First Advisor

Gordon B. Dodds

Term of Graduation

Fall 1976

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Baldwin Sheep and Land Company, Sheep -- Oregon -- History



Physical Description

1 online resource (90 pages)


This thesis is a study of the establishment and exceptional growth of the Baldwin Sheep & Land Company of Hay Creek, Oregon, during the period 1873 to 1910. The operation has been examined to determine the effects of population movement, market conditions, economic trends, and federal land policies on the course of its development.

The data used to analyze the internal character of the business were taken from a collection of the papers of John Griffith Edwards located in the Oregon Historical Society Library. The materials from the collection used were a short history of the Ranch written by John Griffith Edwards, major stockholder from 1901 to 1910, the minute book of the corporation, the articles of incorporation, and a comparative financial statement for the years 1905-1906.

Statistical data relating to sheep and wool production, population trends, and prices were taken from the U.S. Bureau of Census Reports and the Biennial Reports of the Secretary of State of Oregon for the period. The experiences of individuals presently or formerly involved in the business were solicited by interviews. Articles and information found in historical publications, particularly the Oregon Historical Quarterly, were consulted.

Founded at a timely juncture the Baldwin Sheep & Land Company under continuous efficient management accumulated adequate tracts of prime grazing lands adjacent to public domain to develop large technically superior flocks of sheep. Despite a slowdown trend of wool prices, the Ranch experienced an exceptional growth due to economies of large-scale operation, favorable cost advantages in Oregon, the shift of wool production from east to west, and the concomitant structural change from small operation supplementary to general farming to large scale sheep ranching.

Although during this period internal and external factors combined to facilitate the growth and success of the Ranch the establishment of forest preserves in 1906 and the imposition of limits on grazing on the public domain along with the approaching stagnation of the industry threatened the previously effective balance of conditions that had favored the ranch.

Based on these observations it was concluded that although other ranches had been established and successfully developed during the period studied the Baldwin Sheep & Land Company possessed singular differences that enabled it to flourish as a wool production plant and attain worldwide recognition for the breeding of pure-bred sheep.


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