Date of visit: May 26, 2012
Population: 238 (2010 Census)
Morrow County was created in 1885, carved out of the western part of Umatilla County and a small part of eastern Wasco County. It was named in honor of Jackson Lee Morrow, an early settler in the area. Heppner became the temporary county seat until an election could be held to determine the permanent county seat. The election was to be held in 1886 and both Lexington and Heppner were vying to win.
Heppner citizens donated land on which to build the courthouse and contributed money towards the cost of building it, even though the vote hadn’t happened yet. Lexington residents were not amused and they countered with a building site of their own as well as $3,000 in building funds. On the day of the vote Heppner’s youth rode out to surrounding sheep ranches so the ranchers could go into town and vote. That night during the ballot count Lexington was beating out Heppner by a wide margin. The ballot counters called it a night at 2am, posting a guard until counting could be resumed in the morning. The guard, so the story goes, was drugged via his coffee and in the morning all the ballots had disappeared. The issue went to court, which ruled that Heppner would become the county seat since it had already been serving as the temporary location anyway. So Lexington lost its bid to become the county seat of Morrow County.
A closed store in Lexington bearing the name of the nearby town of Heppner