The original purpose of this study was to explore lightly to determine how many people in Baker County were descend from early pioneers. I sought a simple figure, like perhaps 310 people out of 14,000 could trace their ancestry to the original pioneers. I undertook that brief study to satisfy my own interests.
But as I turned to people for information, their warm response and eager encouragement caused me to enlarge the study; and at their insistence to publish the material as a resource available to all. I found myself caught up in an intriguing historical study of considerable interest to many people. The figures, relationships, sense of historical structure and anecdotes were interesting beyond all possible imagining.
In place of the original study, I present herewith a study seeking to identify and list by family those residents now living in Baker County who are descended from Baker County pioneers of the years 1861-1874. I chose the Centennial year of the City of Baker (1874-1974) simply because there had to be a cut-off date. Such limitations both as a Baker County residency and cut-off date were necessary so that the study could be manageable.
Regrettable though this limitation may seem, it is doubtless a blessing, for it invites you, the reader, to complete the work for your family. That you might develop a personalized family tree or beginning genealogy, I have left pages near the center of the book for this purpose.
To collect this material, I have interviewed scores of people, old and young, from the community. Uniformly, people have been most helpful, animated and interesting. To all of those people, may I hereby express my appreciation!
I have studied the common references of the time and have listed herein a bibliography for your further study. I have researched newspaper clippings, land titles and registration of water rights. Families have invited me to study their family Bibles and personal copies of published and unpublished materials. I have checked and rechecked a thousand interrelationships.
As always, more can be done, for no study is ever really complete but each opens a new question.
Business and Farms:
I regret also that neither time nor facility permitted my seeking out those many members of the various families who live outside Baker County. It is an unfortunate necessity of the research that arbitrary bounds must be set.
Limitations: What this Book Does Not Do
This is not a complete social, political or economic history. Much interesting work could be done in these fields, but they are not within the scope of this study.
As stated, this book is not a genealogy. We leave to you the more complete development of a study of your own family. This volume may be a starting point. As you collect and record your family history, you may also wish to collect family artifacts and memorabilia, labeling them and keeping them in their proper setting, where their story can best be told.
I have attempted to be accurate and thorough and regret those errors and omissions which inevitably occur in a work as diverse as this.
If by researching and publishing this Roster I have stimulated your interest in Oregon History; it I have created an awareness of our rich heritage; if I have given you the desire to trace your family history' if I have caused you to reestablish contact with a long-forgotten member of your family, I have accomplished my purpose.
May you, as you place yourself in proper perspective in the onward rush of history, find your life enriched and may this work become personalized for you, and for your descendants who one day will view today as the misty 'days of yore'.
Centennial Pioneer Families of Baker County, by Ruth H. Evans
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