At least 20 members of the extended Bowen-McKee family travelled the Oregon Trail, breaking out of “the ruts” at the LaGrande Valley to forge their way southwest to the Rogue River Valley.  We don’t know for sure if they left Missouri in 1852 or 1853 (probably 1853), but do know that they arrived in Bear Creek Valley in August of 1853.  Miraculously, all 20 survived the journey.

John & Maryum McKee staked a Donation Land Act claim to 640 acres on the slope of a prominent butte.  They named that landmark for Maryum’s stepmother and John’s aunt:  Roxy Ann Hutchinson Bowen.