Location: Baker City Oregon

Biography of Augustus Titus

AUGUSTUS H. TITUS is a man that has a wide range of experience both in the affairs of life in its ordinary occupations and also in pioneer experiences, having passed through practically all the various vocations usually met with in frontier life, as mining, camping, opening up a new farm, as well as the incidents of danger and adventure with which such existence is frequently attended, beside much fighting with the savages in various places; universally manifesting both a cool and wise judgment and capabilities and valor and courage that are the constituent parts of the true man and progressive spirit. Mr. Titus was born on July 17, 1843, in Morgan county, Illinois, being the son of Noah and Melissa Titus, and when a child was taken by his parents near Quincy, Adams county, in the same state. He remained on the farm with his parents until he was twenty-one years of age, and then followed the advice of Horace Greeley, and embarked on the weary journey across plains and mountains to the Pacific coast. When as far as the Black Hills on their journey, they were attacked by the Indians, who killed four men, one colored boy, and captured two women, one of whom was released in a few days and the other was detained for three years before she made her escape. The train proceeded from this...

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Business and Fun in ’62 And ’63

About the Middle of October 1862, the first church organization in Baker County was effected under the supervision of Father Mesplie, of the Catholic Church, who came from Canyon City for that purpose. A long building was secured at the cost of six hundred dollars, but services were not held regularly, owning to the distance the priest had to travel. About the same time Miss O’Brien, now Mrs. Packwood, commenced the first school taught in Baker County, having about forty pupils in attendance. A lot was donated to her for school purposes and a sum of money raised by subscription to pay for the building of a house. She taught six weeks and gave up the position to Mrs. Stafford who continued the school until some time in the winter when she was taken sick and died. The same fall and winter Mrs. Chandler taught a school near Pocahontas in Powder River valley. In the latter part of summer of 1862, Mr. Comstock constructed a toll road from Auburn down Powder river to the valley, which he soon sold to Moore and Norcross, of Auburn, and some-time in the winter they sold it to Mr. Place who kept it up as a toll road for several years when it became a county road, land is now one of the most important thoroughfares in the county, being the route traveled...

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Baker County Oregon Officers

County Officers At the session of the legislature which convened in September 1862, an act was passed organizing the county of Baker, including within its limits all the southeast portion of the state, which has since been divided into the several counties of Wallowa, Union, Baker and Malheur. Officers for the new county were appointed upon their duties on the third day of November 1862, as appears from the journal of the county court, in which the first entry is as follows: County Court of Baker County, Oregon, met pursuant to law, Nov. 3, 1862. Present, the Hon. John Q. Wilson, county judge; J. W. Wickersham, under sheriff; William Waldo, deputy county clerk. The other county officers appointed at the same time were George Hall, sheriff; Samuel A. Clarke, clerk; Wm. F. McCrary, treasurer; W. D. Quigley, assessor; Wm. H. Packwood, School Superintendent. The first case in the county court was that of A. B. Roberts, plaintiff vs. Thomas Allison, defendant: Grey for plaintiff, Heed & Pierce for defendant. That case was a kind of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce case in a small way. Mr. Roberts commenced action to recover possession of certain goods, November 5, 1862. Case dismissed. The same evening the parties came before the judge, Roberts, plaintiff vs. Allison defendant, character of the case not stated, but prisoner dismissed. November 6, comes, State of Oregon vs. Thomas...

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History of the First Baptist Church, Baker City Oregon

The first Baptist church in Baker City was organized December 7, 1874, Rev. L. H. Boothe was chairman of the meeting and Prof. S. P. Barrett clerk. The members present were Hardin Estes, Perlina Estes, Arthur Smith, Mary Kilbourn, Samuel Gaines, Mary Gaines, Prof. Barrett, Mary Barrett and Delazon Smith. Prof. Barrett served as clerk until July 1875, then Arthur Smith about two years, followed by F. Baird for four years. Mrs. F. E. Small was chosen clerk March 15, 1884, and was succeeded by Wilbur Finch April 20, 1888. Frank Baird was clerk from February 1889 to March 1890, and Miss. E. C. Sturgill from then till January 1892, and J. F. Porter from January till September, and N. E. Darling from September to the present time. Rev. E. P. Waltz, the first pastor of the church came from Monroe County Mo., arriving at Baker City January 2, 1875. The 20th day of March he was chosen pastor in charge and served in that capacity ten years. After Mr. Waltz resigned there was no regular pastor in charge until May 29, 1887, the Rev. Geo. H. Brown was chosen. C. N. Burnham was pastor from May to October 1889, and J. M. Haskell from October to December. George T. Ellis, the present pastor, took charge in June 1890. In 1882 the construction of a house of worship was...

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History of Baker City Oregon Government

Pursuant to an act of the legislature in 1874 the people of Baker City proceeded to form a city government, by electing the officers required by the terms of the charter. The trustees were S. B. McCord, J. A. Reid, S. Grier, J. H. Parker and G. J. Bowman. The first meeting of the board was held at the Court House, November 25, 1874, at which Bowman was elected president. The minutes of the meeting were signed by R. H. Cardwell, recorder. At a meeting of the board November 28, Wm. M. Constable was elected city marshal. On December 2, James H. Shinn was elected city attorney. At a meeting on the 9th of December, ten ordinances were submitted to the board by the city attorney and adopted. George Wisdom was elected night watchman with a salary of seventy dollars per month. December 30, W. J. Eastabrook was declared elected recorder in place of Cardwell, resigned. March 3, 1875, E. W. Reynolds was elected recorder in place of Eastabrook, resigned. At a special election March 18, J. M. Shepherd was elected recorder. July 31, 1875, a fire engine for the use of the city was purchased for $700. At the regular city election November 4, 1875, Bowman, Eppinger, Alfred, Weller and John Bowen were elected trustees. H. C. Durkee, recorder; George Wisdom, marshal and R. Alexander, treasurer. November 6,...

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History of First Presbyterian Church of Baker City Oregon

A meeting was called by the Presbytery of Idaho to be held in Baker City, January 5 and 6, 1884, at which all members and those in sympathy with the Presbyterian church of the United States, were invited to be present. Rev. C. H. Shields, of Union, having been invited, presided at the meeting. The following named persons came forward and were duly constituted the first Presbyterian church of Baker City and asked that the name be placed on the roll of churches of the Presbytery of Idaho. John Edmunson, Mesdames Edmunson, Mitchell, McComas, Irland and Grey, John Edmunson was chosen ruling elder for three years. Mesdames Mitchell, McComas and Irland were elected trustees. Rev. J. S. Binghan was the first resident pastor. In 1889 a church was erected on ground donated by the Ladies Aid society of the Presbyterian Church, southwest corner Fourth and Washington Streets. The building cost $4000, entailing a debt of $2900, which has since been paid and the church is clear of debt. Rev. Bingham was pastor until December ’89, when he was succeeded by J. Breuillett, who was succeeded by G. A. Hutchinson, July 5, 1890, who officiated until September 3, 1891. The church was then without a pastor until July 17, 1892, the Rev. Theodore Hunter took charge. A Sabbath school has been maintained and recently a Young Peoples Endeavor society was...

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History of Baker County Oregon Newspapers

On Wednesday, May 11, 1870, the first number of the Bedrock Democrat was issued-the first newspaper published in Baker County Abbott & McArthur, proprietors. The editor in his address to the public promises devotion to the interests of the people of Eastern Oregon in all things pertaining to the material interests of the people, and fidelity to the Democratic Party in political matters. In the editorial columns the public debt and other political questions of the time are discussed. In the local columns the different mining camps of the county all receive a notice. The miners at Auburn were jubilant over their prospects, and in the Shasta district it was announced that the waters of Camp Creek had just been turned into the Burnt River ditch to be conveyed to the Eldorado diggings. From Rye Valley it was reported that Webber & Co. made a clean up the week before which averaged two hundred dollars per day, and Green and Archambeau cleaned up an average of ninety dollars per day. At Mormon Basin Mr. Copeland had picked-up two nuggets the week before worth fifty and sixty dollars respectively. The quartz ledges in the Granite Mountains are spoken of as having attracted much attention the previous fall. Mention is made of the Baker City post office having lately been made and designated a money order office by the postmaster general....

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Arrivals, Incidents and Anecdotes of Baker County Oregon

Joseph Kinnison came to Powder River valley in July and took up a ranch where he has ever since resided. To him belongs the honor of plowing the first furrow ever turned in Baker County. In the spring of 1863 he had about forty acres in cultivation. About the first of June there was a severe frost and all growing vegetables seemed to be thoroughly frozen. Mr. Kinnison offered to take fifty dollars for his crop but found no buyer. He was most agreeably surprised to find, when the frost was gone, that no serious damage had been done, and that season he sold nearly four thousand dollars worth of produce from the forty acre lot. Mr. Hibbard and family from Umpqua valley settled at the foot of the mountains on a claim adjoining Mr. Morrison’s and Messrs. Worley, Spillman, Creighbaum and others took claims in the vicinity. Strother Ison took up a claim on Pine creek where he continued to reside until his death which occurred in the year 1889. Jerry Shea took up a claim south of Ison’s which he afterwards sold to Hardin Perkins who has lived upon it ever since. About the same time James Akers located the claim upon which he still resides. George Ebell settled near the foot of the mountains where he has made one of the best farms in the valley....

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Public Schools of Baker County Oregon

It is much to be regretted that all records of matters pertaining to public schools during the first years of the settlement of the county, have been lost. All that can be done now is to record such matters as may be remembered by those who were engaged in school affairs in those days, as teachers or otherwise. As stated elsewhere, Mrs. Packwood taught the first school in the county, at Auburn, in the fall of 1862. Soon after her arrival she engaged in the work of raising money for the purpose of building a schoolhouse, and in a short time obtained sufficient sum, the house was built and school commenced with about fifty pupils in attendance. The children came with such books as they had brought with them across the plains, McGuffey’s readers, Sander’s readers, etc., making it necessary to have more classes than would be required in a school of ten times the number of pupils if provided with a uniform series of text books. W. H. Packwood was the first county school superintendent and issued the first teacher’s certificate to Mrs. Stafford, at Auburn. Mrs. Packwood’s was a subscription school, so Mrs. Stafford taught the first public school in the county. Mr. Packwood divided the territory of the county, then including Grande Ronde Valley, into five districts and gave certificates to four teachers in the first...

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Early Education in Baker County Oregon

Permanent among the educational institutions of Baker County is the Baker City Normal and Business College which has just finished its sixth year of usefulness. This school of education for business pursuits and the preparation of persons for the teaching profession, was organized January 10, 1887, by Mr. C. H. Whitney, a graduate of the National Business College. At first the branches taught included single and double entry bookkeeping, business penmanship, commercial arithmetic, business correspondence, etc. together with an actual business department in which the student received practical instruction in the branches passed over in theory. During the autumn of 1890, Prof. A. A. Danford, of Forman, North Dakota, associated himself with the institution and established a department of normal instruction for the preparation of teachers for their profession. The school has since that time continued as a normal and business college and has steadily advanced in popularity and success. During the last two years the school has been under the management of Sturgill & Sturgill, both well known business men of Baker City, who together with Prof. Sterling, of Portland, Oregon, are doing much to make the college a prosperous and permanent institution of the county. In 1869, A. H. Brown, L W. Nelson, Wm. F. McCarty and R. A. Pierce organized an academy with Prof. F. Grubbs, principal. The school was conducted successfully by Mr. and Mrs....

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Auburn Oregon Catholic Church

As stated elsewhere, the first church established in Baker was the Catholic Church, organized at Auburn in 1862 by Father Mesplie. On that first visit he solemnized the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Packwood, the second event of the kind in the county, that of Mr. and Mrs. Hall a short time before being the first. Father Deilman came over from Canyon City to Auburn at intervals afterward and held services but there was never any resident priest at the town. Father Deilman got lost on one of his trips, and wandered in the mountains three days with nothing to eat but huckleberries. Mesdames Bowen, Packwood and Mooney raised $200 to be used for procuring a house of worship. When the church was organized Messrs. Packwood, Bowen and Jere Dooley were appointed trustees and they bought a house for a church, paying $200 down and giving a mortgage on the building for $400 more. Bowen and Dooley had gone to Idaho when the mortgage was to be signed and Packwood signed it as trustee alone. Property in Auburn had declined greatly in value when the mortgage was foreclosed, and the sum realized from the sale of the house paid but a small portion of the debt, and Packwood was held for the balance, the same as if it were his own private business, but Bishop Blanchett finally adjusted the...

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Quartz Mining, Baker County Oregon

About two thousand claims on quartz lodes have been recorded in Baker County since 1862. More or less development work has been done on most of them, perhaps one half of them having been worked to the extent which the law requires in order to make the claim secure. Nineteen quartz mills have been built, ranging in capacity from two to sixty tons per day. The first one built was the Ruckles mill at Baker City, which was put in operation in 1864. The mill was run by waterpower, and was built to work the ore from what was then called the Rockafellow lode, situated about eight miles northeast of Baker City. Mr. Rockafellow and Mr. Wills discovered the lode in the spring of the year 1864, being led to prospect for it by reason of some specimens of gold bearing quartz having been found in that vicinity the previous fall by Philip Waggy and another man, who were out hunting horses. Mr. Ruckles worked the mine about four years, when J. W. Virtue and A. H. Brown became the owners for about three years. They sold to a San Francisco company, and the name was changed to the Virtue mine. A Mr. Jackson took charge of the mine as superintendent and built a steam power mill of twenty stamps at the mine. About a year afterwards work was...

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Gold Discovery on Giffin’s Gulch

A little more than thirty-one years have passed away since the first discovery of gold on Griffin’s Gulch an event which led to the first permanent settlement in Eastern Oregon southwest of the blue mountains. Many of the pioneers of thirty years ago are still living, but their number is growing less year after year, and soon there will be no living witness to the stirring events. The toils, hardships and adventures of those gold seekers who first made known the resources of the country. True, the old emigrant road passes through Powder river valley, and most of the early settlers of Western Oregon had seen some of the valleys, and most of the early settlers of Western Oregon had seen some of the valleys, the grass – covered hills and timbered mountains through and over which the road passes, but none had thought seriously of making a home so far away in the interior if the country, where they would be constantly exposed to the depredations of hostile Indians. With no navigable streams east and south of the Blue mountains, agriculture could not have flourished; with hostile Indians roaming over the country for hundreds of miles, stock raising would have been too precarious to tempt anybody to engage in that industry and for a long period all that region must have remained uninhabited and almost unexplored but for...

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Baker City, Baker County Oregon History

Baker City In the month of August 1864, R. A. Pierce laid claim to the SE ΒΌ of Sec. 17, Tp. 9. S. 40, east of the Willamette meridian, and proceeded in 1865 to get a title to the same from the state. He built a house west of where the court house now stands, and early in the spring of 1865 laid off the SE quarter of the quarter section for a town site, which he named Baker, but somehow people would call it Baker City and that became the adopted name. Mr. Fisher owned the land east of Pierce’s claim, and he made an addition to the town between Front Street and the river. Mr. Place lived in a log house by the bridge on the road to Pleasant Valley. Mr. Campbell owned the land north of Pierce and Fisher’s claim. In October 1864, John Stewart located west of Pierce on the land which now comprises Stewart’s addition to Baker City. The first building put on Front Street was a box house saloon on the lot where John Bowen’s stone building now stands. The next was a boarding house built by Samuel Barger near the present site of the Arlington hotel. The next building was a hotel by S. and A. McMurren on the corner where the railroad house now stands. Robert McCord started a blacksmith shop...

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St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Baker County, Oregon

The first service of the Episcopal Church held in Baker City was by the Rt. Rev. R. W. Morris, D.D., June 5, 1870. The bishop found two communicants, in the city, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Henderson. Finding that there was a sentiment favorable to the enterprise of building a church a subscription paper was circulated and the sum of $900 was pledged for a building fund. That amount not being sufficient for the purpose, the matter rested for a time. In June 1873, at the request of Bishop Morris, Rev. R. D. Nevius took charge of the mission in Grande Ronde and Powder River valley and began regular monthly services. A Ladies Mite society had been formed and a small additional fund raised for building purposes. In December 1873, a Woman’s Guild was established to take the place of the Mite society and continue the work of raising a building fund. Under the active leadership of Mrs. Brown a good progress was made, but upon her removal to Salem, the work ceased. Nothing more was done in the way of building until October, 1879, when a house of one room was erected for the use of the missionary and designed to be the vestry room of the future church, but the expense was not paid from the building fund previously described. A contract was let to Lew & Crabill...

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