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Pioneer story from 1945 outlines one theory of how Madras got its name. Others disagree.

100 YEARS AGO

Jan. 1, 1920

With the publication of the call for warrants in this week's edition of the Madras Pioneer, County Treasurer D.W. Barnett announces that Jefferson County is entirely out of debt and will face the new year with a clean slate. A very little outstanding indebtedness in warrants will be covered by cash on hand with this call of warrants. During the year $149,416.22 in county funds has passed through the county treasurer's office. It is interesting to know that in comparison, there are several business firms in Jefferson County doing about the same amount of business each year as the county. Several residents of the county are worth more than the amount of the county business in 1919. A word of commendation of Judge A.W. Boyce and Commissioners Chitwood and Tellefson, by whose careful and judicious administration the finances of the county have been kept in due bounds and who have the distinction of being one of the few courts to have a like record.

75 YEARS AGO

Jan. 4, 1945

In the recent revised edition of Lewis McArthur's "Geographic Names of Oregon," a slight change or correction has been made on how Madras was named. Mrs. T.A. Power, former reporter on the Pioneer, has informed the editorial staff just how this came about.

"One day in May 1943, Ralph Crawford, supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest Service in Bend, mentioned his friend, Bert Doze, a newspaper man in Wichita, Kansas, while visiting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Power. He said: 'If you want to know something of early days in Madras, write to Bert and he'll tell you anything you want to know.' A letter and a copy of that week's issue of the Pioneer was sent. The letter which appeared in the Pioneer in February 1944 was a result of that conversation, making it possible for McArthur to correct his data in his book on how Madras was named."

Doze explained in his letter to the Pioneer that he was in the new community about 1903, with his uncle Joshua Hahn to open a store. The name of the place was still undetermined. Willow Creek was suggested, but it was thought to be too cumbersome. Finally, Hahn and Doze suggested the name Madras, which was taken from a bolt of cloth in the store. Madras is a well-known cotton fabric named for a city in India. The name of the Oregon town is generally pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, but the name of the place in India is pronounced on the second."

McArthur's 1928 edition of "Oregon Geographical Names" gives the following history: Madras, Jefferson County. Madras is more-or-less circular valley, and in early days the place was known as The Basin. When the community became established and a post office was applied for, the name Palmain was suggested to postal authorities in Washington in honor of John Palmehn, a well-known local resident. The authorities objected to this name because it was too much like Palmer and might cause confusion in the mail. Instead, they named the office Madras, presumably for the city in India. John Palmehn platted a part of the town called Madras under the name Palmain, which he thought would be easier spelled than Palmehn.

50 YEARS AGO

Jan. 1, 1970

Norm Hyder, president of the Gourmet Food Products processing concern in Metolius, will unveil plans for a multimillion dollar expansion of the firm's facilities Jan. 19 at the Madras Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce's second meeting of the new year.

Hyder recently contacted Chamber officials to tell of the planned expansion which will reportedly process nearly 50% of Jefferson County's potato crop by 1975. Presently the firm utilizes a substantial amount of locally grown spuds in the manufacture of French fries and potato byproducts.

The Chamber's first meeting will come Monday evening. It will be marked by the installation of officers for 1970, headed by Dave Green as president.

The event, expected to draw between 75 and 100 members and their wives, will be held at The Stag Restaurant at 7 p.m.

25 YEARS AGO

Jan. 4, 1995

It's taking a little longer than expected, but the Crooked River National Grassland office will be moving to Madras.

District Ranger Byron Cheney said the agency is exploring several options in the Madras area. He said they would like to make a move from their present location in Prineville sometime this spring or early summer.

"Nothing has been agreed to, but we have several proposals to lease a space," said Cheney.

Cheney said the agency could move into an existing structure, but they are also interested in having someone build a space to accommodate the grassland office. If the right building went up, Cheney said the agency would sign a lease to take over occupancy.

The move will eventually involve six full-time employees, including the district ranger. Three seasonal firefighters are already based at the Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 headquarters, along with a grasslands fire truck.

It appears as though the time is right to make such a move. The grasslands have been sharing an office with the Prineville Ranger District, but they have recently relocated to the supervisor's office, leaving the grasslands all alone in a big building.

"If there ever was a time to move, this is it," Cheney said.

Having an office in Madras is also wise from a logistics standpoint. The entire grassland is located in Jefferson County and so are most of the people who do business there.

"Most of the people we deal with are in Jefferson County," said Cheney. "I think the move is a good idea."


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