Local Stories

  • Early History of The City of Prineville Railway

    by Frances Juris Note: The following is an excerpt from an article written by Frances Juris in 2002.  It has been edited to include only the period up to the time that the major mills left Prineville   and  only covers the early years of the

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  • 1906, John Knox and his wife, Grace

    Knox Family Remembers Christmas of Yesteryear

    From Central Oregonian 1963 In the year 1906, John Knox and his wife, Grace, a bride of two months, planned to eat Christmas dinner at the home of one of John’s sisters.  Twenty or more people including members of the Knox family and two or three

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  • Barnhouse Story of 1879

    Note: Jacob L. Barnhouse and his wife Martha Washington Conger Barnhouse were early settlers in the Mountain Creek vicinity east of Mitchell.  The region was in old Crook County in 1882.  This story was written by a descendant of Jacob and

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  • Reminiscence of Charles Congleton

    Written December 8, 1960 I was born, one of 12 children, on a farm at Slade, Kentucky on October 26,1884, and lived on this farm until 1904 when I set out to go west, having in mind to join my brother near Greenland, Colorado where he was telegraph

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  • Arthur Ray Bowman

    By Frances Juris and Elaine Thompson Note: This story was written for a Crook County Pageant in Prineville in 1987. In 1936 I bought the old Crook County Bank building at the southeast corner of  3rd and Main Sts., and for the next thirty-four

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  • Growing Up in Railroad Logging Camps

    by Dixie Caverhill Weberg * Editor’s Note: On our Fall field trip to the High Desert one of our stops was at the Brooks-Scanlon railroad logging camp site southeast of Bend known as BS Tanks. Dixie Caverhill Weberg was on the tour and mentioned

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  • The “Ill-Fated” Cattle Drive of 1880

    Cattle drives were not uncommon in Central Oregon prior to the turn of the century when the areas major industry was stock raising. Generally The Dalles was the shipping point for the inland cattle and some big cattle drives were made to the rail

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  • Sheep and Cattle War

    In the year 1898 the Cascade Forest Reserve was created and during the first two years of its existence this Reserve was closed to grazing. Sheep owners who had formerly used the Cascade Mountains for summer range were forced to look elsewhere for

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  • Murder at Nicholson & Burmester’s Saloon in 1882

    It was a cold night in Prineville on December 22, 1882 when a single gunshot fired through the window of Nicholson & Burmester’s Saloon ended the life of Al Swartz. It was a tumultuous time in the local community as the vigilantes had arisen

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  • Christmas Tragedy at Silver Lake 1894

    A large monument in the cemetery in the small community of Silver Lake, Oregon is a grim reminder of one of the worst tragedies in the State of Oregon. The monument bears the names of 43 persons who lost their lives on Christmas Eve in 1894. Silver

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  • The Great Land Rush to Central Oregon

    One of the last great land rushed for homesteading occurred in Central Oregon shortly after the turn of the century. There had been an influx of settlers in the early part of the century but mostly in the Fort Rock basin, but with the coming of the

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  • First Football Game in Central Oregon Played in 1911

    Football was relatively unknown in rural Oregon in the early 1900’s but on a clear, cold and crisp day in the Fall of 1911 the sport was introduced to the frontier country of Central Oregon. The rising community of Bend and the long established

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  • Prineville’s First Baseball Team

    Baseball was a serious sport in rural America near the turn of the century. It was a game that could be played almost anywhere and frontier towns took great pride in supporting their teams. Prineville was one of the first communities to establish a

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  • Prineville Planing Mill Provided Finished Lumber for Many Early Homes

    Lumber mills were among the first industrial operations in Central Oregon. Mostly rough cut lumber was produced at small mills for construction purposes. As early as 1878 attempts were made to establish a planing mill in Prineville and included

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  • Bannock Indian War of 1878 Caused Panic in Local Settlers

    The Bannock Indian uprising of 1878 created a tense situation that resulted in many outlying settlers of Eastern Crook County moving to the safety of Prineville and other communities. The Bannock Indians ranged along the Oregon-Idaho border and were

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  • Early Freighting was Often a Hazardous Occupation

    Early freighters of Central Oregon were hardy men that managed slow plodding horse or mule teams over narrow, dusty, muddy and sometimes hazardous roads. Freight to Central Oregon came by two main routes. Shipments arrived either from the Willamette

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  • Gold Discovered on Ochoco Mountains in 1871

    Ochoco Mine or more commonly known as Mayflower Mine was located along Ochoco Creek just northeast the present Ochoco Ranger Station site. Central Oregon had missed out on the early gold mining activity that had occurred in eastern Oregon, but in

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  • Lynchings Lead to Opposition of the Vigilantes

    Violence reigned supreme in Prineville just before Christmas in 1882. Al Swartz was killed by a shotgun blast in a local saloon on the evening of December 22 and early the next morning the bodies of two men staying at his ranch were found hanging

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  • Forest Fires Took Huge Toll in Early Days

    Central Oregon has had numerous large forest fires over the years but until recently none were of conflagration type. Although large acreages burned the damages were mostly limited to the timber stands and natural resources. Early news reports of

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  • Arnold Cave was the Source of Bend’s Ice Supply in Pioneer Days

    Pioneer settlers in Central Oregon managed to harvest ice from frozen rivers and ponds during the winter months for storing of perishables and to keep beverages cool. But during summer months it was often difficult to procure ice. The residents of

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