Governor Joseph Gale and His Indian First Lady

The life and times of Joseph Gale and the founding of Oregon's First Provisional Government.

About the Authors

Lillian Cummings Densley
My interest in preserving local and family history began early in life, inspired by my mother, Jessie Sullivan Cummings, an early Snake River school teacher. I was raised on a ranch along Snake River and previously authored a book about local Snake River history. My late husband, Glenn Densley, collected a Gale family archive from Ina Simpson Contreras and New Bridge information from the descendents of James N. Holcomb. In my effort to preserve this information for history, combined with additional exhaustive research, my son, Aaron, and I are presenting a book detailing the life of “Governor Joseph Gale and his Indian First Lady.”

Aaron G. Densley
I grew up overlooking the Gale Homestead in New Bridge, Oregon, listening to my father’s exciting stories of Sparta mining and the history of Eagle Valley settlers.
When Dad was 10 years old he witnessed his friends remove the last big pocket from Sparta, a 68 oz. pocket of gold near the Sparta store in 1936. George Ashby, working a pocket stringer with his sons, Wilbur age 12, Wanden 10, and Vaden 7, sent Wanden with a test pan down to the spring. The mining turned real serious when Wanden returned with the pan overflowing with gold!
It is from the excitement of my father and true stories such as these that led me to do the extensive research and investigation into the life of a most extraordinary early settler of Eagle Valley, Oregon’s first Governor, Joseph Gale.
As a child I could see the Gale house while playing along Eagle Creek and walking to school, even back then I remember wondering why that old house stood so mysteriously silent and abandoned. At that time, I could not have imagined years later, as I write this book, how important the Gale house would become to me and my research of the Gale family.