Biography of James D. Halsey

Any work that purports to give in review the lives of the pioneers and leading citizens of Wallowa County would be quite incomplete were there failure to mention the esteemed and intelligent gentleman and capable and patriotic citizen whose name is at the head of this article and who has wrought for the development and advancement of our county for many years, maintaining meanwhile an unsullied reputation and showing forth a character of moral worth and intrinsic value that has placed him in position to be the recipient of the confidence of his fellows, while his vigor, excellent judgment and fine capabilities in the business world have made him prominent throughout the county.

Mr. Halsey, was born in the state of New York in 1839, being the son of Job D. and Orpha (Ford) Halsey. His parents were married and then settled in New York, whence in 1850 they came to Iowa, and in 1863 they went thence to Missouri. At the age of nineteen we next see our subject, little detail of his years of minority being given. His first venture on the sea of life’s battles for himself was to engage for wages in Iowa for a time and then he repaired to Wisconsin, and in this latter state he was residing when the call for the sons of freedom to rally to the flag of their country and assist in saving it from insult and infamy resounded in his ears. It stirred the patriotic spirit within him and he was soon enrolled as a volunteer in the Sixteenth Wisconsin Infantry, in Company B. This brought him under Sherman’s command, and he was one of that sturdy army that made the memorable march to the sea. War with all of its suffering, sorrow and woe was his to experience, and as a faithful soldier, brave and true, he served until the close, and then was mustered out with honorable discharge at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1865. He was heartily in accord with the movement to go west and carve out a place and a name for him, and accordingly he went at once to Nebraska, toiling faithfully in that territory for three years. The following years of travel and research are not detailed until 1877, when he set foot in Union county, Oregon, Manifesting the same pioneer spirit and stanch qualities that had been displayed hitherto. He settled in the vicinity of the Cove, remaining for two years, then repaired to the rich and fertile Wallowa County and took a pre-emption. He has the original place still, and has added as much more by purchase, making him a generous farm of one half-section, which lies six miles east from Joseph. He has prosecuted the art of the agriculturist steadily and with vigor since arriving here, and he is esteemed one of the most substantial and progressive of our farmers. In addition to raising the fruits of the field. Mr. Halsey has paid much attention to handling stock, in which line he has been eminently successful.

In 1867, Mr. Halsey married Miss Candis, daughter of Hiram and Mary (Mears) Nelson, natives of Vermont. To this happy union there have been born the following children: Bessie, Job, William, Nathan, Emma, and the last one being buried at Gibbon, Nebraska. Mrs. Halsey’s parents came to Wisconsin in 1840 and the mother died in that state and her remains repose at Waupaca, while the father came to Union, Oregon in 1877 and there died later. Mr. Halsey is a member of the G.A.R. where he is held in esteem. While he is not seeking preferment for himself in the lines of politics, still Mr. Halsey is actively interested as becomes the good citizen in matters of government and takes especial interest in the educational affairs of the county and of his home district ever striving for thorough work in that line and the best facilities.



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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