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John Pollard Gaines born September 22, 1795 in Augusta County Virginia to Abner Gaines and Elizabeth Mathews. His grandfathers and great-grandfather served during the Revolutionary War. He received an education and studied law, he volunteered in the War of 1812. He was a lawyer with his practice in Boone County, Kentucky. He was a state legislator in Kentucky during the 1820's and 1830's. He volunteered and was appointed the rank of "Major" for the War with Mexico in 1846. He and some 80 soldiers were captured at Incarnation in January 1847. They were held captive in Mexico City until August. While a prisoner his district back in Boone County Kentucky elected him to the 30th United States Congress. At the end of his term as congressman he returned to Boone County and in October of 1849 he accepted the position of Governor of the Territory of Oregon. Abraham Lincoln refused this position first, how different history may have been if he had gone to Oregon. At the end of Governor Gaines' term in 1853 he settled on his farm just outside Salem, Oregon. In 1854 he and two of his sons (Archibald & Abner) drove over 200 head of cattle from Kentucky and Arkansas across the plains to Oregon. 35 of these were pure bred Durham. Governor Gaines' appointment to the governorship cost him the death of several of his family. Two daughters (Harriet & Florella) in 1850 in Brazil, his wife (Elizabeth) in 1851 in a fall from a horse, at which time his remaining children were sent back to relatives in the east. His daughter Matilda died in Tennessee in the spring of 1857, it was the last of several blows his poor body and soul could not overcome. He died December 9, 1857 and is interred in the Old Pioneer Cemetery at Salem, Oregon.
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JohnGaines was a restless, extroverted man hungry for success and public honors; and a man who epitomizes the male chauvinism of his times.
Gaines, aware of both these strategies and the likely time-frame, began moving the Garners, and then just Margaret, all around northern Kentucky, first holding them in a Covington jail, then taking the family back to Maplewood, then taking Margaret to Frankfort before moving her once again to Covington.
Gaines had instructed the deputy hired to escort his chattels that they were to be offloaded at Gaines Landing, Arkansas, on the Mississippi River.
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