Biographical Sketch of Thomas Dryer

portrait of Thomas Dryer

Signature of Thomas J. Dryer

Thomas J. Dryer 

Born 1808 
Died 1879 
Multnomah and Washington County delegate

Thomas Jefferson Dryer, who is best known as the founder of the Oregonian, was born in Ulster County, New York. His business interest took him between New York and Ohio until 1848 when he went to California. He was editor of the San Francisco Courier in 1849 when he was convinced to move to Portland.

Dryer served as the editor of the Oregonian from 1850 to 1860. His writing style was described as “aggressive and spirited though not scholarly or polished.” He and Asahel Bush of the Oregon Statesman carried on a politically charged and vitriolic exchange in their respective papers for most of the decade.

Dryer served as member of the territorial legislature from 1856-59. He represented Multnomah and Washington counties at the constitutional convention and served on the Committee of Suffrage and Elections. He was a frequent speaker during the convention debates.

In 1861 President Lincoln appointed Dryer to be U.S. minister to the Sandwich Islands. He later returned to Oregon and served as a justice of the peace.