Echoes of Oregon History Learning Guide
Declaration of Intention, 1849
Transcript of original document:
United States of America}
Territory of Oregon } SS
Clackamas County }
Be it remembered that on this 21st day of April in the year of 1849 personally appeared before me, Isaac W Gilbert Clerk of the County Court of Champeog County Andrew LaChapell the undersigned and made oath that he was born in Lower Canada in the province of Great Britian in the year of 1801 that he emigrated from said Kingdom of Great Britian to the United States of America in the year of 1817 and to Oregon the same year in which said Territory the said Chapell has continued to reside ever since that he has become much acquainted with the laws and institutuions of the United States Therefore I Andrew LaChapell do hereby make known my intentions of becoming a citizen of the United States and taking the oath of naturalization I do solemnly swear that I absolve all allegiance to all foreign princes kings potentates particularly to Queen Victoria Queen of Great Britian and Ireland and that I will support the constitution of the United States and the act to establish a Territorial Government in Oregon so help me God.
Andrew X LaChapell
When Oregon became a United States territory in 1849, residents could not hold dual citizenship. Hudson's Bay Company employees who had settled in Oregon needed to become U.S. citizens so that their land holdings would be officially recognized. Many immediately filed Declarations of Intention to become citizens. This Declaration of Intention shows that Andrew LaChapell was born in Canada in 1801 and came to Oregon in 1817, when he was sixteen years old. To become a citizen, LaChapell renounces his allegiance to Queen Victoria. Note also that LaChapell signed the Declaration with his mark, evidence that he could not read or write.
Words and Terms
For Further Discussion
1. What does this document tell you about Andrew LaChapell?
2. What does a Declaration of Intention do?
3. What could Andrew LaChapell expect in return for this Declaration?