Lewis Linn McArthur (1843-1897)

Lewis L. McArthur was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on March 18, 1843. He was the third son of famous naval hydrographer and surveyor Lieutenant Commander William Pope McArthur, USN, and his wife Mary Stone Young McArthur. While commanding the first Pacific Coast Survey, during which he explored the Columbia River, his father died at sea of dysentery in December 1850. The younger McArthur then grew up in Portsmouth and Baltimore, Maryland before he entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with the class of 1861. While at the College he became a member of the Belles Lettres Society, but left before graduating. He subsequently studied the law.

By May 1864, McArthur was in Umatilla, Oregon where he was elected recorder in the first city government after its incorporation. He also began a newspaper there, but then moved on to Baker City where he founded that town's first journal, the Bedrock Democrat, in 1870. McArthur had already been elected as county judge of Baker County in 1868 and in 1870 was elected to state-wide office as a Democrat to the Circuit Bench of the Eastern Oregon District . He also served a term on the State Supreme Court. McArthur was then a district judge and in 1886 was appointed United States Attorney for Oregon in the Cleveland Administration, for which he moved to Portland. He also lectured on equity in the University of Oregon where he served on the board of regents.

McArthur married Harriet K. Nesmith, daughter of Oregon pioneer and U.S. Senator James Nesmith, after he arrived in the territory. The couple had two sons, one of whom later served in Congress. Lewis Linn McArthur died at home in Portland on May 10, 1897. He was fifty-four years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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