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Collection: An Illustrated History of Baker Grant Malheur and Harney Counties Oregon

Biographical Sketch of David Dunbar

In the person of the subject of this sketch we have one of the leading citizens and stockmen of Malheur County, and it is with pleasure that we chronicle the salient paints in his interesting and active career, wherein he has ever manifested integrity, ability and industry. David Dunbar was born in Ontario, Canada, near Kingston, on February 5, 1849, being the son of James and Eliza Dunbar. He was reared on a farm with his parents and gained his education from the common schools of that province. In July 186? he was called to mourn the death of his mother and in the fall of that same year stood forth from the parental roof to do battle with the forces of this world alone. He went to New York and thence by steamer to San Francisco arriving in that city in thirty days. He worked during the winter on the Union Pacific railroad at Truckee, Nevada. Sometime after this he joined a wagon train and made his way to the Idaho Basin. This was in 1867 and he mined for a time and then freighted from Relton, Utah to Silver City, Idaho after which he purchased a band of horses and took them to Montana and sold them, purchasing a band of stock and work cattle. These he brought back to Silver City, selling the cattle for work...

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Biography of Robert M. Divin

This venerable citizen and esteemed gentleman and resident of Vale is one of the substantial men of Malheur County and is well and favorably known throughout the precincts of this region, being a man of stanch integrity, and always manifesting those qualities of worth and merit that redound to the good of all. Mr. Divin was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, on December 17, 1831, being the son of Irbin F. and Hannah Divin. The father died when our subject was two years of age, having removed with the family to Washington County, Arkansas, where the death occurred. There were but few settlers in that section then, and there Robert M. lived and attended school in the rough log houses of the time, gaining a training there from which fortified him for the battle of life. He remained with his mother until he had reached the age of manhood, and in 151 he married Miss Mary J. Kellam, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He was occupied on a farm until 186o, then removed to the frontier of Texas among the savage Commanche Indians. Here Mr. Divin and his family endured hardships and deprivations and sufferings from the savages that are calculated to dry up the cup of joy from the human breast, but they bravely fought their way through them all. The father for three years being a...

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Biographical Sketch of Charlie E. Amidon

This well known and representative farmer and stockman is a substantial and enterprising citizen of Malheur County, dwelling near Ontario, five and one-half miles southwest, where he has a fine farm of one hundred and eighty acres, well tilled and improved with buildings, orchards, and so forth in addition to which he owns one hundred acres of land in another place, besides other property. The birth of Mr. Amidon occurred at Flenn, Allegan County, Michigan in 1860, August 23, being the son of Edson and Electa (Tracy) Amidon. The father enlisted in Company B, Thirteenth Michigan in October, 1861. He was transferred to Sherman’s Army and was with that celebrity on the famous march to the sea. Before going, he was home on a furlough, on account of the measles. Upon his return to the army after his furlough he was promoted as corporal and he did valiant service in the battles of Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Atlanta, and many others as well as numerous skirmishes. He served until the last disloyal gun was silenced, and then received his honorable discharge, after four years of war toil. Our subject was reared on a farm educated in the common schools and at the age of twelve went with his parents to Grand Island, Nebraska. Two years later the family returned to Wayne County, Michigan and from there he went to Flenn, his...

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Biographical Sketch of George W. Clinton

A veritable pioneer of the pioneers, and a man of sterling qualities of worth and substantiality, while his excellent achievements mark him one possessed of more than ordinary ability for business enterprises, the subject of this article is to be mentioned with the prominent men of Malheur County and is well worthy of the prestige and esteem that he enjoys. Mr. Clinton was born in New York, in 1837, being the son of Alexander and Margaret (Balfour) Clinton, natives respectively of Maryland and Pennsylvania. In 1844 the family removed to Wisconsin, and in 1859 they took up the arduous journey across the dreary plains beset with great danger and hardship. In due time they arrived at the Sacramento valley and there engaged in farming. In 1864 our subject made his way into the wilds of this country, locating first at Silver City, then coming to the place where Jordan Valley now stands. He located land and went to raising stock and farming. For twenty-four years he labored on and then sold his possessions and for a period afterward his time was equally divided between this place and California. At the time of the Indian outbreak in 1863 he lost heavily, the savages stealing his horses. The parents of our subject both died in California and also all of a family of eight children but George W. At the present...

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Biographical Sketch of Henry S. Eldredge

The subject of this article has done much toward the industrial development of Malheur county, and is one of the prominent business men in the town of Vale at the present time, being owner and operator of the Glen livery barn, where he has fine, large rigs and good stock, taking an especial care for the comfort and welfare of his patrons; he owns and operates the blacksmith shop, having also a large tract of land in the vicinity of the town, while in all these enterprises he manifests a commendable business sagacity, a worthy integrity and maintains an unsullied reputation among his fellows. Mr. Eldredge was born near Northfield, Minnesota, On May 23, 1862, being the son of Charles K. and Cornelia E. (Carter) Eldredge. While still a child he was taken by his parents to Beaver Falls, in his native state, and there the father followed milling. Our subject was educated in the graded schools and in 1882 he came with his father to the west, traveling through by train to Granger and thence by teams to Baker City and passing through this portion of Malheur. In Baker City Henry S. learned the blacksmith trade and more or less during the time from that date until the present he has been engaged in the king of all trades. In various places he has wrought at the forge,...

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Biographical Sketch of Almer G. King

The subject of this review is one of the well known and representative men of Malheur County and is to-day entrusted with the responsibilities of one of the main County offices and has made a record for himself of faithfulness, integrity, and capabilities, that places him secure in the esteem and respect of the entire population of the County. Almer G. was born in Waverly, Iowa, on December 6, 1866, being the son of George and Littie (Kimball) King. In 187o, the family came west via San Francisco and Portland to a place opposite Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia, where they resided for a time and then re-moved to Pendleton, afterwards going to The Dalles in 1872 where they remained until 1882. In that place, our subject was educated in the public schools and then took the entire course in the Vasco Independent Academy, but (lid not graduate as he was detained from passing the examinations.  In 1882 he came to Malheur, at that time a part of Baker County, and engaged to handle cattle for Thomas R. David-son and fourteen years he remained with him never losing a day, and for the last half of this time he was foreman. In 1892 he went to Payette, Idaho, and conducted a livery stable for one year then went to Westfall Malheur County, and operated as a farmer for a...

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Biographical Sketch of James A. Walker

About five miles southwest from Ontario is the farm and home of the subject of this article. It is a place of eighty acres well improved, skillfully tilled, has line buildings, good orchards and a vine-yard, and in connection with the care of this estate, Mr. Walter is operating a dairy and manufacturing a good quality of butter, which is readily sold in the markets. In person Mr. Walter is a man of sound principles, stands well among his fellows, possesses good ability, and has made a success of his labor, starting with his bare hands and now has a good property accumulated. He was born in Wayne county, Indiana, on February 14, 1834, being the son of Henry and Lovier (Lee) Walter. He grew up on a farm, received a good education from the common schools, and remained with his parents until 1880, having removed with them to Henry County, Indiana in 1875. When he stepped out for himself, he came by rail to Reno, Nevada, and in the fall of 1881 came across the country with teams from there to Malheur County, locating in Malheur Valley, and doing his first work as a wage earner in this new country. The settlers were few then and the country open and he selected a farm near where Yale stands, but later closed out the farm business and for three...

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Biographical Sketch of Frank O’Neill

The sturdy pioneer, capable gentleman and patriotic citizen whose, name heads this article is one of the leading agriculturists and stockmen of his section of Malheur County, being a man who has wrought with great energy and commendable wisdom in his efforts to assist in the up building and advancement of this section of the country. Our subject was born in the County of Antrim, Ulster province, Ireland, on May 10, 1846, being the son of John and Elizabeth O’Neill. He was reared on a farm and remained in his native place until 1866, when he went to Scotland, and four years later was in Liverpool, whence on September 23, 1870, he embarked on the “Harvest Queen.” a sailing vessel bound for the United States. After a very rough trip of thirty-eight days he landed in New York, thence to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and one year later went to San Francisco. In Sonoma County, at Visalia, and in Mendocino County, in that state, he labored in the lumber business. In San Francisco, on December 18, 1875, Mr. O’Neill married Mary Mullary, and in 1881 they came to Portland. “thence they journeyed by team to lower Willow creek in Malheur County and located a quarter section, taking up the stock business. Three children were horn to this marriage, Mrs. Annie Zahlor, Mrs. Mary Loran and Francis P. In 1882, very soon...

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Biographical Sketch of Joseph P. Rector

Among those who have gained a remarkable success in Harney county we are constrained to mention the gentleman whose name initiates this paragraph, and who has wrought such wisdom, energy and assiduity that he has gained one of the finest holdings of the county and is numbered among leading stockmen of this section. This is more to his credit when it is mentioned that he came to the county with no means and has gained his entire property by his thrift and wise management since his advent. Joseph P. was born in Schenectady county, New York, on August 28, 1844, being the son of Matthew H. and Ruth Rector. He grew up on a farm and gained his education from the adjacent schools. In 1869 he came west as far as the railroad ran and then took wagon transportation to the terminus of the Central Pacific and came to San Francisco. He soon located in Humboldt county and for several years engaged in farming and dairying. Then he transferred his residence to Palisades, Nevada, and engaged in raising stock. In 1880 he came to Harney valley and worked for wages for a time and then located his present place, fifteen miles northeast from Lawen and as many miles southeast from Harney. He devoted his attention to raising stock, cattle and horses, and he has been attended with fine success....

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Biography of William Henry Canaday

It is fitting that in a work that purports to accord to the leading citizens of Harney county representation there should be special mention of the well known business man whose name heads this article and who has labored in our midst for a number of years, gaining a good success and making for himself a name and standing which are enviable. Madison Canaday was born in Hillsboro, Highland county, Ohio, on October 21, 1831, and when a boy went with his parent to Illinois and then to Iowa, whence they crossed the plains with ox teams in 1852. They settled in Douglas county, Oregon, the parents taking a donation claim. Later they removed to Yam Hill county. Miss Sarah E. Abbott was born near Springfield, Missouri, in 1842, and started across the plains with ox teams in 1852, having traveled to Texas and returned to Missouri in 1844. The train was a large on and the dreaded cholera attacked them and her father was the first victim to succumb to that terrible disease, passing away on June 9. Before the journey was completed the mother died also, the date being September 30, and she sleeps near where Baker City now stands. Thus from the happy eastern home this child was left an orphan on the dreary plains. She came on to Yam Hill county, Oregon. There she met and...

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Biographical Sketch of George W. Cawlfield

This worthy gentleman is to be numbered with the younger men of Harney county who have attained a good success in the stock business here and who bid fair to gain much better in the future, judging by their faithful and wisely bestowed labors of the past. George W. was born in Johnson county, Kansas, on October 21, 1870, being the son of David A. and Abigil (Evans) Cawlfield. The father was a native of Tennessee, and went across the plains to California in an early day and then returned via Panama, after which for some time he acted as government freighter on the frontiers and finally settled in Kansas. In 1874 the family came overland to Pueblo county, Colorado, and there the father followed stock raising. In 1888 the father, with his wife and ten children, came by covered wagons to Harney and settled on Rye Grass flat, east from Burns, and there engaged in raising stock. Our subject attended schools in various places of his residence, and in 1891 he went to Portland and acted as express messenger and baggageman to two different points on the O. R. & N. This continued for two years, and he returned to Harney county, and there, on November 24, 1897, he married Miss Hattie, daughter of Jesse O. and Emma Bunyard. To them have been born two children -Gladys R.,...

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Biography of James F. Mahon

It is especially gratifying to be enabled to chronicle in this volume of the history of Harney county the salient points in the career of the estimable gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch, since he has done so much for the development and advancement of this county, has demonstrated his ability as a financier and to handle successfully large interests, of which he is happily possessed at the present time, being doubtless the largest grain farmer in the county and also a leader in raising fine horses and mules; while individually, Mr. Mahon is a man of marked ability and integrity, always dominated by sound principles and possessed of an executive force and practical judgment that array him on the side of success, and his moral virtues and untarnished reputation for honor and uprightness are commensurate with his other qualifications of high order. The account, therefore, of Mr. Mahon’s operations in the county would form an important parts of its history, and it is but right that such giants of achievement, whose labors have wrought such advantage to all, should be granted a position which their sagacious conduct rightly marks as their own. Reverting more particularly to the personal history of our subject, we note, which accounts for his indefatigable energy and the boundless resources of his personality, which demonstrate him equal to any emergency, that he comes from stanch...

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Biographical Sketch of David Cary

The stockmen and farmers are the ones who have made Harney county what she is at this time, and it is they who have wrought out the wealth here that gives the county a standing among her sisters and to them is due the credit of opening the country and developing its resources in a commendable manner. One of this worthy class is named at the head of this article and it is with pleasure that we grant him consideration in this volume of this county’s annals. Mr. Cary was born in Jackson county, Missouri, on January 16, 1836, being the son of Armenious and Anna Cary. David grew up on a farm in the native country, gaining an education from the primitive schools held in the log cabins. It was 1852 when the father provided the ox team conveyances and undertook the long journey across the plains to the Pacific coast. Six months were consumed on the trip and our subject drove an ox team the entire distance. They arrived at Oregon City on October 22, and settlement was made in Linn county. The train with which these people came was composed of twenty wagons and some deaths occurred from cholera, the grandmother and uncle of our subject being among those who perished. In 1854, David went to California and engaged in mining and the following year he...

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Biographical Sketch of Nathan Brown

The worthy pioneer and capable business man of whom we now have the privilege of speaking is one of the leaders in the business realm of Burns, being senior member of the firm of N. Brown & Sons, general merchants, who have one of the largest stocks in the county and do a mammoth business, being well established and highly esteemed by all. Mr. Brown was born in Germany, in January, 1835, and at the age of thirteen years came to America. In 1852 he came via Cape Horn to San Francisco, and thence to Oregon City, where he engaged in business for a few years. We next see him in Walla Walla, where he took up the business of general merchandising, and in 1866 he returned to San Francisco and there operated at the clothing business until 1883, at which time he sold out his entire business there and came to Burns. It was 1884 when he entered into business here, taking his two sons, Benjamin and Leon M., as partners. They began in a small way and by careful attention to business and deferential treatment of the patrons have increased their trade until it is at present of far reaching and generous proportions, and success in a very brilliant form is theirs to enjoy. In 1896 they erected a large two-story structure, which they occupy at this...

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Biographical Sketch of James P. Dickenson

James P. Dickenson has gained a good success in material things in Harney county since his advent here and is one of the substantial and leading stockmen and farmers to-day. He and his family have two good hay farms near the Narrows and also three near Lawen. These fine tracts of land return him annually large amounts of hay and give him opportunity to handle many head of stock. James P. was born in Grayson county, Virginia, on February 18, 1842, being the son of John and Rosa (Hale) Dickenson. He grew up on the farm and gained his education from the common schools, and in the spring of 1861 he enlisted in Company C, Forty-fifth Virginia, as second lieutenant under General John B. Floyd. He was in the battles of Wytheville, Parisburg, Big Sewell Mountain and Carnifax Ferry, besides many skirmishes. At the end of the year for which he enlisted he retired from the army and went home and was chosen tax collector for Grayson county. Eighteen months later he enlisted in the Twenty-second Virginia Cavalry and took part in the battles of Lynchburg and Luray valley, at which last place his horse was shot from under him and he was captured. He languished in the war prison at Point Lookout, Maryland, until the close of the war, July, 1865. The treatment was sever in the prison....

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