Biographical Sketch of James A. Alford

The subject of this article is one of the pioneers of the west and labored faithfully in many sections for its opening and has made a record for frontier work that demonstrates him both a capable and courageous man.

He was born in Missouri, on November 19, 1854, being the son of John and Sallie Alford. He remained in his native state until he had reached seventeen years of age and then he went to Utah and engaged in mining, being the second man in the noted Bingham gulch there. He worked there for one year and then came to Idaho and freighted for a year and thence he came to the Grande Ronde valley: that was 1873, and the following year he made his way into the territory that is now embraced in Wallowa county, where he engaged in stock raising, principally sheep and horses. This labor continued until 1884, at which time, in company with G. Allen and L. Wright, he went to the Lost Prairie country, being the first man to chop a tree and build a cabin in that country. In the same year he took his family there, drawing them in on a sled made of poles and fastened to mules. The company going that way consisted of himself and wife and two children, and Ed Renfrow and L. Wright. They were seven days going twenty-six miles, and then last day they went thirteen miles. The snow was fifteen feet deep in places and it was with great difficulty that they were enabled to make the journey. The provision was exhausted and the last day they lived on sugar only. For two and one-half years Mr. Alford remained there and then sold out and removed to the Chesnimnus, Country, where he bought land and now owns a section of land there and handles some stock. In 1889 he went on a trip through the southern states and the middle states with fast horses and they did so well that he continued at the business until 1901. He then returned here and bought his present business in Enterprise, it being the Delta Saloon.

The marriage of Mr. Alford and Miss Serilda, daughter of L. and Rebecca Wright, was solemnized at the Cove, in Union county in 1872. Mrs. Alford was a native of Union county and her parents came to the coast in 1850. The father died in the Grande Ronde valley, but the mother is still living in Wallowa County. Mrs. Alford died on May 5, 1886, and was buried at the Cove. She left two children: James W., married and living in Wallowa county: Sarah E. wife of Richard Warnack, residing on Crow creek.



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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