William Simon U'Ren
(January 10, 1859-March 5, 1949) was the father of Oregon
's Initiative process. A progressive during the turn of the 20th century, he was instrumental in getting initiative, recall and referendum included in Oregon's government.
William Simon U’Ren was born on 10 January 1859 in Lancaster, Wisconsin
, the son of Cornish
immigrants from Cornwall
. Their surname was originally spelled Uren. U’Ren’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were blacksmiths
, as were their ancestors.
In 1885 he earned a law degree in Denver, Colorado
. Told he would die of tuberculosis
, he moved to Hawaii
and worked as a sugar cane boss. Soon, however, he moved to California
, and by 1889, he had settled in Milwaukie, Oregon
, where he established a law practice. In 1890, he campaigned vigorously for the Australian Ballot
, which won in 1891. It was while he was involved in this campaign that he attended a séance
, and met Mrs. Laure Durkee.
In 1892 U’Ren suffered a severe asthma
attack and gave up his law practice. Mrs. Durkee knew that the Lewellings, a local fruit growing family, had often offered lodging and care to hard luck cases, such as U’Ren was. His health was slowly restored at the Lewellings farm. The Lewellings were reformers (with one family member writing “good government being to us what religion is to most people”). U’ren was already a convert... Read More