Volcanoes and History
Cascade Range Volcanoes - "Volcanoes and History"

J. Quinn Thornton

1831 Eruption of Mount St. Helens and a volcanic Mount Hood
(Published 1849)

Excerpts from:
Oregon and California in 1848: by J.Quinn Thornton, Late Judge of the Supreme Court of Oregon, and Corresponding Member of the American Institute, with an Appendix ..., Vol.I, Published by Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1864.

(This Thornton publication was originally published in 1849.)

Mount Hood, a Volcano

   [p.256]    ... Mount Washington is that known among the British as Mount Hood. It lies a little south of the Columbia river, and in about latitude 45o, 20'. It is estimated to be from twelve to sixteen thousand feet high. The Indians affirm that they have frequently seen fires in the chasms of this mountain. Independent of this, there are many facts, which leave no doubt that this is a volcano. ...

Mount St. Helens, 1831

   [p.256]    ... Mount John Adams is the Mount St. Helens of the British. It is an active volcano, near 46o, 29'. It is 9550 feet high. This mountain was in a state of eruption in the year 1831. The fact is affirmed by Dr. Gassner, a distinguished naturalist of England, who was in Oregon at the time, as also by gentlemen connected with the Hudson Bay Company. With the exception of a slight red, lurid appearance, the day was dark, and so completely was the light of the sun shut out by the smoke and falling ashes, that candles were necessary. The weather was perfectly calm, and without wind; and during several days after the eruption, the fires, out of doors, burned with a bluish flame, as though the atmosphere was filled with sulphur. ...

Mount St. Helens, presumably November 22, 1842

   [p.257]    ... Credible persons in Oregon have informed me, that they have, on several occasions since, seen the fire and smoke of this volcano. The Rev. Josiah L. Parish, who is connected with the Methodist Mission in Oregon, informed me, that on one occasion he witnessed one of the most remarkable eruptions of this mountain. I regret, however, that not having noted his relation in my journal, the date of the eruption *** and the principal facts connected with it, have been obliterated from my memory, by events to which my attention has since been called. I only remember, that no earthquake was felt, no noise was heard, and that he saw vast columns of lurid smoke and fire shoot up; which after attaining to a certain elevation, spread out in a line parallel to the plane of the horizon, and presented the appearance of a vast table, supported by immense pillars of convolving flame and smoke. ...

*** Harry M. Majors, writing about the 1842-1844 eruptions of Mount St. Helens (Northwest Discovery, July 1980), suspects this date to be November 22, 1842.

Mount Hood, ca.1845

   [p.336]    ... The country about the Dalles is decidedly volcanic. Mount Washington is said by persons who have lived long in the country, to have been in a state of eruption within a few years. ...

Digital version of J.Q. Thornton's publication, published in 1864,
was found at "Google Books" (2007).


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