Near Ione in Morrow County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Willow Creek Campground
Oregon emigrant John Murray camped at Willow Creek September 16, 1853, and wrote: "camped about a mile up Willow Creek above where the road came to it ... good running water here & first rate grass." The next day he continued: "There was another trading post half a mile below where we camped where the water stands in pools -- Willow Creek has a bottom from 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide & about the half of it has even covered with rye & some fine grass -- The rest with greasewood -- among the greasewood is an abundance of alkali again. ... The bottom is enclosed by high rolling hills & the country near is very abrupt -- a few lodges of Indians live just above our camp. ... We stayed in camp this morning till 10 o'clock & let the cattle rest & take their fill of the fine grass up the bottom. ... We filled
Of the eighteen graves Murray saw at Willow Creek, three can be identified. Elizabeth Toney died September 9, 1852, in childbirth; Mary Moore, age 34, died September 12, 1852, of mountain fever; Katie Rice, died September 13, 1852, of mountain fever.
The next campsite on the trail was at Fourmile Canyon, about seven miles to the west. The Cecil Store, 3/4 mile to the south, was constructed in 1862 and provided supplies to travelers and area residents until 1974.
Willow Creek Valley was used extensively by Native Americans as a travel route between the Columbia River and the Blue Mountains for hunting and gathering prior to the entry of Europeans into the Pacific Northwest.
Remnants of the Heppner Branch railroad line are visible at various locations in Willow Creek Valley. The railroad was instrumental in the development of the valley and south Morrow County as it provided transport for timber and agricultural products. The rail line was completed in 1888 and was discontinued in 1994.
The Cecil area has been active agriculturally since pioneer times with sheep, cattle, hay, and grain being the main farm commodities raised.
Erected 2007 by Oregon California Trails Association.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Oregon Trail marker series.
Location. 45° 37.842′ N, 119° 57.144′ W. Marker is near Ione, Oregon, in Morrow County. Marker is on Oregon Route 74 near Cecil Lane, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ione OR 97843, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rocks, Sand & Wind (approx. 4½ miles away); Fourmile Canyon (approx. 4½ miles away).
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 27, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 73 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 27, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.