An Illustrated History of Central Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, WA. 1905, page 242-243.

* A portrait of Mr. McCorkle appears between pages 240 and 241.

* A portrait has been posted on-line at

WILLIAM M. McCORKLE, one of the pioneers of Oregon, as well as California, is now dwelling in a comfortable home two miles west from Tygh valley, where he has been a resident for some time. He owns various property and has been prospered financially so that he is justified now in retiring from the arduous labors which have occupied him all his days. He is a man of sound principles and has so lived in his long career that he has won and still retains the friendship and approval of all good people, with whom he has been associated. He is a valued member of society here and is looked up to by all.

William M. McCorkle was born in Indiana, on February 25, 1829. His father, Richard B. McCorkle, was the son of one of three brothers who came from the north of Ireland to the colonies before the Revolution. He settled in North Carolina and with his brothers participated in the Revolution. His son, Richard B. McCorkle, was the father of our subject, and was born in North Carolina and died in Illinois, in 1863. He married Miss Isabella Campbell, a native of Kentucky and descended from an old colonial family. She died in Illinois in 1867. The family had removed to Illinois when our subject was only three years old. There he grew up and was educated, remaining on his father's farm until 1850, in which year he went thence to California. For a year he washed the golden sands of that Utopia and gained a comfortable fortune with which he wended his way back to the states. In 1852, he crossed the plains a second time, on this occasion to Oregon. Mule and horse teams were used both times for transportation. He first settled on a donation claim in Linn county and sixteen years later sold it and moved to the Indian agency, taking a government position as miller. Four years later he resigned from that post and bought land on Fifteenmile creek in this county, which was two miles above the present site of Dufur. The farm is now owned by William Vanderpool. An incorporated company began the erection of a mill in Tygh Valley, and sent for our subject to install the machinery and operate the plant. He did so and later the company became insolvent and the sheriff sold the plant. As Mr. McCorkle had not been paid wages for some time, he had a claim and bought in the property and has operated it since. He is now retired from the active work of the mill, but rents it. He owns a fine home adjoining, which is beautifully situated in an ideal spot for a home.

On May 15, 1851, in Illinois, Mr. McCorkle married Miss Mary A. Smith, a native of Ohio. She was the daughter of Captain John Smith, a native of Kentucky and captain in the Blackhawk war. He accompanied our subject to Oregon and was twice sheriff of Linn county, this state. Then he was appointed Indian agent at Warm Springs agency by A. Lincoln, and for nineteen years he held the position. He was the most popular and best liked man ever in that position. His death occurred while in that service. He married Miss Jane Ruggles, a native of Kentucky. She was married in Ohio and came with the family to this state. Her death occurred at the home of our subject in 1877. Mr. McCorkle's wife died at the farm near Dufur, on April 27, 1877, leaving a family of small children. Then Mr. McCorkle contracted a second marriage, Mrs. Abbie Zumwalt becoming his wife. Her parents died in Illinois and she came here with a sister and kept house for a brother until she married Mr. Zumwalt, who died soon after, leaving no issue. To Mr. and Mrs. McCorkle two sons have been born; Philip S., living three miles north from his father's place; Ernest V., near the Des Chutes. By his former marriage, Mr. McCorkle has six children; Frank E., a farmer on Tygh creek; Chester, a stockman in Crook county; John and Rufus, on Juniper flat; Amanda, wife of Dr. M. A. Flinn, in Portland; and Annie, the wife of R.L. Willoughby, a dentist in Eugene. Mr. McCorkle is a stanch Republican and never voted but for one Democrat, a neighbor, for justice of the peace. He has attended every county convention of his party including the first one and has been to the state conventions. He is a prominent man and influential. For thirty-two years he has been school director and has always given his influence for the advancement of educational facilities. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, while his wife belongs to the Methodist. They are both prominent in church work and he has been superintendent of the Sunday school for some time. Mr. and Mrs. McCorkle are among the most highly esteemed people of this part of the county, and are certainly worthy of this pleasant distinction.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in January 2005 by Jeffrey L. Elmer. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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