Agency Plains pioneer woman becomes Madras entrepreneur
Edith Smith was born in Michigan in 1873. She came west with her parents in 1889. She met William Moore while in Oregon, and they were married in 1894. William was born in Missouri in 1870. His parents had come to Oregon when he was a young boy.
They had two children before coming to Central Oregon. William spent some time working at a mill near Grizzly and set up a cabin on Agency Plains. They had purchased a relinquished homestead on Agency Plains. He brought Edith and their children to live on the homestead, and they began dryland farming. It was not real profitable, and William had to do other jobs to support the family.
They kept the homestead but moved around to various work sites. Edith maintained the family home. Edith recalled that there were a lot of flying ants, sage rats and sagebrush to contend with. They had to haul water to the homestead as there was no water source nearby. Edith and the children often made the water runs.
They purchased the Madras Hotel in 1912 and lived in Madras. Edith managed the hotel and served meals. William would arrive at the railroad stations and pick up passengers by wagon and haul them to the hotel daily.
They had two more children while living in Madras. They moved back to the homestead in 1916 and lived there until 1928 when the Great Depression led to them leaving.
They moved back to Madras and operated a café known as the Cactus Inn. Edith was the primary cook. They lived the rest of their lives in Madras. Both William and Edith were active in community affairs.
William died in 1942. Edith lived on for several years and remained active in the Methodist church. She died on Jan. 5, 1956. Both William and Edith are buried in the Mt. Jefferson Memorial Park Cemetery.
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