Kam Wah Chung and John Day

John Day, a fur trapper, signed on with John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company in 1811 as part of the Overland Expedition to establish a trading center at the mouth of the Columbia River. By the time they reached the Snake River in Idaho, Day was not feeling well. He stayed behind with Ramsay Crooks while the rest of the party pressed onward to Fort Astoria. When spring came, they set out to catch up with the others. Members of the Cayuse Tribe came upon the pair camped at the mouth of the Mah-hah (Mau Mau) River. Rather than killing them outright for their trespassing, the Indians took everything from the interlopers: food, equipment and the clothes they were wearing. Somehow Day and Crooks managed to survive several weeks until another party from the Pacific Fur Company, canoeing down the Columbia, found them and escorted them to Astoria. John Day became a legend. The river became known as the John Day as did the town later founded 150 miles to the south. John Day the person never visited John Day the town.

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