WAMIC HISTORY

The name of Wamic came from one of the first settlers, Womack, Asa, and Levi Womack and their Nephew Crawford. One of their favorite pass times for the dividing the week, Each would choose a day and the others would help. Asa would have all the work in the Blacksmith shop on his day, while the others would help. The next day Levi would site out front “jawing”, telling stories and whittling. On Crawford’s day, they most likely go hunting or fishing.

The name of Wamic came from one of the first settlers, Womack, Asa, and Levi Womack.

The Post Office was established Nov 25, 1884 with James W. Sanford as postmaster.

Wamic is also known as the Gateway to the Barlow Trail

Historical context
Following the opening of the Barlow Road in 1846, which provided an alternative to shooting the rapids on the Columbia River, a cutoff to the Barlow Road came into use. The Cutoff to the Barlow Road saved emigrants as much as a week of travel time.

Previously, emigrants traveled to The Dalles, then followed an ancient Indian trail south from The Dalles to Tygh Valley. In Tygh Valley, emigrants caught the Barlow Road and followed it over the Cascades to Oregon City. Oregon Trail emigrant and diarist Riley Root first mentions Cutoff in 1848, by which time it was apparently already well established. In the years that followed, the Cutoff was used extensively by Oregon trail emigrants.

  • On the top of this bluff, the road divides, one leading to the Columbia River. The other, at the left, is the one we took.

    Riley Root, 1848
  • According to the History of Central Oregon, the Barlow Cutoff...
  • ...was called the Old Emigrant Road and Road in Ravine. The route was established and was being used increasingly by the emigrants -- especially those with animals. The toll over the Barlow Road was $5 a wagon and 10 cents per animal... It entered [Sherman] county one mile below Leonard's bridge, climbed the hill in a southwesterly direction, paralleled Grass Valley canyon until near the present site of Grass Valley, where it entered the canyon and continued southwesterly to Buck Hollow. The emigrants ferried themselves across the DesChutes on wagon boxes one mile north of Sherar's Bridge.
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