The story of Jasper Westfall, town marshal of Westfall, Oregon and his fatal gunfight with killer Asa Carey, blacksmith, barfly and local hot head

Jasper Westfall - A Gunfight in Oregon

Used with permission of Sandra Sanchez

Last Gunfight in Westfall Oregon

Material and photographs provided by Dennis Westfall
©2002 Sandra Sanchez

Westfall, Oregon

The dusty desert town of Westfall, Oregon established in 1882 and named for it's first settler Levi Westfall, still remained in 1912. False fronted buildings stood along the main street with small houses behind.

In its early days the town had been known as a tough town where gunfights often occurred. As time passed the gunfights all but ceased and life became routine and quiet for the most part. Until the fateful day of May 10...

On a warm Spring day May 10, 1912 blacksmith Asa Carey , who had previously killed two men provoked a gunfight in the middle of Main Street ending the life of Marshal Jasper Westfall , who had been the Marshal just three short days.

Asa Carey had been a trouble maker for years. He was not a large man standing 5 ft. 7 inch. And weighing 170 lbs. But he was strong and quick and had a short fused temper that had caused injury and trouble before. In 1906 Carey had shot and killed a cowboy named Frank Cammann in the Hart saloon and three years later he beat twenty year old Dan Brady so badly that he died three days later. He had pleaded self-defense in both cases and with the help of testimony from his cronies he had walked away from both incidences.

Carey was known as a bully and trouble maker in the best of times but his temper became even quicker when he had been drinking in one of his regular hangouts Frank Jones or Ivan Harts Saloons.

Jasper Westfall

Asa Carey

Carey let it be known in 1912 that he wanted to become the Town Marshal , a job that paid $75.00 a month which was a fine sum in those days. He claimed that since he often handled the drunken cowboys in one or the other saloons he ought to be paid for it.

When Ben Corbett resigned as Marshal in April of 1912 Carey wanted the job. In the absence of Mayor William West, the gentleman who normally choose the marshall, the town council after much badgering by Carey and his cronies offered the job to Carey.

Carey's heavy handedness in the job soon became apparent. His reign as Marshal was short lived, however for when Mayor West returned May 7 he immediately removed Carey as Marshal and appointed Jasper Westfall to the position. 40 year old Jasper was a relative of the City's founder and was known as a fair minded sober man. He had built a new Home in Westfall in 1910 where he lived with his wife Daisy and two small children.

Asa Carey was infuriated at the decision and only reluctantly surrendered his badge to the Mayor. He began drinking heavily on the night of May 7 and continued for the next few days.

May 10 dawned to the quiet routine of a warm spring day. The townspeople went about their normal business greeting one another and peacefully enjoyed the morning.

Remains of Jasper Westfall's home

Around noon Asa Carey wandered into Frank Jones's Saloon armed with a revolver. After having several drinks Asa crossed the street to Hart's Saloon where he continued to drink with his friend Art Ricketts. All day he continued to drink wandering back and forth between the two Saloons and boasting that he was the better man for the job of Marshal. He then went out onto the porch of the Jones Saloon and began whooping and yelling that the Marshal Jasper Westfall should come and quiet him.

Jasper at home about a block northwest heard the commotion Asa was causing and headed to the scene to quiet him. As he approached the Saloon Jasper saw a number of people watching from places of cover.

Jasper unarmed walked calmly up to Carey and ask him to quiet down. Carey stared at Jasper and said that if he tried to arrest him that he Carey would kill Jasper. Again Jasper told Carey to go home and quiet down , but his words had no effect. Jasper then calmly turned and walked home where he buckled on his Colt revolver and strode briskly back to Main Street. Carey was now standing in front of Jones Saloon. Jasper approached him and told him he was under arrest. Carey backed away a few feet and Jasper pulled his gun and ordered Carey to come with him. Carey quickly dodged away and pulled his gun.

Witnesses could not tell which man shot first. Jasper's gun had fired one shot and missed and Carey fired three times hitting Jasper twice. As Jasper fell, Carey swung his gun around challenging bystanders. He then stooped over the Marshal and took his gun.

Jail building where Carey was held

Carey was later captured with the help of Ben Corbett and Jack Fairman who tricked him into the Jones and Company store next door and subdued him.

Meanwhile Jasper was carried into the Hart Saloon was he was laid on the Billiard Table. A Doctor was called but to no avail. Jasper died within forty five minutes, His wife Daisy at his side.

Asa Carey was convicted of murder and sentenced to Life in prison at the State Penitentiary at Salem. He was later paroled and moved to Napa, California.

This 1912 Gunfight was the last incident of its kind at Westfall, for within a year the town had all but disappeared. Westfall became nearly deserted, which it remains to this day. Silent in it's memories.

Jasper Westfall was born in 1872 in Jackson County, West Virginia.  He was the son of Jackson and Mary Katherine Westfall of Jackson County, W. Va. and grandson of Stephen and Elizabeth (Morrison) Westfall of (West) Virginia.  I cannot identify Levi Westfall, the founder of the town of Westfall.  I have not been able to locate him on any census, but it is likely he was related to Jasper.  Jasper had an uncle Levi born 1825 whom I have also been unable to locate on any census.  Several Westfall's, all relatives of Jasper, can be found on the 1900 census of Bully District (Westfall), Malheur County, Oregon.

In 1963, Earl R. Smith, a former resident of Westfall, Oregon, published a book entitled the WESTFALL COUNTRY.  The book states that Levi Westfall was born 1810-1812 in (West) Virginia and came to Iowa, where he married Elizabeth (maiden name unknown).  Two daughters were born to them, Mary Jane in 1832 and Sarah Adeline in 1834.  Levi and Elizabeth were separated or divorced and Levi took the two daughters and sailed around the Horn to San Francisco in 1849.  By 1870 he was residing in eastern Oregon.

The book, OREGON GEOGRAPHIC NAMES says that Westfall, in Malheur County, was named for Levi Westfall, a pioneer who settled in Bully Creek Valley.  The post office was first established with the name of Bully in April, 1882, but was changed to Westfall in February, 1889.  It was at one time on the old Westfall ranch about two miles east of the present site of the town of Westfall. 

Ronald N. Wall
Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved
Modified: 23 May 2011