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The Jane Combs family developed a large farm and stock operation in the area known as Combs Flat

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 - Jane Combs and her family, who came to Central Oregon in the 1870s, were widely known in Eastern Oregon.Jane Dyer was born in Hamilton County, Indiana, on March 19, 1827. Her family moved to Illinois in about 1836.

A few years later, she met a young man named James Parker Combs, and they began a relationship that resulted in their marriage on March 7, 1847. James was born on Aug. 10, 1822, in Highland County, Ohio. His family had moved to Illinois when he was a teenager.

The family decided to cross the plains in 1852 to stake a land claim in Oregon. They first settled near Lebanon. They developed a prosperous farm, but James developed some health problems, and they decided to move to the drier climate of Central Oregon in 1870.

They traveled across the Cascade Mountains in a wagon. Their children rode horseback, while Jane and James managed the wagon. They settled along Ochoco Creek about four miles east of Prineville. They eventually had a large family of 11 children.

When they first arrived in the Ochoco Valley, Barney Prine was still operating a blacksmith shop and saloon in a log cabin. There were very few people living in the valley at the time. James and Jane developed a large farm and stock operation.

They soon expanded their holdings south onto a plateau that became known as Combs Flat. The Combs family was widely known in Eastern Oregon for their good Samaritan actions and hospitality.

James became ill and in his later years, and they moved into Prineville from the farm. Jane took care of James until his death on April 3, 1900.

After his death, Jane became very involved in the local Methodist Episcopal Church. She led a rather frugal life but in her last years, she traveled extensively visiting relatives in Illinois and spending winters in California.

She became ill and died in Portland on Jan. 7, 1913. She is buried beside James in Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville.


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