Biography of Samuel A. Pursel

SAMUEL A. PURSEL. – Union county’s list of business men comprises a wide awake and energetic class that has wrought well for the advancement of the county and among the number are some that have manifested extraordinary ability in financiering and in manipulating the resources of the county. One of this distinguished number is the gentleman, of whom we have the pleasure now to write, and his enterprise and industry have been well known for a third of a century in the walks of business life in this country, while his capabilities have been shown to be second to none in the enterprises that he has inaugurated and consummated.

West Brownville, in the old Keystone state, is the place of his birth, which occurred in 1840. When ten years of age he was brought to Iowa, where his parents remained until the time of their death. When the call of patriotism sounded in his ear, he left the quiet walks of life and enlisted in Company K, of the Fourth Iowa, where he served with valor for about one year, then was honorably discharged and returned to the pursuits of industrial life. In 1872 he left the place of his youth and came to Union county, landing at Lagrande on the 1st of April. He at once saw an opening in the manufacture of lumber and was quick to take advantage of it, locating his first mill at a place designated by the laconic appellation of Stumptown, but now known as Perry. For five and one-half years he operated successfully here and then moved to Union and engaged in the lumber business at that point. He pushed the business with energy and wisdom and was exceedingly prosperous. He also added farming to the commercial efforts and now has a farm of eight hundred acres which produces handsome returns annually. Desiring more quiet, he has retired from the activities of his lumber business and confines himself to the farm, while he lives in the town of Union, having a beautiful residence. While in the business he was one of the most successful operators in the manufacture and sale of lumber in the county, being a pioneer in the industry and bringing to its manipulation both skill and enterprise.

In 1866 Mr. Pursel was married to Miss Esther, daughter of John and Jenette McComas, natives of Ohio. By his integrity and sound principles Mr. Pursel has earned the esteem and confidence of all, and it is but true to say that in a generous measure he enjoys the same, and is highly respected by his fellow citizens.

Mr. and Mrs. Pursel have raised three girls, Viola Bowman, wife of Rev. R.H. Parker; Cara and Sadie Carpenter, daughters of frank and Victoria Carpenter, deceased. Clara has taught in Union county, but is at the present time attending school at Monmouth. Sadie is attending the high school in Union.


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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