Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Gunfire breaks out during chase of bootleggers on 'high-powered machine' in 1919.

MADRAS PIONEER LOGO - The Madras Pioneer looks back over the past 100 years of newspaper archives.100 YEARS AGO

May 29, 1919

Early last week there were whispered rumors that a cache of whiskey had been made in the southern part of the county and the matter coming to the attention of the offices of the district attorney and sheriff and in the arrest of two young men on charges of having whiskey in their possession.

Friday evening, the boys were brought in and admitted that they knew where a lot of the wet goods were located, but disclaimed any connection with having been the cause of its being brought into the county, they having merely removed the goods from their first location, having gained this knowledge through having been paid by the bootleggers to assist in the hiding.

Saturday morning, District Attorney Boylan and Sheriff Holcomb, taking a few deputies as assistants, started south for the purpose of bringing the whiskey in, but about a mile south of Madras, a high-powered machine passed them and the boys recognized the occupants as the men who had paid them to assist in hiding the goods.

The officials immediately about faced and part of them gave chase and were successful in coming onto the fleeting law evaders about three miles this side of Gateway, but their intended victims refused to stop; the officers took a few shots at the tires of the machine, but the marksmanship was not sufficiently good to cause any slacking in the speed of the head car, which lost no time in gaining ground, a matter not difficult owing to the face that the pursuing car was troubled with a hot engine caused by a lack of water in the radiator. They remained sufficiently close, however, to notice that the car containing their intended captives turned up the Hay Creek road, so they stopped at the Veasie and Brown ranch and telephoned their information to the sheriff's office.

Other cars were sent out, the sheriff's office in Crook and Deschutes counties were notified and they sent out searchers, but none of them succeeded in getting close enough to have any chance of making a capture, and Sunday afternoon, word was received from the south that the bootleggers crossed the line into California.

Saturday afternoon, the whiskey was dug up and brought to Madras, the boys given a hearing, pleaded guilty and were fined $25 and costs. The third member of the party came in Tuesday, was given a hearing, pleaded guilty and was given a like fine.

Yesterday, the court entered an order that the confiscated whiskey be destroyed and in compliance with this order, the sheriff, taking suitable assistants, conducted a solemn ceremony in the presence of many mourners. The services were opened by Sheriff Holcomb, who read the order of the court then the following:


"John Barleycorn, born in Kentucky in the spring of 1912, bottled in bond in the spring of 1918. Removed to California, where he resided till May 15, 1919, when he came to Central Oregon, and squatted on a claim near Opal City. Becoming dissatisfied with his location, on the night of May 17, 1919, he removed to another location about two miles distant. Some of his neighbors lodged a complaint against him with the county officials, who, after ascertaining his whereabouts apprehended him on May 24, lodged him in the county jail, where he has since resided.

His case is coming regularly before the justice court; he was found to be a pestiferous fellow and was condemned to be executed, which execution is about to take place."

Then followed the emptying of 649 quarts of whiskey into a hole especially prepared for the occasion about 10 feet in front of the jail door.

Last night, the sheriff's office received information that an auto load of booze was on its way through the county and arrangements were immediately made for its apprehension. About 10 o'clock, the sheriff and several deputies gathered at the viaduct southwest of town where the Oregon Trunk Railway goes over the county road and captured two men who gave their names as John Doe and Richard Roe driving a Studebaker six loaded with whiskey.

While arranging to dispose of these men, another car was observed going through town. While giving chase to this car, a Ford car crossed the path of the deputies, which had a suspicious look and upon being halted was found to be occupied by two soldier boys and a consignment of whiskey.

All four of these men were lodged in the county jail for the night and today they were given a hearing. All entered pleas of guilty and were fined, the two principal $200 and costs each, and the other two $25 and costs each. The whiskey, nearly 400 quarts was ordered publicly destroyed, and as we go to press, the sheriff's force is again solemnly employed in the internment of several John Barleycorn.


May 25, 1944

Bids for the construction of the Crooked River crossing on the north unit of the main canal, Deschutes project, will be received by C.H. Spencer, Bureau of Reclamation district engineer, at Bend, until 10 a.m. June 3. The project is located three miles east of Terrebonne.

Spencer also is receiving bids until 10 a.m. June 1 for construction of earthwork and structures, two concrete highway bridges and two railway siphons on the north unit near Terrebonne. Also in the Deschutes project, the War Production board has approved priorities for construction of a $300,000 power plant at the Cove, northwest of Terrebonne, and above the upcoming Crooked River crossing. Bids have not yet been called on the lower plant, according to officials of the Pacific Power and Light Co., which will operate the plant.


May 29, 1969

Navy Ensign Robert E. Townsend, son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Townsend of Madras, has been serving aboard the fleet oiler USS Chipola, a unit of Task Force 130, for the manned flight of Apollo 10.

The ship's mission was to provide other ships and aircraft of the recovery fleet with fuel while they patrolled the recovery area.

The Apollo 10 mission was one of the final steps before reaching the ultimate goal of the Apollo program, to land men on the moon for limited observation and exploration and assure their safe recovery upon return to earth.


May 25, 1994

Guest Writer, Dorothy Moore-Nelson

So many of the so called whistle stops along the railroads that went around Agency Plains in my childhood hold little meaning today. One exception is Pelton which was to become the name of the dam built by the Portland General Electric Co. for hydroelectric power.

Incidentally, my father, Will Moore, cooked for the crews that built the dam.

The place got its name from John and James Pelton who homesteaded in the area. In the Indian jargon, the name Pelton means crazy, but this meaning never applied. There was a grade leading down to the Deschutes River from the southwest corner of the plains that carried the name too.

Another stop on the railroad was Vanora, named for Ora VanTassel. This was the nearest to our homestead and had a fairly good grade leading down there. There were no homes that I recall but there was a school taught for several years by Lela Gard (Ramsey). She drove a horse and buggy from the family home near us accompanied by her young brother Dwight.

Mecca, north of where we lived and on the Deschutes River, had a small railroad station where you could catch a train after going down the horrible Mecca grade that was enough to give you heart failure.

Although there was only one serious accident, where two young lady teachers from Warm Springs met their death when they drove off the road, few local women would try to drive that grade.

There was a nice store near the bridge leading to the reservation owned by H.E. Massey and his wife, Helen. They had a good home and a small house where an assistant and his family lived. For several years, Purl Tucker, whose father was an early day blacksmith in Madras, worked for the Masseys.

Fishermen from Portland used to come by train and get off in the morning to fish all day and catch the train back at night. Fishing was very good.

On the east side of the plains, there was a stop called Paxton, which was named for G.L. Paxton, who homesteaded there. Because of his initials, he was known as General Paxton. There was no station at this point.

The nearest thing to a town of any size was at Gateway north and east of us. There was a grade going down from the plains, but it was not as frightening. There was a nice railroad station there and a store run by Noah Vibbert for many years. There were several homes and a two-room school.

I have often wondered who mapped Agency Plains into sections. Prior to that, it was just a wilderness of sagebrush, bunch grass and ponds that dried up in the summer. There were wild horses grazing there, as well as antelope. My father remembered it in his youth, when he helped herd big bands of sheep across there on their way to summer pasture in the mountains.

The arrival of the two railroads brought a big change to the country and meant that we no longer had to make all day trips to Shaniko in order to catch a train to Portland. Truly things were progressing.

At the time my parents were married, there was no Shaniko. Antelope was the only town of any size. They worked at a ranch just north of it at a place called Cross Hollows and it was here that the horse-drawn stages changed horses before heading on to The Dalles.

While teams were being changed, you could buy your meal there. There was a winding grade heading down into Antelope and on to Prineville that was called The Loop. It was the early 1890s and raising sheep was the big thing. How times have changed.

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.

Go to top
JSN Time 2 is designed by | powered by JSN Sun Framework