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In the armed band of State builders, who, catching the earliest rays of that regal star which the prophetic spirit of poesy discovered long ago as the leader of advancing civilization, followed its course to the western verge of the continent, few are deserving of more honorable mention that Geo. W. Hall, who was the first sheriff of this county.
Born in Wayne County, Illinois, in 1826, he remained there until his 24th year, when he crossed the plains, locating at Hangtown, now Placerville, California. He arrived there with a capital of five cents, but made five dollars with a rocker mining as his first day’s work. He followed placer mining in the northern counties of California with but short intervals until 1862. He moved to Oregon at that time, and was one of the six who discovered the famous Auburn diggings, in April of that year. By June the town had grown to respectable proportions, and in July, a Frenchman having poisoned his partner, the miners got together and appointed three judges and Geo. W. Hall as sheriff, and a week later he had charge of the obsequies of the murder. His next case was that of a Spanard who had killed two men in a game of cards, but the exasperated miners took him away form the sheriff and hanged him in the outskirts of the town. These incidents will serve to show the times as they existed in a mining camp of early date.
In 1867, Mr. Hall began farming in Powder River Valley, and moving four years later to Lower Powder River, ranched there until 1874. Returning to his first love, he mined in Nevada for one year and again for eight years in Shasta County, California. Returning to Eastern Oregon, he spent some time in Baker City, and 1887, opened a miner’s boarding house in Cracker Creek. In September of last year he opened his present hostlery, the “Bourne Hotel.” He married Miss Sarah J. Lowry, of Auburn, in 1862, being the first couple married in Baker County, and has five children, three boys and two girls, his eldest son, Charles being 34 years of age. He is a charter member of Baker City Lodge No. 47, A. F. and A. M.