James Westley Hammack, who is living on his ranch located one mile east of Lostine, has always devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits, and has met with a goodly measure of success. His life record was begun in Knox County, Kentucky, his parents being James and Elizabeth (Moore) Hammack, both of whom are now deceased, the father having passed away in 1899 and the mother in 1905.
The early years in the life of James Westley Hammack were passed on the farm where he was born and in the cultivation of which he began to assist while still in his childhood. In common with many other lads reared in the country at that period he was given but a meager education, attending school only at such times as his services were not required about the farm. Under the capable supervision of his father he acquired a thorough knowledge of the best practical methods of tilling the fields and harvesting the crops, so that by the time he had attained his majority he was a skilled agriculturist. He subsequently left home and went out in the world to make his own way, but still continued to devote his energies to farming. Together with his wife and family he crossed the plains to Oregon in 1865 with an ox team, his destination being Yamhill county. He remained their for only two years, then went to Union county, where he acquired some government land which he cultivated with excellent success for thirty years. From there he came to Wallowa county, settling in the valley, where he resumed his agricultural activities. As he is a capable ranch man of enterprising habits he has prospered since coming here and is known as one of the substantial citizens of the county. At various times he added to his original tract until he had acquired two hundred and forty acres, but the cultivation of this involved much labor and close supervision, and of recent years Mr. Hammack has given some of his land to his sons. He retains a tract, however, that is well improved and highly productive, and despite the fact that he is seventy-four years of age he continues to superintend its cultivation. He has always led a very active life and although he is now able to live in retirement, having more than sufficient to provide for the needs of himself and wife, he is too energetic to relinquish his work.
In Wayne county, Iowa, in 1863. Mr. Hammack was married to Miss Sarah Miller, a daughter of John and Mahaly Miller, and they have become the parents of seventeen children, ten of whom are living, as follows: John L., James L., Josephine, Daniel M., Effie, Emma, Carrie V., Hattie, Floyd and Bert. Those deceased are Isabelle, Thomas F., Cora A., Elizabeth, William and Esther.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Hammack are members of the Christian Church, in the faith of which they have reared their family, and his political prerogatives he has always exercised in support of the men and measures of the Democratic Party. Mr. Hammack has been a resident of Oregon for forty seven years, and during that period he has been an interested observer of the state’s development, and has enthusiastically contributed his quota toward forwarding its progress on every possible occasion. He is one of the loyal, enterprising pioneers to whose efforts the northwest is largely indebted for the position it holds in the agricultural world today, and he can relate many interesting reminiscences of those early days, when the Indians yet roamed on the prairies and skulked in the forests, where now are to be found highly cultivated ranches and thriving towns.
The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911.