About the author

Greg NokesR. Gregory Nokes retired in 2003 after 43 years in journalism, including 25 years with The Associated Press and 15 years with The Oregonian in Portland. While with The AP, he was stationed in New York, San Juan, Buenos Aires and Washington, D.C., where he served as both an economics and diplomatic correspondent. He traveled to more than 50 countries during his career.

Nokes graduated from Willamette University and attended Harvard University as a 1972 Nieman Fellow. Since retiring from journalism, he has embarked on a second career as a writer and lecturer on events in the history of the Pacific Northwest. Nokes and his wife, Candise, live in West Linn, Oregon.

Published works include:

  • Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon, Oregon State University Press, 2009

Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, due from Oregon State Press, spring 2013.

A Most Daring Outrage: Murders at Chinese Massacre Cove. Oregon Historical Quarterly, Fall 2006.

Holmes vs. Ford: Oregon’s 1852 Slavery Case, paper presented at 2012 Pacific Northwest History conference in Tacoma, WA., 2012.

Contributing author to The Media and Foreign Policy, St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

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Slavery in Oregon: The Reuben Shipley Saga

By , July 6, 2013

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Published in The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed – By R. Gregory Nokes, author, Breaking Chains — Few Americans realize that the institution of slavery reached the Pacific Northwest in the two decades before the Civil War.  A small number of the white settlers who followed the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City brought bondservants.  Oregon historian R. Gregory Nokes, describes one enslaved person, Reuben Shipley.

“Why don’t you write about Reuben Shipley?’’

I had just bounced several ideas for a new book off of my brother Bill over an afternoon cup of coffee. He apparently hadn’t liked any of them.

“Who was Reuben Shipley?’’ I asked, puzzled.

“He was a slave brought to Oregon by one of our ancestors.’’


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