In accordance with the directions of the Oregon Pioneer Society expressed at its meeting a year ago, we have met here in this city that he founded to pay tribute to the memory of Oregon's first and greatest American pioneer, Jason Lee. He came solely as a missionary to the Indians. He soon saw the possibilities and the vast resources and the great value of this country. He was a strong patriot, ardently attached to the flag of the nation which his father had fought so long to free from allegiance to the British crown.
He soon saw that when the final settlement of the ownership of this country between this nation and Great Britain then held under treaty of joint occupation should come, that ownership would largely be determined by the citizenship of its settlers.
The work that he did to colonize the country with American citizens under the trying difficulties of the situation proved of incalculable value. In arousing the authorities in Washington to the value of the Oregon country his work and the information that he gave contributed in a large measure to the final happy result.
Jason Lee was a remarkable man -- of great determination and wonderful foresight, but like others of the great benefactors of his race, he was not understood in his time. Through ignorance of the situation, his church dismissed him from the control of its affairs here, most unjustly and cruelly. But he could safely trust his appeal to that unerring tribunal -- truth and time.
His vindication has come -- the church has acknowledged its mistake, and today his bones will be laid in final sepulture in the cemetery he selected 70 years ago, with all the honors that the church can bestow; and all people in this great Oregon country pay homage to his memory.
In the time that tried men's souls he was true and faithful and the impartial verdict of history will be that of all those who lie buried in this fair land 'none had greater glory though there be many dead and much glory.'
1. Lee, Jason. "Memorial Services at Re-internment of Remains of Rev. Jason Lee." Salem: Salem Public Library, 1906; pg. 9.