Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
HENRY W. MCGINNIS was born
in Williamson County, Illinois, on July 3, 1855. His parents were
Finis F. and Eliza (Maniere) McGinnis, natives of Scotland and Illinois,
respectively. The father came to the United States in 1842, enlisted
in 1861, in the Civil War, and was killed in the battle of Belmont.
The mother died in Oregon, in 1898. Our subject was educated in Illinois
and at the early age of ten had to commence life for himself. He
wrought on the farm until 1870, then came to the Willamette valley and
after farming a year there, went to Tillamook county. He operated
on the toll road and in saw mills, cutting bird's-eye maple and cedar for
California on the canal for several years. After that he was foreman
on the Glenbrook farm for five years. Then he handled stock in eastern
Oregon and assisted to take the first band that Lang and Ryan ever drove
across the mountains to Wyoming. Mr. McGinnis was very successful
in breaking wild horses and had plenty of it to do. During his work
as stockman, he took a large bunch of cattle across the Columbia, swimming
that river to get into the Okanogan country. About the time they
arrived there, bodies of Chinamen were seen floating down the river and
they were warned to get into the settlement again as the Indians were on
the warpath. They hurried back to The Dalles and Mr. McGinnis took
part in fighting the Nez Perce and Bannock Indians. He was a scout
for General Miles and did some excellent work. On one occasion he
had a fight with the Indian scouts, killed one and captured another.
While in this service, he was with Rattle Snake Jack, who had lost his
entire family by the Indians and whenever they captured one of the savages,
Jack never failed to scalp him. Mr. McGinnis was also with Buffalo
Bill, scouting for General Howard. During this war, our subject received
permission to take for himself any Indian property he might find and with
two partners, he succeeded in capturing five hundred head of horses and
six guns from the Indian warriors. They drove the band near The Dalles
and gave to Nels Chaped the poor ones and took the others on to the Willamette
valley, selling and trading them on the way. The venture there was
successful and they disposed of their entire holding without difficulty.
After this, we find Mr. McGinnis on the Glenbrook farm again as foreman,
whence he went to eastern Oregon for Bill Shull and operated in the butcher
business. He had a contract to furnish supplies for the Northern
Pacific construction. Mr. McGinnis bought cattle for him and while
in this enterprise was thrown from a vicious horse which resulted in the
fracture of his leg and two ribs. For three months he languished
in the hospital at Ainsworth and in 1881 started in the butcher business
in Sprague for himself. Three years later, he was burned out and
then went to driving cattle to the Coeur d' Alene country, getting as high
as one hundred and fifty dollars on foot for the stock when delivered there.
He again went into the butcher business and later was elected city marshal.
Then he served four years as deputy sheriff. After this, he freighted
in the Cedar Canyon mining country and later was appointed road supervisor
in the Sprague district, which office he holds at the present time.
At Sprague, in 1881, he married Miss Estella
Long. Her parents, Volney J. and Mary (Napier) Long, are among the
earliest pioneers to this section and are now living in Sprague.
The father is eighty-five years of age and very active and hearty.
The mother is a native of South Carolina and is a cousin of General Winfield
Scott. To Mr. and Mrs. McGinnis two children have been born, Nellie
and Veva, both graduates of the Sprague high school.