Dedicated to . . .


For a lifetime of community service we sincerely dedicate this book to




Many young men work hard for their community.  Many continue into middle age to be quite active in civic affairs.  This zeal usually wears then with advancing age, often keeping pace with the thinning of their hair.


Not so in the case of W. S. Caverhill.


Even if his hair is thinned considerably past what it was 30 years ago, he has never slackened his steady pace of doing things to make the community and this part of the Northwest a better place in which to live or to get it a better share of limelight.  Long past the 80-year mark, W. S. Caverhill has continued to keep at least one project active all the time.


This book and the Marie Dorion Park on the Walla Walla River, is but the latest of many such projects "W.S." has taken the lead in throughout a long lifetime as teacher, rancher, author and newspaper columnist.


And . . . as a big, big booster for his community.


Forward . . .


Many authors and historical books have recognized Marie Dorion and her part in the development of the Pacific Northwest, but only to the extent of a paragraph or two.  We have attempted to put in print, under one cover, the most complete story possible of this courageous and devoted Indian woman.


With this book and the Marie Dorion Historical Park it is our endeavor to place her name among the honored of the Northwest’s first explorers.


We are indeed grateful to the following for their contribution in compiling this book:


John Clark Hunt, Portland Historian, who was an immense help with pictures, writings and encouragement.


            W. S. Caverhill

            Russel Blackler

            Fred Etling

            Vance Orchard

            Terry Hager

            Mrs. Kenneth Dickerson for her art work of Marie Dorion.

            Emma K. Kessler, Secretary

            And many others.


A special thanks go to the many descendants of the first pioneers of the valley for their research and stories of those who "came and stayed to build it step by step", without whose help this tribute would not be possible.


These are our thanks.


Marie Dorion and The Trail of the Pioneers

Compiled by Harry E. Ringhand


Published by the


Milton-Freewater, Oregon



Table of Contents



How It All Started



The Real Conservationists












The Iowa Indians  


Marie Dorion  


A Journey Home  


Who Was Marie Dorion?  


St. Louis Church Picture not in  


Pambrun 1832


Tellier 1834


Beauchamp 1854


Dickerson 1858


Millikin 1859


Garred 1861


Medlock 1861


Demaris 1863


Brown 1864


Wells 1864


Willard 1864


Harris 1865


Murphy 1865


West 1865


Winn 1865


Melton 1865


Elam 1867


Frazier 1867


Vancil 1870


Rogers 1871


Blalock, M.D. 1873


McDonald 1874


Chapman 1875


Still 1876


Ferguson 1878


Geiss 1878


Dudley 1879


Piper 1879


Lewis 1880


March 1880


Staggs 1882


Harder 1883


Hellberg 1883


Schwald 1886


Olinger 1888


Ozias Daniel Owen  


John Fremont  


Flowers and Plants in Park  



City Participates . . .


From the beginning of the Marie Dorion Historical Park, the City of Milton-Freewater has taken an active part in the development of the project.  It is located on City property and in order to secure federal matching funds, the City has taken over as sponsor of the entire project.


Under a two-year program a recreational area will be developed to include all necessary facilities.  The décor will emphasize the early and continued city ownership of water, light and power facilities.


Without the generous assistance of the City Council there would be no Marie Dorion Historical Park.  The present members are:


            Mayor B. R. "Barney" Pilger

            City Manager, Henry Schneider

            Councilman Robert W. Harris

            Councilman Melvin M. Lyon

            Councilman Don M. Maughan

            Councilman Herbert W. Saager

            Councilman Robert D. Talbott


Many Contribute . . .


The Marie Dorion Historical Park Committee extends thanks to the following for their contributions to the building of the Spiral, the Wall and Bench and furnishing the plaques.


Mr. And Mrs. Al Beard

            Mr. And Mrs. Martin Buchanan

            Miss Mable Harris

            Bank of Commerce

            Howard Brothers

            Dick Yantis Memorial Fund

            Also thanks to the $20 Coffee Club Members.




Three Prime Movers


Russel Blackler – Fred Etling – W. S. Caverhill


These three men of Milton-Freewater took the time to develop an idea that the community and the area could have a park, which would at the same time pay tribute to the pioneer settlers of the area.


Blackler, the businessman, Etling and Caverhill, each retired from the teaching profession . . . saw the possibilities for a park at a historical site which would pay tribute to the one most likely the first to trod this way as well as the forebears of many who today reside here.


Marie Dorion, for whom the park is named, showed exemplary courage that winter of 1812-13 as she fought the elements to save her children.


Early pioneers who came a few years later saw this Walla Walla Valley as the place they wished to settle; they did and the concrete steps leading up a hill at the park testify as to whom and when.


Blackler, Etling and Caverhill, each in his own way, led the planning which has brought the first efforts for one of the finest tributes in the Northwest to people of the Northwest.


Thanks of the community should go to these three men.




The land the Indians left to us willingly or otherwise, was unspoiled.  The streams were not obstructed and were full of fish.  The forests were prime and had no echo of a chain saw.  There were no pock- marks of prospectors searching for minerals.  The mother lodes lay untouched.  Pollution of air and streams was minimal.  Their trails didn’t gash the countryside.  Sod remained unturned.  There was no erosion.  The land they left us was in pristine condition.  They were real conservationists.  We owe them for that.







Sacajawea, whose trip West with explorers Lewis and Clark set a pattern emulated by Marie Dorion a few years later, has a historical role shrouded with mystery.


It is a mystery which not only includes her beginning and ending to a degree but also her actual role in the Corps of Discovery which took her from the Mandan Indians’ village in the spring of 1805 as a guide to the West.


Mystery there might be in this slip of a Shoshone girl but there is no mystery to the fact that today she has more statues, monuments and plaques in her honor than possibly any other woman in the country, bar none!  They include two mountains (one above Wallowa Lake) one peak, one river, three parks (one at the mouth of Snake River), one museum and a lake created by Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River.


While the journals of the men who headed the 1805-06 trek West do not show any importance in the role of Sacajawea during the trip, they knew she was an asset aside from her work as an interpreter.  The very fact that she was a woman assured tribes along the route that the expedition came in peace.  War parties did not take women along.  Valuable records and other essential items were saved by the quick-acting Sacajawea, when a canoe upset.


Captured when about 14 years old in 1800 by a raiding Indian party, Sacajawea spent a few years as a slave girl, then was lost in gambling to a French-Canadian, Charboneau.  They were living in the Mandan village the winter Lewis and Clark came west.  In February 1805 Sacajawea gave birth to her first child, Jean Baptiste and when the explorers left in April, they took the family along for interpreters.


Sacajawea is said to have been about 100 years old when she died in her sleep in 1884, although she had been reported dead as early as 1811.  She is buried at the Shoshone Agency.


-          Vance Orchard –


Page 12 – JANE


Discovery of gold in Idaho in 1860 is said to have been the spark which ignited the Northwest.  Certainly this was a factor just as certainly the gold which thence came forth was also a factor in Federal Armies winning the Civil War.  When no man of her tribe dared lead white miners to an area felt to be rich in gold, it was Jane, daughter of Nez Perce Chief Timothy, who undertook the task.  Thus, nearly 60 years after Sacajawea and Marie Dorion passed this way,18 year old Jane led the miner party from her father’s home below Clarkston on the Snake River.  Her leadership led to the discovery of gold and thus was launched the Northwest boom to its present prosperity.  Jane married John Silcott, builder of the Lapwai Reservation buildings.  They are buried on a hillside at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers where they made their home.


- Vance Orchard -


Page 12 – WINEMA


Winema, heroine of the Modoc War, was a niece of Captain Jack, Modoc War Chief who led the uprising.  Married at an early age to a white man, Winema mastered the English language and became an interpreter and intermediary in negotiations between her people and the whites.  During the Modoc uprising, Winema saved the life of Peace Commission Chairman A. B. Meacham at the risk of her own.  For her dedication to peace, Congress later voted her a life pension bearing the inscription, "Winema – the Strong Heart".  She is buried at Schonchin Cemetery near Beatty, Oregon.


- Vance Orchard -




"No woman of her time, with the possible exception of Helen Hunt Jackson . . . did more to benefit the Indian and make his life a little easier that Sarah Winnemucca." – Author John Clark Hunt


Born about 1844, the year of the explorations of Capt. John Fremont through the Oregon country and on south through the homelands of her people, she was born Thocmetony or "Shellflower", a name later "fancied up" and changed to "Sarah", the daughter of Chief Winnemucca of the Paiutes.


Sarah Winnemucca was also the granddaughter of Chief Truckee who had become fast friends of Capt. Fremont.  The decisions Truckee made were to have vast influence upon the life of Sarah and of the Indians for whom she dedicated much of her life.


Chief Truckee took several Paiutes, including Sarah as a child, to California where they lived, worked and learned the ways of the white man.  Here,Sarah learned Spanish and English, both to stand her in good stead later in life.


When trouble erupted with a "get tough" policy of the U.S. Government, Sarah was hired as an interpreter in the Bannock outbreak and was helpful in securing good conditions for her people.


Following a long letter written by Sarah to the Army, in which she deplored Reservation conditions while beseeching better conditions, a reservation with new concepts was established on the Malheur River.  Chief Winnemucca and his band went there with Sarah as interpreter to the Indian agent.


This failed to work and the Bannocks again led a fight against the white man’s failure to live up to their promises.  Sarah was ready to go to Washington, D.C., to plead the Paiutes’ cause but the Bannocks struck before she could leave.  She then became an interpreter with Gen. O. O. Howard who took to the field against the Indians.


When the Indians were rounded up and shipped to shabby quarters near Yakima that winter, Sarah was there too as interpreter and did all she could to alleviate suffering of her people.


When she did get to Washington the following spring she lectured on the plight of the Indian, despite warnings not to do so.  Sarah lectured in like manner across the nation later on.  She taught school and established a school near Lovelock, Nevada.  In the 1880’s she was lecturing in the eastern states.


Sarah died before she was 50, in 1891, at Monida, Montana.


-          - Vance Orchard –




Fragments of history available from various sources and writers indicate that the Iowa’s were an unusual tribe among the Plains Indians; not only were they noted for their physical strength, but for their relationship with the white men, the French trappers, voyagers and Jesuit Missionaries.  Many of the younger women became the wives of the white intruders and the men joined the explorers as guides and companions.  The Jesuit priests, sworn to celibacy, devoted their efforts to bringing Christianity (Catholicism) and an improved standard of living.  For those Indians who embraced the Catholic faith, the Fathers of the church validated many of the tribal marriages and recognized the legitimacy of the children.


Out of this atmosphere of conflict and cohesion between the cultures of the Indians and the European invaders came Marie Dorion to become one of the outstanding Indian women in Northwest history.  Her place is beside Jane, Winema, Sacajawea and Winnemucca.  Her history is especially important to the Northwest, because she came under the most adverse circumstances, and lived out here life here.


- W. S. Caverhill -



To Honor a Courageous Woman


She was the First of Many Who Came And Stayed!


"Her trail in the winter snows have melted out and her campsite is unknown, but her story lives on . ." or so goes the history of Marie Dorion.  Like the history of the courageous Indian woman, several Milton-Freewater persons are striving to preserve the history of the early settlers of the area.


To accomplish this, W. S. Caverhill, Russel Blackler and Fred Etling, have planned a "Trail of the Pioneers" in the Marie Dorion Historical Park, located near the old Milton Power plant.


A sign has been placed at the foot of the trail with the following inscription  "The Trail of the Pioneers – these are the families who came to this area early and stayed to build it step by step".


The trail consists of 156 steps, each with the name of an old pioneer family and date sandblasted in concrete.  The steps were sold to defray the cost of construction, to the descendants of the pioneer families.  More information may be obtained from any of the three fore-mentioned men.

(Webmaster:  These gentlemen are all deceased at this date February 2003.)


W. S. Caverhill, member of the Marie Dorion Historical Committee, composed the following history of Marie Dorion from information compiled by historians throughout the Northwest.


This history will appear at Marie Dorion Historical Park located on the Walla Walla River near the old Milton power plant.


Marie Dorion


One hundred sixty year ago an Indian girl from an Iowa tribe took part in the overland trip of the John Jacob Astor party that left the Missouri country, bound for the mouth of the Columbia River.


A man by the name of Hunt was in charge and he employed as a guide and interpreter, a French voyager, Pierre Dorion.  When Pierre reported for work, he had his "woman", Marie, and their two children with him.  Hunt objected vigorously to their  joining the party, but Dorion insisted.  Marie had already overcome Pierre’s opposition.  The will of the woman in Pierre’s wigwam prevailed and Marie became a member of the party.  The cavalcade contained some 85 horses in the charge of scouts, trappers and adventurers, crossing the Great Plains without unusual incident.


Near the beginning of their trip the party met Daniel Boone, who history records, left Kentucky for "elbowroom".  At 76 years of age, he was  hunting and trapping in the Missouri basin.


The fall of 1811 found the party in the Snake River country, short of food and among unfriendly Indians.  They attempted to go down the Snake River, half the party on each side, but were turned back by the narrow canyon.  They began killing the horses for food and, by the time they reached the mouth of Burnt River, the only horse left was Marie’s.  Dorion stubbornly refused to have it slaughtered.


Somewhere near the present town of Haines, Dorion and his "wife by Indian custom" dropped behind the party while Marie gave birth to a child that lived two weeks.  After joining the rest of the party in the Grande Ronde Valley, where they were in rendezvous with friendly Indians, horses were secured and the party crossed the Blue Mountains in the winter of 1811-12.  They found welcome from the Umatilla Indians and grass for their horses on the Umatilla River.


In the spring of 1812 the party divided, some turning back to the Snake River country, others, including Dorion and his family pushed on towards Astoria.  His horse was stolen near The Dalles by Indians while he was enroute from the Umatilla Camp to Astoria with the Wilson Price Hunt party.


Dorion and his family returned to the Snake River months later with John Reed and a party of trappers.  Dorion was a hunter for the party and Marie was cook and dresser of the pelts.


It was there that tragedy struck Marie, a tragedy that was to test the unusual courage of the woman.  Snake River Indians attacked the party in the night, killing all except Marie and her two children.  They escaped by hiding in the brush.  Marie tried to save a badly wounded Frenchman by putting him on a horse and moving him away from the scene, but he died the next day.


Winter was coming and Marie and her two children faced it without companions or friends, and one horse for transportation.  Some historians have her turning west, following the timberline south of the Grande Ronde Valley.  It is likely that she was trying to return to the friendly Umatilla’s, but snow had fallen deep in the Blues, and she was compelled to camp somewhere.  She killed the horse and dried the meat.  When that was gone, she left the children wrapped in blankets, and walked through the trackless snow until she found a camp of friendly Walla Walla Indians.


From there she led a party to the rescue of her sons, the date being April 3, 1813.  Where she came out of the mountains to contact the Walla Walla’s may well be the spot now designated as the Marie Dorion Historical Park.


What prompted the woman to undertake such a venture?  Was it devotion to her man?  Maternal instinct to protect her children?  Or, was it a feminine jealousy of the work of Sacajawea, who came west with the white men five years earlier.


Whatever motive or combination of them, was the reason, the experience forced upon her called for the greatest degree of courage and determination that a human being can be called upon in a desperate fight for survival.


Her trail in the winter snows have melted out and her campsite is unknown, but her story lives on one hundred sixty years later.


Page 17 – "A JOURNEY HOME"


Freelance writer, Terr Hager wrote this version of Marie Dorion from the following references:

A TRIBUTE TO MME. DORION, an article in the Portland Oregonian, May 28, 1950, by Vera Joyce Nelson, Portland freelance writer.

MADAME DORION OF THE ASTORIANS, an article in The Oregon Historical Quarterly, September 1929, by J. Neilson Barry.


The journey home for Marie Dorion was a 3,500 mile, 13 month trek complete with courage, uncompromising physical strength, mental anguish, and true love and devotion to her husband and family.


In the spring of 1811 Marie and her small sons, two and four, joined their husband and father, Pierre Dorion, Jr., on the Wilson Price Hunt overland expedition to Astoria.  And thus began – a journey home – for Marie Dorion.


Caring for two children and bearing a third, Marie, for the most part walked, enduring the hardships of such a journey without a murmur and keeping pace with the rest of the expedition.  This endurance and force of character is recorded in history as having "won the respect and applause of the white men". 


Among the first recorded hardships she experienced happened shortly after crossing into Oregon.  Following a twenty-seven mile horseback ride the previous day, Marie gave birth to a child.  The child’s birth occurred late in December, 1811, in ankle deep snow at the present site of North Powder in the Baker Valley.. Marie stayed behind that day, but rode twenty miles on horseback with her newborn the next, crossing the Telocaset Divide into the Grande Rhonde Valley, to overtake the rest of the party.  It was nine days later, when the party was near Duncan or Meacham Creek, that the heroic mother’s baby died.


From the first experience in her new home – the Northwest – Marie Dorion became a legend and a lesson, pioneering the West, raising three families, and living to an age of 64.


The baby’s death did not interrupt the continuity of the expedition as Marie continued courageously and uncomplaining to Fort Astor.  During the course of the War of 1812 Fort Astor was sold to the British and the Dorion family joined the John Reed expedition, trapping, hunting and horse-trading along the Snake River.


Nearly two years later the Reed party crossed the mountains between Umatilla and the present site of Vale, Oregon, where Reed built his first post.  Later the post was moved to the opposite side of the Snake River because of unfriendly Indians; the Bannocks.


It was at this time in her life that Marie once again expressed her true devotion and affection for her husband.  A friendly Indian warned Marie of a Bannock raid on the abandoned post across the river.  She started out in the night to warn her husband, taking with her the two children.  Marie apparently became lost in the woods and reached her husband’s camp three days later - too late – as the Indian massacre had already taken place.  Her husband had been murdered.


Marie discovered a lone survivor, a man named LeClerc, who had been scalped and seriously wounded in the raid.  She lifted the wounded man to her horse and started back to the main cabin.  LeClerc died enroute and Marie buried him in the snow, continuing to the post with her children.  Little did Marie know then, that she and the children were alone in the wilderness; the Indians having murdered Reed and his companions.


Marie waited out the daylight hours upon returning to the cabin, so as not to be discovered by the hostile Indians, stealing into the cabin at night where she obtained a meager food supply of dried salmon.


Mental and physical exhaustion caught up with Marie and she was forced to kie idle for several days.  Finally regaining strength, Marie and the children began to wander aimlessly throughout the Blue Mountains.  The deep snow of January and a vanishing food supply halted the journey after nine days.  Using brush, boughs and snow, Marie made a shelter, killed her horse and managed to keep her family alive on its meat until some time in March.  When that source of nourishment was gone Marie realized she would have to go in search of friendly Indians.  Time was of the essence to Marie and her family, but her troubles were not over.  Marie became the victim of snow-blindness and had to wait several days before she could travel.  Overcoming the difficulty Marie began the final leg of her journey to safety.


It was several days later when Marie was forced to abandon her children, afraid and hungry, on Meacham Creek.  She began crawling on hands and knees towards the camp of the Walla Walla’s, having to stop sporadically for sleep.  Arriving at the camp, Marie was befriended and the Indians brought her children to her in the night.


Her heroic fortitude having kept her family alive, it was two weeks later when Marie hailed another party of the Hunt expedition and related the nightmarish year to them.


History breaks contact with Marie Dorion at this point, leaving the years of her life between 1814 and 1840 somewhat of a blank.  It is known, however, that Marie stayed in the Walla Walla Valley, marrying first a man named Venier, of the North West Company.  A daughter was born to them around 1819.


Several years later Marie married an interpreter at Fort Walla Walla, John Toupin, by whom she had two children.  In 1841 Marie moved to the Willamette Valley with her third husband and three families of children.  Here Marie lived out her life.


Her years of living in the Willamette Valley gained the respect of her neighbors who referred to her as "Madame Dorion".


The burial record of St. Louis Church near Gervais, Oregon, assumes her age to be about 64 years at the time of her death which is considered entirely plausible considering she bore three families after 1807.


In Marie Dorion’s life great personal hopes were surely held.  Perseverance, magnitude of scope and an astonishing force of character took Marie Dorion and her family on a journey home – and, so, should she be honored.




Marie Dorion was a member of the Iowa tribe.  They were of the Sioux people and came originally from Winnebago stock.  At the time Dorion (a half-breed) took Marie as his woman the Iowa (or Ioway) tribe was living in Missouri.  They were later moved to Oklahoma.

-          John Clark Hunt –


Washington Irving Had Words of Praise For The Dorion Woman


"And here we cannot but notice the wonderful patience, perseverance and hardihood of the Indian women, as exemplified in the conduct of the poor woman of the Interpreter Dorion.  She was now far advanced in her pregnancy, and had two children to take care of; one four, and the other two years of age.  The latter of course she had frequently to carry on her back, in addition to the burden usually imposed upon Indian women yet she had borne all her hardships without a murmur, and throughout this weary and painful journey had kept pace with the best of the pedestrians.  Indeed on various occasions, in the course of this enterprise, she displayed a force of character that won the respect and applause of the white men".



These are the families who came to this area early and stayed to build it step by step.










The first individual listed on the Trail of the Pioneers stairway in the Marie Dorion Historical Park is Pierre C. Pambrun, who came to the Milton-Freewater area and was said to be the first settler to arrive in this area and stay.


Pambrun was born in L’islet near Quebec, Canada on December 17, 1793.  After service with the British Army during the War of 1812, he was employed by the Hudson Bay Company, coming to Walla Walla as a Factor in 1832.


While here, he spent his time at Fort Walla Walla, trading with the Indians for furs and keeping the daily records of the Fort.  He also oversaw the Company’s farming operations.  His daily records of business transactions may still be seen today in the Hudson Bay Co. archives in London.  While in Walla Walla he befriended the Marcus Whitman’s when they arrived to establish their now historic mission.


While riding to inspect one of the Company’s gardens up the Walla Walla River one day, his horse bolted and he was injured internally impaled on the saddle horn.  After his death, he was taken by boat to Fort Vancouver, Washington for burial.


He and his wife Catherine had several children.


Information supplied by CECIL A. PAMBRUN



1834 families 1854


The Tellier family was among the earliest settlers of the Walla Walla Valley, arriving in 1834 from Canada via Montana with the Hudson Bay Fur Company.  Mary Tellier married Isidore Beauchamp, another prominent settler.


Tellier left the fur company after the Whitman Mission was started, working as a millwright for Dr. Marcus Whitman.


When an Indian unrest began, Tellier left the valley with his family and neighbors of Frenchtown for The Dalles.  The family traveled to the city by canoe down the Columbia River.


The Tellier’s returned to the valley after the rebellion ceased.  Their cabin, located a mile below the Whitman Mission, had been used as a command post by the volunteer forces, leaving little for the returning family.  Their buildings and a large stock of cottonwood rails had been burned in several skirmishes.


Rebuilding the structure, the family lived there for several years.  They later sold their property and spent the remaining years in Montana.


Three boys and one girl were born to the Tellier’s.  Their daughter Mary became the wife of Isidore Beauchamp.


Isidore Beauchamp had come to the Walla Walla Valley from Montreal, Canada, to Chicago, then to St. Louis, where he joined a wagon train to California and the 1849 gold fields.


Few on the wagon train survived the trip to California after being plagued with a smallpox epidemic.  Isidore was one the lucky few to arrive intact.


 A wheelwright by trade, Beauchamp turned to freighting supplies to the mines from the Willamette Valley, rather than dig for gold.


In 1858, he married Mary Tellier, a year before Oregon became a state.  The young newlyweds moved to the new state’s little Walla Walla River, to avoid what they called the wild Washington Territory and live in a law and order state.  The Parent’s, Knops’, Calhoun’s, Rencken’s and Meissner’s are some of the families who now live on the old Beauchamp lands.


They had to construct a coffin and select a burial place for a neighbor from Kentucky soon after they arrived in the new state.  He had died in Oregon.  The burial site came to be known as the Ford Cemetery.


At the site, the Beauchamp’s built a small mill, operated by water power.  The mill ground wheat for their neighbors and their own farm.  This was the first and only flour mill the people had for several years.  The mill was a large-sized coffee mill that Beachamp converted to water-power.  It took about 24 hours to grind a full sack of grain.  The little mill can be seen at the Whitman Museum.


When Dr. Baker built a railroad through their land, the Beauchamp’s sold their property to the physician, believing the steaming, smoking engines would scare their cattle and horses.  Evidence of the railroad can still be seen today near the Parent home where a cut through the hill is now used by the county road.


The Beauchamp’s purchased land one mile north of Umapine.  Their ranch became the property of their only son, the late M. O. Beauchamp.  It is presently owned by a grandson and granddaughter of Isidore and Mary Beauchamp.  The ranch is now in its 90th year of continuous family ownership.


Information supplied by DEAN BEAUCHAMP





Eleven years after the massacre of Marcus Whitman and his party at Wailatpu Mission, Terisha and Clarissa Dickerson journeyed to the beautiful Walla Walla Valley.  The year was 1858.  There was space to settle, trees to cut for buildings, fertile land for farming . . in short a place to carve a whole new future for a growing family.


Terisha Dickerson was born in Tennessee in 1828.  He later moved to Iowa and worked as a blacksmith.  There he met and married Clarissa Beamis, and they had two baby girls, Melissa and Georgianna, with them when they left Iowa by wagon train for Washington Territory.


They first spent a year or so near the Oregon state-line at Pepper’s Crossing, and then settled for a time on what is now Ballou Road.  Their first son, Frank, was born here.  A short time later the family of five moved to Hudson Bay where he took up a homestead, adding to it later by purchase.  There they built their home near the banks of Pine Creek and reared their family.  (This is now known as the Marion Cockburn place.)   Five more children were born to them here:  Almira, Laura, Evalyn, Willie and Charles.


Charles described the raw farm land of his childhood as being fertile but covered thickly with clumps of tall rye grass . . grass the Indians called Wailatpu (Land of the Rye Grass).  May tales were told of the groups of semi-hostile Indians that stopped by, demanding food and other supplies.  The family, if given sufficient warning, would leave the house and go the hide in the tall rye grass.


The land was cleared and crops put in.  They also engaged in the livestock business.  In the winter of 1860-61 Terisha’s whole band of stock, except for a few stragglers, was killed by the severe weather.


Clarissa passed away in 1895 and is buried in the family plot at the Valley Chapel Cemetery.  In 1900 Terisha married Mrs. K. P. Savage, widow of J. H. Savage, who had six children.  She had previously been married to a Mr. Phillips who had passed away leaving her with five children.  She had then married Savage and they had one child, Louella, who was quite small when her mother married Terisha.  Louella took the name of Dickerson.  Her mother lived but a few years after her marriage to Terisha and is also buried at the Valley Chapel Cemetery.  Terisha died in 1907 and was also buried in the cemetery.


Little Willie and two other children of Terisha and Clarissa died in childhood.  All seven remaining children were married:  Melissa to Henry C. Derrick, Frank to Mary Vessie, Laura to Robert Elliott, Charles to Adda Conrad, Georgianna to Charles Saunders, Almira to Charles Russell and Evalyn to Robert Jesse, later to Lafayette Conrad.


Information supplied by MRS. KENNETH DICKERSON





In Milton-Freewater Area History Section








Hiram Millikin arrived in the Walla Walla River Valley under the auspices of the United States Army in 1859.  He was born in Michigan and raised in Ohio.  He ran away in his teens and enlisted in the Army.  He was transferred to Fort Walla Walla and assisted in the construction the first log house at the Fort.


Millikin married Nancy Medlock here, resulting in five offspring:  John, twins Eva and Eve, Wesley and Addie (Wells).  Mrs. Wells still resides in Milton-Freewater.


Hiram Millikin eventually established a homestead on Basket Mountain.  According to Mrs. Wells, Millikin tried his hand at mining but never was successful in the venture.


Information supplied by MRS. ADDIE WELLS





In the Milton-Freewater Area History Section





One of the first pioneers to come over the historic and twisting Lincton Mountain Road was A. W. Garred, who brought a wagon and a team of horses from Elgin through the Tollgate area.  The road followed an original pack trail that was used to connect Walla Walla with the-now Highway 204 and Lincton Mountain Road.  The stop, at one time, was the Old Beavis Place, which is now commonly known as McIntyre Point.  This stop was later moved to what was to be known as the Summit House, located near the present Weston and Tollgate Highway.


Garred’s chief occupation was transportation and freighting and at the age of 21 he was already bringing Morgan’s from Kentucky, his birthplace, to California.  These were chiefly used for stage-coach teams and occasionally for racing.  In 1854, 40 such horses were brought to the Willamette Valley and were used along the Columbia River for transporting supplies from the Portland area into Lewiston, Idaho and Walla Walla.  The horses also carried mail fro Wallula to Walla Walla in 1861 or1862.


It is reported that the population of the Milton-Freewater area during Garred’s time numbered in the hundreds instead of the thousands of today.


The tombstone of A. W. Garred lies currently in the old Bowlus Cemetery and it indicates that he died on Dec. 1, 1899 at the age of 69.


His son, Charles W. Garred raised his family on the Sough Fork of the Walla Walla River during the period of 1898and 1933.  Presently survivors of his family are the following:  Marion in Hermiston, Wesley in Bend, Alice Walsh in Bremerton and Frank of Milton-Freewater.


Information supplied by FRANK GARRED





Nestled in the foothills of Basket Mountain, 7 miles south of Milton-Freewater lies a farm now owned by Addie Wells.  It is not only a farm but it also stands as a historical monument to the pioneering Medlock family who settled here in 1861 after having lived in Missouri for most of their lives.  Addie Wells is the granddaughter of the original Medlock settlers.


In 1861, the family decided to move; Mr. Medlock, his wife, four grown children and their families started their trek out west.  It was to be an eventful trip, marred by Indian raids and blistery cold weather.


The Medlock’s traveled via wagon train made up of 40 vehicles, five of which belonged to the eventual settlers who were going to call the Milton-Freewater locale their home.  When the pioneers neared the Blue Mountains near Kamela, an Indian party raided the wagon train and took all the livestock belonging th the Medlock family, with the exception of a mule and a cow.  Taking the danger into account, the Medlock’s shuttled one wagon at a time to the Spofford area, 5 miles out of Walla Walla in an area called "Lone Tree". During their first winter here, the Medlock’s suffered the loss of their father, who froze to death while returning from Fort Walla Walla with provisions for the family.  Patsy and son William, in turn, homesteaded on the present site of the Addie Wells farm.


The four Medlock children were Nancy, John, William and Mchalia.  Nancy married Hiram Millikin and bore five children; John, twins Eva and Eve, Wesley and Addie (Wells).


Information supplied by MRS. ADDIE WELLS













In the Milton-Freewater Area History Section





Frustrated by the pressures and demands of the Civil War, Enoch Demaris, his wife, children and grandchildren fled their Des Moines, Iowa home to look for a more peaceful setting in the virgin Northwest.  The prospective Walla Walla River Valley homesteaders spent 6 grueling months on the Oregon Trail and reached the local area in October of 1862, spending their first night camped across the North Fork of the Walla Walla River.


At that time, there were only three cabins near the flowing river.  The elder Demaris settled on a site close to them, while several sons, with large families, ventured out in search of housing.  According to sources, son William homesteaded on the Oregon side of the Stateline on the upper road from the river going towards Walla Walla.  Several other sons also chose the Walla Walla as cabin sites and some went to Basket Mountain.


When the entire Demaris family was settled, it had to brave a severe winter where temperatures were below zero for several weeks.  The year thereafter, William Demaris passed away.  His son Charles bought the Forks Place from his stepfather, Mr. Emrie, and farmed the site for some 50 years.


Enoch Demaris lies at rest in Bowlus Cemetery.


Information supplied by MRS. BLANCHE E. DEMARIS





Milton’s first lumber mill was initiated in 1874 by Walter Scott Brown and his partner, Jonathan Talbert.  The Talbert and Brown Chop Mill stood on what is now S.E. 9th Street, near the Rogers Walla Walla Canning Company.  Brown hailed from Racine, Wisconsin, where he was born on April 12, 1833, and moved to the Milton-Freewater area in 1864.


As a young man, Brown worked in the woods of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, floating logs down the Fox River to Chicago, IL.  On November 13, 1860, he married Maria Clarissa Fay in Racine, where she was born on August 25, 1836.  The family headed west 4 years after their marriage along with their two daughters.  They traveled by wagon train, and along the way, they stopped at Cowl’s Crossing where Daniel Frank, their first son was born.  The Brown’s arrived in Milton in the fall of 1864.


Five more sons were born to the Pioneer couple.  The Brown’s also gave birth to a set of twins.  One twin died in infancy.


After Brown settled in the area and started the mill, he and Frank Hull, his son-in-law, later bought the Milton Eagle from a party named Brewster.  He owned and published the newspaper for 12 or 15 years.  Brown later sold the publication to his son, Winfield, who managed the newspaper until 1908.


The Brown family donated a parcel of land to the city of Milton.  Part of the donation now is located on S.W. 6th Street and formerly known as Brown Street.


Walter Brown and his wife, Maria, lived in Milton until his death on June 2, 1908.  Mrs. Brown died on June 26, 1916.  Members of the family continued to reside in the local area and descendents continue to remain in Milton-Freewater and surrounding communities.  Mrs. Anna L. Wallace, a granddaughter and three great-grandchildren, Mrs. Harold Wagner, Mrs. Al Beard and Mrs. Florence Gleason live in Milton-Freewater.  A great-grandson, D. Wallace, lives in Umapine.


Information supplied by MRS. AL BEARD











The history of the Milton-Freewater area owes much to Ransom and Delilah Wells.  They were charter members of the First Christian Church in Milton and the proud parents of thirteen children who were to provide many a generation of Wells in the area. 


Eight of their offspring were born in the Midwest.  Ransom and Delilah were married on August 16, 1849 in Davis County, Iowa.  On April 11, 1864, Mr. And Mrs. Wells and family left for the virgin wilds of the Northwest by ox team.  While crossing the plains, Mary Ellen, an infant daughter was taken ill and passed away.  The pioneer group arrived in Umatilla County on Sept. 14, 1864 and settled on a homestead on Winesap Road near Stateline.


After having settled, six more children were born to the Wells.  They were Minerva (Bowman), Charles, Lawrence, Eugene, Ella (Will) and an infant girl.  The entire family was baptized in the Walla Walla River, somewhere close to the Frazier home in Milton.


Information supplied by MRS. ADDIE WELLS





The urge to tackle the yet unsettled and unexplored Northwest United States got to Johnson Monroe Willard in April of 1864 as he and his family traveled from Iowa to Independence, Missouri to join a wagon train traveling west.  Willard, his wife Martha, and two small children traveled by covered wagon pulled by two oxen.  He had at least one milk cow along with him.


Also on the wagon train were the Dorothy, the DeHaven and Demaris families – all pioneer settlers of the Walla Walla River Valley.  The entire unit arrived here in the fall of 1864, after four or five months on the way.


The Willard family settled close to the forks of the Walla Walla River, near what is now known as the Dorothy Bridge, approximately 4 or 5 miles from Milton-Freewater.  There, he established a blacksmith shop for a number of years.  He then took up a homestead north of the North Fork of the river on the Government Mountain Road, on what was later to be called the Bowlus District.  There they settled for the remainder of there lives and had nine children, seven of whom died during a diphtheria outbreak in 1878.


The children and parents lie buried in the Bowlus Cemetery on Powerline Road, with the exception of Mrs. E. S. Hill.


Mrs. Fern Hill Henry of Milton-Freewater is a granddaughter of the Willard’s.


Information supplied by MRS. FERN HILL HENRY





Higbee Harris herded sheep for a living as he traveled west in 1866.  Harris was only 12 years at the time, having been born in Waupum, Wisconsin, March 26, 1854.  He arrived here with only a dollar in his pocket.


Higbee net Joe West in the mountains near LaGrande in 1866.  The two men then both bachelors, went into a partnership to homestead land about 3 miles up the Walla Walla River, and later bought adjoining lands.


The partnership was dissolved upon the marriage of Joe West and Sarah Mizer on March 26, 1865.  Higbee then moved to the adjoining farm that was bought from John Martin, and sent for his mother, Mrs. Francis Harris and only sister Jennie, to come from Waupum, Wisconsin to keep house for him.


During the summers, Harris would hire 5 girls from this area to sun dry fruit from his orchard.  He would ship the dried fruit in flour sacks back to Wisconsin markets in the fall.


Laura Church was one of the girls he hired.  She was born near Salem on August 12, 1868 and spent her entire life in the state of Oregon, except for one year that she worked in Yakima, Washington.  Her father and mother homesteaded on Government Mountain east of Milton-Freewater, where they raised their family of nine.  William Church ran a freight wagon from Portland to Spokane, often crossing the Columbia and Snake Rivers on the ice in the winter.  He also helped to saw and haul ice from these rivers for summer use.


In the years 1891, 1892, Harris hired Laura to continue on after the fruit drying was over to help his mother cook for the threshing crews and the men with the fall seeding.  At the end of the fall work in 1892, Higbee and Laura were married in Milton-Freewater by the Justice of Peace, John Miller, one of the owners of the first flour mill in Milton.


The couple lived their entire married lives in the same house that John Martin had built.  Higbee rented the dry land part of his farm in about 1913.


There were four children, David S. Harris, who has made his home in Portland since 1929, Ernest Harris, a farmer and carpenter residing in Umapine, Martha Harris Pfeiffer, deceased, former resident of Umapine and Mable Harris, who still lives on the home place and manages the farming operation.


Information supplied by MISS MABLE HARRIS





Philip Murphy, Sr., an Indian War veteran, homesteaded in the Umapine area, after serving in the United States Army at Fort Walla Walla.


Murphy was one of the two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor ever to serve at the fort.  He won the medal for valor in a cavalry engagement against Indians at Seneca Mountain, Arizona in 1869.  Murphy served in the army from April 20, 1867 to April 20, 1872 and from 1874 to 1879.


It was during his second enlistment that he served at Ft. Walla Walla.  While there, he fought against the Nez Perce. 


For fifty years, Murphy lived near Umapine on his homestead, serving for years as a school director and taking an active interest in community advancement.


He was born in Kilkeany County, Ireland in 1844 moving to America in the 1860’s with his bride, Bridget Malone Murphy.


He passed away at the age of 78.


He had six children and many grandchildren.  His children were Philip Jr., William, Mrs. Margaret Beauchamp, Mrs. Anna Marcy, Mrs. Katherine Krumbah, all of Umapine and Mrs. Mamie Wilson, Seattle, WA.


Information supplied by MRS. ANN McDANIEL and ALBERTA MURPHY








Joe West was born in Illinois in 1840.  During the Civil Was he served with the Union Army and later worked with the crews building the Union Pacific across the plains.  West met both Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok and experienced many interesting and tense situations during buffalo hunts on the prairie.


Joe West and Higbee Harris met at LaGrande.  They came to Milton, homesteading on land about 3 miles up the Walla-Walla River in 1866.  During the early years of their partnership West split rails to fence their land and Harris herded sheep during the summer months to earn some needed cash.


Sarah Mizer crossed the plains with her mother and a brother and his family in a covered wagon in 1883.  They spent the first winter up the Walla Walla River at the place then known as the R. M. Dorothy farm.  In the spring the brother and his family moved on to Latah, Washington, while Sarah and her mother stayed and cooked for the two bachelors.  Joe and Sarah were married March 26, 1885 in Latah.


Higbee remained a friend but moved to an adjoining farm they had bought, formerly the John Martin place where Mable Harris now lives.  They divided their horses by alternate selections after drawing for first choice.


The list of pranks and episodes of their bachelor days was ended but both men retained a close friendship and true loyalty throughout their remaining years.


West rented his land to Colin McEwen in 1898.  McEwen, a recent arrival from Scotland with his bride, lived on the farm for almost 69 years with only an oral lease.


Ownership of the land has remained in the same family since the original date of 1866.  It is now being farmed by Edwin F. Lawrence, son of Edna Fulton Lawrence, and is owned equally by him and Mrs. Frank Nease (Kathy Fulton) of Waitsburg.


Information supplied by MISS MABLE HARRIS


Page 29 – WM. B., LOUISA WINN



A pioneering spirit must have pervaded the William Bannister Winn family as it left Illinois, knowing full well that Mrs. Louisa Winn would give birth to a child along the two thousand mile journey to Oregon.  The blessed event occurred in Soda Springs, Idaho, as Charles was born on August 15, 1865.  As soon as Louisa was able to travel once more, the Winn’s continued their trek west with their four children to the Beaver State.


When they arrived, the Winn’s homesteaded up Couse Creek, where they planted berries and a fruit orchard.  In 1922, the two-story house, in which they resided, burned and was rebuilt the following year.


A son Andrew died at the age of three in 1875.  The following is a brief summary of the Winn children’s history.  Frank lived, until his death, on Couse Creek; Douglas spent his life here and in Canyonville, Oregon; Ambrose remained in the area; Charles also lived his entire life in the Walla Walla River Valley; Alice (Quinn) raised her family on the Divide in the Walowa’s; and Ella (Rose) moved to Idaho.


Information supplied by MRS. OTTO BLUMHAGEN





Jesse and Flora Melton and their three children lived through quite an experience during the year 1878.  The Melton’s and surrounding families huddled together at the Fort, in what is now south Milton-Freewater, during an Indian uprising.  At this time, Ad, a son, contracted diphtheria and everyone returned to their homes, fearing the spread of the much dreaded disease.  Ad succumbed a few days later at the age of six.  Although the Melton’s and their fellow settlers remained quite uneasy, the Indians calmed down without having raided the Milton-Freewater area.


The Melton’s and their children left Knox County, Illinois in 1865 and spent the winter in Montana.  They eventually arrived in Weston in 1866, where they lived out the winter in a dug-out.  While there, the Melton’s operated the Stage Depot and then in 1867, they purchased the Knowlton Place on Couse Creek.  The home remained in the family until 1962 when it was sold to Herb March.


Their daughter Juliette Reed moved to Ritzville, Washington and settled down, while her sister Viola Winn raised her family on the home on Couse Creek.  A son Frank moved to Nevada.


Information supplied by MRS. W. R. WILLIAMS





Page 29 – W.A. COWL FAMILY


In Milton-Freewater Area History Section





Andrew Martin Elam was born in McNary County, Tennessee on June 4, 1840.  He received his early education in Tennessee and later went to Fort Worth, Texas where he went into the livestock business.  With the advent of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861 and for three years and three months, he participated in important battles in Texas, Arkansas and Louisianna.  When the Civil War was over, he returned to Granbury, Texas and once again became interested in raising livestock.


Martha L. Frazier was born August 11, 1848, in Hardin County, Tennessee where she spent part of her childhood.  As a young girl, she migrated with her parents, William and Paulina (Williams) Frazier, to Texas.  It was in Texas on November 8, 1865 that Andrew Martin Elam and Martha L. Frazier were married.  On August 28, 1866 they became parents of a daughter, Rachel Laverna.


In April of 1867, three covered wagons began a long and difficult journey from Fort Worth, Texas to Oregon.  Two wagons were drawn by mules and the third wagon by horses.  Those who made up the train were Andrew Martin Elam, his wife Martha and their one-year old daughter Verna, and Mrs. Elam’s parents, the William S. Frazier’s and their family.


Both Mr. And Mrs. Elam were dedicated leaders in civic affairs.  He had the proud distinction of being the first Mayor of Milton and served on the City Council for many years.  He was also one of the organizers of the First National Bank and served as a director of the institution until he died.  He was one of two pioneers who built the Peacock Milling Company.  He managed its operations for 14 years and also traveled for the company.  In 1895 he became the operator and co-owner of the Allen-Elam Hardware store, and in the early 1900’s he built what was called the "Elam Brick Block".  Martin Elam saw this country grow from a vast prairie to a highly cultivated land. 


Mr. And Mrs. Andrew Martin Elam had two daughters. Rachel Laverna (Verna) married J.H. Piper and settled in Milton to raise their family of six children.  Roberta Ellen (Bertie) Elam spent most of her life in Milton and lived her later years in Walla Walla.


The lives of Martin and Martha Elam had been beautifully twined together for 61 years, when Mr. Elam died on December 25, 1926.  Mrs. Elam passed away on July 27, 1928.  Both daughters are now deceased.


Information supplied by ELWOOD PIPER








William Hardee Frazier, affectionately known as "Uncle Willie" to his friends and relatives, came to Eastern Umatilla County when he was 5 years old.


He was born in Texas on December 29, 1862 and was one of the eight children of William S. and Paulina Frazier.


In the spring of 1867 they crossed the plains from Texas as part of a caravan.  There were three horse drawn covered wagons.  Two of the wagons were used for the Frazier family and the third wagon was occupied by his oldest sister Martha Frazier Elam, her husband Martin Elam and their one year old daughter Rachel Laverna Elam.


After being on the trail six months, they arrived in the Walla Walla valley near the State Line in October of 1867.


"Uncle Willie’s" father settled on a homestead in 1868 and in 1872 he laid out the town-site of Milton.  The senior Frazier then built a large colonial home on a portion of the town-site in South Milton.


William Hardee Frazier was married to Frances Susan Beardsley from New York on September 24, 1884.


After the death of his father, W. H. and his family moved into the large white family home where he continued to live until his death on August 1, 1954.  His wife Frances Susan (Frankie) Frazier died on August 6, 1953.


In "Uncle Willie’s" active years, he and his family were wheat and cattle ranchers.  He and his family spent their summers in the Blue Mountains in a cabin near Target Meadows where he rode horseback and looked after their cattle.


Three children were born to the Frazier’s; Miss Lela Frazier and Earl Frazier still live at the old home place on Chestnut Street.  Mrs. O. E. (Mae Frazier) Smith resides at South 9th Street.


Information supplied by MISS LELA FRAZIER




In Milton-Freewater Area History Section










In Milton-Freewater Area History Section










In Milton-Freewater Area History Section





Born September 9, 1870, Robert Franklin Vancil came into the world a pioneer in Milton-Freewater, as his parents Samuel and Malinda Vancil, had come to the local area several years earlier.  He was raised on Couse Creek and his early schooling was taken up at the little one-room school about 2 miles up from the home.  The family lived adjacent to the Winn and Shumway families, who were also long-time friends.


Robert was converted to the Methodist faith on February 10, 1902 and was a faithful member during his lifetime and also acted as the church’s superintendent for several years.


In 1904, he married Reba Troyer and settled in Freewater, near where the present Brinker Brothers Hardware Store now stands.  He acted as the Marshall of Freewater and soon became the manager of the first Tum-A-Lum Lumber Company in Freewater.


During the period between 1908 and 1912 he constructed 6 houses in Milton, 2 of which stood where the Safeway Store (old) now stands.  The specified area was known as part of Vancil’s Addition.  Robert also went into partnership with William Wagner, father of Paul Wagner, and established a real estate office where the present Freewater Drug Store now stands.


The old city of Milton owes much to the civic pride of Vancil as he was a member of the city’s city council for 16 years and assisted in the planning of Milton’s independent water and lighting system. While he was a member of the council, the city purchased the Columbia College administration building for use as the city hall.  For approximately 10 years, Robert also served as the deputy for the east end of Umatilla County.


The long history of Boy Scouting in the Milton-Freewater area can be attributed to Vancil, as he initiated scouting here in 1914.


Information supplied by MRS. HELEN HARRIS








Lowell Lester Rogers, the founder of the Rogers Canning Company was born in Silverton, Oregon in 1869.


Rogers attended school in Weston.  His father owned a farm near Weston and at one time had worked as a miner.  Because of the death of his father when he was only ten years old, Lowell was educated by his mother, along with the rest of the children.


In 1893 Rogers married Minnie M. Dupuis.  The young couple moved to a farm near Adams, which his mother had purchased from the government.  His mother had paid $3,000 for 160 acres of land.


The canning company was started in 1935.  Rogers was president of the company until his death in July 4, 1954.


Minnie Dupuis Rogers was born in 1873 in Vancouver, WA to Catherine and John Dupuis.  Her father was a saddle maker and owned a harness and stagecoach shop at Weston.  Stagecoaches were used between Pendleton and Walla Walla before railroads were built in the area.


Her father’s shop was destroyed by a fire in Weston.  Added to the bad luck, her father suffered a stroke.


To support the family, her mother ran a furniture and undertaking parlor.


Minnie, the oldest child of eight, attended schools in Weston, later passing a teacher’s test of the Oregon State Board of Education.  She was the youngest person at the time to teach school in Oregon at the age of 16.  She died in 1950.


Information supplied by MRS. GWENDOLYN ROGERS







In Milton-Freewater Area History Section








"The reader has but to learn what his generation in the country has been to cheerfully accord him the mead of approval.  He has not derived as much personal benefit from his labors as the people of the country have and his business efforts are all of a nature calculated to insure to the public advantage more that to his private advancement."  Such was said of Dr. Nelson G. Blalock, Milton-Freewater area pioneer, by the historian F. T. Gilbert, of the famed doctor in 1882.


Dr. Blalock arrived in the Walla Walla Valley on October 11, 1873 after leading a wagon train from Mt. Zion, Illinois on May 29th of that same year.  The entire party left the Illinois area because of the severe climate and traveled by way of Long’s Peak, Colorado on the Oregon Trail.


The physician was married to the former Panthea A. Durham on August 1, 1858.  She left two sons upon her death on May 18, 1864.  The younger son, Plato, died before the family left North Carolina for Illinois.  On December 10, 1865, Blalock married the former Mary E. Greenfield and three daughters sprang from the union.


When Dr. Blalock arrived in the local area, he hauled freight and practiced medicine as he was short on funds.


He was born in Mitchell County on February 17, 1836 in the state of North Carolina.  He was schooled in the common schools of his native state and attended college for one year in Tennessee.  In 1859, he enrolled in Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and was graduated from the medical school in 1861.


After graduation, he practiced medicine for one year in Mt. Zion and then became the Regimental Surgeon of the 115th Illinois Infantry Volunteers.  In 1863, he was forced to give up his medical commission because of ill health.


Nelson G. Blalock died March 14, 1913 in Walla Walla.


Information supplied by MISS PHOEBE I. BLALOCK.



Page 33 – DONALD, ELLEN K. McDONALD      



Determined to reach the virgin wilds of Oregon, the McDonald and Kinnear families left Singhampton, Ontario, Canada in April of 1874 and took an 8-day train trip to Ogden, Utah.  On the way, the families were exposed to measles and braved the Indians, which the "Iron Horse" attracted.


The McDonald’s and the Kinnear’s camped for a week in the Ogden area and then bought horses and wagons and made their trek west along the Oregon Trail.  They arrived and settled in June in Weston.  During the summer, the McDonald family produced 10 children.  Their 3rd child, Jessie, married another pioneer Eugene A. Dudley, in November of 1885.  To this union, were born 6 children, of which the 2nd child, Donald Dean Dudley, married Jane Gates in June of 1910.


In 1878, Jessie McDonald came home from working in the fields during the harvest season feeling quite ill.  She had contracted the dreaded disease of diphtheria.  Six of the nine McDonald children were afflicted with the sickness and the three youngest died.  Later, another daughter, Eva, was born.


Information supplied by MRS. J. L. GEYER





Robert R. Chapman settled on the south fork of the Walla Walla River with his parents in 1875, after traveling from Sidney, Iowa.


The Chapman farm was located 7 miles from Milton-Freewater on property now owned by Dr. Jack Woodhall.  Chapman’s father raised horses.


The family lived there until 1888 when Chapman’s father was struck in the chest by a horse’s hoof, while he was putting out salt.  His father died from the injury and the family moved to Milton.


In 1893, Chapman married Eva Gordon.  The couple lived in Milton, where they gave birth to two sons, Lloyd and Earl.


The couple moved up the Walla Walla River, buying some land near the south fork of the river.  The house they built is still standing and is now owned by Burris Elliott.  This was the birthplace of their daughter, Iola.


They purchased property further up the south fork, where the couple spent the rest of their life.  Chapman saw a great many changes in the river in his lifetime.  In his days, he could catch several trout in the river.  And in the spring, the river would be alive with salmon.


Chapman helped build the first power plant on the river owned by the PP&L Company.  He also helped build the city power pipeline from Milton to the power plant where Dorion Park is planned.


The Chapman’s children are still living on the river.


Information supplied by EARL CHAPMAN





Page 34 – JESSE Z., ANNE G. WINN


In Milton-Freewater Area History Section











Robert George Still came to the Dry Creek area with his family in the 1880’s, where two of his older brothers had homesteaded in 1881.


His family had lived at Orangeville, Canada on land purchased for a Scottish settlement.


In 1883, Still purchased land on Dry Creek.  During the same year, he married Margreta Harder.  Still later served as president of the Valley National Bank between 1932-1944.  He died in 1948.


His wife, Margreta, had ridden beside her father’s wagon trail in 1878 when she was 12 years old.  She was the daughter of Charles W. Harder another early pioneer of the area.


The couple raised 3 children; Claude, who died in the 1st World War, Edith Gray, who resides at her home at 1221 South Mill, and Lloyd Wilbur, living in Oroville, CA.


The name ‘Still’ comes from a gaelic name in Scotland – Stewart Claw.


Information supplied by MRS. EDITH GRAY














Page 35 = J. M., MARY FERGUSON



Taking charge of 20 wagons, J. M. Ferguson arrived in July of 1878 in Pendleton.  He and his wife then took up homesteading near Adams, raising primarily a wheat crop.  In 1893, Ferguson retired and sold his holdings.


Five children were born to the Ferguson’s.  Two grandchildren are currently living in the area.  They are E. L. Ferguson of Milton-Freewater and Otis Lieuallen of Adams.


Information supplied by E. L. FERGUSON





Peter Geiss was born in Germany in 1855.  He came to America at the age if 18.


While in Illinois, he married Anna Elizabeth Guenther.  The newlyweds decided to head west to acquire farmland.  They arrived in Eastern Oregon by train at Blue Mountain Station in 1878.


Eventually, they secured a homestead at Pine Creek, 7 miles north of Weston, where they lived for 25 years.  Six children were born to this union; two boys, Lewis and Albert and four girls, Carrie, Edna, Anne and Areta.


The children attended the Dry Hollow country school located 3 miles from home.


In 1902, Peter and Anna and the three younger children left the ranch and moved to a 10 acre tract two miles south of Milton, so the girls could attend school in town.  The Geiss family developed this new acreage for fruit and alfalfa. 


One of the hazards of their new home was the flooding of the Walla Walla River.  The flood of 1905 was almost a disaster for them.


In 1932, the Geiss’s moved to Milton where they spent their remaining years.


Of the six children, three survived; Mrs. R. B. (Anne) Taylor, Tucson, AZ, Mrs. Frank (Edna) McDonald and Areta Geiss, both of Milton-Freewater.


Information supplied by MISS ARETA GEISS





An act of brotherly love brought Eugene A. Dudley into the Walla Walla River Valley in 1879 from Beaverton, Oregon, as his sister Melissa Dudley Rogers was left with seven children, the youngest at age one, when her husband died.


Six years later, Dudley married the former Jessie McDonald on November 25, 1885 and proceeded to homestead a ranch, 2-1/2 miles west of Athena.  Six children were born to the Dudley family; Eugene Earl, Donald Dean, Irene Isabel, Glenn Gerald, Max Marion and Victor Verne.  When Mrs. Dudley died on July 27, 1955, she had 16 grandchildren and 58 great grandchildren.  Eugene passed away on March 13, 1945.


The Dudley family was a neighbor to the famous Umatilla County Sheriff, Til Taylor.


Their 3-story house still stands as a memory to the pioneer family.  The story goes that Dudley planned the new home, but it was completed before Jessie ever set eyes on it, as it was too difficult for her to get to town with her five small children.  The sixth child was born to the Dudley’s in the new house.


Information supplied by MRS. J. L. GEYER








John Henry Piper was a pioneer of this district and arrived in Milton in 1879.  Mr. Piper was a native of Holstein, Germany and was born on July 11, 1853.  Early in 1871, at the age of 17, he sailed from Liverpool, England for New York.  He worked in New York State for one year and then crossed the continent to California where he lived for six years.


In 1878, he took passage on a ship called "The Great Republic" and sailed for Portland, Oregon.  From Portland, he moved on to The Dalles, Oregon where he spent another year and then in 1879 he journeyed to Milton.


John Henry Piper married Rachel Laverna Elam on September 17, 1883.  Rachel Laverna had crossed the plains in a covered wagon train with her parents the A. M. Elam’s when she was one year old.


Piper took an active interest in community affairs.  He served on the school board for 15 years and was president of the old First National Bank for 10 years.  He was a director of the bank for 20 years and a charter member of the IOOF Lodge, which was organized in 1889.  He was a loyal member of the Christian Church.


Mr. And Mrs. Piper celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on September 17, 1933.  Their six children attended this happy occasion.  Their children are as follows:  George H. Piper (now deceased) Milton-Freewater; Anna Piper Lutton, Lloyd M. Piper, Mattie Piper, Maxine Piper Toner all of Walla Walla; Elwood E. Piper, Milton-Freewater.


Information supplied by ELWOOD PIPER





The John Henry Lewis Family came to the local area in a round about way after leaving Topeka, Kansas in 1876. 


They first rode the train across the country to Sacramento and then took a 13 day boat trip down the California coastline to Downey, where they settled for 4 years.


Lewis traded 40 acres of land for a horse and muzzle-loading shotgun because he was worried about his ownership rights.  A land dispute was raging at the time over the legality of Spanish Land Grants.


In April 1880, the family packed up its bags along with the Chastain clan and Dave Bowman.  They headed north to Milton-Freewater in a wagon train.


According to one of their daughter’s accounts, the trip proved to be quite hazardous and many hardships were incurred along the way.  Nevertheless, on July 4th, the pioneering families camped on Dry Creek and the next day they went to Walla Walla – the wagon train’s destination.  While in the city, they purchased some much-needed groceries and drove back to Garrison Creek and camped.  The following morning they drove up the South Fork of the Walla Walla River and hiked to the top of Blalock Mountain to try and find work at the mill.  Failing in their quest for work, the Lewis’ settled on a 40-acre plot half a mile from Stateline, on the Oregon side.


John and his wife Emily had five children:  Maggie, Nancy, Winifred, Edwin and Thomas.  Edwin was the father of M. O. Lewis, who currently resides just across the road from the original homestead on Winesap Road, and has lived here since 1900, the year of his birth.


Information supplied by M. O. LEWIS





Herbert March Sr., a Canadian, settled on Basket Mountain in 1880 after coming to Oregon by wagon from a Paradise sawmill.


March was born in 1860 in New Brunswick, Canada.  He and his brother Clarence came by train to Paradise, California to join another brother Edwin.  March had left Canada when he was eight.


He raised cattle and farmed for many years on Basket Mountain.


March married Elizabeth Lessor on October 5, 1890.  Two sons were born;  Edwin at Umapine and Leroy at Milton-Freewater.  On December 24, 1893, his wife died.


His sister Jennie Shelton came from Worcester, Mass. in 1912 and lived with him until his death.


In 1918 he purchased the Comb’s Estate below Umapine.  After he returned they moved to Umapine, later to Milton-Freewater, where he died June 9, 1857.


Information supplied by HERBERT L. MARCH











Clyde Staggs was born in 1862 near Weston, and spent most of his life in Umatilla County.


He married May Ashworth at Pendleton in 1912.  Their one child, Beulah, Mrs. George Rose, now lives in Salem.


After moving to Milton, Clyde worked for the city as an electrician and machinist.  His co-workers at the old city plant in South Milton were Albert McKinley, Charlie Heater and Rude Edwards.


He passed away in 1964 and his widow, May survives, living in Milton.


Information supplied by MRS. BEULAH STAGGS ROSE





Two German immigrants were married in Peoria, Ill., and little did they know that their lives were to be pervaded by the pioneer spirit and the dangers of the frontier west and Midwest.  Charles William Harder, born in Mechlenberg, Germany and his wife Margreta of Alsace Lorraine-Wegenheim, homesteaded land where the Yates Center now stands in southeast Kansas, and while there, Margreta bore ten children.


The family, fearing the much-dreaded disease of malaria and the extreme lawlessness existing during Reconstruction after the Civil War, left for the west by wagon train in 1877.  It was an exciting journey for the Harder family, as the wagon train, comprised of more that 60 vehicles, picked up Chief Yellow Hawk of the UmatillaTribe and took him into hiding.  It was during the period of the Bannock-Umatilla Indian Wars and travel for the wagon train was quite hazardous.  When the party arrived in the Walla Walla Valley, it was found that black diphtheria had set in among the residents and the pioneers had to turn around and make a circular route to the north through Waitsburg, Washington and settle in Idaho near where the Potlach Lumber Company now stands.  An eleventh child, Benjamin, was born to the Harder family, while in Idaho.


Due to extreme winter weather conditions, the group settled in Huntsville, Washington, where they were instrumental in building the town’s first flour mill in 1880.


Feeling restless once more and partial to the Milton-Freewater area, the Harder family traveled to Dry Creek in 1883.  Charles farmed land in the area until his death.  A grandson, Harold Harder, now resides in the original Harder home.


Information supplied by HAROLD HARDER





Christian John Hellberg, a native of Schleswig Holstein, Germany, settled with his brother on the South Fork of the Walla Walla River.


Hellberg worked as a farm hand in Germany until he was 21 years old.  He then served in the German Army for 3 years, enlisting in the cavalry.  At the end of his military service, he received an honorable discharge and medal for excellent marksmanship.


Arriving in the Unites States in 1883 from Hamburg, Germany, Hellberg traveled across the United States, working on different farms.  He and his brother, Hans, later bought a farm on the Walla Walla River in an area populated by Germans from Schleswig Holstein.


Hellberg married Wilhelmina Eggers, also a native of Schleswig Holstein, July 25, 1889.  Wilhelmina worked with Christian to establish their home.


Conditions were abundant for the Hellberg’s.  They could catch beautiful rainbow trout any time, had cold spring water piped into the house, could find all the firewood they needed and gathered fruit for their health.


The couple donated land for the fist school to be built in the valley.  And the teachers often received their room and board from the Hellsberg’s.


In 1908, Christian sold his home on the Walla Walla River and tried wheat farming, moving to the Hudson Bay area.  The first 3 years were difficult, with the farm producing no crops because of drought.


Construction of the Burlingame irrigation ditch gave Hellberg the opportunity to irrigate part of his land.  He paid $75 per acre for water rights, or double what he had paid for the land.  The irrigation improved the crops and Hellberg was able to pay off his last debts 2 years before his death in 1938.  His wife died in 1940.


The Hellberg’s are survived by their children; Otto J. Hellberg in Lowden, Ada F. Hellberg, in Stateline, Mrs. Emma K. McKee in Longview, WA, and Mrs. Cristine W. Mau of Portland.


One girl, Margaret, and two boys, William and Christian, died in infancy and are buried in the Bowlus Cemetery.


Alvina W. Hellberg died in 1949.


Information supplied by MRS. H. MAU











          Page 39 – JAMES, BERTHA HARRIS






Charles and Margaret Schwald emigrated from Germany in 1883 but did not meet each other until they had arrived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which was a sort of information and dispersal area for many of the German immigrants.


Mr. Schwald went to North Dakota to homestead and worked on a horse-breaking ranch but did not stay long as he said the country was too flat and too cold.  He then went to the Willamette Valley and it was too rainy.  He arrived in Walla Walla in 1886 and worked on the wall around the Penitentiary.  After much correspondence he coaxed Margaret Kronenberg (she was afraid of Indians!) to come from Wisconsin and they were married in Walla Walla in 1887.


From 1892 to 1910 Mr. Schwald peddled fruit and produce in Pendleton with team and wagon.  It was an all-day trip – he sold his load the following day, and would start home in the evening, sleeping in the wagon-bed, as the team knew the way home from making two trips a week.


Except for one child, Helen, who died in infancy, all the children finished eight grades at Ferndale School.


William died in 1904 in Spokane, the victim of a typhoid epidemic.  Frances, a student nurse at St. Mary’s, died during the flu epidemic in 1920.  Charley died in 1963 in Walla Walla, shortly after returning to the Valley to retire.  Both Pat and Charley served in World War I; Minnie was a clerk in Schmidt’s Dept. Store (now the Pastime Club); Anna was bookkeeper for the Walla Walla Creamery and Elsie played the pipe organ in the old Strand Theatre (later the Roxy) in Walla Walla.  Mrs. Schwald died in 1926.  Mr. Schwald remarried and continued to live on the old home place (51 years total) until his death in 1942, shortly after he had sold the 100 acres to the Jake Kessler family.


Information provided by MRS. GRADY (ELISE) PHILLIPS





The name of Olinger is synonymous with lumber in the Milton-Freewater area and much of the credit can be given to Jasper E. Olinger, who came to the Walla Walla River Valley with his father Mr. J. J. Olinger in 1888.  The family lived on the old road to Dixie, a short distance out of Walla Walla. 


In 1892, the family moved to a ranch about 12 miles out of Milton-Freewater on Lincton Mountain Road.  Jasper finished his education at Central School and was also a student at the old Columbia College, then a Methodist institution.


On Christmas Day, 1905, J. E. Olinger married the former Lydia Mangold in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. 


He went into partnership with his father and brother, Frank, in 1900 and started the J. J. Olinger and Sons lumber concern.  Later, the father turned the business over to his sons, and in 1911, Jasper bought out Frank’s interest and formed a partnership with T. A. Williams, a one-time Iowa lumberman who came to the local area to organize the old Farmer’s Security Bank.


The two businessmen built lumber yards in College Place, Dixie and Umapine and a hardware store in Freewater.  The partnership was dissolved in 1932, when Williams took over the Washington outlets of the chain the two had set up, and Olinger took over control of the Oregon lumber establishments.


Olinger’s son Gib (Gilbert) and son-in-law Bob Herndon, currently operate the J. E. Olinger Co. in Milton-Freewater.


Civic minded, Olinger was active both locally and in Umatilla County.  A long list of achievements is attributed to his efforts while he acted as County Commissioner, from 1949 to 1957.


Lydia died on March 25, 1966 and Jasper passed away on February 26, 1970.


Information supplied by GILBERT OLINGER





Page 40 – OZIAS DANIEL Owen (corrected)

Ozias Daniel and Charity Ann Owen Daniel traveled by ox-team from Missouri to Oregon Territory in 1859.  Ozias was sick most of the time, so his wife Charity drove the oxen frequently.


The couple operated a stage relay station on the Touchet River, a couple of miles up the river from where the town of Touchet is located.  The couple gave birth to the first white child born in the Touchet Valley.



Daniel worked at various jobs in and around Walla Walla, moving later to Basket Mountain where he and his son engaged in farming and woodcutting and charcoal burning, hauling it to Walla Walla and selling it to homes and various businesses.  One house where Daniel brought the wood still stands between Walla Walla and College Place.


Daniel’s son would stop and envy the cavalry drilling north of the Veteran’s Hospital, Walla Walla, on the road from Milton.


Cold Springs, a place on the Weston-Elgin Highway, was named by Ozias.


Ozial engaged in several occupations; blacksmithing, woodcutting and carpentry.  He tried farming with his sister, Jane Blanchard, but was forced to give it up due to scarcity of water.


Four boys and three girls were born to the Daniel’s.




One of the more famous expeditions, which came through the Milton-Freewater area, was the second westward exploration of John C. Fremont.  In 1843, this scientific expedition was approved and financed by the United States Congress for the purpose of providing profile maps of the area lying south of the Columbia River between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  Since this area was claimed by both the United States and England, that country which could provide prospective western settlers with detailed information would have a definite advantage.


The expedition consisting of 40 men left St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1843.  Second in command was a German immigrant, Charles Preuss, whose profession was that of cartographer (mapmaker).  It was an interesting and diversified group made up of Creole (Louisianna), Canadian French, and American mountain men.  The guide for the group was the famous mountain man, Christopher "Kit" Carson, who had traveled from his home in Taos, (New) Mexico, to join the expedition.  The average age of the group was 30.


The major equipment consisted of 12 mule-drawn cars, a light covered wagon, and a 12-pound brass howitzer(very short form of cannon).


By the third week in October, the party was crossing that section of the Blue Mountains from the Grand Ronde Valley to the Walla Walla.  The trail they followed is today called Summerville, Elgin, Tollgate and Lincton Mountain Roads.  Although there was a previous established trail, the expedition account mentions getting off it with the results of having to cut their way through heavy timber.


By the 20th of October, the party camped at the headwaters of the Umatilla about where Woodland Forest Camp is now located.   In 3 days (October 23) the trail led along one of the long spurs of the mountain, descending gradually toward the plain (old Lincton Mountain Road).


Of interest is Fremont’s description of the area.  Quoting from his memoirs: "The road along the ridge was excellent and the grass very green and good; the old grass having been burnt off early in the autumn.  About 4 o’clock in the afternoon we reached a little bottom on the Walah Walah (Walla Walla River), where we found Mr. Preuss, who yesterday had reached this place and found himself too far in advance of the camp to return.  The stream here has just issued from the narrow ravines, which are walled with precipices, in which the rock has a brown and more burnt appearance that above.  Our position was in longitude 118 deg. 00 min. 39" and in latitude 45 deg. 53 min. 35". "


Note:  Fremont’s calculations of the latitude were exact, however, the longitude was incorrect (as were most other earlier explorers) because of the inaccuracies of the chronometers of that time.


The above camp-site was about where the Joe West Bridge is today, furthermore, the memoirs mention crossing the river the next morning, going up the hill and over hilly country covered with good bunch grass.  This would have been the road that now leads to the Cockburn Ranch.


From the high point on the hill, the expedition proceeded to the river below, (location of the Milton Nursery), crossed at the Tum-A-Lum area, and taking a more or less direct route to the Whitman Mission, where they traded a lame mule for some potatoes.  After an hour rest, they continued on to Fort Walla Walla, located at the mouth of the Walla Walla River, where it joins the Columbia.


There are numerous written accounts of Fremont’s passage through what is now the Milton-Freewater area, but a tangible memento of that historic passage can be viewed at the Whitman Museum.  The National Park Service has on display a hollow cannon ball that is believed to be one of the three, which were ammunition for the howitzer. 


Another reminder of that historic crossing occurred on February 6, 1971, when Scout Troop 324, sponsored by the Milton-Freewater Christian Church, in commemoration of Fremont’s expedition, held a dedication ceremony in which they  erected a sign which marks Fremont’s camp-site on the Walla Walla River.  This dedication ceremony was the final step in a series pf projects that resulted in members of the troop receiving the highly coveted Historic Trails Award.


When the Fremont Report was published early in 1845, it was so well received that Congress and the President ordered 10,000 extra copies of the first printing.  Its wide distribution resulted in expediting the settlement of the entire Pacific Slope.


Bill and Betty Harstad


The last page of this 1971 section of the book has descriptions of wild flowers and plants of the Marie Dorion Park Area, written by FRED ETLING.  As they are no longer there the transcriber has not included these pages 43-44.  If you are interested in this information, this book is at the Frazier Farmstead Museum.


The last section of the book is a repeat of Early History of the Milton-Freewater Area, which can be read under its own title.