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

The Lower Crossing

 
 
The Lower Crossing Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
1. The Lower Crossing Marker
Inscription. This morning after going one mile, we left the river, five mile over the ridge we crossed the river and encamped for the day in order to recruit our cattle as they were much fatigued by crossing the Blue Mountains. -- William J. Watson, August 25, 1849

this days brot us the the (sic) Indian agency on the west bank of the Umatila River here we got some provisions flour at 60 per bacon 75 beef 25 shugar 75 coffee 75 per pound and hard to get at that this is a beautiful valley well calculated for farming. -- John Newton Lewis, October 3, 1852

Passed over a ridge of high land, then down the bottom to the crossing of the umatilla, the river has a large channel here but the water all sinks, and we passed on a bed of gravel and pebble stones, for which the stream is famous all along. On the west bank is United States Agency, a very neat looking frame house painted white, it looked cheering, as we had not seen a frame house since we left fort Laramie. -- John or David Dinwiddie, September 2, 1853


Destruction of the Whitman Mission in 1847 drastically altered the emigrant route. The wagon trains then began following the Umatilla River west, and forded the stream anywhere from 20 to 500 feet south of this point, depending upon the fluctuating course of the river.
This was an important campsite. These
The Lower Crossing Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
2. The Lower Crossing Marker
fertile Umatilla River bottom lands afforded immense growths of rye grass, waving almost six feet above the rich loam. The meadows and marshes near the river were thick with wild hay grass and tules. There was abundant feed for livestock, wood for campfires, and water for humans and animals. On the west bank, the white-frame Indian Agency offered scarce provisions for sale. The camp served as a point of repairs, preparations and respite.
This junction also offered an option: turn north to follow the Columbia and its rapids, or continue west over the dusty, windy and often scorching-hot trek across the Columbia Plateau. Most headed due west toward Well Spring.
Look up-river toward the groves of cottonwood and alders along the quiet river banks. The pastoral scene is little changed from what the emigrants saw along the Umatilla River from 1843 to 1859.
 
Erected by City of Echo.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Oregon Trail marker series.
 
Location. 45° 44.5′ N, 119° 11.898′ W. Marker is in Echo, Oregon, in Umatilla County. Marker can be reached from West Main Street near Water Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 West Main Street, Echo OR 97826, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Blockhouse (a few steps from this marker); Umatilla County Jail (within shouting distance of this marker); Covered Wagon Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Jack Dempsey (within shouting distance of this marker); Charlie Berry Stadium (approx. 0.4 miles away); David R. Koontz (approx. 0.6 miles away); Stansfield Rest Area Oregon Trial Kiosk (approx. 3.3 miles away); The Lewis and Clark Expedition (approx. 13.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Echo.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located in Fort Henrietta Park.
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 26, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 74 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 26, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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