Richard Wayne Breese

Pioneer Stockman of Combs Flat

By Steve Lent, Crook County Historian

Richard Wayne Breese was born in Butler County, Ohio on Jan. 15, 1854. His parents moved to Indiana and later to Illinois. He grew to manhood in Illinois. The family moved to Oregon in 1876 and settled in Linn County. He established a farm and raised stock. He met Charlotte Gray and a relationship developed and they were married in Linn County in November 1878. Charlotte was a member of an Oregon pioneer family and her brother John Henry Gray settled on Combs Flat in 1876. Charlotte was born in Linn County in 1853.

They moved to Crook County and settled on Combs Flat not far from Charlotte’s brother. The site became known as Gravy Gulch. It is related that it was called Gravy Gulch because they could always raise a little wheat for flour and had milk from cows so they could always have gravy at the table. They had two children, Mary and Ralph. They raised stock at their homestead location. He patented his land claim on Oct. 3, 1904. They raised both sheep and cattle and expanded their holding to include over 1100 acres.

They lived on the Combs Flat ranch until 1906 and then moved to Prineville. Their son Ralph and his wife Ora Andrews Breese leased his folks ranch and operated it for several years and later bought the Henry Cram ranch just east of Prineville.. Richard later purchased a farm near Powell Butte and he and Charlotte lived there until 1918 when he retired and they moved back in to Prineville.

Both Richard and Charlotte were well known and respected in the Prineville community. He was recognized as one of the most prominent stockmen of the region. Richard passed away on April 6, 1930. Charlotte lived on for another year and she passed away on Dec. 25, 1931. They are both buried in Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville.