Randy and Jeanne Warnock
Our family of Warnocks first showed up in Oregon in 1879, having come in a wagon train from Abilene, Kansas with a few horses and very little money. Nancy, the tough mother of nine, having lost her husband in the historic Chapman Creek flood, was persuaded by her six sons to come to Wallowa County. They had heard what a great grass country it was both winter time in the canyons and summer on the Zumwalt Prairie. After about 10 years of building up a sizeable operation, the boys split up and built their own outfits.
Our patriarch, Dan, specialized in horses, lots of them. He raised Thoroughbreds, Clydesdales and mules, with a big emphasis on Thoroughbreds – fast ones. He gained a reputation for winning local races and sold some horses that went on to bigger events. Selling all classes of horses and mules to the Remount Service during World War One, made him quite well to do. It was not going to last. Investments outside of his expertise, in particular banking, did him in and bankruptcy occurred at the end of 1923.
His youngest, also of nine offspring, our father and grandfather, also a Dan, was 17. He helped relocate his parents to the Willamette Valley and get a new start. After struggling through the depression, working for wages, country trading, and raising drop calves for veal, he was able to make a down payment on a small ranch back in Eastern Oregon. It was now 1946, he was 39 years old and this time it was in Sumpter Valley of Baker County. He had tried to get back to Wallowa County but this was more affordable.
In the last 68 years, he and his son Dan, grandson Randy and now Randy’s children have grown the operation to include land in central Oregon, a larger Sumpter ranch and more numbers of livestock supporting the extended families. We are now Warnock Ranches and hopefully, we will continue to grow and provide good beef for increasing numbers of folks into the future.