McMahan Family

Interview with George McMahan

Mr. Jonathon McMahan was born in a little town in Iowa in February 1850. Mrs. McMahan was born in Missouri and came to Ogden, Utah on the Union Pacific, then to Baker, Oregon in a stage. They lived in a town outside of Baker called Durky and ran a ranch; this gave them a little start or enough to buy their own horses. Mr. McMahan then moved to Indian Valley in the early spring of 1893, then came to Meadows later in the year. Mr. McMahan came about three months earlier than the rest of the family, so as to get a home ready for them. He and three other men, one being Jim Harp, made the trip. The snow was so deep in places that all four horses had to be put on one side of the tongue in order to stay on the trail. Then after going 2 or 3 miles this had to be repeated, this time putting them on the other side. The snow was twelve to fourteen feet deep, as he came over in February.

There was a little cabin at what is now Strawberry that was about 12 by 20 feet long. The four men and sixteen horses all stayed in this cabin four nights in a row. While they were trying to get by, they would walk to it from where they had left the sleds and then they had to shovel out the door to the cabin so they could get by, then they made it to a stopping place run by Eston Freeman at what is now Tamarack.

They had, in all, five children. Edward and George were born in Durky, Oregon. Cora was born in Missouri, and the two girls, Lilly and Daisy, were born in Indian Valley.

The family ran a store in Meadows for an occupation. They had to do all the freighting from Weiser and do it in the summer before there was any snow on the ground, or they would not be able to get it. They had to do all the freighting by themselves most of the time. Some of the freighters that worked for Mr. McMahan were Joe Bean, Chris Madison, and Jim Harp from Council. When they did not have any freighters, George and Cora drove the freight wagons.

While they were in the store business, they made two trips back to Missouri to see their folks and visit with them. They then quit the store business and went into the stock business for while, and while they were in the stock business they made another trip back to Missouri. They did not stay in the stock business very long, but went back to running the store.

Some of the settlers that were in here when they came were Cal White—he was the first settler in the valley, and Sadie White was the first white child born in this valley. Packer John’s cabin was a stopping place for packers but no one lived there. Other settlers were Tom Clay, Wilson A. Williams and Tom Cooper.

Mr. McMahan passed away in 1924, being seventy-four years old, and Mrs. McMahan died in 1939 at the age of 83.

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