Baker County Biographies

Written in 1898

John W. Wisdom


One of our most representative and best patronized drug houses is that of John R. Wisdom, which was established in 1867. The stock carried is a very large one embracing everything in the into of pure, fresh drugs, chemicals, patent medicines, druggist sundries, perfumes, toilet articles, etc., physicians prescriptions and family receipts are most carefully and accurately compounded. The proprietor today
enjoys the distinction of being the pioneer merchant of the city. He is a native of Missouri, came to this county in 1862, and on his return from the Boise mines a year later, followed teaming until 1867, when he established the first drug store located here. In 1873, he established the celebrated Point Breeze stock farm, located four miles north of the city on the Powder River, comprised of 367 acres of elegant hay and grain land, with a good mile track on it. In 1880 he visited the Blue grass region of Kentucky, and bought the famous Challenger 1064, and a number of high bred mares from Garrett Powell and Col. R. P. Pepper, two of the large breeders of that state. Challenger's breeding was of the most fashionable sort. Got by Almont, acknowledged to be the greatest trotting sire of Kentucky out of Belle by Alexander's Norman, sire of Lula, who trotted in 2:15, he has got such record-makers as Challenger Chief, 2.15; Procrastination, 2:29 and many others. He has at present in the stud at Point Breeze a full brother of each of the above who have the beauty and grace of proportion for which Challenger was so noted. Mr. Wisdom has at times taken an active interest in politics representing this, county as state senator in 1874 and 1876. He is at present city treasurer, a position he has filled since December 1893.

George B. Moulton

A well known and highly esteemed resident of Baker City, is an active, energetic citizen and a gentlemen that takes an active interest in the welfare and prosperity of both the city and county, of which he has been a resident for the last twelve years. He was born in Maine in 1837, and remained there till his eleventh year. Moving to Minnesota with his parents he remained there for ten years, during which time he received a public school education.

    Arriving at the age of manhood he moved to California, but spent only a year there, going to Washington Territory for a short time. He then went to Caribou, B. C. In the spring of 1863 he passed through the county, near where the town of Huntington now lies, and went to the Boise Basin country, later crossing the Fayette and Weiser Rivers, he crossed the mountains to Lewiston, where he operated on the bars of the Snake River for gold. He gave that up to follow the Kootenay excitement in the spring of 1864. He stayed but a short time, then went to Virginia City, Montana, and later, in the fall of 1865, moved to Salt lake, and that was nominally his home until 1876, although he was largely interested in mining, both through Utah and Montana. During '79 and '80 he operated in Colorado in the interest of the Omaha refinery works. and later erected a smelter at Bay Horse. Severing his connection with it in 1882 he established a smelting works at Wood River, Idaho and also conducted the smelting plant at Ketchum for Philadelphia parties. In the spring of 1885 he lane to Baker, and was successfully engaged in the cattle business up to his retirement, some three years ago. He acted as one of the first councilmen under our new charter for a term, and two years ago was elected by the council to fill a vacancy which he has held since. He is also a member of the County Court and chairman of the school board. Being a firm believer in the fact that our school system underlies the success of our republican form of government, he has aimed in every way possible to aid in making those of our county as efficient as possible and take, particular pride in the position they occupy. In 1868 he married Miss Annie Hedges, of Salt Lake, but lost her by death a year later. In 1881 he remarried Miss Ellen A. Paxon of Salt Lake and has three children, two boys and girl, all attending the public schools. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for 31 years.


Robert D. Carter

     An honored citizen of Baker City, find a number of the Common Council, was born in 1856 in Cecil county-, Maryland, where he remained until his 18th year. In 1876 he moved to Baker county, and became engaged in stockraising and six years later he bought an interest in the butchering establishment of P. Miller. in which he is still interested. Their shop is a model of neatness, and the trade they enjoy speaks for itself. Mir. Carter has been a lifelong
democrat, and takes an active interest in politics. In 1890 he was chairman of the democratic county committee and again in 1896. He is married to Miss C. M. Sprague, of British Columbia, and has two children.

William Brown

     A man of sterling worth and a well-known citizen of this county, was born in the north of Ireland in 1841. At an early age he came to the United States with his parents and spent a year in Illinois. Moving then to Wisconsin, he resided there till 1862. He then moved to Baker County, crossing the plains by wagon, but in the spring of time following year went to the Boise mines, where he retained till October, 1865. Returning here he has been engaged in farming in the Powder River Valley since with success. Recognizing his
fitness, he was elected County Commissioner in 1894, and on his record he has again received the nomination on the Union ticket for the same position. Mr. Brown takes great interest in Masonry being it member of Baker City Lodge No. 47. He married Miss Julia A. Dean in 1869, and has four grown children all married, and number of grand children. About the time of his marriage he united with the M. E. church, of which he has been a trustee for twenty years.

William E. Grace

     It is perfectly natural to admire pluck and ambition in a unto find this, no doubt. is one reason why he whose name heads this sketch has won so many friends during his residence in this state. He was born in Jasper county. Missouri, in 1856. Besides getting a public school education, he attended the Rolla School of mines and Metallurgy, at Rolla, Missouri. In 1880 he located Oregon City, Oregon, where he was engaged for sometime in a drug store.
     Removing to Prineville, Crook county, he was appointed deputy sheriff under Geo. Chruchill and later was appointed deputy county clerk. and went to The Dalles and made a complete transcript of all records effecting the realty of Crook county, which was formed from Wasco in 1881. Returning he worked a year for Howard S. Baldwin, druggists and in May. 1843, moved to Burns, Harney county, then a portion of Gnat, where he remained in the drug business until December 1893. Having preciously taken the junior course of pharmacy at the California College of Pharmacy, during 1893 he tools the senior course at the Chicago College, graduating April 13. In 1889. at the time of the formation of Harney county. he was appointed county clerk by Governor Pennoyer, and at the first election held in that county in 18191. He was elected to fill the same position. Shortly after locating here, which he did in December, 1893 he built his present place of business, a handsome two-story brick, on Main sheet. in which he conducts what is probably the oldest drug store in Eastern Oregon. At the convention lately held in this city, he was nominated by the union forces as their candidate for state representative. He has been a life-long democrat, and as an evidence of his fitness for public office, we will simply state that be was Eastern Oregon's candidate for state treasurer at the democratic state convention held fm Portland, but was defeated for geographical reasons. Dr Grace is a member of the Elks and Masons, in the latter having taken the Knight Templar degree and the Mystic Shrine.

James F. Ferguson

     The subject if our sketch, Jas. F. Ferguson, has been more active perhaps than any one else in placing the resources of Baker County and its environments before not only Western investors, but those of the far East as well. His shrewd judgment and conservative business methods have won for him an enviable reputation, and his advice on the real estate and mining investments of this section is much sought after. He has been located here as a real estate and insurance broker since 1875 representing sixteen of the
leading insurance companies of the world, such as the London. Liverpool and Globe, Royal of Liverpool, Norwich Union and North British and Mercantile, among foreign companies, and the German-American of New York and Fireman's Fund among home companies.
     Controlling as he does the leading companies, he writes more insurance than any other agencies combined. He also writes life, accident, plate glass and live stock insurance, attends to collections of rents and so forth.
     He handles real estate both city and farm property, also mining property, which his long continued residence here has placed him in a position to know thoroughly. He at present is handling the DeRoo addition, also that of Brattain & McComas, and many other desirable tracts. Mr. Ferguson is a native of New York City, where he was born in 1845. He came to Oregon at a early age with his parents, his father being an early pioneer in the valley, erecting the first mill at the Willamette Falls in 1852. He also built a number of the early crafts which navigated that river such as the steamer Gazelle and
others. ln 1858 he moved to the Cascades, accompanied by his family. At the age of sixteen the subject of this sketch went to Portland and began clerking for Hacker Bros, with whom he remained for four years. He then went to Fort Colville Wash. joining his father who had in the meantime began merchandising at that point. In 1868 he came to Baker city and entered into business with E. W. Reynolds. He married Miss Jennie D. Mann, of Barre, Vermont in 1870. His being the first marriage published in the Bed Rock Democrat, which had been in existence about six months at that time. Moving to Inyo county, Cal., a year later, he remained there till 1874, when he returned to Baker City and entered the banking house of Junes W. Virtue. as bookkeeper and cashier, and remained with him until he went out of business.

Dr. E. B. McDaniel

     Oregonians naturally feel an increased interest in the ambitions and aspirations of a young man who was born and raised right here in out own state. This fact, however is not the only reason why Dr. McDaniel is so popular among those that know him. He has won, and fully deserves every iota of esteem and regard in which he is held by his integrity and courtesy and professional knowledge. Dr. McDaniel was born in Cove, Union County,
in 1873, and remained there till 1888, receiving his preliminary education there. He then attended the Beaumont Medical College in St. Louis, graduating to 1892. After that he took a year's additional course in the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia and returning to Cove practiced there for a period. Then he moved to Portland, where he practiced until September of last year, when he came to Baker City. He is on indefatigable worker, and very attentive to his patients, and already enjoys a handsome practice. He is a member of the Masons and Knights of Pythias. Professionally he is a member of the Oregon State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. and is acting as county physician having been appointed in October 1897.

Francis M. Saxton

     There is probably no member of the bar of Baker County more well and favorably known than he whose name heads this sketch, and a history of his career such as it justly merits, would prove of deep interest to our readers, and would truly exemplify the old adage that persistency and merit will in the end win out over opportunity.
     Mr. Saxton was born In 1864, in the Blue Grass State, and remained there
with but a short interval until his seventeenth year. He received a country school education. and the last year taught one himself. Moving to Shelby County, Indiana, he for it period of two years worked on a farm in summer and attended school daring the winter months. Having saved a few dollars, he entered the Central Normal College at Danville. and from time to time would return to teaching in order to again he able to secure a higher education for himself. In 1885 he graduated in the Teacher's and Commercial course also in civil engineering and surveying, and in 1889 to the classies. He then taught in Florida Normal for three years, and returning to Danville, Indiana, acted as city superintendent of schools. During this time he was also taking a law course in the Normal and graduating in 1894 he was admitted by the Supreme Court in October of that year. He acted as deputy prosecuting attorney of Hendricks County by appointment, until April 1895, when he moved to Baker City and became the law partner of Hon. W. R. King.  He is married to Mary E. King. of Danville, Indiana and has has three children, a boy and two girls.

W. R. Privett

     For years, W. R. Privett has been connected with various institutions of learning, until the profession of a teacher, than which there is no higher or nobler, has became second nature to him, slid none in the ranks of that profession stand higher or more universally command the respect and esteem of the general public, than does the subject of this sketch. Born in Missouri in 1847, he came to Oregon in 1852, with his parents, who died
enroute. He made his home with an uncle, on a farm near Scio, and received his preliminary education in the public schools. He began teaching in Linn County at the age of 16, following it until 21, when he entered the Agricultural College at Corvallis, graduating in 1871. He at once began teaching in the public schools of Corvallis, and later in those of Linn and Marion counties until 1888. Moving to Baker county, he taught there until 1893, when he was elected school superintendent on the Democratic ticket. He married Miss Mary Shelton, of Linn County, in 1876, and has four children. His record as a teacher and a man and citizen is without it blemish, and his friends and admirers are legion.

J. A. Churchill

     Among the public institutions of our country note more deservedly attract the attention of all lovers of law and order than do our public schools. It is all important, therefore, that each city should have some man of learning and ambition at the bead to represent, as It were, in a single individual the individual interest of every child in it. We are peculiarly fortunate in the section of capacity to fill this position. He has the ripe experience of a

successful teacher, the energy and ambition of a man who is just entering the prime of life, the love of the work in culcated into him by his long continued connection with public instruction, and a spirit of that progress to the overthrow of old fogyism, if necessary, which will insure his educational work the advancement made by other public interests. Prof. Churchill is a native of Ohio, and received his preliminary education in the public schools of  that commonwealth. He later took a thorough coarse in the Normal University, located at Ada, Ohio, teaching in the interim, since his eighteenth year. Leaving the Normal he received the principalship of the schools of Westminster, Ohio, and later the principalship of the High School at Crookston, Minn.. In 1891 lie came to Baker City, and for the first year was principal of the High School, and since then has been city superintendent. It will not be necessary to dwell on the growth of our schools under his direction, as the character of his work speaks for itself, through the reputation our schools enjoy in the state.

W. G. Ayre

     Almost in the heart of the valley, a mile or more directly south from Express station, is the fine home and valuable farm of W. G. Ayre, the sheep king of this region. He located in these parts something over thirteen years ago, coming from the far east alone and settling upon the sage brush land, upon which there were only limited improvements. His farm, immediately in the valley, now produces hundreds of tons of hay annually. Upon it he has
erected a large and well built dwelling and added commodious barns and every needed improvement, until it is one of the most perfectly equipped farms subservient to a wool growing proposition in this or any other country.
     In addition to this valley ranch, Mr. Ayre has another farm of several hundred acres, about five miles distant, which he uses chiefly for bay growing and sheep breeding. It is also well improved and entirely under fence. Mr. Ayre owns thousands of sheep, which he pastures about nine months of the year upon government land. The balance of the year, running from 60 to 100 days, sheep have to be fed. In common with most sheep owners Mr. Ayre is a strong protectionist, and also a republican, but he is hardly the kind of a man that can be dragged in through mere partisan bias to support any public policy which is clearly at variance with his own and the public weal.
     Fraternally he is a member of Baker City Lodge No. 47, A. F. and A. M. and the Elks.

R. T. Parker

     R. T. Parker, the leading photographer of the city, is also one of our early pioneers, having been located here since 1870. He was first engaged in mining, and then for a period of several years was engaged in the mercantile business. He then established himself in the photograph business, being materially assisted by his wife, who is universally looked upon as one of the best operators in the state. Their studio is advantageously located, and the

class of work turned out is of the greatest excellence. Mr. Parker married Miss Viola G. Hazeltine, daughter of M. M. Hazeltine, who has earned a national reputation as a photographic artist.

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