Location: Baker County OR

Gold Discovery on Giffin’s Gulch

A little more than thirty-one years have passed away since the first discovery of gold on Griffin’s Gulch an event which led to the first permanent settlement in Eastern Oregon southwest of the blue mountains. Many of the pioneers of thirty years ago are still living, but their number is growing less year after year, and soon there will be no living witness to the stirring events. The toils, hardships and adventures of those gold seekers who first made known the resources of the country. True, the old emigrant road passes through Powder river valley, and most of the early

Baker City, Baker County Oregon History

Baker City In the month of August 1864, R. A. Pierce laid claim to the SE ¼ of Sec. 17, Tp. 9. S. 40, east of the Willamette meridian, and proceeded in 1865 to get a title to the same from the state. He built a house west of where the court house now stands, and early in the spring of 1865 laid off the SE quarter of the quarter section for a town site, which he named Baker, but somehow people would call it Baker City and that became the adopted name. Mr. Fisher owned the land east of

St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Baker County, Oregon

The first service of the Episcopal Church held in Baker City was by the Rt. Rev. R. W. Morris, D.D., June 5, 1870. The bishop found two communicants, in the city, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Henderson. Finding that there was a sentiment favorable to the enterprise of building a church a subscription paper was circulated and the sum of $900 was pledged for a building fund. That amount not being sufficient for the purpose, the matter rested for a time. In June 1873, at the request of Bishop Morris, Rev. R. D. Nevius took charge of the mission in Grande

Baker Valley Oregon Churches

Ministers of various denominations visited Baker County and held meetings at different places, but no one was a resident minister within the county prior to 1868. The Rev. Ellsworth, of La Grande, came to Powder River Valley frequently in 1864-5, and later Elder Newton of the Methodist church, south, held meetings, frequently at Auburn and in the valley. The Rev. Koger of the Baptist church preached at Wingville a number of times, but the Methodist Episcopal church was the first to appoint a resident pastor and hold regular services. The following sketch of the work of the church was kindly

Baker County Oregon Sketches

Sydney Abell, Justice of the Peace opened the first legally constituted court in Baker County, October 29th 1862. The first case was that of the people vs. D. Scott, action to bind defendant to keep the peace, entered on complaint of Thomas Ricketts. The prosecuting witness failed to appear and the case was dismissed. Of the thirty-two cases docketed up to January 1st, 1863, there were four of the kind above cited, three suits about town lots in Auburn, Fifteen to recover money, five replevin cases, one unlawful detention, one felonious intent to cheat, one petty larceny, one assault and

Incidents in Pioneer Days in Baker County, Oregon

People who come to the Pacific States in palace cars, making the trip in four or five days, can have but a faint conception of the toils and hardships endured by those who crossed the plains with teams before the advent of railroads. Experience would also be necessary, perhaps, to enable one to fully appreciate the humorous phases of the journey; but doubtless scores of old pioneers have smiled at sight of a certain paper which was posted on a tree by the side of the trail between Elk creek and Auburn in the fall of ’62, for it could

Events in Baker County, Oregon History

Most of the miners about Auburn, and throughout the country also, during the first years of the development of the mining business, were Californians, and that there was a difference betwixt them and Oregonians at that time, was apparent to any one who met a considerable number of persons from each of the two states. It seems remarkable that such a difference should exist between the people of two adjoining states which had been settled by immigrants from the same sections of the country east of the Missouri river, and that settlement, too, of so recent date that the youths

Rye Valley Oregon

Joseph Benoit and Charles Van Clay discovered gold in Rye Valley in the spring of 1863 and laid a claim on the waters of Dixie creek and begun digging a ditch. They went over to Mormon Basin and offered Mr. Ingraham an interest in their discovery which he declined, thinking he had a better prospect in the Basin. In 1864, Russell and Archambeau owned the ditch which conveyed water to the lower portion of the diggings. In that year Walter Fernald, J. C. Powers, and Joseph Yowell went over to the camp from Mormon Basin and Fernald, Powers and Odell

Big Creek Cemetery, Baker County, Oregon

There is a settled farming community near the Northern line of Baker County approximately 20 miles northeast of Baker, an early pioneer cemetery is located in this area about one-quarter mile off State Highway 203 and about two or three miles south of Medical Springs. It is on the right-hand side of the highway going toward Union. Although this cemetery is in Baker county, it warrants being included in resources for Union County due to it’s proximity. Land for this cemetery was donated by Jim Sams. It is located on a slopping sagebrush hill with a beautiful view of the surrounding

Wingville Cemetery, Baker County Oregon

A cemetery was started in Wingville in 1878 after a diphtheria epidemic made a cemetery a necessity. The Wingville Grange No. 150 purchased ten acres from Thomas Bailey and his wife for a two dollar gold piece on 8 April 1878. On 8 December 1883 the trustees of the Wingville Grange 150 for fifty dollars deeded 2 ½  acres in the northwest corner of the cemetery to the Wingville  I. O. O. F. Lodge No. 69. The cemetery is reached by taking a side road off of U. S. Highway 30 Westerly about 3 ½  miles to Wingville, follow the road