The McKinnon brothers and the Long sisters
From the book "History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney counties" page 674
Robert J. McKinnon----This noteworthy pioneer is a man of energy, ability and stirling qualities of worth, having brought with a ready hand and willing heart in the noble work of developing the western wilds and now he is one of the well todo and respected stockmen and farmers of Harney county, residing about nine miles northwest of Burns, on Currey Garden creek.
Robert J. was born in Hancock county Indiana, on January 22, 1837, being the son of Thomas D. and Elizabeth McKinnon. He attended school in a log cabin with a mud chimney, and the expenses of the school were born by subscription. In 1853 he removed to Des Moines county, Iowa, and in 1857 the family moved to Page county, Iowa and there on November 7, 1858, our subject married Miss Emily II, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Long, who had resided in Indiana, where our subject was born, and these young people had been raised together. In 1861 our subject and his wife moved to Keokuk county, Iowa, and thence to Des Moines county, Iowa and in 1863 he came via Panama to California, then to Virginia City, Nevada, and took up mining and lumbering and in 1864 he went to Downing, California, and there did the same work until 1865, when he came back to his Iowa home. In 1869 he removed to Jackson county, Missouri, and in 1877, he returned to Page county, Iowa, whence he journeyed to California, settling in Shasta county. He entered government land and also did freighting. In the fall of 1881 he went to Red Bluff, and in 1886 he came overland to Harney valley. He lived in Burns on a rented farm and did freighting until 1888, when he came to his present place, which is well improved with good house, orchard, shrubbery, and so forth. He handles stock, mostly horses.
To Mr. and Mrs. McKinnon there have been eleven children, James Edward, of Cornucopia, Baker county; Mrs Ida M. McCampbell, of Shasta county, California; Robert J., near Burns; Andrew J.. of Santa Rosa, California, who was Sheriff of this county from 1896 to 1900, being elected both times on the Democratic ticket; Mrs. Lucy Baird, of South Dakota; Mrs. Belle Dora Clark, of Harney, her husband being superintendent of the French Glen ranches; Thomas D. of Cornucopia; Hattie Elizabeth, deceased, Mrs. Emma Alice Clark, near Burns; William L., who was killed in Burns in 1898; Mrs. Elsie Cleveland of this county; Mrs. Essie Geneva Smith, of Burns. Mr. McKinnon owns half interest in a good mining property in Virtue district in Baker county. He also took a trip to Alaska in 1900, and also went the next year prospecting and mining, and made the trip in 1902, He has a good farm of one-quarter section.
From the above account we find Robert J. McKinnon, Sr. was a vagabond. He did more traveling than a lot of present day Americans. The account about traveling to California via Panama suggests he disembarked from a ship on the east coast of Panama and then trekked west and embarked on another ship probably destined for San Francisco. It is likely he traveled on the famous American Clipper Ships. The Panama Canal was not completed until 1914 and when he traveled across it was still part of Columbia. Not only was he a vagabond but he apparently had a bad case of "gold fever". This trip to California was dangerous. Many thousands subsequently died building the Panama Canal from Malaria and Yellow Fever. From my reconstruction of events it appears Robert J. Sr. made this trip solo. His return trip to Iowa was undoubtedly by the new transcontinental railroad.
In 1877 two brothers married to two sisters ventured west. They left their homes in Iowa and
ventured west to Shasta county California. Brothers Theophalis Addison MCKINNON and Robert Jackson MCKINNON, Sr. were married to sisters Sarah Jane LONG and Emily Harriet LONG respectively Robert and Emily were accompanied by their children James Edward, John, Robert Jackson Jr., Andrew Johnson, Lucy Jane, Belle Dora, Thomas Daniel and Elsie Ollie. Theophalis and Sarah were accompanied by their children Jasper Allen, Elizabeth Ellen, Sarah Jane, Ellis and Lilly.
The transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 so it is probable the two families embarked from Council Bluffs, Iowa and disembarked at or near Redding, California. Ticket prices from New York City to San Francisco in 1880 was $65. for bench seats. Prices from Council Bluffs to Redding were probably in the area of $50. or a total of about $800 to $900 for all seventeen people. A small fortune in those days.
It is probable they came with the shirts on their backs and little else. Where were they headed and for what? In 1881 Emma Alice McKinnon was born in Anderson, California to Robert and Emily. Whether or not Anderson was the original plan we can't be sure. Anderson is located about 10 miles south of Redding. I believe they had gold fever. From Shasta County History we find:
The first known discovery was made by Pierson B. Reading in 1848 on a bar in Clear Creek which soon became the site of the settlement of One Horse Town. However, it is possible gold mining was already taking place by Oregon miners prior to his discovery.
In 1853 the local newspaper reported there wasnt a river, creek, gulch, or ravine in Shasta County that didnt contain gold. Mining began in a haphazard way with shovels, picks, pans, even knives and spoons.
Gold dominated the mineral economy of Shasta County until 1897 when copper became king.
By the census of 1880 it appears the brothers had given up on the idea of gold if that had ever been their intent. The census report listed Robert's occupation as Teamster and Theophalis's as Farmer.
History shows Theophalis took up permanent residence in Shasta county, not so with Robert. Approximately 1882 Robert Jackson MCKINNON and his family and two nephews were on the move again. This time it was Harney county Oregon. The route from Shasta county California to Harney county Oregon had been been well developed by wealthy ranchers. Some of the great ranchers of the west had developed huge ranches in this locale. Famous names such as Pete French and the Miller Lux Company had taken hold of great expanses. An excerpt from "Valley of Heart's Delight" gives a partial view of the immensity of the Miller Lux ranch.
Henry Miller reckoned his holdings by the square mile, not by the acre, and a bit of evidence he gave in court some years ago---entertaining reading today. "In taking it ranch after ranch," he said, "In Santa Clara County it has a extent of twenty-four miles north and south, and about seven to eight miles east and west. In Merced County we have thirty-six miles north and south, and then about thirty-two miles east and west. The Malheur property is an extent of ninety miles northwest to southeast, and about sixty miles north to south. Then comes the purchase of what we call the Todhunter & Devine property. That lies in Harney County, Ore., and comprises over seven-tenths of 125 miles north and south and about seventy-five miles east and west, with a good distance in between. There is no doubt whatever, however, that the amount of the Miller & Lux holdings have been greatly overestimated. A special writer for one of the noted San Francisco dailies gave an estimate of 14,539,000 acres, but behind these astounding figures was a journalistic purpose of exaggerating, for with ownership and leases combined, the total would not reach half of that figure. The richest holdings are in Merced and Madera counties, and amount to probably 350,000 acres. The Buttonwillow district will swell the total by 200,000 more, and Fresno County and other districts will probably increase the San Joaquin holdings to 700,000 acres, and there are nearly 20,000 acres in the region of Gilroy, and other, smaller tracts scattered over the state. The Miller & Lux acreage in the states of Nevada and Oregon will bring the grand total up to nearly 3,000,000 acres. It is a common saying among stockmen that Henry Miller could travel from the Idaho line to the Mexican border and camp on his own land every night; and no other man in America ever has, or ever will again, control such an immense acreage of agricultural lands. It almost staggers belief that this tremendous empire was owned and occupied by one man's interests, and was nearly all under his personal supervision. Henry Miller was almost continually on the move in the years of his health and activity, for he did most of his work in the days before the automobile, though he was one of the first to import a fine French car. He came to dislike the machine, however, owing to the rough roads he was generally compelled to travel, and in rather short order he discarded it again, and once more took to either his favorite buggy or buckboard, in making his round of visits across the vast Miller & Lux ranches.
From the above description we can readily see the road was open to Harney county Oregon albeit on someone elses land. We know Robert Jackson MCKINNON probably had at least one freight wagon and possibly more since his lively hood was that of a teamster. Those that traveled with Robert was his wife Emily Harriet Long, his children John E., Ida May, Robert Jackson Jr., Andrew Johnson, Lucy Jane, Belle Dora, Thomas Daniel, Emma Alice and Elsie Ollie. Two sons of Theophalis and Sarah Jane, Jasper Allen and Ellis accompanied Robert Jackson to Harney county Oregon. The distance was about 340 miles. This had to be 340 miles of ugly. There isn't much out there. If you were lucky you might view some deer or cattle.
It is an assumption of mine, that Robert Jackson MCKINNON,Sr.continued the freighting business the remainder of his working life. His son, Robert Jackson MCKINNON,Jr. and his grandson Clarence Roy MCKINNON were active in the freighting business in Burns. They owned three barns known as the White Front, Red Front and Blue Front barns in Burns. They owned the mail business around Burns for as far away as Ontario, Oregon and the hearse business. Sometime in the early 1900's a fire started in one of the three barns which in turn burned about half of Burns to the ground.
Following are genealogical accounts of:
1.Thomas Dillow MCKINNON
2.Robert Jackson MCKINNON, Sr.
1.Generation 1. Thomas Dillow McKinnon
Thomas Dillow McKinnon
Birth 1809 in Boone County Kentucky, USA
Death 28 Oct 1882 in Lowell county Iowa
Married to:Elizabeth Smith
Birth 5 February 1816 in Washington, Virginia, USA
Death Oct 16 1893 in Lowell county Iowa
Issue of Thomas and Elizabeth:
Theophalis Addison McKinnon
Thomas Jefferson McKinnon
Robert Jackson. McKinnon Sr.
Daniel S McKinnon
James Monroe McKinnon
Ann Eliza McKinnon
John Quincy McKinnon
Lillian Sarah McKinnon
William A McKinnon
Baby Girl McKinnon
Stephen Samuel McKinnon
2.Generation 2:Robert Jackson McKinnon, Sr.
Robert Jackson. McKinnon Sr.
Birth Jan 22 1837 in Indiana, United States
Death 13 Apr 1920 in Burns, Harney, Oregon, United States
Married to:Emily Harriet Long
Birth 24 Mar 1843 in Indiana, United States
Death 18 Jul 1911 in Burns Harney Oregon USA
Issue of Robert and Emily:
James Edward McKinnon
John E McKinnon
Ida May McKinnon
Robert Jackson Jr, McKinnon
Andrew Johnson McKinnon
Lucy Jane McKinnon
Belle Dora McKinnon
Harriet E McKinnon
Thomas Daniel McKinnon
Emma Alice McKinnon
Elsie Ollie McKinnon
William E McKinnon
Essie Geneva McKinnon
3.Generation 2.Theaphalis Addison McKinnon
Theophalis Addison McKinnon
Birth Sep 13 1834 in Rush, Rushville, In,USA
Death Apr 20 1907 in Riverside, Orange, Ca, USA
Married to:Sarah Jane Long
Birth abt 1834 in Indiana
Issue of Theaphalis and Sarah:
Jasper Allen McKinnon
Elizabeth Ellen McKinnon
4.Generation 1.Daniel Long
Birth 1809 in Ohio USA
Death After 1880 in Buried in New Market Cemetary, New Market, Iowa
Married to:Elizabeth Zumwalt...Eliizabeth is related to Daniel Boone and Dwight Eisenhower
Birth SEP 1809 in Adams Co., Ohio
Death After 1870
Issue of Daniel and Elizabeth:
Nancy Ann Long
Sarah Jane Long
Emily Harriet Long
5.Generation 3.Jasper McKinnon
Jasper Allen McKinnon
Birth abt 1859 in Iowa
Death 11 Mar 1948 in Harney, Harney, Oregon, United States
Married to:Georgia Ann Claybrook
Issue of Jasper and Georgia:
Edna Ethyl McKinnon
James Albert McKinnon
Dell Roy McKinnon
Julia L Mckinnon