Date of visit: September 17, 2011
Population: 8,920 (2010 Census)
White people first settled in the Fairview area around 1850 because of the good farmland. Early residents liked the name “Fairview” but a town on the coast already had that name, so they called their town Cleone until the coastal town’s post office closed in 1914.
The native population had been greatly reduced by disease, but there were a few left living the area as white settlers began moving in. Old John, or Indian John, was a well-known Native American in the area. He was about 14 or 15 years old when Lewis & Clark passed through on their epic trek. He once showed a Fairview resident a silver spoon that had been given to him by Lewis & Clark. The Oregon Historical Society has a three-legged cast-iron camp skillet that used to belong to Old John and which is believed to have originated with the Lewis & Clark expedition.
He tanned hides, fished, helped take care of neighbor’s cattle, hoed potato fields, and acted as caretaker when families were away. His wife died from diphtheria in the 1850s and as he grew older his neighbors watched out for him and made sure he was getting enough to eat. At one point he was robbed of his life savings, $80, by a white man. Fairview residents tried to find the thief and bring him to justice, but were unsuccessful. Eventually Indian John ended up at the County Poor Farm and died in 1893. His exact age was unknown, but he was over 100 and by some accounts he was over 125 years old.