Biography of Charles Hedricks

In the death of this esteemed and worthy citizen Wallowa County suffered the loss of one of her best known and most widely beloved and substantial sons and his demise was a time of general mourning to all who knew him. Mr. Hedricks was capable and enterprising, and his real worth and noble qualities were manifest to all.

Charles Hedricks was born on January 28, 1828, in West Virginia, to Charles and Hannah (Collins) Hedricks. The father was a native of West Virginia and was also a skilled machinist and he wrought for some time in the large iron works in Tennessee. While our subject was a very small child his parents brought him to Sangamon County, Illinois, where they settled on a farm. At the early age of seventeen Charles started in the battle of life for himself and, learning the carpenter trade, he assisted to erect the old fort Smith in Arkansas. When he had reached his twentieth year he had been enabled by careful savings to accumulate sufficient funds to purchase a farm, which he did in Platte County, Missouri, and there he remained for five years and then removed to Jefferson County, Kansas, being the first white settler in that county, where, also, he took up a pre-emption claim. For twenty-seven years he labored in this place, five of which were spent in the service of the government between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Laramie. During the Civil war he was on the front, enlisting to repel the raid of Price, and for one year he handled the musket and fought with the same vigor that he manifested in his other undertakings. During all the conflict of that year he was active in quelling the disturbance of the border ruffians, and when peace was restored he returned to the quieter walks of domestic life and again took up the good work of developing the country and making his farm valuable. It is also of note that Mr. Hedricks traveled for over five hundred miles in the Rockies with Old Sitting Bull. In 1883, he went to Barton county, Missouri, and purchased a farm, remaining there for four years, when he sold out and came to Wallowa county and settled on a homestead three and three-fourths miles northeast from Wallowa.

The marriage of Mr. Hedricks and Miss Ruth, daughter of James and Ester McCracken was celebrated in Jefferson County, Kansas, in January 1862. They have become the parents of the following children: Calidone, now Mrs. Gault, of Oklahoma, and forty-one years of age; George, thirty-six years old and married to Myrtle Mizner, of Washington county, Oregon; Charles, thirty-four years old; John, thirty-two years old; Amos, twenty-four years old; Walter, twenty-two years of age. Mr. Hedricks was always active in politics, being allied with the Democratic Party and, while he labored ardently for good men in the official chairs, he would never accept preferment for himself, although he might have received this recognition from his fellows. On April 27, 1890, the messenger of death came, who summoned Mr. Hedricks from the scenes of his labors and triumphs to the realities of another world. It was a time of sad grief and mourning, and his remains are interred in the Lostine cemetery to await the resurrection morning.

Mrs. Hedricks took up the broken threads, where her husband had laid them down and has been nobly carrying forward the work of life. She proved up on the homestead after his death and then took another, which gives her the fine estate of three hundred and twenty acres. Her father was a native of Scotland, and her mother of North Carolina, being also a cousin to the noted Stephen L. Douglas. Mr. Hedricks left behind him a faithful testimony and his widow is today highly regarded by all and is a woman of excellent personality, always manifesting noble qualities and real worth.



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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