“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Echo in Umatilla County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)

David R. Koontz

David R. Koontz Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
1. David R. Koontz Marker
Inscription.  David R. Koontz was a born in Gallia County, Ohio on September 20, 1829, and was buried here about September 10, 1852. He was the seventh child and youngest son of Martin V. Koontz, bridge builder and carpenter, and Lydia Rickabaugh. The Koontz family was originally from Virginia. From there they moved to Ohio and in 1843 to Wapello County, Iowa. The urge to move further west came in 1852, and the Koontz clan took the trail to Oregon. Francis Marion Koonrz, who turned 14 as the train went through the Blue Mountains, later wrote, "When we came to Oregon it was like a tribal migration. There were 24 wagons in our train, all members of the train being related." Edward Jay Allen, who was also in the train, said there 32 wagons and although the majority were from Wapello County, some were from Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania. At least 36 individuals in the train were related by blood or marriage.
Family reminiscences indicate the train was raided by Pawnee Indians while along the Platte River, resulting in the loss of seven horses. This meant a long walk to Oregon for some who had originally planned to ride.
While passing Names Hill
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on the Sublette Cutoff near present-day La Barge, Wyoming, D.R. Koontz carved his name and the date July 7, 1852 on the north face of the bluff along with nine other members of the party.
According to oral family history David died from injuries that occurred when he was thrown from his horse. The only other deaths recorded in the wagon train were that of David's brother-in-law, Moses Hale, who died from cholera near Fort Boise and an unnamed child who died at the Columbia River Cascades. Hale also left his name inscribed at Names Hill.
Oregon-bound emigrant James S. McClung passed this grave on September 17, 1862. Like Koontz, McClung was from Wapello County:

traveled several miles & passed the grave of Mr. David Koontz from Dahlonega Wapello county Iowa he was buried about 4 rods on the right hand side on the side of a small hill the grave was covered with poles which were quite rotten the head board was rotted off at the ground but still lying by the grave the letters were cut with a knife & were plane and distinct near here the road crossed the river where we camped after traveling 15 miles.

Boy Scouts found the grave in 1915, built a fence around it, and erected a headstone. The city of Echo has been instrumental in the restoration of the site and in placing this marker.
Erected 2011 by
David R. Koontz Marker and Grave image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
2. David R. Koontz Marker and Grave
Oregon-California Trails Association, Owyhee County Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Oregon Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 10, 1852.
Location. 45° 44.202′ N, 119° 11.28′ W. Marker is in Echo, Oregon, in Umatilla County. Marker is on Rieth Road near Jane Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 77299 Rieth Road, Echo OR 97826, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Charlie Berry Stadium (approx. ¼ mile away); The Lower Crossing (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Blockhouse (approx. 0.6 miles away); Umatilla County Jail (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jack Dempsey (approx. 0.6 miles away); Covered Wagon Museum (approx. 0.6 miles away); Stansfield Rest Area Oregon Trial Kiosk (approx. 3.9 miles away); How Do You Make a Hat? (approx. 12½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Echo.
David R. Koontz Grave Site image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
3. David R. Koontz Grave Site
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2017. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 498 times since then and 81 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 27, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Dec. 11, 2023