Clark Walcott Durkee and Sarah Allen Durkee

Clark Walcott Durkee and Sarah Allen Durkee, founded the Express Ranch in the 1860s, later renamed Durkee.

     In 1864 the family moved with their surviving 16-year-old son, Charles Warrington Durkee, to a valley next to the Oregon Trail near Baker City, Oregon, and established the "Express Ranch," a stage station for the Wells Fargo Express and a relay station on the Umatilla-Boise basin stage and freight route.

     Clark Durkee became the first Postmaster at "Express Ranch," and three children, Marion (Minnie), George Richmond, and Pearl Almira were born there between 1865-1869.

     According to notes left by his daughter, Pearl Durkee Morse, Clark Durkee also owned an "opal mine, desert claim, a preemption, 46 acres of timber, Durkee Creek and all the water, and the first water right in Pritchard Creek."

     Life was probably far from dull for the Durkees, with all the activities involved in stages and travelers coming and going, and also as evidenced by an excerpt from "31 Years in Baker County" recounting an incident in 1864 on the Durkee ranch which involved Mrs. Durkee (Sarah).

     In 1883 the town was named "Durkee" in honor of the founding family, and in 1902 the Post Office name was also changed from "Express Ranch" to "Durkee." 

     Sarah died in 1878 at the age of 51, and Clark, having sold the Express Ranch in 1883 after the coming of the railroad, died in 1889 at the age of 68; �having lived an adventuresome life on the frontier,� to quote Bernice Gunderson of the Society for the Genealogy of Durkee.

     Both Sarah Allen Durkee and Clark Walcott Durkee are buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Baker, Oregon.

Contributed by: Sylvia Nissim, great grand daughter of the Durkee's.  If you would like to contact Sylvia, please use her mail box  

Additional information on the Durkee Family or Durkee Valley

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