Biography of Henry Heppner

HENRY HEPPNER. – This s the gentleman after whom the city, in which he resides, and of which he was one of the first proprietors, and the builder of the first brick building, has been worthily named. He was born in Germany in 1843. He came to New York in 1858 and in 1863 via Cape Horn to San Francisco. His first venture was in Shasta, California, in the mercantile business; but after two years he transferred his business to Corvallis, Oregon. Meeting with little encouragement there he opened a stock at The Dalles, doing well for six years. As the mines of Idaho were opening out, he projected a trade with that territory. It was no easy matter transporting goods in the troublous times of 1861-63. The great war raging at that time took the attention of the government; and the Indians of the plains and the Upper Columbia became saucy and troublesome. Heppner operated by the Cañon City route. His means of transportation was a train of pack mules. On one of his trips, nearly two years after his commencement of the business, his train of twenty-nine mules was attacked, the animals driven in one direction, and the five men in charge compelled to take shelter in another. Fortunately this mishap occurred on the return trip, when the train was empty. He was able to replace the animals, and continued his business without trouble from the Indians, “except,” as he says phlegmatically, “being fired on once or twice.” being shot at was so common an occurrence up east of the mountains as scarcely to be noticed.

In 1874 he quit his arduous business, going to the Grande Ronde. Here he met Colonel Morrow, and together they went down into Umatilla, Oregon, opening up a business at the town since named Heppner. Theirs was the first store. After eighteen months’ partnership, Heppner sold out to Morrow, going into business soon with Maddox. In eighteen months he again sold out his interest, intending to retire; but, his neighbors prevailing upon him to remain, he continued on by himself. After three years he took in his partner, Henry Blackman, his brother-in-law, and is now himself engaged chiefly in the forwarding and commission business, which he was first to establish at Arlington.

As he is not married, and has no children upon whom to leave his name, it was a happy thought of his neighbors to place it upon their city. In the neighborhood, at a meeting held to christen the place, he voted against the motion to name it thus; but the rest carried it over his head, and Heppner it stands.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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