Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon
Pioneer Settler in the Valley Dead
William McCormack First Permanent resident, Expires Suddenly
William McCormack, the first settler in the Wallowa valley, died last Friday morning in his home on Alder Slope. He had not been robust for some time, but retired Thursday night in seemingly normal health. At 2 o’clock Friday morning, other members of the family heard groans coming from his room. He was found apparently suffering great pain although scarcely conscious. When a physician arrived, after being called in haste from Enterprise, the pioneer was dead. He never regained consciousness after the family was awakened.
For some time Mr. McCormack had been suffering from rupture. This did not, however, prevent him from taking an active part in the management of his farm. He was in Enterprise a day or so before his death. Thursday afternoon he helped put up a hayrack on a wagon, and, it is supposed, strained himself. The internal injuries then suffered are believed to have precipitated his death.
The funeral was held Sunday afternoon in the Friends church; Alder Rev. W.P. Samms preached the sermon to a very large gathering of Wallowa county pioneers. Burial was in the Alder cemetery, almost in sight of the spot where, in 1872, Mr. McCormack built his log cabin that marked the beginning of permanent settlement in this valley.
Mr. McCormack was born in Indiana, July 29, 1841, and was, therefore, 70 years and 6 months old. His family removed to Missouri when he was a youth. He crossed the plains in 1861 and lived for some years in the Grande Ronde valley at Cove.
In the spring of 1872 he came into Wallowa, selected a home site on Hurricane creek and built a log cabin.
W. W. White of Enterprise, who followed close after Mr. McCormack, said of the latter:
“When I came here in July, 1872, I found Mr. McCormack on what is now the Carl Whitmore place on Hurricane creek. He was the only settler then in the valley. He had begun a log cabin, but it was not finished then. He was cutting and preparing to put up wild hay–the coarse, swamp grass growing there then–so that he could feed his stock later. He had not then brought his stock in, having left it back at Cove.”
Mr. McCormack was a substantial citizen, upright and respected. He made his home in the county continuously after his first settlement. He is survived by Mrs. McCormack, his widow, and three sons, Logan who lives on the Imnaha and John and Bert, and one daughter, Lenora, the wife of Wilbur Holmes.
Enterprise Record Chieftain, Wallowa County, Oregon, January 25, 1912
Contributed By: Charlotte Carper