Butter Creek Crossing, Oregon

A Favorite Campsite for Livestock & Emigrants

The Oregon Trail came from the east across Echo Meadows and turned southwest just west of here. The Butter Creek crossing of the trail is about one mile to the southwest.


Butter Creek

Because of the availability of water and grass in the area, it became a favorite campsite where stock were rested and recruited. It was also used as a burial location for emigrants who died. One of those was Lucinda Powell Propst, who was born in Champaign County, Ohio, on February 19, 1817. In March 1852, with her husband Anthony and their five children, she left Sugar Grove, Illinois, for Oregon. While crossing the Blue Mountains in August, Lucinda became ill and died. Her body was carried in the wagon to the Butter Creek campground for burial. Shortly after leaving there, Anthony Propst became ill, died, and was buried at the Philip Foster place on the western slope of the Cascade Mountains. The five children were taken in by relatives and the wagons proceeded to the Willamette Valley.




In later years, the remains of Lucinda Powell Propst that could be found were moved to the cemetery in Echo, Oregon. Since the trail era, Butter Creek has been changed by the Army Corps of Engineers and agricultural development until it barely resembles the stream it used to be.


Open to the public: Southwest of Hermiston, Umatilla County, Oregon. SW1/4, Sec. 20, T3N, R28E. Exit I-84 south of Hermiston, Oregon on Oregon 207 and travel south 5 miles. The marker is at a pull-off on the west side of the road, where the Oregon Trail intersects the highway.