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Location: LaGrande Oregon

Biography of John Stotts

JOHN STOTTS. – While many have wrought faithfully and well in forwarding the interests of our county and in developing the resources that nature has lavishly bestowed here, there has none, doubtless, been more faithful and enterprising and steady in the prosecution of the industry that his hand found to do than the venerable pioneer, esteemed citizen and genial gentleman whose life’s history we now endeavor to chronicle in brief outline. Mr. Stotts has been well and favorably known here for over one-third of a century and is today beloved and cherished by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. On January 23, 1826, Mr. Stotts was born in Adair county, Kentucky, and the years of his minority were spent in the faithful service of his parents on their farm, and when he was twenty-two years of age he began action for himself on the plane of life’s battlefield. In the spring of 1850 he went to Missouri, taking a ranch in the southwest part of Spring River county and to the cultivation and improvement of this land he bent his energies for fourteen years and then sold it and with ox teams crossed the plains to Lagrande, landing here in the summer of 1864. He stopped in what was known as the old town, where he remained till 1883, doing a general cabinet-making business, having learned this...

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Biography of James A. Russell

JAMES A. RUSSELL. – A well-known and esteemed member of the business world of Island City, where he operates a butchering establishment and also handles much stock, the subject of this article is deserving of representation in this volume, since he is not only now one of the prominent men of the county but has spent practically all of his life in this valley and has labored with zeal for the advancement of its interests. James A. was born on September 23, 1861, in Linesville, Iowa, being the son of Thomas J. and Savannah C. (Atha) Russell, who started the following spring to the western country, arriving in Lagrande in August of the same year. Mr. Russell was the first blacksmith in the valley, and he labored here for the building up of the country. Our subject was reared in the vicinity of Cove, receiving his education in the village schools there, studying until he was sixteen, and then commencing soon to teach, continuing for four terms in one district in High valley. At twenty years of age he took a course in Bishop Scott’s academy, and when he was twenty-three years of age he took charge of a surveying outfit in the mountains for five months. The next year he was engaged to handle Dr. Hill’s ranch of two hundred and forty acres, and continued in that capacity...

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Biography of John W. Murphy

JOHN W. MURPHY. To the active, enterprising and intelligent citizen, esteemed pioneer, and stanch representative of our free institutions, whose name initiates this paragraph, we accord a space in these abiding chronicles of Union county, with pleasure, because he has been a prominent figure in the development of the county’s interests and the advancement of its welfare, since the very first days of its settlement and ahs always stood for the cause of substantial improvement and the exemplification of sound principles in both personal endeavor and in the manipulation of public affairs. Mr. Murphy was born in Franklin, Ohio, on December 9, 1831, being the son of Isaac and Rhoda (Stone) Murphy, farmers, who moved to Illinois in 1849, and there dwelt until the time of their demise. The grandfather of our subject, on his mother’s side, Mr. Stone, was a soldier in the Revolutionary struggle and also in the war of 1812. Our subject never had the opportunity to attend the schools in his youth but has instead pursued the muse of knowledge with such successful advances in his own private endeavors that he has gained a good education besides a rich store of general information that well repays the efforts to gain. Early he learned the millwright trade in Jefferson county, Iowa, and in 1852, in company with his employer went to California, using horse teams. First...

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Biography of Samuel A. Pursel

SAMUEL A. PURSEL. – Union county’s list of business men comprises a wide awake and energetic class that has wrought well for the advancement of the county and among the number are some that have manifested extraordinary ability in financiering and in manipulating the resources of the county. One of this distinguished number is the gentleman, of whom we have the pleasure now to write, and his enterprise and industry have been well known for a third of a century in the walks of business life in this country, while his capabilities have been shown to be second to none in the enterprises that he has inaugurated and consummated. West Brownville, in the old Keystone state, is the place of his birth, which occurred in 1840. When ten years of age he was brought to Iowa, where his parents remained until the time of their death. When the call of patriotism sounded in his ear, he left the quiet walks of life and enlisted in Company K, of the Fourth Iowa, where he served with valor for about one year, then was honorably discharged and returned to the pursuits of industrial life. In 1872 he left the place of his youth and came to Union county, landing at Lagrande on the 1st of April. He at once saw an opening in the manufacture of lumber and was quick to...

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Biography of Charles R. Patten

CHARLES R. PATTEN. – It is with pleasure that we are enabled to grant to the esteemed gentleman whose name is at the head of this paragraph a representation in this volume of Union county’s history, since he has labored faithfully here for the advancement of the county and has demeaned himself in such a commendable manner that he has won the admiration and esteem of all who are acquainted with him. Charles R. was born in Walla Walla, Washington, on December 10, 1860, being the son of William H. and Elizabeth A. (Young) Patten, natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Missouri. The father came to California in the early fifties had two years later migrated thence to southern Oregon, where he was married and then removed to Walla Walla. In this place he raised stock and did carpenter work, being the builder of the first jail in that city. In 1864 he left Walla Walla and came to Union county, taking as a homestead the ground where Summerville is now located. He took up saw milling and farming until 1888, then retired from active work, living in Elgin, in which place, in the spring of 1889, he was called hence by death, the mother having passed away in March, 1872. Our subject worked with his father until he had attained the age of twenty-three, then engaged as salesman with...

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Biography of Hannah Palmer

HANNAH PALMER. – The venerable and esteemed lady, whose name appears at the head of this article, is one of the well-known persons of Lagrande, having lived here since the early infancy of the town; in fact, owning the land upon which the town is built, and having faithfully done her share in the noble work of making Union county what it is now, while she has always manifested the graciousness and discretion, which so becomingly characterize her, ever maintaining a high sense of her stewardship. In Delaware county, Pennsylvania, on April 7, 1814, Hanna Palmer was born to John and Beulah (Walter) Palmer, and in her native place she was well educated in a good academy, remaining also in that county until the year 1857, in which season she removed to Iowa. Seven years were spent in that state and in 1864, she endured the hardships of the arduous trip across the plains to the Grande Ronde valley. They settled at Lagrande, purchasing the land where a portion of the town stands. They gave their attention to farming, and it seemed that all things assisted in their prosperity, because of the excellent wisdom that was displayed in their ways. At the present time, our subject is residing with her son, Joseph, who is one of the most prominent and able business men of the county, being a stockholder...

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Biography of Hyrum M. Monson

HYRUM M. MONSON. – Although the subject of this sketch has not been in Union county so long as some of the earliest pioneers, he being one of the younger men, upon whom have falen the mantles of the sturdy ones who opened these regions for the abode of their fellows, yet his achievements have been of such a commendable nature, and his life of such an exemlary character, that he is entitled to representation in the history of the county, and it is with pleasure that we accord to him a place among the builders of the county, in its more recent development. Hyrum M. was born to Christian H. and Ella Monson, on November 19, 1873, in Richmond, Cache county, Utah, and there he worked with his father in the lumbering business until he had attained the age of twenty one, gaining meanwhile a good education from the common schools, after which he attended the Brigham Young College at Logan, Utah. Subsequent to that valuable course, he took up the creamery business and perfected himself in the art of making cheese and butter. In 1897 he went to Preston, Idaho, continuing in the creamery business there. In June, 1900, he came to Lagrande, being engaged in the sugar factory there, and in May, 1901, he came to Summerville, taking charge of the creamery association’s excellent plant at...

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Biography of Robert C. Mays

ROBERT C. MAYS. – The well-known and capable business man, whose name appears at the head of this article, is one of the most widely known men of Union, and Wallowa counties, and is at the present time handling a large business as warehouseman at Elgin, where he is numbered among the leading residents of that thriving city, and he has made a record in this section that is both crowned with gratifying success from a financial standpoint, and wherein he has maintained a representation that is untarnished and displayed talents that properly place him among the real leaders in the county. On August 31, 1860, in McMinnville Oregon, our subject first saw the light, being the son of John C. and Martha J. (Nye) Mays, natives of North Carolina, who were married on June 22, 1851 in Missouri, Brown county,and the following year threaded the dreary plains and climbed the rugged mountains that separated eastern civilization from the western wilds, using for transportation ox teams. Settlement was made in Yam Hill county, three miles distant from McMinnville, and a donation claim of one-half section was secured. Work commenced in earnest to make a good home, and when sixteen years later Mr. Mays sold his farm it was one of the best and most finely improved in the entire valley. In 1869 they came to Walla Walla and thence,...

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Biography of Joseph A. McWhirter

JOSEPH A. McWHIRTER. – The subject of this sketch is deserving of credit to many lines, having wrought with faithfulness and efficiency in a number of the callings of human industry, but first of all we wish to mention the fact that he is one of the earliest pioneers of this as well as other sections and has done very much for the development of the country and the inauguration of civilization’s rule in the places where he has been domiciled in the west, and it is worthy of note that Mr. McWhirter has ever conducted his life so uprightly and with manifestation of both capability and good graces so that he has always commanded the respect and won the encomiums of his fellows. In Mercer county, Pennsylvania, in 1833, Mr. McWhirter first saw the light and there remained for twenty years, and then in 1853 his adventurous spirit le him to the wildness of the west for exploration and to carve a place for himself in the annals of the country. He landed in Portland and shortly afterward went to a place called Marysville and there wrought at his trade, harness making, for one J.B. Congle, for three months, and then migrated to Union Point and opened a shop for himself, remaining over one winter and then went to prospecting on the Coquille river, but on account of...

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Biography of Evans S. McComas

EVANS S. McCOMAS. – One of the earliest pioneers of what is now Union county, and intimately acquainted with all of eastern Oregon, having been a prominent figure here from the time of his advent into the region, the gentleman, whose name is at the head of this article, is to-day one of the leading representatives of Union county and has ever maintained a walk manifesting public spirit and an ardent interest in the welfare of all, while he has been instrumental in upbuilding the county by his own efforts in the business enterprises that he has fostered and consummated as well as in maintaining a wide awake newspaper in the early days that was a potent factor in advertising the country and cementing the various factors in the cosmopolitan population that came here in pristine times. Evans S. was born in Adams county, Ohio, in 1839, being the son of John and Janette (Carr) McComas, natives respectively of Kentucky and Ohio. He obtained a good education before he reached the years of majority, and at the age of twenty-one entered the ranks of the educators where he did commendable work for a few years. In 1861 he crossed the plains with ox teams, buoyant and hopeful in the anticipation of the smiles of fortune expected in the new country of the west. Auburn, in Baker county, was at...

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Biography of Hon. John W. McAlister

HON. JOHN W. McALISTER. – It now becomes our pleasant privilege to outline in brief review the eventful career of the well known and highly esteemed gentlman whose name initiates this paragraph and whose life is connected with the county of Union, having been identified with it since his early boyhood and having been one of the potent factors in its development as also in making the laws which have proved so salutary for its progress and gaining, meanwhile, a reputation throughout the state because of the ability and sagacity displayed in the state halls of legislation, while no whit behind are the commendable moral virtues which his daily life exemplify, and the intrinsic worth of his character in constant display. Joyn W. was born in Putnam county, Missouri, on June 13, 1856, being the son of Harvye McAlister. When the son was six years of age, the father removed to the west with his family, having no particular objective point except Oregon. Having been safely guided through the long and dangerous journey until they came to Grande Ronde valley, and the teams being tired out, it was determined to stop and recruit, and the result was that Union county gained a prominent and substantial citizen. The father soon took up a squatter’s right on the land where our subject now resides, two miles east from Lagrande, and later...

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Biography of Jacob Zuber

JACOB ZUBER. – Without doubt the subject of this sketch is one of the men whose name should be among the list of those who are accorded representation in the history of Union county, since he has wrought here with an energy and assiduity that have placed him in possession of a goodly competence, while also he has the distinction of always being allied with those enterprises that were for the benefit of the people of the county, and his life has been one of long and continued activity and manifestation of wisdom and ability, and having been in the path of the frontiersman for many years, he now justly deserves the retirement that is accorded him. In 1822, where rolls the Rhine its pleasant course through rich valleys and vendured hills in the land of Germany, our subject was born and there he received the thorough training given in the common schools. He remained at home, assisting his father on the farm until 1844, and then sailed from the Fatherland to America’s free lands. He settled in Richland county, Ohio, until 1850, then crossed the dreary plains to California, landing in Hangtown, thence to Sacramento, and after a short stay there came into Trinity county, where he took up mining. Six years were spent in this industry and he did well in a financial way, then he came...

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Van Blokland, Icis L. – Obituary

Icis L. Van Blokland, 91, of Tigard and formerly of La Grande, died Tuesday, Dec 25, 1990, at St. Vincent Hospital in Portland. A private family interment service was held Friday at the Island City Cemetery. A memorial service will be held later. Mrs. Van Blokland was born Aug. 21, 1899, at Kansas City, Mo., to Haskell and Letitia (Halstead) Bryant. She moved to Island City in 1912 and married Ray Van Blokland on Oct. 14, 1924. He died in 1949. Following her husband’s death, she moved to La Grande where she lived until moving to Tigard in 1987. She was a lifelong member of the La Grande United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women, Ruth Robinson Circle and was a member of the Chapter I, P.E.O. Sisterhood for 69 years. Survivors include her daughters Virginia Robertson of Tigard and Marjorie Folsom of Aloha; one granddaughter and two great-grandsons. Memorials may be made in her name to the La Grande United Methodist Church Memorial Fund in care of Payne Family Mortuary, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande. Contributed by: Mike and...

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Carpenter, William Vernon – Obituary

Island City, Oregon William Vernon Carpenter, 78, of Island City died Feb. 4 at his home. A graveside service is planned for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Island City Cemetery. Mr. Carpenter, known as Vern, was born July 18, 1928, to Thomas and Zoe (Safford) Carpenter in La Grande. He graduated from La Grande High School in 1946 and received an associate degree from what was then known as Eastern Oregon College. He served with the Army during the Korean War. On Nov. 20, 1955, he married Laurel “Grace” Miller in Boardman. He managed Van Petten Lumber Company and later Hoff Lumber Company until his retirement. Mr. Carpenter was a member of the Elks Lodge and enjoyed hunting and trap shooting. He was a handyman who enjoyed building things. Survivors include his wife, Grace, of Island City; children and their spouses, Tom and Edna Carpenter of La Grande and Russell and Alayna Carpenter of Myrtle Point; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; and other relatives. Memorials may be made to Grande Ronde Hospital Home Care and Hospice in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh Street, La Grande 97850. The Observer – Obituaries for the week ending Feb. 10, 2007 – Published: February 10,...

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Derrick, Alladyne L. Metcalf Mrs. – Obituary

Baker City, Oregon Alladyne L. Derrick, 78, a long-time Baker City resident, died April 7, 2004, at her home. Her graveside funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mount Hope Cemetery. The Rev. Connie Boone and Mr. Mike Durgan of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church will officiate. Everyone is invited to a reception afterward at St. Stephen’s. Alladyne was born on March 8, 1926, at La Grande to Bill and Wilma Neider Metcalf. She was raised in Baker City and was a Baker High School graduate. She married Robert V. Derrick on March 10, 1946, at Baker City. Survivors include her husband, Bob Derrick of Baker City; son and daughter-in-law, Larry M. And Debra Derrick of Winter Park, Fla.; grandchildren, Kim, Miki, Bill and Joe Derrick; a niece, Gloria Lewis, and her husband, Wayne; and other nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, Wilma and Bill Metcalf. Memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814. Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 9, 2004 Transcribed by: Belva...

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