Makin Family, Wallowa County, Oregon

Gary Jaensch  provided the information on his family and some other insight into the Wallowa County area

William Makin

     To the capable and enterprising citizen whose name initiates this paragraph we are pleased to accord a representation in the history of Wallowa county, since he has trod the path of the pioneer in a worthy manner, displaying constantly qualities of moral worth and value, and has achieved a success in temporal affairs that is commendable and praiseworthy, being the meed of continuity in wisely directed effort and energy and sagacity in all of his ways, and consequently it is very fitting that he should be placed to-day as one of the prominent men of the county, which position he fills with acceptability.
      Mr. Makin was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, on December 12, 1837, and went hence at the age of five to Marshall County, Indiana, with his parents, Robert and Margaret (Brewer) Makin. Soon after this journey, the father died and our subject was left with the mother, with whom he lived until he reached manhood’s estate. During this time he gained from the primitive schools of the place of education, walking to and from school three miles each way and searching for wisdom’s treasures around the old fashioned fireplace in a log schoolhouse. When our subject reached the age of eighteen, his mother was called to pass the river of death, and the following year he removed to Wayne county, Iowa whence after a short stay, he returned to Indiana. In 1857 he again made the trip to Iowa, remaining this time until 1862. In this last year, he prepared his family and holdings to take the long and arduous journey across the mountains and plains to the Pacific coast, utilizing ox teams for transportation. The team consisted of one hundred and five wagons, and although many others suffered from the attacks of the savages, on account of the size of this train it was unmolested during the entire journey. He halted at Auburn, Baker County, and engaged in packing both there and in the Idaho basin, also gave some attention to mining, and in 1863 moved his family to the Grande Ronde valley.
      In 1860, Mr. Makin married Miss Mary Fox, and one child was born to them in Iowa, Elzie O. He is now living in the vicinity of Enterprise. After coming to the Grand Ronde valley, one more child was born to our subject, Allen, who died in 1897. The mother and wife was called from her by death in 1865. Mr. Makin continued to farm in the grand Ronde valley for a time after this sad event and also gave some attention to raising stock.
      In 1866 Mr. Makin married a second time, Angeline Shoemaker being his choice at this time, and four children blessed this union; Frederick, married to Mary Tuttle and living near Enterprise; Annie, wife of J. K. Romic,(Romig?, there was a family of Romigs who lived in Baker at one time) of La Grande; Molly, wife of Charles Stacy, near Enterprise; William, deceased.
     On February 23, 1884, Mr. Makin was married a third time, Jemima Williams of Enterprise becoming his wife on this occasion, and to them have been born eight children, Otho, deceased, Inez, Eva, Ralph, Wilden?, Lila, and Lula, twins and deceased, Glenwood. In 1887 Mr. Makin sold his ranch in the Grande Ronde and moved to his present home two miles south from Enterprise, which consists of an estate of six hundred acres. It is all well fenced and improved, having comfortable house and good barn, and the farm well supplied with water which assists him in raising abundant crops of the cereals and timothy and alfalfa. He has a large band of sheep and is one of the leading wool growers of the county. He and his son Frederick own the electric light plant that furnishes Enterprise with light. Mr. Makin is a man that has always allied himself with the side of morality and good, and is upright and faithful in all his ways. His bright example of moral conduct and stanch support of the cause of religion in his section have made him worthy to be emulated and he is a light in the community. Many of the various denominations have profited much by his liberality and while he is a member of no sect, still he supports the cause always, and is foremost in working for the cause of education also. 

History of Union and Wallowa Counties  1902

 Elzie O. Makin

     For many years was engaged in the operation of a large sheep ranch in Wallowa county, is one of the substantial residents of Joseph, where he is now living retired. He was born in Madison County, Indiana, on August 7, 1862, the eldest and only surviving child born of the marriage of William and Mary (Fox) Makin. The father was at one time the largest sheep raiser in the Wallowa valley but he is now living retired in Enterprise. The mother, however, has long since passed away.
     When he was a child less than one year of age Elzie O. Makin accompanied his parents on their journey across the plains to Oregon. They arrived in November 1862 and the following spring the father filed on a claim in the Grande Ronde valley, where the son was reared to manhood. At that time the educational advantages in the rural districts were very inadequate, and the schooling of Elzie O. Makin was limited to irregular attendance during the three months’ winter session of the school in his home district. When he was nineteen years of age he left home to begin earning his own living. As he had never learned a trade, it behooved him to accept the first business opening that afforded adequate remuneration, so he earned his first wages cutting and making railroad ties in the Blue Mountains for the railroad which was then in course of construction through La Grande. The following year, before attaining his majority, he was married and together with his bride started on a wagon journey toward the east. After spending four months traveling they reached Arkansas, where they decided to locate. During the succeeding seven years they lived at various points in that state. Mr. Makin accepting such positions as presented themselves and changing his employment whenever he found anything that promised better wages. At the expiration of that time they decided to return to Oregon, but the railroad was then completed and the journey westward was made with greater ease and accompanied by less discomfort than the trip to Arkansas seven years previous. They located in Wallowa County, where his people had removed during his absence, and for two years thereafter he was employed on his father’s sheep ranch. As both he and his wife were desirous of acquiring a place of their own, they lived very economically during that period and in 1891 had sufficient capitol to purchase eighty acres of land near Enterprise, upon which they settled. Mr. Makin engaged in the cultivation of this for two years, then homesteaded a quarter section on the Snake River. From time to time thereafter as his circumstances warranted he extended the boundary of his own ranch until it embraced five hundred and twenty acres. Here for eight years he extensively engaged in the sheep business, in which he met with a gratifying degree of success. In 1902 he disposed of this and purchased seven hundred and twenty acres seven miles east of Enterprise, where he removed with his family in 1903. There he continued sheep-raising until the spring of 1911, when he disposed of both his stock and ranch and came into Joseph, where he is now living retired. In addition to his pleasant home here, Mr. Makin still owns three hundred and twenty acres of valuable timber land and has various other interests, being one of the prosperous citizens of the town and well he deserves such success as has rewarded his efforts, as it is the result of his own individual endeavors.
     Mr. Makin has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Margaret E. Findley of the Grande Ronde valley, in 1882. They became the parents of eight children, as follows: Allen and Walter, who are at home; Louisa, the wife of Levi Miller, of Enterprise; Viola, who married Fred Green, of Joseph; and Edith, Milford, Nolan and Nova, the latter twins. The mother passed away in 1903 and in 1906 Mr. Makin was married to Miss Mollie A. Tuttle, of Wallowa County, and they have one child, Howard.
     The political allegiance of Mr. Makin is given to the candidates of the Republican Party, and although he takes an earnest interest in all local matters he has never had either the time or inclination to seek public office. For many years he applied himself closely and worked tirelessly, but his persistent diligence was crowned with success and he is now enjoying the ease and comfort that justly rewards intelligently directed effort. 

The Centennial History Of Oregon  1911

William Makin  

     One of the widely known and highly esteemed residents of Wallowa county is William Makin, who is now living retired in Enterprise, but for many years he owned and operated one of the largest sheep ranches in this valley. He was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, on the 12th of December 1837, and is the son of Michael and Margaret (Brewer) Makin, the father a native of Ireland and the mother of Erie County, Pennsylvania. The father immigrated to the United States when a boy with his parents, who located in Erie county, Pennsylvania. There he was reared and met the lady who subsequently became his wife. The early years of their domestic life were passed in the Keystone State, where they resided until about 1840, when they removed to Marshall County, Indiana. Shortly after they settled there the father was killed at a barn raising. The mother survived him about fifteen years.
     William Makin became a wage earner when he was still in his early boyhood, having been compelled to assist his widowed mother in the support and maintenance of the family, and thus he acquired but little schooling. He continued to make his home in Indiana until 1857, when in common with many other young men of that time he developed an uncontrollable desire to see the west. So in the early spring of that year he started with his ox teams across the prairies to Pike’s Peak and the valleys of Colorado. When he reached the western part of Illinois he met several bands of returning immigrants, all of whom discouraged him by their recital of the dismal failures they had made in the western country. He continued his journey into Iowa, however, and there passed the summer, returning to Indiana in the fall. That winter he spent in the community where he had lived from early childhood and in the spring of 1858 again started westward, Iowa being his destination on this occasion. He located in Wayne county, that state, where he secured a farm on a land warrant that he owned, and immediately applied himself to the its improvement and cultivation. There he was married in 1860 to Miss Mary Fox, who had migrated to Iowa from Ohio some time previously. They began their domestic life on Mr. Makin’s farm, amid the pioneer conditions that yet prevailed in that section, which at that time was but sparsely settled. Two years later, Mr. Makin disposed of his interests in Iowa and together with his wife, an infant son and a friend started across the plains for Washington. They made the journey westward with a large party and a train of about one hundred and five wagons, which was the only way to travel at that period, the life of the plainsman being constantly menaced by the Indians. Several times while they were en route they passed gruesome ruins, revealing the terrible fate that had befallen smaller parties of immigrants, who had fallen into the merciless hands of the red men. Their party was exceptionally fortunate however, and the long journey was a joyous one, there being no accidents of any movement and but little illness. They did not hurry, but took time to enjoy themselves and their weary oxen a chance to rest. In November 1862, just six months after they started, they reached Auburn, Oregon, where they decided to spend the winter. The following spring Mr. Makin went down into the Grande Ronde valley and entered some government land, to the cultivation of which he devoted his entire time and energy for twenty -seven years. He owned three hundred and twenty acres there, two hundred and fifty acres of which he placed under cultivation practically every year, planting it in wheat, that annually yielded during the long period of his residence thirty bushels to the acre. His efforts prospered in a most gratifying measure, but in 1890 hr decided to dispose of this place and remove to Wallowa. Here he first purchased three hundred and twenty acres in the vicinity of Enterprise, bur he later extended his holdings until he owned fifteen hundred acres of excellent land. He has disposed of some of this and has given each of his sons a farm but still owns his original tract and fifty acres adjacent to Enterprise, where he is now living. After locating here, Mr. Makin devoted practically his entire attention to sheep raising, in which he met with excellent success, maintaining one of the largest ranches in this section, his herds containing between fifteen and sixteen thousand sheep. In 1904 he disposed of his stock and, withdrawing from active life, came to Enterprise, where he has ever since lived retired. He now rents his old ranch, containing three hundred and twenty acres, from which he realizes a good income. Mr. Makin worked with unceasing energy for many years, but he directed his undertakings with intelligence toward a definite aim and met with a corresponding degree of success. He realized his best returns from his stock- raising both here and in the Grande Ronde valley-where he made a specialty of cattle, never having engaged to any great extent in the sheep business until he came here-although his investments in real estate proved very lucrative and netted him a good profit.
     Mr. Makin has been married three times and has eight living children. To him and his first wife, whose maiden name was Mary Fox, there was Elzie O., a retired farmer of Joseph who is mentioned at greater length elsewhere in this work; and Allen, who is deceased. The mother of these children passed away while Mr. Makin was living in Grande Ronde, and there he was later married to Miss Angeline Shoemaker, and they became the parents of three children, two of whom are living: Anna, the wife of James Romig, a prominent mining man of Baker City; and Molly, who is married to Charles Stacy, a railroad engineer, of la Grande, Oregon. Mr. Makin married for his third wife, Jemima C. Williams, and she is the mother of eight children, five of whom are living, as follows: Inez, who is a teacher in the Enterprise schools; and Eva, Ralph, Welden and Glen. The two latter are engaged in the operation of a ranch, containing four hundred and eighty acres, which was presented to them by their father.
     In his political views Mr. Makin is a staunch republican, and although he is public-spirited and takes an active interest in all governmental affairs, he has always been too deeply engrossed in the development of his private affairs to become an office seeker. As a pioneer of the northwest, he is one whose life clearly demonstrates that success as often comes from enterprise and diligence as from favorable circumstances and that the most worthy achievements and highest attainments are invariably the result of individual effort and are deserving of the greatest commendation.

The Centennial History of Oregon 1911

Elzie O. Makin

     Any volume that purports to give the salient points in the careers of the leading and prominent citizens of Wallowa County would be open to serious criticism were there failure to incorporate therein an epitome of the life of the esteemed gentleman whose name is at the head of this article, and has labored for the building and development of Wallowa county for years, displaying meanwhile a vigor, energy and sagacity, coupled with other capabilities of a high order, while also his sound principals, unswerving integrity and strict adherence to the ways of uprightness have given him the meed of the confidence and admiration of his fellows, while he has also gained a goodly portion of the good things of this world.
     In Indiana, on August 7, 1862, the subject of this sketch opened his eyes to the light of this world, and from that time until he had reached the age of nineteen years we have no data of his career. When he arrived at the interesting age of nineteen years, he stepped from the parental roof into the arena of life’s struggles, prepared to meet the forces and take advantage of the opportunities there awaiting him. He labored with his father in the lumbering interests, operating in the Blue Mountains, then he took an extended trip to the east, exploring different states, in search for a place to settle. Finally he decided to locate in Arkansas and there engaged in the lumbering business and in operating a sawmill. Seven years were spent there and then the spirit that had known the boundless resources of the west could no longer be restrained in the east and accordingly he came to the west, settling in Wallowa County and taking up a pre-emption. After proving up, he sold this property and repaired to the Snake River, the year being 1890, and there took up a homestead. This quarter section increased to five hundred and sixty acres, while where he lives on Prairie Creek, seven miles east from Enterprise, he owns in one body as much more good land. He gives proper attention to general farming, but devotes his energies principally to raising sheep, of which he has about three thousand stock animals.
     On July 7, 1880, in the Grande Ronde valley, occurred the marriage of Mr. Makin and Miss Margaret, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Wilson) Finley, who were formerly farmers of Alabama, but now residents in Arkansas. To this union there have been born the following children: Louisa, Allen, Walter, Viola, Edith and Melford. Mrs. Makin was born in Alabama on July 7, 1880 ( The birth date July 7, 1880 is shown as her marriage date, maybe the other bio has correct date). Mr. Makin is one of the capable and substantial men of our county and is deserving of especial honor for his worthy labors.

History of Union and Wallowa Counties 1902

Womack Family

Wallowa County

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