Purpose of Centennial Families of Baker County

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.

Research

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  Families have invited me to study their family Bibles and personal copies of published and unpublished materials.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.

Presentation

Families:
In identifying the living descendants of the pioneers, I have attempted to classify them under the earliest ancestor.  Because the fabric of society becomes increasingly complex and confusing with the passing of the years, many persons can trace their ancestry to two or more of the early pioneers.  I have attempted to cross-reference these people. (For example, the Howard Payton family list four 100 year pioneers in their ancestry.  The pioneer Ferguson family has fanned out into seven generations.

Business and Farms:
Herein is a list of '100 year Business' and '100 year Farms.' These latter are farms which have been in the family for a century.  The list presented here is more encompassing and more informally contracted that in the official "Century Farms" list maintained by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  Some of the "One Hundred Year" farmers may wish to seek the recognition of the formal "Century Farms" registry.

Houses:
There are in the community many buildings of interesting design and history.  Much work needs to be done in identifying, cataloging, photographing and planning to preserve these.  They are an interesting and valuable heritage resource.  I list here at this time only those houses which have officially been recognized by the Oregon Historical Society.

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.

My Hope

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'.

Index

Centennial Pioneer Families of Baker County, by Ruth H. Evans

 

 

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