Please click here to read a more comprehensive essay written by Wayne Casey Stewart
on the issues of family and history of Grant County, Oregon.
Eminger (Billy) Stewart was born on March 18, 1843, in Perry County, Ohio, and came to the
Oregon country in 1849 in a covered wagon with his parents, Benjamin Elliot and Anne Crunbaker
Stewart. On their way to the Willamette Valley they stopped awhile at the Whitman
Mission in Washington, and narrowly escaped the notorious Whitman Massacre at Wailipu
in the fall of 1847. They had intended to spend the winter there because of severe
weather conditions but when the elder members of the party noticed the unfriendly
actions of the Indians they decided to travel on Westward that fall.
The Stewarts took up land claims near North Yamhill, Oregon, where the parents spent
the rest of their lives. Eminger Stewart, hearing of the discovery of gold in Canyon City
in 1862, decided to leave home and try his hand in the mines in Eastern Oregon.
Here he stayed more than a year, then riding his horse up over Canyon Mountain and on to the
west, he found the basin that is now known as the Murders Creek Ranch.
In 1883 Billy purchased a ranch on the John Day River near the town of Dayville from Eli Casey
Officer, and he married Casey's daughter, Sarah Anne. In this union were born four children:
Benjamin, Elliot, Edna, and Wayne Casey. One grandchild, Eminger Stewart III, is the
son of Wayne and Jame Quayle Stewart.
©1998 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved
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