In August 1995, author and artist Edward Gray presented two paintings of Harney County scenes to the people of Harney County. The paintings were given in appreciation for help received while conducting research for his books detailing the lives of two notable area stock men.
Gray is the author of William "Bill" W. Brown, 1855-1941: Legend of Oregon's High Desert; including a history of the Wagontire Mountain Range Feud and Life and death of Oregon "Cattle King" Peter French, 1849-1897.
Hours of research went into the Peter French book with the help of the Harney County clerk’s office and various individuals, Gray said.
One painting is of the field where Harney County’s famous cattle king, Peter French, was killed. The other is a scene from Steens Mountain.
Originally, the paintings were displayed in the Harney County clerk’s office. Former County Clerk, Dee Swisher later donated one of the paintings to the Harney County Library, where it is on display in the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room along with other pieces of Gray’s artwork.
Subsequent to Gray’s untimely death the following year, his entire working research library—books, research notes, interviews, artwork, photographs and more—was donated to the Harney County Library. That collection, together with the library’s local history collection and a collection from Walt McEwen, a local rancher and book collector, were the basis of the Harney County Library’s western history archives.
Browse items from our Edward Gray Collection online in our digital archives. Make sure to take a walk through the Western History Room in the back of the library to view Gray’s artwork in person.
Gray's two books on Harney County history, along with two other books on South-Central Oregon history, are available for general circulation. Find available titles in the SAGE Library System catalog.
Authored by the staff at Harney County Library!