Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oregon Republican League: History 104 Biographies

Every Wednesday, the Oregon Republican League will post the biographies of important figures, in the League's/State of Oregon's history. Feel free to comment or share stories of your family's Republican affiliation.

An Illustrated History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties, pub. 1902 by Western Historical Publishing Co. of Chicago, page 453


Born in Dorset, England, in 1836, he there spent the years of his life until 1856, gaining the excellent training to be had in the schools of his land and acquiring the skill of the husbandman and horticulturist. In 1859, he came to the United States, filled with buoyant hopes and fired by a spirit of progression and energy. His first occupation was operating a dairy for J. Taylor in Polk county, where he continued for two years, and then in company with his brother, William, bought the outfit and removed it to Walla Walla in the fall of 1861. In the hard winter of 1861-62 they lost all their stock, and the spring bringing tidings of the new diggins on Powder river, in company with his brother, Thomas Brentz and Napoleon Nelson, Mr. Hall determined to seek his fortune there, and soon was on the ground. He went on to Canyon City, and there commenced mining, which occupied him until 1864. Thomas Brentz and Mr. Hall were the builders of the first log cabin in Grant county, is the opinion of Mr. Hall. After the time in mining, as stated, Mr. Hall and his brother bought the farm where he is living at the present time, four miles west from Prairie City. Their farm contained eight hundred acres, but has been increased to two thousand five hundred acres and is well improved and stocked. In company with his brother, Mr. Hall is still raising cattle and tilling the soil, prosperity having attended his efforts from the beginning. In political matters he has ever been active, and holds with the Republican party. In 1880 the people of the county called him to the office of county commissioner and with satisfaction to all he discharged the functions of that office. From 1882 to 1885 he was state senator and did excellent service in that capacity, holding the chairmanship of the important committee on education, and was also a potent factor in passing the Hygiene bill and the bill against prize fighting. Fraternally Mr. Hall is affiliated with the I.O.O.F., Lodge No. 33, of Prairie City.

Mr. Hall was married in 1870, and has three children, John, Jennie and Egbert. It is interesting that Mr. Hall's sons have, unaided, constructed an electric plant that supplies the house with light, which even in these days of advanced engineering, is a feat that is very praiseworthy. Mr. Hall believes that Napoleon Nelson was the first man to make a trip to The Dalles with gold dust from the new camp.


An Illustrated History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties, pub. 1902 by Western Historical Publishing Co. of Chicago, page 460


Like to many of our most thrifty and enterprising citizens, Mr. Sels was born of good old German stock in Westphalia, hiss native town being Meschede, and the date of his nativity 1837. At the age of seventeen the attractions of the "Fatherland" were left behind, farewells were spoke to the friends and relatives, and young Sels turned his face to the Mecca of the world's advancement, America, and opened a career that was destined to be fraught with stirring activities, crowded with events and crowned with becoming success. On December 31, 1854, he reached California, and on July 1862, he set foot in what is now Canyon City. That summer was spent in mining in the Prairie diggins, four miles northeast from Prairie City, and the following spring he opened a general merchandise establishment in Canyon, his partner being E. J. W. Stemme, who has been his companion on his journeys hitherto. In this business Mr. Sels continued until 1866, when he sold out to his brother, H. R. Sels. From 1864 to 1866 he was justice of the peace, and the last year of that time was also postmaster, which he resigned to accept the treasurership of the county, having been elected to that position in 1866. Two years later he was chosen state senator, defeating his opponent, John Driblesby, by a majority of five votes, he being the only Republican candidate that was elected. Driblesby carried the matter to the senate in contest and secured his seat because Mr. Sels had an undecided contest on his hands with L. O. Stearns from the election of 1866. In 1869 he took a pleasure trip back to his native land, and upon returning to Canyon in 1876, was elected county judge, which position he held for four years. In 1870 Mr. Sels bought the brewery in Canyon City, and two weeks later it was destroyed by fire. Immediately he rebuilt fireproof buildings and gave his attention to the prosecution of this business, which he has successfully operated since, in addition to the varied and numerous public positions that he has faithfully and efficently filled.

It is of note that when he was in The Dalles in 1863 buying goods, that his train was attacked by the Indians when fifteen miles out from Canyon City. Again, the next year, the attack was repeated, but in both cases the savages were repulsed. During the long and interesting career of our subject he has never entered the matrimonial state, choosing rather the quietness of celebacy, than the cares and responsibilities of domesticity. And now in the golden time of life, with the pleasures of a goodly competence that his sagacity and enterprise have accumulated, Mr. Sels is enjoying to the utmost his portion, being also favored with the respect, esteem and confidence of all that are numbered in his acquaintanceship.

No comments: