The Chronicle -

By Finn J.D. John
For The Chronicle 

Oregon's first murder defendant was saved from gallows by his wife


November 7, 2019

It’s hard to tell, just from reading between the lines of the court documents, but it’s probably a safe guess that Nimrod O’Kelly’s neighbors did not like him.

It was the spring of 1852, and the Oregon Trail emigrations had begun a few years earlier. O’Kelly had been one of the very first; he’d come out on the Overland Trail in 1845, then traveled south in the Willamette Valley until he came across a 640-acre parcel that he could claim under the applicable laws – 320 acres for himself, and 320 acres for his wife.

Trouble was, he had come out by himself, and he hadn’t antic...

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