Edward Chambreau papers

Identifier: ChambreauE-RSCA-ORPR-US

Scope and Contents

These papers include Edward Chambreau's personal diaries, manuscript autobiographical materials, his original reports to General O.O. Howard at Fort Vancouver, while employed as a scout, as well as various anecdotes of his scouting trips among the Northwest tribes, Chambreau family deeds, widow's pension records, transcripts of most of the original documents, the Chambreau/McBee Family Bible, a collection of his medals (Indian War Veteran, 1876 Centennial Hays Presidential Elections, etc.), and newspaper articles.


  • 1821 - 1902


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Edward [Edouard] Chambreau was born on January 12, 1821, in the village of Froeshville, department of Moselle, France, to Dominic and Elisabeth (nee Boillo) Chambreau. His father, a tanner, was a "participant in the conventionist movement" which necessitated his fleeing to Germany. His wife emigrated to Montreal, Canada, with her 4-year old son in 1825, where they were joined by Dominic a year later. Edward attended and boarded at the Sisters School in Montreal.

Edward was a member of the Society of Patriots and, for activities in the Society, was arrested and imprisoned in Montreal, in December of 1837. Upon the intercession of Bishop Bourjettte, he was freed on New Year's Day, 1838.

His parents apprenticed him to a tailor, but Edward left Montreal to join the circus. He subsequently joined the Knights of the Tamborine and Bones and traveled with the minstrel group, the Aethiopian Minstrels, and later with the Sable Brothers. He returned home to Montreal at age 22, where his parents wanted him to marry. He left home instead and went "wherever his inclinations led him."

He enlisted as a General Service Man in the United States Army at the beginning of the Mexican-American War in 1846 and participated in various battles in California. He arrived in Oregon City, then known as "The Falls", on August 28, 1847. He was briefly employed at Fort Vancouver by the Hudson Bay Company, and, in 1849, went to California. Returning to Oregon, he lived for a while in the Tygh Valley, then moved to Portland where he ran a saloon and gambling joint. He married Barbara Ann McBee on December 13, 1852, in Forest Grove, Oregon. He fought in the early Indian Wars of the Pacific Northwest, prior to 1859, in Captain Kelley's Clark County Rangers regiment. From 1876 to 1880 he was General O.O. Howard's scout.

In later life, Chambreau owned various trading posts, a variety theater, and a furniture store. He died in Portland, Oregon, in February, 1902, and was buried in the Rose City Cemetery.


4 Linear Feet (7 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize book box, and 1 object box.)




The library holds the manuscript papers and other ephemera of Edouard Chambreau (1821-1902), an army scout from 1876 to 1880 under General O.O. Howard in the Northwest. The collection also contains military medals, deeds, clippings, and other records.

Physical Location

Archives Main Shelving (L014), Range F Section 2.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Outright gift of Wynifred Chambreau Grasle (Mrs. W.R. Grasle), granddaughter of Edward Chambreau, on February 29, 1964.

Processing Information

Processed by Mark Kuestner December 2002.

Mark Kuestner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Reed College Special Collections and Archives Repository

3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard
Portland Oregon 97202-8199 United States