Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yamhill County Bipartisanship...at the Dawn of the Civil War

 "...Loving our country better than party, and ready to make any sacrifice but principle..."
Read the following transcription of an 1861 newspaper article from the Oregonian that tells about a patriotic gathering held in Lafayette - the "county seat" at that time - right before the U.S. Civil War began.


In 1861, Lafayette was still the center of activity in Yamhill County.  So when citizens came together to celebrate the election of Lincoln right before the Civil War began, they met at the Lafayette courthouse.  The devotion to American principles expressed by the pioneers at this event should be inspiring to us all!   

"The citizens of Lafayette and vicinity, without distinction of party, met at the Courthouse on the evening of the 4th last, for the purpose of expressing their love for the Union as it is, and their determination to stand by the Government. 

On motion, Dr. Henry was called to the Chair, and, on taking it, he remarked that the meeting was not to be regarded as of a partisan character; but that we had met as American citizens, loving our country better than party, and ready to make any sacrifice but principle,  for the purpose of settling the difficulty now threatening the safety of the Union.  The "Star Spangled Banner" was then sung by the choir; and short patriotic addresses were made by Messers, Woods, Forguson, McBride, Baily, and Dr. McBride; when the following resolution was offered and unanimously adopted by every man present rising to his feet, except two, who explained, as their motive for not rising, that they were not citizens of the county, but that they were for the Union.Resolved:  That we are for the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws in all sections, by every department of the Federal Government.

The meeting then adjourned, all expressing a determination to stand by the President so long as he shall support the Constitution, and maintain the laws.  The most gratifying feature of the meeting was the entire absence of all party feeling and the zeal manifested by Breekinridge and Douglas democrats, in support of the resolution. 

Every dwelling in the village was brilliantly illuminated, including the Courthouse, stores and mechanic shops;  and after the adjournment of the meeting, the young people testified their patriotic devotion to the Union, by spending the remainder of the evening attending a dancing party given by our enterprising and patriotic citizen, Morris Wolfe.

I think it may be safely asserted that in the event of a conflict at arms being forced upon the Government, every man in Yamhill County will be found rallying around the Stars and Stripes, ready to peril his life in defending the honor of his country's flag."

 (The Daily Oregonian, "Inauguration Celebration at Lafayette on the 4th.", March 15, 1861.)