1,000 mile trip through Oregon rodeo history

From the last leg of my 1,000 mile research trip for my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo . . .

Frontier Days!

Frontier Days!

GRANGEVILLE – LEWISTON – WALLA WALLA – PENDLETON
In Grangeville I visited the Bicentennial Library and did research on microfilm of the Border Days Rodeo. After visiting with a few old-timers, it was off to the Nez Perce Memorial Museum and the Nez Perce County Museum where I found a file of interesting information, oral histories and photographs relating to Jackson Sundown. And then there was more microfilm to investigate at Lewis and Clark College before driving to Walla Walla, Washington and looking for information on the Frontier Days Rodeo.

George Fletcher grave

George Fletcher grave

In Pendleton I located the grave of George Fletcher in the Olney Cemetery, visited the Round-Up Hall of Fame, interviewed a few people and drove to Pilot Rock where I talked to the man who is the keeper of Round-Up photographs.

And then I drove six hours home and fell into bed, exhausted from a whirlwind week of research.

Home at last

Home at last

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.

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History and Horse Rustling, Ca 1911

More from my 1,000 mile research trip for my upcoming book, Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo . . .

UNION, OREGON

John Spain, Eastern Oregon Livestock Show, Ca. 1911

John Spain, Eastern Oregon Livestock Show, Ca. 1911

The Union County Historical Museum in Union, Oregon has an extensive collection of photos and research about John and Fred Spain, as does the Union County Stock Show.

I also visited with family members related to John Spain and gathered information from the courthouse in La Grande on a trial that was held where John Spain was accused of horse rustling. With this information in hand, I visited Pierce Library on the Eastern Oregon State University campus and looked up newspaper accounts of the trial from 1911.

Then I was off to do a quick interview with the newspaper editor in Elgin and through Wallowa County on my way to Idaho. I drove through some incredible country, stopping to gaze into the heart of Joseph Canyon, and then dropping down the long, steep, winding grade to the Grande Ronde River and back up the other side.

Joseph Canyon, OR

Joseph Canyon, OR

I passed through Lewiston and drove to Jacque Spur, visiting Jackson Sundown’s grave at the Slickpoo Cemetery and took photographs of his old home, now abandoned and falling in on itself.

Jackson Sundown's old home

Jackson Sundown’s old home

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.

On the Trail of Rodeo Rider, John Spain

BAKER CITY, OREGON

On my last research trip I wanted to gather any last bits of information that was out there to add to my book Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo, as well as to visit the graves of the three main characters. I made a big circle; drove a thousand miles and was gone for a week.

John Spain

John Spain

I arrived in Baker City on a Sunday and there were a few people getting a jump on Memorial Day and putting flowers on the graves of loved ones in the Mt. Hope Cemetery. I stood on the green, wet grass and felt uneasy as I looked through my binoculars and tried in vain to find the headstone of John Spain among the 16,000 people who are buried there.

John Spain GraveThe next morning a caretaker looked up the grave and I took photos of John Spain’s grave marker as the sun edged over the bald hill to the east. And then I visited the library, courthouse, and sheriff’s office and talked to the man who has spent his lifetime gathering photographs of Baker County.

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.