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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


The Fish Lake Ditch


    The people of Lake Creek are anxious for the success of the project to bring the waters of Little Butte Creek to Medford. A great deal of land in that section would be covered by the ditch, which is now unproductive on account of want of water.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 12, 1900, page 3


    Chief Engineer McCray of the Rogue River Ditch Co. arrived from San Francisco a few days ago and has gone to Little Butte Creek to commence work on the preliminary survey of the ditch.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 19, 1900, page 3


    The Medford and Butte Creek water ditch is again matter for discussion. There has never been a doubt in the Mail's mind but that the ditch would be built and now, when the promoters tell us that excavation work will be commenced within thirty days, we are not surprised--expected it all the time. The renewed interest manifest right now comes about by the visit of interested parties to the scene of action. On Sunday evening Messrs. C. D. Vincent, L. C. Williams and Vic McCray arrived in Medford, and early Monday morning the three started out over the line of the proposed ditch--the two first named gentlemen not having previously been over the line. Mr. Vincent is one of the firm, and Mr. Williams is a son of the Mr. Williams who is at the head of the firm and who was here several days last winter in the interest of the ditch. These gentlemen returned Monday evening and at once left for San Francisco to perfect arrangements for immediate work on the ditch. They were very much pleased with the surroundings and were in no ways averse to positively stating that the ditch would be built. Mr. McCray, the engineer for the company, will remain here and do some surveying preparatory to excavation work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 11, 1900, page 7


    Vic McCrary, engineer for the Medford Butte Creek Ditch Company, has been at work this week with a party of surveyors in the vicinity of Fish Lake. Mr. C. H. Williams, one of the members of the ditch company, arrived in Medford Wednesday evening and will go out over the line. The indications are growing brighter for this project every day. The Mail firmly believes the company mean business and will build the ditch--provided our people meet them half way.
"Additional Local Items," Medford Mail, May 18, 1900, page 3


    C. B. Williams, one of the promoters of the Butte Creek-Medford water ditch, is busily engaged these days securing rights of way for the ditch. The contracts for the use of water are more difficult to close up. Now that there is an opportunity to secure the ditch those farmers who it would seem ought to be the most interested in securing the water for their lands are the slowest to take action. The way the ground lies now it is not at all improbable that the ditch will be extended south along the foothills from a point east of Medford to some point on the south, where it will extend down into the valley and furnish water for those farmers south and southwest of Medford. Should this be done a market will be secured for all the water the ditch will carry, and those north and east of here who are right now not interesting themselves to any substantial extent in the project would just naturally be left out.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 15, 1900, page 7


    Mr. Williams of San Francisco, who has been promising to put Medford in water communication with Butte Creek by means of a big ditch, is among us again.

"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 13, 1900, page 3


    The authorities of the city of Medford have made a contract with Mr. Williams, representing the Southern Oregon Irrigation and Power Co., to furnish the city with water from the Butte Creeks at the rate of four cents per thousand gallons for the first 250,000 gallons, two cents per thousand for the next 350,000 gallons, and 1½ cents per thousand for any amount above those quantities. It is said to be the intention of the company to commence work on the ditch very soon. The enterprise will prove quite important in more ways than one.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 16, 1900, page 3


    With the present prospects of the big canal, property in Medford is going pretty rapidly. Parties wishing locations, and those also who have property to sell, call on York & Wortman.

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



    Active work on the Fish Lake Irrigation and Power Canal construction is practically certain to be inaugurated at an early date. Several months have elapsed since anything definite has been said regarding this great project, but the promoters have not been idle during this time. Conversely, the company has been quietly adjusting matters pertaining to a permanent organization and have made definite arrangements to commence work within a few weeks, according to letters received by Medford parties with whom the chief engineer is engaged in regular correspondence. He states that contracts for similar work in the Hawaiian Islands in which some members of this company were interested have been completed and that the parties have returned to San Francisco, and are only waiting for favorable weather to begin work. Without a doubt these gentlemen mean business and intend to push the matter to as speedy completion as possible.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 7


    The arrival in this city last week of the prime promoters of the Fish Lake Irrigation and Power Canal, Messrs. Clark and Vincent, caused a renewed interest in this great project. While nothing definite regarding the preliminary program can be learned for publication at this time, it can be stated with certainty that arrangements for commencement of the work will be made at an early date. There are a great many vital matters connected with an undertaking of this magnitude which require adjudication before anything of a definite nature can be safely announced. These gentlemen are averse to making any statement which they may not be able to keep, hence their reticence at this time; but the fact that they are asking nothing in in the way of bonuses or other "grafting" concessions evidences their good faith. They ask the cooperation of the citizens of Medford and those residing along the line of the proposed canal in securing rights-of-way, which must be accomplished before anything of a definite nature can be done. Mr. McCray, the chief engineer, has taken up his headquarters in this city and will remain here permanently. Messrs. Clark and Vincent, who have extensive interests in California which require immediate attention, left for San Francisco Thursday, but they will return at an early date. The benefits to be derived from this canal cannot well be overestimated by the citizens of this valley. An opportunity is here presented to reclaim the large acreage of arid land in the county, of furnishing the farmers with an abundance of water for irrigating purposes, and of furnishing Medford with a water system unexcelled by that of any city in the state. All possible assistance should be generously accorded these gentlemen in their efforts to secure the necessary right-of-way. This accomplished, the immediate construction of the ditch is an assured fact.

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


RIGHTS-OF-WAY SECURED.
Fish Lake Water Company Very Successful in Securing Rights
to Construct Canal Across Lands Along the Line.
    The representatives of the Fish Lake Water Company returned to Medford this week and have been busily engaged in adjusting their affairs preparatory to commencement of the work.
    In an interview with one of the gentlemen he stated that on their part they are ready to commence building the ditch on April 1st. In beginning, the work will be done by day labor and not by contract, and they are in hopes of being able to secure all teams needed from parties living along the line of and in the neighborhood of the ditch, and if no unavoidable delay occurs they expect to have the ditch completed and ready for water as far as Dry Creek by the first of the year. He stated that so far they have had very little difficulty in securing most of the rights-of-way for the ditch line as soon as an application was made therefor. At this time eighty percent of the right-of-way to Dry Creek has been secured, and they hope to have the remaining rights by the first of April, so as not to interfere with the plans for the commencement of work on that date. He stated that there was but one important piece of right-of-way about which there is any serious question. This they hope to have satisfactorily arranged at an early date and to that end they are being assisted by prominent men in the city who are interested in the project. Should, however, they be unsuccessful in making arrangements for this right the ditch company will be compelled to institute condemnation proceedings, and the inauguration of the work will be deferred until an order of the court permitting them to cross the land can be obtained.
    The gentleman stated that it was their earnest hope that such proceedings would not be necessary, as the ground, owing to the late rains, is in a very favorable condition for work at this time, and that by being enabled to start work on the date fixed it could be done much more rapidly and at a much smaller cost to them. Speaking further in regard to securing rights-of-way he said:
    "As we are asking for no bonuses or financial assistance from the citizens of Medford or vicinity, we feel that we are entitled to the full support, in securing rights-of-way, of all such citizens as believe the building of the ditch will be a benefit to the county. This support of the general community is of the greatest importance to us; a land owner may not be willing to grant a right-of-way to our representative when considered as a benefit to the company alone, but when such right-of-way is wanted by his neighbors and the general community, for the benefit it will be to all, it puts the matter in a different light entirely. Where in crossing land any actual damage is caused, the company of course expects to pay for such damages, and if the amount cannot be mutually agreed on we are willing to settle by arbitration. It is the company's desire to avoid all litigation in such matters.
    "We hope later to arrange with the city of Medford to supply both water and electric power, but whether such arrangement is made or not, it will not interfere with our present plans to build to Dry Creek during the year. As stated before, the only thing that will delay us building there will be the inability to get a complete right-of-way at once."
Medford Mail, March 8, 1901, page 2


    In last week's Mail the statement was made that but one important right-of-way, about which there was likely to be any trouble, remained to be secured before the Fish Lake Ditch Company could begin work. This right has now been secured and we are reliably informed that work will be commenced April 1st, as previously stated. Mr. McCray, head engineer for the company, is on the ground this week busily engaged in making the final survey. The other interested parties state positively that they will be here March 20th, with all the necessary equipments for work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 15, 1901, page 7



    The indications that work on the Fish Lake ditch will be started on schedule time, as previously stated, become daily more apparent. The company's foreman, D. E. Morris, of San Francisco, arrived in Medford this week, and in company with the chief engineer, Victor McCray, has been going over the ground. Mr. Norris not a stranger to this section, he having been timekeeper for the Southern Pacific railroad during its construction through this valley. The right-of-way for the first sixteen miles of the ditch has been secured, but there yet remain some necessary rights to be secured which are of vital importance, and which must be obtained before the company feels justified in announcing just what it will be able to do. That there should be any serious objections to giving a right-of-way for an enterprise of this nature seems impossible. If the company were engaged in a grafting enterprise, were endeavoring to secure control of land for which the owners could expect nothing in return, it would be wisdom to give the question mature consideration, but the promoters of this ditch have repeatedly assured the citizens that they would ask no other concession than the right to construct the canal with their own money. Under these circumstances it would seem that there could be no reasonable objections to their offer. The Mail does not pretend to endeavor to influence the owners of the land along the proposed line of this ditch to enter into any agreement which would be detrimental to their interests, nor does it pretend to know what course would best serve their present and future welfare, but it does appeal to the citizens of the valley, and especially to those whose consent must be obtained before the ditch can be built, to aid the promoters in every way within their power, if it can be seen that by so doing they will be conferring a benefit upon their community and Jackson County generally.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 22, 1901, page 7


    There are petitions in the form of a protest being circulated in this section protesting against the Fish Lake Ditch Company taking the water out of Butte Creek, as the farmers along the creek have to depend on the waters of that stream to irrigate their gardens and alfalfa. There will be an injunction filed, and the matter be tested in the courts.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, March 29, 1901, page 5


    On Monday of this week a carload of plows, scrapers and graders was received at the Southern Pacific depot in this city for the Fish Lake Irrigation Company, and the work of putting them together for use has been in progress since their arrival. Messrs. Clark and Vincent are expected here next Monday or Tuesday, and as soon as possible after their arrival work will be commenced in earnest. Messrs. Morris, the construction foreman, and Victor McCray, their chief engineer, have been getting everything in readiness during the last two weeks, and The Mail believes that the time is not far distant when this great enterprise will be something more than a conjectural affair. We have steadily maintained that these gentlemen have been acting in good faith, and that we have not erred in our judgment has been manifested by the developments of the past few days. Our only regret is that some few of our citizens have not shown a greater interest in the ditch, and been more liberal in their efforts to aid these gentlemen in arranging the preliminaries.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 29, 1901, page 7


    Messrs. McCray and Vincent, of the Fish Lake Irrigation Company, were here last week looking up the amount of water used by the different claimants of water rights along Little Butte Creek.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, April 12, 1901, page 5


    Reports have been rife for the past couple of weeks that the farmers living on Butte Creek, near Eagle Point, had decided to file an injunction against the Fish Lake Ditch Company to prevent them taking the water from Little Butte Creek. It appears that there has been a misunderstanding in regard to this matter, and that those who have investigated the subject have decided to withdraw their objections. Those who have been using the water from Butte Creek cannot be disturbed in the full enjoyment of their privileges. The ditch company understands this well-established fact, and had no intention of infringing upon the rights of settlers. There is only one question which will be required to be determined in court, viz: What amount of water are those interested entitled to? For the purpose of determining this question a friendly suit will be filed against the Eagle Point Mill company by the ditch company; the court will pass upon the matter and the result will be accepted by both parties to the question. The ditch company, as stated has not now, nor has ever had, any desire or intention of infringing upon the rights of others; they have shown a conciliatory spirit throughout the whole transaction and whenever they have been permitted to make their position clear to those who were inclined to contest their rights all objects have been withdrawn. At present the company has a few men at work clearing the right-of-way for the ditch, but work in earnest has not yet been commenced because of the fact that the soil on the mountainside is too wet to be profitably and expeditiously worked.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 12, 1901, page 7


    Lem. Charley, the Lake Creek farmer, was in Medford last week after a load of supplies for the Fish Lake Ditch Company.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 19, 1901, page 6


    The Fish Lake Canal Company has twenty-three men now at work clearing right-of-way for the proposed canal. In about a week's time men will be at work drilling and blasting rock. Work was commenced on Lem Charley's place, and the right-of-way clearers are now at Chris. Keegan's place, on Osborn Creek. Engineer McCray is setting grade stakes on a portion of the right-of-way this side of Mr. Charley's land, the same having been cleared during the past winter. The fact that actual work has been commenced on the ditch will be good news to many people of the valley. This item will undoubtedly appear in Saturday's issue of the Enquirer--warmed over from The Mail.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 19, 1901, page 7


    The Fish Lake Canal Company has twenty-three men now at work clearing right-of-way for the proposed canal. In about a week's time men will be at work drilling and blasting rock. The fact that actual work has been commenced on the ditch will be good news to many people of the valley.--Medford Mail.

"Local Happenings," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, April 25, 1901, page 3


Progress of Work on the New Ditch.
    Every resident of this part of the Rogue River Valley is anxiously watching for news of the progress of work on the Fish Lake water ditch, which is now assured.
    Mr. D. E. Morris, who is superintendent of construction for the ditch company, came in from the work Wednesday and he has given us the following facts in connection with the present work and that which will immediately follow:
    There are now twenty-odd men at work clearing the right-of-way--cutting the brush, grubbing out stumps and [illegible] timber, and otherwise getting the ground in shape for plowing, which work will be commenced about the
1st of May. Two ten-horse plows will be put to work at that time, and then will be kept steadily at this work until it is completed. One ten-horse Austin grader will follow the plows, and a second grader, similar in make and capacity, will be put on about the middle of May. These graders will remove the surface dirt, but the body of the dirt will be removed with the ordinary two-horse road scraper. Drill work on the rocky points will be commenced within ten days. A camp will be established on the line adjacent to where the body of work is being done. This camp will accommodate about fifty men and will consist of tents, ranges and cooking utensils, the equipage for which is now in Medford and will at once be taken to the scene of operation. Forty or fifty teams will be required to equip the camp for grading work. Thirty men will be steadily employed on the rock work at places where blasting is necessary and where scrapers cannot be used--and there are several such places.
    From this on, work will be vigorously prosecuted until snow falls again, at which time it is expected the work will be far enough along to enable the company to have water in the valley for use next May.
    The ditch, or canal, will be forty miles in length, and will have a carrying capacity of
10,000 miner's inches of water per second, but the amount which will be turned in at first will probably not exceed 5000 inches, as there will need be reservoirs put in at Fish Lake before the full carrying capacity of the ditch can be put to use. It is estimated that 5000 inches of water will amply irrigate 25,000 acres of land. The width of the ditch will be from eight to ten feet, with a varying width at the top of from twenty to twenty-five feet. Its depth will vary from four to fourteen feet, there being several cuts to be made which will necessitate this greater depth.
    The first excavating work to be done will be near Lem Charley's place and will extend to head of ditch, near W. C. Bailey's place.
    The duties of superintendent Morris are becoming of such magnitude that an assistant will be put to work with him very soon.
    Mr. Vic McCray, engineer for the company, is still here engaged in making maps, and when on the line in setting grade stakes and establishing levels. Both Mr. McCray and Mr. Morris are very fine gentlemen, and there is not a courtesy possible for them to extend to our people that is not forthcoming--when the best interests of their employers are not interfered with. Mr. Morris was a resident of the Lake Creek country twenty-four years ago, at which time he taught school in the Lake Creek district, worked in a sawmill and was a deservedly popular man in that locality at all social events. He also herded Chinamen, shoulder to shoulder with Charlie Wolters, when the Southern Pacific railroad was building through the valley.
Medford Mail, April 26, 1901, page 2


    The Fish Lake Canal Company this week received at the freight depot at this place a large consignment of scrapers, plows and other material for constructing their canal.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, April 26, 1901, page 6


Wanted--
    A few GOOD two-horse teams and lead bars to be employed on Fish Lake ditch. Apply at camp, near W. C. Daley ranch on Little Butte Creek, eight miles above Brownsboro. Feed can be obtained from company at cost prices. Wages, team and driver, $3 per day.
D. E. MORRIS,
Supt. Construction.
Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 2


    Walter Robinett, who is working in the blacksmith shop for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, was compelled to remain at home a few days last week on account of illness, but returned to his post this week.

A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 5


    The recent smallpox scare on Butte Creek had the effect of interfering to some extent with the progress of the construction work of the Fish Lake Irrigation Company, which had been progressing very favorably for several weeks and which is again under full headway. The scare has entirely subsided, the supposed case having proven to be poison oak instead of the much-dreaded smallpox. The new grader which was recently received is working to the entire satisfaction of superintendent Morris. He has a ten-horse plow in operation and will put on two more next week, also twenty-five slip scrapers. They have thus far cleared twenty miles of right-of-way, twenty feet wide, and with three stump pullers in operation are progressing in this work at a rapid rate. They have between thirty-five and forty men now employed and can handle a few more at any time. They are also advertising for a number of good two-horse teams for the season's work, for which, with the driver, they will pay $3 per day. It is the intention of the company to bring the water to the valley by next May, and a force of men sufficient to carry out their program will be steadily employed.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 7


    Last week the right-of-way camp of the Fish Lake Irrigation Company near W. H. Bradshaw's farm was entered and a number of picks, shovels and other tools was stolen.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, May 31, 1901, page 6


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake water ditch, was in from the camp last week. Last Friday was pay day in the camp, and $1800 was paid out for labor and $1000 for incidental expenses in the valley, such as material and supplies. He reports work progressing favorably, considering the character of the soil in which they were working--which was sticky and clay. One and a half miles of ditch has been completed during the month. This is from four to six feet deep and ten feet wide on the bottom. This particular piece of the ditch is thought to be the most expensive of construction of any piece on the line. Mr. Morris expects he will be able to make greater progress, by far, this month. The company has a large camp of tents established on the south fork of Little Butte, at a point where the ditch crosses that stream. Besides the company tents--five large ones--there are about twenty smaller ones owned and occupied by employees on the works. The camp has more the appearance of a picnic ground than a colony of working men. The company is giving employment to all men applying for work, and there will be work until the weather next fall compels a shutdown.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 14, 1901, page 7


    Jas. Vanderkarr, of Medford, passed through here last Saturday on his way home from the big ditch, where he has been working. He was called home on account of illness in his family.

A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 5


    Will Gregory has returned from working on the ditch and will commence haying.

"Big Sticky Items," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 5


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake water ditch, was in the city this week upon business. He reports work progressing very satisfactorily on the ditch. The working camp was moved last week from the Daley place to the Klingle place, near Butte Creek and on the line of the ditch. The entire force is now employed on actual ditch work and is making good progress. By the middle of July the ditch will be completed to Osborn Creek, making in all between six and seven miles of completed ditch. A strike among the workmen in the rock gang was on last Monday, and the aggressors, fifteen in number, were discharged and given their time checks. The strike, it is thought, emanated from one man, who was a "straw" boss on the job and who had used his position to incite enmity toward those superior to him in command. The prompt action in dismissing the aggressors had a very wholesome effect in quieting the camp and little, if any, inconvenience was experienced by the company. The places made vacant by the discharge are open for good men, in fact, all good men applying for work will be accommodated.

    F. M. Stewart:--"I was out at the big Fish Lake ditch this week .Water is now running in 2000 feet of the ditch and two farms are being irrigated with water from it. A splendid job of work is being done. It is substantial in every respect. The camp is well conducted, and the boarding house, run by H. B. Sample, is well supplied with good, fresh, wholesome food and only $3 per week is charged for board. The camp consumes an average of one beef a week .The ditch work is being handicapped in some respects by not being able to secure more teams and men."

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 28, 1901, page 7


    C. Charley, of Brownsboro, was in the city Sunday, after material for the Fish Lake Ditch Company.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 5, 1901, page 6


    There is now under way of construction one of the most extensive irrigating ditches in the state. The completion of this great enterprise means a great deal for the Rogue River Valley, and incidentally to Medford, for whatever is beneficial to the valley generally is either directly or indirectly beneficial to Medford. The construction of the ditch will make possible the cultivation of thousands of acres of unproductive and idle land; it will make more productive the thousands of acres of land which is now under cultivation, and it will render possible the accomplishment of many other things which could not otherwise be done.

"Entering a New Era," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 2



    C. D. Clark, of San Francisco, was in Medford last week .Mr. Clark is a member of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, and in company with engineer McCray drove out to the graders' camp on the ditch, where he made an inspection of the work done. He reported everything moving along very satisfactorily and left instructions to push the work with all possible vigor.

"Purely Personal,"
Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 6


    The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Fish Lake Ditch Company was held in Medford on Monday of this week. I. L. Hamilton was elected president; M. Purdin, vice president; E. C. Williams, secretary and treasurer; Rufus Cox, director, V. T. McCray, manager. The business and work of the past year was carefully gone over and all matters appertaining thereto were voted entirely satisfactory and it was decided that the work now in progress should be pushed with all possible speed, consistent with the conditions and permanency of the undertaking.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 7


    Lem Charley, who is in the employ of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, was in the city last week after supplies for the camp. He reports that things are just naturally humming all along the ditch line. The graders are now working on Osborn Creek, and in about a week's time the camp will be moved to his place, which is about three miles from the old camp. When there, eight miles of the ditch will be practically finished. The work so far has been in sticky and rock, but the next four miles will be in free soil, which will be easier to handle. There are now eighty men and thirty teams at work, and more men are being put to work nearly every day. The strike of a few weeks ago, he says, was a good thing for the camp, as it cleaned out a few disgruntled men, and their positions have since been filled by good men--and the camp is in a good-natured, happy condition and every man in it seems to be using his best efforts to further the work. There are about thirty tents in the camp, most of which are occupied by farmers who are working on the ditch. The ditch is making it possible for a great many farmers to earn money which would not be easily done had not this enterprise been put under way.

    D. E. Morris:--"Everything is moving along nicely out at the ditch camp. Engineer McCray was crippled Monday by a horse stepping on his foot. It laid him up for a couple of days, but he's a nervy fellow and was hobbling around on it the third day. I leave this week for Klamath County, where I expect to purchase twenty-four head of heavy horses for the company to put to work on our ditch graders."

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 19, 1901, page 7


    County Commissioner Riley has demonstrated beyond a peradventure that the desert land lying north and northeast of Medford, of which there are many thousand acres, will produce in abundance when irrigated. Mr. Riley's home is on Antelope Creek, near the edge of the big desert. Last spring while crossing the desert he discovered a few spears of alfalfa struggling for existence in the dry, parched soil, and the thought occurred to him that an opportunity was here presented to prove, or disprove, the value of irrigation on this desert land. He watered the alfalfa plants, and controlled the process at intervals when he thought necessary during the months of May, June and part of July. As a result of his experiment he cut, this week, alfalfa stalks that measured seven feet in length. It is unnecessary to say that henceforth, and forever after, from date even with this writing to a time when the general finish takes place, Mr. Riley is an irrigation enthusiast. One can very readily foresee, from Mr. Riley's experiment, what material benefit the Fish Lake irrigating ditch will be to the valley when water is running within its banks.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 26, 1901, page 7


A TRIP TO THE BIG DITCH OF THE FISH LAKE WATER CO.
A LARGE AMOUNT OF WORK DONE BUT NOT SO MUCH
AS REPORTED BY THE WEEKLY FAKIR.*
Will Be Some Time Yet Before Water Is Running
from the Creek into the Canal.

    Owing to so many conflicting stories told and published about the work on the big ditch, and the public interest for reliable news in regard to it, we decided Saturday last to pay it a visit; go over the ground and give the public the facts in the matter and the company the credit they deserve. Accompanied by attorney W. E. Phipps Saturday afternoon, we drove to Lake Creek post office, some 22 miles east and north of Medford, near which place the ditch starts.
    It might be well to state that the objects set forth by this company [are] for the purpose of furnishing water for irrigating purposes and water power; other purposes are also set forth, but will, we think, hardly prove feasible. The company is incorporated under the laws of Oregon and officered as follows: President, I. L. Hamilton; Vice President, M. Purdin; Sec'y. and Treas., L. C. Williams. V. T. McCray is chief engineer and manager in charge of the work, and J. C. Morris is master and foreman.
    The proposed ditch is to be 56 miles in length, with a width at the top of from 12 to 20 feet and at the bottom of 10 feet, and its capacity is estimated at 10,000 miners inches. The ditch commences at a point on the north fork of Little Butte Creek about 1½ miles above its confluence with the south fork of Little Butte, and is by the road probably 24 miles from Medford. From there on up to Fish Lake where the company expects to build a dam and create a huge reservoir it is some 15 or 20 miles further, but as the creek bed will be used, no ditch work will be necessary to convey water from Fish Lake to the present head of the ditch.
    From a personal observation we find the following work has been done: Commencing upon the property of W. C. Daly, about 40 rods from where the canal or ditch starts out of the creek, there has been completed some 3,500 feet of ditch. Between this point and the point of commencement on the south or east side of the south fork of Little Butte Creek, there is a gap of some 1,200 feet which will have to be flumed unless they go higher up, which engineer McCray says they intend doing; here it will take a flume some 500 feet in length. From there down to and opposite the Thumburg place the grading has been mostly done. This covers a distance of probably four miles in a direct line and possibly 8 miles by the winding route of the ditch. At this point it reaches a height of more than 100 feet above the creek. One cut they are now completing is 11 feet in depth and some 200 yards in length; in this there was considerable rock work. Much of the rock work yet remains to be done, and as a matter of fact it will take considerable more work before it will be possible to run water through where now graded.
    But let us say in justice to the gentlemen in charge that the amount of work done so far is surprising and they are pushing it right along. Laborers are getting their pay in cash and as no complaints are heard from them one naturally takes it for granted they are satisfied as to wages and their employers.
    They are now putting up a saw mill and have the logs cut and on the ground to saw into lumber with which to build the flumes. But the report that the company had water running in the ditch for some two miles is a "fairy story," the only water running in the ditch at any place is on the ranch of J. D. Culberson just above Lake Creek post office, and this is where Mr. Culberson's irrigating ditch, that starts from the South Fork, happens to be on the line of the company's ditch, which it follows for probably 40 rods.
    At present there are some 60 men employed upon the construction work, and more are wanted, as well as heavy draft horses for use in grading. The management expect to put a much larger force at work soon, as harvest is nearly over and there will be more people looking for work. The company realizes the fact that they could secure on the outside all the help needed, but have confined themselves to employing almost exclusively residents of Jackson County, and which course has been of much benefit to our business men.
    Now in summing the matter up and without knowing the intentions of the ditch promoters, but from the work they are doing, and the large sums they are paying out, it looks very much like they contemplate the completion of the ditch. They have so far this season expended some $50,000, and are going right along with the work every day and every week, which means hundreds of dollars more, and with crop conditions such as they are this year in Rogue River Valley, it is proving to be a great help to our laboring and business men. It is the intention to have several miles in operation by the time the winter season sets in, and work will be pushed on the saw mill so they can get the lumber for the innumerable flumes along the route. . . .
    The camp of the ditch construction is situated on the land of S. Klingle on the south bank of the creek and is quite a little city of tents. Here the best of order prevails, as the camp is entirely free from any of the disorderly element.
Medford Enquirer, July 27, 1901, page 4    *The "fakir" is the Medford Mail, competitor to the Enquirer.


    Mrs. Loar and family are out at the Fish Lake Ditch camp, where members of the family are assisting in preparing sustenance for the immense crowd of laborers.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 2, 1901, page 6


    Work is progressing very nicely on the Fish Lake Ditch. The halfway point between Little Butte Creek and the drop at W. H. Bradshaw's place was reached this week. Eight miles in all have been graded. At Mr. Bradshaw's place a drop of 100 feet will be made, at which point it is proposed to establish a power house. With the amount of water which the ditch will carry and the drop it will have 2000 horsepower can be developed. Mr. Morris, superintendent of construction, returned from Klamath County last week bringing with him sixteen head of fine young mares, weighing from 1200 to 1500 pounds. The price paid was $75 each. These horses are not all broken, but will be put into harness at once and put to light work on the ditch and after the work is completed they will be put at work on the farm. On the 30th day of July, just passed, measurements were taken of the water running in Little Butte Creek, and there were found to be 7200 inches--actual and absolutely correct measurements. About 2000 inches of this amount is being used by parties in and around Eagle Point, leaving more water than will be needed by the ditch company for several years, and when this supply is backed by a large reservoir at Fish Lake there will be little danger of the ditch running dry. Ground was broken by the head plow gang this week on the line near Lem Charley's place, which is ten and one-half miles from the head of the ditch. The rock men and scrapers will follow after and soon close up the work on this stretch. Camp will be moved again very soon to Clay Charley's place, which will be camp No. 3. When the ditch is completed to this point the hardest part of the work has been finished, as the ground ahead lays better and is easier to handle, and the work will consequently move faster. The same force as is now at work will be retained until the wet season sets in.

    The Fish Lake Ditch Company has purchased 1600 acres of land in the valley and proposes opening up a little farm--all on their own book--and all under the water from their irrigating ditch which they are now building. The land which the company has purchased is about six miles north and east from Medford and was purchased from the railroad company, and from Messrs. Crance, Harbaugh, Bryant and Curtis. The price paid was $5 per acre. The major portion of the land is desert, still there is some sticky; all, however, is, or will be, good farm land when water from the ditch is turned onto it. When the ditch is completed arrangements will at once be perfected for placing the land under cultivation and in shape to receive the water.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 9, 1901, page 7


    Mr. W. A. Davidson of Medford, who has been working on the F.L. Ditch, came down last week to be treated by him [sic] for rheumatism.
"Eagle Point Eaglets,"
Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 5


    Mr. and Mrs. A. Pool, of Eagle Point, were Medford visitors Monday. These people own and conduct the Eagle Point hotel, but they are desirous of disposing of it. The reason given is that they wish to move to their farm of 240 acres, which lies not a greatly way from Eagle Point, all of which will be under water supply from the Fish Lake Ditch. This water ditch, Mr. Pool avers, will be of great benefit to the farm lands along its route and nearly all of the farmers will use water. The fact is worthy of mention that these good people did not care to exchange their present vocation for that of farming until the assurance of a water supply was given them. This augurs good for the ditch company, and the Mail hopes every farmer who can possibly secure water will do so. It's a good thing and works out a big benefit to all parties interested.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 6


    J. L. Wilson--"I notice you have had an item or two on the immense crops of alfalfa which are being grown around here. Those items were all good, but you ought to see the crop that Will Gore is harvesting, out on the Ish farm. It is the second crop, and the shocks are so close together that it seems almost impossible to drive a team between. No, it has had no water--only what Nature gave it--and that wasn't much this year. There are thousands of acres in the valley that are not now growing much of anything which will be good alfalfa land when that Fish Lake Ditch puts water on it."

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 7


Good Men Wanted.
    Good men can get employment at the camp of the Fish Lake Ditch Company.
Medford Mail,
August 23, 1901, page 2


    Walter Robinett came down from the Fish Lake Ditch last Friday night and telephoned to Medford for a doctor for Fred Mitchell, who was taken suddenly ill caused by being jarred by a premature explosion of a blast.

"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 5


    A Mail reporter heard an argument put up this week that is almost too ridiculous to be worthy of mention, but as others may be interested in knowing the extent which some pessimists will allow their imagination to run, we will give it to our readers. We were speaking of the advantages which would be derived from the construction of the new Fish Lake Ditch when one of the party made bold the assertion that an irrigating ditch would ruin the lands of the valley to which it conveyed water, he claiming that the water would harden the soil so that grain could not grow and that it would eventually waste away. Medford people who have irrigated their gardens for the past ten or twelve years and have experienced none of the calamities predicted above will hardly believe that the farm lands of the valley will be made barren waste by supplying them with an occasional wetting.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 7


    Rev. J. P. Moomaw, of Eagle Point, was in Medford last Saturday. The gentleman had but recently returned from the Fish Lake Ditch camp--and was saying all kinds of pretty words for that enterprising project. He says it is a grand affair, and there can be no calculating the good it will do the valley. The ditch pessimists, he says, are becoming scarce in his part of the country.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 30, 1901, page 6


    The sixteen head of horses recently purchased in Klamath County by Mr. Morris for the Fish Lake Ditch Company were taken out to the ditch camp last week and have been put to work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 30, 1901, page 7


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake irrigating ditch, reports that eleven miles of the ditch are completed with the exception of flume and a little rock work. The graders are now working on the thirteenth mile, and seventeen miles will surely be completed this fall, which will take it to the drop on W. H. Bradshaw's place. Mr. Bradshaw has about 800 acres of land which will come under this ditch. There is a natural slope to all parts of his land from the ditch. In fact, nature seemed to have planned the land especially to be watered from this ditch. Mr. Morris further stated that the lag in work occasioned by the warm weather had been replaced with new vigor and that things were now moving along very encouragingly. The new horses are breaking in all right, and some of them are now hauling hay from east of Medford to the lands which the company has purchased, for feeding during the winter. The company has purchased sixty tons of hay at $8 per ton. Speaking of prior water rights, Mr. Morris said every legitimate right would be respected, but that no mushroom propositions or rights instituted to hinder work or on "graft" principles would be countenanced. The company now owns about 3000 acres of land in the valley, comprising arid, semi-arid and productive soils--all of which will be made productive by water from the ditch.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 13, 1901, page 7


    C. L. Vincent, of San Francisco, and one of the members of the Fish Lake Irrigating Ditch Company, arrived in Medford this week and is now out at the camp making an inspection of the work.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 27, 1901, page 6


MEN AND TEAMS WANTED.
    I can give employment to eight or ten good teams, at $3 per day, and to from twenty-five to thirty good men at $1.75 per day. Apply to me at the Fish Lake Ditch camp.
D. E. MORRIS,
Supt of Construction.
Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 2


    Mrs. V. T. McCray, who has been stopping in Medford for several months, left Monday for her home in Stockton, Calif. The good lady is the wife of engineer McCray, who is civil engineer on the big Fish Lake irrigating ditch. During her stay here she has made a great many friends, and all regret her departure. She is a very pleasant lady and one who makes fast friends everywhere--as a matter of fact she is a whole host and several entertaining guests, in a social way.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 6


Austin Road Grader, Garfield County Museum, Washington
An Austin grader at the Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum.

    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish lake Ditch, was in the city this week upon business. He reports that work on the ditch has been retarded greatly since September 20th by the frequent rains. Now, however, since the weather seems to have cleared, he hopes to be able to catch up to some extent. To make this catchup it has been necessary to invest in additional machinery, and a new eight-horse plow and an Austin grader were taken from Medford to the camp this week. The plows and graders have broken ground to a point close to Ed. Mills' place, opposite the Brownsboro post office. With good weather for thirty days he hopes to reach the drop at Mr. Bradshaw's place. The two miles of unfinished ditch which has been left open during the rains will now be finished. Mr. Morris, in order to ensure the accomplishment of the work laid out for this fall, is offering employment to eight or ten good teams at $3 per day and twenty-five or thirty good men at $1.75 per day. If the drop is reached before the good weather ceases, then the teams will be put at work this side of the drop and work will thus be pushed beyond the company's expectation. A crew of thirty or forty picked men will be employed during the winter months in taking out the rock cuts, which have been left for the wet season. There are several of these cuts and rock points--in all probably three-fourths of a mile. The construction of a 600-foot flume across the south fork of Little Butte will be commenced about the 15th of this month if weather permits, and this one, together with the one across Lake Creek, of about the same length, will be hurried to completion. Several smaller flumes, together with head and waste gates, will be put in during the winter. Thirty kegs of nails and spikes, together with tools for use in this work, were taken from Medford to camp this week. A contract for hauling the necessary lumber from Clay Charley's sawmill, on the south fork of Little Butte Creek, has been let to John Willtrout. Looking at matters from all sides, the progress of the work and its continuation as mapped out are indeed flattering.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 7


    A. M. Clark, manager of one of the road graders on the big ditch, was down Sunday and reports work in progress as well as could be expected.

A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 5


    Fred Mitchell came down from the big ditch last Sunday and reports everything progressing nicely with their work on account of the fine weather.
    A young man by the name of John Foster, who is working on the ditch, had the misfortune to hurt his leg recently and an abscess has formed. Last Sunday Dr. Officer was summoned to give the young man treatment.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 5


    All the vacant houses in town and vicinity are being occupied by families. The menfolks are working on the ditch line and the children are attending school.

"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 5


    A. M. Clark was in from the ditch camp yesterday for repairs, having broken one of the big graders.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 6


    Messrs. C. B. Williams and Joseph Belser, of San Francisco, two heavy stockholders in the Fish Lake Irrigating Ditch Company, arrived in Medford this week and on Tuesday morning started out to make an examination of construction work done on the ditch. They expressed themselves as being well satisfied with the progress being made and the general substantial manner in which the work is being executed. They have every reason for being satisfied. The work has been pushed with all possible dispatch consistent with thoroughness. The management has been handicapped to some extent by the non-arrival of machinery at dates expected, but aside from this few drawbacks have been experienced since work was commenced. Ground has been broken on the entire length of the ditch from its head to the Bradshaw "drop," a distance of seventeen miles, and is practically completed--except two and one-half miles on this end upon which two large Austin graders, six large plows and fifteen or twenty slip scrapers are now at work. If the present good weather continues for ten days all the work will be completed, except the rock work, which will be taken up as soon as this grading is finished. Two gangs of men, probably forty in all, will be kept at this work during the winter. The flume across the south fork of Butte Creek, which is to be 600 feet in length, is well under way and will be completed within ten days. Construction work has been commenced on the flume across Lake Creek, which is 600 feet in length and from four to fifty feet in height. It is quite probable that if good weather continues the graders and plows will be put to work below the drop, but whether or not this is done, the work is now far enough along to ensure the running of water into the valley through the ditch by the first of next May. There are now 102 men at work on the ditch and flumes. The drop referred to above is a fall in the ditch of 100 feet, and it is at this point where the company propose generating power for operating manufacturing machinery in the valley, should there be a demand for it. This drop is but fourteen miles, in an air line, from Medford. Should it be deemed advisable to transmit this power to valley points it will be done by electricity.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 7


    Mr. Clark, boss of the rock gang on the big ditch, was down last week and reports work progressing rapidly.

A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 5


    J. R. Howard was down from the Fish Lake Ditch this week. Mr. Howard has been in the employ of the ditch company since it first commenced doing business, and he likes it so well that he is praying for a few more weeks of good weather. That's the kind of a man Mr. Howard is, and that's the kind of people which composes the ditch company.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 6


    This thought is not fathered by a delusion, neither is it impracticable or impossible--an electric railway from Medford to the vast belt of timber on upper Rogue River. The Fish Lake Ditch Company will be in a position to supply all necessary power to operate such a line, while the cost of construction would be very slight as compared with the cost of a regulation railroad. Medford people, we believe, would be willing and anxious to subsidize a proposition of this kind--with one condition--that the lumber be brought to Medford in the log. You say this would necessitate the hauling of a great amount of worthless timber? That is not so. Every particle of the wood itself could be, and would be, manufactured right here in Medford into useful articles of commerce, while the bark could be used for fuel. This is no pipe dream but a matter of sound logic and a condition which may be brought about to the profit of our growing little city--and as well to the men who have gumption enough to grasp a good thing when they see it.
Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 2


    Engineer Vic McCray came in from the Fish Lake Ditch this week for a few days' business stay in the city. He returned Wednesday, accompanied by F. M. Stewart, a notary public. They will visit several farmers along the line of the ditch and secure their acknowledgments to a number of ditch contracts and rights-of-way.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 6


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, was in Medford this week accompanied by Mrs. Morris, who will remain in the city a few days. Mr. Morris tells us that the grading work on the first seventeen miles of the ditch is completed, and all the teams will be laid off except a few which will be employed in hauling lumber for fluming purposes. The camp is being moved this week from near the drop back to the head of the ditch, where winter quarters will be established. A force of about forty men will be kept at work for about sixty days on the rock cuts, in which time it is expected all this work can be completed. The flumes across the south fork of Little Butte and Lake creeks, the two principal flumes on the line, are practically completed. There are a few flumes of lesser proportions across gulches and small streams which will be put in during the winter. All work on the entire seventeen miles of the ditch is so far along and so nearly completed that assurance is positively given that water will be carried to the valley the middle of May 1902. Both the engineer, Mr. McCray, and Mr. Morris have been anxiously, and with some apprehension, awaiting the coming of the first hard rains of winter. There was a possibility that at some of the more critical points on hillsides and where excavations were heavy there might be a slump of the banks, but since the recent heavy rains a thorough examination of these places has been made and they are found to have withstood the strain without a suspicion of a break any place.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 7


    Mrs. V. T. McCray and mother, Mrs. Harrington, of Stockton, arrived in Medford Sunday. Mrs. Harrington will remain until after the holidays and Mrs. McCray will remain for several months, or until her husband's work as engineer for the Fish Lake Ditch Company is completed.
    T. J. West and son, Robert, were in from Brownsboro Saturday. As regards the Fish Lake Ditch, Mr. West is very enthusiastic. He says the camp is near his place and that the working gangs are cleaning up all work as they go now and that water will follow them in the ditch. He says the company intends pushing work and that all hands feel sure there will be water brought into the valley by the ditch by next May.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, December 27, 1901, page 4


    The Mail has always had great faith in the future of Medford and the Rogue River Valley. These columns have, during the past few years, drawn many pen pictures of the future in store for our people. Among these pictures which were to make our locality of more commercial importance was the probable discovery of coal. It is now very gratifying to know that the theories which we have ventured as possibilities are soon to be confirmed or disproved. One can hardly predict a future as brilliant as will be ours should there be found an abundance of coal. Then there is another great enterprise which is drawing closer to our door as time moves on--and that is nothing else than the construction and operation of an electric railroad from our city to the upper Rogue River country, the purpose and intent of which will be the hauling of those grand, giant sugar pine and fir trees to Medford for manufacture into useful articles of commercial and general use. With the consummation of this bit of prophecy Medford will be a truly great city of mills and shops. And, incidentally, the machinery in all these mills and shops would be operated by the power obtained from the same source as that which would propel the cars to and from the timber belt--and that power obtainable through the medium of the Fish Lake Ditch, which is now in course of construction, and which, aside from its capability as an irrigating ditch, will develop from five to seven thousand horsepower from its water as it flows over the 100-foot drop, which power can be transmitted by wire to any and every part of the valley. You may say all this is visionary, but we defy anyone to prove that it is not possible or feasible--and from a business point of view, that it is not profitable.
Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 2


    Roy Nichols has gone to Brownsboro to work on the big ditch.
J. C. Pendleton, "Table Rock Items," Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 3


    L. C. Charley was down from Brownsboro yesterday. He reports that water is running in the Fish Lake Ditch from Big to Little Butte creeks, and that work is progressing finely.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 6


    Engineer McCary and his assistant, Thos. Hart, were in town last Monday night. They were running a survey for a branch ditch from the main line to the south side of Butte Creek in this section. If this ditch is a success it will be a great thing for Eagle Point, as there will be sufficient fall to run all machinery needed to carry on any enterprise that may be undertaken, and before many years our town would be one of the leading manufacturing cities of Southern Oregon.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, January 10, 1902, page 5


    C. E. Tull came in from the irrigating ditch this week. He has been employed on the ditch since early last fall and says there are quite a number of men and teams still at work.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, January 17, 1902, page 6


    There is now under way a ditch designed to be some forty miles in length, bringing the waters of Butte Creek into the valley proper. Eighteen miles of this ditch have already been completed, and the projectors expect to have water within a few miles of Medford by the middle of May next. This ditch will cover thousands of acres of land hitherto useless for anything except grazing purposes, but which, with water, is capable of producing large and varied crops.
Medford Mail, January 24, 1902, page 6


    John Duggan returned from the big ditch last week, having been there the longest of any man with a team, and proposes to return when work begins in the spring.
J. C. Pendleton, "Table Rock Items," Medford Mail, February 14, 1902, page 3


    The two winter months just past have been very propitious for work on the Fish Lake Ditch. The rainfall has been very light and the weather generally has been good and during this time work has been pushed with almost marvelous rapidity. The two largest rock cuts have been finished. One of these is on the Culbertson place. It is 2000 feet in length, and through this a ditch five feet in depth has been blasted. The other cut is at Sidley Gulch and is 800 feet in length. These two are the most extensive rock cuts on the entire length of the ditch. There are several other cuts yet to be made, but they are only trivial affairs in comparison. The flume across the south fork of Little Butte is practically completed, and the Lake Creek flume is well advanced. These are the two principal flumes on the ditch. The camp, which has been pitched on W. C. Daley's place, will soon be moved about eight miles further down the line, the ditch having been practically completed to that point. There are a few obstinate, though small, rocky points to blast out yet, and a few minor flumes to be put in, and with the present force of fifty men this work can be done in about forty days of good working weather. The ditch so far has withstood the strain of wet weather without a break, and no further anxiety is felt from landslides or "cave-ins." All the team work was completed some time ago, and the company's stock has been in winter quarters at the Peterson place, which the company purchased. A new lumber contract has been made with Henry Ratrie for the delivery of flume lumber, and that gentleman is now getting out the lumber---3000 feet a day--and no further trouble is expected from a shortage of lumber. The above item of general county news is furnished us by Mr. D. E. Morris, superintendent of ditch construction work. The foreman of the rock workmen is F. H. Chamberlain, a mining expert, who came to Southern Oregon from San Francisco with a view to an investigation of some of our mines.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 14, 1902, page 7


WILL SOON BE FINISHED.
Irrigation Ditch Near Medford Will Be 65 Miles Long.
    MEDFORD, Feb. 17.--The Fish Lake irrigation ditch will be completed by the first of May. The ditch starts at a point on Little Butte Creek, about 30 miles north of Medford. The most difficult part of the work is now completed. The two largest rock cuts have been finished, the first being 2000 feet in length and the second 800 feet in length. A ditch five feet in depth has been blasted through these rocks. The ditch is 65 miles long. The flume across the South Fork of Little Butte is practically completed, and the Lake Creek flume is well advanced. A new lumber contract has been made, and 3000 feet a day is being sawed for the company. All team work is completed, and the company stock has been placed in winter quarters. If the good weather continues, about 45 days more will be required to complete all of the work and supply Rogue River Valley with water for power and irrigation purposes.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 18, 1902, page 4


    Mr. and Mrs. V. T. McCray left Tuesday for Chico, Calif., where they will remain for about six weeks. Mr. McCray is engineer in chief for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, but he is about three months ahead of the actual construction work on the ditch, which fact has given him an opportunity to do a little work on the side and during his absence he will put in a complete sewage system for Chico. Both Mr. and Mrs. McCray have made a great many friends during their stay in Medford, and all are hoping their sojourn in California will not be of longer duration than the allotted six weeks.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, February 28, 1902, page 6


    There seems to be renewed activity among the ditch men. They are hauling hay up to the ditch, and men are going up to commence work.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 5


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, was in the city a couple of days this week. He reports that work on the upper end of the ditch is completed for a distance of nine miles. Last week camp was moved from near Lake Creek, where winter quarters were established, to the Cook place, near which there are a few rock cuts to be worked out. During the recent very heavy rains there were a few landslides on the ditch, but as a whole the work withstood the storms very satisfactorily, and better than expected. The only material damage done was to the camp, in which the tents were blown down by the heavy winds, and all within fifteen minutes' time. All the damage has been repaired, and the work is now going merrily on. The work still to be done on Section No. 1 of the ditch is the cutting of three or four heavy rock cuts, which, with good weather and the present force, can be completed by the middle of April. The next new work will be on Section No. 2, from the drop near the Bradshaw place to the Rader place, a distance of six or seven miles, and from there across the desert to the Peterson, Crance and Bryant places, which are now owned by the ditch company. This will be mostly team work, and much better headway will be made than on Section No. 1. This new work will commence as soon as the dirt is dry enough to move and will be pushed to the fullest extent of all the teams which may be obtainable. It is the intention of the company to put water on their own land this spring. The general lay of the land on Section No. 2 of the ditch is more favorable for rapid work than on Section No. 1, and the work will progress much faster.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 7


    George Martin, brother of Joseph Martin, who came here from Washington a short time ago, went up to the Fish Lake Ditch last week to work.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 5


    Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Morris were down from the Fish Lake Ditch camps Tuesday.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 6


    C. D. Vincent, a member of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, is expected to be in Medford about the first of April, at which time arrangements will be made for further work on the ditch. Engineer McCray will also return to Medford about the first of April.

"Additional Local," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 6


    The Mail has been asked by one of our city councilmen to print for the benefit of recent arrivals in our city the following facts regarding the situation of the city and the water ditch company, as it stands today and as it has stood for the past several months. The old ditch company at one time, during the administration of a former board of councilmen, made a proposition to supply water to the city at four cents per thousand gallons. Afterwards the ditch company was reorganized and the new company would not countenance the four-cent proposition, but made a new one as follows: For the first 100,000 gallons used per day, seven and one-half cents per thousand; for the next 100,000 gallons, five cents per thousand; for the next 100,000 gallons, three cents per thousand gallons, and all over the amount two and one-half cents per thousand, but this proposition was afterwards withdrawn and at the present time there is no proposition before the board. The city has never used to exceed 200,000 gallons of water in any one day, and the average daily use throughout the year is 50,000. If there were 200,000 gallons used each day the cost per thousand would be six and one-fourth cents, according to the exact wording of the proposition made by the ditch company, but as only 50,000 are used per day the cost to the city would be seven and one-half cents. No proposition, we are told, was ever made the board for furnishing lights for the city by the ditch company. The Mail regrets very much that negotiations are not now under way whereby the city can one of these days use this Fish Lake water. It would surely be an improvement over the water we are now using, and the further benefit which would accrue to the city from the construction of the ditch to a point near Medford would manifest itself in many instances. The Mail believes the present board of councilmen have no object in dealing otherwise than fair with the company, and believing this we are going to suggest that the councilmen get together, figure out just what price the city can afford to pay for water, and say to the ditch company we will guarantee to use a certain number of gallons of water and for this we can afford to pay a certain price per thousand gallons. There would be no complaint entered if the council contracted for water at a figure but little less than the city would receive for it from consumers. The better quality of water would prevent any vigorous protests, and again there would be much more water consumed than there now is. This is a proposition which ought to be entertained and if possible a contract made. On the other hand, the ditch company ought not to expect the city to enter into a contract which cannot be lived up to without embarrassing the city financially, or one which, when effective, will be so at a loss to the city.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 7


    Oscar Rodgers has gone to the Fish Lake Ditch to work.
"Beagle Items," Medford Mail, April 4, 1902, page 3


MEN WANTED.
    Few good men, accustomed to rock work, can get employment at the Fish Lake Ditch camp, three miles above Brownsboro. Wages $1.75 per day; board $3.25 per week.
D. E. MORRIS,
Superintendent of Construction.
Medford Mail, April 4, 1902, page 3


    J. G. McCallister was in Medford Monday after supplies for his store which he is conducting near the ditch camp, below Lake Creek.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 11, 1902, page 6


    C. E. Tull has returned to the ditch company's ranch, after hauling a load of hay to their encampment near Brownsboro.
"Big Sticky Items," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 5


    Mrs. E. R. Harris returned Wednesday from a visit at Ashland with Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Wiley. The lady was met there by her husband, and on Thursday morning both left for the Fish Lake Ditch camp, where Mr. H. is employed.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 6


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction for the Jackson County Improvement Co., is in Medford, accompanied by his wife. He reports the big ditch progressing satisfactorily.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 24, 1902, page 5


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, reports for sure that 5000 inches of water will be running in the first seventeen miles of the new ditch between the 25th of May and the 1st of June. Fifty men are now at work, and Mr. Morris is still wanting more good men. Twelve or fifteen teams will at once be put to work hauling lumber for the completion of the flumes, and the finishing of this flume work will be pushed with all possible vigor. Mr. Vincent, a member of the company, is daily expected to reach Medford from San Francisco, and work on another section will then be laid out and men and teams put to work on it. Mr. Morris is going to put up a little barbecue to the people on the day water is turned into the new ditch. He will have roast beef, pigs and chickens, and other palatable edibles, and he is extending an invitation to everybody to happen around that day. Notice as to exact date will be given in these columns.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 25, 1902, page 7


    W. C. Daley, of Lake Creek, was in the metropolis Tuesday. Mr. Daley is putting in the flumes for the Fish Lake Ditch. He reports that some trouble is being experienced in securing lumber necessary for the rapid progress of the work.
    C. B. Williams, one of the members of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, arrived in the city Sunday and is now out on the ditch looking over the work.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, May 30, 1902, page 6


    Gus Morris, who is doing rock work on the Fish Lake Ditch, spent Sunday at home.

"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 6, 1902, page 3


Will Enlarge Ditch.
    The Fish Lake Ditch Co. discussed plans the other day with a view of enlarging the capacity of the ditch. While it may not be enlarged at the present time, the company desires to know if it could be enlarged any future time without interfering too much with the flow of water. Owing to the demand of prospective consumers it is believed it will be necessary to increase the supply in another year or so, and the company desires to be in shape to do it with the least trouble when the time comes.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 12, 1902, page 4


    B. F. Peart, who has been doing blacksmithing for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, came in after supplies this week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, July 4, 1902, page 3


    Gus Morris, who has been employed on the Fish Lake Ditch the past year, spent several days at home last week..
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3


GOOD MEN WANTED.
    Good laborers and teamsters can secure employment at any time at Fish Lake Ditch camp, three miles above Brownsboro. Wages $1.75 per day; board $3.25 per week.
D. E. MORRIS,       
Superintendent of Construction.        
Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3


    T. J. West, of Brownsboro, was in the city Wednesday upon business. The gentleman reports the hay and grain crop a big yield in his locality this year, while the fruit crop is immense--could not possibly be better. The Fish Lake Ditch passes through Mr. West's land, and by it he and his son will be enabled to irrigate 200 acres of land, which, in his opinion, will add materially to its productiveness. He says the ditch company has fifty or sixty men at work now finishing certain portions of the ditch, and every effort seems to be put forth to have water running in it as soon as is possible.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 6


    The work which has been in progress on the Fish Lake Ditch for the past month has been that of enlarging the ditch from the headgate to Eagle Gulch, a distance of fourteen or fifteen miles. The heavy cut, the largest on the line, on the Clay Charley ranch, which is being excavated to a depth of fourteen feet and for 450 feet in length, is practically completed. This leaves only about two and one-half miles of uncompleted ditch--on the lands of James Miller and Bert West. About thirty days' time will be required to build this section of ditch to the 10,000-inch standard. The flume gang, working under foreman W. C. Daley, resumed work last Monday, and it is not thought there will be any further interruptions, as there is plenty of lumber now on the grounds. The completion of all flumes will require about six weeks' time. Water will be turned into each flume as soon as completed, this being necessary to preserve the flumes.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 7


    Henry Ratrie, of Lake Creek, brought T. B. Evans and family and household effects to Medford last Sunday from the Fish Lake Ditch camp. Mr. Evans was a foreman on the ditch work, but gave up his job and goes to Klamathon, where he has been offered a good position in the grading camp of the new railroad being built from Klamathon to Pokegama.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 25, 1902, page 7


    Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Morris were down from the Fish Lake Ditch camp Sunday.

"Additional Local," Medford Mail, August 1, 1902, page 6


    T. J. West, of Brownsboro, reported that the Fish Lake Ditch camp has been moved to his place, and that the ditch, including the fluming, is completed to Eagle Gulch. The camp is now pitched within 100 yards of Mr. West's house--and superintendent Morris has pitched his tent in the thickest of the thickly settled tent city.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 8, 1902, page 6


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction work on the Fish Lake Ditch, reports to the Mail that with the exception of a few rocky points at the lower end of the ditch the work is completed to the drop on Bradshaw's place. There are now 1000 inches of water running in the ditch from the intake, on the north part of Butte Creek to Eagle Gulch. This amount of water only covers the bottom of the ditch, proving beyond the question of doubt that during the summer months the ditch will be capable of carrying all the water that flows in Butte Creek. The distance of completed ditch is 13½ to 14 miles, leaving 3 or 4 miles, which, by the way, is almost completed, and will be completed during the present month. The company is still short of good men, which will be required to hasten the completion of the ditch. They are paying $2 per day for good rock men. The men will undoubtedly be employed all the fall on the construction of one of the several branches to be put in below the drop. The construction of the ditch has cost the company more money than was estimated it would, owing to the immense amount of rock encountered in the construction work, much of which rock was below the surface. This, however, has not deterred the company in its determination to complete the ditch, but it has materially interfered with the construction work.

    L. C. Charley, of Brownsboro, was in the city last week, accompanied by his daughter, Miss Edna, who was here for medical treatment. Mr. Charley's land is on the line of the new Fish Lake Ditch, and he is laying plans for the use of quite an amount of water from the ditch. The ditch so cuts his place as to make it possible for him to irrigate fully 200 acres of land. He is now making his lateral ditches and is sowing fifty acres of his land to timothy and clover, and next spring he will so 150 acres more land to [the] same grasses. He will also put in a few acres of alfalfa. While it is true that only one crop of timothy and clover can be cut during a season, it is also true that the meadows, a few weeks after cutting, will afford an abundance of excellent pasturage for a great number of cattle. Mr. Charley will increase his herd materially and will depend upon his meadows to properly prepare them for market. With plenty of water to irrigate with, the grass can be kept growing during the entire season. Regarding the progress of the work on the ditch, Mr. Charley said that water was now running to his place, and that it would surely be running over the drop this fall. The team work is about all completed, and the teams have all been laid off, only those belonging to the company being kept to work. Water is now running in the ditch for a distance of eight or nine miles. Good ditch men, he says, have been scarce and hard to get. Mr. Charley and his family have rooms at the Halley house, where Miss Edna has been quite seriously ill for several days, but she is now very much improved and will without a doubt soon be able to return to her home. Wednesday she was very sick and her chances for recovery were not encouraging, but relief came to her on the evening of that date, since which time she has gradually improved. Dr. Shearer is in attendance.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 5, 1902, page 7


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction for the Fish Lake Ditch Co., has returned to camp. Mrs. M. will remain a few days.
    C. B. Williams of San Francisco, one of the prominent members of the Jackson County Improvement Co. and the Fish Lake Ditch Co., is in Medford. He has just returned from a tour of inspection to the scene of operations.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 11, 1902, page 3


    Mr. Rogers, of the camp hotel, who was on the sick list for a few days, has recovered, and was at Medford during the first of the week buying supplies.
    Mr. Williams, the president and business manager of the Fish Lake Ditch Co., is making his headquarters here, and is one of the boys among the hands on the ditch.
    Dan Morris, the superintendent of construction, has his hands full giving grades on the ditch, looking after the work and keeping the company's interests well in hand.
    The Fish Lake Ditch camp is now located one mile west of Brownsboro on the West farm. A part of the camp is at the drop which is on Bert West's and Bradshaw's land. The water is coming slowly but is an absolute certainty.
"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 5


    P. M. Williams returned Monday evening from a month's stay in the vicinity of Mt. Sterling, where he has been prospecting for gold, but unfortunately without any good results. The gentleman is now out at work on the Fish Lake Ditch.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 6


    J. R. Howard moved his family back to Medford this week from the Fish Lake Ditch, where he has been employed with seven teams for the past year and a half.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 7


    Mr. Rogers, who has had charge of the Camp Hotel of the ditch company, has left with his family for McAllister Springs and Fish Lake, where they will rest and camp until October, then return to their home in Sams Valley.
    The water in the Fish Lake Ditch is now running to Eagle Gulch, within two miles of the drop. There is a good force at work blasting out the few high places, under the direction of a competent foreman, and the work is moving ahead with an earnestness that assures a speedy flow of water at the drop.

"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 5


    At a recent meeting of the directors of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, held in this city, I. L. Hamilton was elected president, L. C. Williams secretary and treasurer, and C. B. Williams and W. I. Vawter directors.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 6


    Ralph Gregg, foreman of the rock and powder gang on the ditch, reports that all drilling and blasting will be completed to the drop by September 30th.
    The steady demand for land is causing prices to move up a little each month. Land in the vicinity of Brownsboro has increased in value 25 percent in the past six months.
     Mr. Clark, secretary of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, is here, and in company with the president, Mr. Williams, is making a careful inspection of the work on the ditch. Water is now running in the ditch to Dead Horse Gulch, on Mr. Miller's place, and in a few days will be running over the drop on the West ranch.
"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, September 26, 1902, page 3


    E. D. Clark, of San Francisco, a member of the Jackson County Improvement Company, arrived here Sunday evening and left for the construction headquarters of the Fish Lake Ditch on Monday. He will be here several days inspecting the progress of the work.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 26, 1902, page 6


    There was a landslide out on the Fish Lake Ditch one night last week, and much trouble and expense resulted therefrom. The slide occurred opposite Dr. Reiter's place, about ten miles from the intake. Water has been running in the ditch past this point, which is upon a mountainside, for the last month or six weeks, and it was thought that there was no possibility of a slide. The first slide which occurred took out four or five acres of land from near the foot of the hill and a second slide took out equally as much land higher upon on the hillside--600 to 700 feet from the base--and with it went about seventy feet of the ditch. The land all slid down into Dr. Reiter's field, covering quite a quantity of his agricultural land. The land slid fully 250 feet and took with it from 200 to 300 pine and oak trees, from 6 inches to two feet in diameter. Many of these trees are now standing, and are alive, but they are hardly as straight up as they originally were. The work of repairing the damage done to the ditch has been commenced. In order to repair the ditch line it will be necessary to go back into the hill thirty or forty feet and then reestablish the line again. The water, however, will be carried around this point temporarily in a flume--until the slide is permanently settled. The cost of this repair work will amount to fully $3000.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 7


    H. L. Holgate, of Washington, D.C., arrived in Medford Tuesday morning. Mr. Holgate is connected with the census bureau, and his mission here is the investigation of irrigation matters in Southern Oregon and Northern California. The census bureau and the U.S. Geological Survey works jointly in matters pertaining to the reclamation of lands, and the work Mr. Holgate has to do is in estimating and reporting on needed irrigation and enterprises for that purpose already in operation. His special mission in Medford is to make a report on the Fish Lake Ditch.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 6


GOOD MEN WANTED.
    Good laborers and teamsters can secure employment at any time at Fish Lake Ditch camp, three miles above Brownsboro. Wages $2.00 per day; board $3.25 per week.
D. E. MORRIS,
Superintendent of Construction.
Medford Mail, October 17, 1902, page 6


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, reports that the work of making over the ditch where the big slide occurred a few weeks ago is about completed, and the water will soon be running past that point as it did before the mountain took its unannounced slide downward. The slide necessitated the putting in of 250 feet of flume. The damages sustained by the slide were not nearly so great as at first thought they would be, the expenditure of not more than $1000 being required to make the ditch as good or better than before the accident. Superintendent Morris is now taking a ten days' layoff and is enjoying a hunt in the mountains. Alford Gregg is superintendent of the works during his absence.

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


    The damage done by the big slide which took away considerable of the Fish Lake Co.'s ditch not long ago, not far from Brownsboro, has been repaired. A substantial flume, about 250 feet long, replaces it. Work on the main line is progressing nicely.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 30, 1902, page 1


    Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Morris were down from the Fish Lake Ditch camp this week .Mr. Morris reports that the work of repairing the damage to the ditch by the recent landslide is about completed, and that within five days water will be running the full length of the ditch again.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 6


    Gus Morris, who has been employed at the Fish Lake Ditch the past year, was in after supplies the first of the week.

"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 14, 1902, page 3


    Work on the Fish Lake Ditch is practically suspended for the winter. The work of repairing the slide has been completed, and now 200 feet of fluming, built on solid ground, carries the water over this point. A few good men will be employed all winter. These will constitute a patrol force, and their duties will be to strengthen the embankment where required and to remove any high bars that may be found in the ditch. The company's stock is now engaged in plowing on the Harbaugh place, which place was acquired by the company a few months since. Three gang plows have been purchased, and these are all at work when the weather will permit. The company expects to put in 400 acres of grain this winter and will experiment also with growing alfalfa, timothy and orchard grass. This place is about seven miles from Medford, and about twelve miles of ditch will be built in the spring which will carry the water from the end of the ditch which is now built to this land. It is expected this piece of work will be completed in time to put water on the land when needed next summer. There are two or three miles of side hill along which this stretch of ditch will be built, but aside from this the land is comparatively smooth. Supt. Morris has now moved to the Harbaugh place and will remain there during the winter.

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


    The skeptical ones who have been thinking--and some of them saying--that the Fish Lake Ditch Company would never have water running over the drop on the Bradshaw place are now informed that they were very much in error as to their thinks and their says [sic]. On Tuesday of this week 1500 inches of water came over the drop--and is still coming in that quantity--and the said water came through the Fish Lake Ditch for a distance of sixteen and five-eighths miles--and was taken in at the head of the ditch--from the north fork of Little Butte Creek. The amount of water taken in was 2000 inches, making a loss of 500 inches in traveling the full distance, and the time required in travel was forty-eight hours. The drop at the Bradshaw place is 125 feet, at which place the company expect to eventually put in a large dynamo for generating power, which power will be conveyed by wire to any part of the valley where there may be a demand for it.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 28, 1902, page 7


    D. E. Morris, superintendent of the Fish Lake Ditch, was in the city Saturday and said: "We have tested every portion of the ditch with 7500 inches of water and find it in first-class condition. The ditch has been repaired around the slide which occurred in the fall, and that portion of the work was included in the tests. I thought we might have a little trouble from the excessive rains, but in spite of the fact that Butte Creek has been higher on two occasions than at any time last year, we had no trouble with the ditch. There is now no question but what we will be able to run the ditch to its full capacity in the spring." Work has been suspended for the winter but will be resumed as soon as the rainy season is over.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 19, 1902, page 7


LITTLE DAMAGE TO THE BIG CANAL
The Fish Lake Ditch Is Not Badly Damaged by the Recent Big Flood--
Walls Blown Out with Powder, Prevents Damage.
    The Success was favored with a call Thursday from D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, the company that is putting in the big irrigating and power canal that has its beginning at Fish Lake up near Mt. Pitt and which extends down to the Rogue River Valley. In regard to the damage the late flood did to their ditch, Mr. Morris stated that there was no washout of any consequence to the banks of the ditch, but the danger was so great from the tremendous pressure of the water that he was compelled to have several sections of the wooden walls chopped out, and he also had some of the stone embankments blown out with giant powder. These openings relieved the pressure and saved the canal from more extensive damage by the flood.
    Profiting by this experience Mr. Morris states he will put in a better system of headworks to hold in check any future flood. No work is being done upon the canal at present, but as soon as spring is fairly opened Mr. Morris will put in a big force of men, with the intention of completing the canal by fall.
Medford Success, February 6, 1903, page 1


FIFTY MEN BUILDING DAM AT FISH LAKE
    J. T. Sullivan, manager of the Rogue River Canal Company, has returned from a trip to Fish Lake. He traveled by auto, reaching the dam at the west end of the lake. This is the first time an auto has ever made the trip.
    Manager Sullivan reports that fifty men are now employed on the construction of the dam and that within the next ten days or two weeks the force will be increased to 150. The dam will be completed by the time snow flies.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 13, 1915, page 6


    The Rogue River Canal Company is pushing its work on the Willow Springs extension as rapidly as possible, but is short of men. There is no excuse for the presence of an idler in this valley at this time. There is work for every man who desires it. Even the farmers are heard to complain of the scarcity of help this year. Usually the reverse is true. No one has offered a generally satisfactory reason for the existence of that condition at this time, unless it be that the prohibition law has driven the loafers out of the state, as well as workmen of good repute who prefer larger privilege socially and, being footloose, have gone where they can enjoy it.
    Water was turned into the Phoenix segment of the Rogue River Canal Company's irrigation system Saturday to test the substantiality of its construction. The test is being made specific. The canal appears to be firmly constructed and carries a great volume of water without a break. Only 1500 acres under that ditch have been listed in the subscription acreage for water this year. The ditch, therefore, will not be taxed to its capacity to carry the quantity required for that acreage.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 20, 1916, page 2



Last revised March 21, 2016