Wilbur Pioneers: The Founding of Germaine

For several years, the pioneers who settled in the present site of Germaine had a very loose structure of governance. They were, after all, just a few neighboring families trying to survive on the harsh Central Oregon desert. These families all knew one another, got along relatively well, and had a tradition of consensus around major community decisions.

It wasn’t until the late 1850’s, when the first newcomers began arriving in the Tamarack Valley, that the town began to consider the need for a formal city council.

In July, 1859, the year of Oregon statehood, the town elected its first Mayor, Thomas Bradford. By that year, Germaine’s population had grown to 45.

Two years later, Luke Charlebois discovered artesian water at the present day location of Charlebois Corners, and moved his family out to a new farm about 8 miles west of Germaine, reducing the population to 37. There it hovered until the post civil war years, when a new wave of births and fresh arrivals pushed the population to over 50.

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