Biography of John A. Lanman

John A. Lanman is one of the best known men in Wallowa County, and also in eastern Oregon, having spent a career of exceptional success in the capacity of rider of race horses in this section, while in his business enterprises since that time he has manifested talent and energy that have commended him to his fellows.

John A. was born in Wayne County, Iowa, on October 23, 1859, being the son of William and Betsey (Dobson) Lanman, natives of Illinois. They soon removed to Iowa after their nuptials, about 1843, and twenty years subsequent to that time they crossed the plains with their family to Boise, Idaho, and the next year came to the Grande Ronde valley. In 1865 the father took his present farm as a homestead, situated seven and one-half miles southwest from Summerville. In 1901 he retired from active business and now resides in Summerville. At the age of fourteen our subject was sent for by Joe Lamara, of Walla Walla, to ride the latter’s horse, Tom Benton, in a race. John A. was compelled to ride the entire distance of ninety miles to Walla Walla, but still he was in shape to place Tom Benton a winner in the race, thus capturing a purse of two hundred and fifty dollars for himself and two thousand for the owner. That commenced a career of jockey riding that continued until he was twenty-three years of age. He rode for Alex LaBuff in La Grande and for six years he never lost a race, a record seldom equaled. He rode four years steadily for Sturgell Brothers and never lost a race for them. He also rode for A.C. Smith in Enterprise, and he has backed the swiftest horses that ever trod this western soil. At the age of twenty-three he quit the track and settled down to farming, purchasing a farm near his father’s. In 1888 he purchased a farm in Wallowa County, five miles northwest from Wallowa, continuing there in the pursuit of agriculture until 1897, when he sold it and purchased his present business of livery and feed stable in Wallowa. He does a good business, handling excellent rigs and good horses and by his careful attention to the wants of his customers has gained an opulent patronage. In addition to his business interests, he owns a fine residence with generous grounds in Wallowa.

On March 26, 1899, Mr. Lanman married Miss Hattie Southwell, and one child has been born to gladden their union, Maud, whose birthday was June 23, 1900. Politically Mr. Lanman is allied with the Democratic Party and manifests intelligent activity and interest in these matters. He served as constable of Wallowa, being elected for a two-year term in 1896, and in 1900 he was elected to a second term: also, he was road supervisor for two terms subsequent to 1890, in all of which public service he has manifested acceptable energy and diligence in the duties devolving upon him in these capacities, while he has also demonstrated his faithfulness, and integrity in this as in all of his career. In fraternal affiliations, he is associated with the Masons, Standley Lodge, No. 113, and with the I.O.O.F., Wallowa Lodge, No. 154.



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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