McLoughlin, John

McLoughlin, John məglŏkhˈlĭn, –glôfˈlĭn [key], 1784–1857, Canadian-American fur trader in Oregon, b. Rivière du Loup, near Quebec. A physician and then a trader, he was (1824–46) chief agent and administrator of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Columbia River country, when it was hotly disputed by British and Americans. McLoughlin used his power to monopolize and expand trade and to maintain peace with Native Americans. Recognizing the rich farming potential of the Willamette valley, he helped French Canadians to settle there and urged a land colonization scheme on the Hudson's Bay Company. At Fort Vancouver (now Vancouver, Wash.), his headquarters after 1825, aid and shelter were given to American adventurers, missionaries, and settlers. In 1849 he became a U.S. citizen.

See his letters to the Hudson's Bay Company governor and committee (3 vol., 1941–45); biographies by R. C. Johnson (new ed. 1958) and R. G. Montgomery (1934, repr. 1971).

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