A BIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE H. ATKINSON (1819-89), CONGREGATIONAL MISSIONARY AND INITIATOR OF THE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM OF OREGON.Inspired by the Second Great Awakening to become a missionary, Massachusetts native George Henry Atkinson arrived in Oregon City during the summer that Congress established the Oregon Territory. Called by early historians “The Father of Public Education in Oregon”, Atkinson played multiple leadership roles in that field for four decades. An indefatigable traveler, Atkinson made eight return visits to New England during his Oregon residency. A respected community leader, his wide range of interests encompassed railroading, meteorology, botany, agriculture, Indian affairs and mining. Within his own Congregational denomination he stood as the prime symbol of its efforts to extend its presence into the Pacific Northwest.This work draws on both George Atkinson's extensive personal correspondence and his writing in local newspapers. Placing his life and work within its geographic setting and its historical context, it seeks to give the reader an accurate, candid picture of the man, his setting, and his legacy. Donald Sevetson is a retired minister of the United Church of Christ. He and his wife, Mary Louise, live in Portland, Oregon.
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