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Alvin Thompson Smith Diaries Transcript

Identifier: MS-36

Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of typed transcripts of the diaries of Alvin Thompson Smith in two volumes: 1840-1846 and 1847-1853. The diary entries are mostly brief, and describe his trip from Illinois to Oregon, his arrival in Oregon, and his daily activities there. Many of the entries describe farm chores, church attendance, and relationships with other settlers, alongside occasional references to Tualatin Academy/Pacific University and his activities in the Oregon government. The transcripts were created in 1974 based on the originals in the Oregon Historical Society.


  • 1840-1853


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Pacific University owns the copyright to some, but not all, of the materials housed in its archives. Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of Pacific University is retained by Pacific University and requires its permission for publication. Copyright status for other collection materials varies. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical note

A.T. (Alvin Thompson) Smith was an early Oregon pioneer who participated in the formation of the government of the Oregon Territory, and who also helped to found Pacific University. One of eleven children, he was born on November 17, 1802 to Thomas and Desire Thompson Smith in Branford, Connecticut. He was working as a carpenter in Illinois when he met and married his wife, Abigail Raymond of Sherburne, New York, in 1840. Later that year, he and his wife traveled overland to the Tualatin Valley area of Oregon in order to preach to the Native Americans. He was the first white American to settle in the area that would later become the city of Forest Grove.

As one of the earliest American settlers in Oregon, A.T. Smith became a prominent member of society. He participated in the Champoeg Meetings that established the Oregon Provisional Government, served as magistrate for the Twality District (now Washington County), and later as a probate judge.

His first wife, Abigail, died in 1858. In 1869, at the end of a three year trip back east, A.T. Smith met and married Jane Maria Averill, 34 years his junior. A.T. Smith died in his home on January 22, 1888 at the age of 85. Jane Smith lived on for another 34 years, ensuring the survival of Smith’s papers by donating them to the Oregon Historical Society.


0.25 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



A.T. (Alvin Thompson) Smith was an early Oregon pioneer who participated in the formation of the government of the Oregon Territory, and who also helped to found Pacific University. This collection contains transcripts of his diary, written from 1840 to 1853.


No accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Originals

The original diaries are in the A.T. Smith Papers (MSS 8) at the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon.
Guide to the Alvin Thompson Smith Diaries Transcript
Jessie Sweeney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Pacific University Archives Repository

2043 College Way
Forest Grove OR 97116 United States