Skinner Family History

Below is a family history provided by an interview with William Silas Skinner. Other stories and histories can be accessed below with links to the individuals personal pages.

Silas Skinner

Anne Callow

William Silas Skinner

Ann Hampton

Bea "Beatsie" Owings Simpson





May 18, 1863

About 4:00 P.M. a party of 29 prospectors {with about 60 horses and mules) arrived at a stream seen theretofore by few, if any, white men. Here was a most favorable camping place, so it was agreed to go no further. Before unpacking his mule, one man scooped up some loose gravel, panned it and obtained about lOO colors. In ten minutes every man was digging and panning and in one hour all had good exhibits. Within twelve days, the laws of the district were made and adopted, claims located and the creek was named Jordan after Michael Jordan, one of the party. A few years later Jordan was scalped by the Indians on the banks of this same stream.



Silas Skinner and two partners began work on a road from Ruby City to points West.



Found John Baxter settled in a stone cabin on Jordan Creek, near where the Stearns barn now stands. Traffic to and from the mines increased by leaps and bounds. A few more shacks were built and the settlement was called String- town. Baxter built where the stone hotel is now and there he ran a store, kept the post office, served meals and rented rooms. Stringtown became Baxterville and later Jordan Valley.



Inskip [we find this spelling frequently] was settled in a fortified rock house on the Ruby Ranch, near the present Danner. Here he kept a station and sold hay and grain, tobacco and meals. The house still stands. Liquor was also sold at this station.

Camp Lyons was established to preserve peace on the line of emigration to and from Idaho. It was located on Cow Creek above the old Knight stage station on the road to Caldwell. It was garrisoned by Oregon militia, the first units A, B, AND D, 1st Oregon Cavalry and a detachment of company D, Oregon Infantry.


1865 August 4.

Major Kimball, who was trailing sheep to the Boise mines from Chico, California, took dinner with Lt. Gates at Camp Lyons in a house made of willows.


1866 January 3,

The Idaho Territorial Legislature granted Silas Skinner, Pete Donnelly and James Jordan a franchise to build and maintain a toll road from Ruby City to the Oregon line, which was assumed to be at the Owyhee River. Later this became the Boise, Silver City, Winnemucca Stage Route.


1866 May.

J. B. Charbonneau, Sacajawea's son (of Lewis & Clark expedition fame) died near the Owyhee River and was buried at the Inskip Ranch, now called the Ruby Ranch.



During the winter, Con Shea brought Texas Longhorns to Jordan Valley and ever since, cattle have been one of the valley's greatest assets.





Roving bands of Indians (Piute & Bannocks) killed people, stole horses, supplies, etc.



Note- Inskeep Ranch - Stole oxen at Ruby Ranch and ran them over a cliff to their deaths.



(Bannock Indian War) for some time prior to 1878, Bannocks had been raiding the settlements, stealing horses, wantonly slaughtering cattle, and even murdering settlers. In June of this year, they became actively hostile and urged the Piutes to join them in driving out the whites so as to regain their lost territories, rights, and privileges. When they finally decided to go on the warpath, a friendly Piute (Indian Tom) alerted the settlers, who immediately organized a group of volunteers under the leadership of 0. H. Purdy. The women and children were taken to the stone house (1959) where Jack Staples now lives and to a stone house (Conner's place) on the Gusman place. These houses were so crowded that later some of the people were taken to Silver City. All the available rifles in Silver City had been given to the volunteers and three shotguns and a few side arms were all that were left to defend its people. After three days, three boxes of Henry rifles were delivered by stage coach and they were sold as soon as the boxes could be opened. June 7th the volunteers left the O'Keefe place and went up South Mountain Creek to intercept the Bannocks. They met on a hill southeast of the McKenzie place.

Avalanche, June 5, 1878 Mrs. Skinner and family, who have been sojourning with Mrs. Bigelow, will return to their Trout Creek Mansion today." Mrs. Silas Skinner and children were among those taken to Silver City when stone houses near Jordan Valley became crowded. They stayed with the Bigelow family. Mrs. Skinner returned to the Trout Creek Station a few days later and left her children with Lillie Callister with the Bigelow's until the Indian trouble became more settled. The Bigelow store and home was a large stone structure with iron doors and was felt to be quite safe from Indian raids.

The Bigelow family moved to southern California. Aunt Carrie (Skinner) Norton says she remembers Mrs. Bigelow and a son came to visit Grandma Skinner {Mrs. Annie Skinner) in Berkeley, California after Mrs. Skinner and family moved from Napa to Berkeley. Bigelow's came to Berkeley in Carrie had ever seen. the first automobile Carrie Skinner, born Feb. 18, 1873, died Oct. 4, 1970.

The volunteers, finding themselves outnumbered - it was estimated there were 450 Bannocks - decided to retreat. Purdy and Steudon tried to cover the retreat and, facing the enemy to the last, were killed and scalped. The Indians, with war whoops and yells and led by Buffalo Horn, pursued the whites to Iron Mine Creek. Here an old scout - and a crack shot - had concealed himself in the brush and succeeded in killing Buffalo Horn and his horse. The Indians, surprised and disorganized by the loss of their chief, went back toward the Owyhee.

In a few days, Captain Howard, with two or three companies of soldiers from Camp Pendleton (at Steens Mountain), caught up with them and returned them to their reservation.


Avalanche- March 3. 1866

Ruby Ranch, Lower Cow Creek Indians burning. This account of the 1878 Indian Battle on South Mountain was told to W. S. Skinner by John Conners, who, at the time of the battle, was a sixteen year old boy, and was with the volunteers and was not armed. Nick Maher, (no relation of the Maher family now residing in Jordan Valley) was a scout with the volunteers. He was a crack shot with a rifle and a scout of some renown in past Indian skirmishes. He and young Conners were concealed in the brush on Iron Mine Creek when the Bannocks, led by Chief Buffalo Horn, came charging across this small valley. Conners said Maher told him "watch me stop that chief." He had me kneel down and, resting his rifle across my shoulder, fired. His first shot killed the palomino horse the chief was riding. The second killed, or fatally injured, Buffalo Horn. Having lost their leader, the Indians became disorganized and also, seeing a dust on Rail Creek, thought it was the soldiers coming to help the volunteers when really the dust they saw was made by the volunteers retreating down Rail Creek when they found themselves so far outnumbered by the Indians! The Indians then turned back and retreated toward the Owyhee River.

John Conners asked W. S. Skinner not to tell this story as long as Nick Maher lived. The reason: Had the Bannocks known who killed their chief, Buffalo Horn, that man's life would always be in danger. W. S. Skinner respected John Conners request and did not tell the story while either Maher or Conners lived.

A Piute Indian called Indian Tom worked for the Skinners at Trout Creek Station. At the time of the Bannock uprising in June 1878 and before the exact location of the hostiles was known, Indian Tom said to Mrs. Silas Skinner "I will go up on the hill (a hill near Trout Creek Station) and see what the Indian fires say tonight." When the Signal fires returned, he told her "Fires say Bannocks are coming by way of South Mountain." Silas Skinner was away from home at the time. He was staying at a camp he had established southwest of Parsnip Peak, about 20 miles from Trout Creek Station. He was there caring for a bunch of standard bred mares and a standard bred stallion (Alcona) during the breeding season. (Lillie was niece of Silas Skinner) Only Mrs. S.Skinner, her niece, Lillie Callister, four small children, Indian Tom, a Chinese cook, and a hostler caring for stage horses, were at the station on this night. Mrs. Skinner felt that her husband and a man with him, G. W. Clinton, must be notified of the danger. She was the only one at the station who had been to the camp. She saddled an old work mare and left in the dark of night and reached the camp about midnight. It will be remembered, at that time, there were no roads or trails to follow. The horses were always corralled at night so they were soon all on the way back to Trout Creek with the horses and reached the station before daylight.

O.H. Purdy was chosen captain of the volunteers and gave them some training before going to meet the Bannocks. Indian Tom had received this training also. Some people were afraid he might desert the whites and go with the Indians; however, he remained loyal to the end. Tom recovered from his injuries and worked for Silas Skinner on the Goose Ranch and on the ranch on Jordan Creek now owned by the Anderson family.


After Michael Jordan was killed by Indians, his nephew came West to settle Jordan's estate. He sold the Jordan interests to E. H. Clinton. This property consisted of mining interests, livestock and real estate. Included was the Morning Star Mine. Clinton sold this mine to a large mining company and received a note for $415000.00 on which he was never able to collect one penny.

The mine had become flooded and filled with water. Later a mining company from Pennsylvania, hoping to drain the mine, constructed a tunnel from the Reynolds and Sinker Creek side of the mountain, in hopes of tapping the Morning Star at a lower level to drain it. The mine had produced high grade ore before becoming flooded and the tunnel would have paid if successful. However, before reaching the Morning Star, the State Mine Inspector stopped the operation. The tunnel was quite long. The inspector's reason being that, if and when the workers blasted into the lower level of the mine, they might drown before reaching the outer end of the tunnel. A small stream of water still runs out of the tunnel. Nothing has been done in the mine since.

Until the spring of 1878 Silas Skinner and E. H. Clinton had been operating as a partnership. The property of the partnership consisted of the toll road, Toll Gate, Trout Creek Station, and the necessary work stock, tools, etc. needed to maintain the road and to keep the road open during periods of heavy snow. C. D. Bacheler owned the Goose Ranch which is now that part of the present Skinner ranch lying along Jordan Creek in Section 26, Township 30, Range 44, Willamette Meridian.



Skinner and Clinton traded C. D. Bacheler the Toll Road and Trout Creek Station for the Goose Ranch. S. Skinner owned cattle and horses branded SS. E. H. Clinton owned horses and probably cattle branded c. They continued to run this livestock in their separate ownership. However, they also bought 350 cattle from Mike Hyde in the Reynolds Creek area, brought these cattle to the ranch on Jordan Creek, branded {left ribs) them 00 {double 0) and turned them on the range. They also bought 50 or 60 horses from C. D. Bachelor and Hooker, who lived on the ranch now owned by the Ross family of Jordan Valley. Hooker's brand on these horses was hook-R. {Copy of this brand drawn by W. Skinner is attached to this page.) The livestock of these purchases became property of the partnership.

This partnership continued until early in 1884 when, on account of failing health, Skinner sold his interest to Clinton and moved with his family to Napa, California. He died there in April 1886. (Obituary - Avalanche May 7 1, 1886) Silas Skinner and family moved from Trout Creek Station to the Goose Ranch in 1878. In 1879 or 1880 they bought the Jack Stricklin place on Jordan Creek and moved there. E. H. Clinton remained on the Goose Ranch until he died 1899. His brother, G. W. Clinton, took charge of the ranch. He died December 24, 1904. S. Skinner did not sell the Stricklin place nor his personally owned livestock when he moved to California. His family continued in the livestock business in Jordan Valley for many years.

W. S. Skinner (son of Silas) managed the Goose Ranch and later became owner. This property has been in continuous operation by the Skinner family since that time. It is now owned and operated by Robert and Daniel Skinner, sons of S. K. and Johanna Skinner, and great grandson's of Silas Skinner. Robert and Daniel ran the ranch and livestock under lease after returning from military duty in World War II. They bought the property October 19, 1966 from S. K. and Johanna Skinner and built a new house in fall of 1966.

NOTE FROM MALHEUR COUNTY RECORDS - Jan. 20, 1908 Mary F. Spau1ding to Skinner & Thompson Deed to property of E. H. Clinton estate. Mary F. Spaulding was a niece of Clinton and administrater of the estate. Deed was recorded May 8, 1908

As stated before, C. D. Bacheler owned what is now the South part of the Goose Ranch on Sec. 26, T. 30 E., R. 41. Bought in 1878 by E. H. Clinton and Silas Skinner. Sherman Castle owned Section 24, T. 30 E., R 44 lying just East and above Bacheler place on Jordan Creek and bought later by I. W. Sharpe. Castle and Bacheler built a dam in Jordan Creek and a ditch to carry water to their land for irrigation. Date of water rights date back to 1867. At the time these places were settled the land was probably not yet surveyed; however, if not, it was surveyed very soon thereafter.

W. P. Beers bought the Inskeep place and Stage Station 8 June 13, 1874. This ranch joined the Goose Ranch on the west. E. H. Clinton was now owner of the Goose Ranch, having bought Silas Skinner's interest in 1884. E. H. Clinton died in December 1899. His brother, G. W. Clinton, came from Sacramento, California, to take charge of the estate. G. W. Clinton died December 24, 1904.

W. S. Skinner had been managing the ranch and livestock for the estate. After the death of G. W. Clinton, Skinner leased the property until the estate was settled. Then, with a partner, W.G. Thompson, bought the property.



After the death of Sherman Castle on Nov. 6, 1893 (3 Statham book) , and E. H. Clinton on Jan. 6, 1900, W. P. Beers, who had owned the Inskeep (Ruby Ranch) since 1874, filed suit against I. W. Sharpe. Beers claimed he had purchased a one-third interest in the Bacheler, Castle water right from Bacheler. This suit was filed in 1903. The Clinton estate was not a party to the suit but, of course, was directly affected by the eventual court decision. As the case proceeded, it seemed to be going badly for Sharpe. C. D. Bacheler had been subpoenaed by Beers as a witness. On June 13, 1878 Bacheler traded the Goose Ranch to Skinner and Clinton for the toll road and Trout Creek Station. On this date Bacheler gave Silas Skinner and E. H. Clinton a bill of sale for all of his interest in the Bacheler Castle water system, together with several items of personal property. Beers had already given testimony to the effect that Bacheler had sold him an interest in the irrigation system. Among some old papers Mrs. Silas Skinner {and now Robert) still had the bill of sale above mentioned which was produced as evidence. After C. D. Bacheler had given his testimony, R. L. Rand, attorney for I. W. Sharpe, folded down the top of the bill of sale leaving only Batcheler's signature visible. Rand asked "Mr. Bacheler, is that your signature?" Without any hesitation, Bacheler answered "Yes, sir, it is." Rand then asked him to read the contents of the bill of sale which Bacheler did. Rand said, "It appears, doesn't it, Mr. Bacheler, that after selling all your interest in your water right to Skinner and Clinton you had no water right to sell to Mr. Beers." Bacheler answered, "I guess that's right" Of course this was the deciding factor in a decision being rendered in favor of I. W. Sharpe.

The Castle ranch, purchased later by Sharpe, is now part of the Skinner ranch. From Malheur Co. records, March 7, 1896 Martha Castle to I. W. Sharpe, All of Section 24; T.30So., E. Range 44 except the S.E. 1/4 of S.E.l/4 of said is now Section 24.




Wm. P. Beers came to the Silver City mining area in the 1860's. He owned two seven yoke teams of oxen (28 head) . He did freighting around the mines, hauling lumber and lagging timber to the mines from South Mountain, also hauled ore to the mills. There was a keen demand for freighters and several men in the area had ox, mule, and horse teams engaged in that business. Mr. Beers was energetic and a good business man. In June 1874 he bought the Ruby Ranch from Oliver Inskeep, continued to operate the stage station, and began to improve the ranch. Not much hay was raised on the ranch at that time. Most of what was produced was used at the station. What was not used there was baled and hauled to Silver City. Mr. Beers was afraid the snow could get too deep near the Ruby Ranch to winter his oxen, mules and horses. He took them to Bogus Creek on the Owyhee where the elevation was lower and snowfall less heavy. There the livestock could range out on the edge of the Owyhee Desert. Browse grew there on which livestock would do very well. Beers built a road to Bogus Creek. During these early days all range livestock cattle and horses were wintered on the range. Not until after the hard winter of 1888-1890, when so many cattle and horses died of starvation, did the stockmen begin making preparation to feed hay to cattle and horses during the hard part of the winter.






There were no schools in the early days near the widely scattered ranches in the Jordan Valley area. W.S. Skinner said as near as he remembered, the first school was started in Jordan Valley in 1876 or 1877. It was held only a few months each year. A Miss Mahoney, who later became Mrs. Bas Deary, was one of the early teachers. James M. Harbour, who later was a surveyor in the area for many years, was also one of the first teachers. The first school was located on what is now the eastern part of the Hanley ranch. W.S. Skinner attended this school for a time.


In 1881 Silas Skinner and family were living on the ranch on Jordan Creek which they had purchased from Jack Stricklin. Frank Callow, a cousin of Mrs. Silas Skinner, had come out from Ohio and had stayed with and worked for the Skinners for several months. In the spring of 1882 Callow, who was soon to be married, was anxious to get home to Ohio.




W.S. Skinner Dec. 1947 -- Interview

Some of my early memories of Jordan Valley vicinity dating back to 1878. In early summer of '78 my family was living at Trout Creek. Had a station there at foot of grade. My father and Mr. E. H. Clinton owned and run the toll road to Silver City from Oregon to Idaho line. Toll Gate was located about 1 mile west of Silver City, which had been known before as Ruby City. At that time, E.H. Clinton lived at Toll Gate and collected the toll. Mr. father and mother run the station at Trout Creek which was an eating station between Silver City and first Home station West, which was known as Sheep Ranch, run by J.P. Merril and family. 1878 was summer of last Indian outbreak. When we first got word at Trout Creek Indians were really on war path it was about 6 p.m. one evening. My mother and cousin, Miss Lillie Callister, four of us children (I was oldest - 7) , one hired man and stage company stock tender (who was Bud from Reynolds Creek) were home.

My father and G.W. Clinton were out at what is known as Parsnip with a bunch of horses and stallion. Report was Indians were cited southeast of South Mountain headed toward this J.V. Section. My mother's first thought was getting word to my father. Neither of men there had ever been there. My mother had been twice and me also. I wanted to go but she would not hear to that so saddled up a work horse we had gentle to ride and started. At that time not many fences in way and no roads where she wanted to go. She found her way ok. Horses were in corral, stallion tied up, saddle horses picketed out near by. So they saddled up and moved horses to Trout Creek that night and left there. During excitement we lost no horses but bedding supplies and etc. left at Parsnip disappeared. In next few days all women and children were moved, first to Stone House now known as State Line Ranch. Became so thick there could not all get inside to sleep, so part of us were hustled up to Gusman Stone House, which used to stand near East end of bridge crossing Jordan Creek. It was still very crowded there and Indians were then reported coming over South Mountain. Captain Purdy had organized a company of volunteers, got the mounted and armed and went to meet Indians which they did a couple of miles above where Norman McKenzie now lives, (1947). Purdy and one other were killed there, also the Indian chief, which turned the Indians back some. Then some of the women and children were taken to Silver City. We were taken up there in night, two guards ahead horseback and one behind, and have never forgotten that night ride.

A few days after being taken to Silver Ci ty my Mother came back to Trout Creek to help take care of station as it had to be kept open. My father, Mother, G.W. Clinton, two other men, and stage stock tender and Chinese cook stayed there during rest of excitement. Every morning during that time a horse was saddled for everyone. Some were used by men taking care of horses which had to be herded daytime, corralled at night. Others were tied where handy, hoping to be able to get away should they be surprised by Indians. At night other horses were saddled and tied where they could be mounted quickly but nothing unusual happened during those weeks.

My cousin Lillie Callister Tapp took care of us children in Silver with the Bigelow Family, who, at that time had a store there. Another incident I remember very well. The first two boxes of rifles arriving in Silver by Stage {Herneys) I think people just grabbed them, lst there, 1st served. When volunteers were armed, took about every rifle in the country. The two or 3 men left to guard women at each stone house only had shot guns. There were some revolvers, but the Jordan people and Silver City folks were very short of rifles. Had Indians got here or to Silver, either during first part of excitement, they would not have found much resistance. After the first companies of soldiers got up here, they soon rounded up and put Indians back on their reservations. Soon the people got back to their work. Then for a couple of years, Indians could not leave reservations - only on hunting permit and then very few at a time. So we hardly saw Indians here for a couple of years.

During those years, there was no DeLamar nor Dewey. Brunzzels had a station called Booneville near where Dewey grew up later. Tom Walls {called Major Walls} and family had a station and hotel at Wagontown which later became property of Mills Family which was run by them a number of years. Next stage station West was Trout Creek. Then Compa- ny Ranch was 16 miles West of Trout Creek. Then was Ruby Ranch run by W.P. Beers & Family. Next was Sheep Ranch (home station) where drivers changed as well as horses. Next home station was Summit Springs, about half way between Silver and Winnemucca. Next home station, Willow Creek, was about 52 miles this side Winnemucca. There was change of stock every 10 to 12 miles. All were 4-horse coaches in summer, six in winter. I used to think nothing could go as fast as stages now. It was a 3 1/2 hour ride from Jordan to Winnemucca. All freight those days from Silver, Jordan Country, and a good deal for Boise and that section, went over this old stage road. There were 12 and 16 animal teams, 3 wagons, mostly mules, some horses and once in awhile a six or seven yoke ox team.

One very lovely sight to me, I remember seeing at Trout Creek Station when the soldiers were returning after the Indians were put back on their reservations. Two companies of soldiers, mounted, and their camp equipment, camped all night at Trout Creek Station. At that time there was lots of bunch grass anywhere for their horses and mules. One company, I think was on their way to Camp McDermitt, the other to Camp Harney. I was much interested in their horses, watching them unsaddle.


There were several 6 to 8 yoke ox teams owned in this valley used in the mountains for hauling ore from mines to mills and logging. Most of hay raised at that time in this valley was used in Silver City and the stage stations, also the grain. Most all the hay hauled to silver by ox teams. No stock at that time being fed in this section - all wintered out on range. No hay lands then on North side of stage road through Jordan Valley except Hooker Ranch, now Ross ranch. Everything else open as range.

The people owning Jordan Valley, as I remember at that time: Skinners at Trout Creek; Mills family at junction of South Mountain Road and toll road; Next place West of Trout Creek, Hill Ranch (now State Line Ranch) . Next Wm. Mangin ranch. Next Kellogg ranch, (now Will Maher place including Wm. Mangin place) Next John Baxter family living in little house near where city jail is. Part of old house still standing, first post office and little store there. Stage Road then ran just South of old house. Baxter later built a residence and hotel combined where Jordan Valley Hotel now stands, then built the building now used as wareroom and cellar of Helm & Yturri store, then was Baxter store and post office which grew to be quite a large business as the surrounding country grew.

Next place, Wm. Parks place and Dick Hart place. Next the A.F. Canter (or Hot Springs Ranch) . Then the A.C. Goodrich ranch. Next Dennis Munger. Then Cables ranch (now Cowgill ranch) . Next Anawalt ranch and still owned by Anawalt family, I believe the only place in Jordan Valley owned by heirs of man who took it up. Next was owned by E.A. Trycross (Yank) now part of Cowgill ranch. Next place was Ira Corps holdings, W. Sharpe ranch, now Jeff Anderson. Next stage coach place. Then Jack Stricklyn place. Afterward Skinner place. Then Paul Gordon place, now Eiguren's. Then the Woodbury place (now Marcus place) . Next place on road was Ruby Ranch owned by W.P. Beers. South of road two miles and East of Ruby three miles (was on creek) were two places, Sherman Castle and Batcheler & Tracy.

Late in fall of 1878 my father traded Trout Creek place to C.D. Batcheler for his filing, getting two 7-yoke ox teams and their equipment in the deal. Late in fall my family moved from Trout Creek to Batcheler place and Batcheler moved to Trout Creek. My father and E.H. Clinton bought some 300 cattle, brought them down to Batcheler place, branded them 00 on left ribs, turned them on range. They were cattle company Skinner & Clinton. My father was also running a bunch of cattle of his own, branded SS on left hip.

1880 my father sold his interest in place and company cattle to Mr. Clinton and bought and moved to the Stricklyn place.

1884 he bought a ranch in Napa Valley, CA. and moved family there so we children could go to school. My father passed away there early in 1886. I was the oldest, then near 15 years, so felt it was up to me to come back here and take care of the stock we had here. I commenced to ship horses from here to California that summer. Made two shipments the first year. Continued shipping each year then ti11 1891. Married that year and came back here to live and have been in this country ever since, except a couple of years spent in Napa, CA.

1881 my father leased Goodrich ranch and moved our stallions there and herded our horses from there. My father built the old willow corral on Goodrich ranch in 1881 and it is still standing. My sister, Carrie, and myself Wi11 were sent back to Ohio in fall of 1882 to go to school. Attended school there until spring of 1884. Came home and went to California that fall. As I remember, the toll road was leased to Brooks & Brooks in 1881 and the county bought the road in 1884. After 1881, Mr. E.H. Clinton gave all his time to the ranch and stock until his death. It then became property of his brother, G.W. Clinton and some nieces and nephews of his sister's family.

I used to wonder what this flat I herded horses all over in 1889 would look like if sage brush was cleared off. I moved here to help Mr. G.W. Clinton run the place and afterward acquired an interest, then began to clear land of brush slowly. Later acquired the land holdings from the heirs and then really began to get rid of sage brush and break up land. I acquired the Castle ranch and commenced to see my dream come true then as brush disappeared and hay and grain commenced to take its place. Did use 50 to 60 Indians during winter months for a few years until all brush was gone. It was all grubbed by hand - some 1600 acres. So I have been privileged to see it grow and to build all the buildings here now and became what we believe is the best ranch in this end of Malheur County. This is what is known now as the Skinner Ranch, owned and run by the Skinner family. It has worked out very close to the picture I visioned when an 8 year old boy herding horses all over it. The 17 several years I was away from it I never lost sight of that early picture I had in my mind and wondered how it could be done. Finally a way seemed to come and, after years of work for my family and self, I now feel pretty well satisfied it was not wasted effort. It's 70 years this fall since I first saw this place and wanted to see it cleared.




The lower part of the valley from bridge down to lower end was known as Gusman & Fameman ranch. It was later divided, Mr. Gusman taking lower end, a North 112 and building a house where Mrs. Gusman still lives, and Staples, and other out buildings, and Fameman taking upper 112, or South part, which was afterward sold. Farmer Bros. acquired part of Gusman holdings, now known as Brown ranch and now owned by part of Gusman family. All Gusman property is still owned by Mrs. Emma Gusman & heirs.

Next place South of bridge and up the creek was Frank Brainard ranch, now known as Conner's ranch. Next place above was the philip Clegg ranch, now owned by Margaret (Clegg) Gluch. Next ranch up the creek (Jordan) was owned by Glass Bros. for many years and now owned by Mr. Townly but is still known as Glass Ranch.

On the road to Three Forks of Soldier Creek, one time Fort Driscol, Jackson owned first ranch on Lone Tree Creek. Many years it was the Driscol Ranch, now owned by Robert G1uch. Next ranch above Driscol was Tom Wilson place afterward J. Dairy and owned by Dairy family many years. Next' one Wm. Maher Ranch where most of Maher family was raised and still owned by Edward Maher. These are the old settlers as I remember them.

Winter 1880 was pretty dry. There were no storms on the Owyhee Desert where most of stock wintered. Nearly all cattlemen along Jordan Creek became alarmed their cattle could not winter the following winter. They had no worries about summer range as the country was nearly all open and there was lots of room and grass for summer but they decided they would not be able to winter so they decided to look for buyers. They got a buyer here from Wyoming in May. He was able to contract 10,000 head to be delivered to him in June 18 at the Ruby ranch here 10 $10.50 per head for branded cattle, no calves counted and no unbranded stuff. At that time, a number of yearlings would not be branded. So he got them as calves. The buyer started them on trail in 2000 to drive, or thereabouts, 10 men and a cook with each, drivers drove through to Wyoming. When they commenced to deliver near June 1st, it commenced to rain and continued most of the month. All sellers then were sorry they sold. Buyer was then very sure to get his number in full from every seller so everyone had to deliver everyone he contracted. The wet June made it much better for the buyer to move them. Those cattle were all put through a shoot here at Ruby Ranch. Then they were ready to go on the road. The following winter we had lots of feed on winter range and no loss so all these old cattlemen who sold did not get over being sorry they sold for a year or two.


Same class of cattle were worth here & count 1/4 of calves. $24.00

1888-89 was very hard winter. Some stockmen had made some provision to feed their poorest cattle. 1888 being very dry, hay crops were very light. So stock losses were very great. Some large cattle owners, Con Shea, John Strode, and Dick Anderson across the Owyhee and others had no feed and they estimated their loss 75%. To give an idea what the winter was like I left here Jan 10, 1889 to ride to Winnemucca on horseback to go to California. There was about 2 feet of snow here in the valley. It was 42 degrees below zero the night before I started. There was no stage nor travel on the road between here and Summit Springs. There was still a post office there and triweekly mail from Camp McDermitt to Summit Springs. The snow across the Owyhee Desert was 2 to 2 1/2 feet. I saw little bunches of cattle bunched up around high brush across the desert pulling the sage brush back to eat. Some places I counted them. When I came back in May the carcasses were there. The first day's ride from the river, going down, took me to the Bowden Ranch. Mr. Bowden there had a few cows and a few horses he was trying to feed. Hay was gone. He had a shed, which had been covered, with rye grass of 2 or 3 years before, which he was tearing off to try to save that stock but winter lasted too long. He lost all of them. The next day I went over to Battle Creek, which had been Stage Station at foot of Summit Hills. There was a sheepman there with a band of sheep which were corralled by the snow and had been there for 12 days and were already dying. They were owned by a man with them and a captain at Fort McDermitt. It was 8 miles from there up to Summit Springs station. The man with the sheep told me no one had been over the summit for 8 days and said "You are a foolish boy to try it." But I had a good horse and was anxious to get home to Napa, California. So, against his advise, I started and was 7 hours making 8 miles. I walked through snow 3 to 6 feet deep but made it and was about froze. A family by name of Packard lived at Summit Station and took fine care of me. They thawed the frost out of my feet and hands with snow. So all the ill effects were blistered feet and hands. The roads from there to Winnemucca broke so I made better time. It took 6 1/2 days riding to reach Winnemucca. Snow through Juneau River Valley was 2 1/2 to 3 feet. Two bands of sheep there were being fed in a snow corral. Cattle on feed could not move around much. Winter lasted too long for their hay so there was a big stock loss there also. Mr. Wm. Baxter had 1150 ewes on Desert and lost everyone. When the captain at the Fort heard his sheep were dying, he got some teams on bob sleighs loaded with some grain at the Fort and got through with it. Saved 7 or 8 hundred out of 1850 so my getting through with word to the captain probably saved some of their sheep for them, but, after I got through, I realized it was a foolish trip for me to tackle at that time. But it looked to me like all our horses here were sure to die. A lot of them were around home here. We could do nothing for them except keep water open. I had a man here with me. I knew he could do that and I did not want to see these horses die. I was homesick and wanted to go home so I took the risk. There came a thaw here about Feb. 20. It let the snow down to a foot or so, and horses could then get some feed. Our loss was plenty but we did not lose all. The snow from Winnemucca to Reno was 2 to 4 ft., then to Truckee, 4 to 6 ft., and from Truckee on over the summit you rarely could see any telegraph wires. I got down to Auburn and everything was green and some flowers were blooming. It was a very lovely sight after being in snow for weeks. Anyway, I never have forgotten that trip. Now we can leave Jordan Valley 1 p.m. by bus and be in San Francisco the next morning at 7:30.



GONE AFTER THEM - A party consisting of James Jordan, Ben Cook, Pete Donnelley, went out with pack animals this week to find, if possible, and bring in the remains of Michael Jordan, James Carrol and John Bogle, who were killed by Indians in 1864. They also intended to bring in the remains of Casey, who was killed in the Jennings fight. It will be remembered that this creek was named after Jordan, who with both Carrol and Bogle, we believe, belonged to the original prospectors who discovered the Jordan Creek diggings. When brought in, the bones of those brave pioneers should be consigned to their last resting places with appropriate ceremonies.

Johanna wrote at bottom of page "Read Shirk's account of the scalping of Michael Jordan, etc. It is attached to these pages. It agrees with Grandad Skinner's story of the attack. J.S."




LITLLE YELLOW NOTE - July 4- My Mother

1900 Ella Skinner with 5 older children came to Jordan Valley from Napa, Calif. Dad, W.S. Skinner, who had been working for E. H. Clinton for the past year, met the family in Caldwell with team and wagon and brought us to the Goose Ranch. E. H. Clinton had passed away the year before and a brother, Geo. Clinton, had come from Sacramento, Calif. to take charge of the Ranch.



There were no schools in the early days near the widely scattered ranches in the Jordan Valley area. Skinner said as near as he remembers the first school started in Jordan Valley in 1876 or 1877, and it was held only a few months each year. A Miss Mahony, who was later Mr. Bud Deary, was one of the early teachers. The first school was located on what is now the eastern part of the Hanley ranch. W. S. Skinner attended this school for a time. In 1881, Silas Skinner and family were living on the ranch on Jordan Creek which they had bought from Jack Stricklin. Frank Callow, a cousin of Mrs. S. Skinner, came out from Ohio and stayed with, and worked for, the Skinners for a few months.

As Will (W.S.) Skinner, in early 1882, was 11years old and Carrie Skinner 9, their parents were beginning to worry about the children's education. Owing to the long distance to the school above Jordan Valley and the fact that only short terms were taught each year, it was thought it best to make different arrangements for the children's schooling. Frank Callow, who was soon to be married, was anxious to get home to Ohio. After much thought and discussion, Mr. and Mrs. S. Skinner decided to send their two older children, Will & Carrie, back to Ohio with Frank C. to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Will Fitch and attend school at Kingsville, Ohio. Mrs. Fitch was a Callow, niece of Mrs. Skinner.

1882- 1884

The nearest railroad then to Jordan Valley was Winnemucca, Nev. So in the summer of 1882 Tom McCain, with team and wagon, took Frank Callow, Will and Carrie Skinner with their baggage to this rail point. With this kind of outfit it was a 5 or 6 day trip. After they had started, Mrs. Skinner began thinking that Carrie was too young to send away so far from home so sent a letter to Tom McCain by the Silver City, Winnemucca Stage to bring Carrie back home from Winnemucca. Her letter failed to reach McCain in time. Callow and the two children were already on their way to Ohio. Another instance of interest on this trip to Winnemucca: Carrie, never having been away from her parents before, became homesick and decided she would come back home. One day when they had stopped for lunch by the roadside Carrie, in her childish reasoning, thought if she slipped away and hid the others would go on without her. Then she, being acquainted with the stage drivers on the road, would get them to pick her up and take her on home. Of course McCain, Callow and her brother, Will, soon missed her and found her a short distance back, hid in a clump of brush. So it seemed Carrie was destined to go to Ohio. Will and Carrie spent two years attending school in Ohio and when the time came to return home to Oregon. Carrie had gotten over her homesickness and, having made new friends of her own age, hated to leave. Not so with Will. He was anxious to get back to Oregon. When they went to the depot to board the train for Oregon, all the school children were let out to go to the train to see them off. While Carrie was weeping because of leaving her friends and school mates, Will and some of his friends were riding on a wagon, sitting on their trunks and baggage, singing "A four horse team will soon be seen back in Idaho." They were met in Caldwell, Idaho by Tom McCain with 4-horse team and wagon. At this time, 1884, Oregon Short Line was being built and rails were laid only as far west as Caldwell, Idaho. Will and Carrie came from Pocatello, Idaho to Caldwell on a work train. They believed they were the first paying passengers to travel over that part of the Line.



Auntie Clegg came over on same boat as Annie Jane Callow. Auntie Clegg was Irish but married to a Manx man. They were not acquainted but Auntie Clegg took interest in this girl and watched out for her on their long journey. After Annie J. C. was married and living at Trout Creek, A. Clegg came on a visit. She returned East but after her husband died she wrote and said she had nobody as close as Annie Skinner and she, therefore, wanted to come and live with her. Annie J. Skinner said to her husband (at this time they were living at Kirt's birthplace in a small house.) "We just can't have her. We have no room for her" and Grandpa said "Annie, it won't be any trouble to build another room for her" so she came and lived with them till she died in California. The room was added. It had a door opening into the Skinner part but one also opening to the outside. These doors she could lock when the children bothered her. She rarely visited her brothers-in-law, Philip and ? Clegg, who lived above Jordan Valley.

Frank Callow ran a grocery store in Spokane in his last years.

Jack Murray left daughter, Jessie Murray who lives on ranch out from Winnemucca. His widow married Lake.

Two Mike Jordan's were not related.

Franchise for toll road applied for in 1863??