Book Talk     

Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon

Free and open to the public

Wednesday, June 8, 2022
7PM – 8PM

  • Free
  • Researchers

Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
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Event Type: Book TalkAudience(s): ResearchersLocation: Portland

On an autumn day in 1895, eighteen-year-old Loyd Montgomery shot his parents and a neighbor in a gruesome act that reverberated beyond the small confines of Montgomery’s Oregon farming community. The dispassionate slaying and Montgomery’s consequent hanging exposed the fault lines of a rapidly industrializing and urbanizing society and revealed the burdens of pioneer narratives boys of the time inherited.

Ability Accommodation Information

This event provides the following accommodations:

  • Handicap Accessible

In Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon, Peter Boag examines the Brownsville murder as an illustration of the destabilizing transitions within the rural United States at the end of the nineteenth century. While pioneer families celebrated and memorialized founders of western white settler society, their children faced a present and future in frightening decline. Connecting a fascinating true-crime story with the broader forces that produced the murders, Boag uncovers how Montgomery’s violent acts reflected the brutality of American colonizing efforts, the anxieties of global capitalism, and the buried traumas of childhood in the American West. The evening’s program will feature a short reading of Pioneering Death, followed by Peter Boag in conversation with historian Ryan Dearinger, and an audience Q&A. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Peter Boag is a professor and the Columbia Chair in the History of the American West at Washington State University. He is author of Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past, Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest; and Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon.

Peter Boag

Ryan Dearinger joined the George Fox University (GFU) faculty in 2021, where he is an associate professor of history and a faculty fellow in the GFU Honors Program. He was a history professor at Eastern Oregon University from 2009–2021 and an instructor at the University of Utah from 2006–2009. His areas of expertise include the American West and Pacific Northwest, immigration, labor and working-class history, environmental history, and violence in American history. His book, The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West, was published in 2016 by the University of California Press. Dearinger’s ongoing book project is a history of the Pacific Northwest’s hops industry through the experiences of Indigenous, immigrant, and American hop-pickers.

Ryan Dearinger