John McLoughlin

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Dr. John McLoughlin, baptized Jean-Baptiste McLoughlin, (October 19, 1784 – September 3, 1857) was the Chief Factor of the Columbia Fur District of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver. He was later known as the "Father of Oregon" for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest. In the late 1840s his general store in Oregon City was famous as the last stop on the Oregon Trail.


Childhood and early career

McLoughlin was born in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, of Irish (his grandfather came from Sharagower in the Inishowen peninsular of County Donegal), Scottish, and French Canadian descent. He lived with his great uncle, Colonel William Fraser, for a while as a child.[citation needed] Though baptized Roman Catholic, he was raised Anglican and in his later life he returned to the Roman Catholic faith. In 1798, he began to study medicine with Sir James Fisher of Quebec. After studying for 4½ years he was granted a license to practice medicine on April 30, 1803. He was hired as a physician at Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay), a fur-gathering post of the North West Company on Lake Superior; there he became a trader and mastered several Indian languages.[citation needed]

In 1814 he became a partner in the company. In 1816 McLoughlin was arrested for the murder of Robert Semple, the governor of the Red River Colony, after the Battle of Seven Oaks (1816), though it is often claimed he stood in proxy for some Indians who were blamed. He was tried on October 30, 1818, and the charges were dismissed. McLoughlin was instrumental in the negotiations leading to the North West Company's 1821 merger with the Hudson's Bay Company. He was promoted to the Lac la Pluie district temporarily shortly after the merger.

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