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William K.'s Obituary

The following was taken from the Enterprise, Oregon newspaper of March 24, 1909:

William K. Stubblefield, pioneer resident of Wallowa county (NE Oregon) and the oldest stagedriver in the United States, passed away Monday morning at the home of his son Ira in Dallas, Oregon, where he had been visiting for some time. The cause of his death was heart disease, with which he had been trouble in late years.

"Uncle Billy," as he was called, was one of the best known men in this county. He had reached the great age of 83 years and nearly five months, having been born October 30, 1825 in Granger county, Tennessee. He had been a resident of this county since 1884, and was hale and of a strong constitution, aside from the heart trouble.

Mr. Stubblefield was married five times and was the father of 15 sons and nine daughters, 13 of whom survive. His life history is like a romance, and a more extended account of it will be given later in this paper.

The remains were shipped from Dallas Tuesday evening and are expected to reach this city Wednesday evening. If they do, the funeral will be held Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Christian church.

Michel Stubblefield went to La Grande (OR) Tuesday to meet the remains.

A few days after the funeral, the following articl was in the same paper:

Almost the entire life of William K. Stubblefield was spent on the frontier. Born in Tennessee when that now old state was "West," he moved successively to Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, and come to Oregon in 1884. He built the first log cabin in the Palo Pinto river country of Texas 55 years ago, and built a stockade of posts 21 feet high around the cabin as protection against the Indians. For four years their nearest neighbor was 45 miles distant.

When the Civil war broke out he tried to get north to join the Union army but was stopped at Red river, and turned back. He went to Cook county, where the Union sentiment was overwhelmingly strong and norrowly escaped the massacre of Union men in Cook by secessionists of the surrounding counties. After that he and his family lived nine years on the Texas western frontier, then moved to Eureka Springs, Ark., and engaged in the fruit business.

When he came to this county he settled on the lower Imnaha (river) where he made a ranch, planted an orchard and sold hay to stockmen, In 1899 he sold out and came to Enterprise, which was his home until his death. For a number of years he held the contracts for the mail stage routes from this city to Chico and also the one to Zumwalt and until a year ago drove the Chico route himself. He was the oldest man in the United States driving a stage regularly, yet in an official letter to the Chico postmaster, the Postmaster General said Mr. Stubblefield had the best record of all stage route contractors in the state of Oregon.

"Uncle Billy" was as honest and upright as he was strong, and his strength was that of three men. He was held in the highest esteem by all who knew him. He was a lifelong member of the Christian church.

He was the father of 15 sons and nine daughters, 13 of whom are living, as follows:
Thomas of Muscogee, Okl.; Jasper of Cole county, MO; William of this county; Mrs. Sarah Clinkenhead of Arkansas; Mrs. Christena Blyeu of Oklahoma; Ira of Dallas, Ore,; Mrs. Eliza Newell of Harney county (OR); Michel and Stonehaven of Enterprise; Mrs. Lydia Rowley of Malheur county (OR); Newell of Cottonwood, Ida.; Fancho and Brennen of this city.

Ira, Newell, William, Brennen, Stonhaven, Fancho, Michel and Mrs. Rowley were present at the funeral.

Funeral was held Thursday afternoon from the Christian church, which was crowded with relatives and friends. Rev W.S. Crockett officiated and the choir was composed of Mrs. Corkins, Mrs. Wilgerodt, Mr. Gaily, Mr. Wortman. The pallbearers, pioneeers and old friends of the deceased, were Captain A. C. Smith, J. C. Reavis, W. W. White, E. J. Forythe, A. M. Wagner and G. W. Hyatt. Burial was in the Enterprise (OR) cemetery beside his wife who died 20 years ago.