Lafayette, Oregon was founded in 1846 by an ambitious single, young man named Joel Perkins. In the latter part of 1846, Perkins led a petition drive to have his new little town named as Yamhill County's first county seat. The governor approved it and designated the town as such in December of that year.
"Those who had already returned brought back plenty of gold dust and many of the settlers moved into town to enjoy their new found prosperity and to give their children better educational opportunities."
Sources: Yamhill County Historical Society; Stoller, Ruth; "Joel Perkins", a speech she gave and wrote up for Yamhill County Historical Society, date unknown; Stoller, Ruth; "Old Yamhill - the early history of its towns and cities", 1976; Evans, Elwood; "History of the Pacific Northwest - OR & WA", Vol. II, 1889; Perkins, Norris H.; "Slow Settles the Dust in Oregon", 1993; Gaston, Joseph; "Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912", Vol. I, 1912.