The Lone Pine Ranch Yesterday And Today

Our family historians Lois and Russell Smith were happy to find Silver Lake, Oregon in the spring of 2004 located 80 miles south of Bend, Oregon. They were in pursuit grave sites of George and Louisa Duncan. They stopped by a restaurant to ask the directions to the cemetery. The waitress was so helpful, she gave them the directions to the cemetery, it was just a short way down the road, and she also provided directions to the Duncan Road, the Duncan Reservoir, and the Duncan ranch.....to good to be true!

At the cemetery Lois and Russell found the grave sites of George and Louisa Duncan, some of their children, and George's parents. They also viewed with special interest the monument in honor of those who lost their lives in the worst fire in Oregon history; the Christmas Eve pageant fire in an upstairs dance hall in Silver Lake, 1894. Of the 43 people who lost their lives, some were Rinehart's; Lucinda Schroeder and her son Eston. The exit door, opening in, rather than out, was blamed for the many lives lost. After pictures and note taking at the cemetery, they were on the road again; down the way to Duncan Road.

"A call to the current owner confirmed that we could come and share with them our Louisa scrapbook. This scrapbook only had a few pages until earlier this spring, a researcher with special interest in this family, shared with us much more information about this Louisa Branch than I would have ever dream possible...and the scrapbook now was full."

George and Louisa (Rinehart) Duncan traveled with the Rinehart Wagon Train on the Oregon Trail in 1854. She is the one who gave birth to a baby boy along the Malheur River, and named him Warren Malhuer Duncan. The event is recorded in our Rinehart Oregon Trail story. Like the rest of the family George and Louisa and their three children settled in Lane County of Willamette Valley. In 15 or 20 years most of the family moved on to the grand Ronde Valley north of La Grande; but not George and Louisa. They moved to Silver Lake in south central Oregon.

George homesteaded along the main highway going by Silver Lake. Russell and Lois say the place where the log cabin stood on a rock foundation for many years. With one child still living at home, Louisa died at the early age of only 52. George continued to live here on the Lone Pine Ranch as Postmaster, writer, and geologist of this area.

How heart warming to find that the ranch is still called the Lone Pine Ranch. The old  pine tree finally died, but another has been planted to take it place. The view from up on the ridge is magnificent. The cattle roam the lowlands as they have for many years. The lake however, is much smaller than it was in George and Louisa's day. The highway was change years age o by-pass the little road around the lake and right trough the Lone Pine Ranch.

" My hat is off to Floyd and Bruce and Penny....and the Lone Pine Ranch of Silver Lake, Oregon.  Thanks for the memories of those who began the taming of this country and those who carry it on."

We are grateful to Lois Smith a very special thanks for her help in providing stories, information and support for the Rinehart Family web site.

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