Ira Babcock

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Ira L. Babcock
Ira Babcock.jpg
Born circa 1808
New York
Died March 21, 1888
Occupation Physician

Doctor Ira Leonard Babcock (ca. 1808 – March 21, 1888) was an American pioneer and doctor in the Oregon Country. A native of New York, he was selected as the supreme judge with probate powers in 1841 in what would become the state of Oregon.[1] Although the meeting where he was selected did not produce an acting government, this was the first of several meetings that led to a Provisional Government in the Willamette Valley in 1843.[1]

Early life[edit]

Babcock was born in the state of New York around 1808 where he received medical training.[2] He came to what was then the unorganized Oregon Country from New York while working for the Methodist Mission run by Jason Lee.[2] Babcock arrived in Oregon in 1840 aboard the ship Lausanne with his wife and one son.[3] They traveled with Jason Lee’s reinforcements for the mission that was re-located to present day Salem, Oregon.[3] The Lausanne had sailed around Cape Horn and included future governor George Abernethy and the Reverend Gustavus Hines.


Babcock was selected on February 18, 1841, to be the supreme judge for the settlers of the region.[1] There was a need for a probate court in order to deal with the estate of Ewing Young.[1] Young had become a wealthy rancher due to his economic activities that included participation in the Willamette Cattle Company in 1837. In 1842, Babcock helped to organize the Oregon Institute as a school for the children of the American settlers.[2] After holding the supreme judge title for two years, Babcock took his family to the Sandwich Islands for one year.[3] After returning he was elected as judge again, but left Oregon permanently in November 1844.[3] After leaving Oregon he joined the United States Army and served as a surgeon.[2] In 1870, he returned to Oregon on a visit.


  1. ^ a b c d Horner, John B. (1929). Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature. The J.K. Gill Company:Portland, Oregon. 
  2. ^ a b c d Corning, Howard M. (1956). Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, p 16.
  3. ^ a b c d Flora, Stephenie. "Emigrants to Oregon in 1840". Oregon Pioneers. Retrieved 2007-02-22.