Was tennis champion born in area?

By Dick Mason, The Observer June 17, 2013 10:18 am


Margaret Osborne duPont, who spent her early childhood in Wallowa County, won the Wimbledon women’s singles title. She died Oct. 24, 2012, in El Paso, Texas, at age 94.

She was born March 4, 1918, on a ranch outside of Joseph as Margaret Evelyn Osborne. Her father had health problems so her family moved a few years later to Spokane, Wash. The Osbornes later moved to San Francisco, where duPont played tennis for the first time, according to a story in the Jan. 26, 2013, edition of the El Paso Times. 

The right-handed tennis star reached the peak of her career in 1947 when she was ranked No. 1 in the world and won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon. The Wimbledon title was one of six grand slam singles titles duPont claimed. She also won the French Open in 1946 and 1949 and the U.S. Open in 1948, 1949 and 1950.

Dupont also won 21 Grand Slam doubles titles. She claimed the French Open three times, Wimbledon five times and the U.S. Open 13 times in doubles competition.

She was ranked No. 1 in the world a total of 156 weeks, according to the El Paso Times.

DuPont was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1957. 


Who was the first superintendent of La Grande’s public schools?

The late Harvey Starkweather holds this distinction. Starkweather served as superintendent from 1899 to mid-1901. School district records indicate that his predecessors all had the title of principal. 

However, from the time of Starkweather’s appointment on, the head of La Grande’s schools has had the title of superintendent, according to a book by David Yerges of Summerville, “La Grande School District #1 1862-1937.”

Starkweather came to
La Grande in 1899. The
La Grande School District then had about 530 students. Many were from families of railroad employees. A number of other students were from families who worked at a sugar beet processing plant, which had just opened in La Grande. Many others were from Utah and other sugar states then producing sugar.

Starkweather resigned in June of 1901 when the school board refused his request to raise his annual salary from $1,000 to $1,200 due to a tight budget, according to Yerges’ book. An editorial in the June 7, 1901, edition of the Eastern Oregon Observer said many people in the community believed that Starkweather should have been retained as superintendent because of the good work he had done.

“Prof. Starkweather leaves us with a splendid record as an instructor and citizen and wherever he may again enter school work the community will be fortunate,” The Eastern Oregon Observer said.