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FRED D. GASKILL. – As a typical representative of the progresive western agriculturist and stockman, than whom there is not a more wideawake and up-to-date individual in the United States, the subject of this brief review stands, and although a man just entering the walks of life, he has manifested an industry and thrift and ability that have rewarded him in a great measure, and which he justly deserves from the efforts put forth. It is gratifying to note how excellently our subject has wrought out for himself here a prosperity and competence that demonstrate both his good financiering and his keen foresight, and practical judgment, while also he has shown the fine moral qualities of worth with which he is so liberally endowed.
Mr. Gaskill was born in Lapeer county, Michigan, on September 3, 1871, being the son of Ebenezer D. Gaskill, now a resident of the Grande Ronde valley. As soon as our subject had arrived at school years he attended nine months in every year, until he was thirteen years of age, when he gave his entire attention to assisting his father on the latter’s farm, continuing in this praiseworthy occupation until he had reached his majority. In the year 1887 he came with his father to Union county, locating on Sand Ridge, there remaining until twenty-one years of age. At that age he commenced operations on the field of life’s activities for himself, first renting a farm of three hundred and twenty acres, which he tilled for three years, producing therefrom each year from three to eight thousand bushels of grain. At the end of his renting period, which was in the year 1901, he selected a farm, three miles east from Lagrande, containing two hundred and forty acres, and purchased it. It is one of the finest farms of the county, having fertile and strong soil. Mr. Gaskill lives there at the present time, and is giving his entire attention to raising the fruits of the field and to handling stock. The farm is well tilled and he is planning good improvements, while his estate is stocked with all necessary utensils and provided with commodious and comfortable buildings. He is classed as one of the most progressive farmers of the county, and surely the unqualified success that has attended him throughout, abundantly sustains that statement.
Mr. Gaskill married Miss Nellie M., daughter of George and Rebecca (Lamb) Smith, in 1892, and they have been blessed with two children, as follows: Elva May and Ruth R. Mrs. Gaskill’s parents were among the very first pioneers that came to dwell in this valley, settling here as early as 1864, securing one of the best farms of the valley, located on the island. Mrs. Gaskill was born in the valley on January 1, 1873. Mr. Gaskill is active in the realm of politics, manifesting a deep and solicitous interest in the welfare of the county and in political matters generally. He is allied with the Democratic party, being a supporter of the stanch Jeffersonian principles. He is also a member of the A.O.U.W. and is generally popular wherever he is known. Mr. Gaskill is a man of ability, execution, and sagacity, while his integrity and uprightness are no less in evidence in his daily walk, and his advent in the county was a valuable acquisition to our population.
By way of reminiscence it is interesting to note that the fort for the protection of the settlers in the time of the Indian troubles of 1878 was located in Mr. Gaskill’s orchard. The timbers in this edifice were used on the farm and they are still in evidence, as also the port holes bored for the use of rifles. Those times are passed forever and in peace, plenty and contentment the worthy settlers of this grand valley may now repose.