Ghost town of Clarksville Oregon

Do you know anything about this town? Have you ever lived here? Please leave your recollections in the comments below!

5 Responses to “Ghost town of Clarksville Oregon

  • drove cattle over it for 20 yrs etc…

  • First things come first – Gold was discovered on Clarks Creek around 1862. According to the story handed down, a group of miners enroute to the Idaho placer mines took the shortest route by way of Clarks Creek, Morman Basin and on down to the Snake River. A man by the name of Clark accidentally shot himself in the foot. While waiting for him to recuperate, the others panned the gravel bars close by. They found gold and went no farther. Word soon got around; soon the population of Clarksville was 200, with smaller population of Chinese.
    About the time of the gold discovery, a man by the name of Koontz came to look for gold, but, being an enterprising fellow, saw the need for lumber to supply the needs of the miners for housing as well as sluice boxes. He found timber close by and set up a whip-saw, but later ditches indicated he used water. To supply the demand for lumber he set up a much larger mill on Burnt River ten miles to the west of Clarksville, again using water power. At Clarksville, there was a post office, a store of sorts, at least one saloon, a slaughterhouse and a boardinghouse to accommodate the miners. The boardinghouse was operated by my grandmother, Johanna Elliott, the Justice of the Peace.
    One story is handed down about a couple who rode horse back from Ironside to be married by the Justice of the Peace. He was super tall and she was rather short. Some of the miners speculated how they held hands during the ceremony. The remark was made, “They didn’t. She just ran her arm through his boot strap.”
    Later at Clarks Creek, two different dredges were used to run the gold-bearing gravel that either was mined by the early miners or was too deep to be mined profitably. The first dredge was started at the mouth of Clarks Creek in 1917 but was abandoned in favor of a larger one which could dig much deeper. It began operation in April, 1924, and continued through 1937 when the overburden became to heavy to mine profitably.
    Not much information was handed down about the schools except there were no grades. Pupils went through the books and graduated. One of the early teachers was Helen Stack who later taught school at Baker and the Helen Stack School was named in her honor.
    To further supply the needs of the miners, a brewery was operated by Henry Rusk who first operated a brewery at Amelia near Malheur and, after Clarksville, operated a brewery at Baker.
    After the gold dwindled, some of the miners turned to ranching. Among them was my grandmother, Johanna Elliott, who on grandfather’s death at the age 0f 42 was left with seven children to rise. She took up a homestead four miles east of Hereford, now known as the Sullivan Ranch.
    After the demise of Clarksville, the center of activity moved to Bridgeport where there was a store and post office operated by Jerry Dooley which was moved from Eldorado to Clarksville and finally to Bridgeport.

    • Is Clarksville open to visitors? I live in Sweet Home and am planning to visit Malheur City in about a week. Just for a 2-3 day trip.

      • Doesn’t look like there is much there. But if you head east about 1/2 mile there is another place called “China Town,” where you can see the huge tailing piles.

    • I am working on the Griffen’s Mining Claim. Clarksville is located inside of it.

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