Pioneer Day — June 14

Posted on June 11th in News

Queen Mother Doris Yriarte

Queen Mother Doris Yriarte

Queen Mother Doris Yriarte

My grandfather, Isaac Newton Hughet, and wife, Lillie Pfordt Hughet, settled in the Warm Springs Valley, now known as the Double O Valley, in 1889.

My father, Louis M. Hughet, was one of six boys and four girls born to Isaac Newton and Lillie Pfordt Hughet. The boys were Albert, Glen, Louis, Leonard, George and Leo Hughet. The four girls were Mildred, Esther, Stella and Gertrude Hughet.

I was born Feb. 19, 1928, to Louis M. and Myrthelene McPheeters Hughet in Burns, and the third child. My brother, Louis Milton Hughet Jr., was the oldest, born May 10, 1925. My sister, Helen Louise Hughet, was born March 19, 1926, and then my youngest sister, Elizabeth (Beth) Hughet was born Nov. 20, 1930; thus being the children of Louis M. Hughet Sr. and Myrthelene Hughet.

Before marrying Louis Hughet, my mother, Myrthelene McPheeters, taught school at the Peterson place while staying with Pete and Dolly Obiague. She told me she rode a horse or drove a buggy from the Obiagues to teach school. Upon marrying Louis, they started a ranch with only a white milk cow and her calf. My dad had to work for Bill Hanley and Pete Obiague to make ends meet, and was away from home much of the time to support his fledgling ranch business and feed his family.

During my childhood, my father taught me how to trap muskrats, skin, and take care of the hides. I had to run the trap line each day before breakfast. The muskrat hides were sold to a fur buyer, named Lanfear, for a $1 to $1.50 each. This extra money was important to pay their bills and buy flour, sugar and beans, which supplemented the occasional deer, antelope and wild pig meat my father killed.

Some childhood memories include: (1) riding my horse bareback one mile to school. My dad would not let me ride with a saddle until I was 12 years old for fear I would get my foot caught in the stirrup and get drug to death. (2) Watching a hound dog, named Bingo, chase coyotes and kill them. One day, while watching Bingo chase a coyote across the field, five other coyotes lay in wait to ambush and kill him. Upon having this encounter, Bingo barely outran them, snapping at his behind, back to the house. (3) Getting drug by a colt I was breaking in because a young neighbor kid spooked him while I was trying to get on. He ran under a clothes line, hitting me under the chin and knocking me off, catching my foot in the stirrup, dragging me through the greasewood, and into a meadow. I remember the meadow felt good compared to the greasewood, and decided to turn over, which released my foot from the stirrup, saving my life. Mom caught, and held him so I could get back on. The colt was ruined, and would buck with me off and on all day when I rode him. (4) During one winter day, my sister, Beth, and I wanted to ride a horse called Belgium. We were told we could, but stay off the ice. We headed straight for the ice, and the horse’s legs went every direction. I don’t know how he kept from breaking a leg. We got a darned good spanking for this shenanigan. (5) Working hard was a requirement for me, my brothers and sisters. One had no choice but to do their share in order to survive as a family.

Mom and Dad bought a house in Burns  when I was in the eighth grade. I went to school from eighth grade through high school in Burns. Upon graduation from high school in 1946, I went to work for the US National Bank as a bookkeeper, and for Al Brown as an accountant. I met Louis Alfonso Yriarte this same year, and we were married on Aug. 18, 1946. Our first child, Harland, was born July 28, 1948, and our second son, Charles, was born Dec. 3, 1949.

Like my mother and father, both of us had to work outside jobs in order to make a living. He worked two jobs, the railroad and the sawmill. My father wanted us to move back to the ranch in a partnership with my brother. When we moved from Burns to the ranch in 1948, we still had to do odd jobs, including fence building for the refuge and working for my father for $125 a month for three years. The partnership was dissolved after three years and in 1953, my father gave us some property to begin our base ranch. Over time, and when we could afford to, we continued to purchase additional acres to enhance our ranch at the Double O and on Steens Mountain.

During the flooding of Harney and Malheur lakes in 1984, our home was flooded and we had to move to our current location and build a new home. This new home is at the same location where I attended grade school as a child. In 2013, we had to move my husband to a care facility in Eugene, and I currently live at home at the Double O.

President Alfred Dunten

President Alfred Dunten

President Alfred Dunten

Turen Alfred “Al” Dunten comes from a long line of pioneers. Al’s paternal great-grandmother, Martha (Williams) Dunten, migrated to Oregon with her family on the Oregon Trail in 1853. His maternal great-grandparents, Bill and Sally Ward, and most of Sally’s siblings and their families, moved to and settled near what is now known as Van, about 21 miles northwest of Drewsey in 1882, in what was then still Grant County. The Ward children were all born at Van from 1883 through 1897. Al’s maternal grandmother, Frankie (Ward) Miller was born in 1888, about six months before Harney County was formed.

Al was born April 17, 1934, at the home of Harry and Emma Muller Clark, about 10 miles west of Drewsey, on the banks of the Middle Fork of the Malheur River to Turen J. Dunten (better known in his community as T. J.) and Wilma Della Miller Dunten. He has a sister, Helen Jeanette Sargent, who is a nurse living in Baker City, and a brother, Ray, who has retired from NRCS and lives in Ontario. His youngest sister was lost in a car/truck accident the night of her  high school graduation in 1966.

Alfred and his parents lived in the City Hotel owned and operated by his great-grandma Hamilton in Drewsey for the first year of his life.

In 1935, T.J. purchased  the family ranch about six miles west Drewsey in Kimball Flat, where Al grew up and, except for a few adventures elsewhere, has called home for the past 79 years.

He went to school in one-room Kimball Flat School for his first through eighth grades. His first teacher was Miss Horn. Mrs. Farrier, his second grade teacher, was so impressed with Al’s musical ability, as she taught him violin, that she promoted him to third  grade that year which made him a young graduate from Crane  Union High School in 1951. This curly-haired towhead soon became “Curly” to his friends. The kids in the area rode horses, walked, or rode bikes to school and spent recesses playing baseball, on their knees grading roads on the sand hill nearby, and riding sleds and toboggans down the steep sleigh track in winter.

Al attended Crane Union High School from Sept. 1947 to May 18, 1951. He participated in  football, basketball, and baseball  throughout high school. When track was added to the program in his senior year, Al placed third in both the 440 and 880 at the state track meet.

One high school escapade he recalls was a “steer riding” at the Crane railroad stockyards when the boys used the steers left by Hills to be shipped on the train the next morning as bucking stock for a little night steer riding “rodeo”, hoping Hills would never find out.

After high school, Al helped his dad on the ranch, doing custom farming, building livestock reservoirs with a cat and dozer, planting grain and stacking hay among other things. He helped Harold Fine cut small fir poles to be used as hay-buck teeth to sell to big ranches in the south end of Harney County, which did not reap the riches they had anticipated, but was an adventure.

Soon, Al joined Red Dunbar in trying a hand at bareback bronc riding and moved on to saddle bronc riding around the Northwest for a few years winning some championship buckles along the way. He enrolled in college in pre-veterinary at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1956. When he ran out of money after fall term in 1957, he came home and rode colts for Dan Opie at Lawen for the winter until “Uncle Sam” drafted him in March of 1958. He spent two years in the Army in classified communications.

After training at Fort Ord, Calif., and Fort Gordon, Ga., he spent one year in Korea, returning home in March 1960. He became reacquainted with the bratty little neighbor girl who had often begged him for a ride home from school on the handlebars of his bike, and he and Carol Anne Miler were married on June 17, 1961, after her graduation from Boise Junior College.  Their son, Turen Alfred Jr. (Tad), was born May 16, 1962, and their daughter, Cheryl Anne, was born July 18, 1963. After working for neighboring ranches for three years, Al and his family moved back to Kimball Flat to help Carol’s dad and build their own cattle business, which they still run today.


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