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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Rogue Valley Childhoods


Noel, Dale and Gordon on South Grape circa 1925.

CHEWING GUM.
BY THOMAS F. HICKS, M.D.
    A gentleman in the streets of C------, Iowa, lately counted, in fifteen minutes, seventy ladies chewing gum. This habit prevails extensively--especially in the West. Almost every school girl you meet is chewing, chewing, chewing.
    Of course, it will not be pretended that this habit is either as injurious or as nasty as chewing tobacco, yet it is not altogether innocent.
    When food is taken, saliva is secreted to aid in masticating it. When other substances are chewed, saliva is, at first, secreted as for food; but the vital instincts soon recognizing the nature of the substance, excrete a fluid similar to saliva for the defense of the tissues. This fluid (thrown out against tobacco, gum, etc.) is really an excretion.
   
The bile occasioned by taking poisonous medicines has, by careful experiment and analysis, been found to be quite a different substance from that secreted by the liver in its healthy action. So the fluid which the salivary glands produce during protracted chewing of that which is not food is quite different from healthy saliva. The waste, however, is probably just as great as if it were healthy saliva. Those who habitually chew gum unduly exercise the salivary glands, thus wasting vital force and injuring the glands, occasioning in them either ultimate debility or undue development in size. There is also danger of permanent depreciation and poisoning of the salivary glands.
    This constant chewing also injures the teeth. The teeth are no small item in a lady's beauty; and as they go to such rapid decay in America, demanding so early the dentist's care, it is surprising that ambitious young ladies should so wantonly destroy them. Boys often ruin their teeth by cracking nuts; they do it to get at the kernel--they have a motive--but what possible motive can boys, girls or women have for chewing, chewing, chewing, hour after hour, an insipid lump of gum?
    The habit also diverts attention from duty or study, and is one of the many familiar modern modes of killing time. In short, it is a useless, indecent, unhealthful practice. Boys and girls, let it alone!
Democratic Times,
Jacksonville, December 16, 1871, page 1


Thoughtless Boys.
    It has become quite an annoying and dangerous habit of the boys playing in the streets of this place to throw stones and mud at each other, and at houses, and the more venturesome and impudent do not hesitate at times, particularly when sure of escape, to cast their missiles at older persons who may chance to offer a mark. Their peculiar delight, in some cases at least, is to thus annoy the Chinese. As we have said, the practice is both annoying and dangerous, and when indulged in after proper caution, should be checked by more vigorous means. We saw some lads engaged in this business a few days ago, on the outer edge of town, while on their way home from school, with malicious motive, when an unoffending and non-resisting youngster was struck on the head with a stone, knocking him flat to the ground; and we are informed that it was several days before he fully recovered his reason. One of the main annoyances is the breaking of windows by throwing small lumps of stiff mud with a limber switch--as frequently the result of design as accident. Parents are too apt to think that their boys cannot be guilty of such actions, and as they are not permitted to witness all their boys may do, are frequently induced to look upon a person as over-fearful, or even presumptive, who may bring the subject to their attention. But human nature is pretty much the same here as elsewhere, and boys will be boys and second an example without thinking of results. The practice alluded to should be abolished, even if it require compulsion from those who may chance to be the aggrieved.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 21, 1874, page 3


    STOP THAT BOY.--A cigar in his mouth, a swagger in his walk, impudence in his face, a care for nothingness in his manner. Judging from his demeanor, he is older than his father, wiser than his teacher, more honored than the mayor of the town, higher than the President. Stop him; he's going too fast. He don't see himself as others see him. He don't know his speed. Stop him ere tobacco shatters his nerves, ere pride ruin his character, ere the loafer master the man, ere good ambition and manly strength give way to low pursuits and brutish aims. Stop all such boys! They are legion, the shame of their families, the disgrace of their town, the sad and solemn reproaches of themselves.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 18, 1877, page 4


    ENTERPRISING.--Getting short of brick for his new building this week, Pat Ryan offered several street gamins a cent apiece for each brick they would bring him, at the same time telling the boys to pick up any and all brick they could find around town. After prospecting around a little the youths struck a bonanza in the shape of a big brick pile in the back yard of one of Mr. Ryan's other houses. The work of delivering was commenced at once, the boys receiving their pay as each load was delivered, when finally Pat smelled a mouse and investigation showed that he had been buying his own brick. The contract was canceled at once.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 22, 1884, page 3


    Some of the little boys in town have been having lots of fun with a steam engine of their own manufacture, in which an old oil can figured as the boiler, and a homemade steam whistle furnished the requisite amount of noise. A day or two ago Bobby Rea, who was officiating as fireman, "crowded the machine" too much, and she burst her boiler, scalding the little fellow seriously about the legs and abdomen. He was badly burned and will not be able to run about again for some time.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, October 2, 1885, page 3


    Says the Adams, Umatilla Co. Times: "A juvenile hanging has occurred in town on Friday last: Several little 'kids' assembled to lynch little Charley Springler, hung him to a beam and were gyrating gleefully around their victim as he swung, black in the face and ready to climb the shining steps, when Mr. I. Hanson, who fortunately had business there at the moment, frustrated the tragedy. It seemed impossible for the lynching spirit to disgrace itself, but it did catch an extra shade of infamy that time. When children begin lynching it is time for men to stop. The boys, however, had no intention to kill their companion, being too young to see the serious nature of the thing."

"Here and There,"
Ashland Tidings, May 14, 1886, page 3


    Quite a number of the boys of this place are in the habit of running in the street and hanging on behind wagons passing by. It is very dangerous sport to say the least, and some of them will no doubt get severely hurt if they do not stop it.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, June 1, 1888, page 3


    Says the Jacksonville Times of last Thursday: Complaint was made before the town authorities by several parties yesterday, calling attention to the danger of fire arising from the custom of sending up toy balloons after night, which is now in vogue among the boys. On Tuesday evening two fires were started by burning balloons descending--one in J. A. Cardwell's field, which burned about 40 feet square in the stubble before it was extinguished, and the other in the stable lot or corral adjoining J. A. Wilson's barn near the courthouse. At this time when everything is as dry as tinder it behooves everyone to be extremely careful not to take unnecessary chances.

"Here and There," Ashland Tidings, June 28, 1889, page 3


Flippers.
    There are a lot of boys in Medford who are armed with an instrument which they manufacture with a forked stick and a rubber strap, with which they shoot out window lights, fire into unprotected dogs and in various other semi-harmless ways amuse themselves at other people's expense.
    The Mail would like to see their parents have to pay for property destroyed, and they might in this way be gently reminded that it is not a good idea to destroy too much property.

Medford Mail, September 7, 1889, page 3


    Small boys are running at large at unseasonable hours of night and making themselves generally obnoxious. They should be suppressed before they are further on the way to ruin.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 11, 1890, page 3


Sunday Horse Racing.
    Numerous complaints are heard of the practice which some of our lively boys are getting into of running horse races on Sunday, for money, in the vicinity of town. The practice is demoralizing in the extreme, and while the Times does not desire to pose as a censor, the complaints which some of our best citizens are making concerning it should be heeded, or it will soon be hard to restrain the boys. Young America should not be suppressed entirely, but sometimes a little repression has a very beneficial effect in the long run. If, as reported, some boys of a larger growth are inciting the youngsters to their course, popular sentiment should deter them from persisting in it.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 12, 1890, page 3



    Mrs. Warren Howard, while walking down the track on last Sunday, was hit in the head with a slingshot by her little boy, who was throwing rocks out of it just for fun, but it wasn't so funny, for his mother, who lay aside of the track for an hour or two before she was able to walk. It has got to be a common pastime for the boys around town to be throwing continually with their slings, large as well as small boys, and nothing more dangerous could be used. Now boys, it is a good time to stop before we have a worse accident to record.
Medford Mail, May 26, 1893, page 1


    Last Saturday was April first, and the day was duly celebrated by the perpetration of many pranks by the juvenile world. The most extensive joke was that played on a farmer living between this place and Central Point, who was told by a small boy that a colt he had lost a few weeks ago had fallen into a ditch up the road a ways. The farmer unhitched from his plow and started out to extricate the colt--which he didn't find and is still looking for. He has sworn vengeance on the boy and is loaded with a double-barreled gun--and the boy goes cross lots when he reaches Mr. Farmer's place.

"City Local Whirl," Medford Mail, April 7, 1893, page 3


    Frank Galloway is no astronomer. On election night the boys sent up some paper balloons. Mr. Galloway caught sight of one of them when it was a few miles heavenward, and thought it was Mars--and wanted to enter into a fistic encounter with anyone who disputed his assertion.

"City Local Whirl," Medford Mail, May 5, 1893, page 3


    Walking on stilts has become quite a fashion with the youngsters in our neighborhood since the recent bad weather. They wade across creeks and bridges with the greatest delight, seeming to enjoy being so far above the mud. But accidents will sometimes happen, and Dannie Soliss learned the truth of this a few days ago. He had been walking around looking down with satisfaction on the mud beneath him when he concluded to try a race with his dog. Starting off at breakneck speed, one of the foot supports gave away, precipitating him headfirst and full length in the mud, plowing quite a furrow. Results--boy and stilts laid up for repairs.

"Griffin Creek Gatherings," Medford Mail, January 5, 1894, page 2


    There is a little act which is being persisted in by several of the small boys about this city, which, if continued, will cost themselves and their parents no little trouble. The act is that of shooting and killing robins. This in direct violation of the state law and is punishable by either a fine or imprisonment, or both. The weapon used is a little spring gun with buckshots for bullets, and the practice is not alone confined to birds but to chickens and dogs as well. Several parties have reported to us the names of the boys who killed them, but out of respect for their parents, and through a hope that they will desist without publicity we will not publish their names at present. Some of these boys are old enough to know better than to get mixed up in such unprincipled acts.

"News of the City," Medford Mail, March 23, 1894, page 3


    The Medford Mail reads the riot act to the small boys who have been killing robins in that part of the valley. The orchardists should look after the matter and put a stop to it. The robin is a great bug hunter and worm eater and a valuable ally of the farmer and gardener.--Ashland Tidings.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, March 30, 1894, page 3


    If Medford parents could see and hear their children as others do, there would be less of boisterous conduct at public entertainments in the opera house. An encore or applause is all very right and proper when deserved, but prolonged whistling, shouting or stamping of feet is an act far beneath the conduct of a true gentleman. Boys can be little gentlemen if they will, and no better place is there to show this spirit of manliness than at a public entertainment. If parents do not take their wayward and boisterous children in hand at these public gatherings and see that they do not disturb those who go there to listen to the speakers, the marshal will be called upon to eject them from the hall.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, May 25, 1894, page 3



    Boys will be boys just the same as girls will be girls, but because this is true it is no reason why boys should not be little gentlemen and girls little ladies. However, it is boys only that we have to deal with in this item. The Mail knows of boys, who are old enough to know better, and whose mothers would give them a good snug spanking if they knew of some of their little acts. The act referred to is nothing more nor less than that of stealing fruit from the several stands about the city. Of course it is not your boys, but those neighbors' boys are a bad crowd and ought to be attended to. No longer than a few weeks ago one of our merchants reported having seen two boys slip around a street corner and steal peaches and apples from a box, slip them in their pockets, then enter the store and pilfer a few handsful of grapes from boxes sitting on the counter. The parents of these lads would be mortified to no small degree if they knew their sons would steal, but they do, and a starting out in this direction unless carefully guarded will land the young culprits in the penitentiary. If the boys are caught in this act again, their names will be printed in this paper.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, October 12, 1894, page 3


    Report reaches us that boys who would like to be men and who want to act like men--real bad ones--are in the habit of of congregating in old sheds and various other unused buildings about the city, and there put in their time playing poker; of course in a mild way, with only a nickel ante, but the habit is sufficiently alluring to take the boys from their homes and make gamblers of them. Parents should exercise the greatest possible vigilance in this matter and break up these little gatherings, which if diligently followed up cannot fail to result disastrously to the young men of our city.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, April 5, 1895, page 5


    John Bigham, living out on Dr. Adkins' place, south of Medford, has entered a complaint that the small boys who go bathing in the river near his place are making themselves too familiar with his potato patch. He has the identity of the lads written where he will not forget it, and if they do not let loose of his potato vines, and stay loose, he will have them before Judge Walton.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, July 5, 1895, page 5



AMATEUR DESPERADOES.
TWO YOUNG LADS LEAVE THEIR HOMES TO RUN AWAY.
    Following the example set by some of the larger boys, Loid Cox and a son of George Riggs, both about ten years of age, "took the road" last Friday, with the idea that they were doing something to be proud of, and that they would win them fame and admiration of the Evans and Sontag style.
    The Riggs boy, alias "Leandy Neil's son," obtained a quarter of Mrs. Cox under the pretext of wishing to buy a new hat. The boys then induced one of the Miller boys to let them have his gun, stating that they were going to Dead Indian and would bring him a pony to pay for it. Cartridges were purchased with the money, and, after some little preparation, the boys set out along the railroad track. They were next seen at Steinman by Lee Minkler, who telegraphed the information to city marshal G. W. Smith.
    After one night of desperado life, the Riggs boy became "homesick" and returned, leaving young Cox alone with the empty gun. When last heard of, Cox was stopping with a relative of Nim Long, in the Siskiyous. He will be sent home at once.
The Ashland Advertiser, August 21, 1895, page 1


    Report reaches us that boys, who would like to be men, and who want to act like men--real bad ones--are in the habit of congregating in old sheds and various other unused buildings about the city, and there put in their time playing poker; of course in a mild way, with only a nickel ante, but the habit is sufficiently alluring to take the boys from their homes and make gamblers of them. Parents should exercise the greatest possible vigilance in this matter and break up these little gatherings, which if diligently followed up cannot fail to result disastrously to the young men of our city.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, April 5, 1895, page 5



Duties of Pupils.
    The following rules relating to duties of pupils attending the public schools of Medford have been passed by the school board.
    They will commend themselves to the good judgment of the patrons of the school, and to every pupil who desires to make the most of his time and opportunities while in school.
    The issuing of these rules does not indicate that our schoolchildren are in special need of them, but that Medford is growing so fast that it is better to anticipate contingencies than to wait until necessity urges action. The good do not object to wholesome laws; others, who are wise, acquiesce. Patrons may care to keep this paper for future reference:
    1. Due attention shall be given to personal neatness and cleanliness. Any pupil failing in these respects may be sent home to be prepared for school. Any pupil affected with any contagious disease shall not be allowed to remain in school.
    2. Willful disobedience, habitual truancy, vulgarity or profanity, stealing or carrying deadly weapons, or violating the criminal or civil laws of the state or city, the use of intoxicating drinks or of tobacco in any form or of smoking any substance whatever on or about the school premises or on the way to or from school, will subject the offender to suspension or expulsion.
    3. Pupils who shall mark, cut or write upon any property used for school purposes or in any other way deface or injure it shall pay for the damage and be liable to punishment, suspension or expulsion.
    4. No pupil shall be allowed to be absent from school during regular sessions for the purpose of receiving any kind of instruction.
    5. No books, papers or other literature of any sort can be allowed in the school rooms unless directly connected with school work.
    6. Pupils must not enter other school rooms than their own unless granted permission by the principal.
    7. Pupils may be temporarily suspended from class exercises by the teacher, who shall immediately report with reason to the principal.
    8. Pupils detained from school must bring a written excuse from their parents on their return.
Medford Mail, October 18, 1895, page 4


    The city curfew bell has commenced its tolling. The hour is eight-thirty p.m., and when that hour has been tolled by the city clock it is high time all young people were at home. If the ruination of a boy is desired parents have but to allow him to roam the streets at will. There is nothing that will ruin a boy so quickly as unwatched liberty. It is during these night carousals that he learns the vulgarism which will grow to something worse and the idea of having so little respect for himself or those around him. It may be that the fond parents who allow their eight- or twelve-year-old boy to continually absent himself from home night after night will, someday, when it is too late, have cause to weep, and bitterly too, for neglecting their boy during his tender years. The above is as true of your daughter as your son. Of course your children are all right, but you ought to speak to your neighbor regarding theirs.
Medford Mail, October 25, 1895, page 4


    It has long been the practice of some of the many boys who congregate at the depot at the time of the arrival and departure of trains to board the overland train as it pulls out and ride out the length of the platform. The Mail has been asked to state that there is a city ordinance prohibiting such acts, and that those who persist in so doing will in the future be looked after by the marshal.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, October 25, 1895, page 5


    Some of Medford's young hoodlums threw a rock through the window of one of the coaches on the overland train Monday night. The train was near the south end of the side track, and quite a number of small boys were gathered there, but which one threw the rock has not as yet been ascertained. There are quite a number of boys in Medford who seem to take delight in causing someone injury, and some of these times they will be caught in the act and be made to suffer the penalty of the law.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, November 22, 1895, page 5



   Report comes to us that for three afternoons in succession this week an elderly and quite well-dressed man has been noticed standing at the corner of Seventh and C streets at about the hour when the children were returning from school, and in one instance, our informant states, he has been seen to hand candy and apples to the little girls as they pass. This procedure may be all correct and right, but just why this fellow should allow his generosity to bestow sweetmeats upon other people's children is not quite clear. If he does not desist in these practices some of the irate parents of the city will make the surroundings decidedly tropical for him. Grants Pass had a case somewhat similar to this something like a year ago, but the escapade did not end in the bestowal of sweetmeats, but instead, if we remember correctly, the miserable rascal of that city persuaded a couple of young girls to accompany him down into California where they were overtaken by parents and brought back home and the leprous blot upon society who had thus attempted to ruin two young girls was given a good sound thrashing. If these things, as reported, exist in Medford the villain's career will be a short one here.
Medford Mail, February 7, 1896, page 5


    The Mail is never saying a word when the boys of our town indulge in innocent fun, or if they reach out into a little hilarity, so long as no person is inconvenienced by it and no property damaged, but when these boys--young men--make night so unpleasant as to call out censure from many of the good ladies of our town it is then time for something to be done. There is a crowd of young men in this town which are fast closing about them shackles of vice and dissipation that will be difficult for them to throw off when the error of their way is discovered. They are sowing their wild oats upon too fertile soil. One lady asked us if we knew where the city marshal was at nighttime when the sidewalks in various parts of the town are thronged with half-drunken hoodlums, and their shouts of blasphemy and vulgarity making the nights, instead of a time of rest for the residents, one of very much unrest and disgust. We are unable to state where the marshal is at these times, but we hope, for the sake of peace and quietude of the citizens, and the general good of these young men, that he will happen around sometime during the heat of these revelries and make an example of some of the offenders by placing them in the city bastille. There is far too much of this thing going on, and there is but one way to prevent it--and this is to round the boys up with a short turn--which will be done by the people whom they disturb, if not by the officers.
"News of the City, Medford Mail, August 21, 1896, page 7


    Boys will play ball in almost any place and upon almost any and all occasions, but they should remember that when they play on the business streets a ball is liable to go ker-plunk through a large glass show window. The marshal has been asked to line himself up in the vicinity of where these boys play and if they do not desist or move to a place where there is less danger, to gently remind them that the old calaboose is still in use and that they are liable to occupy it.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 15, 1898, page 7


    Last week Jesse Wilson, Jr. and a son of M. Demmer, both about 11 years of age, become involved in a personal encounter, the former getting the worst of it. It is reported that, being furnished a pistol by his mother, Mrs. Rose Wilson, who with John Carlyle urged him to shoot his opponent, he shot at him twice. The man and woman were bound over by Justice Jones to appear before the grand jury with bonds fixed at $250 each.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 13, 1898, page 3


    For some time past the small boys of the city have been violating a city ordinance by jumping on and off moving trains when in Medford yards. Officer Murray has gotten tired of warning the boys of the danger of the practice, and one afternoon this week he swooped down upon three of them and took them under his wing where they remained a few hours, or until friends interceded on their behalf and secured for them their liberty. They were Fred Crystal, Alex. Hanley and Frank Isaacs. There are others who are in the habit of thus boarding trains, and they should be similarly treated. Mr. Murray caught Billie Bateman in the act a day or two later, and he immediately proceeded to treat him in a manner like unto the small boys, except that he went direct to the recorder's office and paid his fine. In speaking of the matter, Mr. Bateman said he paid his fine willingly, knowing as he did that the paying of it might save some boy the loss of an arm or leg, or possibly his life.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 21, 1900, page 7


    For some time trainmen on the Southern Pacific have been annoyed by a crowd of young hoodlums or juvenile outlaws at Talent, who would conceal themselves in a spot conveniently near the railroad track, and when a train would come along a volley of rocks would be thrown at the cars, smashing windows and making it otherwise uncomfortable for those in charge of the trains. The young bandits, becoming emboldened at their success in annoying the freight trains, attacked the Sunday evening northbound passenger with a fusillade of stones, one of which crashed through a window in the day coach and another through a window in a tourist car, which struck a little five-year-old boy on the cheek, inflicting a painful bruise. Chief Detective J. J. Crowley, of the Southern Pacific, happened to be aboard the train, and when Phoenix was reached he alighted and returned to the scene of the attack, where he succeeded in learning the names of the young culprits. Operator Mahoney was also on the train and being an eyewitness of the attack swore out a warrant Monday morning, charging Harry and Grover Copeland with willful and malicious destruction of personal property. Constable Johnson went to Talent Monday and arrested the boys, who were brought to Medford and given a preliminary hearing before justice Stewart Tuesday, prosecuting attorney A. E. Reames appearing for the State. A number of boys who were in the attacking party were brought to Medford as witnesses for the State, but their testimony was of a rather unsatisfactory character. The result of the hearing was that Harry Copeland, who is about fifteen years of age, was held to answer to the above-stated charge at the next session of the circuit court, his bonds placed at $100, which were furnished. Meanwhile prosecuting attorney Reames will thoroughly investigate the matter in regard to the other boys connected with the affair, and will probably take some action upon the case at a later date. The boys are all sons of respectable parents who were ignorant of their conduct until it was brought to their notice Monday, and who will doubtless exercise a greater vigilance over them in the future. They should have and probably will be disciplined severely, and the lesson taught them thus early in their lawless careers should have a wholesome effect upon them.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 22, 1901, page 7


    Several of our citizens have made complaint to the effect that boys have a well-organized scheme for robbing chicken yards. The boys are from 12 to 14 years of age, and their method is to visit a residence, and while one of them engages the lady of the house in conversation, the other makes away with all the eggs he can find.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 18, 1901, page 7


    H. S. Brumble, the deliveryman, is being very much annoyed these times by children jumping onto his wagons. He fully realizes that it is a dangerous practice, but he is unable to put a stop to it. This notice is published to give warning to parents that he will in no way be responsible for accidents that may occur by the practice, and he asks them to assist him in putting a stop to it.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 7, 1901, page 7


    Queer world, isn't it? Last Sunday we saw a young fellow about fourteen or fifteen years of age, on the shady side of a building, "all by his lonely," trying to learn to smoke. He was puffing away awkwardly on a cheap cigar, furtively looking about to see if anyone was noticing his efforts to acquire a habit that seemed to him would be indisputable evidence of his having attained manhood's estate. The boy was white in the face and seemed to be enduring physical torture, but yet there was a supremely happy cast upon his countenance which would indicate a contentment of mind born of a knowledge that great designs are only accomplished by great personal sacrifices. Within the confines of this city are dozens of men who, having used the weed for years and have learned the discomforts, and the physical infirmities, it carries with it, are just as anxious to quit as the young fellow is to learn. It is indeed a queer world.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 5, 1901, page 7


    Three boys of tender age, two of whom are named Howard, broke into a dwelling house one day this week and stole a watch and some other articles, which they sold to a second-hand store. They were allowed to go upon their own recognizance, but will probably be sent to the reform school as soon as Judge Prim returns from his vacation.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 25 1901, page 4


Robert Beall Strang, 10/28/1895-10/23/1974
Comes Back to Revisit Old Scenes
By Bob Strang Jr.

   It is with mingled emotions that a former resident of Medford returns to review his youthful stomping grounds. There is little joy to be found in the renewal of ties that no longer exist. Yet, after an absence of nearly 15 years, there remains something about Medford that I will forever call home.
    Of course, there are infrequent trips to this community for purposes of vacationing. On most of these trips from where I now live in Reno, Nevada, it has been rather difficult to return. However, the years have passed and new friends have replaced the lost, stolen, or strayed.
    Age has formulated new outlooks on both society and everyday activity until, at last, what is left for me here fades into memories.
    My fondest recollections of Medford are those of the early childhood I spent here. They are something of swimming in Bear Creek despite my mother's warning, of running away after school to play in a neighbor's pungent-smelling woodpile, of the Fourth of July picnics in the old family tradition, of the schoolteacher who spanked me at Roosevelt grammar school, of romping in Medford Park like a young fawn to the martial music of the Medford Band, and the blaring of the auto horns after each number was played, of the hikes to the reservoir or Roxy Ann, and the spook stories around a Boy Scout campfire near Main Street bridge.
    I do recall these things along with the fine spiritual upbringing of Sunday school here in Medford.
    There always seemed to be plenty of good food and good water in Medford. The quality of the produce is clearly reflected in the faces of youngsters that now abound in Medford. For Medford is a good town to be brought up in; it is a clean and healthy community that builds fine young citizens so that wherever they go most will often sigh and say, "There's no place like Medford."
    And should you pass some strange-looking "duffer" walking about this fair town with a rather saddened expression on his face, he will probably prove to be just a visitor here who is trying to recall his old pals around him once more that they might again enjoy the precious privilege of growing up together in Medford.
    Today, Medford forges ahead in its throes of progress, and the real progress that counts is in the betterment of living conditions with erection of new homes and light industry that continues to bring comforts and profits that Medford might continue to reward her native sons and daughters with something that is called: "Really living!"
    That's Medford for you and yours, but as for me I long to return so that should my household be graced with any children, they could have the same privileges once enjoyed and still so dear to me.
Medford News, July 8, 1949, page 1


    Chief of Police Johnson reports that someone, presumably the small boys of the city, has of late been committing an offense against the well-being of our townspeople, the same being that of stretching wires across the sidewalk at a height which trip and throw pedestrians. Mr. Johnson was very close onto the trail of the miscreants Sunday night. He is watching every turn of the road and hopes to be able to run the lads into court unless they sidetrack their dangerous notions.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 2, 1902, page 7


    A three-year-old Medford girl decided last week that she would like to have her hair cut short, so that when she washed her face she could "make a big noise" and rub the water over her head "like Papa does." In pursuance of this idea she secured the family scissors and retired to the back porch, where she proceeded to do the barber act herself. The result was not up to date as far as smoothness is concerned, but the hair was short enough, so short, in fact, that her father took her to the barber shop to have the job smoothed. Now that little girl washes her face "like Papa."

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 21, 1902, page 7


    The Mail has been asked by a resident of West Medford to call parents' attention to the fact that some of the girls and boys of our town have gotten into the habit of seeking trysting places near the outskirts of our city, on the west, and that it is no uncommon occurrence to see two or more quite young girls stroll out that way between twelve o'clock noon and one o'clock p.m., and a little later as many boys can be seen going in the same direction, but by a different route. None of the parties rarely ever return until about or after four o'clock. How far they go out our informant did not know, but he thought it was a matter which the parents generally ought to know of and that there ought to be a stop put to it at once. He presumed these girls and boys were thought to be at school by their parents. Whether this be the case or not, no good can come from the habit, and it should at once be stopped. He has promised to secure the names of the parties which he will report direct to their parents.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 4, 1902, page 7


    Complaint is made about boys getting into barns about town and doing all kinds of mischief. Several of the citizens have lost their patience of late and the boys, if they continue their depredations, will surely get into serious trouble, which parents can avert by exercising a little discipline with their young Americans.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 8, 1902, page 7


    Our town seems to have its full share of hoodlums, who delight in breaking windows and wantonly destroying other property. Their parents should take them in hand and teach them better; otherwise they should be punished for their transgression of the law.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 21, 1902, page 5


    Report comes to us that hunters along Bear Creek are killing meadowlarks in great number. There is a state law prohibiting the killing of these birds, and unless there is a swift halt called someone is going to get into trouble. It is really a shame that men and boys can find no better diversion than killing birds which the state laws endeavor to protect and which the people generally would like to see protected.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 7


    Some of the school children have a habit of running to cross in front of moving trains whenever they happen along. An example of their action was given Wednesday when the southbound passenger train came in an hour late. Several of the smaller boys started to run across the track in front of the engine and for an instant it looked as though some of them would be killed. Shouts from bystanders stopped some of them in time to save their lives. Parents should warn their children not to attempt to cross in front of rapidly moving trains.

Medford Mail, December 19, 1902, page 3


    Policeman G. F. Eglin corralled eleven boys, of from 12 to 16 years of age, Friday, who were catching a ride on an incoming southbound freight train, and brought them uptown to the chief of police, who took their names and liberated them. A number of boys of that age are in the habit of going to the northern suburbs, where trains are compelled to run slow on account of the heavy grade, to jump on and ride into town. Several accidents have occurred in that way, and the police and railroad officials are trying to stop the practice. Policeman Eglin says that the next time the boys are caught he will lock them in jail.
Ashland Tidings, September 21, 1903, page 2

Children's Parade, East Main Street, Medford, Oregon July 4, 1904
Children's parade, East Main Street, July 4, 1904.

THE DAY WE CELEBRATE.
How It Was Observed in Different Parts of Jackson County.
    A good many Medford people remained at home and passed the day quietly. About ten o'clock those who happened to be downtown were surprised to see a miniature Fourth of July procession coming up Seventh Street.
Children's Parade, East Main Street, Medford, Oregon July 4, 1904
    A number of young girls and boys, wishing to demonstrate their patriotic feelings, resolved to have a parade of their own, and there was a surprise on the older heads.
Children's Parade, East Main Street, Medford, Oregon July 4, 1904
    Mayor E. B. Pickel led the cavalcade and was followed by the boys and girls in gaily decorated vehicles of various descriptions and upon bicycles decorated with the national colors: The army, the navy, the goddess of liberty and many other characters appeared in the procession, which, considering the youth of the participants and the short time in which they had to prepare it, was very creditable. Those who participated were Misses Ruth Lumsden, Fern Hutchison, Hazel Enyart, Angle Purdin, Gladys Curry, Hilda Bundy, Gertrude Fay, Lyle Purdin, Carrie Bundy, Grace Dent, Rosamond Kennedy, Masters Charlie Angle, Roland Kelly, Fred Purdin, Homer and Lloyd Elwood, Herbert Alford, Gene Narregan, Earl Kennedy, Robert and Herbert Strang, Frank Willeke and Johnny Goodwyn.
Children's Parade, East Main Street, Medford, Oregon July 4, 1904
    The ball game in Medford was THE feature of features: one of the most mirth-provoking and side-splitting seances ever perpetuated. it was between the "Fats" and "Leans," and was won in a walk by the "Fats."
Excerpt, Medford Mail, July 8, 1904, page 1    For details of the ball game, click here.


    About a week or ten days ago some children, while playing along the bank of Bear Creek, near the Messner place, north of the steel bridge, found intact the leg below the knee of a human being. A few days later J. W. Prall's attention was called to the find, and on Wednesday of this week he reported the case to Coroner Cameron. The leg had evidently been disjointed at the knee; the flesh had been gnawed off by carnivorous animals, or had sloughed off, from the knee to near the ankle. The flesh was still on the ankle and foot, and upon the ankle there was a portion of a stocking. It is the right leg, and from the fact that the foot is small and slim it is undoubtedly a woman's.

"Additional Local," Medford Mail, November 4, 1904, page 8


   
Some of these days a small boy will take a "long chance" at the Southern Pacific depot that will be just a little too long. Then there will be sorrow in some family and a lifelong bitter memory to some railway engineer. Boys have the habit of taking short rides on the steps of the cars, although this practice has been stopped to a great extent by the vigilance of the officers and the ordinance against it; but every once in a while some young American conceives the idea that it is necessary that he get to the other side of the track just as a train pulls in and makes a dash in front of the locomotive. The consequence is that spectators hold their breath until the reckless "kid" is safe and then regret that he didn't get bumped hard enough to give a realization of the chances he was taking. The other day just as northbound train No. 16 had gotten under fair headway pulling out of Medford, a small boy on a wheel attempted to cross the track in front of the engine. His wheel slipped on the rail and he fell squarely on the track. A bystander pulled the bicycle off the track, and the engineer stopped the train with a suddenness that brought the seated passengers to their feet and those standing to a recumbent position. When the train stopped the pilot was within three feet of where the boy lay on the track. If he had been killed no blame could have attached to anyone, but the sorrow and regret mentioned in the first lines of this item would have been none the less poignant.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 21, 1905, page 5


    Our young people should be kept off the streets at unseasonable hours. The parents should hold their children responsible in this matter. It is out of place, damaging in character for school girls to sit in the public park with young men. The teacher's authority holds until a pupil has been home from school. Then the parent is responsible. Let us cooperate in every way to inculcate right ideas in the minds of our young people in regard to such things. We cannot afford that ONE shall go wrong because we are neglectful.
"School Notes," Medford Mail, December 15, 1905, page 4



Watermelons Slaughtered.
    A party of twenty-five young people gathered in Medford Monday evening, were loaded in hay racks comfortably upholstered with straw, and then made a demonstration in force in the direction of Ed. Phipps' melon patch [on Vilas Road], five miles from the city. The attacking column was thrown into confusion shortly after crossing Bear Creek by a breaking of a wheel on one of the wagons, and some time was lost in making repairs before the forward movement could be commenced. This delay only served, however, to make the attack the more fierce when the battleground was finally reached and in making the victory all the more complete.
    Mr. Phipps had been warned of the expedition and had prepared by picking thirty-five of the largest and juiciest melons to be found in the patch. Also he prepared a huge campfire for the comfort of the expected guests.
    After serenading everyone along the way the jolly crowd finally reached the hospitable Phipps farm and made a combined assault upon the pile of melons, which speedily melted away. More substantial viands and coffee were served also, and the scene around the campfire was an animated and joyous one. Games were played, songs sung and stories told. There was a melon-eating contest in which Clarence Kellogg carried off the honors, and at a late hour the party returned, all loud in the praise of the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Phipps and the sweetness of his melons. The members of the party were:
    Misses Ida Redden, Myrtle Taylor, Mae Roberts, Sadie Amann, Bertha McPherson, May Phipps, Mae Gregory, Myrtle Lawton, Nola Redden, Grace Lawton, Minnie Corey, Nannie Matney, Mrs. C. T. McPherson; Messrs. C. T. McPherson, Kellogg, Frideger, Meeker, Jones, Gregory, Frideger, Phipps, Forbes, Jackson.
Medford Mail, September 7, 1906, page 1


    A traveling man--"Do you know, that I know, that Medford people are making a mistake in permitting the sale of an inferior quality of apples to passengers at the depot. I went through your town a few days ago, and the apples the boys were selling were not good ones. I saw a passenger buy some of these apples, take a bite out of one and throw the remainder of the apple at the boy who sold it to him. That wasn't a good advertisement for your great fruit country. While I admire the boys' hustling propensities, still I believe they ought to sell the very best there is to be had. Some of these apples were Ben Davis, which are not by any means Rogue River Valley's pride, and hardly palatable this early in the season. Then I saw some of the apples had scale on them--that is not good for the country, either. I believe your townspeople ought to keep an eye on this matter, and while nothing should be done to discourage the boys in the method they have adopted to earn a little money, it should be insisted upon that they sell only good, clean fruit."
"Things Told on the Street," Medford Mail, November 29, 1907, page 1


CARD DECK STIRS SCHOOL
MEDFORD YOUTHS EXPELLED, THEN TAKEN BACK.
Discovered With Cards During Recess and Taken Before Superintendent.
    MEDFORD, Or., Feb. 7.--(Special.)--A harmless deck of playing cards has caused a commotion in public school circles of Medford this week. Four youths who had the cards in their possession were expelled. Their fathers took the matter up before the school board, which, after two days' weighty deliberation, reinstated the students and forced Superintendent Signs publicly to apologize to the offending pupils. The climax came this noon when Professor Signs tendered his resignation.
    The boys were Willis Denton, Everett Corey, Walter and Emerson Merrick, the two latter the sons of Councilman F. B. Merrick. Their ages run from 13 to 15, and all are students in the eighth grade at the North School.
    The trouble started last Tuesday noon when Professor Shirley found the boys toying with a deck of cards during the noon hour. The cards belonged to Willis Denton, who was dealing them out to the other boys, though no game was being played. Having a deck of playing cards was evidently a serious offense in the eyes of the principal, who summoned  the boys upon the carpet to meet Superintendent Signs, who was summoned from the high school.
    The first trouble of this kind is said to have first started last Christmas, when at the Christmas tree festivities one of the instructors was presented with an elaborately tied package. It was unwrapped in the presence of the school and found to contain a bottle of beer, upon which the instructor waxed very wroth, amid the laughter of the students. This is supposed to have been traced to some of the expelled youths.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 8, 1908, page 16


FIND A "PIRATES' RETREAT."
    In cutting into the back wall of the old wooden building at the corner of 8th and D streets Friday last, in order to gain entrance into the garret of the building for the purpose of putting in electric lights, Emery Purdin discovered an ancient rendezvous of youthful "pirates." In the rear end of the building was a "den" fully fitted up for the use of embryo terrors of the seas or of the highways, lined and carpeted with blankets and cloth, so that no light could be seen from without and no sound could escape. The youngsters who built this den were perfectly safe from detection, so safe indeed were they that no one except themselves ever had an inkling of such a resort until it was discovered by the saw of the electric line man.
    In the days when Medford wasn't fretting about paved streets or city water, when one could wade across Bear Creek, or swim, according to the stage of the water, when we didn't jump at the "honk-honk" of an auto, and were not compelled to stand on one foot in cold mud and swear with the other while a Southern Pacific "fast" freight made up its mind to get off the crossing, there was evidently a desperate gang of embryo bandits, who fortunately for the community and themselves never got beyond the embryo stage. The den aforementioned was furnished with a table made of a packing box, stools made of smaller boxes, there were a few worn and mouldering cards lying on the table, a few poker chips and other evidences of the ferocious character of the former occupants of the retreat. Among the paraphernalia found were two strongboxes fastened with the regulation strong hasp and padlock, such as no pirate band could be without. Evidently each member had a locker, and his confidence in his companions was not strong.
    In the farther end of the attic was the entrance, and it puzzled the finders of the den for awhile to discover how the former occupants had gained entry to the attic, but finally one of the searchers pulled a string that dangled from the roof and an ingeniously contrived trapdoor dropped, disclosing an opening in the roof of the building--so well fitted that no complaint had ever been made of leakage in the covering of the building. The trapdoor is about 12x 14 inches in size, which in itself explains the desperate and dangerous character of the former occupants of the den. The string led through a hole in the wall and could be pulled from the outside, and its location was evidently known only to the initiated.
    The room had evidently not been occupied for years--probably not since its builders grew to such a size that they couldn't get through that 12x14 hole, but those of us who have been boys themselves can imagine the thrills those kids had as they crept up on that roof in the night and pulled the string that admitted them to the secret den of the "Black Pirates of the Spanish Main" or whatever name the "gang" went by.
    The building is one of the oldest in town and was at the time this den was probably built was occupied as a store by Smith & Cranfill, and some of the furnishings had evidently been confiscated from this store.
Medford Mail, February 14, 1908, page 1


ONE ON THE SOPHS.
    Class spirit has many manifestations, and the other night the sophomores at the high school got out in the stilly hours and painted the walks near and around the high school with their class numerals and with the word "soph." The members of the other classes let it become known that the following night they intended to come out in force and remove the visible signs of superiority of the class of '11. However, they had no such intention, but the members of the soph class were not mind readers, and they turned out in force and spent several hours of a rainy day in guarding their handiwork. Members of other classes profess to believe that the laugh was on the second-year men.
Medford Mail, February 12, 1909, page 3


    A miniature hunter has been noticed recently in the neighborhood of the park carrying a .22-calibre rifle which was, at least on one occasion, loaded with the regulation cartridges. There is love inherent in us all, at the tender age of the small boy referred to, for firearms that we might emulate the example of David, our own T.R. and other hunters of more or less renown. The boy is human and must not be censured if, in his innocence, he goes forth to slay his enemy or hurt the mighty frog hidden under the sodden newspapers in the fountain basin. The fact remains, however, that innocence will not give back the sight to the ruined eye, or fill the little vacant chair. Even a Flobert in the hands of a child with hair still "bobbed" is a dangerous thing.

Medford Saturday Review, June 11, 1910, page 4



"Curfew" Law May Be Enforced.
    MEDFORD, Or., July 24.--(Special.)--To take measures to prevent boys and girls remaining on the streets late at night and to promote moral cleanliness in Medford, prominent women workers of this city will meet next Tuesday evening at the First Baptist Church and be addressed by District Attorney B. F. Mulkey.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, July 25, 1911, page 6



SLINGSHOT SEASON HERE; COPS ACTIVE
    The slingshot season is at hand, and the small boy is having a heap of fun. But he had better look out or the cops will get him. During the past few days youngsters all over the city have been investing in rubber bands and have been going after the birds--and windows. The police have taken a hand in the game, and the small boy had better take to the brush or get rid of the toy.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 19, 1911, page 3


YOUNG BOYS ARE CAUGHT STEALING
    Three youthful members of a gang of petty larcenists which has been active in the city for some time past were caught in the act of burglarizing the home of Mrs. Faughts on the east side Thursday afternoon. After a night in the city jail the boys told where they had hidden their loot and were taken to Jacksonville and locked up in the county jail pending action by the juvenile court. All of the jewelry they stole Thursday afternoon was recovered.
    The three boys are Gilbert Cleveland, aged 16, Charles Reynolds, aged 13 and Roy Braumeister, aged 13. Cleveland seems to be the leader of the gang, and after his arrest began to throw the blame on the two younger boys. He was trapped in many lies, however.
    According to the police, the boys are members of a gang of youngsters who have stolen a large amount of goods from local residences. Reynolds was out on parole, having been in trouble some months ago.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 12, 1912, page 6



Nell von der Hellen, 1899-1977
Recalling a "Fragment of Time" in the Rogue Valley
By Olive Starcher
Mail Tribune Special Writer
    "The past clings, it will not let go. It nudges with reminders and prompts, when least expected, with 'remember me? remember me!'"
    These lines from Barbara Fieldwalker's recently written Fragment of Time might have been meant for Nell von der Hellen. For when Mrs. von der Hellen read the front page of The Mail Tribune's Lifestyles section of Nov. 28, she was caught up in "remember me?"
    The page, entitled "The Bryden House," told how Bruce and Vicki Bryden bought and renovated the home at 1009 South Oakdale Avenue and how much they are enjoying the spacious old-fashioned home.
    "For me, it was a page out of 'This Is Your Life,'" Mrs. von der Hellen said, "for I lived with the Stewart Patterson family in that house for six months in 1914, and was a combination nursemaid and governess for their six-year-old son."
    Life was very different then. As Nell Thompson, Mrs. von der Hellen came to the Rogue River Valley with her family, and in a matter of a few weeks her father died. "In those days, there was no state or federal public welfare system, and most families would practically starve rather than accept charity," Mrs. von der Hellen said. "It was considered a disgrace--the concept was 'root hog or die.'"
    However, friends and neighbors would lend a helping hand, and so it was that a man named Stanton Griffis arranged that the very young Nell Thompson, one of six sisters, should be taken into the home of Stewart and Nanine Patterson and their small son, Stewart Jr., always called Sonny. Stanton Griffis later returned to the East and entered the State Department's foreign service, serving as U.S. ambassador to a number of countries.
    "It was a whole new world for me," mused Mrs. von der Hellen. "I was a hick--a country bumpkin from Arkansas." She recalls with a warm glow, after all the long years, how kind the Pattersons were. They employed a Japanese cook-butler, but the young nursemaid took her meals with the family and was even included when they entertained at formal dinners, which was frequently. "For these dinner parties, both men and women wore formal attire. The women's gowns were elaborate, and they wore jewelry--real pearls and diamonds and other gems."
    Often the guests included Mr. Griffis, who lived on what later was known as the Corning Kenly Orchard, and the popular novelist, Edison Marshall, who lived next door to the Pattersons. She remembers meeting and seeing many other men and women whose names have gone into the important agricultural and business history of this area.
    Her memory list includes Alfred and Leonard Carpenter, Harry and David (Rosenberg) Holmes, Sprague Riegel, Frank Preston Sr. (who had a ranch in the Applegate), the newspapermen Robert W. Ruhl and S. Sumpter Smith of . . . the Medford Mail Tribune, the merchant F. K. Deuel, Phillip Hammill, Ralph Bardwell, T. Slater Johnston, Corbin Edgell and many more.
    Some of these men were high-spirited bachelors and others had brought wives when they made the move to the romantic and fast-growing West. There was "the other Carpenter," George Boone Carpenter, and his wife, a sister of Jack Morrill. The George Carpenters and the Morrills both built elaborate country homes, and the Carpenter house, located south of Medford, later became a house of mystery as, lavishly furnished and filled with art, it stood unoccupied for many years.
    One woman who stands out in Mrs. von der Hellen's mind was Mrs. Alice Holloway, first president of the Jackson County Public Health Association, and mother of Mrs. Edgell. Another prominent member of what was called "the ranch colony" or the "Eastern Set" was Ed Carlton, whose brother was for years president of the then-mighty Western Union.
    Across the street on South Oakdale Avenue lived the Deuels and their daughters, Catherine and Susan. Nell Thompson thought of herself as Cinderella, and the Deuel daughters she fancied must be the most popular debutantes in the valley as she sat on the Pattersons' front porch and watched the young women come and go on their social rounds.
    The delight of Stewart Patterson's life was a big Pierce Arrow touring car. Frequently he took his son and nursemaid Nell for rides in the country, and one of his favorite roads was Kings Highway. Although it was then a narrow, rutted dirt road with only two houses along the entire stretch, Mr. Patterson, a lawyer by profession, drove "with great abandon," to quote Mrs. von der Hellen. Mr. Patterson had been known to boast that he once put the Pierce Arrow up to 60 miles an hour, in spite of the holes and ruts. However, the big car was his undoing, for he wrecked it one night, killing himself.
    Mrs. von der Hellen recalls that Seth Bullis became known first as "Mr. Copco" and later as "Mr. Medford." The only two medical men were Dr. Malmgren, who lived in the Phoenix area, and Dr. E. B. Pickel, Medford, who rode horseback on his rounds. The only hospital was in Ashland, near Swedenburg House, although a group of nuns operated a private hospital in a converted Medford home.
    How many know that those two men who had so much impact on the local fruit industry, Harry and David Rosenberg Holmes, in the early days were also sheep ranchers? Mrs. von der Hellen recalls: "When I first heard about the Rosenbergs they lived on Bear Creek Orchard and operated one small packing shed. Now I never drive by that huge, sprawling complex south of the city, with its hundreds of employees and nationwide business, that I don't think of that first little packing house. In 1914 they lived in considerable splendor and even had a Negro chauffeur for their limousine." One of Nell's early memories is of David Holmes Sr., driving sheep past the von der Hellen ranch in the Wellen (later Climax)  district where she lived after her marriage to Carl von der Hellen in 1917.
    When World War I was at its height, resentment against persons of German heritage ran very strong; the Rosenbergs adopted the maiden name of the mother--Holmes. [They took their stepfather's last name twenty years later, in 1939.] War stress also beset the von der Hellen family, but the proud men who bore that name weathered the war storm with the aid of Colonel Mims, who was once postmaster of Medford.
    In those early days, Jacksonville was the county seat, and what became known as the shortest railroad in the world ran between Medford and the county seat. Medford also had streetcars, with the tracks on Main Street. Between Medford and Jacksonville were huge prune orchards, and a large fruit dryer not only handled local fruit but prunes brought from the Roseburg area. Hundreds of acres of grain also was an important farm industry--agricultural land dominated the scene from Ashland to Grants Pass.
    When the von der Hellen family went to Jacksonville, it often was to visit the Jeremiah Nunan family, for the two were best friends. The Nunan mansion is still a landmark in Jacksonville. The Nunans' grandson, Donald Russell, later became Southern Pacific Railroad's top executive.
    Nell's employer, with his friends and cronies, had as their social headquarters the University Club located at the [northwest] corner of Main and Holly in the Vawter mansion. That house, first the home of William Vawter, important banker, and his family, later was moved to the [southeast] corner of Eighth and Holly. Mr. Patterson also played tennis, the rage with the well-to-do at that time, since a small country club located somewhere near town at the foot of Roxy Ann had tennis courts as well as a small golf course. The course had been laid out by H. Chandler Egan, who also designed the Rogue Valley Country Club course when it came into being.
    Later women of the Eastern Set formed the Colony Club, still located on Geneva Street and still in use, in order to have a meeting place and a headquarters, since so many of them lived in the country.
    When the Pattersons visited their close friends, the Frank Prestons, at the Applegate ranch, Nell went along and often she and Mrs. Preston's daughter, Billie Norris, would ride horseback together. Billie's father was the widely known author of the day, Frank Norris.
    Because Medford was conveniently located halfway between "the city"--San Francisco was always referred to as "the city"--and Portland, many celebrities of the time appeared here, usually in the Page Theater. Mrs. von der Hellen remembers the great ballerina Pavlova, the soprano Madame Schumann-Heink and Sir Harry Lauder.
    One memory leads to another, and she spoke of the musical Andrews family. Members of the Andrews family, talented singers and actors who formed and operated their own opera company, toured the entire country by train. There were three brothers, George, Ed and Will, Ed's daughter, Caroline, who later made a name for herself and enjoyed a considerable career in the Eastern states because of her lovely soprano voice, and Will's daughters, Grace Fiero, an actress of some note, and Edith, who was married to Jim Stevens of the company. Caroline and her husband, Richard Werner, Stevens and and Mrs. Fiero returned to Medford and were an important influence in the Rogue Valley until recent years.
    Nell Thompson celebrated her 15th birthday while living with the Pattersons, and realizing that she must complete her education, went to Bellingham, Wash. to attend the normal school there where an older sister had graduated.
    "Believe it or not, the sum of $50 saw me through an entire year at that school," Mrs. von der Hellen recalls. She had completed two years of high school before coming West, and at Bellingham completed her high school and normal school work in two years. She earned her room and board by living with a Bellingham family.
    Returning home, she took the little train to Jacksonville and applied to the county school superintendent for a teaching position, "fudging" a bit on her age since she was not quite 18. Her mother had purchased a small neighborhood store in the Derby area, and so the fledgling teacher accepted a position as the Derby teacher, one of two schools offered.
    She had four pupils that year, scattered from first grade to high school. School was for six months, and Nell was paid $75 a month. Of this, $25 went for board and room with a local family, and the rest went to her mother to help support the family. "Meals were mainly venison and the heaviest sourdough biscuits imaginable." An older sister, Ruth, served as Derby postmistress.
    In 1917 Nell became Mrs. Carl von der Hellen, and went to live on the family thousand-acre ranch. Her father-in-law, Hugo C. A. von der Hellen, who came to Oregon in 1890, served in the Oregon legislature for 12 years and helped to pass the bills to establish Ashland Normal School. Hugo built a big yellow ranch house on Meridian Road, near Agate Lake. "He was proud of the fact that the lumber, brought from Roseburg by wagon, was completely free of knotholes."
    In those days, ranchers made the long trip to town by wagon two or three times a year to buy sugar, flour and bolts of cloth which housewives made into the family clothing. For Hugo's wife, this meant ruffled white shirts for her husband. The years passed, Nell and Carl raised two sons and a daughter, and when the second World War threw the nation into turmoil, Nell saw her children all go into some branch of the service. Since she had an aptitude for nursing, Mrs. von der Hellen followed her daughter and sons by volunteering for the Army, was given nurse's training at Ft. Oglethorpe and later was assigned to Ft. Vancouver.
    When the war ended, Mrs. von der Hellen joined the staff of Sacred Heart Hospital, later served as office nurse for Dr. Charles Lemery and was on the staff of the Medford Clinic. An avid music lover and Shakespeare Festival fan, Mrs. von der Hellen reminisced about her brief fling as a radio writer when she wrote a dramatic series for station KMED which was produced and presented by local actors. In her retirement, she was a volunteer at Providence Hospital for a few years.
    Nell von der Hellen and her son, Robert, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force, are the only surviving members of her immediate family. She arrived for luncheon at Plymale Cottage in Jacksonville driving her faithful VW which registers a lot of mileage, and during the first interview and subsequent telephone conversations made lively and pertinent comments on current conditions in government, literature, education, the age of permissiveness and even animal life--she left the phone for a time to put out food for five raccoons which, along with three or four others, count on Nell for treats.
Medford Mail TribuneJanuary 23, 1977, page 2B


CURFEW TO RING IN MEDFORD NOW
MAYOR EIFERT ANNOUNCES STRICT ENFORCEMENT LAW
Boys and Girls Under 18 Years Affected
    Curfew will ring again in Medford, according to an announcement made Wednesday by Mayor W. W. Eifert, and hereafter boys and girls under the curfew age will have to be home nights or explain to the police. This enforcement has been long sought by the women clubs of the city, but no action was ever obtained, and young folks with little parental restraint did about as they pleased. The police were instructed to enforce the measure, and arrangements will be made to have the fire bell ring as a curfew.
    The ordinance provides "that between the first day of April and the first day of October, after the hour of 9 o'clock, and between the first day of October and the first day of April after the hour of 8 o'clock, it shall be unlawful for any person or persons under the age of 18 years to congregate, loiter or be upon the streets of Medford, unless accompanied by parents, guardians or a written note of permission."
Excerpt, Medford Sun, January 23, 1913, page 1


SNOWBALL ENGAGEMENT THRILLS SCHOOLBOYS
    During the noon hour at the Washington School Wednesday the boys proved their true marksmanship to several Medford citizens. During the whole hour the air was full of snowballs, and the thud of their landing on the unfortunate passerby was a joy to the schoolboy.
    A car belonging to the taxi company was so badly bombarded that a complaint was turned into the police by the driver, who later complained of having a bruised jaw.
    One boy who possessed a better arm than the rest picked a stiff hat off of a bald head across the street, causing a commotion of laughter to spring up in the Medford Hotel. Several people who pass that way going to and from work will no doubt be thankful when the snow melts, so he will not have to choose the long route home.
Medford Sun, January 23, 1913, page 2


CRIME SCHOOL IS EXPOSED
Medford Junk Dealer Charged with Encouraging Boys to Steal.
    MEDFORD, Or., Feb. 20.--(Special.)--A startling story of youthful delinquency concerning half dozen boys, the oldest 16 and the youngest 11 years, and Henry Lerch, a junk dealer, charged with receiving stolen property, was told in Justice Court Thursday, when Lerch was bound over to the grand jury.
    The evidence, according to the prosecution, revealed a school for crime. The boys implicated are Floyd Wolgamott 16, Jimmy Collins 15, Edwin Haymond 14, Russell Hall 15, Homer Reynolds 11 and Gilford Reames 16. Six boys, all but two in short trousers, took the witness stand and without any hesitation told of their alleged dealings with Lerch in disposing of brass articles they stole.
    Jimmy Collins, aged 15 years, testified that he sold copper wire to the defendant and that he made a proposition to him to go to Gold Ray and steal copper wire, Lerch offering to furnish a horse and wagon to bring the plunder to Medford. Another youth testified that Lerch told him to bring all the copper he could and he would buy it. The youths, according to their testimony, stole and sold wash boilers, faucets, hose nozzles, electric coils, copper wire stencils, in fact anything made of brass or copper.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 21, 1913, page 9



Christmas Vacation.
Christmas vacation is almost here,
And boys and girls are full of good cheer;
They will greet Santa with a smile,
For he has come many a mile,
        Oh, the joys of vacation!
Now for the ride to Grandpa's farm,
Now for the romp in the big old barn;
Now for Grandma's turkey and pie;
We'll all eat till we nearly die.
        Oh, the joys of vacation!
When vacation is over and past,
And we have returned home at last,
Back to our study, rested and fine,
With pleasant thoughts of the good, good time.
        Oh, the joys of vacation!
--Margaret Harvey, age 9, Medford, Oregon.
"Public School Compositions," Oregon Teachers Monthly, January 1914, p. 279


    The marvelous effect of the anti-tobacco ordinance to minors is illustrated locally, by the fact that youths addicted to tobacco are not suffering any through inability to obtain it. The first week or ten days of the police order, there seemed to be some effect, but the boys are now puffing away out in the open with a careless abandon..

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 14, 1914, page 5


PARENTS PERMIT CHILDREN TO RUN IN FRONT OF AUTOS
    The city authorities are looking for a law somewhere in the Oregon statutes providing a penalty for parents who are negligent in the care of children when it comes to risking their lives. Chief Hittson is desirous of applying the law to a number of Medford fathers and mothers living on residence streets who allow their offspring to play in the streets of evenings, in the path of vehicles, while they sit on the front porch and view the proceedings.
    According to the police, on several streets, particularly North Riverside, the children play on the pavement, and at the approach of autos, with studied care stand in front of the moving cars, compelling the driver to stop or run over them. Though there have been several near-accidents, the police say, this is looked upon by any number of parents as a joke, and are greatly amused by the ire of the autoists, some of whom have burnt up tires in their efforts to stop.
    It is likely that some action will be taken at the next meeting of the city council to curb the annoyance.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 16, 1915, page 8


    A number of Medford boys were arrested this week charged with chicken stealing and are being held for examination by the Juvenile Court. It is alleged that more than $200 worth of poultry has been taken during the last month.

"Local News," Jacksonville Post, April 17, 1915, page 3


BOYS MUST PULL WEEDS
Medford Graduates Sentenced for Raid on Store Signs.
    MEDFORD, Or., May 28.--(Special.)--Every boy in the graduating class of the Medford High School was ordered yesterday by Police Judge Gay to pull weeds in city parking strips until next Monday to expiate for a midnight raid on business house signs last Monday night.
    All the young men acknowledged their pranks and pleaded innocence of any wrong intent. The court, however, held that damage to property was no joke, and delivered sentences accordingly. Harold Grey, the youngest member of the class, was deputized to see that the work was done.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, May 29, 1915, page 1



The Way It Was
    To the Editor: "A Saturday night in Medford 60 years ago."
    Four of us boys, living in the Talent community, managed during the week to scrape together $4 or $5 each. We decided the thing to do was spend a Saturday night in Medford.
    We were in our late teens--myself, my cousin, Lewis Beeson, our friends Ted Jones and his older brother, Morris. Mrs. Jones was kind enough to let us use the family Model T, if Morris did the driving. We went into the Nash Hotel, engaged a room with two beds for a dollar each, walked across Main Street to Brown's Corner. Ed Brown, owner and manager, was a friendly, sociable person.
    We played a few games of pool there, walked to the Page Theater, took in the movie, then to the Optimo Cafe for pie and coffee. We retired to our room in the Nash Hotel. Breakfast at the Optimo, then home to take up where we left off.
    I remember quite a bit about Medford in those days. Prohibition was in effect. Ralph Jennings was sheriff, his two sons, Paul and Louis, deputies. I knew them well. They had moonshiners and bootleggers to contend with.
    "Shine Edwards" was the taxi man at Brown's. He was known for his ability to dispense moonshine. He would deliver on occasion. Doc Stephson and Fred Fry were barbers at Brown's.
    There was a colored midget shoeshine boy. I never learned his name. He was just the right height to shine shoes without stooping. Occasionally, Judge Kelly and Gus Newbury, a prominent attorney, would be seen walking along Main Street, the colored midget shoeshine boy walking between them. He would look up, they would look down as they conversed. Rather amusing.
    That's the way it was 60 years ago.
Ellis Beeson
Talent, Oregon
Medford Mail Tribune, March 23, 1982.   Beeson lived 3/11/1903-11/20/1989.


    Growing up on Grape Street was great [in the 1920s]. I remember so many things about this place. Oregon was so different from Montana--so many fruit trees--the land of plenty.
    In the summertime we played until morning until night. Dad shaved Dale's head--real cool--and Dale went barefoot all summer long. He had homemade guns and swords, stilts, scooters made from apple boxes and skate wheels. We put tin cans on the bottoms of our shoes to make a lot of noise. With shoes on, just press hard on an empty can and make it stick to your shoes. We didn't have many store-bought toys.

Verna's cousin Ralph Twight.
    All of us girls in the 1920s wore dresses--long stockings, button or lace-up shoes and long underwear in the wintertime--no jeans or slacks. I remember the infernal "bloomers" we girls wore. The elastic in the legs was forever loose, and we had a time keeping them up. We wore long cotton stockings held up by rubber bands cut from tire inner tubes. We wore our shoes until they had holes in them. Then we had them half soled at the shoe repair shop.
    We always had new clothes for the beginning of the school year. My mother always got our clothes way too big or too long for both Dale and me. She said we were growing so fast that we would grow into them. And we did. I remember a middy blouse I wore for many years. Also I had a cape with a pretty lining--one does not outgrow a cape.

From left: Verna and Dale Forncrook with Elmo and Virginia Dunlava, circa 1925
    One of the fun things we did in the summertime was to put on our bathing suits and run through the sprinkler on the lawn. Cooled us off for sure. Dad pitched a tent in the yard, and Dale and I slept out there in the summer months. That was before the big back porch was built.
    We kids looked forward to the ice man, who came around about once a week in the summertime. Mother would put out an ice card showing how many pounds of ice we needed. The ice man in his truck would chip off the amount needed with an icepick, then put a burlap sack on his shoulder and use ice tongs to carry ice into the house. There were no electric refrigerators at this time. We kids would gather the bits of ice in his truck and make an iced drink out of it by pouring juices over it. Real great.
    Some of the games were played were Hide and Seek, Run Sheep Run, Kick the Can, Ante Over (throw the ball over the house). We played Cops and Robbers, but I didn't like this game, as the boys were too rough.
    When it got to be dark outside in the warm summers we would sit on the curb under the street lights and tell ghost stories, and watch the bats fly near the streetlights. One by one we were called in to get ready for bed.
    Our house at that time was on a dead-end street--about ten kids were in that one block. I'll bet we were a noisy bunch. The open fields were a fun place. At times it was a wheat field and had a haystack--we played king of the mountain. At other times it was a place for a circus or a carnival. This was great so close to home. After the circus pulled out, the next day we kids would case the place for money or anything left there.
    We saved everything: String, cigarette foil, paper sacks and cigar bands for rings. Nothing was wasted. Entertainment in these early days was family gatherings, picnics and going to dances.
Undated typescript by
Verna Forncrook Wilson, circa 1997-2002.  Verna lived at 529 South Grape.


AN AUTO ARRESTED BY POLICE
AND A HOMEMADE AFFAIR AT THAT
Juvenile Joy Riders on East Main Forced to Abandon Their Machine
    A new violation of the speed ordinance occurred on East Main Street yesterday morning, and the vehicle is now incarcerated in the city bastille.
    For some time past the police have received complaints that boys on coasters were making pedestrians tremble in fear as they dropped from the brow of the hill towards Bear Creek, with all the accelerated momentum that the decline would give them.
    Arriving at the hill last evening about 8:30 the police saw the terror of them all, a large straight-lined 1912 model, bearing down upon them. However the occupants of the improvised auto also caught sight of the minions of the law and, abandoning their joy cart, they rolled off into the street, making great haste to get over the hill and out of range. Not having anything else to arrest, Officer Cingcade attached the make-believe machine behind the automobile and proceeded to the city jail.
Excerpt, Medford Sun, August 9, 1912, page 1


Girls Leave Home
    Ruth Mark and Myrtle Crofoot, two 14-year-old girls living in this city, held in Grants Pass, were brought back this afternoon by probation officer Charles Gay for a hearing before probation judge TouVelle. The girls, who attended the public schools, became dissatisfied with school life and decided to join the carnival company and walked the entire distance to Grants Pass. They disappeared Monday afternoon. The father of the Marks' girl is a mechanic at the Madden & Hanley cannery at Wrangel, Alaska.
    This is the second case of young children running away from home this week.--Mail Tribune.
Jacksonville Post, May 30, 1914, page 3


    Sixteen young men, members of the senior class of the Medford High School, were hauled before the police court on a charge of tearing down and hiding business signs of the city Tuesday night. As a penalty they will be compelled to spend one day pulling up weeds in the parking strip in front of the homes of the freshmen.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, May 29, 1915, page 3


    The authorities are looking for a party of small boys who went swimming in Bear Creek Wednesday afternoon, and disported on the bank in nothing but their original garb. A woman made a protest to the boys, and the sights became more unseemly, after the manner of young America.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, June 9, 1915, page 2


John Billings, November 23, 1978 Medford Mail Tribune
Christmas 'Fun' Was in the Work
Billings Recalls Ashland Boyhood

By JOE COWLEY
Mail Tribune Staff Writer

    ASHLAND--Farm boys in the Ashland area didn't take much time off for Christmas during the years between 1919 and the early 1930s, longtime resident John Billings recalls.
    He came to Ashland in 1919 after the death of his father and mother in Gold Beach. They left John and three younger brothers to be divided among relatives.
    "I remember at home, at Gold Beach, we always had a Christmas tree," Billings said. "We put candles on the tree. My dad was an attorney in Gold Beach. We had little holders for the tiny candles. And we always strung popcorn--in great, long garlands around the room and all over the tree.
    "When I was in first grade in Gold Beach, we made little chains of colored paper and we strung those chains on our tree," Billings said.
    "The first Christmas I came here--in 1919--it was the first time I saw snow. It was quite a treat!"
    John's new father had a sled. John, because he was the only child in the family, inherited it. He still has it on the farm northwest of Ashland.
    "It was a homemade sled with steel runners," said Billings. "All of my kids used it, too."
    Christmas morning on the Billings' farm was just another workaday morning. After hearing his father rummaging around downstairs and the clank of the stove door in the kitchen, John would creep out from under the heavy-quilted bed, jump into his chilled bib overalls, pull on a thick sweater and make his way down the narrow wooden stairs.
    His father, similarly dressed, would be standing with his back to the roaring wood stove, warming his hands clasped behind him. While John pulled on heavy woolen stockings which had been warming near the stove, his dad would explain the chores he wanted John to do.
    Then man and boy would sit on the slatted wooden bench at the back porch and pull on muddy rubber boots. Properly shod, they would clomp down the wooden steps into the frosty morning air, the stars like chips of ice in the ink-black sky.
    As his father made his way out to the big barn to check on his prize bulls, John would lope over the frozen ground to the milk barn.
    Bending down just inside the creaking barn door, the boy would heft a big burlap sack of grain onto his back. Straightening up, he would reach out to grab the smooth handle of the pitchfork. Then he would spear some hay and toss it onto the feed trough, sprinkling some grain on top.
    Meanwhile, his father would have been busy herding the cows single file through the doors in the other side of the barn.
    Blowing on his hands to get them warm, John then would walk to a barn stanchion and lift the shiny milk pail off one peg and a small stool off the other. Soon milk would be "zinging" into the pail.
    After milking, John--his breath coming in white puffs--would wash the pail and then his face at the pump near the house.
    His chores complete, John would find his mother up and bustling around the kitchen. The roasting chicken already would be filling the kitchen with its rich, steamy aroma. Perched on a high wooden stool by the drainboard and kitchen sink, Mrs. Billings would peel apples for the Christmas dinner apple pie. Long ribbons of red peeling would curl off her paring knife. She would reach out quickly and slap John's fingers as he reached for slices of apple sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
    Removing his woolen jack and scarf, John would sit down at the kitchen table, and his mother would deftly flip fried eggs and bacon onto his large plate.
    The blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked youngster would gulp down some milk, fork through his breakfast and hurry on stockinged feet into the living room-dining room.
    There, filling the room with pine-scented fragrance, stood a huge Christmas tree. John had helped his father cut the tree from the high hills above the present site of Jackson Hot Springs. Anxiously, John would stoop over to check the presents under the tree.
    "We didn't have many toys then," he said. "We would get socks, practical things. Times were hard on the farm.
1918 Dodge Brothers touring car
A 1918 Dodge Brothers touring car
    "When we went to town for the little Christmas shopping we did, we went in our old 1918 Dodge touring car with a canvas top. There would be horses tied to hitching places along the street. Sometimes a car would backfire and the horses would rear up," Billings said.
    "I can't remember any community Christmas festivities. I think people were too busy working. The schools would have programs.
    "The Methodist Church had special Christmas cantatas. They always had wonderful choirs there. There would be a manger scene, a Christmas play. All the children got an orange and a small sack of candy afterwards.
    "I do remember one thing I got for Christmas. It was an Overland wagon. It had sideboards and wheels with wooden spokes. Still have it. Remember I pulled it behind my bicycle one summer over to Fred Rapp's, on the corner of Rapp Lane near Talent. Fred was a big watermelon raiser. Put a big watermelon on the bed of the wagon and took it home."
    Years later, Billings the grown man slowly got up from his chair and hurried to tend his car before he got a parking ticket. There was a distant look in his eyes as he left.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 23, 1978, page 5



October 2, 1920 Medford Mail TribuneTULL BOY AFTER VILLA,
GIRL OFF FOR MOVIE LAND
    Mrs. Chas. Tull left last evening for Portland to bring back her runaway daughter and son, who left here Sunday and stopped over in Portland, where they were taken in charge by the police, en route to join their father at Prineville. Relative to their running away and apprehension, Wednesday's Journal of that city had the following account:
    "Trailing adventure, movies and Villa, Juanita Tull, 13, and her fire-eating brother, Otis Tull, 13, who were reported missing Sunday night from Medford, were discovered by officers Hill and Cahill Tuesday night in a rooming house at 224½ Morrison.
    "Sheriff Terrill reported to the Portland police Monday that the two children had disappeared, giving a description of them and furnishing clues. At first it was feared that they had gone to California to invade the moving picture industry, for Juanita, who has won local fame for the beauty of her hair, it is said, was convinced of her adaptability to the screen and had been considering an artistic career for some time.
    "Otis was not without ambition himself, and spoke quite freely this morning of his communications with the notorious Villa, and told of his plans to join the habitual insurrectionist in his southern retreat. Otis admitted that he was a relative of Dempsey, it is said, and explained his unusual pugilistic qualities in that way. His contempt for legal processes and agents was paramount, it was said.
    "Mrs. Ella Tull, the mother of the two adventurers, was afraid the children had been kidnapped by an unidentified woman with whom they had been associating at the Ashland Round-Up. This theory was strengthened when it was discovered that three tickets had been sold to California to a woman and two children. Money for the trip was obtained on a check sent to the children by their father.
    "The children said they were on their way to Prineville, where their father has been for several days on business, and as a prelude to their adventures decided to stop over in Portland."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1919, page 6



LOCAL YOUTH IN GIDDY PEON PANTS
DIVESTED OF SAME
    Peon pants have made their appearance in Medford at last. It occurred on election eve, and not long after the pants appeared they disappeared from the person of the wearer.
    Paul Luy, local high school student, appeared at the Nat dance Tuesday evening in a pair of white corduroy trousers slit up the sides and gaudily trimmed with red velvet, black lacings, black tassels and black buttons. A black sash was an important item among the accoutrements which were worn with the trick trousers.
    A meeting of the lettermen at the high school was in progress, and the wearers of the "M" got wind of the atrocious attire of one of their fellow students.
    They swarmed into the ballroom and abducted the wearer of the bell-bottomed breeches, taking him to a convenient spot and divesting him of the trousers, which were later hung up in the high school assembly so that all might know the fate of the Swedish cavalier who tried to disguise as a Spaniard.
    The towheaded toe-tripper of the toreador trousers was forced to take refuge in his overcoat and made his way home with his shapely limbs exposed to the vulgar gaze of the public.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 8, 1922, page 8


Don't Carry Torpedoes in the Hip Pocket
    Bobby Short, age nine years, was the first victim of the 1923 Fourth of July bombardment last Saturday, while playing with a number of other boys on South Central Avenue. Bobby carried a handful of what are known in juvenile circles as "giant torpedoes" in his back pants pockets. He stopped over. Richard Allen, a playmate, playfully slapped him across the hip pocket with a pine board. There was a loud concussion, and Master Short emerged from the detonation with his trousers ablaze. The rest of the crowd were thunderstruck by the turn of events, and offered no assistance as the incipient blaze gained headway. A lady attracted by the noise came out on her front porch and rushed to the rescue. She sat Bobby down on a freshly sprinkled lawn, and sent him home, slightly sobered by the celebration.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 18, 1923, page 2


Childhood Memoirs of Rogue River Valley
By Opal L. Rogers
Niece of Mrs. Ida Henderson
4550 9th Avenue
Sacramento 17, Calif.
    White oaks. What pleasant memories those words bring back to me. As a child I played beneath their spreading branches, rested in the forks of their great arms, and gathered acorns to make fairy cups and saucers. How the squirrels loved to run up their massive gray trunks and out into the labyrinth of their leafy tops, which, to a child, seemed to stretch up and up into the blue dome of heaven. I would sit for hours, practically becoming a part of the old post upon which I was perched, just so I could watch the antics of the little animals. And I was usually rewarded, for they loved the meaty bitter-sweet nut of the acorn and wouldn't stay away for long. They would stuff the pouches of their cheeks full with them--looking for all the world like they had a bad case of mumps--and with a frisk of their tails away they would scamper to their burrows to replenish their larder.
    Each spring the carpet of grass beneath the oaks was spangled with golden buttercups, while higher up in the hills among the fire and pines bloomed the birdbills, chaparral lilies and baby blue eyes, from which I would gather sweet-scented bouquets to decorate our home which was located directly at the foot of one of the Coast Range mountains in Southern Oregon. There, too, grew the shiny-leaved, red-barked madrone trees, whose clusters of wax-like blossoms attracted the bees from miles around, and when these blossoms matured into brilliant vermilion berries, along came the blue jays, yellow-hammers and cedar waxwings to eat to their hearts' content.
    Directly across the road from our house was a stretch of land we always referred to as the "pasture." Why, I do not know, for it was completely filled with every size, shape and kind of rock, and was unfit for pasturing of any kind. I believe in some long-gone age a mighty glacier must have dumped its debris at this particular spot, and this being the case it made an ideal place for a little girl to play eons of years later. Moss grew in abundance in the shady hollows, and pink and white star flowers sprang up here and there unexpectedly on their slender stems. I would gather small shells and place them around and among the ferns and moss, making minute stepping-stone paths of the pearl-like rosettes. At the beginning of summer the little canyons between the rocks were white with snowdrops--a flower, although small in size, [that] makes up for this in its profuseness and exquisite odor. I would choose a densely blooming spot, lie down among the blossoms, and while watching the big creampuffs of clouds go sailing across the sky I would imagine I, too, was drifting on a scented cloud. As the days progressed, along came the golden poppies and purple camas, proudly flaunting their royal colors for anyone who might stop and enjoy.
    On the opposite side of the "pasture" from where we lived flowed the Rogue River, which always lived up to its name. It would fool you with its placid green pools, where bright orange crawfish scooted here and there by tail propulsion, where little silver minnows darted in and out mischievously, and where the hardy alder trees dusted the surface of the water with the yellow pollen that sifted from crinkly tassels suspended from their branches. Then a little farther on the Rogue would decide to be capricious, and breaking into foaming cascades it would send its spray high into the air, gurgling and chuckling, and churning itself into a lather over rock worn smooth with ages of continuous wear. I loved to splash barefooted through its shallows, sometimes venturing out on its mud flats so that the soft clay, like warm butter, would ooze up between my toes. Then again I would clamber over its rocky shores, fighting my way through the brambles that grew close to the water's edge and enjoying the damp marshy scent that only those who have lived by running water will remember.
    Quite suddenly the glory of summer would fade. Autumn would come calling in her gay dress of yellow, orange and red. The squirrels would deplete the supply of nuts, and the birds would head for points south. I would then watch anxiously for the first signs of snow. Usually it caught me unawares, and some mornings in early November I would slip out of bed to find a silent world wrapped in cellophane and cotton batting. The green-blue symmetry of the firs and the stateliness of the pines would then be draped in the haughty robes of winter, which crowned them with the sparkling raiment of diamonds and the soft richness of ermine. Here and there the little black caps of the chickadees could be seen bobbing among their branches and chirping their own names over and over again in a plaintive key. These little winter birds were the harbingers of heavy snows in the mountains, for they would always come to the lowlands when driven out from their usual haunts by deep drifts. How I would revel in it all, and marvel that the deft paintbrush of nature could change the azure and cream pastels of summer into the black and white etchings of winter.
    Although twenty years have gone by since that time, and the old house beneath the mountain is gone, the white and green and gold of those hills and vales, down through [which] the Rogue frolics joyously with the breezes rippling its surface and sighing gently through the great trees, will live forever, unfading in my memory.
Central Point American, May 3, 1945, page 3


NEW FAD HITS ASHLAND HIGH BOY STUDENTS
Balloon Trousers Pushed into Background by Decorated Sweat Shirts
    The newest fad to hit the high school youth, replacing the much-talked-about balloon trousers, is now popular with the local high school boys.
    Although the new craze has been popular on the University of Oregon and Oregon Agricultural College campuses for several months, it has but recently been in vogue here, but has spread like wildfire during the period it has been popular.
    Sweat shirts, usually used by athletes as protection against cold during their practice periods and during the games in which they were not playing, furnish the body for the new garment.
    Then comes the cartoonist, with his varicolored inks. A snappy cartoon on the back of the shirt, with the owner's initials or nickname printed above the cartoon, completes the garment.
    At Thanksgiving, the fad was practically unknown here. When the former Ashland students returned for the holiday from their various schools, the high school youths were quick to pick up the fad, and the following day half a dozen of the sweat shirts, highly decorated, were to be found. Now they are in great demand, and the clothing stores are busy supplying the demand.
    And the poor cartoonists. They are working overtime to complete the cartoons.
Ashland Daily Tidings, December 9, 1925, page 1



CLOTHING FADS OF MEDFORD YOUTH MYSTERY QUESTION
    Clothing, among other things, seems to run in cycles.
    Or at least the fads of Medford's youth do. Some years ago, about four, a shapely high school lad clad in the latest in peon pants was divested of the same at a dance and went home in his overcoat, skulking in the shadows to protect his limbs from [the] vulgar gaze of the public.
    Give the wheel a spin, and today the masculine sub-debs are again blossoming out in wide-bottomed trousers with flashy inserts.
    Each school year sees something new on the horizon. Last year it was the dilapidated, battered hat.
    A couple of years ago it was blazers of wool with loud clashing color schemes.
    Following that came the crazy-quilt sweater patterns and noisy sox. Sheik haircuts, plastered by grease to the jazz boy's knob, have gone their way, and wavy coiffures with a hunt of the beauty shop marcel are a la mode today. Painted slickers were considered "hot" last winter and promise the same for 1927's rainy season.
    The bell-bottom peon pants effect will soon pass. What will the starting of Medford's schools on September 6 bring out in the way of funny clothes fads? Overalls? Sweatshirts?
Medford Daily News, September 3, 1927, page 6



    The moving picture theaters were open as usual last night, only that all persons under sixteen years of age are forbidden to attend them, and all other public assemblages, as well as forbidden to be on the streets, by the special emergency infantile paralysis ordinance passed by the city council yesterday noon.
"Theaters Opened, Not Affected by Epidemic Curb," Medford Mail Tribune, September 30, 1927, page 5



NO NEW CASES OF PARALYSIS ARE REPORTED
Health Officers Report No Additions to Few Original Cases--
Quarantine Is Being Well Observed--Trains Are Watched.
    Up to late this afternoon no new cases of infantile paralysis had been reported in Medford or in the county since the last cases reported yesterday forenoon, according to City Health Officer E. B. Pickel and County Health Officer L. D. Inskeep. One suspected case on Vancouver Street developed last evening to be not an infantile paralysis case. The Medley baby, one of the two victims of the disease in Medford, was very ill yesterday, but was slightly better today, according to the physicians in charge.
    The city council quarantine precautionary measure against all boys and girls under 16 years of age being on the streets, attending any public gathering and confining them to their own home premises, is being well observed because of the cooperation of parents with the police in seeing that all restrictions are observed.
    This measure is a tough one for the youth of the city under 16, especially the children, and this is the second day of being confined to their own home premises. The children cannot leave their yards and play on the streets as heretofore with the other children of their neighborhood. The children of each family must play at home among themselves.
    A number of public gatherings set for today and the next few days have been indefinitely postponed because of the infantile paralysis quarantine. The Sunday schools of the various churches will be hard hit tomorrow, and Sunday schools have been called off by several churches.
    The quarantine is affecting a number of businesses, and the barber shops especially feel the lack of juvenile patronage. The usual heavy trade with the school pupils at the barber shops on Saturday was totally lacking today.
    Then, too, most parents throughout the city are running their own errands instead of having the children doing them as usual.
    Because of the prohibition of the youth under 16 years of age leaving their own premises, and the other restrictions imposed by the quarantine ordinance, no boys or girls under that age are allowed to go to the depot with their parents and depart from the city on trains. This works inconvenience on the families that desire to leave Medford by train.
    Mrs. Grace Beckwith and three children, Royle, 12, Elsie, 8, and Kenneth, 6, who left today for Potlatch, Idaho, overcame this difficulty by leaving in an automobile for Central Point, at which city they went aboard a train.
    Grants Pass has a similar quarantine to that of Medford, only that the age limit is 18 instead of 16. The Grants Pass quarantine also closes the public library in that city.
    Although no cases of infantile paralysis have developed in Ashland, the only case so far in that city being the one brought there by a sick child from Pinehurst, which family was promptly quarantined, the city of Ashland has adopted a minor quarantine program effective today. Jacksonville has also inaugurated a quarantine exactly like Medford's.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 1, 1927, page 1



ASHLAND YOUTHS OPPOSED TO FAG POSTER OF GIRL
    ASHLAND, May 10.--(Special)--Ashland young people have gone on record as definitely opposed to the "signboard cigarette girl" and have accomplished results. In response to their protest, the Foster-Kleiser Company has stated that "no objectionable advertising" will be posted on their signboards in this district. This statement was given out by Al Hayden, district manager of the company, who called in Ashland and discussed the matter with Reverend C. D. Gaffney. The protest was made through the combined efforts of practically every young people's organization of the town.
    A resolution condemning the advertising, which was posted several weeks ago, showing a beautiful girl smoking, was approved by the young people's organizations, and a copy of it was printed in the Ashland Tidings. A copy was forwarded to the Foster-Kleiser Company, that ordered the posters removed.
    A copy of the resolution was also forwarded to the American Tobacco Company, which sent back word that efforts would be made to prevent the advertising of that type in the future.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 10, 1929, page 4



VOLUNTEERS AID ON HIGH SCHOOL WALKS
    With "volunteer" high school labor and 15 workers from the C.W.A., construction of walks at the senior high school grounds was progressing well today.
    The workers are also grading the grounds, preparatory to planting of the lawn, and Medford's basketeers, under temporary suspension for painting of an Ashland barn, are showing themselves to be mighty hand with the pick and shovel and are really putting out some good work, school officials stated today.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 8, 1934, page 3


DIRE DANGER FOR CHILDREN AT PLAY ON DREDGE POOLS
    "Before we know it, some child is going to get drowned in that awful dredge hole near the north city limits" was the ominous warning issued today by Chief of Police Clatous McCredie, in regard to the habit of small boys of swimming in the pools made by the excavation of the big power shovel at the Medford Concrete Construction Company's rock crusher on Bear Creek.
    "In the first place, the creek is sluggish and filthy at this time of year," said the chief. "No one can foresee what diseases may be contracted there." He explained that at the point where the youngsters swim, the huge shovel has scooped away the bottom some places to a depth of only a few inches, but in others to 10 feet deep.
    The sluggish waters of Bear Creek are so muddy that it is impossible to see the bottom at any depth, and tiny boys, wading about, may fall into the holes at any time. Wading is not the most treacherous pastime, however. It is an accepted fact among the small fry along the creek that no swimming expedition is complete without a raft. Although Cass Wymore, foreman at the cement company plant, spends most of his spare time knocking these rafts apart, the children build them faster than he can destroy them.
    The danger of such rafts was pointed out by Chief McCredie, who stated that last week six small children, one of them a girl of three, were all out on one tiny raft hardly capable of supporting one grown man--and not one of the six could swim!
    "The vivid memory of the tragedy which took the life of little Buster Medley at that spot last year should be deterrent enough to the children and to their parents, but apparently isn't. The only way whereby another fatal accident can be averted is for the parents to exert iron restraint and forbid their children going near Bear Creek at all," McCredie said.
    "The best way to stop the practice is to send the children to a pool where they will be properly supervised, or for the parents to accompany the children to one of the many nearby streams where the danger is nil, either from a sanitary point of view, or from the danger of drowning," the chief advised.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 18, 1935, page 3



BOYS HAULED UP FOR USING SLINGSHOTS
    The idea when playing with slingshots is not to hit anything that breaks, and especially not to run away after the property is destroyed, is the opinion of two local juveniles who were picked up by city police officers for breaking windows at the Southern Oregon Sales packing plant early this week.
    According to the report filed at the station, the two, whose names were not disclosed, were signaled into the police station after they had reportedly broken several panes last Sunday afternoon. Aged 12 or 13, the youngsters had apparently not reckoned with the results, for when given a talking-to by the officers, they were thoroughly frightened and promised to put way their weapons.
    "Slingshots can cause considerable damage," the officers said, "especially when the youngster has little regard for the rights and property of others. Several reports have been brought in here to the effect that street lamps provide an excellent target, and while we do not like to arrest youngsters, we will if it doesn't stop."
Medford News, December 4, 1935, page 1


Oh-mi-gosh!
    A small girl living beyond Gold Hill had been out among the hired help and picked up quite a number of swear words of which her mother had labored in vain to break her of using. After the last outbreak her mother told her to pack up her suitcase and leave, as she wouldn't have little girls around who talked like that. She insisted on it, so the little girl packed her suitcase and sat down on the front step looking very forlorn.
    A neighbor lady came up the path and inquired if her mother was at home. The little girl answered, "How in the h----- do I know, I don't live here anymore."
Central Point American, October 1, 1936, page 1



    Mr. Cummings is also on the special police force of this town and has had many interesting experiences.
    When asked how he goes about to arrest a person he replied: "Grab 'im by the neck and start for the jail."
    He avows that it is strictly against the law for anyone to paint a sign on the Central Point water tank, and that former classes who did this have always been found. The class of '28 was caught and made to repaint the tower, and he further warned that the next time will be final.
"Water Master 'Jim' on Duty Many Years," Central Pointer, Central Point High School, January 27, 1937, page 2


Just Looking Around
By Letha Hesselgrave
    As I sit at my desk in the study hall, I cannot overcome the desire to drop my lessons for a few minutes and let my eyes wander observingly over the room.
    The first thing that attracts my attention is the common schoolgirl's giggle. The girls seem to be laughing at a picture of some famous historian who has taken the eye of some artistic student and has been decorated with the usual mustache, eyeglasses, beard and curls. Pictures like this often make an otherwise boring history period one of restive drawing, and they sometimes furnish a good laugh.
    The next thing I notice amuses me greatly but is taken in just the opposite way by the person involved. My character is the very studious girl who is annoyed by the least sound and though pretending to be very interested in the next day's assignment is peering over her glasses with a very disapproving look on her face at the little groups of confabbing students.
    Then there is the study hall pest, who couldn't possibly get along without going down the aisles with his pencil in hand hitting people on the head and closing open books. And maybe if he's feeling unusually mischievous he'll give your arm a shove and spoil a page of ink-written work.
    My attention is now attracted to the back of the room, where one fun-filled boy seems to be emptying the pencil sharpener down the neck of another quite serious-looking boy. The latter immediately jumps "up an' at 'im"; hence the battle royale is on. Playful flying fists are soon stopped at the request of the dutiful teacher.
    Also in the far corner of the room I cannot help but see a pair of schoolday sweethearts looking shyly at each other, with sheepish grins on their faces.
    I cast my eyes to the back of the room on the face of the weary but ever-watchful teacher, her face filled with disgust and looking just a wee bit fagged. Oh well, it's all in a lifetime.
Central Pointer, Central Point High School, March 30, 1938, page 3


3 BOYS LECTURED FOR LEAD NICKELS
    Four young amateur "counterfeiters"--three of them 13 years old and the other 15--received stiff lectures from city police and from their parents yesterday, after they confessed to manufacturing lead nickels which they used in drink vending and pinball machines.
    The boys told police they used a mold to make the "coins," pouring hot lead into the mold and then taking out the slugs, on one side of which was the imprint of a buffalo nickel.
    The youths told police they had been making the slugs for about two weeks, and that they had sold quite a few of them to other boys.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 12, 1940, page 12



    I was a kid even before WWII and lived in Medford, Ore. They built an army camp 13 miles north, "Camp White." It was a training camp as well as a POW camp.
    I lived on Jackson Street, so when the troop trains were rolling slow through town I would go down to the track and beg for handouts. We got "K" rations by the gob.
Art V. Smith, eBay auction listing, June 16, 2010


A TEENAGE PARTY IN THE '50S
Informant: Sharon Sheperd                            Student: Eddie Smith
    I asked my mother something she really could remember from her childhood. She was in high school in the '50s and these are the times she remembers most. Especially the dancing!
    It was the last part of her junior year, 1958, and she wanted to throw a dance that no one would forget. The theme of the dance was "A Walk Through the Park."
    She wanted a park bench and two mannequins for props. She got permission for the bench from Hawthorne Park. Not having a truck and whatnot, she got some of the football players to help her carry it down through the streets of Medford. The mannequins she got from Robinson's (she put her brother's clothes on one and a dress of her own on the other).
    The dance was held at the YMCA.
    They made construction paper trees and grass for a park scene. Then used crepe paper and kleenex flowers for the rest. They charged 15¢ at the door for singles and 25¢ for couples.
    Since a lot of times a dance would not get going, they started it with a dance they called the snowball.
    One couple gets out on the floor and a little bit of the song is played, then the music stops, the couple splits and finds a new partner. Soon everyone is on the floor (a few exceptions): any dance sort could be used.
    It was informal, so what they wore were bobby socks, mid-calf-length skirts, sweaters, pants rolled up, ponytails and crew cuts.
    Her favorite song was "Sh-Boom!" Other songs were "Little Darlin'," "Rock Around the Clock," "Crying in the Chapel," "Pony Time," "Runaround Sue," "Chantilly Lace," "Let the Good Times Roll," "Green Onions," and all of Elvis' songs.
    Fats Domino was her idol: "I"m Walking," "Ain't That a Shame," "Maybe Baby." Other dances they did were the Dirty Boogie (Snake Hips), Jitterbug, the Bop, Stroll, Truckin', Twist, the Pony, Freeze. Refreshments served were punch and homemade cookies.
Back Track II, prepared by Medford Senior High School students, May 1980, page 42




Last revised April 4, 2017