Pioneers of Baker County Oregon

One of Baker County’s early pioneers and daring Indian scouts was C. C. Davis, better known, perhaps, as Lum Davis.

Mr. Davis was born in Greencastle, Putman County, Ind., February 20, 1836. When quite young he moved with his parents to Iowa and in 1862 came to Baker County, Oregon. Went to Portland in the winter and returned in ’63 and spent part of the summer on Burnt river; and back to Snake river in the fall.

For some years Mr. Davis spent most of his time at Rye Valley and Mormon Basin, mining part of the time and part of the time scouting after Indians and recovering stolen stock. He used to work at mining in exposed situations with a Henry rifle swung on his shoulder. In 1865 he was engaged as a scout with Captain Stanford’s command.

On one of his excursions after stolen horses, being separated from his two companions, he suddenly came upon two Indians and was within a few feet of them when they saw each other at the same moment. The nearest Indians asked if there were any more white men, intending of course if there were to play the game of ‘me good Indian.’ Davis swung his revolver up to a level with his face, seemingly in a careless manner, and pointing beyond the Indians, said: ‘Don’t you see them?’ Both Indians turned, and a moment after they were what the people of Idaho used to call ‘good Indians’ His encounter with the two Indians on Dixie creek is narrated elsewhere. He was very successful in recovering stolen stock, and during the time that Indians were so troublesome, he was an acknowledged character. In the Indian war of 1878, he was employed as a scout under Miles and Howard.

Mr. Davis was married in 1881, and lives near Snake River in Connor Creek precinct, where he has a fruit orchard, and some mining interests, and is also engaged in the stock raising business.

Another citizen of the county who has occupied a prominent place in affairs is Wm. H. Packwood, Sr. He was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, October 23, 1832. His father came from Virginia to Kentucky, thence to Illinois where he was married in 1831. When William was quite young the family moved to Sparta, Randolph County, where he attended school until he was twelve years old. His mother died that years (1844) and for six years he was occupied working on a farm in the summer and clerking in a store in the winter.

In 1848 he enlisted in a rifle regiment and the next year was sent, with twenty-four others under Captain Morris, to California, as an escort for General Wilson who had been appointed superintendent of Indian affairs on the Pacific coast. M. P. Deady came with the same company, and on Goose Creek General Joel Palmer joined them and returned home, he having been with the escort going east. The company crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains the 24th day of October, and arrived at Hangtown with 19 men. At Hangtown gold had recently been discovered. The company went on to Sacramento, at that time a city of tents, and Mr. Packwood had a severe spell of sickness. The soldiers nearly all deserted, and those who remained wintered at Sonoma, where General Joe Haoker, then a Colonel, was tried by a court martial. Mr. Packwood was appointed orderly sergeant at the trial. Of the army officers present who afterwards won distinction in the civil war, were Gen. Halleck, Gen. Pleasanton, Gen. Hooker, Gen. Lyon, Gen. Wessels, Gen. Casey, Gen. Percifer Smith and Gen. Page. What reflections that array of names awakens.

In April 1850, Packwood came with his company to the Columbia River in a vessel commanded by Captain McArthur, the father of Judge L. L. McArthur. The company was at Vancouver till the next year when they were ordered to Benicia, Cal., where they arrived in May and remained till August. Packwood was then sent with an escort for an Indian agent who was visiting the coast and Northern California Indians. Returned to Benicia and in December 1851, the company was ordered to Port Orford, Oregon, and were shipwrecked near Coos Bay, January 3, 1852. The company made their way to Port Orford, cutting what was called the seven devils trail through the timber, reaching their destination in May. Packwood was then transferred to the 1st. Dragoons, and served as quartermaster sergeant. He received his discharge in 1853, and engaged in mining on the beach and packing goods, until the Indian war of 1855-56, when he entered the service again, serving as captain of a company fifty-three days, and as orderly sergeant during the remainder of the war. In 1857 he was sent as delegate to the constitutional convention from Curry County. He was afterwards clerk for a while at Stiletz Indian agency, and then went into partnership with Abbott in stock raising.
In 1861 Abbott undertook to drive their cattle to Salmon River but failed to cross Snake River, as related elsewhere, and that led Packwood finally to the Powder River mines. He was one of the founders of the town of Auburn in 1862, where he was engaged in selling goods for some time, and was one of the foremost men in the ditch enterprise of the Auburn Water company and also the Clarks Creek Ditch in 1863. From 1865 to 1867 he was a member of the Burnt River Toll Road, Bridge and Ferry Company, and then began construction of the Eldorado ditch in which he was engaged until 1870. Disposing of his interest in that ditch he began building the Eagle creek ditch in Union county. Mr. Goodrich attempted to survey a route for a ditch in 1863, but pronounced it impracticable to build on account of the perpendicular cliffs which he encountered. Mr. Packwood employed Foster as surveyor and succeeded in locating a practical route, and the work of building was begun. In 1872 he sold the uncompleted ditch to Bowen & Cranston by whom it was finished at a total cost of $90,000.

He had an interest in the quartz mine at Sanger which he sold in 1874, and from that time until 1887 he was in charge of the Eldorado ditch, and was elected recorder of Baker City in 1888, which office he has held ever since.

A. H. Brown, another pioneer of 1862, was born in East Feliciana Parish Louisiana, January 25, 1823. Served in the Mexican war under Gen. Taylor, and came to California in 1849 and to Auburn, Baker County, July 4, 1862. After a short stay in Auburn he went to Walla Walla and returned in the fall with a stock of goods to sell on commission. He opened the first store in Baker City in 1865, in charge of a clerk and the next year closed out at Auburn and moved to Baker where he continued in the goods business until he sold to Bowen & Cranston in 1870. Mr. Brown was one of the directors of the Baker City Academy started in 1869 and in 1870 was elected state senator, and in 1874 was elected state treasurer. At the expiration of his term in 1878, he returned to his farm in Powder River Valley, where he resided engaged in stock raising until 1890, when he moved to Baker.


Baker County OR,

Collection: Baker County Oregon Genealogy.

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