Jim Wheeler ran the Overland Stage from The Dalles to Canyon City 1865 and Frank McBean had Pony Express for mail and golddust.

As I recall to memory the business houses of Canyon City in 1864, I think the first store was run by Cap. Fearing and J.J. Cozart down on the corner where Mrs. Mason's dwelling house now stands, Henry Sels' store where the Canyon City store now stands, the butcher shop next to and north of the old brewery. Then came George and Martin Gunlach's Boot and Shoe shop, which in a few years afterward they built and added a merchandise store in connection with the boot shop on the corner next to Town Gulch. On that same street south of Henry Sels' store was a restaurant or hotel run by George Bieson, afterwards by M.V. Thompson and Groth. M.S. Hillman and John McCullough had a store about where the Fraternal Hall now stands. Then across on the west side of the street was a saloon run by Neil McNulty, another one by George Housman and Jack Wollsey, another one I don't remember, then a barber shop and Ned Turk's Candy-Tobacco-and Cigar store. Then came Wood and Church's Livery & Feed Stable, where Russel McLennan's garage now stand. On the corner where Lyon's store stands, Messengar had a store. Right on north across the street on the corner, was a tin and repair shop, forgot the name. Next was a Blacksmith Shop where Jack Anderson's shop is now; but the first blacksmith shop was down the street next to Cap Fearing and Cozart's store.

Across the street on the east side, opposite John Schmidt's Wagon Shop, was Dr. Horsley's residence and office. Then on the corner next to Town Gulch was Overholt and Muldrick's. The old Court House was on the hill back of the east of the old brewery built afterwards. The first brewery, I think, was run by John Stall, afterwards by F.C. Sels and Henry Briar.

Business houses were on the lower street - what they call now "China Alley", or something else if my memory serves me right. I think the saloons opened from both ends, facing the two streets. I remember well the first paper ever published in Canyon City. It was printed on brown paper used in the stores for wrapping paper. It was about 14 inches long and about 10 inches wide, printed by R.H.J. Comer, with a hand printing machine, while he was clerking in the Cap Fearing and Cozart store.

The old dane hall, where hurdy gurdy dances were run, was on the back street as it now is. Hyde and Namery also ran a store there, and others whom I don't remember at present. The above might not be exactly correct but it is to the best of my recollection.

Now the first man who was hung at Canyon City was a man by the name of Berry Wey, who killed a man by the name of Gallagher who owned and ran a pack train from The Dalles to Canyon City. Berry Wey was working for Gallagher and on one of their trips going to The Dalles after supplies, Gallagher had considerable gold dust which he was taking to The Dalles - some of it his own, and some for the miners - to leave in the bank at The Dalles - supposed to be quite an amount. Somewhere along in Gold Camp, a little over halfway, they camped. Berry Wey thought it a good place to do what he had been contemplating on doing all the way down; so he murdered Gallagher, buried him, took his gold dust money and pack train and went on to The Dalles where he loaded the pack train and came back to Canyon City. On arriving, the miners wanted to know what had become of Gallagher as some of them were much interested - especially those who had sent their gold dust by him to put in the bank at The Dalles, and as Wey couldn't give a satisfactory explanation, the miners called a meeting and decided to take him in custody and put a guard over him until they could investigate. After inspection all along the trail in Cold Camp where Gallagher and Wey had camped - a little way from where they had camped, they discovered the soil had been dug up - it being a little fresh and in the shape of a grave. They dug down a little, finding Gallagher's body not buried very deep. On their return, they reported the case to the miners. A Miners' Meeting was called, the evidence was then given in detail, a vote was called for what to do. It was unanimously decided and voted to hang him immediately. As soon as they could fix up a scaffold at the cemetery, he was hung and buried. This was in 1863 the year before I came to Canyon City.

(Another account of this incident was reprinted in the Eagle of 4/16/1920 as a reprint of the "Old Files of 1885 Column":

In the summer of 1862 a Mr. Gallaher in company with another man named Berry Wey, were traveling trail together from Canyon City to The Dalles. Gallaher carried considerable money and had a number of pack mules. He intended to buy goods at The Dalles and return to Canyon City. Wey also had money and mules and they planned to travel round trip together. Gallaher proposed to hire an assistant, but Wey disagreed so they started out.

They progressed well and reached Cold Camp on a low divide between Currant Creek and Antelope Valley - 80 miles from The Dalles, and here they camped.

That night Wey killed Gallaher and hid his body under a Juniper tree. He took both mules and money and continued to The Dalles. There he bought goods and returned to Canyon City. He told folks that Gallaher had sold him the mules and had gone on to Portland by way of Warm Springs Agency over the Barlow Road.

Gallaher's body was discovered and Wey was accused of murder and arrested, but he escaped at night from his guards and headed for the mountains. He was followed to Boise and recaptured and returned to Canyon City. A committee of citizens took him from the officers, held a "trial" and sentenced him to hang. The sentence was carried out and the executioners were never questioned by law.)


I remember Jim Wheeler who was running the Overland Stage from The Dalles to Canyon City. I think, if I remember right, it was in 1865 on one of his trips going to The Dalles, down close to where Mitchell now stands on Bridge Creek, the road used to turn up a draw or gulch just this side of Mitchell, and he was drving a 4-horse coach, and just as the stage was reaching the top of the hill, some Indians, or white men, took to hold up the stage for the purpose of robbery. Wheeler being quick in the head, threw the buckskin whip to the leaders and they broke into a run. The bandits shooting at the same time only helped to make the horses run faster, and it being all down hill about three miles to Alkili Frank's, the stage station. At the hold-up place one of the bandits shot Wheeler, the driver, through the mouth, but this didn't stop him. He made a clean getaway. Those days there were hold-ups all the time. Even when they took guards along with sawed off loaded shot guns, one riding on the seat with the driver and one on the inside of the coach, once in a while there would be a hold-up.

I remember Frank McBean when he ran the Pony Express from Granite Creek, from Canyon City to The Dalles, and from Canyon City to old Fort Harney in Harney County, and Camp McDermit. When he ran a stage to Ft. Harney afterwards, I cut and put up hay for his stage stock when my brother, John Fisk, kept the stage station for him at Soda Springs between Bear Valley and Silvies Valley. Frank is sure an old-timer of Canyon Creek. In the early '60s Frank was always "Frank McBean" wherever you saw or met him, in a restaurant, on the street, or stage coach, or riding the Pony Express. He was at home all the time, and I hope he will be able to be at Canyon City at the '62 Celebration next June and take a look once more where he spent most of his days among the brave miners, pioneers, and frontiersmen who blazed the trail through the wilderness to the once richest gold mines in the west and where there were nothing but the wild Indians and wild animals that roamed the mountains, valleys and glades of Grant County.

Ralph Fisk




1998 Roxann Gess Smith
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