From An Illustrated History of Umatilla County by Colonel William Parsons and of Morrow County by W. S. Schiach, 1902.
Twenty miles south of Heppner, pleasantly situated on a level tableland under the brow of the Blue Mountains, is the orderly and quiet, yet busy little town of Hardman. It is surrounded by one of the finest wheat, grain and stock countries in Morrow County, while away to the northwest stretches that magnificent wheat belt known as the Eight mile section. It is stated that the country immediately surrounding Hardman as never known a crop failure. Its average yield of wheat is conservatively estimated at twenty bushels per acre, though as high as fifty bushels have been harvested. The country is likewise noted for its production of vegetables, especially potatoes, which sometimes weigh from four to seven pounds. It is also beginning to win fame as a fruit producer, notwithstanding its elevation of about 3,600 feet. Another important element of wealth is the timber of the Blue Mountains. Two mills have for years been engaged in cutting this into lumber, Benjamin H. Parker's and W. L. Mallory's but they cannot begin to supply the demand for their product. Two others are to be built in the near future. These naturally obtain a large part of the their supplies from Hardman, the nearest point, and there is not good reason why the town should not command practically all their trade. Then, too, Hardman is the only stopping place for teams coming for wood from the vast country between the mountains and the Columbia river, and all freight teams from the railway to interior points must needs pass through the town, making trade for the hotels an delivery stables and through them for other business establishments.
It was the good fortune of the writer, on the occasion of his visit to Hardman , to meet Mr. John F. Royse, one of the pioneer school teachers of the county, for many years one of the most successful farmers in the vicinity of Hardman, and now a prominent merchant of that place. Mr. Royse and his brother were the first permanent settlers in the Hardman country, and to him we are indebted for many facts concerning the history of the town. The advent of the Royse's did not long precede the coming of Benjamin H. Parker, Peter Gleason, John H. Adams and Mrs. Nancy Johnson and at a later date came John Hadley, Dan Rice, A.H. Allen and others, some of whom have since moved away.
Before these people settled in the vicinity the country had been used as a range by stockmen, chief among whom were Perry Oller, George and Dick Stewart and Charles Miller, horse raisers, and James Sperry, O.E. Farnsworth and Frank Warrens, sheepmen. The settlement of the county made it necessary for these men to adopt other pursuits or withdraw and seek other ranges.
The first school in the section was established in 1879 and was taught by Mr. Royce. About 1882 the pioneer general merchandise store of the town was opened by a man named Hughes, who was succeeded by Kahler Brothers; the first blacksmith shop was opened by George Loutrelle, and these, with a few residences, formed the nucleus of the town. The official designation of the place was Dairyville, though it was commonly known by the pseudonym of Rawdog. Contemporaneous with its inception was the establishment of a rival village not more than a mile away, know the pioneers as Yallerdog. The struggle for supremacy was very bitter between these two places at first, but eventually Yallerdog gave up the contest and joined its strength to that of its former rival. The union of the two was familiarly known as Dogtown, and Hardman is occasionally referred to by that designation at the present day. The first post office was kept by an old pioneer farmer named David N. Hardman, who lived in the country near the town, and whose name was applied to the office. When he moved into Dairyville, bringing, by consent of the government, the post office with him, its name was not changed. The town took the name of the office and became generally known as Hardman.
The absorption of its rival gave Hardman another store and blacksmith shop and a saloon. Its growth from that time until the summer of 1901 was very slow, but lately it has taken a fresh start. Attracted by its excellent public school, many farmers have erected houses and moved their families within its limits, making necessary the erection in the near future of a new temple of learning.; Business has increased greatly and the indications are that the town has entered upon a career of advancement not soon to terminate.
The business of the place at the present date is represented as follows: J.F. Royse & Sons, Mrs. E.E. Bleakman and H. E. Warren, dealers in general merchandise; the City Hotel, of which Mrs. R.H. Stillwell is proprietress, and the hotels of Mrs. J.C. Owens and Mrs. P.A. Reed; the feed stables of J. C. Owens and Charles Reed; R. H. Stillwater and Kline Ashbaugh, blacksmiths; one saloon; the barber shop of John Robertson; a meat market, owned by Frank Craner ; a postoffce and a telephone office giving connection with Canyon City, Spray, Lone Rock, Heppner and over the country generally; three halls, the I. O. O. F., just completed the K. O. T. M. and a dance hall owned by Guy Hadley. There are also two public school buildings, presided over by Mr. L.T. Anderson and Mrs. Bayliss, and even these are not sufficient to accommodate the youth of the town and country, so a new building is projected. A fine Methodist Episcopal Church edifice is open for the use of all evangelical denominations, and in it services are held by the Methodists, Baptists, United Brethren and Christians. Six fraternities and sororities are represented in the town, namely: The I. O. O. F., the L. O. T. M., the K. O. T. M, and the K. of P., the Rebekahs and the United Artisans.
Hardman, with its wealthy environs offers excellent opportunities for business investment. A drug store and a physician are badly needed; a flouring mill to convert the wheat of the section into flour for the supply of the interior country, saving the cost of transportation to Heppner of the wheat and of the flour back again, could not but succeed, and it is probably that a young lawyer might find there the opportunity to secure a living practice with out any long novitiate. Only energy and business acumen are required to win for Hardman a very considerable share of the patronage now enjoyed by Heppner, and should the railway ever be extended to that p9oint and beyond, it sure to become one of the leading business centers of the county.