The Clackamas people once occupied the land that later became Lake Oswego, but diseases transmitted by European explorers and traders killed most of the natives. Before the influx of non-native people via the Oregon Trail, the area between the Willamette River and Tualatin River had a scattering of early pioneer homesteads and farms.
As settlers arrived, encouraged by the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 and the subsequent Homestead Act, they found the land underoccupied.
Albert Alonzo Durham founded the town of Oswego in 1847, naming it after Oswego, New York.] He built a sawmill on Sucker Creek (now Oswego Creek), the town’s first industry.
In 1855, the federal government forcibly relocated the remaining Clackamas people to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation in nearby Yamhill County.