Douglas Belts

Douglas Belts

Parsons, Col. William and Shiach, W. S. "An Illustrated History of Umatilla County and of Morrow County." Spokane, WA: W. H. Lever, 1902. p. 360.


In this gentleman we have presented to us one of Umatilla's most prominent and leading citizens and one who has by his marked ability and energy both as an educationalist and a political leader been a potent factor in the upbuilding of this county and laying the foundations for future advancement in addition to which he has made a very gratifying record as a stockman and financier demonstrating his talents to be of the highest order.

He was born in Adams county Illinois on December 8, 1853, and his father was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, in 1818. He remained on his father's farm until he was twenty two years of age, and in that time he acquired a good common school education and a training that has been of great benefit in his varied career. In the year 1875 he came to the Willamette valley and settled in Linn county, commencing operations on a stock farm and later teaching school. Here he continued for some time and then went to San Francisco and engaged with the street car company as conductor. After this he went to San Jose and commenced to till the soil and later in Linn county, Oregon he followed the same business. Leaving this he drove a bunch of horses to Birch creek in this county and passed the winter in cutting cord wood and logs for one dollar per day and board. In the spring of 1877 he taught school in district 37 after which he returned to Linn county and bought a bunch of horses in company with Hon J. N. Williamson, which they drove to Umatilla county where he entered the stock business which has since occupied his attention and in which he has made a most marked success. In 1880 he traded a portion of his stock for a ranch and sold the balance of the original bunch of horses to David Wright a liveryman of Pilot Rock. Since that time Mr. Belts has largely been occupied in the sheep industry. He has acquired a large amount of industry acquired large real estate over three thousand acres which he uses for range for his many head of sheep. He sells annually two thousand head and his output of wool for each year is over forty thousand pounds. He constantly keeps six thousand head of stock sheep requiring five men continually and twenty during the lambing and shearing season. At the present time he is planning to double his quantity of stock sheep. Mr. Belts has erected an elegant residence upon his estate and embellished it with all the other improvements that are useful and necessary in the manipulation of his large business.

On November 4, 1880, he was married to Miss Ella Evans, daughter of J. M. Evans, a sheep man of this county, but now a resident of Montana, and to them have been born the following children: Paul L., born September 1881; Eva R., born March 8, 1883; Edgar R., born October 6, 1884; James F., born February 23, 1887; Douglas V., born December 29, 1893; Ella H., born January 23, 1896; and Bessie L., born February 1, 1886, who died on January 10, 1892.

Fraternally he affiliates with the Eureka Lodge No. 32 I.O.O.F. at Pendleton with the Pendleton Lodge No 41. Woodmen of the World and Lodge No 10 of the United Artisans at Pilot Rock. In political affairs his ability has been recognized and the people have frequently shown their appreciation by placing him in positions of trust and responsibility where he has made a record for which he is held high in esteem. In 1892 he was elected a member of the legislature and while there was instrumental in securing the passage of an appropriation bill for the normal school at Weston this county he framed the laborer's lien law bill and secured its passage and did much other worthy and wise service. He has almost continuously held the office of clerk or school director since his advent into the county and at present is also president of the State Wool Growers Association and has made his influence felt for good throughout the entire state by his forceful execution of its salutary provisions. By way of reminiscence it is well to add that during the Indian trouble Mr. Belts escorted a number of people to Pendleton and then returned to assist in the fight at Beasley's Mill but met General Howard returning with his command holding as captive the Indian princess Winnemucca.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in January 2013 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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