An historical look at a famous ranch
Henry McCall and his young wife, the former Dorothy Lawson, of Boston, Massachusetts, were among the affluent Easterners that came to Central Oregon shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. Henry or "Hal," as he was commonly known, was a Harvard graduate and a prominent baseball player during his college days.
He was born on Aug. 29, 1886. His father was the governor of Massachusetts, and Dorothy's father was Thomas Lawson, known as the "Copper King." Dorothy was born on Oct. 11, 1888. Thomas Lawson encouraged his young son-in-law to move to Central Oregon and gave land to the couple on Lower Crooked River near present-day O'Neil that he had purchased. Hal and Dorothy cleared the land for farming and moved into their new home that was recently completed in 1912. Their ranch was known as Western Wold.
Hal brought registered Holstein cattle from Wisconsin and Illinois in 1921, and the herd represented some of the best blood lines of the Holstein breed. This also introduced the foundation for the dairy industry in Central Oregon. Hal and Dorothy raised their family at the ranch and one of their sons, Thomas Lawson McCall, later became an innovative governor of Oregon.
Hal McCall was active in the dairy industry until his early death at the age of 61 in 1947. Dorothy continued to live at the ranch for several years. She became widely known as the eccentric mother of Gov. Tom McCall. She even had an interview with Dan Rather for "60 Minutes" in the early years of the program.
Dorothy died in Portland on April 2, 1982. She and Hal are both buried in the Redmond Memorial Cemetery in Redmond.
The McCall family eventually sold the ranch, but the house and ranch are still an active ranch and a historical landmark of Central Oregon.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.