Two weeks ago I returned from a visit to my hometown, Springfield Oregon. A small city situated on the banks of the Willamette River, Springfield recently celebrated it’s 150th “birthday”, and throughout my short visit I took time to explore and examine some of the region’s history.
I arrived in Oregon with a mission. Shortly before my trip I attended a lecture by Tennessee pre-history archaeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf, who stated that an archaeological find in Paisley Caves Oregon has led some experts to discount the long held view that Tennessee’s first human inhabitants arrived from Asia. Many now believe that the first Tennesseans arrived from the Pacific Northwest. Also a few weeks before attending the lecture I learned of the 1,000 emigrants who, on the advice of their leader Elijah Elliot, took a “short cut,” wandering off the well traveled Oregon Trail, and almost perished from starvation before being rescued by the residents of Lowell, a small community southeast of Springfield. Determined to learn as much as I could in a short period of time, I was pleased and surprised to find that one of my oldest friends was a descendant of a member of the “Lost Wagon Train.”
After visiting several local museums and reading articles relating Springfield’s interesting past, I left my hometown with a desire to know more about it’s history and heritage, and in the future, Nashville Past And Present will include articles on Springfield, and Oregon history.