Biography of Burr Dexter

To this veteran of many conflicts on the arena of life’s battles, who has also fought in defense of the flag of freedom, while he has ever demeaned himself with wisdom and valor, we are pleased to accord a representation in this volume of the chronicles of Wallowa County, since also today he is one of the venerable builders of our county and a respected and influential citizen.

Mr. Dexter was born in Allegany County, New York, on February 2,1830, being the son of Knight and Lucinda (Mapes) Dexter, natives respectively of Virginia and New York. The father was a contractor and builder, operating in New York and Ohio. Our subject was one of the home circle beneath the parental roof until he had attained the age of nineteen and then started forth to net the ways of life for himself. He first came to Michigan and worked around St. John and Lansing, and continued until the year 1891. During this time, in the year 1862, he enlisted in the Twenty-second Michigan Infantry and served his time with a good record, being in the army of the Cumberland and participating in a number of battles. As was stated above, in 1891, Mr. Dexter came to Wallowa County and purchased a farm five miles northeast from Wallowa and took up the life of the agriculturist for two years. Then that time of life had arrived when he was privileged to retire from active participation in its arduous and laborious duties and accordingly, he built him a commodious and modern home in Wallowa and rented his fine estate to his son, Chancey, of who mention is made in another portion of this work. He purchased his farm for thirteen hundred dollars and since that time he has added improvements until it is of the value of ten thousand dollars. It is now one of the best and most paying estates in the entire county, and does great credit to the wisdom and enterprise of its worthy owner.

In 18544, in St. John, Michigan, Mr. Dexter married Miss Elizabeth Wyman, and one child, George B., was the fruit of the union. This helpmeet was taken away by death, and again our subject sought the matrimonial relations, taking for wife this time Miss Ellen J., daughter of Nelson and Phoebe (Gee) Seaton, natives of New York. This happy marriage occurred in Oakland county, Michigan, and four children are the fruit: Nelson; Charles, deceased and buried in Clinton county, Michigan; Chancey; Minnie. Mrs. Dexter was born on November 17, 1837, in New York. Mr. Dexter is highly respected by all who know him, has led a life of uprightness and faithfulness, and is now spending the golden years in quiet enjoyment of the portion that his hands have wrought out for his meed, while he is beloved and admired by all and surrounded with friends and relatives.

Carla Leighton is the Great Great Grand daughter of Burr. She writes:

Burr Dexter was the father of C.M. Dexter. His name was Chauncey Mordello Dexter.
His 2nd wife was Ellen Jane Seaton marr: 1 June 1865.

Henry Edwards and Mary Jane Edwards were brother and sister…
Mary Jane Edwards married George Burr Dexter (My Great Grandparents)
George Burr was the son of Burr Dexter and Elizabeth P. Wyman…
Burr re-married Ellen Jane Seaton and had a son C.M. Chauncey Mordello Dexter, making him a 1/2 brother to George Burr.



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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