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.
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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 the end of the journey, and he mined there during the fall of 1862 and in the summer of 1863 he set out on a tour of search for the famous “Blue Bucket Diggins” which occupied so many in the days of vigorous prospecting. Failing, as all the others did in this quest, he came through Union county to Umatilla in 1863 and there operated a wood yard. In 1864, he came to Lagrande and ran a hotel until 1866, when he was elected county clerk of Union county, serving for two terms, and conducted a livery barn at the same time. He also held the office of register of state lands for the Lagrande district for four years. In 1868 he published the first paper that was put out in Union county, and continued it until 1881. The title of this pioneer sheet was The Mountain Sentinel, a very appropriate cognomen. Subsequent to 1881, Mr. McComas spent six years in the east. In 1876, the county seat was removed to Union and thither came Mr. McComas and opened a mining and real estate office under the name of the Union Promotion and Development Company. Previous to this venture he had been clerk of the house of representatives in 1870.
In 1867 the marriage of Mr. McComas and Miss Harriet M., daughter of P. and Elizabeth Welch, of Lone Tree, Iowa was celebrated in Umatilla. Fraternally, Mr. McComas is affiliated with the Yellow Hawk Lodge, No. 23, Improved Order of Redmen, of Lagrande. He is a man of prominence throughout the county and is highly respected by all, and has ever manifested unswerving integrity and upright principles.