Gilliam county was set off mostly from Wasco, partly from Umatilla, in the spring of 1885. First county officers: commissioners, A.H. Wetherford, W.W. Steiver; judge, J.W. Smith; clerk, Lucas; sheriff, J.A. Blakely; treasurer, Harvey Condon; assessor, J.C. Cartwright. The town site of Alkali, the present county seat, was laid off in 1882 by James W. Smith, a native of Mississippi. First house built in the latter part of 1881, by E.W. Rhea.

J.H. Parsons, born in Randolph co., Va., came to Cal. in 1857, overland, with a train of 30 wagons led by Capt. L. Mugett, and located in San Jose Valley, where for twelve years he was a lumber dealer. in 1869 he went to British Columbia and was for 8 years engaged in stock-raising on Thompson's River, after which he settled on John Day River, Oregon, in what is now Gilliam co. He married, in 1877, Joesephine Writsman, and has 4 children. He owns 320 acres of bottom-land, has 5 square miles of pature under fence, has 2,000 head of cattle, and 200 horses. HIs grain land produces 30 bushels of wheat or 60 bushels of barley to the acre.

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