Morrow County Biographies

Bios at  Linpendium

The Bios below are taken from the "History of Umatilla and Morrow County" written by W.S. Shiach in 1902. For a complete listing of of biographical and portraits, for Morrow Co. click here. For Umatilla Co. click here.

Selected Morrow Co. Bios

Bios at Jenny Tenlen data

Henry Heppner was running mule freight teams between Umatilla Landing on the Columbia River and the gold fields of interior Oregon. On July 4, 1872, he made camp in a valley which was the confluence of three creeks, later the site of the town to be named for him. That same year, he became the business partner of Jackson Lee Morrow, a merchant from LaGrande, Oregon, and, in 1873, they built a store and freight forwarding station around which the town grew.

Henry Heppner was born March 25, 1831, in Prussia. He emigrated in the mid-1850s, and spent some time in New York before setting up a mercantile business in Shasta, California. Two years later he moved his business first to Corvallis, Oregon, and then to The Dalles, along the Columbia River. The 1860 census lists him as a pack train operator in Wasco County, which was then most of Eastern Oregon. After Heppner and his partner Morrow established their business in the Willow creek Valley, and thereby the town which was to be named Heppner over Henry's objection, Heppner founded freighting and mercantile businesses in several towns in the region. He lived, however, primarily in the town that bore his name, and was instrumental in the establishment of the first school, newspaper, hotel and other developments. Henry Heppner died in 1905 and is buried in Beth Israel Cemetery in Portland.

See picture at Pioneer Stockmen#33 in bottom photo

Jackson Morrow was born in Kentucky in 1827. As a young man, he moved to the state of Washington, engaged in several businesses and entered the first of a number of successful bids for political office. In 1864, Morrow moved to LaGrande, Oregon, to set up a general merchandising business, served on the city common council and was County Treasurer of Union County for four years. When Morrow embarked on his partnership with Henry Heppner, he built the first house in what was to become the town of Heppner. At this time, the Willow Creek Valley was in Umatilla County. Morrow was elected to the Oregon Legislature and helped push through a bill to establish a separate county which was named in his honor. Jackson L. Morrow died in 1899 and is buried in Heppner.

HON. J. W. Morrow is the son of the late Hon. J. L. and Nancy (McQueen) Morrow, distinguished pioneers and eminent citizens of the section that is now Morrow county, which received its name from this worthy gentleman, who was the leading spirit in its organization and a potent factor in its material development and the advancement of its interests. Hon. J. L. Morrow was a native of Kentucky and his wife of Indiana. He spent his early youth in his native state and then went to Iowa with his parents, where he was educated, grew to manhood and was married, whence, in 1853, he crossed the plains in the arduous way then extant, landing in Olympia, Washington, where he embarked in the mercantile business, serving also in 1855-56 as lieutenant colonel on the governor's staff, during the Indian war at that time. In 1863 he removed to LaGrande, Union County, Oregon, continuing in the same business, and soon thereafter was elected treasurer of that County. In 1872 he came to the section that is now embraced in Morrow County and opened a mercantile establishment in Heppner, where he continued to reside until the day of his death. Repeatedly he was called by the people to accept the highest offices that were in their power to bestow, throughout his entire career manifesting the faithfulness and skill in the discharge of these trusts which were characteristic of him in his own business enterprises; he served as member of the state legislature in 1885, was a prime mover in the organization of Morrow County, which was named after him, and then retired from active business in 1886. He had also served in tile legislature before the term of 1885. In 1899 we was called from the scenes of earth, his wife having died some years previous. To the memory of this worthy patriot, noble citizen and sturdily and courageous pioneer we are glad to pay the humble tribute within our means, while in the memory of an appreciative people he is held as beloved and esteemed, his excellent life and meritorious deeds being ever green and fresh before them.

Returning more particularly to the subject of this sketch, Hon. J. W. Morrow, we note that he was born in Olympia, Washington, in May, 1859, whence being yet a child he was taken to Lagrande, this state, and in 1872 to this county, as stated above, during which periods he received a good education, both from schools and private laborious research then engaged with his father in business, receiving that way a splendid training that has made him an exceptionally thorough and competent business man, in addition to which he has, by careful and diligent study, added the profession of the law, being admitted to the bar in 1898. He is proprietor and owner of the Palace hotel in Heppner, one of the leading hostelries in eastern Oregon, one of the leading generous and lucrative patronage; he owns a ranch in the county, and considerable valuable property in the city of Portland. Since the organization of the county he has served eight years as county clerk, and at the present time is joint senator from this and Umatilla counties, being elected to that incumbency in 1898, in all of which public service, as his illustrious father before him, he has displayed both distinguished ability and intrinsic moral qualities and integrity, coupled with untiring energy and faithfulness in the discharge of the trusts incumbent upon him that is exceedingly praiseworthy and commendable and which his appreciative constituency are not slow to recognize and reward.

The marriage of Mr. Morrow and Miss Katie Rhea, a native of Nebraska, was consummated in Heppner on December 16, 1885 and to their happy union have been born the following children: Hazel, Jackson Lee and two that have died. He is affiliated with the A. F. & A. M., the K. of P. and the B. P. O. E., being especially popular in all these orders because of his geniality and excellent social qualities.

from "History of Umatilla and Morrow Counties - 1902"

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SILAS A. WRIGHT—In the course of the compilation of this volume, purporting to give the chronicles of Morrow county, it now becomes our pleasant duty to epitomize the career of the estimable and influential citizen, Silas A. Wright, one of the most capable and prominent men of this section, having wrought here with commendable energy and enterprise for about one-third of a century, maintaining, meanwhile, a high sense of honor, and manifesting a rare executive ability and keen foresight, while his integrity and probity, with stanch principles of sterling worth, have shone brightly throughout.

He was born on May 15, 1853, in Nebraska, to Albert and Julia A. (Berry) Wright, while enroute across the plains to this state. An emigrant wagon was his birth chamber and from that day to this he has been a sturdy pioneer and leader of civilization. His parents were natives of New York state, his father being of English and his mother of German extraction. Their first settlement in the bounds of Oregon was in Clackamas County, about eight miles from Oregon City, where they remained, operating as agriculturists for nineteen years. Here our subject received his educational training and passed the.years of his minority. In 1872 the entire family removed to what is now Morrow county and took up government land, Silas A., however, purchasing land in Gilliam County. There he engaged in stock-raising for a number of years, and then changed the ranch into the headquarters for the sheep business, which he entered upon in company with his brother, George E. Wright, continuing there until 1883, when he bought his present estate of two thousand acres, ten and one-half miles southwest from Heppner on Rhea creek. Here he operates about two thousand head of sheep. On his Gilliam county place he and his brother handle four thousand head and own two thousand acres of land. He handles some cattle and horses and raises a great deal of hay and other produce.

His marriage occurred in this county on February 27, 1884, Miss Martha, daughter of Moses and Mary (Titsworth) Cantwell, old pioneers of the state, becoming his becoming his bride at that time. They have eight children: Alonzo, Pearl M., Moses A., Sidney D., Elmer O., Silas D., and two that died in infancy. Mr. Wright is very influential in the affairs of the county, having always taken an active part and ever laboring for those measures calculated to advance the interests of all and standing for men of both ability and integrity to discharge the public trusts, while his own career has been dominated with wisdom and his reputation is unsullied.

from "History of Umatilla and Morrow Counties - 1902"
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R. A. NICHOLS—It is always a pleasure see men succeed in any line of human activity, but especially is this true when the success is the well deserved meed of a young man’s effort. It is therefore with gratification that we here attempt to outline the brief career of the successful young merchant whose name forms the caption of this article.

Mr. Nichols was born in Mississippi on 6th of February, 1872. His father, R. A. died in that state, and in 1884 the family, though deprived of their natural leader, determined to try their fortune in the west. They came to Morrow County, Oregon, and the mother took a homestead one mile north of Lexington, and used her best endeavor to build a home for herself and children. Our subject acquired such education as he could under existing conditions, but as soon as he was able circumstances compelled him to engage in farming. This, his first occupation, and sheep-raising continued to engage his energies until 1896, when he moved into Lexington and embarked in the mercantile business. He is senior partner of the firm of Nichols & Leach, who own the only general store in the town. In addition to the stock carried usually in an establishment of that kind, they keep on hand, also, a full line of farm implements and machinery. Mr. Nichols still owns a fine farm one mile north of the town.

Fraternally our subject is affiliated with the United Artisans. He was married in Morrow county on October 28, 1894, the lady being Miss Lulu E. Hales, a daughter of E. H. and Lucinda Hales, and a native of Weston, Umatilla County. Her father was an old and respected pioneer and a veteran of the early Indian wars.

from "History of Umatilla and Morrow Counties - 1902"  
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JAMES G. DOHERTY - Among the sons of the Emerald Isle who have found their way to America and assisted in the development of the great west the man whose name appears above is not to be reckoned as one of the least in point of achievement.  A good citizen always and possessed of the conquering spirit which has made his race famous in fighting successfully the battles of every people under the sun but the Irish, he has done his part toward making Morrow County a place of pleasant homes and orderly communities, assisting in the promotion of the general welfare while striving to build up his own interests.

Mr. Doherty was born in County Donegal, Ireland, April 14, 1867.  He resided there until about sixteen years of age, working on his father's farm when not in school, then took passage on the steamer "Encoria," which arrived in New York City on October 8, 1883.  After a very brief residence in the great ocean port of America he came out to Butter Creek, in Umatilla County, Oregon, where for the ensuing four years he worked for Charles Cunningham.  He worked faithfully, saving his earnings, and by 1887 he had accumulated enough to enable him to embark in the sheep business on his own behalf.  For the ensuing seven years that was his line of endeavor, then he sold out and moved to his present place in Black Horse  Canyon, where he bought three hundred and twenty cares of land.  He has added to this from time to time since until he is now the owner of a half interest in some twelve hundred and forty acres, upon which he is raising cattle and horses.  At present he has ninety-five head of the former and twenty head of the latter, besides a vast herd of range horses.

Mr. Doherty was married in Pendleton, Oregon, on July 6, 1893, to Miss Catherine M. Doherty, a native of County Donegal, Ireland, daughter of Patrick and Mary (Doherty) Doherty.  They have four children, Mary, Sarah, Nora H. and Annie, and they had one other who died in infancy.

from "History of Umatilla and Morrow Counties - 1902"

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C.A. RHEA - 'Tis a trait of human nature to admire one who has been found to possess within himself the force and spirit to conquer difficulties, overcome obstacles and achieve success in any defined line of endeavor despite every adverse circumstance.   Possessed of our full share of this hero-worshipping spirit, we have always experienced a thrill of pleasure when it has fallen to our lot to chronicle the achievements of one who belongs to the conquering class, and such pleasure is ours in approaching the life history of him whose name appears above.  Like most other men in this new west, Mr. Rhea has turned his mind to the pursuit of material success , with the result that he is now one of the richest men in easter Oregon.

But to be more specific, our subject was born in Jackson county, Missouri, on the 8th of May, 1845.  Destiny seems to have intended him for pioneership in the west, however, and when seven years old he was brought by his parents to the vicinity of Eugene, in Lane county, Orego, the journey being accomplished by the aid of the slow-moving, yet patient and faithful, ox tea.  The ensuing twelve years of Mr. Rhea's life were devoted mostly to obtaining his educational discipline, then, in 1864, he came to the territory now known as Morrow county and began the battle of life.  His first home was on Rhea creek, so named in his honor, and the business which engaged his attention was the lucrative one of stock raising.  At first he operated under the direction of his father,  but when years of sifficient maturity had been attained and a knowledge of the business acquired, he embarked therein on his own behalf.  He is now the owner of over seven thousand acres of land, also of large herds of cattle and sheep.  These are now in the care of other men, and Mr. Rhea's time and talent are being devoted to the First National Bank of Heppner, of which he is the founder and animating spirit.  He enjoys the distinction of being the oldest resident of what now constitutes Morrow county still living, and it is but fair to add that during the many years of  his residence here he has been an honored citizen and a forceful factor in every progressive movement.

On January 22, 1868, in the Willamette valley, Oregon, our subject married Miss Emaline Sophronia Adkins, a native of Missouri and a granddaughter of the man whose name is commemorated by the city of Kirksville.  She died on May 12, 1900, leaving eight children, namely:  Lillie, now wife of George Conser, of Heppner; Ella, wife of Wilson Brock, a druggist at Pendleton; E. W., a merchant in Heppner; Josie, wife of N. Jones, a resident of Idaho; Ada, wife of Charles Curtis, of Morrow county; Lena; Curtis; and Carl.

Mention should be made of the fact that Mr. Rhea is a prominent Royal Arch Mason.  His parent died at the old homeplace on Rhea creek and their remains are buried in the Heppner cemetery.  He was the builder of the first house on Rhea creek and remained there during all the Indian troubles.

from "History of Umatilla and Morrow Counties - 1902"

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Personal Additions to this list

WILLIAM F. JUNKIN  --My grandfather was an early settler of Morrow Co., before records were kept. He had a Homestead at Eight Mile and he moved with his wife, Angie Gerking, and three small children from Athena, OR. My mother, Florence Junkin, was born at Eight Mile, July 14, 1887. Her father, Will, was accidentally killed 16 Dec. 1887 bringing a load of lumber from the mill. The brakes broke and the wagon, horses, lumber scattered everywhere. The wagon rolled over his chest crushing him. I was told that the hill is now known as "Deadman's Hill.

Will had donated a portion of his land for the Junkin Cemetery, where he is buried. Angie was only 33 years of age with five children under 10. She never remarried.
William E. Junkin was a Pioneer of 1852, coming from Iowa, his father being the Captain of the train.

(I don't need any information on the family but think he should be listed in the early settlers of Morrow Co.  I was also told that he planned to run for judge at the time of his death.)  Submitted by Florence Bowe