Remme’s Great Ride


“Bang!” rang out a gun, and looking toward the river, they saw two brig-rigged masts approaching the city. It was the Columbia , with Captain DaIl on the bridge, with Billy Gladwell, the river pilot, standing by his side. Before the ship had got her lines fast to the dock a constable had served a writ of attachment on the bank of Adams & Co. at the suit of Ralph Meade, the purser of the steamer, who had $950 in the rotten bank. The depositors never got anything after that, and although the local banks stood the run, the town got a pretty severe shock one way and another.

Our humble hero was a Canadian Frenchman by birth, and although he was not a very large man, he was a wiry specimen of humanity and weighed as many ounces to the pound as any man that ever saw Oregon or California even in that heroic age. He had ridden a distance of 665 miles, from Knight’s Landing to Portland, in storm and darkness, over Indian trails and through a trackless wilderness, in just 143 hours; deducting ten hours for sleeping leaves 133 as actual running time.

Remme’s ride is one of the legends of early Oregon that the old pioneers like to tell of beside the roaring oak fires in the Willamette farmhouses in the long winter nights when the apples are roasting on the hearthstones and the cider sparkles in the white china mugs on the kitchen table. It is borne on the mountain torrent of tradition down to the vast ocean of history—a history such as no other people knew—replete with heroism and self-sacrifice.