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For many years was engaged in the operation of a large sheep ranch in Wallowa county, is one of the substantial residents of Joseph, where he is now living retired.
He was born in Madison County, Indiana, on August 7, 1862, the eldest and only surviving child born of the marriage of William and Mary (Fox) Makin. The father was at one time the largest sheep raiser in the Wallowa valley but he is now living retired in Enterprise. The mother, however, has long since passed away.
When he was a child less than one year of age Elzie O. Makin accompanied his parents on their journey across the plains to Oregon. They arrived in November 1862 and the following spring the father filed on a claim in the Grande Ronde valley, where the son was reared to manhood. At that time the educational advantages in the rural districts were very inadequate, and the schooling of Elzie O. Makin was limited to irregular attendance during the three months’ winter session of the school in his home district. When he was nineteen years of age he left home to begin earning his own living. As he had never learned a trade, it behooved him to accept the first business opening that afforded adequate remuneration, so he earned his first wages cutting and making railroad ties in the Blue Mountains for the railroad which was then in course of construction through La Grande.
The following year, before attaining his majority, he was married and together with his bride started on a wagon journey toward the east. After spending four months traveling they reached Arkansas, where they decided to locate. During the succeeding seven years they lived at various points in that state. Mr. Makin accepting such positions as presented themselves and changing his employment whenever he found anything that promised better wages. At the expiration of that time they decided to return to Oregon, but the railroad was then completed and the journey westward was made with greater ease and accompanied by less discomfort than the trip to Arkansas seven years previous.
They located in Wallowa County, where his people had removed during his absence, and for two years thereafter he was employed on his father’s sheep ranch. As both he and his wife were desirous of acquiring a place of their own, they lived very economically during that period and in 1891 had sufficient capitol to purchase eighty acres of land near Enterprise, upon which they settled. Mr. Makin engaged in the cultivation of this for two years, then homesteaded a quarter section on the Snake River. From time to time thereafter as his circumstances warranted he extended the boundary of his own ranch until it embraced five hundred and twenty acres. Here for eight years he extensively engaged in the sheep business, in which he met with a gratifying degree of success. In 1902 he disposed of this and purchased seven hundred and twenty acres seven miles east of Enterprise, where he removed with his family in 1903. There he continued sheep-raising until the spring of 1911, when he disposed of both his stock and ranch and came into Joseph, where he is now living retired. In addition to his pleasant home here, Mr. Makin still owns three hundred and twenty acres of valuable timber land and has various other interests, being one of the prosperous citizens of the town and well he deserves such success as has rewarded his efforts, as it is the result of his own individual endeavors.
Mr. Makin has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Margaret E. Findley of the Grande Ronde valley, in 1882. They became the parents of eight children, as follows: Allen and Walter, who are at home; Louisa, the wife of Levi Miller, of Enterprise; Viola, who married Fred Green, of Joseph; and Edith, Milford, Nolan and Nova, the latter twins.
The mother passed away in 1903 and in 1906 Mr. Makin was married to Miss Mollie A. Tuttle, of Wallowa County, and they have one child, Howard.
The political allegiance of Mr. Makin is given to the candidates of the Republican Party, and although he takes an earnest interest in all local matters he has never had either the time or inclination to seek public office. For many years he applied himself closely and worked tirelessly, but his persistent diligence was crowned with success and he is now enjoying the ease and comfort that justly rewards intelligently directed effort.
Taken in part from “The centennial History Of Oregon” 1911