Central Oregon pioneer and stage driver
James F. Toney was born on April 19, 1870 in Belleview, Oregon. His parents were Jonathan T. and Mary Booth Toney. The family moved to the Deschutes River near the site of present Bend in 1871. His father carried him on his horse and his mother drove the wagon team. The family later moved to live on Gird Creek near Richmond, Oregon. Jim's father passed away in 1886 when Jim was 16 years old. He helped his mother and siblings operate the family ranch.
When he turned 21, Jim held a variety of jobs and did some wandering. He drove stage coach from Shaniko to Prineville for several years. He also drove freight wagons from Shaniko to Prineville. He claimed to have delivered the first cash for the First National Bank of Bend.
Jim moved to Redmond in 1910. He bought a half interest in a stage line between Redmond and Prineville. He and his partner, C.M. Scott, had sold a timber claim in Lake County for $2,000 and they used the profit to buy the stage line.
Florence Simmons had come to Central Oregon from Utah in October 1911, just before the railroad arrived in the region. She was born on Dec. 27, 1889 in Charleston, Utah. She met Jim Toney and they soon became a couple. They were married on Feb. 10, 1914 at the home of his sister in Prineville. They set up their household in Redmond. Jim continued to operate the stage line until he sold his interest in 1918. They had two sons.
Jim and Florence moved to Portland for a short while during World War I but returned to Redmond. Jim became the marshal of Redmond and served from 1923 to 1929. He then worked for the State of Oregon and later for Ponderosa Moulding in Redmond for several years before his retirement. He and Florence had witnessed Redmond grow from a few buildings to a bustling community. Jim died on Jan. 25, 1957. Florence lived on for several years and died on Nov. 20, 1978. They are both buried in Redmond Memorial Cemetery in Redmond.
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