Various business interests and activities have claimed the attention of George W. Loosley, whose efforts have not only been a source of individual profit but also an element in public progress and prosperity. He now makes his home on a ranch on the west bank of Wood river, three miles south of Fort Klamath, and has converted the place from a tract of wild land into a well developed farm. He was born at Champoeg, Clackamas county, Oregon, August 16, 1856, a son of John and Lucy (Walling) Loosley. The father was born in Oxford, England, February 8, 1824, and the mother in Muscatine, Iowa, January 22, 1834. The father served an apprenticeship at the miller’s trade and when twenty-one years of age crossed the Atlantic to New York, whence he made his way to Chicago. There he operated a mill for a year and in 1852 made his way to the Gold Mines of California. He followed mining near Yreka and also in Jackson county, Oregon, and he operated the first gristmill at Albany, Oregon. He was married there and later when to Champoeg, where he conducted a gristmill for Major McLaughlin. Subsequently, he removed to the Grande Ronde Indian reservation in Yamhill county, where he was in the employ of the government under General John F. Miller for about three years. He next went to McMinnville, where he operated a gristmill for several years, but he lost all that he had in the milling business about 1870. He was also in ill health and he had a family of seven children to support. Conditions looked very dark and discouraging but in 1871 he made his way to Klamath Agency, secured a tract of government land and filed on his homestead, settling in the Wood River valley before the survey was made. The remainder of his life was here passed, his death occurring November 8, 1900. He engaged in the cattle business here, starting with sixty head, and he was the first to demonstrate the fact that cattle could remain in the valley through the winter, the other settlers telling him that there was too much snow. Mr. Loosley, however, cut hay and fed his stock and his care of them enabled them to withstand the hard winter. He owned three hundred and twenty acres of land and hard from three hundred to four hundred head of cattle on the range, for the whole country was open then. During the first two years of his residence in this part of the state he was employed at the Indian agency, at which time his nearest neighbors were at Klamath Falls, forty miles away, with some soldiers at the fort. He was largely instrumental in having this valley settled by homeseekers and he contributed in large measure to the early improvement and progress in this part of the state. His wife survived him and passed away in the Wood River valley May 28, 1912. She was a daughter of Jerome B. and Sarah Walling, natives of the middle west, who in 1847 crossed the plains to the Willamette valley and settled on the present site of Amity, in Yamhill county, where they secured a donation claim. In 1864 Mr. Walling removed to Boise Idaho, where he secured land and put in the first irrigation system and also planted the first orchard of that district. He prospered in his undertakings and had a goodly competency to leave to his large family at this death.
George W. Loosley was the second in order of birth in a family of eleven children, the other being: Nancy, the deceased wife of Jacob Moyer; Mary, the wife of John H. Smart, of Wood River valley; J.F., also living in this valley; Rose, the wife of George L. Nutley, of Tacoma, Washington; Bird, of Klamath Falls; Philip Sheridan, living at Tolo, Oregon; Marion, of Wood River valley; Fannie, the wife of Oscar Bunch of Fort Klamath; Milan A., of the Philippine Islands, in the signal service department of the government; and Benjamin, who is postmaster at Fort Klamath.
George W. Loosley remained at home with his parents until twenty-four years of age. He was married May 2, 1880, to Emma Anderson, who was born at Brownsville, Oregon, December 8, 1858, a daughter of the Rev. Marion and Malissa (Arnold) Anderson, who were born, reared and married in the middle west, and in 1851 settled in the Rogue River valley of Oregon, whence they later removed to the Willamette valley. The father was a lifelong clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal church. His wife died in January, and he in April of 1861, when they were residing near Ashland, Oregon.
In 1882 Mr. Loosley built and operated the first steamboat on the Upper Klamath lake. It was a screw-propeller, called the General Howard. He afterward built the City Klamath, a stern wheel boat but in 1887 he disposed of his steamboat interest and has since concentrated his energies upon ranching. He owns thirteen hundred acres in Wood River valley in three ranches. His own home is pleasantly situated three miles south of Fort Klamath, on the west bank of Wood river, and through his efforts the place has been transformed from a tract of wild land into a highly improved property. He has every acre under ditch and owns the water supply. The fencing, ditching and irrigating have all been done by him and he also erected good buildings upon his place, which is devoted to the raising of cattle. In 1895 he assisted in establishing the first creamery in Wood River valley at Fort Klamath and for a year after acted as manager, after which the business was sold to his brother John F. Loosley, who still conducts it. George W. Loosley also spent two years in the butchering business at Ashland, from 1908 until 1910, as a member of the Neil-Loosley Company. They owned three markets, bought and sold cattle and carried on an extensive business, their sales in the retail department amounting to sixty thousand dollars annually.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Loosley have been born four children. Earl was born June 28, 1881, and died January 3, 1882. Edward K., who was born March 4, 1883, is the owner of fruit ranch at Beswick, California. He married Bessie Butler and has one child, George. Carey V., born June 13, 1885, is at home. Clara M. is the wife of Fred R. Neil, a stockman on the Wood River valley, and they have two children: Joe, born March 11, 1907; and Frederick, born May 13, 1910. Edward Loosley spent one year at the State University and is a graduate of the Armstrong Business College. Carey spent three and a half years at the State University and is now superintendent of the Abner Weed ranch of twenty-two thousand acres in Wood River valley. Clara pursued a normal course at Ashland.
In his political views Mr. Loosley is a republican, having always supported the party, as did his father before him. His father voted to make Oregon a free state when the question of slavery was before the people. Fraternally, Mr. Loosley is connected with Ashland Lodge, No. 112, F. & A. M., and his wife is a member of the Eastern Star. They also hold membership in the Episcopal church and are interested in all that pertains to the material, intellectual, political and moral advancement of the district.
Source: The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912. Volume IV. 1912. Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company.