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CAPT. ENOCH W. PIKE. – As a rule, the settlers of the Northwest have not passed through very much actual suffering in subduing the country; but their experiences have sometimes been severe, as is illustrated in the career of the subject of this sketch. Captain Pike is a native of Maine, and was born in 1842. Removing while a boy to Winona, Minnesota, he was led by the call for soldiers during the war to enlist in Company K. Ninth Regiment Minnesota Infantry Volunteers. His regiment was detached to subdue the Sioux, who were then at war with the settlers; but after this he served to the close of the war. Returning to his home in Minnesota, he was appointed postmaster at Lewiston, but learning of the opportunities in the far West, and having a soldier’s claim to public land, he crossed the continent, arriving at Salem in 1867. The expenses of the journey for himself and his young wife had exhausted his mans, but finding friends at the capital of Oregon, he was supplied with work and, in addition to making a living, was able to buy a lot and erect a dwelling. Being suited with Linn county he removed thither, and with his parents, recently from the East, engaged in agriculture. A back stroke, however, fell upon him there from having inconsiderately signed a note for a friend, who proved unreliable and left him to pay it. This ill-luck decided him to make use of his soldier’s claim as the nucleus of a new fortune.
Repairing therefore in 1873 to Klikitat county, he located a claim in the bunch-grass country. The region was then wholly unoccupied, except by cattle rangers; and its capability for producing grain and vegetables was untested. Anyone being caught out on its expanses must shift for himself, as there were no neighbors to lend a hand in time of need. With a sick and discouraged wife, and a broken-down team, the Captain found himself alone in that wild region. Laying his soldier’s claim, however, and securing a little lumber, he erected the walls of his cabin, which an untimely snowstorm filled with drift before the roof was on. As the winter lingered he was obliged, in order to comply with the six months’ clause of the law, to shovel out a room in the snow, and, with robes, blankets and a rousing fire on the cellar-floor, to pass a night with his family in that storm-bound spot. Money for subsistence during that hard year was obtained by securing mail contracts on the route from The Dalles to Columbus and Goldendale, and Klikitat Landing at fifty dollars per month. That in the winter-time was a very hard task.
The stockmen, his neighbors, as the spring drew on, predicted a failure of the crops. But believing that grain would grow where grass was luxurious, the Captain prepared a high, dry field, sowed it to grain, and planted it also with vegetables; and such was the success of the experiment that others followed his example. He thus became a pioneer in the production of grain on the Klikitat hills.
Space forbids our following the many interesting experiments and exploits of this veteran. He did the country an important service during the Indian excitement at the time of the Modoc war, and was in the Yakima and Colville country after the massacre of the Perkins family, bringing Moses and his braves to Fort Simcoe after their clever capture by Captain Splawn. Captain Pike had organized a company of his own, and, since these Indian difficulties, has formed and drilled Company B of Goldendale. He passed all the grades, until in June, 1888, he reached the colonelcy of the Second Regiment, N.G.W., which he now holds. In 1878 he was elected assessor of Klikitat county, and in 1880 took the census. He is at present living at Goldendale, conducting an agricultural implement business. He is also a stockholder in the First National Bank of Goldendale. He has there acquired a handsome property, and is enjoying the fruits of his former labors and hardships. The foundations of a substantial state are laid deep in the ground. the first work does not make the show of the last; but it is there.