Biography of Edward Renfrow

As one of the most capable and intelligent agriculturists and stockmen of Wallowa county must be mentioned the subject of this sketch, whose pluck, perseverance and capable qualities have been demonstrated have been demonstrated in the career where he has wrought with faithfulness and assiduity to develop the resources of Wallowa county and make it the abode of civilization, while also he has demeaned himself in a most becoming manner, manifesting integrity and sound principles, allying himself with that which is right and laboring for the welfare of his fellows constantly. It is with pleasure that we grant him a representation in the annals of his county as a sturdy pioneer, loyal and patriotic, an upright and true man, capable and worthy.

Edward Renfrow is the son of Henry and Mary A. (Juday) Renfrow, being born on September 1, 1863, in Elkhart County, Indiana. When he was two years of age his father was called hence by the messenger of death, and from that time until he reached the age of maturity, he lived with his mother on the farm, gaining, meanwhile, a good education from the common schools and developing those qualities of faithfulness and stability that have marked his subsequent career. At the age of eighteen he came to the west, as far as Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa, whence soon after he went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and thence to the Yellowstone valley. In the fall of 1882 he came out on horseback, the entire distance from Gallatin valley to Baker City, Oregon, wintering in that city. The following spring he went to Harney valley, whence in the fall of 1883 he came to Mud flat, in Wallowa County. This was before Wallowa County had a separate political existence, and in January 1884, our subject having heard that the climate upon Lost Prairie was warmer, the soil richer than other portions of the county, he came hence the entire distance upon snowshoes. Upon leaving Mud flat the snow was five feet deep, but when he arrived at Lost Prairie there was but little snow. Upon investigation he ascertained everything pertaining to the prairie was of the kind to suit him, consequently he returned to Mud flat, loaded his belongings upon bobsleds and traveled seven days to make the journey from Mud flat to Lost Prairie, the distance between twenty-five miles and the snow exceedingly deep.

On February 4, 1884, he entered a homestead at his present place, which is eight miles northwest of Flora and two and one-half miles west of Arko, being the first settler in this part of the county. He immediately set to work to improve his homestead, from that time forward. His property consists of the home place of four hundred and eighty acres, which is well improved with an elegant residence, commodious barns and substantial outbuildings, a good orchard: also, a stock ranch about eight miles up the Grande Ronde river, together with a large bunch of stock.

The marriage of Mr. Renfrow and Miss Mary A., a native of Oregon and a daughter of Jackson and Marinda J. (Richardson) Wright, of Cove, Oregon, was celebrated on June 4, 1886, and to them have been born the following children: Earl J., Earnest R., Clara A., Willis D., Homer E., Elmer J., Franklin D. and Edna M.

Mr Renfrow produces upon his farm the cereals and all vegetables, while his orchard is composed of peach, pear, apple, cherry, prune and plum trees, together with the smaller fruits and he is one of the most progressive, enterprising and intelligent and substantial agriculturists of this section of the county. In all the labors of organizing the district and bringing the attendants of civilization to this section Mr. Renfrow has manifested a marked stability and sagacity, coupled with which may be mentioned his unswerving integrity and intrinsic moral worth, which have ever commended him to the good will, fellowship and confidence of his fellows which he enjoys in a generous measure, and which is merited because of his excellent demeanor. He is a member of the M.W.A. at Flora.



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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