CENTRAL OREGON HISTORY: The disappearance of Shorty Davis – Portland Tribune


TMP
TMP2
PMG logo
Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM   - The Shorty Davis Ranch is shown. Davis mysteriously disappeared in 1900 and nobody ever figured out why.
One of the longest unsolved mysteries of Central Oregon occurred in the summer of 1900, when local sheepman, Shorty Davis, disappeared from his ranch on Upper Crooked River. Mr. Davis had arrived in Central Oregon in 1881 and worked as a sheep herder for local ranchers. Through hard work and thriftiness, he was able to purchase property southeast of Prineville, near the mouth of Eagle Creek.
He developed a prosperous sheep ranch and summer-grazed his sheep on the lush timberlands of the Ochoco mountains. His operation grew to include cattle as well as sheep, and he constructed a house along the banks of the Crooked River for his headquarters. He remained a bachelor and was generally well thought of by his neighbors. His short and squat stature resulted in his nickname of "Shorty." He had a mysterious past, and few locals knew much about him.


In the mid-summer of 1900, neighbors discovered that Shorty was not at his ranch. His sheep and cattle were still at the ranch, and he was reported as missing to local authorities. A search soon began to find him, but there were no clues as to where he may have gone or how long he may have been gone.
Rumors quickly began to spread that cattlemen had wanted his grazing land, and since it was at the beginning of the infamous sheep and cattle war in Central Oregon, it was believed that Shorty had been murdered. It was not a trademark of the Sheepshooters organization to kill sheepmen, as their violence was mostly directed at the sheep.
A reward was offered for information leading to the discovery of Shorty or his body and the arrest of his murderer. No information was received, and Shorty was never seen again. Search parties looked in nearby ravines and rock crevices in an attempt to discover his body without success.
The estate of Shorty Davis was estimated to be between $75,000 and $100,000, and that was a fortune in that era. The estate was held in trust for one year while the government advertised for heirs. The livestock and property were then auctioned by the county.
In 1905, the case of Shorty Davis once again arose, when an informant claimed that Davis had been murdered and that the murderer had confessed that he had thrown the body down an abandoned well near the ranch. A search of the well began, but only the bones of a dog were discovered and still his disappearance remained a mystery. Investigations eventually led, in 1907, to the discovery that Shorty's real name was Leonidis Douris and that he was an immigrant from Greece who had become a naturalized United States citizen. It was determined that he had brothers that still lived in Greece and that they were the rightful heirs to the estate, minus debts and court costs.
The mystery of Shorty's past had been discovered, but the circumstances of his disappearance still remain as one of the longest unsolved mysteries of the region.
button suppot 02
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.
button suppot 03
Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!

 
 





Portland Tribune
Beaverton Valley Times
Tigard Tualatin Times
Lake Oswego Review
West Linn Tidings
Wilsonville Spokesman
Hillsboro Tribune
Forest Grove News Times
Newberg Graphic
Clackamas Review
Oregon City News
The Outlook
Sandy Post
Estacada News
Canby Herald
Woodburn Independent
Molalla Pioneer
Columbia County Spotlight
Regal Courier
Sherwood Gazette
The Bee
Southwest Community Connection
Madras Pioneer
Central Oregonian
Submit an Obituary
Columns
Public Notices
Oregon Property Foreclosures
Business Calendar
Business Leads
News Links
Plan Center
Marketing
Columns
Public Notices
Oregon Property Foreclosures
Business Calendar
Business Leads
News Links
Plan Center
Marketing
Printing and Distribution Services
Public Notices
Digital Marketing Solutions
Submit an Obituary
Columns
Public Notices
Oregon Property Foreclosures
Business Calendar
Business Leads
News Links
Plan Center
Marketing
Columns
Public Notices
Oregon Property Foreclosures
Business Calendar
Business Leads
News Links
Plan Center
Marketing
Printing and Distribution Services
Public Notices
Digital Marketing Solutions
Weekly Ads
This Week’s Circulars
Find your Next Vehicle
Special Sections
Insiders
News Tips
Letters to the Editor
Births | Anniversaries | Weddings | Engagements | Business | Birthday | Obituaries
Community Calendar
Weekly Ads
This Week’s Circulars
Find your Next Vehicle
Special Sections
Insiders
News Tips
Letters to the Editor
Births | Anniversaries | Weddings | Engagements | Business | Birthday | Obituaries
Community Calendar
PMG logo
DrPamplin
Click Here
Advertise with Us
Current Job Openings


© 2022 Pamplin Media Group | All rights reserved | 6605 SE Lake Rd, Portland, OR 97222 | 503-684-0360 | Privacy Policy | Refund Policy

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *