Kintzing Prichette

Kintzing Prichette
2nd Territorial Governor of Oregon
In office
Preceded by Joseph Lane
Succeeded by John P. Gaines
2nd Secretary of the Oregon Territory
In office
April 9, 1849  September 18, 1850
Preceded by Theophilus Magruder
Succeeded by Edward D. Hamilton
1st Michigan Secretary of State
In office
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Randolph Manning
Personal details
Born June 24, 1800
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died April 12, 1869(1869-04-12) (aged 68)
At Sea
Profession Politician

Kintzing Prichette (June 24, 1800 – April 12, 1869) was an American politician. He was primarily a political appointee within the federal government's various departments, which at the time included U.S. territories. He is best known as the last Secretary of the Michigan Territory (1835–1838), Secretary of the Oregon Territory (1849–1850), and serving a two-month term as Governor of the Oregon Territory after the resignation of General Joseph Lane. He was appointed to the last two positions by President James K. Polk.


In 1835, Prichette was appointed as the Secretary to the Michigan Territory.[1] He served until 1838, with Michigan becoming a state in 1837, with Prichette then serving as the first Secretary of State of Michigan.[1]

Wisconsin Territory

Prichette purchased the title to the lands of Madison, Wisconsin, by June 1839 and began offering plots for sale to the public.[2] In October 1839, Prichett [sic] registered the plat of Madison at the registrar's office of the then-territorial Dane County.[3] At the time he platted the city he was residing in Detroit, Michigan.[3] Also in 1839 he owned the American Hotel in Madison, and was attempting to sell the establishment through his attorney, Moses M. Strong.[4]


Prichette came to Oregon from Pennsylvania and served as Territorial secretary from 1849 to 1850.[5] He served as acting governor from June 18, 1850, to August 18, 1850. John P. Gaines had been appointed governor, but did not arrive in Oregon until August 18, when he was sworn in.[6]

In May 1850, judge Orville C. Pratt of the Oregon Supreme Court appointed Prichette to serve as defense counsel for the Native Americans charged with the Whitman Massacre at their trial in Oregon City, Oregon after the Cayuse War.[5] Shortly after the trial, Prichette was sworn in as governor. According to the account of U.S. Marshall Joseph Meek, Prichette ordered Meek to free the five convicted natives. But Meek refused, on the grounds that former governor Lane had already signed their death warrants, and he carried out the executions.[7]

Little is known about Prichette today, as he is mentioned very little in the media reports of his day. No portraits or photographs have been found of him, earning him the distinction of being Oregon's only "faceless governor". Even the spelling of his last name is disputed, with at least four different spellings depending upon the historical document, including "Prichett", "Pritchett", and "Pritchette". His first name is also spelled "Kentzing".

Later years and death

After leaving Oregon he went to Washington, D.C. and worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an agent.[8] In that capacity, he dealt with the Santee Sioux in the Iowa Territory during the Inkpaduta affair in 1857.[8] Prichette later served as a United States Consul to Fiji, and died aboard the British flagged brig Rona en route from Sydney to California via Huaheine in the Society Islands.[9] He died from an unknown ailment on April 12, 1869, at the age of 68 and was buried at sea.[9]


  1. 1 2 "SECRETARIES OF STATE, 1835–2003". FORMER OFFICIALS OF MICHIGAN. Legislature of Michigan. January 14, 2004. p. 514.
  2. "Notice". Wiskonsan Enquirer. August 4, 1839. p. 3.
  3. 1 2 "Vilas vs. Reynolds". Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Wisconsin. 6. Beloit: E.E. Hale & Co. 1858. p. 215. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
  4. "American Hotel For Sale". Wiskonsan Enquirer. February 8, 1840. p. 4.
  5. 1 2 Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History.Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.
  6. Horner, John B. (1921). "Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature". The J.K. Gill Co.: Portland. p. 131.
  7. Vestal, Stanley (1963). Joe Meek: the merry mountain man, a biography. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 310. ISBN 0-8032-5206-4.
  8. 1 2 Meyer, Roy W. (1993). History of the Santee Sioux. University of Nebraska Press. p. 100. ISBN 0-8032-8203-6. OCLC 28844804.
  9. 1 2 "Death of a United States Consul". New York Times. November 24, 1869. p. 2.
Political offices
Preceded by
new office
Secretary of State of Michigan
Succeeded by
Randolph Manning
Preceded by
Joseph Lane
Governor of Oregon Territory
Succeeded by
John P. Gaines
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