Harney pioneers

Posted on June 8th in Feature Story

The Harney County Pioneer Association will honor two longtime residents on Saturday, June 11, during the annual Pioneer Day festivities

By Tammy Downs
Burns Times-Herald

Queen Mother Ruby Baird

Ruby Baird will be crowned the Queen Mother during this year’s Pioneer Day celebration at the Harney County Senior Center on Saturday, June 11.

Baird was born on April 3, 1923, to Charles and Bertha Parker (Oard) in Albritton. Her father worked for Union Pacific Railroad in Crane.  She grew up in Crane and graduated from Crane High School in 1942. She is the last living child out of 10 siblings.

She married E.H Baird (who was also known as Hale) on May 17, 1942. They moved to Bonneville, where he worked at the Bonneville Dam until he went into the service.

When her husband joined the service, Baird went to live with her parents until she could join her husband. She then moved from base to base with him until he was sent overseas.

When Baird’s husband returned from the service after  World War II, they moved back to Bonneville. They stayed there until they went into the hardware business in Burns with Jenks Harris, which, Baird said, was around 1952 or 1953.

When Harris passed away, Baird and her husband bought the store and renamed it Baird’s Hardware. They ran the hardware store with their two sons until the 1980s.

Baird has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for more than 48 years. She has held many titles through the years — vice president, president and district president. She is still an active member.

After retiring from the hardware business, Baird and her husband spent the next 20 years traveling. They were know as “Winter Visitors” or “Snow Birds.” They traveled around in a 34-foot travel trailer. It was their “home away from home,” Baird said.

She recalls that they had a great time traveling around and meeting many people and enjoying friends, visiting many places. Baird said they liked to go to casinos and play cards, go to dances and they even went to a few “Powwows.” She said, “They just had a great time.”

Baird has had many hobbies. When she had the opportunity she said she loved to do yard work, garden,  camp and hunt.

Baird has four children —  Phyllis, who lives in Tucson, Ariz.; Dick, who lives in Hines; and Jim and Beverly, who both live in Bend.

Pioneer President Richard Temple

On June 11, the Harney County Pioneer Association will honor Richard Temple with the title of Pioneer President at the Pioneer Day Celebration held at the Harney County Senior Center.

Temple was born on Nov. 12, 1929, to Jap and Ruby Temple at the Stewart Place, north of Burns. He had two sisters and three brothers. Three of his siblings have died.

He was raised on his family’s ranch at Cow Creek, northeast of Burns, and graduated from Crane High School in 1947. Regarding his experience in living in the Crane boarding school, Temple matter-of-factly said, “It’s where we had to go to school.”

After high school, Temple went to work in Drewsey for the Williams family. He stayed there for a couple  years, and then returned to Cow Creek and rented his dad’s ranch.

He met his wife, Glenda Stephenson, and they were married in 1965. They had two daughters — Mary Jo Shoemaker and Jennie Lee — both of whom continue to reside in Harney County. They raised their daughters at the Cow Creek Ranch. Temple also has four grandchildren.

Temple, one of his brothers and his dad went in together and bought the Chambers Place in Buchanan. They spilt up the partnership around 1967, and he bought the family ranch from his father.

In 1982, the Temples became partners with George and Mary Duncan and bought the place next to them from the Catterson family.

For the next six years he continued to operate his own ranch, until selling the property to Hoyt and Sons in 1988. After selling, he worked for Hoyts for a few years until deciding to retire.

After retiring, Temple kept busy by volunteering for the Harney County Fair, working with the 4-H program and the Stockgrower’s sale committee.

In his spare time, Temple said he enjoys hunting and fishing, though he admits that he’s not really good at it, and his wife catches the most fish. He is also a member of the Burns Elks Lodge.


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