she gathered through interviewing old city residents who had known McLoughlin personally, as well as other research. Her second book, The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark, featured a very central role for young Native American mother, Sacajawea. Although most scholars now believe Mrs. Dye overstated Sacajawea's part in the exploration, the tale of her bravery led to her image being adopted by the suffragist movement in Oregon and other states. 

As a way to bring the women of Oregon together and increase their influence in their communities, Eva Emery Dye traveled around the state with Mrs. Emmaline Galloway to help form new woman's clubs in early 1900. In addition to publishing several books, she was a noted essayist and historian, and driving force behind the Chautauqua movement in Clackamas County. She continued as a member of the Oregon City Woman's Club until her death in 1947.

Some of the other early members of the Oregon City Woman's Club were:

Magdalene Hollinger Diller (Joseph)

Mary M. Diller Charman (Frederick)

Mary U'Ren (William Simon)

Erma L. Jones (Linn E.)

Bessie M.Sleight (Frank A.)

Mary Gushurst LaForest (Eugene)

Mary Elizabeth Miller Barlow (John Lawson)

Minerva M. Holmes O'Neill (Daniel)

Winifred Andresen (William)

Julia J. Tingle (Nathan)

Orpha Frances Tingle Cross (Harvey E.)

Mary L. Bradley (John G.)

Margaret M. Jackson Gardner (William)

Blanche Humphreys (John)

Sally Ann Gault (Thomas E.)

Nettie Grant Chapman Bibee (George W.)

May A. Batten Waldron (John Lincoln)

Lanora E. Beatie Cooke (John Joseph)

Rosina Fox Fouts Evans (Theodore W. Fouts, Charles W. Evans

Mary Alexander Cooper Ingram (Lewis W.)

Inez Naomi Marshall Ryan (Judge Thomas F.)

Jessie Hixson Holman (Roswell L.)

Matilda Ganong Miller Mount (William L. Miller, Dr. Hugh Mount)

Ina Miranda Chase Adams (Llewllyn)

Catherine Abbot Kelly (Hercules LaTourette Kelly)

Miss Mina Kelly

Miss Amy Kelly (later Mrs. Eber A. Chapman)

Willamette Hall, on the second floor above George A. Harding's drug store, west side of Main Street between 5th and 6th Streets. The hall was used for meetings of many Oregon City organizations. The first meetings of the Oregon City Woman's Club were held here, before members chose to begin meeting at members homes.