1807 – George Abernethy was born on October 7, 1807 in New York City.
1830 – On Jan. 21, 1830 he married Anne Cope.
1839 – He met the Rev. Jason Lee who was superintendent of the Methodist mission of Oregon and was raising funds for the mission, and George arranged to go to Oregon and assume the financial management of the mission’s affairs.
1840 – George took his family and sailed around the Horn on the ship Lausanne, and arrived in Oregon on June 1, 1840, traveling with Mr. Lee and many other members of the mission as well as farmers and craftsmen. This party was the first to begin the colonization of Oregon. They cultivated the land, opened an academy, built a mill and began to compete with the Hudson’s Bay Company. Among his early accomplishments were building the first warehouse in the Oregon Territory, establishing the first newspaper in the Oregon Territory, and establishing good business relations with the British Hudson’s Bay Company. He also managed to acquire a printing press and assisted in beginning the first newspaper in Oregon. He helped the lumbering and fishing industries and purchased the pioneer settlers’ wheat and made commercial connections with Hawaii, California and the Atlantic coastal ports.
1845 – On June 3, 1845, Abernethy was elected to serve as Provisional Governor of the Oregon Territory, defeating Osborne Russell, a member of the outgoing Executive Committee. Abernethy and his supporters were American loyalists who believed that the Provisional Government was strictly interim until the question of U.S. and British claims on the Oregon Country were finalized. Russell, however, headed up the "Independents" faction which wished to create a Republic of the Pacific. As provisional governor, Abernethy worked to build roads, levied the first property taxes, and sent representatives of the Provisional Government to Washington, DC to lobby for official U.S. territorial status.
1847 – He was reelected with the endorsement of the influential Dr. John McLoughlin over Asa Lovejoy, co-founder of Portland.
1848 – The Abernethy administration technically ended when efforts to gain territorial status came to fruition on August 14, 1848. President Polk signed the Oregon Territory Act, and appointed General Joseph Lane as the first official territorial governor.
1849 – After leaving office, Abernethy continued doing well in his business until his assets were destroyed during the flood of 1861. He moved to Portland shortly after.
1877 – He died on March 2, 1877 at 70 years of age. He served as the first governor of Oregon territory under the provisional government.