Homesteader Shot by an Acquaintance

Shooting Scrape at Hampton

Shooting Scrape at Hampton

By Steve Lent, Museum Historian

The Crook County sheriff responded to a report of a shooting at the Dickinson homestead near Hampton on Friday Nov. 14, 1913. At the time Hampton was in old Crook County. Frank Elkins was the sheriff and he traveled to Hampton via Bend. While driving to Hampton he encountered an automobile containing James Dickinson, his wife and two children. They were headed to the hospital in Bend. Sheriff Elkins transferred the family to his car and took them to Bend so there would be no delay.

Sheriff Elkins got information from the Dickinson’s and then headed back out to the shooting scene at Hampton. Dickinson had told the sheriff that he had traveled to Bend by wagon to meet his wife and children who were coming from Elma, Washington. Dickinson had filed a homestead claim and his family waited to arrive once he had established a cabin to live in. Upon arrival in bend he was told that his wife and children had been staying at the Shannon Hotel waiting for him. Apparently an acquaintance, Alec Hall from Elma, was in the area attempting to located a homestead and was also at the Shannon hotel. On the same day that Dickinson traveled to Bend to see about his family Hall had departed with them heading for Hampton. They traveled different roads and did not pass each other.

After talking with the attendant at the hotel Dickinson believed that something was wrong. He rented an automobile to rush back to his homestead. He arrived at his cabin at midnight. Dickinson rushed to the door and kicked it in. After taking two steps he was shot by Hall. Hall was sitting on a box and Dickinson’s wife and children were fully clothed and laying on a cot. The bullet had struck Dickinson just below the breast-bone and passed through his liver and kidneys and lodged in his back.

After the shooting Hall did everything he could to help the victim. He notified neighbors but became concerned when there was talk of lynching him for the shooting. He remained around the cabin hoping to see how Dickinson was doing but eventually left the scene. The sheriff and neighbors looked for the shooter without success. Dickinson had the bullet removed by a doctor in Bend and fully recovered. There was no report on the fate of Mr. Hall.