The following data is extracted from Illustrated History of Union and Wallowa Counties, Oregon.
OTHO ECKERSLEY. - Among the successful and enterprising agriculturists of Union county there must not be failure to mention the esteemed pioneer whose name is at the head of this article, and who has demonstrated his substantial qualities in this county, gaining here a success that is both gratifying and commendable, while he has also exemplified the virtues of good citizenship and the qualities of a true and upright man.
Many of our most thrifty and leading population came from the land with which we are most intimately connected, England, and there was born the subject of this sketch on September 23, 1839, being the son of John and Martha (Thorpe) Eckersley. In Lancashire the family remained until 1848, when the father came to the United States, settling in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and there the remainder of the family joined him in 1853. In 1856 they went to Iowa and the father bought one-half section of land, remaining there for two years, then he returned to Pittsburg, where in 1863, he was called from the scenes of earth. The mother died in 1857. In 1860 our subject went to Colorado, engaging in mining near Leadville, California Gulch and other points and then returned to Iowa, where he remained for a time and then fitted out teams and crossed the plains to eastern Oregon, taking up packing and teaming to the mining town of Auburn, operating largely also from Umatilla Landing to Boise, Basin and other mining points. In June, 1863, he came to the Cove and made that his headquarters while he was teaming, wintering his stock there. In February, 1869, he sold the teams and bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, three and one-half miles north of the Cove, and there took up the life of the general farmer. Soon he purchased eighty acres more adjoining his original farm, and he gave his attention principally to raising hogs, and strawberries and other small fruits. He was attended with prosperity here and continued steadily at the same work until 1895, when he sold the entire farm and bought twenty acres in Cove. He has improved this in good shape and raises small fruits, together with some winter apples. He cultivates three acres to strawberries and ships his products to all points.
The marriage of Mr. Eckersley and Miss Mary L., daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth Owensberg, was solemnized on July 14, 1870, and to them have been born seven children, part of whom are living, as follows: Estella, wife of E.B. Conkling, of Pendleton; Edwin, in the drug business in Idaho; Hattie teaching school in Baker county.
In political matters Mr. Eckersley takes the part of the good citizen, but never presses for personal preferment. In 1896 he was the nominee on the Republican ticket for the legislature, but at that election his ticket was defeated. He is one of the substantial and enterprising citizens of the county, who has by his uprightness and faithfulness commanded the respect and won the esteem and commendations of his fellows.
Source: Illustrated History of Union and Wallowa Counties, Oregon