Eastern Oregon Rancher William “Bill Kitt” Kittredge was raised by pioneering parents. His mother traveled by wagon on the Oregon Trail and his father emigrated West during the California Gold Rush of 1849.
Born in 1876 in Washington Territory, by age 16 he was working as a hired hand for $25 a month in Silver Lake, Ore. He saved enough to purchase 40 acres in Sand Springs, Ore. Starting with this land and some cattle he received in lieu of wages, Kittredge went on to build one of the finest cattle operations in the West.
As a cowboy, rancher, banker and businessman, Kittredge overcame all obstacles and set large goals. By the time Kittredge died in 1958, he had 19,000 head of cattle, owned ranches in three states, including in Klamath, Lake and Harney counties in Oregon, plus more than a million acres of deeded, leased or permit lands.
In 2015, the Oregon Legislature honored Kitt by recognizing him as one of Oregon’s most influential leaders in the last 100 years.
Sources: Wilkins, Amy. "Rags to Ranching." American Cowboy, Western Lifestyle, 19 Mar. 2014, https://www.americancowboy.com/ranch-life-archive/rags-ranching. Accessed 18 Apr. 2018; Juillerat, Lee. "Oregon Legislature Honors Rancher "Bill Kitt". Herald and News, 27 Mar. 2015 [Klamath Falls, OR], https://www.heraldandnews.com/.rancher-bill-kitt/article_01cbeec6-d44a-11e4-8001. Accessed 19 Apr. 2018.