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Chloe Clarke Willson

2012 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the year Oregon granted women the vote. Events are taking place throughout the year leading up to November, 1912. Several websites have information about prominent women in Oregon during the last one hundred years, including “Women Suffrage in Oregon” at the Oregon Encyclopedia.

Willamette University has a place in this history, starting in 1844 when it opened its doors as the Oregon Institute. Our first teacher was Chloe Clarke Willson, a woman who came out to the Northwest Territory from New England in 1839. We are fortunate to have a journal Chloe Clarke kept during her voyage out and during the early part of her life in the Northwest. A devote Methodist, Chloe felt called to teach Christianity to the natives in the Northwest. During the almost two years she was on the clipper ship, the Lausanne, she writes often about her spiritual experience and her activities while on board ship. Continue reading »