Major John P. Gaines

Historical Marker #1194 in Boone County recognizes the home site of John Pollard Gaines, a War of 1812 veteran who became governor of Oregon Territory.

Born in Virginia, Gaines moved to Kentucky when he was a child. While little is known about Gaines's 1812 service, he represented Boone County in the Kentucky legislature for several terms in the 1820s and 1830s. Gaines then volunteered for the Mexican War. During that conflict, he was a major in the 1st Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry, a unit that included famous Kentucky emancipationist Cassius M. Clay. During the Mexican War, Gaines fought at Churubusco, Chapultepec, and around Mexico City. Captured by enemy forces, he was also briefly a prisoner of war.

Gaines served in the U. S. Congress from 1847 to 1849. In 1850, he was appointed the governor of the Oregon Territory, a post he held until March 1853. Gaines's home site is located on Kentucky Highway 338 in Boone County.