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Owyhee County Its History, Towns, Industries

In 1862 the present county of Owyhee was a part of Boise County, which comprised all of the western portion of Washington Territory lying south of what was then called Idaho county, its area being nearly equal to that of Pennsylvania. When Idaho was created a territory by act of congress, March 3, 1863, Boise county became part and parcel of the territory of Idaho, and at the first session of the territorial legislature, held at Lewiston, Idaho, Owyhee County was created, December 31, 1863, out of all territory south of Snake River and west of the Rocky mountains. In 1864 Oneida County, and in 1879 Cassia County, were cut off of Owyhee County, reducing it to its present limits. Its northern boundary line is the Snake River. Cassia County on the east, state of Oregon on the west, and the state of Nevada forms its southern boundary. Its area is 8,130 square miles, being somewhat larger than the state of Massachusetts. Its name, “Owyhee,” is believed to have been borrowed from the Hawaiian language, and to have been given to the Owyhee River by two Kanakas in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Prior to the spring of 1863, Owyhee County was an unexplored country, inhabited only by bands of hostile Indians, while at that time the diggings of Boise basin and Oro Fino boasted of a population of over ten thousand miners. A legend of the early immigrants to Oregon of the “Blue Bucket diggings,” in the vicinity of the Owyhee mountains, wherein they used sinkers of gold for fishing purposes, led several adventurous spirits to...

The Poorman Mine

On War Eagle Mountain, a mile and a half southeast of Silver City, are a group of about twenty mines, in one of the richest belts in that section of the state, a belt which has afforded material to render Silver City famous throughout the civilized world. The Poorman mine has a production record of three million dollars, and other properties of the group as Bell Pick, Oso, Illinois Central, Jackson and Silver Cord have all been good producers. The Poorman mine was discovered in 1865, and between July 9 and October 1, 1866, there was shipped from it the enormous sum of $606,692. The ore consists of chloride, sulphide of silver and a considerable proportion of copper. At a depth of one hundred feet five hundred pounds of ruby silver were taken out in one solid piece. This piece of ore was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exposition of 1867. The Poorman mine is said to have been the richest body of ore for its size ever discovered. The mine is equipped with a ten-stamp mill, erected in 1895, and for the transportation of ore from the mine to the mill there is a wire-cable tramway of the Hallidie system one mile long. In 1888 the property was purchased by a syndicate of London, England, which is incorporated as the Poorman Gold Mines, limited. John B. Bryson. a resident of London, is the president of the company, and R. H. Britt, a resident here, is the manager. This company contemplates a deeper cut into the earth and a larger development, and great results are expected. The...

Biography of Jeremiah Shea

One of our early pioneers, whose worthy labors have done much toward the development of the resources and the substantial progress of Malheur County, is named at the head of this article and he is eminently fitted to he accorded consideration in this volume of his County’s history, since he is a man of good standing, influential and prominent, has always been a progressive and patriotic citizen, is possessed of integrity and a stanch character and is held in high esteem by all of his fellows. Mr. Shea was born in Canada on March 31, 1847, and there he was educated and remained until he had arrived at manhood’s estate. Then he engaged in lumbering until 1872, at which date he came to this country and engaged with his brother in the stock business. Afterward He went to South Mountain and operated a meat market, then migrated to Silver City, and went into the livery business, and from there he furnished horses to the fleeing settlers at the time of the Indian outbreak in 1878. In 1883 we find him in Wagontown, keeping hotel, where he spent a number of years and soon afterwards he was on Cow creek engaged in the stock business. In 1887 Mr. Shea removed to Jordan creek and bought a ranch and two years later bought his present ranch home three miles east from Jordan Valley. He has four hundred and eighty acres of valuable land and large herds of horses and cattle. Mr. Shea also owns a stage line to De Lamar and Daisy from Jordan Valley, and he has been County assessor...

Biographical Sketch of Albert J. Shea

While the older members of the pioneer staff are retiring one by one, it is pleasant to note that there are younger men of courage and enterprise to take up the worthy labors of these estimable men, who opened this country for settlement, and to prosecute them with an untiring zeal and a sagacity that is sure to win in the battle of life. Among this wide awake class, we are con-strained to mention the subject of this article, who has made a name and place for himself in the ranks of the leading stockmen of Malheur County, being justly entitled to the position he holds, because of his merit and worth, and because of his brilliant achievements. Albert Shea was born in Owyhee County, Idaho, on February 4, 1872, being the son of Cornelius Shea, the well and widely known stockman of this country. The senior Mr. Shea was one of the heaviest stock owners west of the Rockies and one of the keenest and most energetic operators that ever handled cattle. He sold out his immense herds in 1897, and is now living with his family in San Francisco. He is a native of Canada and came to this section in 1867. Reverting more particularly to our subject, we note that he was educated in San Francisco and also on the farm and in the saddle in Eastern Oregon and Southern Idaho. He knows the cattle business from the ground to the completion, and is making a commendable showing as a worthy son of a wise father. At the present time, Mr. Shea is living on his...

Biographical Sketch of William Parks

One of the oldest pioneers of Malheur County and a man of excellent capabilities, being possessed of practical ability and judgment, and a keen discrimination that have made him a very successful business man and one of the leaders in the realm of finance in this section, the subject of this article is abundantly worthy of recognition and especial mention among the prominent men of Malheur County and this portion of Oregon, being also a man of worth and personal virtues. Mr. Parks was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 7, 1845, being the son of Abraham and Jane Eliza (Vanderhoof) Parks. He was deprived of his mother when an infant but received his education and grew to manhood in his native place. It was in 1859 that he crossed the plains to California, locating in Eldorado County where he engaged in farming until 1864. Then he came to Silver City, Idaho and there took up mining until 1871, when he made his way to Jordan valley, now in Malheur County. He at once took a homestead and gave his attention to farming and stock raising. He was successful in that line and now he owns four hundred acres of fine, well improved and irrigated land adjoining the town of Jordan Valley. He has fine buildings and a large hand of cattle. In 1895 Mr. Parks engaged in the mercantile business, and as in his other undertakings, so in this, he was blessed with abundant success, because of his untiring efforts and wise management and careful business methods. He operated in company with J. R. Blackoby and in...

Biographical Sketch of Alvin S. Moss

This enterprising and substantial stock man and farmer of Malheur County is located nine miles northeast from Rockville. Idaho, and is one of the pioneers of this section and has labored with assiduity and sagacity here since the early eighties and is now rewarded with abundant prosperity and a goodly showing, gained by his thrift and careful labors. Mr. Moss was born in Illinois, on September 10, 1857, the son of Sardus B. and Ceria E. Moss. At the age of eight years he went with the balance of the family to southeastern Kansas and there grew up. He gained his education there and labored on the farm with his father. In 1879, he came to Colorado and two years later, he came thence to Malheur County, locating where his estate now is. He has one half section of good land and over one hundred head of cattle, besides many horses. His estate is well improved and he is counted one of the wealthy and substantial men of his section. In political matters, Mr. Moss is always active, taking great interest in the affairs of the County and state, while in educational affairs he is found in the place of the intelligent citizen. It has never been among the ventures made by our subject that he should embark on the matrimonial sea, choosing rather the quieter joys and walks of the...

Biography of Thomas C. Fletcher

One of the earliest pioneers of this region of the country, a man whose life has always been dominated by wisdom prudence and upright principles,. having ever manifested also stanch virtues and a reliability that are becoming a good citizen and faithful man, the subject of this article is vie of the leading men of Malheur County, and a prominent resident of Ontario. Thomas C. was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, on October 11, 1841, being the son of Jewett and Elizabeth Fletcher. When our subject was six years of age he had the misfortune to lose his father and he was soon thereafter taken by his mother to Lee County, Iowa, near Ft. Madison where he was reared on a farm attend the Common schools for his education. In the fall of 1861 when the stirring call came for men to defend the nation’s honor and save her from the assault of treason’s bards, he promptly enlisted in Company G Fourth Iowa Calvalry as bugler and was under General Curtis. Several skirmishes were participated in Missouri and then he was transferred to Sherman’s army Sixteenth Corps, being immediately under% 9A. J. Smith. He was in siege of Vicksburg and on account of sickness was sent home on a furlough, but after recovering was seen again in the ranks and took part in the battle of Ripley, Meridian, and Guntowe besides many skirmishes. He enlisted as bugler until December 1894 being at that time honorably discharged, having never been wounded although he was in the hottest of the fight many a time. Immediately subsequent to his discharge he went...

Biography of Benjamin and Hosea Eastman

Tales of heroism have been the theme of song and story throughout all ages. He who has gone forth to battle for his country, his home or his principles, has figured in history, in literature and in music, and his bravery has stirred the souls of men through all times. All honor to such an one, and yet his heroism is no greater or his daring more pronounced than that of the honored pioneers of the west. Men reared in comfortable homes, accustomed to all the conveniences and privileges of life in the east, have come into the wild western districts and braved danger and hardships untold. Cut off from all comforts and luxuries, they have also had to face death at the hand of the treacherous Indian, and in little bands and oft times singly they have had to fight for liberty and life. Volumes have been written, yet the story of the pioneers has never been adequately told. They deserve all praise and honor and the mighty states of the west with their splendid improvements, enterprises and tokens of civilization are monuments to their memory. The Eastman Brothers, Benjamin Manson and Hosea Bradford, are among those who have founded the state of Idaho and brought about her present prosperity and greatness. They are now numbered among the leading business men of Boise, where many important business interests are found as the result of their diligence and executive ability. They are natives of Whitefield, New Hampshire, born December 30, 1830, and November 21, 1835, respectively. They are descended from good old Revolutionary stock, their grandfather, Ebenezer Eastman, having...

Biography of John Crete, Sr.

The Fatherland has furnished to America many of her valued citizens, men who have crossed the Atlantic to ally their interests with those of “the land of the free.” Adapting them-selves to entirely new surroundings, customs and manners, they have achieved success and won a place among the representative men of the communities in which their lots have been cast. Such is true of John Crete, the genial, well-known and popular proprietor of the War Eagle Hotel, at Silver City. Born in Hasbrouck, Hanover, Germany, April 25, 1832, he was a son of a Ger-man soldier who afterward became a police officer, and while making an arrest, was beaten by a criminal. His injuries brought on blood-poisoning, from which he died when fifty-two years of age. His wife long survived him, and passed away at the advanced age of ninety years. They had six children, five sons and one daughter, all now deceased but two. John Crete, the fourth in order of birth, was educated in the schools of his native land, and in 1849, when seventeen years of age, crossed the Atlantic to the New World, hoping to better his financial condition in this country, where broader and better opportunities are afforded young men. He landed in New York and there accepted a position as salesman in a coffee and teahouse, where he remained until i860, when he sailed for California, going by the isthmus route. At the old town of Shasta in the northern part of California he first engaged in mining. On the 1st of May, 1862, with seven others, he started on a prospecting tour...

Biography of Colonel William H. Dewey

Among the prominent influential citizens of Idaho, Colonel Dewey, of Dewey, enjoys a unique position and reputation. He is a pioneer Idahoan in the true sense of that word, and the marvelous development of the interests and industries of his adopted state is largely attributable to his enterprise and sagacity. He is a man of remarkable resources, and has never failed to measure fully up to all the requirements and emergencies of life. Although over seventy years old, he is well preserved and exhibits unabated vigor of mind and body. Colonel Dewey is a native of the state of New York, and his first American ancestors were early settlers in Massachusetts. In the autumn of 1863 he came to Idaho and located where the town of Dewey now is, but subsequently removed to where the town of Ruby City was located, and with others, March 21, 1864, laid out the town of Silver City. The gentleman whose name introduces this review is a born miner, and from his first arrival in Idaho the Colonel became prominently connected with the mining interests of the northwest, in which connection it is perfectly fair to say that he has been one of the leading and principal factors in the development of the mineral resources of this state. He owned nearly half of the South Mountain camp during the period of its greatest activity and was one of three men to discover and locate this magnificent property. He purchased the Trade Dollar mine in 1889, and after making numerous and expensive improvements upon it, sold to the present owners one hundred and thirty-four...
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