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He was an influential rancher, businessman and politician of Central Oregon

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM - Charles Cartwright passed away in 1908.

Charles Morrison Cartwright was an early Oregon pioneer and later was a partner in the famous Baldwin Sheep and Land Co. at Hay Creek.

He was born near Coldwater, Michigan, on Nov. 14, 1835. His father decided to travel across the plains in 1853, and Cartwright accompanied the family on the journey. They arrived in Oregon City in October of that year.

Cartwright remained in the Willamette Valley, and on March 12, 1859, he married Miss Adelia Geer. Her parents were Oregon pioneers of 1857. The young couple continued living in the Willamette Valley after their marriage until 1879, when they came to Central Oregon and became involved in the sheep business.

He helped manage the operation of David Baldwin at Hay Creek Ranch and later partnered with John Summerville and Arthur Breyman and purchased the Hay Creek Ranch and conducted business as the Baldwin Sheep and Land Co. He was the primary manager of the ranch for several years.

He and Adelia had three children, and his wife passed away in 1882. She was buried at the Hay Creek Cemetery.

Cartwright was appointed by Gov. Moody as one of the first county commissioners of Crook County when it was created in 1882.

The Hay Creek Ranch continued to be a profitable business, and he expanded his interests. Cartwright served one term in the State Legislature as joint senator from Wasco, Crook, Lake and Klamath counties.

He became one of the prominent citizens of Old Crook County and was one of the organizers and financial backers of the First National Bank of Prineville when it was first established in 1887. He also was involved in local fraternal organizations and social activities.

On March 8, 1887, he married Mrs. Charlotte Moffett.

In 1903, Cartwright sold his interest in the Baldwin Sheep and Land Co. He acquired some land near Seaside in 1905, and his son managed the property.

Cartwright and Charlotte made their home in Portland. In 1907, he received a serious injury when he was down trodden by an express team. The injury worsened and blood poisoning occurred, resulting in his death in March 1908.

The early Oregon immigrant had risen to be one of the most influential ranchers, businessmen and politicians of Central Oregon.

Steve Lent is a local historian and assistant director of the Bowman Museum. He can be reached at: 541-447-3715.


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