Gallery #3--MINES
Sumpter Valley miners cabin drawing by E. S. McComas.

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Record 811/1100
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Collection Hawley, Brooks
Date of photo 1863
Description Sumpter Valley miners cabin drawing by E. S. McComas.

Brooks Hawley note: Just to show you that when you try to get back to the begining of things, there isn't much help from pictures when there weren't photographs. These two drawings [including image 1992.1.873] of log cabins and the following map [image 1992.1.874] are from the E. S. McComas diary of 1862-1867. Martin Schmitt printed the book in 1954, but these drawings were not reproduced in the book. These drawings are copied from the original diary at the University of Oregon, a neat leather-bound book, all in ink. The printed book, "A Journal of Travel for 1862-1867," is a charming book often referred to, especially in Union County. The book is of special interest to us as E. S. McComas was in Sumpter Valley Jan. 18 to April 23, 1963.

Bear Creek is plain enough the Bear Gulch on our ranch. He also calls it Bear Gulch. He says 16 miles from Auburn, with Minersville half way. For Sunday, Feb. 15, 1893, he says, "Today was spent in practicing on snowshoes, writing letters &c in the solitude of the Blue Mountains in pine woods palace surrounded by tall snow capped peaks and green pine trees, the snow at least four ft. deep." So this is the best I can do for a showing of the first habitation on our ranch, not much help, neither eaves overhanging or corner logs crossed correctly. But there is a fire place as should be, before stoves were much available that first year.

When he speaks of "Powder River Flatts," that is evidently Sumpter Valley before the name. There is not enough to explain "Castle Le Grande." "Commenced hauling sluices from Howell's Gulch to Powder River Flatts, two miles from Castle Le Grande." He has nothing to say of the Confederates who should be wintering at "Fort Sumter." [Four men from Southern states built a cabin west of Sumpter before the town existed calling their cabin "Fort Sumter," the fort on the coast of South Carolina, site of the opening shots of the Civil War and first defeat for the North.]

On March 6th they "went up the north fork of Powder River about eight miles to get a whip saw." Very interesting, evidently to make hand-made boards for sluice boxes. That would be up Cracker Creek. They hauled sluice boxes from McCullock's camp. Does that tie with McCully Fork?

Object ID 1992.1.872
Place Sumpter Valley
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: Credit Baker County Library, Baker City, Oregon

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Last modified on: December 09, 2017