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Hamaker Memoir Recalls Early Days in Linkville

The town of Linkville sprang up in March 1867 – 150 years ago this month -- when George Nurse established a trading post and hotel on the banks of Link River.  Oregon had already been a state for eight years at the time.

Among the newcomers in Linkville in 1880 was a practically penniless youth from Iowa, Joseph Oliver Hamaker.

Hamaker’s memoirs describe the town’s appearance the day of his arrival.  Most of the older businesses were concentrated in the area Nurse had settled, a section of town known as “Bunchtown.”  Other business owners had established shops at locations scattered nearly a mile along Main Street. This newer section of town was referred to as “Stringtown.” The school and slaughterhouse were at the far end of Stringtown. Beyond that lay the road to Fort Klamath.

Hamaker recalled a livery barn on the edge of Lake Ewauna, where horses had to “walk the plank” to find water at the marshy edge of the lake. 

Taverns played a vital role in the town, including Forbes Saloon, where fights occasionally forced townspeople to remain holed up for several hours at a stretch.


Sources: “Side Lights of Early Oregon,” unpublished manuscript in the J.O. Hamaker biography file at the Klamath County Museum.

Todd Kepple has been a Klamath Basin resident since 1990. He was a reporter and editor the for the Herald and News from 1990 to 2005, and has been manager of the Klamath County Museum since 2005. He enjoys volunteering at Crater Lake National Park, the OC&E Woods Line State Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also a founding member of the Klamath Tree League.