Biography of Thomas C. Fletcher

One of the earliest pioneers of this region of the country, a man whose life has always been dominated by wisdom prudence and upright principles,. having ever manifested also stanch virtues and a reliability that are becoming a good citizen and faithful man, the subject of this article is vie of the leading men of Malheur County, and a prominent resident of Ontario. Thomas C. was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, on October 11, 1841, being the son of Jewett and Elizabeth Fletcher.

When our subject was six years of age he had the misfortune to lose his father and he was soon thereafter taken by his mother to Lee County, Iowa, near Ft. Madison where he was reared on a farm attend the Common schools for his education. In the fall of 1861 when the stirring call came for men to defend the nation’s honor and save her from the assault of treason’s bards, he promptly enlisted in Company G Fourth Iowa Calvalry as bugler and was under General Curtis. Several skirmishes were participated in Missouri and then he was transferred to Sherman’s army Sixteenth Corps, being immediately under% 9A. J. Smith. He was in siege of Vicksburg and on account of sickness was sent home on a furlough, but after recovering was seen again in the ranks and took part in the battle of Ripley, Meridian, and Guntowe besides many skirmishes. He enlisted as bugler until December 1894 being at that time honorably discharged, having never been wounded although he was in the hottest of the fight many a time.

Immediately subsequent to his discharge he went home and remained with his mother until the spring of 1865 when, he started across the plains with a train of ox teams, having one hundred men on account of the hostilities of the Indians. He drove a team to Virginia City, Montana. and then went to ranching, having taken tip a piece of land but this he soon sold, and turned his attention to freighting and working in a saw mill until 1869, at which time he went to the Willamette valley. In the spring of 187o we find him oil Rock creek, Spokane County, Washington, in partnership with Thomas Phillieo in the stock business. In 1874 he sold this business and went to Silver City, Idaho and in the following spring located in the Jordan valley. Stock business engaged his energies there and he was successful.

There, also, he was married on January 13, 1884 Miss Rosa, daughter of Joseph and Martha Merrill, becoming his wife at that time. Mrs. Fletcher’s parents came via the Panama Canal to California in 1856 and thence in 1865 to Jordan valley, engaging in raising stock there. Mr. Merrill was in Baker County in 1864 and he was well known all over this country, having lived from that time fur twenty years on the old sheep ranch in Jordan valley. In 1884 Mr. Merrill went to Sonoma County, California, where they remain still. Mr. Fletcher and his wife went thither also in 1884, the hostile Indians in Jordan valley causing this move. But one year later he came hack to Malheur County and here he has been since that time. He at once went at the sheep business when he returned here and until 1899 when he sold out, he was one of the leaders in that industry. He is at present living in a fine eight-room house in Ontario, having ample grounds that are fitted with orchards and gardens. In addition Mr. Flethcer owns numerous residences, and some business property in Ontario, which he rents. He also has a fine tract of land of forty acres near town that produces abundant returns, being well watered and carefully tilled.

To Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher there have been born three children, Robert E., Birdie E., Sylvina M. Mr. Fletcher is a member of the G. A. R. A. P. post of Ontario. He is a Republican in politics and is active in the interests of good government and improvement of educational facilities. He and his wife are devout members of the Methodist Church and are faithful supporters of the faith. Mr. Fletcher was in the Indian war of 1878.



Whitman, Marcus. An Illustrated history of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Chicago: Western Historical Publishing Co., 1902, 871 pgs.

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