In 1878, Raphael "Fred" Raymond purchased 160 acres of land from the railroad. That purchase, and that homestead, laid the foundation for what 5 generations and 137 years later would be the farming and ranching business of Raymond & Son, Inc.
Fred would eventually marry Adaline Sutherland, a native Kansan who made the trek west in a covered wagon at the age of 8. They would have 4 surviving children, the youngest of which would be known both locally and in statewide political circles as Ruff. He was born in 1906, and would take over the farming operation north of Helix in 1934. He and his wife Gladys would have two children, Raphael Royal Jr. in 1928 and Barbara in 1931, both of whom would spend their entire lives dedicated to farming and ranching.
After a 2 year stint in the navy and 1 year in college, Royal returned home to help his father on the farm. He married Wilma Bowman and they had two daughters, Jennifer (Davis) and Becky (Evans), and one son Tony. Royal would oversee the growth of the cattle from a small registered Shorthorn herd that Ruff had started into a predominantly Hereford commercial herd. That herd was limited in size due to summer pasture constraints until 1963, when a grazing lease was obtained from what would become Boise Cascade in Wallowa County. With nearly 20,000 acres of summer pasture, Raymond and Son now had the ability to build their herd to nearly 400 cows.
Tony came back to the farm in 1975 and married Peggy Smith shortly after. They had three boys; Ryan, Tyson and Chance.
In 1982 the opportunity to expand the farming operation outweighed the cattle market and all but 65 head of yearling heifers were sold to buy a farm that would ultimately become the home of Royals sister Barbara and her husband Alan. The Boise Cascade lease was lost, and Royal and Tony set to work on building back to the numbers needed to reacquire the lease. They incrementally pieced together portions of the lease starting a few years later. In 1995 the purchase of 125 heifers from the KG Ranch in Three Forks, Montana got their numbers back over 400, allowing the full allotment in Wallowa to again fall under the 3R brand.
In 2002, Ryan came back from training horses in Idaho to help manage the cattle business. Tony had secured another lease on the 83 Ranch in Pilot Rock, OR. This provided additional summer pasture as well as winter calving ground. Raymond and Son, Inc. partnered with Botts Angus and purchased the top end of the 83 Ranch cattle, as well as leased additional cows to hit the numbers necessary to fully utilize the new grass. This arrangement was in place for several years until Raymond & Son could assume the entire lease. Ryan slowly added additional summer pasture as well as calving ground, and the commercial herd grew to its peak of over 700 head in 2013. It was then that the bottom 200 head were sold off to make way for the purchase of 300 head of registered Rollin' Rock cows.
From 160 acres and a milk cow in 1878 to 1200 acres and a handful of registered shorthorns in 1949 to over 5000 acres, 500 commercial cows and 300 registered today, the Raymond family business has grown to become as much a part of the Eastern Oregon landscape as the wheat that it grows and the calves that it raises. Today Ryan, his wife Amy, along with their two boys Pace and Colter, oversee the cattle program in Wallowa, Helix, and Pilot Rock. Tyson and his wife Kate, with their two boys Uriah and Malachi, farm the wheat and canola.