Pilot Rock, Oregon

Named for a large bluff of basalt near the community. The post office was established in December 1868. Andrew Sturtevant was the first postmaster. The town was platted in 1876.

Pilot Rock Beginnings

Gold was discovered in the Blue Mountains in late 1861. This created a rush gold miners to the area. Three men arrived that winter. "Hookey" Burke, a freight hauler, decided to spend the winter at what is now Pilot Rock. Andrew Jackson Sturtevant, pushing a wheelbarrow towards the gold fields decided to stop there in 1862. And finally, John Alta Sylvester who thought he would cater to the wintering miners. Andrew Sturtevant was the most successful of the three, founding Pilot Rock.

Sturtevant, was born in England. He arrived in America and headed westward arriving in Salem in 1861. He obtained a position as a teacher but decided that this was not the life for him. He headed for the Blue Mountains, and into the history books.

Imagine pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with all your worldly goods all the way from Salem to Eastern Oregon, via the trail along the Columbia River! Working along the way or living off the land, Sturtevant followed the path of the wagon trains to arrive at Birch Creek to join Burke and Sylvester.

While Burke was intent on establishing Mt. Pleasant, and Sylvester was developing Alta, Sturtevant set about platting Pilot Rock. In the end, it was Pilot Rock that ended up as a stagecoach stop and then to be designated as a post office. Much of Pilot Rock's town proper is a result of Sturtevant's work at platting the town site, acquiring land that he donated for the school as well as the Methodist Episcopal Church and parsonage in 1883. He served twice as County Superintendent of Schools, and served as a member of the school board. Pilot Rock has the distinction of having School District No. 1 of Umatilla County.

The town was platted in 1876. It was incorporated in 1903 and was re-incorporated in 1912, with a new charter drawn up to conform to the Oregon statutes.

Pilot Rock Homestead of Winnie E. Hill

The documents shown before were found and given to the Umatilla County Coordinator in an interest of preserving Umatilla County history. The documents may be claimed by any of the family members by providing proof of right to the documents.

W1/2 NW1/4 Sec 34; NE 1/4 and NE1/4 Sec 33 and the SE1/4 SW1/4 Section 28, Township 2 South, Range 31 East, Willamette Meridian

W.E. Hill
C/o J.N. Burgess,
Pilot Rock, Oregon.

Pilot Rock Community Page
Pilot Rock Post Card Views
The Sellers Family of Pilot Rock
Pilot Rock in 1922

Bibliography List

"In the Footsteps of the Pioneers--The Story of the Pilot-Rock-McKay Basin 1862-1962" by William M. Kidwell, Ed. D, San Diego, CA 1983

"East Oregonian-Century Old Umatilla County"

Roads of Yesterday in Northeast Oregon by Lawrence E. Nielsen Maverick Publications, Inc., Bend, Oregon

Pilot Rock has a special place in my heart because of my best friend Margaret. She was married to Clark Berkely Sturtevant, son of Lowell Sturtevant, descendants of Andrew Jackson Sturtevant. They met and married in Wrangell, Alaska (Lowell was a barber there) and that's where they lived happily ever after until Berk passed away. He is very much missed by his wife Margaret, his family and his friends.

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