By Anna Zander, 1977
"S.H. Harnish & Son Livery & Feed Stables" read a sign in Eagle Point in the year 1913. The thriving business was located approximately where the new library is today.(editor’s note- 1977)
Sam Harnish was born in Pennsylvania in 1867. His mother died in 1870 and young Sam was cared for by his grandparents. By the time he was 10 years old he was working and had become self-supporting.
In 1888, Sam’s father, Ben decided to move to Nebraska and Sam went
along. Two years after his arrival there Sam married a Nebraska girl,
Susanna Moomaw. The newlyweds took up a claim and devoted their time
to improving it.
Ben Harnish moved on to North Dakota and at
the turn of the century Sam, Susanna and their three children, Dottie,
Ray and Bob, joined him there. North Dakota did not prove to be as
promising as they had anticipated and within two years they moved on to
Jackson County and eventually Eagle Point.
Although Sam did
not build his livery stable until 1913, he engaged in teaming prior to
that. Since the railroad had not yet come to Eagle Point, he hauled
freight from the Central Point Depot to Eagle Point.
after load of pipe was hauled by Harnish and his drivers when the first
pipe line was put in from Big Butte Springs to Medford.
Using horses and mules Harnish and son dug the reservoir for California Oregon Power Company at Prospect.
1919, the Eagle Point Construction Company was formed by George Brown,
William (Bill) Vonder Hellen and Chris Natwick. They contracted to
build the road from Prospect to the boundary of Crater Lake. Once
again Sam, his teams, wagons and drivers took over. They cleared all
the timbers and cut the grade over the long stretch of more than 40
"Dad also carried mail," said Bob Harnish. "He would
take it up past Brownsboro to Rocky Flat and meet the carrier from
Butte Falls. They would exchange horses and bags of mail and be on
their way. The carrier from Butte Falls came over the Obenchain
"We ran a jitney to Medford too. I used to drive it."
Harnish, Sam’s grandson, said he did not recall what year the livery
burned, but it was sometime during the twenties. "I don’t think any of
the animals were lost. I remember we kept some of the horses at our
place and grandad kept the rest at his place."
Bob went to
work for the Oregon State Highway, but quit in 1923 to take a job
driving bus. Ray took over Bob’s job for the state and stayed there
until his retirement.
Ironically one of the homes Sam
Harnish rented for his family when they first came to Eagle Point was
the house that was later to become the Taylor home. Ray married Mabel,
one of the Taylor girls, and in 1923 they purchased the Taylor home,
where they raised their family of four.
The Harnish name has
long been associated with athletics in this area, especially baseball
players. The older Harnishs played on the first town teams here.
recalled some of the games: "We had games every Sunday during the good
weather and everyone in town came out to watch. Sometimes the fans-the
women-would get into fights over the games. I remember one time Bill
Vonder Hellen knocked out almost the whole Gold Hill team. I think he
was umpiring and they got mad and tore into him and he just clobbered
all of them."
Bob is the only one left of Sam’s immediate family. He resides in Central Point with his wife Bess, (Nichols).
wife, Mabel, still lives on part of their old home and place and their
daughter, Helen Wolgamott and her family, live in the old home.
is a name that will long be remembered by the older residents of Eagle
Point for the many contributions they made to the city and school