What’s an Izee?

July 20th, 2012 by Richard Nelson

“If you can tell me what an Izee is, I can tell you its history,” jests Historian Jack Southworth.

IZ Cattle Ranch is located in the town of Izee, Oregon, a small outpost along the South Fork of the John Day River about twenty miles east of Paulina. The lush grassland along the South Fork of the John Day river made this land a popular grazing location for cattle and sheep herders in the late 1800s. A ranching boom began in the 1880s and the unique name Izee was born quite spontaneously when the growing population forced the need for a Post Office in the boom-town. A local homesteader and former cavalry man, Carlos Bonham, named the town after his own cattle brand “IZ” when he applied for a postal code as the town’s first postmaster.

Read more in this account from Historian Jack Southworth of Grant County, Oregon: The History of Izee, Oregon and it’s pioneers.