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Wallowa County, Oregon


Page Contents for Joseph, Oregon

Statistics & Facts

History & History-related items

City Attractions

Statistics & Facts

The Oregon state capital is Salem.
The population of Joseph is approximately 1081 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 501 (1990), 509 (2010).
The amount of land area in Joseph is 1.905 sq. kilometers.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Joseph to Washington DC is 2171 miles.
The distance to the Oregon state capital is 297 miles. (as the crow flies)
Joseph is positioned 45.35 degrees north of the equator and 117.22 degrees west of the prime meridian.

History & History Related Items

Joseph, Oregon was written in the United States post office directory in 1879. The name seems either to have been inherited from the older chief of the Nez Perce tribe - the faithful friend of the white man - or to have been attached to the location in honor of the younger Chief Joseph of the same tribe. Young Joseph was named after his father Old Joseph, who was one of H.H. Spalding's first converts. Spalding gave him the Biblical name, and later baptized him at the Presbyterian mission at Lapwai in 1839. The Indian name for the town was Hah-um-sah-pah, meaning "big rocks lying scattered around."

The town was first called Lake City, but the United States postal authorities refused to establish the post office under that name, owing to the existence of another office in the state of that name.

Matthew Johnson was postmaster in 1879, and also conducted a small store, partially supplying the needs of a few settlers who were then in the immediate area. Shortly after the eestablishment of the post office in the same year, Ryer Olsen erected a small blacksmith shop. He was followed in 1880 by Robert Roberts, who engaged in the same business. In the following year, there was considerable immigration of farmers and stockmen into the upper valley. Joseph was Wallowa County's first county seat in 1887. The first bank, hotel and drug stores in the county were in Joseph.
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The 1998 Visitors Guide for Wallowa County is here!
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