Was anyone from the area drafted during the Civil War?
President Abraham Lincoln excluded Oregon, the Washington territory, California, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho from the draft throughout the Civil War.
No one from the Pacific Northwest was drafted. However, the registration of all draft-age men was required.
A total of 852 men had registered for the draft in Baker County by the end of the war, according to a 2012 book by Scott McArthur, “The Enemy Never Came: The Civil War in the Pacific Northwest.”
Some of these 852 men undoubtedly were from the Grande Ronde Valley. In 1864, Baker County included the area that today is Union and Wallowa counties.
Why was the first Catholic Church in Union County built in Island City?
A promise later broken is the reason.
The first Catholic Church in Union County was built in Island City because church officials had been told that the town would soon be the site of a railroad depot. The church was built in 1882, but church leaders were heartbroken when the railroad being constructed bypassed Island City two years later. La Grande instead was chosen as the site of the local railroad depot.
A Catholic Church was erected in La Grande in 1890 apparently because the railroad was here, according to Our Lady of the Valley website, www.olvlg.org. The church, named Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was located where Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church is today. Construction of Our Lady of the Valley was completed in 1915. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Eve of that year.