Grant county, called after U.S. Grant, occupying a central position in eastern Oregon, contains over fifteen square miles, of which only about one-ninth has been surveyed, less than 200,000 acres settled upon, and less than forty thousand improved. It was organized out of Wasco and Umatilla counties, October 14, 1864, during the rush of mining population to its placers on the head waters of the John Day. Spec. Laws, in Or. Jour. Sen., 1864, 43-4. Its boundaries were defined by act in 1870. Or. Laws, 1870, 167-8. In 1872 a part was taken from Grant and added to Baker county. Or. Laws, 1872, 34-5. These placers no longer yield profitable returns, and are abandoned to the Chinese. There are good quartz mines in the county, which will be ultimately developed. The principal business of the inhabitants is horse-breeding and cattle-raising; but there is an abundance of good agricultural land in the lower portions. The population is about 5,000. The gross valuation of all property in 1881 was over $1,838,000, the chief part of which was in live-stock.
Canon City, the county seat, was founded in 1862, and incorporated in 1864. It is situated in a canon of the head-waters of John Day River, in the centre of a rich mining district now about worked out. It had 2,500 inhabitants in 1865. A fire in August 1870 destroyed property worth a quarter of a million, which has never been replaced. The present population is less than a million, 600 for the whole precinct in which Canon City is situated, which comprises some of the oldest mining camps. Prairie City, a few miles distant, Robinsonville, Mount Vernon, Monument, Long Creek, John Day, Granite, Camp Harney, and Soda Spring are the minor settlements.