Pioneer Queen of Bridge Creek

Arminta Hash Evans

By Steve Lent, Crook County Historian

Arminta Hash was born in a log cabin near Shedd, Oregon Territory on January 1, 1855. Her parents Allen and Elizabeth Hash, had come to Oregon by ox team in 1852 and settled on land in the wilderness near Marysville (later Corvallis).. The family lived at the location until Arminta was fifteen years old. She had to walk over two miles to attend school.

In 1871 her parents made the decision to move to Central Oregon, primarily for health reasons for one of their daughters. They settled along Coon Creek north of Grizzly Mountain. The first winter the family lived in a log cabin with only a dirt floor and no windows. A sheet of canvas stretched over an opening cut in the wall of the cabin served as the only door. Her father bought 30 head of cattle and some horses. They also acquired a milk cow that struggled to survive. It was a harsh first winter. Her father was a good hunter and they survived on venison. Arminta ate so much venison during this period that she never again liked it.

On October 31, 1873 she married John B. Evans, who was a neighbor of her parents. The region was part of Wasco County at that time, and they had to send to The Dalles to get a marriage license and once it arrived, they got married at the Morrow and Keenan Ranch. After they were married they went to her parents place for a celebration and the next day traveled to Prineville to get a housekeeping outfit.

The young couple settled on John’s homestead claim that was located on Willow Creek just a few miles from her parents’ place. They lived on Willow Creek for four years and in 1877 they moved to a ranch in the Bridge Creek vicinity near Mitchell. Later they moved to a place on Bear Creek northwest of Mitchell. They had five children with two dying in infancy.

In 1880 they made a brief move to Walla Walla, Washington and stayed there for two years farming wheat. John decided that wheat farming was not what he liked to do so they returned to Central Oregon and raised horses on their place near Mitchell.

John died on December 30, 1918. Arminta continued to live at the ranch until 1924. At that time she moved to Prineville to live with her daughter Tine Gage. After the death of Tine in 1939 Arminta moved to the Stearns Ranch south of Prineville to live with her granddaughter Crystal White Stearns. None of her children lived to survive her. She was selected as the second Pioneer Queen of Crook County in 1938.

Arminta was active in social organizations in the Prineville community and lived on for several years. She died in Prineville on May 15, 1943 and was laid to rest in the West Branch cemetery near Mitchell.

She had lived the rugged life of an early pioneer and helped settle Central Oregon.