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A Brief History of the Panhandle of Oregon

One of the richest sections of Oregon is what is known as the Panhandle. Extending from the Blue Mountains west of North Powder to the Wallows county line, beyond Cornucopia. And whilst this fertile and productive area belongs to Union county, it should be a part of Baker County, as Baker City is its natural outlet as well as its market point. Situated almost on the top of the granites in the extreme Eastern part of Union county, about seventy miles from Baker City, is the bustling mining camp of Cornucopia. As regards development the mines of the Cornucopia Mining district are only in their infancy. But one mine, the “Cornucopia Mines of Oregon” have been tested. The ore in this mine, as in the other mines of the district, is base, but pays well for working, as the ore goes on an average of more than twenty dollars a ton. This mine furnishes employment to something like 125 men in and around the mines, and in addition to this, a number of men and teams are engaged all the year in hauling concentrates to Baker City. But this mine is only one of a number of good mines in the district. In fact, the hills and mountains around Cornucopia are a veritable mass of gold, and all that is needed is capital to make the Cornucopia district one of me greatest mining districts of the West. Already capital is being invested in the district. The Simmons group and other equally good mines have been bonded to a strong company, and machinery is being put in place to thoroughly...

Baker County Oregon Gold Mining History

The Baker County Oregon Gold Mining History collection provides the reader an overlook of gold mining, principally in Baker County, Oregon, but also extending to the counties of Grant, Harney, Malheur and Union. Along with the history of gold mining in Baker County, Oregon, this manuscript also provides detailed articles on the specific mercantile interests tied into the gold trade in Eastern Oregon, as well as biographies of the miners and principal players of the era.

Biographical Sketch of W. R. Privett

For years, W. R. Privett has been connected with various institutions of learning, until the profession of a teacher, than which there is no higher or nobler, has became second nature to him, slid none in the ranks of that profession stand higher or more universally command the respect and esteem of the general public, than does the subject of this sketch. Born in Missouri in 1847, he came to Oregon in 1852, with his parents, who died enroute. He made his home with an uncle, on a farm near Scio, and received his preliminary education in the public schools. He began teaching in Linn County at the age of 16, following it until 21, when he entered the Agricultural College at Corvallis, graduating in 1871. He at once began teaching in the public schools of Corvallis, and later in those of Linn and Marion counties until 1888. Moving to Baker county, he taught there until 1893, when he was elected school superintendent on the Democratic ticket. He married Miss Mary Shelton, of Linn County, in 1876, and has four children. His record as a teacher and a man and citizen is without it blemish, and his friends and admirers are...

Biographical Sketch of M. E. Swan

The present efficient Clerk of Baker County, is a man who stands high among his constituents, and is the fortunate possessor of a host of warm personal friends, who in their admiration of his numerous sterling qualities, would make almost any sacrifice to enhance his success. He was born within the borders of the Empire State, New York, in 1857. In 1881 he came to Baker County and was engaged in placer mining in the Mormon Basin, for two years. He then entered the employ of P. Basche & Co., and finally became head salesman. In 1892 he left their employ to become engaged in the plumbing and steam fitting business under the firm style of Swan & Colt. Meeting with an unfortunate accident which resulted in the loss of the active use of his right hand, he had to quit business. In 1890 he was elected County Clerk, and has been re-nominated again oil the Union...

Biographical Sketch of Dr. George W. Tape

A well-known and popular physician of Sumpter, and one whose kind, attentive treatment of the sick and geniality of manner towards them well have made him deservenly the favorite of all classes, was born in Ontario, Canada. In 1865, and received his preliminary education in that province. At the age of eighteen he entered the Detroit College of Medicine, and graduated in 1888. He then took a position on the house staff of the Harper Hospital at Detroit, and remained there till he came west, locating in Portland in 1891, where he successfully practiced for two years. In 1893 he returned east, but soon found his health would not permit him to stay there. Returning to Portland he practiced there until the spring of 1897, when he located at Sumpter. In 1890 he married Miss Josephine S. Wallington, of Detroit,...

Palmer & Denham

A list of Baker City’s enterprising and successful business men would not he complete without mentioning Palmer & Denham, the hustling, up-to-date harness men of Main street. The partners, R. R. Palmer and H. E. Denham, are both practical mechanics and personally supervise the construction of every piece of work that is turned out of their shop. The interior cut we present will give our traders some idea of the line carried, which consists of harness, saddles, saddlery, hardware, horse furniture of every description and gloves. They have the largest stock in Eastern Oregon, keeping at large assortment on hand in order to satisfy the demands of all their customers. They make a specialty of stock saddles, at catalogue of which can be second on application. In their shop they employ five skilled workmen, and their motto is “The very best at reasonable prices.” They are also agents for the White sewing machine, which they sell for from $30 to...

Gold Star Gold Mining & Milling Co.

On the east slope of the Blue Mountains, about thirty-six miles west of Baker City, in Baker County, and twelve miles from Sumpter, the present terminus of the Sumpter Valley Railway, lies the property of the above named company. It consists of six claims, six hundred by fifteen hundred feet, as follows: The California, Winning Band, Daisy, Silver Creek, Hornet, and Coal Pit. On the former a great deal of work has been done, six tunnels laving been driven, No. 1 being 100 feet long, No. 2 125 feet, No. 3, 75 feet, No. 4, 200 feet, No. 5, 268 feet. No. 6, 408 feet. The formation of the vein is of a porphyretic nature. The filling or vein matter is quartz carrying sulphurets of iron. It is from four to five feet wide, showing an average of from eighteen to twenty-four inches pay streak, and widens and grows richer as depth is obtained. There has been a number of improvements built on the property, including it modern ten stamp mill, with ore breakers and wilefly tables, boarding houses, office building, electric plant, and lately a slum house, 40×60. They have also lately added four Johnson concentrators. This property, in the opinion of mining men of this section, will prove to be one of our greatest producers, and will lend its influence to prove that the gold mines of Eastern Oregon are among the country’s best investments. W. J. Connors is the efficient superintendent of these...

Biographical Sketch of J. A. Churchill

Among the public institutions of our country note more deservedly attract the attention of all lovers of law and order than do our public schools. It is all important, therefore, that each city should have some man of learning and ambition at the bead to represent, as It were, in a single individual the individual interest of every child in it. We are peculiarly fortunate in the section of capacity to fill this position. lie has the ripe experience of a successful teacher, the energy and ambition of a man who is just entering the prime of life, the love of the work in culcated into him by his long continued connection with public instruction, and a spirit of that progress to the overthrow of old fogyism, if necessary, which will insure his educational work the advancement made by other public interests. Prof. Churchill is a native of Ohio, and received his preliminary education in the public schools of that commonwealth. He later took a thorough coarse in the Normal University, located at Ada, Ohio, teaching in the interim, since his eighteenth year. Leaving the Normal he received the principalship of the schools of Westminster, Ohio, and later the principalship of the High School at Crookston, Minn.. In 1891 lie came to Baker City, and for the first year was principal of the High School, and since then has been city superintendent. It will not be necessary to dwell on the growth of our schools under his direction, as the character of his work speaks for itself, through the reputation our schools enjoy in the...

Biographical Sketch of James T. Wisdom

The accompanying cut is reproduced from a snap-shot taken on Willow Grove Farm, the property of James T. Wisdom, who has earned quite a reputation as a breeder of Short Horn cattle. His place, which is probably the best improved one in the county, is located six stiles northwest of Baker City, and consist of 311 acres of choice land adapted to raising both hay and grain. It has five running streams of water on it, and one could not possibly find a more suitable place for the purpose for which it is used. Our cut hardly does justice to the house and barn, the former having ten rooms on a stone basement, the latter it palatial affair, with a capacity of 50 head of stock. Mr. Wisdom is a firm believer in the staying qualities of the Short Horn, both for beef and butter, staking it the best all purpose cattle extant, and is devoting his time to them alone. His herd are all thoroughbred, being either registered or eligible to registry. He is also a large property owner in Baker City and has always shown a disposition to assist materially in any enterprise looking to the welfare of our growing...

Biography of Archibald Downie

The name that heads this sketch is one well known throughout the west. He who bears it is now over three score years of age, but he appears much younger, and is possessed of a greater degree of vim and energy than is ordinarily displayed by men of younger years. His career has, indeed, been an interesting one, and to enumerate even the more prominent events of his life and to do justice to his energy and enterprise in one brief sketch would be impossible, as it would occupy more space than we can spare in our little volume. Mr. Downie was born in Scotland in 1835, and came to New York at the age of 17. He shortly after went to California and for the next sixteen years was engaged in mining in Nevada, Eldorado and Sierra Counties, owning the Key Stone diggings, from which he and his partners took out $92,000.00 in eleven months. Selling out his interest in the ground left for $800.00, in six months sixty thousand more was taken out. He acted then as the manager for the Nebraska mime in Nevada County for two years, and then again became possessor of some rich placers which he worked with success for a number of years. Finally, feeling the effects of underground or deep placer work, he came to Oregon in 1870, staying a short time only in Baker City, and then moving to Sumpter, he began mining again at Tamarack glitch. “Archie” Downie, as he is familiarly knows to all, is a typical miner, shrewd in business but with a heart as large as...
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