from Baker County Sketch Book by Gordon and Patricia Stewart (Baker County, Oregon)
There is no more romantic figure in the annals of early Oregon history than that of Joseph Gale, a territorial governor of Oregon and a pioneer of the hardiest sort, who chose to live out his last years in Eagle Valley, now a part of Baker County.
His simple headstone reads "Joseph Gale, born in Washington City, D.C., April 29, 1807, died Eagle Valley, Dec. 13, 1881." At the bottom of the marker is a bronze plaque "To honor one of those patriots who on May 2, 1843 founded the provisional government at Champoeg, Oregon. Multnomah Chapter DAR May 1931.
Many stories of adventure may be read between the simple lines.
One of Joseph Gale's first and greatest exploits was the part he played in breaking up the Hudson Bay Company's cattle monopoly in Oregon.
In 1841 eight young men built and equipped a vessel, "The Star of Oregon," with Felix Hathaway as master builder. Joseh Gale was given the papers for the ship and captained the vessel to San Francisco. At Yerba Buena the boat was exchanged for 350 cows. Gale remained in California through the winter, then set out overland to Oregon with a party of 42 immigrants, who brought with them 1250 head of cattle, 600 head of mares, colts, horses and mules and 3000 sheep. This event is rated as being of strategic importance in helping Americanize Oreogn.
When the first provisional government of Oregon was set up at Champoeg, Joseph Gale was selected as a member of the first triumvirate executive committee. The others who served as the three-in-one governor with him were Alanson Beers and David Hill.
From the few details available about the lfe of Joseph Gale, one learns that he followed the sea in his younger days and later bacame a trapper in the Rocky Mountains.
On reaching Oreon he settled on East Tualatin Plain and afterwards at the foot of Gale's Peak in Washington County on a tributary of the Tualatin River.
In the California gold rush of 1849 he "bent his steps in the direction of speedily-made fortunes and remained away a number of years." An 1882 edition of "The Oregonian" reported that by the time Gale returned to Oregon the Willamette valley had beome too old a country for him, so he settled in Eagle Valley, as new, wild and romantic a place as had been the Willamette when he first beheld that region a quarter of century before.
In the writings of W.W. Lloyd of Baker County, Joseph Gale is mentioned as being the postmaster at New Bridge in 1878.
Like nearly all the other early trappers who turned settlers, Joseph Gale married an Indian woman. After Gale's death his widow lived on the Umatilla Indian reservation with one of her daughters, Mrs. Edwin Simpson.
Joseph Gale's grave may be seen today in the section of the Eagle Valley cemetery farthest from the entrance.
***** Note: You can find more on this Joseph Gale with a basic online search. The Clara, Grace, and James Darling in the 1880 census appear to be the children of his daughter Susan Gale Darling. (she was married to DW Darling, first name likely David) Joseph Gale was married to a Nez Perce woman called Eliza.
There is another Joseph Gale pioneer in the census in 1870, whose wife is also Eliza. That would likely be the other gentleman's Joseph Gale, middle name M., born in IL. That family was in Walla Walla in 1870.