Harper, Oregon, is a small community in the southeastern part of the state near the Snake River. Despite its size, the area has played an important role in the history of the region. There have been numerous significant events that have occurred in and around Harper over the years. Here are seven historical events that have taken place near Harper, Oregon.
1. Oregon Trail Wagon Trains
Harper was a stop on the Oregon Trail, a route taken by pioneers traveling westward in the mid-19th century. Thousands of people passed through the area on their way to settle in Oregon, California, and other parts of the western United States. The town of Harper was established in the late 1800s as a result of this migration.
2. Bear Creek Massacre
In 1887, a group of Native Americans known as the Bannock raided settlements in eastern Oregon. The military was called in to put down the uprising and a battle ensued near Bear Creek. The Bannock were heavily outnumbered and outgunned and suffered significant casualties. The massacre was a turning point in the conflict, and the Bannock were eventually forced to surrender.
3. Oregon Short Line Railroad
In 1890, the Oregon Short Line Railroad opened a line to Harper, allowing greater access to the area. The railroad helped establish Harper as a center for agriculture, and farmers in the region were able to transport their goods more easily to markets across the country.
4. Big Foot Battle
In 1903, a group of Native Americans led by Chief Big Foot were involved in a shootout with law enforcement officials near the town of Holliday, just northeast of Harper. The battle lasted several hours and resulted in the deaths of several people on both sides. The incident was part of a larger movement to resist government policies affecting Native Americans.
5. Malheur Wildlife Refuge Occupation
In 2016, a group of armed protesters occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, located just east of Harper, for over a month. The group was protesting federal land-use policies and demanding that the refuge be turned over to local authorities. The occupation ended when the FBI arrested the leaders of the group.
6. Basque Shepherds
In the early 20th century, many Basque shepherds migrated to the area around Harper to work on the sheep ranches that had sprung up in the region. These immigrants brought with them their unique culture, including their language and culinary traditions. Today, the Basque presence is still felt in the area, with many restaurants serving traditional Basque dishes.
7. Chinese Miners
In the late 1800s, Chinese miners arrived in the area around Harper to work in the mines. They faced discrimination and violence from the white population, but despite these challenges, they were able to establish successful businesses and form a tight-knit community. Today, the contributions of Chinese miners to the region's history are remembered through historical markers and events.
In conclusion, Harper, Oregon, may be a small community, but its history is rich and multifaceted. From Native American battles to the Oregon Trail to Basque sheepherders and Chinese miners, the area around Harper has played a significant role in the development of the region. These events help us understand the legacy of the area and the people who have called it home over the years.
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