Before the discovery of gold along the banks of Jordan Creek on May 18, 1863, this arid region was the exclusive domain of American Indians, a few hardy explorers and Hudson's Bay Company fur traders. The prospect of gold quickly changed this attitude, and eastern Oregon became a destination for hundreds of miners. Merchants with heavily-laden pack animals quickly took advantage of the opportunity and so too did ranchers, woodcutters, blacksmiths, stone mason, carpenters, gamblers and a host of others from all walks of life.
The sudden population increase in this region alarmed local Native Americans, especially when miners and ranchers disturbed or took possession of their traditional hunting and food gathering areas. Harassing attacks intended to drive the newcomers away, only brought more white men - soldiers - to guard the trails and tiny settlements. This tragic conflict between two widely different cultures lasted 5 years until a treaty was signed in 1868.
The first hay farms sprung up along lower Jordan Creek in late 1863, and by 1865, large bands of cattle and sheep were on their way from California bound for the slaughtering pens of the mining camps. Mining gradually began to take second place to ranching and stock raising by the 1870s, but the import of cattle and sheep to feed the miners and the need for horses
and mules for transportation was the beginning of the livestock industry in Jordan Valley.