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Fort Yamhill was an Americanmarker military fortification in what became the state of Oregonmarker. Built in 1856 in the Oregon Territorymarker, it remained an active post until 1866. The Army outpost was used to provide a presence next to the Grand Ronde Agency Coastal Reservation. Several officers stationed at the United States Army post prior to the American Civil War would later serve as generals in that war.

Construction

Built in Polk County, Oregonmarker, the outpost consisted of a wooden blockhouse, sentry box, barracks, officers’ quarters, carpenter's shop, hospital, cook houses, blacksmith shop, tables, barn, sutler’s store, and laundress quarters. The wood blockhouse was built to provide a refuge to settlers of the area in case of attack by the Native Americans. After the fort was abandoned the block house was moved from the hill it was positioned on and served as a jail in the Valley Junctionmarker area.

Total cost to build the fort was $36,053. The post’s first troops were under the command of William Babcock Hazen. This garrison consisted of 76 men under three officers, but was reduced in 1858 to two officers and 33 enlisted men.

Notable people

Company D of the Fourth California Infantry took over at the fort on November 11, 1861 under the command of Lyman S. Scott. They replaced the Ninth Infantry that was commanded by 1st Lieutenant Philip A. Owen. For a time between September 1863 and October 1864 the post was under the command of 2nd Lieutenant James Davison.



The fort today

The hill at Fort Yamhill in 2007
The blockhouse of the fort was moved to a park in downtown Daytonmarker in 1911 to honor city founder Joel Palmer. The actual site of the fort, which is in the Willaminamarker vicinity, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971. The address of the site is withheld, however the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department runs the undeveloped Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area in partnership with Polk County and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and plans to reconstruct some of the fort buildings.

Since 2005, Fort Yamhill has served as the site for the Oregon State Universitymarker historical archaeology field school. Students work to uncover the foundations of Fort-era buildings.

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References


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