Biography of William M. Stoker

WILLIAM M. STOKER. – Among the enterprising and industrious stockmen and agriculturists who have been successful in their endeavors in Union county we are constrained to mention the gentleman whose name initiates this paragraph, and who is to-day one of the leaders in his line in the county. A man of good executive ability, with qualities of determination and stability, he has met the forces of the business world and there demonstrated his capabilities in a winning manner that has given him the competence of the prosperous, as well as the favor and esteem of his fellows.

In Jackson county, Ohio, on July 10, 1844, William M. was born to Michael and Martha (Carr) Stoker. While yet an infant his parents removed with him to Missouri, thence to Illinois, and from there to Iowa in 1846. In 1860 our subject went to Colorado and there engaged with the Clark Brothers, large freighters from Omaha to Denver, in the capacity of wagon master in an ox train, and he remained in this position for eight years. After the expiration of this time he was in the same capacity with Bostell & Metts, who operated in the same country. From here he returned to Iowa and fitted up a team and made the journey to Utah. For three years he lived on the Provo river, giving his attention to farming. He then returned to Iowa and remained for one year and started for the west once more, this time expecting to complete his journey on Puget Sound. He was fortunate enough to take the course that brought him through the fertile valleys of Union county, and he made the wise choice of at once settling on a quarter section of government land near where he lives at the present time. He secured title through the pre-emption act and after spending some time in improving and tilling the place he sold it to Sam Purcell and took a homestead where he lives now, which is eight miles east from Union on Catherine creek. He added one quarter section more by purchase and then commenced the battle of life without a dollar for working capital. Like the illustrious rail splitter of other days, he shouldered his ax and went to the woods and cut cordwood and split rails to gain sufficient funds to start with. His energy and skill and pluck were equal to the task and he soon began to gain rapidly and success attended his efforts constantly. He has now two hundred acres fenced and cultivates eighty acres. He raises annually fifty tons of good timothy hay, besides, cereals, and has one acre in good fruit. Mr. Stoker takes great interest in good stock. He has fine horses and some excellent specimens of Jersey cattle, and he is raising a number of first-class mules. He is one of the skillful and enterprising men of the county, and is a devotee of thrift and care in all of his undertakings. Mr. Stoker is not solicitious of political preferment, but is deeply interested in the affairs of the government to the extent of having capable and faithful men at the helm. His fellows have requested him to act as road supervisor, which he has done with faithfulness and efficiency.

On January 1, 1866, Mr. Stoker and Mrs. Cora O. Robbins were joined in the holy bonds of matrimony. Mrs. Stoker’s former husband, Tom Robbins, died in Denver in 1865, and she has one son by that marriage, Charles Robbins, who is now married and lives in Union, being employed with the telephone company. Mr. Stoker is one of the wide-awake and up-to-date men of the county and has ever manifested stanch integrity and commendable sagacity and enterprise in all of his undertakings and has been a potent factor in the promotion of the welfare of all and the interests of the county.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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