Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Getting sheep into the Entiat
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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 6:42 am 
One of the main routes for getting sheep into the upper Entiat was to drop them off at the old sheep camp at the base of Tenas George canyon just north of the current Rocky Reach dam above Wenatchee. Then they would drive them up to Entiat ridge and on up into the high country. As a child I can remember seeing sheep being unloaded down there as we went to Wenatchee before the dam was built. Another route was to boat them up Lake Chelan and drop them off at points along the south shore of the lake. And according to this photo in this weekend's Wenatchee paper, they would drive them up the main Entiat valley road.
Sheep crossing the Entiat river in 1923.
Sheep crossing the Entiat river in 1923.

hikerbiker, Bramble_Scramble, RichP, Schroder, Bootpathguy, dave allyn
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Schroder
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 11:28 am 
That must have been challenging to round them up at the end of the summer

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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 12:25 pm 
Schroder wrote:
That must have been challenging to round them up at the end of the summer
Yeah, I often wondered about that myself. According to some of the old-timers I talked to up the Entiat when I was young and my current hiking buddy Steve (who is a self-educated expert on the subject) they just left it up to the dogs. Most of the herders were Basque from the old world who’s families had been doing it for centuries and had well trained dogs that would not let a sheep stray away from the herd. Steve claims that they were also held accountable at the end of the season. Any lost sheep came out of their final pay. Another interesting fact is that the younger men among them were apprentices, which can be roughly translated into “unpaid slave labor”.

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Schroder
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 12:36 pm 
My wife's great-uncles raised sheep on the range in Nevada. Here's a photo of them and their crew in 1908. I once calculated the present value of their wool in this photo and it was in the millions

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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 1:17 pm 
Interesting. I have a slight history with sheep myself. My grandfather had a homestead in the high desert in eastern Oregon and made his living shearing sheep with hand shears. My grandmother was out there in a small cabin with 6 kids when she was 22 and a husband who was gone for weeks at a time (she had 6 more later for a total of 12). My dad was in the original 6 and while my grandfather was gone shearing sheep he and one of my uncles were putting sticks of wood in the stove and then back into the wood box. Bottom line…she was left with 6 young kids and no husband and a house that burned to the ground. She was a tough old gal! Also, my dad raised sheep on our family farm up the Entiat. We had around 50. At shearing time, since I was small they put me down inside the tall wool bag hanging from the barn and threw bundles of wool down on top of me to stomp down. What a nasty job. But it builds character!

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Riverside Laker
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 2:26 pm 
Surely you've read Chester Marler's book "East of the Divide". He writes about old sheepherder trails.

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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Feb 26, 2023 2:55 pm 
Yea, I have a copy of it. My hiking partner Steve knows him well and has hiked with him a bit. They are both from Leavenworth.

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PostThu Mar 16, 2023 5:48 am 
Go to eastofthedivide.com. The entire book is there to be read. Might be available for checkout from Central Washington University library or North Central Washington library in Wenatchee. Might also check with A Book For All Seasons in Leavenworth or Der Sportsman. Excellent book, I reread it periodically.

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PostThu Mar 16, 2023 9:42 am 
HitTheTrail wrote:
My grandfather had a homestead in the high desert in eastern Oregon
My wife's gggrandfather did as well. A few years ago we went to the courthouse in Lakeview and looked up the actual record in Vol. 1 of when it was "proved up". Using the legal description we found the original cabin. Just another of those deserted old houses out there. He lost his herd in the big blizzard of '89-'90 and it is now part of a mega ranch.

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PostFri Mar 17, 2023 9:52 am 
Because of all the kids on my father's family, there are 30 cousins in my generation (counting me and my three siblings). One of my cousins still lives on a ranch near the old homestead. Some years ago she organized a reunion for all the cousins and we made a pilgrimage out to the approximate area of the original homestead. This is all that remains of what was a small community in the area. We were told it was maybe the original store and post office.
All that remains of the area near my grandfather's homestead.
All that remains of the area near my grandfather's homestead.

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timberghost
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PostSat Mar 18, 2023 6:10 am 
So the property is no longer in the family name?

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HitTheTrail
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PostSat Mar 18, 2023 10:27 am 
timberghost wrote:
So the property is no longer in the family name?
No. Two of my uncles stayed in the area and one of them ended up with a large ranch in the Silver Lake/Summer Lake/Christmas Valley area where one of my cousins married into a ranching family. My grandfather ended up trading his homestead for some property over in western Washington and then traded that property for the property up in Ardenvoir that my dad ended up with where I grew up. One of the uncles that stayed down in Oregon ended up marrying a woman who was an infant orphaned by the tragic Silver Lake fire of 1894. At least that is how I understand it.

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Dick B
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PostSat Mar 18, 2023 1:24 pm 
Google "sheep shooters war". You will find narratives about the conflict between the cattlemen and the sheepmen in Eastern Oregon during the late 1800s.

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mike
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PostSat Mar 18, 2023 3:24 pm 
HitTheTrail wrote:
tragic Silver Lake fire of 1894
Wife's ggggrandfather's homestead was near Paisley. Her gggrandfather had some medical training in the army and so he and the doctor in Paisley rode overnight to try to help the victims of the fire. Here is the memorial in the cemetery at Silver Lake.

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HitTheTrail
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PostSat Mar 18, 2023 4:08 pm 
When we had our cousins reunion to trek to the old homestead site we made a stop at the Silver Lake cemetery and saw that monument. Quite a somber place considering what had happened. When my uncle married his wife it was her second marriage and she had one son. I met her several times at family reunions. I always though she was a very classy and poised lady considering she was orphaned as an infant, had gone through a divorce and had spent her whole life in a hardscrabble environment. Apparently she liked to spend money on some of the finer things in life but my uncle was just the opposite having had to scratch out a living on the high desert. They ended up quite wealthy with a large cattle ranch, but the story goes that when she found out that my uncle had squirreled away some money she didn't know about she even started calling the cat honey.

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