Author Unknown

Provided for ‘Early History of the Milton-Freewater Area’

Published by the Valley Herald – 1962

This story was not used

 Although comparatively latecomers to a valley that was settled in the early 1850’s, Andrew and Rebecca Cockburn can be counted among those pioneers, whom with their family settled here and contributed to its growth and development.  There are at present thirty-five direct descendants living between Pendleton and Waitsburg, twenty-six of these in the Milton-Freewater area.

Andrew was born in Scotland in 1829.  Sometime later the family moved to the United States and settled in Benton County, Missouri.  In 1860 he married Rebecca J. Hunter.  She was born in 1842 in Hannock County, Illinois, but moved to Missouri in 1850.

In 1888 the Cockburn family came to this valley and settled on a wheat ranch in the Dry Creek area.  They also farmed on the Indian Reservation land in those early days.

Andrew died at his ranch home in 1907, at the age of 78.  Rebecca died at 74 in 1916, at her home in South Milton, where she had moved after the death of her husband.  Her old home, next to Rambo’s Welding Shop, was destroyed by fire about two years ago.

The couple was survived by four sons; Charles H.M. (Mack), Frank, George S. (Doc), and one daughter Mary, who was married to William Harder at that time.

By the late 1890’s and early 1900’s all the Cockburn’s were engaged in wheat farming.  Mack’s home farm was in the Couse Creek area.  Charlie, Frank and Doc and the Harder’s settled around Spofford and the lower Walla Walla River side hills.  In the mid 1920’s Frank leased out his land and moved his family to Bothell, Washington.  About this time Mary also moved to Seattle, where she later remarried.  Charlie too, leased out his land and went into the Ice and Cold Storage business in Milton.  Mack and Doc remained wheat ranchers throughout their lifetime.  Mac did move to Milton after turning over the home place to his oldest daughter, Ollie and her husband, Roy Howard, but continued his farming interest.  Doc was living on his ranch and farming at the time of his death.

Most of the land acquired by those early farmers has remained in the family.

 Eber and Bob Howard, Mack’s grandsons, farm the Cause Creek land.  Bill Harder, Mary’s son, farmed their land until ill health forced him to lease it out this past year.  Jon Cockburn, Doc’s youngest son, lives on and farms the home place east of Milton.

 Charlie’s Milton Ice and Cold Storage business is also still in the family under the management of Lawrence Lutcher, his stepson.  Charlie had no children of his own but raised two step-children.

 Mack had six children; Frank had two; and Doc had seven.