A Wild Account of the Convention

An Oregon correspondent for the New York Tribune newspaper gave its famed editor Horace Greeley a boldly fictitious account of the Oregon Constitutional Convention, implying another "bleeding Kansas" was unfolding in Oregon. The report, which ran in October 1857 said that at the convention:

Although the correspondent's writing was impressively creative, it was also entirely false. The Oregon Statesman newspaper later reprinted the story and its editor, Asahel Bush, happily noted that "Philosopher Greely" had been "sold." The convention saw no Bowie knives unsheathed, no shots fired—no violence of any kind. Indeed, the Salem Band was actually a brass ensemble and their "arms" were never "loaded with anything but wind."(2)



  1. David Alan Johnson, Founding the Far West: California, Oregon, and Nevada, 1840-1890 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992) 140-141.
  2. Ibid., 141.