Hinton started ranching
and a year later married Mary Emma Fitzpatrick. They
in the dug-out
where she gave birth to their children, James E.
in 1874, and Lillian in 1876. Together they struggled
it in tough conditions, marginal country, a harsh
climate and isolation. It was twelve long years before
title to his first piece of land where the following
year Mary Emma would die. Richard Hinton persevered,
planned and built for permanence.
During the early 1880s, the
sheep industry was rapidly increasing in importance.
one of Oregon’s
leading exports and sources of revenue. The semiarid
regions of Oregon’s interior were well suited
to raising sheep. Hinton carefully improved and
expanded his flocks, importing breeding stock and
meat and wool breeds which eventually led to the
creation of the Columbia Sheep— an entirely
new breed, ideally suited for the high desert terrain
and yielding more
pounds of lamb and excellent wool. It was also
remarkable that he raised cattle, especially during
a time when
there were range wars occurring between sheepmen
and cattlemen. He established a diverse operation
on the stock, while also producing grain and hay
to carry the animals through the bitter winters.
Hinton built the Imperial Stock
reputation and established its long lasting tradition
for outstanding lamb, fine grade wool and high
quality beef. In fact, by 1900 he had grown from
a young man
with a dream into the largest individual producer
of wool and sheep in Wasco County — and eventually
becoming the largest individual owner of land
and stock in Oregon.
James E. Hinton, born in the dug-out
cave on the ranch, took over for his father in 1915.
He earned his own reputation as he continued to build
the empire which was at the time, carrying 35,000
head of sheep, more than 1,000 head of cattle and
pasturing hundreds of horses. The ranch could move
it's stock from Shaniko to south of La Pine,
and never leave land they controlled — either
through ownership or lease.
George Ward was born and raised
in Antelope, Oregon, only a short distance from the
Hinton ranch holdings. In the 1930's, he came to
work for Jim Hinton and proved himself a hard worker
a good sheepman. In 1945, having no children of his
own, Jim Hinton gave George and his wife Mary the
to buy a half interest in the ranch. Upon closing
the deal, it became the Hinton-Ward Ranch and remained
so until 1967 when the Wards bought the remaining
half interest, all while George carved out his own
reputation as a successful rancher.
In 1988, the ranch passed from
the Ward family to the Carver family, who have owned
it to the present day.