The subject of this article relates to D. B. Rinehart and his large orchard in the John Day Valley, Grant County, Oregon. He came to the John Day Valley in 1804, about the time that Grant County was cut off from Wasco.
Hon. W. Lair Hill, was appointed County Judge by the governor of the State, while William Luce and E. S. Pernfield were appointed County Commissioners. The above board constituted the first County Court of Grant County. At the first sitting of the court, D. B. Rinehart was appointed county superintendent of public schools until the next general election. He subsequently was elected two different terms to the same office. Although Grunt County at that time included what is now known as Harney County, yet the county was sparsely settled, excepting the John Day Valley.
It was estimated that at that time about 3,000 souls, principally miners, brought hither by the rich discoveries of gold along her mountain streams and auriferous gulches, were inhabiting the John Day Valley and adjacent to Canyon City, yet few persons had conceived the idea of entering extensively into fruit growing, not knowing at that time that the climate and soil were adapted to the successful cultivation of apples, pears, plums, cherries, prunes and other fruits.
About the year 1868 Mr. Rinehart, in connection with N. W. Tesk, his partner in business at that time, purchased about 6,000 fruit trees for the planting and cultivation of the same and in the years 1869 and 1870 set out the largest orchard grown in Grant County, if not the largest and best cultivated in Eastern Oregon. At least Professor Hedrick, of the State University and Horticultural Commissioner Hobbs, of this district so stated or expressed themselves when on a tour of inspection among the orchards of Eastern Oregon two years ago.
Mr. Rinehart is now, and has been for the last eight years or upward, sole proprietor of this valuable property, and ships thousands of bushels of fruit yearly to the neighboring markets, even to Baker City and some to Portland. These fruits are highly prized on account of their high flavor and being free from the effects of the codlin moth or other insects, are sound and silvery to the very core.
While Mr. Rinehart devotes the greater part of his time to the cultivation of his large orchard, yet he is engaged also in the raising of cattle and other industries; owns upward of 600 acres of land in one body, all of which, outside of the orchard grounds, he uses in cultivation to meadow and alfalfa fields, and for the purpose of pasturing his stock. Of the above lands, Mr. Rinehart at an early date in the history of the Grant County filed on the orchard ranch of 160 acres as a pre-emption. After proving up on this, he took 100 acres adjoining as a homestead. Soon after taking homestead, and while living upon the same, he filed on another 100 acres still vacant, as a timber culture claim, and commenced the planting of seeds, trees and cuttings, and now can boast of as beautiful cultivated grove of timber as can be found in Eastern Oregon.
All the above lands are now patented and free from encumbrance. Outside of Mr. Rinehart’s filings and proofs he purchased adjoining lands from other parties, with titles thereto, making in all his full complement of lands as at first indicated.
Mr. Rinehart is a married man, has a wife and three children, and seems to be prosperous in his business and enjoying life with his family in his beautiful mountain home.