Wallowa County

Wallowa County

Wallowa County 1887  *Named for Nez Perce word describing a kind of fishing pole  *3,153 square miles  *County seat: Enterprise


Chinese Massacre at Deep Creek
by Greg Nokes

Of the many crimes and injustices committed against early Chinese immigrants in the American West, what may have been the most brutal occurred at Deep Creek on the Oregon side of the Snake River in Hells Canyon. In May 1887, at what is now known as Chinese Massacre Cove, as many as thirty-four Chinese gold miners were ambushed and murdered by a gang of horse thieves and schoolboys from Wallowa County.

Fishtrap, Inc.
by Rich Wandschneider

Fishtrap had its beginnings in 1987, when writers Kim Stafford, of the then-new Northwest Writing Institute, and Peter Sears, who was at the Oregon Arts Commission, convened a Northwest Writers Gathering at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Writers George Venn, David Memmot, and Rich Wandschneider represented Oregon’s east side at the Gathering. The next year, with encouragement from Stafford and Sears and help from Alvin Josephy, who owned a ranch near Joseph, the Gathering was moved to Wallowa Lake. It was renamed Fishtrap, and Wandschneider became the director.

Chief Joseph (Heinmot Tooyalakekt) (1840-1904)
by Elliot West

Chief Joseph

Heinmot Tooyalakekt (Thunder Rising to Loftier Mountain Heights), also known as Chief Joseph, was a prominent figure among the Nimiipuu, or Nez Perce. He is best remembered as a leader during the Nez Perce War of 1877. Although his role in that conflict is much misunderstood, Joseph participated significantly in events leading up to the war, and his shrewd leadership afterward was critical to the Nez Perces’ successful return from exile to the Pacific Northwest.

Georgia Mason (1910-2007)
by Rhoda Love

Georgia Mason was unique among twentieth-century Oregon botanists in that she did not arrive in the Northwest nor begin her serious study of botany in the state until she was in middle age. The summers she spent botanizing alone in the rugged, isolated Wallowa Mountains were in the decade between 1961 and 1971. She published her well-respected Guide to the Plants of the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon in 1975, with revisions five years later. Mason was acting curator of the University of Oregon Herbarium in Eugene in 1961-1962, and again between 1970 and 1976.


William O. Douglas (1898-1980)
by Adam M. Sowards

William O. DouglasAlthough he hailed from the State of Washington, William O. Douglas represented the greater Pacific Northwest on the national stage as a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice. As the longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history (1939-1975), Douglas participated in major changes in American politics and society. He was well known for taking controversial stands on foreign policy and environmental protection. Throughout his public career, Douglas spoke about, lived seasonally in, and worked on behalf of the State of Oregon.

Glaciers in Oregon
Andrew G. Fountain

Glaciers and permanent snowfields—found in many western states, including Washington, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Nevada—are common in the high alpine environments of Oregon. There are about 463 glaciers or perennial snowfields in Oregon (35 of them named), covering an area of about 42.5 square kilometers. They can be found in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon and along the crest of the Cascade Range from Mt. Hood south to Mt. Thielson. The fundamental requirement for a glacier is that more snow accumulates in winter than melts away in summer, so glaciers can exist in relatively warm environments where annual average air temperatures are above freezing as long as enough winter snow accumulates to survive the summer.

Alvin Josephy (1915-2005)
by Rich Wandschneider

Alvin Josephy was born in Woodmere, New York, in 1915, and died in his Greenwich, Connecticut, home on October 16, 2005. For over half of his ninety years, he had a small ranch near Joseph, and he considered Oregon home. His last book was a memoir titledA Walk toward Oregon (2000).

Walla Walla Treaty Council 1855
by Cliff Trafzer

The treaty council held at Waiilatpu (Place of the Rye Grass) in the Walla Walla Valley in May and June of 1855 forever changed the lives of Native Americans living in north-central and eastern Oregon. The fate of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Indians who lived in that part of Oregon became closely tied to that of the Nez Perce, Palouse, and Yakama, who also participated in the treaty council. None of the tribes requested the council or wanted to surrender their lands, but representatives of the United States government championed the grand council and representatives of the tribes attended to protect their people and tribal interests.

Oregon Encyclopedia - Oregon History and Culture

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