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Baker County Biographical Sketches
Please note that the following sketches were randomly selected but alphabetically arranged from Volume 2 & 3 of THE CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF OREGON. No intention was made as to which biographies were to be included except to search for those with a Baker County connection. Although indexed by name, these volumes contain countless sketches and over a thousand pages each of which none is arranged neither alphabetically or geographically - thus making the task of locating those Baker County residents most tedious. -pdp
Messick, Judge John
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in Nicholasville, Kentucky on 14 July 1862, he was the son of Richard and Mary (Tomlinson), the father also a native of Nicholasville while the mother's birth occurred in Moundsville, West Virginia. The parents (at the time of the sketch) resided near Los Angeles, the father a retired minister of the Christian church and had been an attorney before his devotion to the ministry.

At the age of eight, Judge Messick removed to Missouri with his parents whre he received his education in public schools at Chillicothe and later studied at the William Jewell College at Liberty, Missouri. he came to Oregon in the spring of 1868 and engaged in teaching school and studied law until he was admitted to the bar in 1892. He had become a resident of Baker since the fall of 1890 and pursued his reading in the law office of Charles F. Hyde, with whom he remained for several years after his admission to the bar. He also studied with Adams & Marquam of Portland.

He married Miss Stella Haines in April of 1895, she the daughter of Isaac D. and Sarah, and a native of Baker City - her father having been born in Ohio and had crossed the plains in 1849 with a rifle regiment to Oregon and died in Baker in 1892, he having been an attorney for many years and had served as representative and state senator in the Oregon legislature.

Unto Judge and Mrs. Messick were born three children: Bell, Frances, and Helen, the last named dying in her infancy.

Miller, William C.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in Germany on 20 June 1836, like his father Frederick and mother Margaret (Schleifer) who were also of that country, the father was a school teacher who died in Germany. In 1847 the widow emigrated to the United States with her children but was not long permitted to enjoy her new home, dying from the effects of cholera in 1850 in the state of Wisconsin. Besides William - they were the parents of Julius, Charles, and Mary.

William came to this country when he was eleven years old and took up his abode in Galena, Illinois and there engaged in clerking until 1862. In that year he crossed the plains to California by ox team and began mining. In 1863 he removed to Idaho, there engaging in mining until 1868 at which time he came to Baker City, Oregon. He served as deputy sheriff from 1868 to 1870 and then embarked in the business as a wagon manufacturer where his place of business was on Main Street, later the establishment of Donald & Burke. At one time, William had owned nearly all that entire block.

He was married on 01 October 1876 to Miss Sarah Jane Rogers and after her death married Miss Dora C. Conrey on 27 April 1908. Dora was the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Rogers), the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Ocean county, New Jersey. Henry Conrey followed the profession of school teaching for a number of years and later embarked in the saw mill business. He passed away on the 19th of May 1903, having survived his wife by about six years, she having been called to her final place of rest on 08 October 1897.

Mrs. Dora C. Miller was born in Point Isabell, Ohio on 18 September 1855 and was one of nine children, six of whom survived at the time of this writing. Her siblings were: Frederick of Springfield, Ohio; Alice, wife of E.W. Davies of West Elkton, Ohio; Edwin Forest of Bethel, Ohio; Georgie, wife of I.L. Laycock of Bethel, Ohio; and Abbie, wife of J.F. Shinkle of Richmond, Indiana. Those who passed away are: William, Ann Athelia, and Robert Lee.

Mr. Miller gave his allegiance to the Republican party although was never politically active. He was identified with the Order of Odd Fellows and belonged to the State Historical Society.


Moulton, George
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in the state of Maine on 16 September 1837, he was the son of Bartholomew and Mary (Shumway), the father a native of Massachusetts and the mother a native of Maine. The father, who was a farmer, removed with his wife and family to Minnesota in 1850 and there acquired land, of the cultivation and improvement of which he engaged until his death. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Moulton numbered eight - five at the time of the writing, deceased. Those living were: Stephen, a resident of California; George B., the subject; and Edwin W. who was also a resident of California.

George remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-three years of age and left in 1861, joining a party of gold seekers en route to California. There he engaged in prospecting, but meeting with indifferent success, went to latitude 53 30' north in British Columbia with the hope of being more successful in his efforts. In the spring of 1863 he went to Portland, going from there to Canyon City, Oregon, whence he crossed the Blue mountains to Willow Creek, stopping a Mormon Basin for a short time. he next crossed the Snake River to Boise and Basin, Idaho, and engaged in gold mining, going from there to Lewiston, Idaho. He engaged in gold mining, going there until the spring of 1864, when he went to Wild Horse Creek, British Columbia where he prospected for a bit and then removed to Virginia City, Montana. Soon thereafter he went to the present site of Helena, Montana and in the fall of 1866 settled in Salt Lake City, where he reided for several years. In 1876 he made a trip to the Black Hills, South Dakota and remained there until 1879 when he went to Leadville, Colorado.

His sojourn there was brief, and in 1880 he went to Bay Horse and later to Ketchum, Idaho and devoted his energies to the business of smeltering. Five years later he withdrew from this and came to Baker City where he turned his attention to stock raising.

He was twice married. His first union was in 1868 to Miss Anna Hedger, who subsequently died. In 1881 he was married to Miss Ellen A. Paxton, and to them have been born three children, as follows: Herbert G. who at the time of the sketch was in New York City; Ella who was attending the State University; and Clarence W. who was a civil engineer.


Muegge, Norman A.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in St. Louis, Missouri on 24 September 1882, he was the son of George B. and Clara (Kopp), the former a native of Germany and the latter of Iowa. The father, who was born in Hanover n 1852, emigrated to the United States in 1865 and became a resident of West Virginia. He was a physical trainer by profession and followed this vocation at various points in the middle west but was living in Iowa at the time of his death in 1895. His wife survived him and later made her home in Baker City. They were the parents of two sons, the younger being Helmuth G. Muegge, who was engaged in the plumbing business in Baker City.

Norman attended public school in Iowa and graduated from high school at Elkader in 1900 and afterwards took a position in a drug store where he was employed for two years. Determined to adopt this business as his life vocation, he attended the St. Louis College for Pharmacy and pursued his professional studies there for two years, being awarded the degree of Ph. G with the class of 1904. Immediately following, he took a position as prescription clerk in St. Louis and remained there for four years. Feeling he could conduct a business of his own, he resigned his position in 1906 and came to Baker City. In November of that year, he purchased the Wolfe Pharmacy and engaged continued to engage his business there.


Newbury, Honorable William Spencer
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

A native of New York, he was born at Ripley, Chautauqua county, on 19 September 1834 and was the son of John A. and Louisa (Spencer). The paternal family came from Newbury Castle, England. Two brothers with their wives and children sailed for America in 1620 and one became the founder of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and the other of Windsor, Connecticut. Representatives of the name were soldiers of the Revolutionary War. The estate of the founder of Windsor was settled in 1639 and from this branch, William S. Newbury descended. His father was a native of Connecticut and became a pioneer of western New York, settling in Chautauqua county. He owned two hundred and forty-eight acres of land there afterward purchased four adjoining tracts, becoming prominently connected with the agricultural interests of that district, in which he died at the age of eighty-four years as a result of a fall from a building. his wife was a native of Genoa, New York, and died when her son William was but seven years of age. He was the eldest of six children, the others being: Elizabeth, Adelbert and John, all of Ripley, New York; Mrs. Sarah Brown who lived in Sliver Creek, New York; and Mrs. Julia A. Griffin of Los Angeles, California.

William remained with his father until 1850 at which time he visited an uncle and aunt for about one and a half year and went to Chicago where he accepted a clerkship in a wholesale hardware and plumbing establishment. He remained there until 1854, when on account of illness, he returned home. He later visited Chicago and Milwaukee and spent the winter of 1855-56 at Fox Lake, Wisconsin where he entered up the study of law under the direction of State Senator John W. Davis. He next went to Madison, Wisconsin, where he was graduated from a commercial college. Four of the state senators offered him positions as manager of lumber companies in northern Wisconsin, but he had to decline these because of jealousy among them and later unsolicited, he was offered the position as manager and bookkeeper for a large lumber company operating in the northern part of the state. He had two hundred and fifty men under him and also built a steamboat and a lumber mill on Half Moon Lake. While thus engaged, he likewise constructed eighty rods of a canal from James River to the head of the lake, thus providing transportation facilities and shipped millions of feet of lumber down the Mississippi River. He remained with the company for a year and in the fall of 1857 he took a trip of general observation, visiting St. Louis, New Orleans and Havana, Cuba, from which point he went to New York City to visit his parents and returned west by way of Chicago and Madison to St. Paul, Minnesota, in February 1858. In the fall or winter of that year, he took entire charge of the Little American Fur Company of St. Louis, this post having been in Sioux City, Iowa, but operations by that company were suspended owing to the troubles that preceded the outbreak of the Civil War.

In December of 1859, Mr. Newbury and one of the company's men then spent nineteen days going down the Missouri River to St. Louis in a steamboat with Captain George Atkinson. he taught school in the Ozark mountains in the winter of 1859-60 and later went to Iola, Kansas, purchasing an interest in that town which had recently been founded. In the fall, he returned to Madison, Wisconsin, where he married Alzina Taylor, a native of New York; and thus took his wife to Iola until the spring of 1861. While there, he was appointed postmaster, conducted a store, and engaged in the practice of law.

He enlisted in the Sixth Kansas Infantry, Company K in August of 1861 and the following spring the company was merged with the Eight Kansas Infantry and became Company F. At his enlistment, he sent his wife back to her people and did not again see her until 1864, when he was mustered out of the service in order that he might fill the position of assistant provost marshal general of that state, in which capacity he served until the fall of 1865. In January of that year, the state senate unanimously elected him assistant secretary, a term he served until the adjournment of the session.

Having resumed the study of law and admitted to the bar, he practiced law in Iola, Kansas until the spring of 1870. While residing at Iola, he was elected mayor of the city but resigned that position in order to removed to San Francisco in June 1870. In the fall of 1871 he began buying wheat and conducting a storage at Albany in addition to handling agricultural implements, continuing in this business until 1874, at which time he returned to Portland and opened a law office. He conducted business there for two years but later accepted the position of manger for Frank Brothers & Company, an agricultural implement dealer. He was elected Mayor of Portland and served from July 1877 to July 1879. - During his mayoralty in Portland and in fact from 1876 until February 1880, he was engaged very extensively in the sale of agricultural implements as the head of the firm of Newbury, Hawthorne & Company and had branch houses at Roseburg, Albany and Walla Walla but upon the death of Dr. Hawthorne, the business was closed out in 1880.

He resumed his law practice but in 1899 closed his Portland office and went to the Sumpter mining district, where he bought and sold mining interests until 1907, when he settled in Baker and opened a law office where he continued to engage in this practice.

He and Alzina were the parents of: Izetta, wife of G.W. Poole of Crabtree, Linn county, Oregon; Estella, widow of C.N. Stephenson of Portland; and Charles S. wh died at the age of five years in Portland.


Notz, F. T.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in Colorado on 22 April 1876, he was the son of Louis and Elizabeth who were born, reared and married in the old country. They emigrated to the United States in 1875, locating in Colorado where they continued to reside. Five children were born to them, the subject of the sketch, having been the oldest of the three who were living. The next in order of birth was daughter Josephine, wife of H.H. McEwen of California; and the youngest, daughter Anna.

At the age of twenty-one, Dr. Notz left the parental home and first engaged in the meat business in Colorado, but at the end of a year, he removed to California and opened a livery stable. Deciding to take up the study of veterinary surgery, he sold his business and went to San Francisco to pursue his professional studies and graduated there in 1906. Immediately following, he came to Baker City and opened an office where he was soon recognized as one of the leading representatives of his profession in the state. He established a fine hospital and frequently consulted stockmen in other parts of the state. He was appointed to the state veterinary board under Governor Chamberlin, and in 1910 was made president of the board.

On the 31st of May, 1898, he married Miss Essie Henley, a native of Missouri and daughter of Augustine and C.M. (Bowman). The father was a native of North Carolina dn the mother of Indiana, but also resided in Baker City. Three children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Notz: Margaret V., Francis E., and one who died in infancy.


Ott, Hans
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in Switzerland on 24 November 1866, he was the son of Jacob and Regula, both natives of that land whre they were reared, married and died. They were the parents of eleven children, their son Hans, the youngest, the only survivor at the time this sketch was written. He had the benefit of a college education in his native land where he also learned the printer's trade. At the age of twenty, he came to America across the Atlantic on a passage which encountered a heavy sea and was wrecked, forty-three passengers having drowned. - After landing safely ashore, he proceeded westward from New York to Kansas and spent a short time there before removing to Colorado where he established a German newspaper, ding both the editorial work and type-setting himself. After a period of one year, he disposed of his paper and in the summer of 1889 and came to Baker Ctiy, Oregon where he purchased a ranch in the vicinity of town and farmed for several years. Meanwhile, he had assisted in the digging of the thirteen-mile irrigation ditch in Eagle Valley and in 1909 sold his ranch and removed to the city where he was given charge of the cemetery.


Palmer, John
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 3

Born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania on 31 December 1839, he was a son of Robert H. and Hannah (Palmer), both natives of Pennsylvania. In 1856 the father removed with his family ti Iowa, but later came to Oregon. he died at La Grande in 1898. His wife died in march of 1910 at the age of ninety-six years. They were the parents of: Beulah and Mary (twins) - the former the widow of F. Newlin at La Grande and the latter passed away at the age of fourteen; Joseph a resident of La Grande; John the subject of the sketch; Elizabeth the widow of Abraham Jones and resident of La Grande; Charles who lived in Baker; Emma the widow of Charles Harding of La Grande; and Frank Palmer who had married Kate Bowman and lived in Baker City.

John Palmer was married at Council Bluffs, Iowa and immediately thereafter emigrated to Oregon with mule teams, starting from Council Bluffs on April 23, 1866 and reaching Union county Oregon on July 3rd of that year. They resided about four years there where two of their children were born. In 1876 he removed with his family to Baker City and engaged in the grocery business which proved to be a successful venture. He died on 28 August 1895, his son thereafter continuing the business of buying and selling horses which he had begun four years prior.

His exact date of marriage to Miss Almira E. States of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was on the 3rd of April 1866. She was born in Richland county, Ohio on 27 april 1843, the only child of Joshua and Araminta (Taft), the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Massachusetts. The father was a blacksmith. His death occurred in 1844 and the mother then married Poynta O. Galleher by whom she had four children: Henrietta, Henry Dubois; Deransel who enlisted as a soldier in the Civil War at the age of 15 and was wounded in the Battle of Shiloh and died in 1865; and daughter Helen. The mother passed away on 21 Dec 1911.

John and Almira were the parents of eight children: Lora born 3 Feb 1867 who married Cyrus Good of Baker City; Robert R. born 9 Oct 1868 who married Maude Starbird of La Grande and after her death married Ethel Russell of Maine; Walter who engaged in the jewelry business in Baker and married Jennie Galatly; Charles Clarke born 18 Nov 1875 who married Minnie Woods of Baker and engaged in business with his brother Walter; John S. and his unnamed twin who were born 06 Feb 1878, the former dying at the age 06 Sep 1898 and was at that time studying law under Frank Moore in Baker City; Myrtle Adle born 10 Jul 1881 who died 16 Dec 1883; and Clarence Edward Palmer who was born 03 May 1885 and married Alice Little of Baker City.


Palmer, Melville
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in Madison county, Illinois on 07 October 1841, he was the only child of Isaac N. and Parmelia (Webster). his father was a Baptist minister who was born and reared in Hopkinsville, Christian county, Kentucky, but the mother was a native of Madison county, Illinois who was born in 1821. Both were deceased at the time of this sketch, the father passing in 1843 and the mother in 1841 when her son Melville was only a babe of three weeks.

Left an orphan at the age of two, he was reared by his maternal grandmother and acquired his education in the public schools of Monmouth, Warren county, Illinois. He afterwards went to Pella, Iowa where he spent three years learning the drug business and then turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. When the call came in the summer of 1862 for more troops, he enlisted as a member of the Eighty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry and went to the front in August of that year, remaining in service for two years and eleven months, mustered out in Nashville in July of 1865, at which time he returned to Illinois. He then engaged in the drug business at Alexis, Illinois where he owned and conducted a store for five years, selling out and coming to Oregon in 1885 at which time he located in Baker county. He purchased land in the vicinity of Baker City and was devoted to its improvements and cultivation for twenty-five years.

On 19 September 1871, he married Miss Florence Everett, who was born in the vicinity of Knoxville, Tennessee, her parents having removed to Illinois during her infancy, and there she was reared and married. They are the parents of one son, Walter E. Palmer, resident of Baker City, who was district fire warden and husband of Bessie Flora of Pine Valley.


Rand, Edward
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin on 02 June 1862, he was the son of A.J. and Mary (Latimer). The father, whose energies were always devoted to agricultural pursuits, was born in Virginia on 17 February 1827, was a Civil War veteran who had enlisted in Wisconsin where he had gone in his early manhood, and then commenced to Hood River, Oregon in 1885. He passed away in 1911, he and his wife the parents of twelve children - four of whom were living at the time of the sketch.

At the age of fourteen, Edward left home and first went to the Indian territory, but later located for a time in Texas, going from there to Arkansas. He next removal was to Louisiana and from there he went to Michigan, coming from the latter to Oregon in 1888 where he remained a short time. He next went to Seattle and engaged in lumbering on Puget Sound but three years later returned to Hood River and invested in a tract of land, in the cultivation which he engaged four years. At the expiration of that period, in 1896, he came to Baker county where he initially worked at the carpenter's trade and did some mining and prospecting in Sumpter. He was subsequently elected marshal of Sumpter, serving in this capacity for six years and was elected county sheriff in 1906.

He was united in marriage to Miss Luella J. Turner in 1881, she the daughter of D.A. turner who was actively engaged in operating a ranch in Hood River. Edward and Luella were the parents of Ethel and Dewey.


Robinette, James
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 3

Born in Cumberland county, Maryland on October 5th 1852, the town of Robinette in Baker county was named after him. He was the son of James J. and Mria (McElfish) who were also natives of Maryland. The father was of French descent and removed westward to Missouri with his family when his son James was two years of age.

James was reared in Missouri and left home at the age of seventeen, going to Eureka, Nevada in hopes of finding good business opportunities. He there engaged in mining for about nine years and afterward went to Cortez where he worked in a silver mine, securing the position of boss. After acting in that capacity for five years, he went to Union, Oregon, in the fall of 1884 and a year later removed to Cornucopia. In October of 1887 he removed to a point on the Snake River a mile below the mouth of Powder River and located the town of Robinette. Throughout his residence in Oregon, he engaged in placer mining and spent fifteen years on the Idaho side of Snake River at Stergill Bar during which time he was successful and continued to maintain his interest in that property.

He was married at Elko, Nevada on 16 July 1883 to Miss Eoa Lincoln, a daughter of David of Nevada City, Missouri. They are the parents of four children: Ruby who became the wife of C.S. Summers of Richland, Baker county on 27 Aug 1904; Earl who was born in 1888; Elbert born 31 Jul 1890; and Amos who was born the first of January in 1893.


Sterns, Honorable Leonard Orlando
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Born in Mercy, upper Canada on July 15, 1833, he was the son of William James and Maria (Sawyer), the father a native of Newark, new Jersey who died in Canada on 01 December 1843. The mother was born in Vermont and passed away at Pinerun, Michigan at the age of seventy-two. Both sides of Judge Sterns family defended the American interests in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Reared in public schools of Michigan where he went as a boy with his family, he graduated from the law department at Ann Arbor, having privately pursued the study of law under the direction of Governor Austin Blair of that state. In 1853 he came to the Pacific coast, making his way to California where he engaged in teaching school and mining. he was admitted to practice before the supreme court of California in 1854 and in 1869 on motion of the Hon. George H. Williams, then U.S. senator from Oregon, he was admitted to practice before the supreme Court of the United States. In 1863 he was elected a delegate to the constitutional convention of the state of Nevada and actively participated in formulating its organic law. In an editorial published in Esmeralda Times in August of that year he first proposed the present name of the state - Nevada.

His connection with Oregon dated from 1864. He located first at Canon City where he had for a law partner, the famous poet of the Sierra, Joaquin Miller. In 1866 he removed to Auburn at a time when the city of Baker had not yet been founded. He followed mining for a time and after the establishment of Baker City, removed to the county seat and entered upon the practice of law. In 1866 he represented Grant county in the state senate and in 1870 was tendered the appointment of judge of the circuit court of the sixth judicial district which position was made vacant by the resignation of the Hon. Joseph G. Wilson. he declined the appointment and preferred to devote his time and energies to his private practice, however, as appointed judge of Baker coutny to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Hon. L. L. McArthur and made an excellent record on the bench.

In November 1870, at La Grande, oregon, he married Miss Maggie Mahaffey and unto them were born four children: Leonard Orlando of Baker City; Edith who died in 1892 at the age of eighteen; Austin Blair who served as city clerk of Baker; and Irene who died 23 April 1898 at the age of seventeen. Judge Sterns' wife died in August of 1890 and in 1892 he had removed to Colfax, Washington and engaged in the newspaper publication as he also did at Oakseale. In the latter place he was married to Miss Quinnie T. Mounts on 03 Jan 1893, she formerly a teacher of Evansville, Indiana. She was, however, a native of Webster county, Kentucky and the daughter of Noble and Scirilla Theresa (Drake), native of Virginia and Kentucky respectively. The father went to Kentucky at the age of 16 and was married there, residing on a farm in Webster county. He went overland to California in 1852 and survived an attack of cholera, returning to Kentucky about 1855, when he enlisted and became a quartermaster in the Eighth Kentucky Confederate Regiment but after the fall of Fort Donelson, he resigned his commission and returned to Kentucky. He then removed to Evansville, Indiana, to educate his children. His wife died there, after which time Mr. Mounts again went to California in 1878 and passed away in 1879 in Nevada City. He and his wife were the parents of four children: Tollie, wife of Hon. W.C. Hindman of Baker who was born 19 Mar 1850; Quinnie born 15 Nov 1851, widow of Judge L. O. Sterns and the second of the family; California born 21 Mar 1855, wife of Dr. A.P. Davis of California; and Daniel who was born 14 Sep 1860 and was a resident of Los Angeles. Shortly after his second marriage, Judge Sterns returned to Baker where his death occurred on 09 Feb 1895. His widow continued to reside in Baker.


Sturgill, Joel C.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 3

Born in Baker county on 13 February 1874, he was the son of George B. and Lydia (White), both natives of Missouri. They were married in that state and continued to reside there until 1865 at which time they emigrated to Oregon making the journey across the plains by ox team. They settled on a farm in Baker county where they continued to reside, the father having died in 1905.

Joel was the fifth child in a family of eight children and became a teacher in Baker county until he entered the State Normal School at Monmouth, Oregon and after graduation, became principal of the high school at Condon. Three years after this position, he was elected to the office of county superintendent of schools.

He married Miss Mintie Case on 29 May 1901, daughter of Albert and Alice and were the parents of at least Marguerite who at the time of the sketch was written, was in her first year.


Sturgill, John L.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 3

Was born in Missouri on 05 December 1852 and was a son of F.H. and Caroline (Richmond), both natives of Virginia who had gone to Missouri in 1841, residing there for almost a quarter of a century. They started west in 1865, the mother dying along the way and her grave was made by the side of the Snake River. The father, with his family, came to Baker county and settled on a farm there - the family having consisted of thirteen children.

John was twelve years of age at the time the family crossed the plains with ox teams and after attaining his education, became a teacher where he taught at Baker High School (then Baker Academy) for twelve years. He then began farming and stock raising and owned two hundred acres of land with a large number of sheep, his ranch situated near Durkee.

In 1882 he was married to Miss Mary F. Stevenson who was born in Marion county, Oregon and was the daughter of M.A. and Marlinda, both native of Iowa who arrived in Marion county in 1862. John and Mary are the parents of: Walter, Francis M., William and Marlinda Sturgill.


Twiss, Hilary
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

A hardware merchant of Baker where he had made his home since 1877, he was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 21 April 1843 and was the son of Hilary Twiss, Sr, who was also a native of that city and had married Martha Ann Burk, who was born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They began their domestic life in Pennsylvania but after a few years removed to Jefferson coutny, Ohio, where their remaining days were passed. The father was a wagon maker, carpenter and woodworker before the days when most of the work of that character was done by machinery.

The subject of this sketch, was the eight in order of birth in a family of ten children. He and his younger brother, Samuel, served as soldier of the Civil Ara and an elder brother John, enlisted but was taken ill and died. Hilary served in Company F of the Thirty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, enlisting in August of 1861. Her served until September 15, 1865, taking part in the engagements at Alleghany, Virginia, MdDowell, Dross Keyes, Fort Gibson, Mississippi, Raymond, Champion's Hill and the siege of Vicksburg, beside many other minor engagements. He had served as corporal and sergeant and at the close of the war was in command of a gun. He was with his regiment all of the time, never being absent from duty and his bravery and fidelity were never questioned.

After the war, he returned to Ohio and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, learned the carpenter's trade which he followed for a few years before establishing a hardware business. In 1877 he came to Baker where in 1905 he opened his hardware business located at No. 2018 Center Street and his residence was at No. 2205 Second Street.

In 1872 he was married to Miss maria C. Merrill, who was born in Missouri on 17 Dec 1849, and was the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Taylor), both natives of Kentucky where the father was accidently shot. The mother survived him many years, dying at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Twiss, in 1910.


Underwood, Mrs. S.A.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

A native of Missouri and daughter of John and Susan Glenn, also natives of that state, she was reared to womanhood in the home of her parents and in 1874 became the wife of J. N. Hargrove. They were the parents of: O.K; Ina; Frank who at the time of this sketch was deceased; and Ella L., all who were graduates of the normal school in Chillicothe, Missouri.

She resided in Missouri until 1906, when together with her family, she came to Oregon and located in Baker county. In June of that year she became the proprietor of a hotel which she kept neat, clean and comfortable and served good meals with quality service. Since locating in the area, she made good investments in real estate and became owner of several properties in the city and three hundred and twenty acres of timberland.

In 1909 she was united in marriage to J.H. Underwood who was born in the sate of Illinois, but became a resident of California in 1859. He made his home in that state for forty years, and in 1900 came to Baker county where he engaged in mining and prospecting and was the owner of a placer mine, known as the Underwood gold mine, which was sold in 1912 for sixty thousand dollars.

Mrs. Underwood was an active worker in the Baptist church and was in every way a very capable woman, possessing initiative and executive ability and who was included in the biographical sketches (uncommon of women) because of the "general business sagacity and enterprise" she manifested.


Vaughn, W.B.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

Owner of a livery stable in Baker, he was born in Logan, Cash valley, Utah on 06 July 1863, son of William R. and Ellething (Aldridge), the father a native of Michigan and the mother of Illinois. They crossed the plains to Utah in 1848 and resided there until they moved to Malad City, Idaho, and from there to near Virginia City, Montana in 1873, later returning to Idaho. In 1889 they went to Alberta, Canada where they remained twenty-one years until in 1910 they came to Baker, Oregon. They wre the parents of five children.

The majority of W.B. Vaughn's early life passed in the state of Idaho and at the age of eighteen, he went to make his own way in the world. Having been reared on a ranch, he so devoted his energies to farming and teaming in Idaho until 1900 at which time he came to Baker and embarked in the livery business. In addition to his business, he owned one-half interest in two thousand acres of land in Baker county.

He was married in 1882 to Miss Helen A. Brooks, who was born and reared in Utah. They were the parents of five children: L.W. who resided in Surprise Valley, California; Ella; Anna Laura; Guy R. and Waldo R. Vaughn - all of Baker.


Wisdom, James T.
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 3

Born in Randolph county, Missouri on 22 November 1841, he was the son of Thomas Barnes Wisdom who was born in Kentucky in 1814 and died in Oregon in 1893. The mother, Lucinda (Gess) was born in Kentucky in 1821 and died in 1866. The father was an agriculturist and followed the occupation of farming throughout his entire life. He came to Oregon with his family in 1863 taking up a government claim near Wingville. They were the parents of thirteen children.

James was educated in the common schools and graduated from the high school at Trenton, Missouri. He assisted his father on the farm and after attending a commercial college course in Portland, he entered the drug business in Baker City in 1870 of which he was engaged for a dozen years. He then embarked in the real estate business in Baker City and built a thriving business. He retired from active business, sold his farm and concentrated his investments in Baker City. In 1872 he was elected county superintendent of schools.

He was married on 28 January 1892 to Mrs. Lavina (Toney) Shinn, a native of Illinois and daughter of John Toney, who had been a successful farmer.


York, James
Condensed & Extracted from The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1911; Vol. 2

An extensive stock raiser in Baker county since 1866, he was born in Louisiana on 24 December 1846, and was the only son of James and Ellen York, both of whom were native of Ireland and came to America while quite young.

James received a common education but left home at the early age of ten and began working on a farm in Missouri, the family having removed to that state. At the age of twenty, he enlisted in the Missouri State Militia and remained there only three months, at which time he went to Davis county, Iowa. Remaining there only a year, he returned to Schuyler county, Missouri where he again enlisted in the militia - close to the end of the Civil War.

He crossed the plains with a mule team in 1866 and settled in Baker county, Oregon in the fall of that year. He took up a government claim and engaged in active farming, owning three hudndred and ten acres on one farm, another forty-acre farm, and another four acres in Baker City.

He was married three times. His first marriage occurred in 1870 when he married Mary J. Dealy, a daughter of David, of Missouri. To this union were born four children: James T. and Edward both of Baker county, and two others - deceased. Mary J. passed away on 01 Mar 1882. His second wife was Mary L. Hunsaker, a native of Washington who bore him a son, A.H., a resident of Portland. His second wife died 22 Feb 1893 and he was married for a third time to Nannie A. Phillips, a native of Missouri. They were the parents of seven children: Vadah; Richard; Mary; Sarah, Carl, Esther; and one who died in infancy.

Updated 04 Jun 2013
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