Biography of William Proebstel

WILLIAM PROEBSTEL. – In the word, pioneer, is wrapped more real substance and genuine meaning than perhaps in any other word of the English language. Its pronunciation brings vividly before us weary days of marching through the trackles wastes of western desert, enduring the pain of hunger, thirst and waning strength, although courage was never less to the pioneer and the buoyancy of hope never shone dimmer than when first its vision lured him to turn his face from civilization hired him to turn his face from civilization and begin the pilgrim journey toward the setting sun. What scenes of herculean struggles when the destination was reached, when from the wildness of nature there was a rude home carved to shelter the hardy subjects until little by little the comforts of life could be added. What days and night of anxiety were spent in watching and fighting the savages, who roamed but to destroy. All this, and much more were the experiences of these noble men and women, who gave to us this good land of plenty and peace. As a leading figure and worthy representative of this class, stands the subject of this sketch, and what more could we say, and surely he deserves no less, than that Wiilliam Proebstel was a pioneer in every true sense of the word and in the place where he wrought with such indefatigable energy and true integrity, there he has grown venerable and now enjoys the proper fruits of his toil.

In Germany, in 1829, our subject was born and there acquired his education and spent the years of his childhood until 1842, when he accompanied his parents to the United States, settling in Clay county, Missouri. Some time after their arrival, in the year 1852, it is stated, the mother with her little flock of eight children, gathered their substance together and undertook the long and wearisome journey to the land of the Pacific coast. Hardships of the arduous journey were easy to bear when they were all together, and day after day they steadily pursued the journey westward having no particular accident nor trouble until one day the mother sickened. All that her loving children, eight sons, could do was done but all to no avail for the disease refused to be checked and the messenger of death rudely stepped into their midst and snatched away the beloved mother. Words can hardly portray the unutterable sadness and loneliness that settled on that little group of broken hearted children when they were forced to lay in the grave by the old emmigrant trail the remains of their cherished and dearly beloved mother. The rude instruments of burial improvised for the occasion, the cheerless plain with its desert waste of loneliness and above all the sickening pain of death itself, were things never to be forgotten. It was with bowed heads and breaking hearts that they tore themselves from the sacred spot and slowly took up the cheerless journey to the west. In due time they reached the Willamette valley and the older sons later took land near Portland, which has since become the Proebstel addition to that flourishing city. Our subject remained there four years and then went to Clark county, Washington, and bought a section of land where he labored until 1863, then came to his present place in Union county. He has given his attention to farming and stock raising here continuously since. His farm consists of five hundred and twenty acres all well improved and skillfully handled. He now rents the land, having retired froma ctive labor, and lives in a home on his farm, whence he attends to the oversight of his estates.

In 1862, Mr. Proebstel married Miss Lucinda Nessley, a native of Ohio, whose parents were pioneers of the west. To them have been born five children: Emory, Frank F., Hattie, Wendel P., and Molly. Mr. Proebstel is one of the highly esteemed citizens of the county and has always labored faithfully for the interests of the county and the welfare of all.



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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