Biography of Nelson Schoonover

NELSON SCHOONOVER. – It now becomes our pleasant privilege to outline the career of the enterprising and progressive citizen, whose name initiates this paragraph, and who has wrought in Union county for many years, ever being active for its upbuilding and advancement, while his wisdom and energy and ability have served in many instances for the good of his fellows. Mr. Schoonover has been occupied in many different lines of industry, but in them all he has never forgotten its labor for the town and county where his lot was cast, and to-day he stands as one of our most public-spiritied and broad-minded citizens, while his moral worth is commensurate with his other commendable activities and qualities.

Our subject was born in Monroe county, Pennsylvania, on May 24, 1838, being the son of Samuel G. and Mary (Heller) Schoonover, farmers of that state. During his minority, he remained under the parental roof, obtaining a good education from the schools and also learning the miller’s trade, but when he reached the age of nineteen, he migrated to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and there worked at his trade for a period of six years. In 1864, he crossed the plains with mule teams to northeastern Oregon and thence to Idaho City, Idaho, where he engaged in placer mining for a time and then took up earning from Umatilla Landing to Boise Basin mines and to Walla Walla. His first winter was spent near Walla Walla, and after that he entered the stock business, locating in Wallowa, and for about eight years subsequent to that time he carried the mail and operated a stage line between Union and Wallowa. At the time of the Joseph war, he sold out his entire stock interests and then bought a farm four miles from Union. To this he added from time to time until he owned one thousand acres, being occupied for ten years in general farming. Mr. schoonover has done much to introduce fine stock into the county, purchasing blooded animals and crossing with the herds that he brought from Texas, and his efforts have stimulated many others to this work, and the result is that Union county today has many head of excellent well-bred stock, all of which adds to the wealth of the county. Mr. Schoonover has bought and sold many farms, and at the present time he owns one-fourth interest in a quarter section and is interested in farming. In addition to this, Mr. Schoonover owns heavy interests in mining, the largest being in the Cornucopia districts. At the present time he is manager of the Union street and suburban railroad, which is a paying institution, and has prospered under his skillful direction.

Mr. Schoonover and Miss Anna, daughter of P.D. and Anna (Robinson) Morrison, were married on March 19, 1876. Mrs. Schoonover’s parents were natives of Scotland. Mr. Schoonover is identified with the Red Men, Lodge No. 22, of Union. He is one of the active and capable men, who are always on the lookout for the welfare of the county and town, and his uprightness and integrity have won for him hosts of friends, both in the county and other places, while he is esteemed by all.



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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