Biography of Hon. William H. Kuykendall

Although the esteemed subject of this sketch has not been domiciled within the precincts of Wallowa county so long as some who have broken the sod here, still he has manifested during this time, as heretofore, also, characteristics that stamp him the upright, capable and stanch citizen, and loyal promoter of the free institutions of the land, while his personal qualities of worth have been displayed in a manner quite commensurate with the ability that has been in evidence, and he stands at the present time as one of the prominent, intelligent and leading men of the county.

William H. Kuykendall was born near Dallas, Polk County, Oregon, on August 11, 1849, being the son of William H. and Margaret J. (Hines) Kuykendall. When he was but two years of age the father died, and the burdens of the household fell upon the mother. Our subject grew to manhood on the home place and spent the years of his minority in the acquisition of a good education and in assisting his mother as a dutiful and faithful son. In later years this same faithfulness that characterized the boy manifested the true qualities of the man. In educational discipline William was favored in that after completing the studies of the common schools he was permitted to continue his pursuit of knowledge in the McMinnville Academy. Subsequent to the completion of his course he repaired to the old homestead and took up life in the quiet pursuits of general farming and stock raising, which followed with diligence and industry until 1892. Between that date and the time of his advent into our county we are not informed as to his pursuits, but in 1898 Wallowa county was to be congratulated that there settled within her borders one who has shown commendable zeal in the development of the resources of the county and in the advancement of the same. He settled first near Enterprise and then came to his present farm three miles north and one mile west from Paradise. His farm is well improved with those things necessary for the operation of a first-class ranch and for comfort of life in rural surroundings. His occupation is principally sheep raising, in which he manifests excellent sagacity and untiring attention both to the general management and also to the details of the same. Success has been in attendance upon his thrift and energy and the result is that he has gained a goodly portion of this world’s goods.

On June 13, 1875, Mr. Kuykendall married Miss Lucia Ellis, daughter of Henry and Henrietta Ellis, residents of Polk county, and to this happy union there have been born the following children: Clifford M., United States postal clerk in the office at Butte, Montana; Charles A.; Iva M, wife of D.S. Gardner, near Paradise; William Roy. The people of Polk County called Mr. Kuykendall from the privacy of his business enterprises in 1884 and placed his name on the democratic ticket and straightway elected him to the position of representative in the state legislature. The duties devolving upon him in this capacity were discharged with efficiency and a faithfulness that are characteristic of the man, and he received the approval of his constituents in every respect. The father of our subject came to the Willamette valley in 1846 with a train of pack mules and the following year the mother joined her husband, and she had the distinction of driving an ox team all the way from the Platte river to the Willamette valley. The father was one of the earliest pioneers in the valley and assisted to survey the first road over the Shasta Mountains into California. He was also one of the promoters of the historical Meek cut off.


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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