Biography of William Makin

To the capable and enterprising citizen whose name initiates this paragraph we are pleased to accord a representation in the history of Wallowa County, since he has trod the path of the pioneer in a worthy manner, displaying constantly qualities of moral worth and value, and has achieved a success in temporal affairs that is commendable and praiseworthy, being the meed of continuity in wisely directed effort and energy and sagacity in all of his ways, and consequently it is very fitting that he should be placed today as one of the prominent men of the county, which position he fills with acceptability.

Mr. Makin was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, on December 12, 1837, and went hence at the age of five to Marshall County, Indiana, with his parents, Robert and Margaret (Brewer) Makin. Soon after this journey, the father died and our subject was left with the mother, with whom he lived until he had reached manhood’s estate. During this time he gained from the primitive schools of the place an education, walking to and from school three miles each way and searching for wisdom’s treasures around the old fashioned fireplace in a log school house. When our subject reached the age of eighteen, his mother was called to pass the river of death, and the following year he removed to Wayne county, Iowa whence after a short stay, he returned to Indiana. In 1857 he again made the trip to Iowa, remaining this time until 1862. In this last year, he prepared his family and holdings to take the long and arduous journey across the mountains and plains to the Pacific coast, utilizing ox teams for transportation. The train consisted of one hundred and five wagons, and although many others suffered from the attacks of the savages, on account of the size of this train it was unmolested during the entire journey. He halted at Auburn, Baker County, and engaged in packing both there and in Idaho basin, also gave some attention to mining, and in 1863 moved his family to the Grande Ronde valley.

In 1860 Mr. Makin married Miss Mary Fox, and one child was born to them in Iowa, Elzie O. He is now living in the vicinity of Enterprise. After coming to the Grande Ronde valley, one more child was born to our subject, Allen, who died in 1897. The mother and wife was called from her family by death in 1865. Mr. Makin continued to farm in the Grande Ronde valley for a time after this sad event and also gave some attention to raising stock.

In 1866 Mr. Makin married a second time. Angeline Shoemaker being his choice at this time, and four children blessed this union: Frederick, married to Mary Tuttle and living near Enterprise: Annie, wife of J.K. Romic. of Lagrande: Mollie, wife of Charles Stacy, near Enterprise: William, deceased.

On February 23, 1884, Mr. Makin was married a third time, Jemima Williams of Enterprise becoming his wife on this occasion and to them have been born eight children. Otho, deceased, Inez, Eva, Ralph, Wildon, Lila and Lula, twins and deceased. Glenwood. In 1887 Mr. Makin sold his ranch in the Grande Ronde and moved to his present home two miles south from Enterprise, which consists of an estate of six hundred acres. It is all well fenced and improved, having comfortable house and good barn, and the farm well supplied with water, which assists him in raising abundant crops of the cereals and timothy and alfalfa. He has a large band of sheep and is one of the leading woolgrowers of the county. He and his son Frederick own the electric light plant that furnishes Enterprise with light. Mr. Makin is a man that has always allied himself with the side of morality and good and is upright and faithful in all his ways. His bright example of moral conduct and stanch support of the cause of religion in his section have made him worthy to be emulated and he is a light in the community. Many of the various denominations have profited much by his liberality and while he is a member of no sect, still he supports the cause always, and is foremost in working for the cause of education also.



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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