Biography of Samuel F. Newhard

SAMUEL F. NEWHARD. – This venerable and esteemed citizen of Union county and resident of Lagrande is one of the worthy pioneers that hewed a way into the regions of the west and left a trail where others might follow to reap the good and that had been tapped by these hardy and intrepid predecessors. From the first days when he pressed the sod in this county until the present he has been in the vanguard of progress and his efforts have brought many dollars of wealth to the county, and his wise counsels have aided materially in shaping the way for the welfare of all, being the promoter and discoverer of the famous hot lake, where thousands have been cured and relieved from the ills of the flesh.

In Pennsylvania, in the year 1830, the subject of this sketch was born, and seven years later he came with his parents to Ohio, where they remained until the time of their departure from earth’s trials. When Samuel F. had reached the age of his majority, he inaugurated independent action for himself in the arena of life’s struggles, and it was as early as 1852 that he turned from the home scenes of the Buckeye state and sought the west for the fortune that he believed awaited him here, and to take his part in opening up for the tread of the white man the pathless wastes of the comparatively unknown Pacific slope. He traveled down the Ohio by boat to St. Louis, thence on steamboat to the Missouri, and up that to Kansas City, where he outfitted, and the entire journey from there was made by means of the ox team, so popular at that time, coming from Kansas City to American valley in California. The first winter he spent in Marysville, and in the spring he hastened to the mines and there operated in the search for gold until 1857, and then he opened a wood yeard and a ranch in Colusa county, busying himself in these occupations until 1864. While in the mining regions, he and three others were the first white men to go into Butte creek valey, and there they built the first cabin and discovered gold; this was in 1853. In 1864 he took a pack horse and migrated to what is now Union county, and here he found the place that he owns at the present time, and which is known over the entire Pacific northwest. It is the famous hot lake of northeastern Oregon. It is situated a short distance southeast from Lagrande, and is today one of the most popular and efficacious healing waters of the entire county. Mr. Newhard discovered the healing properties of the waters when he first came to the county, and in company with Mr. Clark built improvements there, and since 1865 it has been in shape to give baths to all that would apply, and the many thousands that have been healed and benefitted in these salubrious waters are scattered over the entire county. In 1878, Mr. Clark passed from earth’s activities to the realities of another world, and Mr. Newhard bought the deceased’s interests, and is now sole owner and proprietor of the beautiful lake. Two years since, Mr. Newhard leased the property to skillful physicians, and he retired from the burdens of its care, and is now dwelling in Lagrande where he is spending the golden years of his active career in the quiet and comfort that he has justly earned. For fifteen years, Mr. Newhard held the postoffice at Hot Lake.

In 1882 Mr. Newhard married Mrs. Anna Lyman, nee Hough, who, by her former husband, had the following children: Albert, attending college; Elnora; William, deceased; Andrew V., deceased; John Leonard, deceased.

In 1883 Mr. Newhard volunteered to fight the Indians in the Feather river country; they were the Cachte tribe, and under the leadership of an old scout, Pete Larsen, the whites drove them out. Mr. Newhard also took part in quelling the uprising here in 1878 but was not favored in any field work, as the savages subsided. He is interested in California, having property there.



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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