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Wallowa County Obituaries


Contributed by  Jim Stanley

James Jacob Stanley
Jay Stanley
Mary E. (Strock) Stanley

Pioneer James Jacob Stanley..... Obit. notice.....Died 1 Apr. 1915

A pioneer of this country before Wallowa county had a separate political existence, entrusted frequently with the duties and responsibilities of public office by his fellows, a prominent figure in the county to-day, and one who has assisted materially in upbuilding the same and in its substantial advancement, the subject of this sketch is deserving of especial mention. Since also he is one of those brave and self-sacrificing men who left home and loved ones for the field of bloodshed and carnage of war, when the flag of freedom was attacked by the minions of treason, and there he continued to do intrepid and faithful service in deeds of valor until the last gun was fired and the last attack repulsed, never more to rise in the face of the onward movement of enlightenment and civilization and good government.

James J. was born in Trumbull Co., OH in 1840, being the son of James and Susannah (Miller) Stanley, natives respectively of PA and VA. Who settled in OH while it was under the domination of the indians. The father had indian children as playmates when he was a child. His mother, the grandmother of our subject, carried her son to OH on horseback as early as 1802, and this worthy lady was one who had endured great hardships during the time of the Revolution, being reduced to the verge of starvation, so that the family were obliged to eat portions of their shoes for sustenance. Such was the spirit of determination that gave to us our priceless institutions of liberty. The parents of our subject removed from OH to Mahaska Co. IA, and there followed farming, while in that state and his native place, James J. received a good education and when he was 21-years of age he showed the same blood that had made his ancestors famous, by enlisting in Co. H, 20th Ohio Infantry, where he did faithful service for 3-years, 9 months, and 10 days, being mustered out at the close of the war as corporal. He at once took up teaching school in IA and after a time went to Colorado, whence one year later he returned to OH, and there occurred the marriage of Mr. Stanley and Miss Mary, daughter of Moses L. and Susan (Brickley) Strock. Soon after this happy event they went to Iowa, whence one year later they went to CO, 1869 being the year in which they landed in that territory. Mr. Stanley had not only acquired a good education in his youthful days, but also had learned the carpenter trade and after mining in Boulder county for a time he went to work at his trade and for 12-years he lived in that county. During this period, his wife was assistant postmistress for a time at Lefthand. After the expiration of the time mentioned he removed his family to Joseph, Oregon, in what is now Wallowa Co, (then Indian Valley), and immediately commenced operations at his trade. During the time he resided here before the county was organized, he was Justice of the Peace from 1886-8 and in 1897 he was mayor of Joseph. Mrs. Stanley's parents settled in OH, Trumbull Co,, the father being a native of PA and the mother of OH, and there the father engaged in the mercantile business for a time and then he took up farming, which he followed until the time of his death. To our subject and his wife there have been born 2-children, Flora Almira, and Charles Newton. Mr Stanley is one of the esteemed citizens of the county, being substantial,upright and capable, a supporter of good government and a champion of education for the people.

Jay Stanley

This picture was taken about 15 years ago at Jay's cabin on the Imnaha.

Jay H. Stanley, 95, hillbilly, cowboy, bachelor and hero, died early November 9 at Danielle’s Adult Foster Care home in Tigard, OR

Mr. Stanley was born February 2, 1906 in a log cabin 3-mi south of Joseph, OR.  Jay, the second son of Charles and Elsie (Beecher) Stanley, whose parents were both early pioneer families in Indian Valley.  Jay and his brother Jabez helped their father on the 500-acre ranch.  When he was in his teens Jay helped saw the lumber and build the big house.  In 1923, he assisted his father and brother JB saw lumber for the current lodge located at the south end of Wallowa Lake.

During the winter of 1925-6, a group of Joseph-ites was skating on the lake when one of the Dawson boys fell through the ice.  Jay was nearby and rushed to his aid.  The ice was thin, wouldn’t hold Jay, so he removed his trousers and tied them onto a long tree branch, lay down on the ice, and shoved the trousers toward the boy.  He grabbed Jay’s trousers and with help was able to pull himself from the hole.  Jay walked back into Joseph wearing only a coat and long johns!

In 1928, Jay purchased a 70-acre ranch on the upper Imnaha River at Neil Creek just a mile downstream from the mouth of Summit Creek.  There he built a one-room cabin that he has enlarged over the years. During various periods from 1928-1992, Jay worked not only his ranch but, for
several ranchers up and down the river including assisting with building the Imnaha Christian Fellowship Church.  One of those early years, Jay was working for Ralph Barton, (at the mouth of Summit Creek) on the Imnaha River.   It was a heavy snow winter, Ralph sent Jay up, and over into the Snake River basin on a pair of homemade fir skis, to check on wintering cattle.  The ski trip only took 3 days total, one way!

During WWII Jay served in the European Theater with Battery B in the 74th Field Artillery unit as cook and rifleman.  He landed in LeHarve, France and went from there through Belgium into Germany.  His unit was just outside of Berlin when the cease-fire came and they greeted and
celebrated with Russian soldiers.

After the war, Jay entered a machinist school in San Diego, CA.  After finishing school, he returned to Imnaha and began to expand and modernize his cabin and update his ranch.  During this period, he hired out to locals as carpenter, field hand, and cowboy-ing.

In 1955 Jay returned to California to help his sister Reba and her husband, Cline Powers operate a large dairy in National City, CA.  He worked there until 1965 as handyman, carpenter and delivery driver before returning to his beloved Imnaha canyon and little cabin on the river.

Mr. Stanley is survived by: A sister Reba Powers of National City, CA, Nephew James and his wife Arlene Stanley of Beaverton, OR, Great Nephew Greg Stanley of Beaverton, OR and Great Niece Gail Stanley of San Rafael, CA

A memorial service in Beaverton and a graveside memorial at Prairie Creek Cemetery will be announced later.

Remembrances may be made to the Imnaha Christian Church, your local Hospice or charity of your choice.

Death Notice ..Mary E. Stanley .Wallowa Co. Chieftain 1936

Born in Newton Falls, OH, April 20, 1841 five years before the beginning of the Mexican war, she still retained faint recollections of those long ago times. Her girlhood was spent in front of the fire place, before the stove, the lamp or sewing machine were heard of. In the year 1868 at the age of 27 years, Mary E Strock was united in marriage to James J. Stanley, a veteran of the Civil war. A year later they became residents of Gold Hill, Boulder county Colorado. here her two children were born. In 1883 the family came to Oregon making the trip from Colorado by team and wagon. They live a short time on Prairie Creek, moving into the village of Joseph in 1884. Here Mrs. Stanley has since resided having been a continuous resident o Joseph nearly 43 years. Her daughter, Now Mrs. G.M. Cannon and son Charles N. Stanley, set type on the first issues of the Chieftain at that time published in Joseph. Mrs. Stanley was laid away in her wedding dress fashioned and made by her mother nearly 60-years ago. For years she had lived her quiet kindly life, pursuing her way untouched by the passing world. In death she was clothed in the quaint loveliness in which she had lived. Ripe in age, wisdom and character, her passing is mourned by her two children, one sister and three brothers, nine grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, besides a host of friends. Dying at the ripe age of 85 years, 8 months and 11 days, verily we say with the Psalmist, "She spent her days as a tale that is told."

Contributed by James Jay Stanley

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