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LOUIS B. RINEHART. – Mr. Rinehart was born in Illinois in 1844, and ten years later accompanied his parents across the plains to Oregon. They followed the track s of 1853 from the mouth of the Malheur to Eugene City via Harney Lake. Ten miles west of Eugene the elder Rinehart located a half section of land, and provided a home for his family. Louis remained there until 1862, but that spring came with his brothers to the Grande Ronde valley. After living in a tent three months, he hauled the logs and assisted in the erection of the third house in the town of La Grande. A few days afterwards Mr. Rinehart, with others, conceived the idea of the location of some of the remarkably productive lands in the neighborhood; and in accordance with that conception they commenced staking their claims. Ere long they were waited upon by a detachment of the Umatilla Indians, who were encamped near by, and who pulled up their stakes.
Mr. Rinehart was, for a number of years thereafter, engaged in cattle-ranging and cattle-driving between the Willamette and Grande Ronde valleys; until, in 1865, he and his brother erected the first mercantile house in the village which they afterwards named Summerville. the next year they were joined by a third brother, and purchased the first gristmill in Union county. Being possessed with the requisite qualities, Mr. Rinehart was soon called upon to fill public offices, first as treasurer of Union county; and later, having moved to Baker county, he acted as assessor two years. In 1880, in response to the voice of the people, he represented Baker county in the House of representatives.
In 1881 he returned to his first home, and encamped at the south end of what is now the most beautiful village in the Pacific Northwest, – that of Union, Oregon. Since then he has been engaged in mercantile enterprises and in stock-raising, and for four years was state senator from Union county. He is owner of the townsite of Vale, Malheur county, and also owns eleven hundred acres of land, and is in every respect one of the most prosperous men of the Inland Empire.