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Want to help research history of Avimor-Spring Valley Ranch?

Before this morning, the oldest information I had about historic Avimor/Spring Valley Ranch residents was from 1897 when the original ranch area was called “Howell”, probably names for William & Eliza Howell. There are even some old maps showing Howell as a town. However, this morning I come across a land patent online showing Llewellyn Argabright as having received homestead land patents back in 1884 and another portion in 1889. These are handwritten Homestead Act land grants signed by Presidents Chester A. Arthur and Benjamin Harrison, respectively. The land Llewellyn owned then makes up the bulk of the currently developed Avimor community.

With a little research of online sources I was able to discover a little more about Llewellyn Argabright. He was the youngest of six kids born in Missouri in 1854 to James W. Argabright and Elizabeth Hillix. The family moved to Kansas in 1855 where Llewellyn’s mother died sometime before 1859. In 1859, the family moved to Nebraska where James Argabright remarried and had four more children.

Llewellyn shows up again on historical records on the 1870 Census, in Idaho, but he is 15 years old and living with and working on the farm of the William & Victoria Thurman family; which may have been family or friends from the Missouri-Kansas days. It was not uncommon in those days for families to send their kids off to be raised and to work for other families.

An Ada County marriage certificate shows 23 year old Llewellyn being married to Martha Belle Roberts (she went by “Belle”) on March 10th, 1878.

Then we have the 1884 and 1889 land patents here in present day Avimor.

I found a May 5, 1889 mention of Llewellyn and Belle Argabright conveying a portion of their land here to Benjamin Wilson and George W. Williams. Two more names I had not previously encountered that we’ll need to research.

The 1900 Census has Llewellyn, Belle and their seven kids ages two to 18 in Garden Valley, Idaho, about a 30-45 north–northeast of Avimor. I also found 1889 land patents for an Argabright family member in Garden Valley. The 1910 Census has the family still in Garden Valley with Belle listed as head of household. No Llewellyn.

An Oregon death certificate shows Llewellyn died in Malheur County, Oregon on Jan 11th, 1914. There is a record – without dates – of a Llewellyn Argabright buried at the Dry Creek Cemetery, not far from Avimor. So why wasn’t he with his family in 1910? Was he simply working in eastern Oregon for a time and died there and was brought back to be buried here? Or is the Llewellyn Argabright buried at Dry Creek Cemetery a child of Llewellyn and Belle?

Mysterious. Fertile ground for more research.

If this kind of thing that fascinates you?! If so, please get with Robert Mortensen to start your own quest down Avimor’s history lane. He has a long list of family names of early homesteaders to research and the more help, the merrier.