Medford Pioneers: William F. Isaacs--"Toggery Bill"
George W. Isaacs, born in Lincoln County, Middle Tennessee, January 12, 1831, came to Oregon in 1852, first to this valley, then to Benton County and returned here in 1858.
"Southern Oregon Pioneers," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 15, 1882, page 3
BY WILLIE ISAACS.
Chinamen are slow, patient and industrious. He digs, washes, irons and does many other things. Chinamen live mostly on rice. Rice is the chief food in China. John Chinaman smokes opium in a long-stemmed pipe. They have a room where they smoke it. Opium sometimes nearly kills them. They have flat noses, small eyes and a dark yellowish complexion. The women's feet are small, and they go bareheaded. Some Chinamen give boys money. There are a good many Chinamen in Jacksonville. Chinamen have long queues which are braided and hang down their backs.
The Young Idea, Washington School publication, April 1891, page 3
Miss Mamie Isaacs accompanied a party of Medford people to the seaside at Crescent City last week.
"Personal and Social," Valley Record, Ashland, September 1, 1892, page 3
Geo. W. Isaacs, the Medford capitalist, was among our visitors during the week.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 16, 1892, page 3
G. W. Isaacs, who was so severely hooked by his cow one day last week, is still carrying his arm in a sling, but is getting along nicely under the care of Dr. Geary.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 3, 1893, page 3
G. W. Isaacs paid a business visit to Eugene during the past week. He has about recovered from the injury sustained to his hand by being hooked by a cow some time ago.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 17, 1893, page 3
The following is a list of the committees which will make arrangements for the approaching teachers' institute: Entertainment--N. L. Narregan, Madge Griffiths, N. A. Jacobs, Ella McGuire, Lila Sackett, Della Pickel, Myrtle Nicholson. Arrangements--I. A. Webb, J. H. Faris, A. A. Davis, D. H. Miller, Charley Wolters, W. I. Vawter, M. Purdin. Music--M. E. Rigby, Della Pickel, Mrs. W. I. Vawter, J. R. Erford, Rev. T. H. Stephens, Prof. John Weeks, Ida Redden, Grace Faucett, Mrs. M. Pickel, E. Phipps, Mr. Chambers, May Isaacs, Sada Amann, Rebecca Shideler, Mrs. Clara Brown, D. T. Lawton, Mrs. M. M. Stephens, Rosetta Watters, organist.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 14, 1893, page 2
Miss May E. Isaacs and Jas. Blevins last week were awarded diplomas at the business college.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 16, 1893, page 2
Will Isaacs will soon glisten as bright as any of the band boys, He has ordered a double bell euphonium horn. The instrument costs near onto an hundred dollars, is a fine sounder and in all ways a beauty--that is, that's what others of this pattern are like, and this one ought to be nothing less.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, November 10, 1893, page 3
GEO. W. ISAACS
North end of Seventh Street, between Front and C, Medford, Oregon.
BATHS, HOT AND COLD.
We are agents for the Salem Steam Laundry.
The best work guaranteed.
The Monitor-Miner, Medford, July 16, 1896, page 3
J. C. Hall was in Portland last week purchasing materials for the cigar stand and soft drink emporium to be opened by himself and Geo. Isaacs in this place in a short time.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 17, 1899, page 3
E. J. Calley of San Francisco, one of the most popular and successful commercial tourists on the road, spent Saturday in Medford. While here he sold a large and handsome soda fountain to Hall & Isaacs, who are fitting up an elegant store on 7th Street.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 8, 1899, page 3
Hall & Isaacs are tapping the water main in front of Wolters & Howard's store and will lay pipe, bringing the water across the street into their new quarters. This water will be used as a feeder for a beautiful little fountain which will form a part of the furnishings of this new resort.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 19, 1899, page 7
J. C. Hall and Wm. Isaacs opened their handsome variety store and ice cream saloon a few days ago, and are enjoying a big business already. They have fitted up their building in an elaborate manner.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 17, 1899, page 3
Dissolution of Partnership.
Notice is hereby given that the co-partnership heretofore existing by and between J. C. Hall and W. F. Isaacs, doing business under the firm name of Hall & Isaacs, is by mutual consent this day dissolved. All accounts due the firm are payable to W. F. Isaacs, who will continue the business, and all accounts owed by the firm will be paid by said W. F. Isaacs.
Dated at Medford, Oregon, this 5th day of April, 1900.
J. C. HALL,Medford Mail, April 13, 1900, page 3
W. F. ISAACS.
W. F. Isaacs has purchased J. C. Hall's interest in the Rialto confectionery and cigar stand and is now doing business in single harness, but as he is pulling in hame collar he is able to handle the large business which the establishment enjoys. B. I. Stoner and Charlie Isaacs will retain their old positions under the new regime.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 13, 1900, page 7
As a result of Billie Isaacs' fishing trip to the river Wednesday he was displaying, Thursday morning, five as fine steelhead trout as were ever caught with hook and line. One of them weighed ten pounds and is undoubtedly the largest fish ever landed from the river with a No. 6 fly hook and a six-ounce rod.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 21, 1900, page 7
J. F. White has purchased W. F. Isaacs' stock of confectionery and fruits and is now doing business at the old stand. This is the prettiest place in the city of the kind. It is well stocked with the very best grades of confectionery. The ice cream and lunch room is very nicely fitted up, while the soda fountain and soft drinks counter is a model of beauty and neatness. While it is a little out of season for some of the articles dispensed, it is not unreasonable to presume that Mr. White will do business with his oyster parlors and confectioneries while trade is slack in other lines. Geo. Porter, who is an adept in that line of public catering, has engaged his service to Mr. White. Mr. Isaacs retains his cigar store.
W. F. Isaacs:--"No, I haven't sold my cigar stand--just the confectionery and soft drink department and oyster parlors. Mr. White ought to do well with the business; I did, but one side of the shop is all I care to attend to. Did I say I was going to put in a better line of cigars? Well, I didn't mean that. I couldn't do it if I tried. I have always carried the best brands of cigars there are manufactured and have built up a splendid business. I shall continue to handle all high-grade goods. Of course, I carry a cheaper line of good cigars--in fact, I aim to carry goods the price and quality of which will please all kinds of customers. I also keep a full line of tobacco and smokers' articles."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 26, 1900, page 7
Dr. Goble and Billie Isaacs took a day off Tuesday and went duck hunting on Rogue River. The net result of the day wasn't all that a sportsman could wish. The ducks had moved camp.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, January 11, 1901, page 6
W. F. Isaacs:--"I had a letter recently from my brother, George, who is in Vancouver, B.C., where he has been since leaving Medford several years ago. He, seemingly, is held in very high esteem by the members of his craft in that city. The Barbers' Union, of which he is a member, recently presented him with an elegant cane, which he prizes very highly because of it being a token of appreciation and because further that the wood from which it was made has a history. It was from the steamer Beaver, which was wrecked in the Vancouver, B.C. harbor in 1888. The Beaver was made in England in 1835 and was the first steamer to cross the Atlantic Ocean, which it did in the year it was built. It was the first steamer to go around Cape Horn, and the first of its kind that ever rippled the waters of the Pacific. In 1836 the Beaver steamed to the mouth of the Columbia River and from there up the river to a point where now is located Vancouver, Washington. The wood from which the cane is made is called teak or African oak, and grows only in Africa. Yes, George is doing very nicely in Vancouver, and I imagine is piling up a good bit of the yellow coin."
"Echoes from the Street," Medford Mail, February 22, 1901, page 6
W. F. Isaacs left Thursday morning for Langell Valley, where he goes to look after his father's extensive stock interests. He will attend to the rounding up of the cattle, after which he expects to sell them. He will be absent about three weeks. D. T. Sears will have charge of his "smoke house" during his absence.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, May 3, 1901, page 6
Will Isaacs has gone to Klamath County to look after his father's stock interests. D. T. Sears is managing the cigar store in the meantime.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 9, 1901, page 7
W. F. Isaacs returned from Klamath County Sunday evening, where he went to look after his father's stock interests. He will return to that place in about ten days. He is enthusiastic almost beyond bounds in regard to Klamath County fishing--and Billie is certainly a competent judge in this regard.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, May 17, 1901, page 6
Emmett Barkdull returned home from Portland last week. He has been news agent between Portland and Spokane for the past six months. He has not fully determined as yet what he will do after he has had his visit out, but will probably return and take up his old position. Charlie Isaacs, he says, is news agent between Portland and Seattle.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 9, 1901, page 6
Fred Barneburg and Will Stewart were down on Rogue River this week with a line out for fish--many of which they gathered in. Mr. Barneburg leads the van of fishermen in this neck of the tall sugar pines--with D. H. Miller, Prof. Narregan and Billie Isaacs very closely following.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 6
E. P. Pickens came up from Montague, Calif. this week to visit his family and to assist them in moving to the Isaacs residence, corner South C and Ninth streets.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 6, 1901, page 6
Pipes, Pipes--All kinds of pipes. Big pipes, little pipes, half-grown pipes, dwarf pipes and giant pipes. Cheap pipes, costly pipes and pipes that are moderate in price. Get a pipe at Billy Isaacs' smoke house.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, September 13, 1901, page 6
Billie Isaacs and Ed. Bodge were down on Rogue River the forepart of the week and caught as fine a string of fish as ever man fed upon.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 27, 1901, page 6
G. W. Isaacs has purchased enough Yellow Newtown and Spitzenburg apple trees from L. E. Hoover to plant twenty acres of land, and during the coming winter he will plant them out. His farm is two miles north and east of Medford.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, October 18, 1901, page 6
Best Pipe Show in the City.
The W. F. Isaacs "smokehouse" show cases are so well filled with smokers' delights that the attention they attract is most gratifying to the proprietor. Never before has an exhibition been made in the city equal to this one. In these show cases can be found everything which will please the most fastidious notions of the old-time smokers or the milder desires of the moderate indulger. There isn't a thing going in the smoking line that is not found therein. Mr. Isaacs has built up a splendid trade, and he has done it by catering to the wishes of his each and every customer.
Those wishing to purchase genuine French briar pipes can do so at this establishment, and those who wish to invest in pipes of lesser value can also be accommodated. Mr. Isaacs has amber mouthpieces of all shapes and sizes, and at varying prices. He has amber and meerschaum cigar holders, tobacco pouches--from twenty-five cents to $1.75 each (those for $1.75 are elegant silk affairs), cigar cases, playing cards and poker chips, manzanita canes, pipe cleaners, and everything you can think of that you could possibly need. The best brands of the very best cigars made, and the best brands of nickel cigars ever put on the market are always kept in stock. He also carries cigar clippings. Come in and see him--you will surely want to buy when you see his elegant stock of fine goods.
Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 6
Rialto ad, November 15, 1901 Medford Mail
How the Women Buy Cigars.
The box of cigars which "hubby" ofttimes gets for Christmas has afforded more subject matter for the joke writer than anything ever introduced on the stage of jokism. With the women and girls who buy Christmas cigars for their husbands and gentlemen friends a cigar is a cigar, regardless of size or quality--but how are they to know the difference between a really good cigar and a disgusting, sickening, poor one.
If it's cigars the feminine population of this part of the United States are figuring on buying for Christmas presents, there's a way whereby all the chances of getting a poor article can be done away with. Here is the key to [the] situation:--About fifteen-sixteenths of the male population of this land of red and yellow apples buy their cigars at "Billie" Isaacs' Rialto cigar store. Some of them buy the highest priced goods on the market, while others buy a little cheaper article, but whatever the grade or price Billie knows his man and he knows the cigar he smokes. Go ask Billie the kind to buy, and ten times out of every ten he'll tell you right--and he'll sell 'em right. He will not take advantage of the fact that you are not a weed user and don't know an Old Virginia cheroot from a pure Havana imported cigar.
Perhaps it's a meerschaum pipe, a tobacco or cigar jar, an amber or meerschaum cigar holder, a smoker's set or tobacco pouch that you've been thinking of for a present. If so there is only one safe and sure way out of it--go see Billie. If he tells you it's the correct article you can bank on its being so. Billie's Rialto is the only place in Medford at which the above-mentioned smokers' articles can be purchased.
Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 6
H. C. Shearer, of Steamboat, this county, has purchased Billie Isaacs' Rialto cigar store and fixtures. He has moved his family to Medford and is now in possession of his new purchase. He is a very fine young man, strictly honest and not a stranger to the business world. He will surely do a good business--Billie already had it coming his way and all Mr. Shearer has to do is to hold it. Mr. Isaacs, who has made an almost phenomenal success of this his first business venture, will be with the store for a few weeks, or until all the workings of the business have been acquired by Mr. Shearer, when he will engage in a different line of business in our city, the nature of which is not now ripe to give out.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, December 6, 1901, page 6
W. F. Isaacs:--"Someone, unintentionally of course, exchanged hats with me at the dance last Thursday evening. Mine was a Dunlap. The one left in its place don't fit my head bumps, and I would like right well to make an exchange."
"Echoes from the Street," Medford Mail, December 6, 1901, page 6
H. C. Shearer has purchased the cigar and tobacco business lately conducted by Will. Isaacs, and will run it in an up-to-date style. He will keep the best and most popular brands of everything in his line. Give Henry a call, for he will treat you right.
Claude Riddle, a clever young man, who has been connected with the Oregon Observer and other newspapers, and Miss Mamie Isaacs, the popular and accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Isaacs, were married at the home of the latter on Sunday by Rev. S. H. Jones of Jacksonville. They have gone to housekeeping at Grants Pass. Mr. and Mrs. Riddle have many friends, the congratulations and best wishes of all of whom they are in receipt of.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 12, 1901, page 4
Claude A. Riddle, of this city and Miss Mayme Isaacs, of Medford, were united in matrimony on Sunday afternoon at the residence in Medford of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Isaacs, Rev. S. H. Jones, of Jacksonville, officiating in the ceremony. The wedding was a quiet one, only a few intimate friends and the members of the family being present. Mr. and Mrs. Riddle returned to Grants Pass on the evening train and are now occupying rooms in the Howard residence, where they are housekeeping. Many friends in both towns give their best wishes for the well being and happiness of these young people in life's voyage.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, December 12, 1901, page 3
One of the most pleasant wedding events which has been celebrated in Medford for many months took place at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Isaacs on Sunday, December 8, 1901, it being the occasion of the marriage of their daughter, Miss Mamie E. Isaacs, to Mr. Claud A. Riddle, of Grants Pass.
The wedding took place at three o'clock in the afternoon and was witnessed only by the immediate members of the family and a few of the bride's most intimate friends. The parlors were beautifully decorated with chrysanthemums and English ivy, and the bay window was a bower of flower beauty. The ceremony was performed by Rev. S. H. Jones, of Jacksonville. The bride was beautifully attired in a dress of imported, castor-colored venetian cloth, with slight train, trimmed with applique and stitched bands of same. The corsage was trimmed with a fluffy creation of gold lace over white net and chiffon. The groom was dressed in conventional black. The bride carried a bouquet of white chrysanthemums tied with white ribbon.
The bride is one of Medford's most highly esteemed young ladies and has many friends who are profuse in their congratulations.
The groom is a native of Douglas County, and is a newspaper man of considerable prominence, having been in the service of the Grants Pass Observer for some time. The happy couple left on the Sunday evening train for Grants Pass, where they will reside.
Those present aside from the members of the family were Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Rosenbaum, of Wolf Creek, Mrs. Fred Miller, of Grants Pass, Mrs. E. L. Bashford, of Roseburg, Miss Elsie Patterson, of Ashland, and Miss Carrie George, of Medford.
Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 6
December 15, 1901 Sunday Oregonian
While in Portland last week the publisher of this paper met Charlie Isaacs, formerly a Medford boy. He is now a news agent on the O.R.&N., and his run is between Portland and Huntington. He tells that every westbound train is loaded with people coming to the coast to locate. Many of these have no particular locality in which to locate, and in these cases Charlie does a little missionary work for Southern Oregon. He tells that these people have all kinds of ideas and notions about this western country. It was only a few days ago that he got into conversation with a husky young fellow who was coming to Oregon, and strapped around his body was a leather belt in which he carried a long dirk knife. Upon being asked as to the use to which he expected to put the knife, he replied that he didn't propose to be caught napping by any crowd of western desperadoes. Said he had heard that it was unsafe for a person to travel on the Pacific coast unless fully armed. Charlie laughed at his apprehended danger and endeavored to assure him that he was as safe here as in any part of the United States. This, Charlie said, had a quieting effect upon his overwrought imagination, but, said Charlie, he was still carrying that knife when he last saw him.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 7
Billie Isaacs and Charlie Ramsey were down at Rogue River fishing Wednesday. They report having caught forty fine mountain trout. An affidavit accompanied the report.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 6
"C. A. Riddle and wife left yesterday for Vancouver, Wash., where Mr. Riddle has purchased the Register-Democrat of Thurston Daniels, who has conducted the paper for twenty-nine years. This paper is a weekly seven-column folio and is one of the best papers in that part of the country. Claude is a first-class newspaper man and is bound to make a success of it."--Eugene Guard. Mrs. Riddle was formerly Miss Mamie Isaacs, of this city.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 6
The first fish story of the season comes from Wm. Isaacs and Chas. Ramsey. They report having caught forty-five mountain trout down at Rogue River Wednesday.
Medford Enquirer, April 19, 1902, page 5
W. F. Isaacs returned last week from a visit with Gold Hill friends. He reports that while there he attended a dance given by the Women's Relief Corps, which was a grand affair. Over 100 tickets were sold and the music was by a Grants Pass orchestra. Master Seely Hall and little Miss Beeman did a cake walk and a two-step that was grand to look upon.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, May 9, 1902, page 6
Deliveryman H. S. Brumble has purchased the G. W. Isaacs residence property, corner of J and Sixth streets, and will occupy the same very soon. The price paid was $700. Mr. Brumble is doing well with his delivery business. Besides providing for a large family, he has accumulated a few dollars which he now puts into a house--a commendable act in any man.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 30, 1902, page 7
Wm. F. Isaacs left for the north Saturday evening, to represent a prominent furniture company on the road.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 19, 1902, page 8
Billie Isaacs is selling school supplies up in the Willamette Valley and is said to be making all kinds of money. He will be down this way in about three weeks.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 6
W. F. Isaacs returned to Medford Monday for a couple of weeks' stay with his many friends. He is selling school supplies sand will be down this way in a short time looking after the interests of his company in Jackson County. Billie had heard that Fred Barneburg had beaten his fish-catching record, by landing a salmon with hook and line that weighed twenty-four pounds dressed, and he is now down on Rogue River endeavoring to go Mr. Fred a few pounds better.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 15, 1902, page 6
Wanted--To purchase good driving team. See W. F. Isaacs, on or before August 16, 1902.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 15, 1902, page 7
W. F. Isaacs, who is traveling representative of a prominent wholesale house, will resume his duties in a few days. He has been visiting in Medford during the past fortnight.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 21, 1902, page 5
The many friends of J. G. Goble and Will Isaacs, two of our popular townsmen, gave them a complimentary dancing party at Wilson's opera house Monday night. It was a handsome affair and thoroughly enjoyed by the participants. Superior music was furnished by Signor Boffa's orchestra. Mr. Isaacs has since gone north, to resume his duties as traveling representative of a prominent wholesale firm.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 28, 1902, page 5
W. F. Isaacs left Tuesday morning for Klamath and Lake counties, where he will sell school supplies. He fitted himself out before leaving with a fine team of horses and buggy, the latter being arranged especially for carrying the supplies for which he is agent. He will drive from Lake County to and through all eastern Oregon counties and expects to bring up in Medford late this fall.
J. E. Bodge, Judge M. Purdin and "Billie" Isaacs were down at Rogue River Sunday having a good time catching fish. Mr. Isaacs, the acknowledged king fisherman of the Rogue River Valley, is said to have outdone all previous records upon this occasion, having caught a thirteen-pound chinook salmon with a six and a half ounce rod, a number eight fly and a very light line. The time required in landing the fish was just one hour and twenty minutes, and it required all of "Billie's" skill to do it in that time.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 29, 1902, page 6
Will Isaacs has gone to Klamath and Lake counties, to sell school supplies.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 4, 1902, page 6
Miss Agnes Isaacs met with a very painful accident while attending a Sunday school picnic at Kingsbury Springs, above Ashland, on Friday last. She fell and rolled down a steep declivity for a distance of twenty-five feet, sustaining a number of severe bruises. Her mother, Mrs. G. W. Isaacs, of this city, was at once summoned by phone and left for Ashland on the midnight train and remained with her daughter until Monday afternoon when Miss Agnes was brought to her home in this city. The injuries sustained by the young lady are numerous and decidedly painful. Some of her teeth were broken out, her lips and tongue badly cut, one knee was sprained, as was also one of the joints of one arm. Besides these injuries the flesh of her body and limbs is badly bruised, and it is feared her back may have been injured. Her tongue is so badly lacerated and swollen that she has been unable to take any nourishment other than liquids. Everything possible is being done for her, and it is not thought that anything serious will result from the accident, although it will be some weeks before she will be able to move about much.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 5, 1902, page 7
W. F. Isaacs and Dr. J. G. Goble returned Monday evening from their several months' canvass of the inland towns of eastern Oregon. They were selling school supplies and optical goods and report having done a good business.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 6
Will Isaacs is circulating a petition, addressed to the members of the legislature, asking for the better protection of fish in Rogue River. Certainly laws which will protect the finny tribes from extermination and rapacious fishermen should be passed.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 12, 1902, page 1
Will. Isaacs, after a short visit at home, left for east of the mountains this morning, to resume business for the wholesale firm he represents. He is meeting with success.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 19, 1902, page 4
Will Isaacs, of Josephine County, is circulating a petition addressed to the members of the legislature, asking for the better protection of fish in Rogue River. Certainly laws which will protect the finny tribes from extermination and rapacious fishermen should be passed.--Observer. ("Billy's: many friends in Medford will be pained to learn of his departure from the place of his birth.)
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 21, 1902, page 7
W. F. Isaacs has returned from east of the mountains. He found too much snow to continue his journey.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 26, 1902, page 3
W. F. Isaacs went to Jacksonville Monday in the interest of the K. of P. ball, which will be the event of the season.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 24, 1902, page 4
W. F. Isaacs has gone to San Francisco to buy a complete and up-to-date stock of gents' furnishing goods.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 14, 1903, page 3
W. F. Isaacs has returned from San Francisco, where he purchased a large, handsome stock of gents' furnishing goods for this market.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 28, 1903, page 4
The other day pedestrians who passed along the north side of Seventh Street, between C and D streets, were surprised so that they threw their hands up about four feet high to see that three arrows had been shot through one of the plate glass windows at the "Toggery." While quite a crowd was gathered in front of the window bewailing the fact that someone had been so careless and broken one of "Toggery Bill's" windows, the gentleman came out, wearing his perpetual broad smile, and remarked: "Good imitation." This caused some of the onlookers to investigate, and they found that one arrow had apparently gone through the window and pierced a card which bore a score circle and on which was printed "We Hit the Mark."
The first Toggery ad, Medford Mail, February 13, 1903
W. F. Isaacs, who has been quite ill, is able to be about again. His toggery will be opened this week.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 11, 1903, page 3
Saturday last W. F. Isaacs opened his new gentleman's furnishing store, "The Toggery," in the Palm-Bodge Block, and now has on display the handsomest, and most complete, line of shirts, hosiery, ties and other things that go to make up the furnishings necessary to the man who has a desire not only for appearance but for comfort.
The stock is all new, up to date, and of the latest patterns and styles. You can find almost anything you want at "The Toggery," at almost any price, but of only one quality--the very best for the money.
The fittings for the showing of goods are the very latest appliances. At the back stands a hat case--nearly the full width of the room--perfectly dustproof with glass doors, through which every hat inside may be inspected. The hats are supported on brass rods and displayed to the best advantage. The fixtures for making the window display are nickel-plated, and are the latest things in that line.
Shelving, tables, showcases and all inside fixtures are such as are rarely seen outside the large cities and altogether make an appearance which would be creditable to a store anywhere.
Taken all together, it is a genuine twentieth-century "toggery," and Billie's many friends are not only wishing him the success he deserves, but are giving him substantial demonstration of their good wishes.
The shelving, counters, hat rack and other wooden fixtures are of Oregon yellow pine and manufactured by Weeks & Baker, and are first-class examples of the good work this firm has acquired the habit of turning out.
Medford Mail, March 13, 1903, page 6
Mail Office Devil:--"Seems like some people ain't got no enterprise at all. Oregon is about the slowest state I ever was in. Here they've got race wars, and lynchin's and tornadoes and 'scaped convicts, and all of them kind o' things in other states, and we ain't got nothin' at all in Oregon. We had a chance to distinguish ourselves when them cow and sheep men up in Eastern Oregon was a-threatenin' each other, but Gov. Chamberlain, he has to go and butt in and make 'em stop. There's no excitement 'round here at all. But say, I've got an item for you. You know Billie Isaacs. Well, he can fish some. He was down to the river the other day, and he was a-tryin' that newfangled cast of his, with just his left eyebrow stickin' out of the water, when a great big salmon grabbed him by the hand, and Bill hollered and thrashed around in the water and got his wadin' pants full, and fell down, and the fish he still hung on, and Bill, he had to wade to the shore and holler for the other fellers to come and pry that fish's jaw apart so he could get loose. I asked him why he didn't knock the fish on his head and pry him loose himself, and the other fellers standin' around, they laffed, and Bill, he says, 'You run along back to the shop, you little black imp, who's a-tellin' this story, anyway,' and I came away."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, August 14, 1903, page 1
Billie Isaacs:--"Have you looked in at my windows this week? They are pretty nice, I tell you. Percy DeGroot is responsible for a good deal of the decoration. I tell you, that boy is about all right, in that line. I figure those windows are about as swell as any in town."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, December 11, 1903, page 1
September 28, 1904 Oregonian
George W. Isaacs.
MEDFORD, Or., Sept. 24.--(Special.)--George W. Isaacs, aged 74 years, died last night at the late residence, after a short illness, of pneumonia. He crossed the plains in 1852 with an ox team to California, but afterward settled in Corvallis, moving to Jackson County in 1861, where he has since lived. He was a very successful business man and highly respected citizen. He left a widow and six children.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, September 25, 1904, page 6
F. B. Harrington--"I wish you would step over there and look into the Toggery show windows. Those fellows--Isaacs and Muller--are window decorators--and good ones. I doubt if you will see a better display of goods in any window in Portland than they have put up."
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, November 4, 1904, page 8
October 9, 1905 Oregonian
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 29, 1907, page 5
CHAMPION FISHERMAN OF OREGON
Something about W. F. Isaacs of Medford, Whose Skill Has Attracted the Admiration
of the Best Anglers in the World--Some of His Catches with Small Flies and Light Rods
in the Rogue River and Other Streams of Southern Oregon.
To W. F. Isaacs belongs the honor of being the champion fisherman of Oregon. Probably also of the Pacific coast, for he has fished with all the crack fishermen of California and Washington and more than held his own with the best of them. In the opinion of many Mr. Isaacs ranks as the premier fisherman of America. He has fished with the best fly fishermen of New York, Philadelphia and other eastern cities, and his catch was more than double the size of any of theirs.
The biggest catch in weight made in one day by Mr. Isaacs was that of 26 steelheads, which averaged 5 pounds apiece and were caught with a number [illegible] fly and 6-ounce rod. The largest fish ever caught by Mr. Isaacs with a fly was [illegible]-pound rainbow trout, the biggest fish of its kind ever caught in southern Oregon. Mr. Isaacs has frequently caught the full number allowed by the law in one day; none of them small.
A Native of Oregon.
Mr. Isaacs is a young man who was born and raised in southern Oregon, and for the past 15 years has fished along the Rogue River and other Oregon streams. There is no part of the Rogue River from its source in the mountains near Crater Lake to its mouth that he is not familiar with and he has not frequently fished. He knows every rapid, every ripple and every eddy in the stream. Most of his fish, however, were caught near Medford or near Trail, some 25 miles above Medford.
The largest fish shown in the pictures are steelheads. The steelhead is a true trout, though it grows to such a large size that it is frequently styled salmon, but it is not a salmon. It is one of the gamest fish native to western waters and puts up the hardest kind of a fight. Young steelheads are frequently called "salmon trout," but there is no such distinct variety of fish as the "salmon trout."
Other fish shown are "rainbow" trout, one of the gamest and best of native game fish, the "cutthroat" trout, also a fighter, though smaller than the rainbow, and ordinary western brook trout, which seldom attain large size. In many Oregon streams these varieties have crossed, resulting in hybrid species.
Among the crack fishermen who pay tribute to Isaacs' skill is W. D. Mansfield of San Francisco, champion fly caster of the United States. He fished alongside of Mr. Isaacs several days, and openly expressed his admiration of the Oregonian.
When the champion marksmen of the world were through Medford a year ago, they were introduced to Rogue River fishing by Mr. Isaacs, and all acknowledged his skill. Among the marksmen were Walter Huff, William Crosby, William Hillis, Tom Marshall, David W. King of San Francisco and Chauncey M. Powers of Decatur, Illinois, all of them noted anglers.
Frank Ayers and Dr. Holden of New York, who are both considered without peers in the streams of the Appalachian region, were so delighted with Mr. Isaacs' skill that they offered to pay his expenses east, provided he would enter into fly-casting and fishing contests in New York and other eastern states.
Though Mr. Isaacs has little trouble in making phenomenal catches, an ordinary fisherman can go over the same ground without securing a rise. His secret lies in his casting; the length of line he uses, and the way in which the fly lights on the water. He prefers light tackle and small flies, frequently landing a 10-pound fish on a No. 8 fly and a 6-ounce rod.
Faulty Fish Ladders.
Before the days when dams impeded the progress of the fish upstream, the Rogue River was the best fishing stream in the state. Of late years, however, steelhead and salmon have become rare through the dams with faulty fishways being built.
There is at present a dam at Grants Pass which effectually stops the progress of many fish upstream. Fish are unable to find the ladder and beat their brains out leaping against the dam. Not one fish in 10 succeeds in getting past the dam, and there are prospects unless something is done to remedy the situation that good fishing on the Rogue River will be a thing of the past.
Last week a committee of indignant fishermen waited upon the owners of the Grants Pass dam and informed them that unless the defects were remedied, some morning they might find the dam missing. The owners sent for Master Fish Warden Van Dusen, and offered to make the necessary alterations, but as yet nothing has been done. But little attempt is made by the local fish wardens to enforce the law, and thousands of salmon have been illegally taken by Grants Pass fishermen at the base of the dam. The wardens claim that prosecution is not made because evidence cannot be secured, but attorney R. G. Smith of Grants Pass, who was at his own request once temporarily appointed fish warden, had no difficulty in obtaining five convictions in as many days.
Oregon Daily Journal, Portland, August 18, 1907, magazine section 3, page 5
The hustling, prosperous haberdasher will soon have a spelling flasher electric sign, one of the finest on the coast; Bill believes in more light, because it pays.
Medford Mail, July 5, 1907, page 4
From The Sketch, Sept. 14, 1907
ANNOUNCEMENT.Mrs. Irene Hampton Isaacs has opened a studio at her residence on East Seventh Street, Medford, and will receive piano pupils.
Mrs. Isaacs is a young musician of extraordinary ability and talent, who through years of arduous study and application has brought herself to the highest plane of musical thought and intelligence. From earliest youth her musical education has been in charge of the best masters in the East, and she has lately completed a course under Herr Herman Genss--a pupil of the great Liszt himself, and by far the greatest teacher in America.
Herr Genss rightly claims the distinction of teaching the only absolutely correct method of pianoforte playing, and declares that without this method it is impossible for one to become an artist.
Musically, Mrs. Isaacs has the rare charm of poetic feeling and a delicate touch united with great power, which enables her to interpret equally the airiest waltz of Chopin and to sound the depths of Beethoven. Herr Genss placed no limit on Mrs. Isaacs' art. In an interview he declared: "She can become what she will--one of the world's greatest."
Central Point Herald, January 9, 1908, page 1
TOGGERY INDIAN WINDOW CAPTURES FIRST PRIZE
The Toggery Indian window, which numbered among its novelties a real live Indian in feathers and war paint, was awarded the prize of $10 offered by the Weatonka tribe for the best window decorations in honor of the great council of I.O.R.M., which has been in session during the past few days. Many of the progressive merchants on Seventh Street decorated their windows, the results showing considerable ingenuity and skill. The window in Haskins' drug store showed probably as fine a collection of Indian curios as is owned by any private individual in the state. Other curios were shown in the Medford Tea & Coffee Company's window, the Baker-Hutchason Company and other stores.
The Toggery window represented a forest scene, with Indian tepee, log fire, etc., but its great drawing card was the presence of a youthful Indian in full costume seated in front of the tent, who all day long amused the crowd of passersby with his antics.
Southern Oregonian, August 1, 1908, page 1
Fishing in Rogue River
By W. F. Isaacs
One September morning Clarence and I left Medford for the Rogue River for a day's fishing; never was there a more beautiful morning. Day had just won supremacy over night by driving back the darkened shrouds with the sun's burnished shafts. The birds trilled merrily their lusty songs; the squirrels scampered hastily across our path and all nature was alive, chanting the glory of the awakening day. The morning air, so crisp and invigorating, gave us new life and energy for the day's sport."Toggery Bill"
As we neared the river the noise of the rushing waters reached our ears, and we were unable to resist its mighty spell, urged our horses on and on until, lo! before us suddenly appeared the mighty Rogue. The rocky, foaming, tumultuous Rogue, whose deep, dark pools held the shimmering rainbow trout.
The horses were soon unharnessed and the rods and tackle made ready. With waders that reached to the armpits we were soon forcing our way through the heavy current to the head of a riffle in the center of the stream.
Those who have seen the Rogue at the mouth of Little Butte Creek need no description of the mad, rushing waters forcing their way through the deep channels of bedrock. It is by no means an easy task for the angler to keep his footing at this point, owing to the slippery rocks in the bed of the stream.
We enjoyed some splendid sport, having landed several fine rainbows, when Clarence went to camp to prepare lunch, while I changed my tackle, putting on a new leader in place of the worn one and a No. 8 gray hackle.
I waded out on a narrow ledge of bedrock within reach of my favorite pool, and after making several casts without a strike was about to start for camp, when suddenly a huge rainbow made a wild rush at my fly, but missed it. I immediately cast my fly back where the big fellow lay in waiting, and no sooner had the fly struck the water than he made another vicious strike and away he went over the rapids into the air, my reel fairly singing. My heart came up in my mouth, and cold chills played up and down my spinal column, giving me that nameless, indescribable feeling known only to the angler. Suddenly my line slackened, and for a moment my heart sank with the conviction that I had lost my prize; but, reeling in with much speed, I discovered that he had reversed his course and was fast making his way upstream toward me. Soon I had recovered most of my line, but again my gamey rainbow made a run, leaping into the air, his brilliant sides glittering in the sunlight. On and on, this time downstream, he went, taking with him all my line, and I was forced to follow. In water frequently to my armpits, I pursued him at least a quarter of a mile, often losing my footing in the heavy current. He being now practically exhausted, I worked my way to shore, and I made several attempts to land him, but in vain. My landing net was of no avail, being far too small for my monster trout. With such extremely light tackle I was indeed laboring under fearful odds. Finally, reeling him up to the water's edge and slipping my fingers into his gills, I lifted him triumphantly from the stream, just as Clarence appeared on the scene.
My prize, 33 inches long and weighing 12 pounds, I had taken from the treacherous Rogue on a No. 8 gray hackle and a seven-ounce rod. The fight lasted an hour and forty minutes--but the battle was ended and I had won!
Medford's Magazine, April 1909, page 6
William Francis Isaacs, familiarly known as "Toggery Bill," has lived in the Rogue River Valley all his life and is one of the best known characters in the whole of Southern Oregon.By LEE TUTTLE
He began business for himself thirteen years ago, and eight years ago embarked in the clothing business with practically no means at all and a handful of goods. He waged a hard fight to pull through the period of Medford's pioneer days, but steadily gained confidence and patronage by his unswerving honesty and integrity in business methods until he has finally landed in the very front rank of Medford's most prosperous merchants, enjoying the largest business of any clothing house in Southern Oregon. It is known throughout the country by all who come to "The Toggery" that his famous slogan--"What Bill Says Is So"--is absolutely true.
"Toggery Bill" is an enthusiastic lodge man, being Past Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, member of the Modern Woodmen of America, Independent Order of Redmen, Eastern Star Chapter, Past Master of Medford Lodge 103 A.F.&A.M. and a member of Crater Lake Chapter.
He furthermore enjoys the unique distinction of being the most ardent and skillful fisherman in the whole country, being known by sportsmen all over the United States as the most successful angler using the fly exclusively. His work is especially noted for its delicacy and accuracy and particularly his long distance in casting. Some sportsmen from New York were so impressed with his work that they most enthusiastically urged him to go East and enter the tournaments, being certain of his ability to walk off with the prize and assuring him that his expenses would be nil after arriving there.
The Toggery is known all through the country as the Fisherman's Headquarters, as scarcely a fisherman comes to the city who does not at once visit The Toggery for general information and to familiarize himself with local conditions.
Toggery Bill has this year gotten out an absolutely original calendar, being a fishing scene on Rogue River of himself in action fighting a seven-pound rainbow trout. These calendars have gone to many sportsmen throughout the country and have called forth many encomiums of the originality of the idea and the beauty of the scene pictured.
Taken as a whole, Toggery Bill is a well-rounded type of what this bustling, pushing valley can produce in the way of wide-awake, up-to-date men, and as Medford forges ahead on its way to the front, why, just "Watch The Toggery Grow"!
The Rogue, March 1910
May 15, 1912 Medford Mail Tribune
The Toggery feels very optimistic as to the future business prospect of the Rogue River Valley and city of Medford. The big volume of trade this fall, and especially the past thirty days, we feel is due to the successful fruit season and is only an indication of what a few industries which furnish permanent payrolls would mean toward additional prosperity.
"How Medford Merchants nd Leading Firms View 1914 Prospects from Prosperity Angle; Optimistic," Medford Sun, January 1, 1914, page 6
October 26, 1914 Medford Mail Tribune
Mrs. H. A. Thierolf will leave Sunday for San Francisco, where she will take music lessons from Herman Genss. Mrs. W. F. Isaacs and Herbert L. Alford are also taking lessons from this famous teacher. Mr. Genss is one of the best and most famed teachers of music in this country.
"Society," Medford Mail Tribune, April 3, 1915, page 3
B. ISAACS' HOME AT TABLE ROCK NEAR COMPLETION
TABLE ROCK, June 30.--W. F. Isaacs, the well-known clothing man of Medford, reports that satisfactory progress is being made on his new home in this district.'Toggery Bill' Celebrates 27th Business Year in Medford
The house is being built of logs which are hauled from the hills near Talent and when completed will be very artistic and one of the finest homes in the district.
Mr. Isaacs will make [this] his permanent home, going back and forth each day to his place of business in Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 1, 1927, page B3
Frederick Cole, who has been building a log cabin near Prospect for "Toggery Bill," was in town yesterday for supplies.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 17, 1927, page 2
"Toggery Bill" Isaacs made a trip to his shack on the Rogue River this morning, where he set two more men at work on improvement work. He now has a crew of nine men engaged. "And it will be some little shack when they're finished," said Bill.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1927, page 2
BIG CREEK LODGE, NEAR MEDFORD, July 30--(AP)--Herbert Hoover came today to the first of the two fishing grounds he has selected in this neighborhood for the first go at his favorite sport since his return to his western home after his nomination as the Republican presidential candidate. . . . The Commerce secretary was an overnight guest here of William Isaacs, a Medford merchant, who met the automobile caravan at Grants Pass.
"Hoover Casts in Rogue for Seagoing Fish," Register-Guard, Eugene, July 30, 1928, page 1
ALL BUT THE FISH
(Grand Rapids Press)
Mr. William Isaacs of Medford, Oregon, dealer in men's toggery, has a lodge on the Rogue River and Mr. Isaacs, like any good summer resort resident, thinks he has the finest place and the best fishing anywhere.
When Herbert Hoover--having wired ahead that he hoped his vacation would be respected and no ceremony arranged--crossed the city limits he was met by Mr. Isaacs and commanded to "jump into my car." Supposing his host to be someone escorting him to the hotel, Mr. Hoover complied and was whisked, to his considerable surprise, out to Mr. Isaacs' lodge. The rest of the vacation party followed. There was nothing else to do. And besides, Mr. Hoover had started to grin at the humor of the situation.
Here he was, kidnapped and "put up" by a genial summer lodge owner who told him to get out in the river and catch fish. All right, Mr. Hoover would be glad to oblige. Anybody likes to catch fish. If Mr. Isaacs' river had the biting kind, Mr. Hoover wouldn't begrudge him the advertising.
An hour, two hours went by on the swift Rogue, supposedly crowded with steelhead trout. The anxious Mr. Isaacs saw his distinguished guests angle with growing disgust. Not a nibble, not a bite, not a single battle. Finally he saw them pack up their tackle and walk out on him, with the comment that his Rogue River was rightly named--"just a rogue so far as us real fishermen are concerned. The pears around here are all right, but the steelheads are--well, the less said the better."
When you kidnap fishermen, whether high or lowly, and whether by the peremptory Isaacs method or by the glowing circulars, you want to be sure you have the fish. Otherwise, as happened in this case, all you get is disgruntled guests and bad advertising. Many a Michigan resort proprietor, kicking at the idea of a shorter season to preserve his bass, might take a lesson from the experience of Medford's toggery merchant.
Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, August 7, 1928, page 3
There was no place in Medford where men could buy becoming hats and neckties or suits that fit their figures until "Toggery Bill" Isaacs established his men's furnishings store in the Palm building on Main Street 27 years ago. The Toggery has served as fashion headquarters for southern Oregon men continuously since that time.
Not only was Toggery Bill's store one of the four first [sic--oldest?] firms to open business in this city, but it was the only exclusive men's furnishing shop between Portland and Sacramento at that time.
People were interested in the energetic young Isaacs, and he won the friendship of traveling men then as he does today, judging from the letters and souvenirs he has kept for years. I. L. Hamilton, manager of the Nash Hotel when The Toggery was located on the other side of muddy Main Street, gave Bill permission to use the top line of the hotel register each morning to advertise "Toggery Bill across the way." He had one clerk who received three dollars per week, and was considered well paid in those days. Rental for the store was $30.
There were plenty of fish in the Rogue River 27 years ago, and even then Bill Isaacs was one of the most persistent fishermen in the county. Most every Saturday night he and three or four other local sports would load up a hack with bacon and potatoes for a night or two on the river, Bill related yesterday. One of those who frequently made up the party was Judge M. Purdin.
"All work and no play" may be the secret of some people's success in business, but Bill Isaacs has a better idea. He always has time to go fishing or golfing with his friends, and these same friends are his best customers. Probably no other man in the Rogue River Valley has spent more time and money with the legislature than Bill, who has devoted weeks at a session in order to promote a fish bill, or some other issue for the benefit of southern Oregon.
"Fishing is an incurable disease, and I got it when I caught my first fish. That was when I was nine years old," Bill said.
Among the prominent men who were escorted by Mr. Isaacs on their first fishing trips in the Rogue was the late Walter Mansfield, attorney of San Francisco and ex-champion fly caster of the world, who fished here 25 years ago. Max Farrand, former instructor at Stanford and Yale, and now head of the famous Huntington Library at San Marino, Cal., spent three days learning Bill's methods of steelhead fishing. Frank Drummond, artist of New York City, who is a famous English fisherman, is another man who came here to fish with the local sportsman. When the Chamber of Commerce answers queries concerning where and how to fish in the Rogue, the secretary invariably refers them to Toggery Bill. And other friends are made for Bill and Medford.
Although outdoor sports come first, the owner of The Toggery has not confined his interests to them. Up to five years ago he seldom missed attending grand operas every season in the city. And being a musician of considerable ability and interested in meeting the principals, he secured interviews with many a star, Galli-Curel being one of them.
Twenty years ago today The Toggery was moved to its present location, and since that time it has been improved until it is now considered one of the most up-to-date men's furnishings stores in the state. The genial proprietor stated yesterday that he expects to catch plenty more fish and continue to outfit Medford men, young and old, with just the proper shirts and ties for many years.
Yesterday Bill made his debut over the radio and will give KMED listeners another interesting half hour next week.
Gladys LaMarr, guest artist from San Francisco, will again be featured on the program next Monday evening from 6:30 to 7 o'clock. Banjo Lou, who is well known to radio fans throughout the United States for his programs over the NBC, will play some of the pieces. Miss LaMarr will sing the requests sent in last Friday night.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 1, 1930, page 3
BOOM DAY CLERK FOR TOGGERY BILL TELLS ABOUT IT
Styles and conditions have changed a lot during the past 23 years, but Medford is still the best town on the Pacific coast, according to Ozro Entrop of the Marlatt Shoe Company, Aberdeen, Wash., who is in this city today visiting friends and attending to business matters.
"One thing I like about this town is that you don't see the local people sitting around doing nothing. They aren't among the unemployed," he explained, by way of comparing southern Oregon with other sections.
Mr. Entrop left the Toggery, where he started work at the age of 16, just 23 years ago. He was known in this city as one of the fastest clerks working during the 1910 boom, when clothing was stacked to the ceiling and clerks [were] walking over each other to accommodate the hosts of people with "much money to spend."
There weren't nearly so many people here then but an evening at the "Louvre" found 35 people still congregating at the restaurant tables at 1:00 o'clock in the morning. "They paid lots more for a meal too," Mr. Entrop stated.
Confessing to Wm. Isaacs this morning, he related numerous incidents that occurred in his store when it was located down the street in the shop now occupied by Campbell's. After the day's work was done the clerks frequently cleared off the clothes counters, stole some food from the domestic science department of the high school and served a feast at the Toggery.
Other evenings they were entertained by Pinto Colvig, son of Judge Wm. Colvig, who sat on the counter and played tunes on the nail puller. Paul Leonard was also an employee at the Toggery then. When trade grew lax the townspeople never found out about it, for packages were wrapped and carried out the front door, down the street and often in the back door to keep up the shopping idea. Mr. Entrop plans to be in this city the remainder of the week.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 15, 1930, page 4
"Toggery Bill" Isaacs started into business when he was 21 years old in 1903 with most of the town's "wise heads" predicting that he would go bankrupt in sixty days. He invested his small capital in fixtures and gave only a pleasant smile and his reputation as security for his merchandise. That was when good all-wool suits sold for $12.50, hats from $1.50 to $3.00 and neckties were high at 50¢. Toggery Bill says he has worked for 25¢ a day and board. Much of the clothing of those days was made by manufacturers who didn't give their employees a living wage.
The well-dressed man 27 years ago was attired in a very long, loose, sacky coat with heavily defined stitching and plain trousers.
Although "Toggery Bill" has probably spent more time for recreation than any other business man in the valley and is one of the expert fishermen of the Rogue River, his business has grown so that he now employs several people instead of the young high school boy with whom he started.
Mr. Isaacs is well known all over this part of the state.
"Brief History of Old-Time Medford Firms Given," Medford Mail Tribune, September 29, 1930, page 8
Toggery Bill and Son Rise in HasteWilliam F. (Toggery Bill) Isaacs and his son, Dick, had a thrilling encounter with an electric bed warmer Monday morning, between midnight and dawn, which resulted in the loss of considerable sleep, and a 50-pound mattress, which was completely destroyed by fire, water and rough handling on the lawn. Toggery Bill also had one leg toasted to an autumn brown.
When Bed Fired by Electric Foot Warmer
Dad and lad repaired to the hay, per usual Monday night, on the sleeping porch of their home at 115 North Oakdale Street. As the fog and frost were active, and rolled in unhindered upon them, the Isaacs thought they would reinforce several layers of Oregon City woolen blankets, Pendleton Indian blankets, U.S. Army blankets and a couple of pieces of canvas with an electric bed warmer. The contrivance was expected to take the dampness out of the sheets and besides, Richard had a bad cold. They installed the rig at the foot of the bed and relaxed for a good, old-fashioned country sleep.
In about 20 minutes, Richard, who is a University of Oregon law student, alleged that he smelled something, and in 20 minutes more further alleged that he had stuck a foot into what he alleged to be fire. The father attributed the allegations to the youthful imagination of his offspring and instructed him to go to sleep, as they both needed it.
About three o'clock in the morning, the father thought that he detected an unseemly odor, akin to a horse burning up, and thought that his left shank was getting a trifle sultry, so he hopped out of bed, to discover a young conflagration raging in his midst. The mattress and the blankets were smoldering in a businesslike manner, and there was a great hustling around after water. A valuable Turkish rug in the path of the threatening flames was rescued.
It was the original intention to subdue the incipient blaze on the spot, but finally the mattress was yanked out on the lawn, where it had water squirted on it, and fully demonstrated that nothing is so hard to extinguish as a mattress, as it was still burning in a languid manner at three o'clock the following afternoon.
As near as can be figured out, the semi-disaster was due in the first place to the cord attached to the bed warmer burning off, and in the second place to Toggery Bill turning the warmer into high when he thought he was turning it off, and in the third place to the well-known indifference of sleeping people to take anything seriously, viz: Get up and look around and see what is causing the current discomfort.
Dick's cold is better, and his father is none the worse for battling the smudge in his pajamas, instead of his pants, which the weather most certainly warranted him wearing.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 23, 1930, page 6
W. F. Isaacs
Sound Principles of "Service to Customers" Bring Toggery Growth
Thirty years of adherence to high ideals, personal interest in every customer, high standards in men's apparel and quality merchandise at moderate prices marks the anniversary of The Toggery, which began its observance yesterday and will continue during most of the present month. Members of the personnel who are celebrating the occasion with the founder, owner and manager, W. F. Isaacs, are Arthur Hess, for 16 years a member of the organization in charge of the furnishing goods and windows; Harold Larsen, head of the hats, clothing and working men's department; Dick Isaacs, in charge of the office; and Birdie Coggins of the alteration department.
"Toggery Bill," as W. F. Isaacs was called for many years, established a policy which has been the guiding light during the years which followed and which he firmly believes is in a large measure responsible for the development which has resulted in the largest and finest clothing store in this part of the state. That policy has been "to sell quality merchandise, to tell the truth about all goods in stock, to give finger [sic] service, bigger and better assortments of merchandise of the standard lines and merchandise always in style, also courteous salesmen who know their business and will assist customers in their purchases." It has been said by many that no store endeavors more earnestly to please its customers and make them happy than The Toggery.
The first store was a small shop a short distance west of the present location with a floor space of but 600 feet. Mr. Isaacs' previous experience consisted of six months' training in a men's clothing store owned by Mr. S. Rosenthal. Through concessions allowed by Charles W. Palm, still of this city, and J. E. Bodge of Klamath Falls, he was able to open a store of his own. His only assistant was a high school boy, Percy DeGroot, now a newspaper man in San Mateo, Calif., who was employed after school hours and on Saturdays.
Mr. Isaacs likes to recall the year of 1910, which he states was the prize year in the old location, with five salesmen on the floor and so many customers that every day was "like the Saturdays we had later." Following this prosperous period The Toggery moved into its new and present location.
That the owner and manager believes in advertising may be surmised by recalling the extensive program which he engaged upon at this time and has since, with few exceptions, followed. The slogan, "The Toggery of Course," was adopted and carried in newspaper, direct mail and billboard advertising. Mr. Isaacs does not hesitate to credit advantageous advertising with the greater part of the store's success.
Aside from his business activities, Mr. Isaacs has been instrumental in advertising Medford and the Rogue River Valley in many parts of the United States and elsewhere. Known for many years as "our champion fisherman," he has entertained many a well-known personage at his cabin on Rogue River and later at Big Rock Lodge, his handsome fishing lodge where President Hoover was once a guest. Notables of the stage, business and government world have been guests at Big Rock and carried away happy memories of fishing trips, of which they have certainly been far from silent.
For two years, Mr. Isaacs has been president of the Southern Oregon Civic Music Association, and tireless in his efforts to bring excellent artists to Medford at prices not prohibitive. He is known as an example of good citizenship, with all the word implies.
Medford Daily News, March 2, 1933, page 2
"A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country," is the rule rather than the exception, but the case of Wm. F. Isaacs, better known as "Toggery Bill," is one exception.
Of three men who have been in business continuously in Medford for the past quarter of a century or more, Bill Isaacs is the only native son.
Bill was born out in the Brownsboro district on a farm. There was something about farm life that did not take to Bill, so at an early age he forsook milking cows, currying horses and following a "footburner" plow for a job in the city--Medford being the city, a small one at that time, but a city just the same. Anyway, Bill is not altogether unlike Lincoln, having been born on a farm. Bill was a young lad when he shook the dust of the farm from his brogans and came to town in search of a job. His first love was his lasting love. He went to work in a clothing store then, and except for a brief period has been in that business ever since.
Has Long Record.Bill Isaacs opened The Toggery in the same block in which it is now located March 1, 30 years ago, with a mere handful of goods. There it has remained under the unbroken management of Mr. Isaacs, and today The Toggery is one of the largest and best entrenched firms of its kind in Southern Oregon.
The fact that The Toggery has been in practically the same location for over 30 years does not mean there has been no progress in the history of that firm. No firm can remain continuously in business for a 30-year period that is not conducted along progressive lines.
His PoliciesCommenting on the policy upon which he has erected his successful business, Mr. Isaacs says:
"The Toggery, by faithfully adhering to a policy of offering the best merchandise at the lowest price consistent with quality, has achieved and merited a reputation that few stores enjoy. Friendly, personal service has further popularized The Toggery. The public interests have been its interests. During the past 30 years scores of other firms have come and gone, but The Toggery is more firmly embedded than ever in the civic and commercial life of Medford and Southern Oregon. The Toggery is where it is today because it has never deviated from its high standards of doing business."
Bill Isaacs served customers so well that not a few have mailed in orders from many states in the Union, from Alaska and from faraway India.
Business and PleasureAlthough Mr. Isaacs has rounded out a long career as a businessman, he is yet a young man, exceptionally young for his years. He learned how to play when a young man.
The secret of Bill Isaacs' youth in his own words is that "I learned to combine outdoor recreation with business, which I have probably followed more consistently than any other man in Oregon."
Lures Famous MenBill Isaacs is probably one of the best outdoor men in Oregon. He has done more to popularize steelhead fishing in [the] Rogue River than any other living man. His "Big Rock Lodge," erected on the banks of the Rogue near this city 18 years ago, has been the headquarters for men of national and international fame. Ex-President Hoover was a guest at the lodge five years ago. Ronly Fedden, famed English painter and writer, was a guest there while on a fishing expedition of the Rogue back in 1919. Frank Dumond, New York City artist who supervised New York's art exhibit at the Lewis and Clark Exposition at Portland, fished the Rogue on a number of occasions, as Isaacs' guest. Charles Hamilton, well-known wealthy manufacturer, of Two Rivers, Wis., and other men of note were lured to the Rogue through Isaacs' efforts and have been entertained here by him.
Bill Isaacs is not only an enthusiastic fisherman, but a great one. He is fond of golfing, hunting, swimming and many other sports, and good at all of them, all of which he says have combined in keeping him physically perfect.
One of Bill's other hobbies, if hobby it is, has been the promotion of Crater Lake. No stranger ever enters The Toggery and is contacted personally by him who is not told of the wonders of that famous scenic gem.
Bill Isaacs has not only contributed his full share to the material development of Medford and Rogue River Valley, and to publicizing its sport and recreation features, but has given liberally to its cultural advancement. In 1931 [?--the date is unclear], he put over the Southern Oregon Civic Music Association, as its president, when everyone said it could not be done. Again in 1932, when business was at its lowest ebb, he again put over a successful campaign for the association when his best friends predicted failure.
Lives to the FutureBill Isaacs never referred to it in this interview, but there is another factor that keeps him unusually active. It is that he lives not in the past but in the future. He is as enthusiastic for the future of Medford as when he engaged in business here over 30 years ago. He let this be known when he said:
"Medford is too wonderfully blessed with assets and varied resources for progress and substantial growth to be long retarded. The natural resources are here and the machinery of progress is all set and ready for better times.
"Medford possesses a high type of citizenship and an active chamber of commerce, valuable assets to any community, and having these, the city can not help progressing."
Bill Isaacs is looking to the future. His plans are to keep the name of Isaacs written on the pages of Medford's business history down through another generation or two and to this end his son, Dick, now office manager of The Toggery, is growing up the business the father founded 30 years ago, and which he has so successfully developed and perpetuated.
Medford News, June 9, 1933, page 1
ISAACS' TOGGERY CELEBRATES 31ST SUCCESSFUL YEAR
Thirty-one years ago there was established in this beautiful valley an industry which, amid all the storm and stress of passing years, of the booms and depressions, the rise and fall of other undertakings, has stood firm and sturdy as a rock, steadily progressing and building itself into the very roots and soil of the community.
This is The Toggery--thirty-one years old today--founded by William F. Isaacs and under the same management from its inception.
When The Toggery was started, in the same block where it is now located, the sole force consisted of Mr. Isaacs, assisted by one schoolboy. Today, The Toggery stands, a beautiful, modern establishment which would be a credit to any city, and with a competent staff of helpers, complete in every department, of whose efficiency and loyalty Mr. Isaacs is justly proud. And here it might be well to present the personnel of The Toggery staff.
Harold L. Larsen, buyer and manager of the shoe department, has been with The Toggery for about five years. Mr. Larsen is a skilled shoe fitter, having been in the shoe business since he was 12 years of age. He took a course under Dr. Scholl in the art of fitting shoes properly by a careful study of the bones of the foot, and is well skilled in the act and science of his trade. This knowledge enables him to fit the foot according to the type, width and length, and the bone construction of the foot. He is thoroughly conversant with the fundamentals of shoe fitting, and now to make corrections. Mr. Larsen is much interested in Boy Scout work, is a scoutmaster, spending a great deal of time with his boys, and is very popular with all classes. Mr. Larsen is also an enthusiastic worker in the Active Club.
Arthur D. Hess, buyer and manager of the men's furnishing department, has been with The Toggery for 12 years. Mr. Hess has taken various courses in the art of window trimming and color harmony under the supervision of J. Duncan Williams, Chicago, and Tom Leslie, Chicago, nationally known display artists. Mr. Hess is skilled in his respective lines and is also popular with the public.
Delous Cox, a new addition to The Toggery staff, is assistant to Mr. Hess. Young men will find his counsel invaluable in the line of selection, and they will find his taste is well nigh faultless.
Mrs. Birdie Coggins has charge of the fitting department, where every garment is carefully fitted, and she is as particular as you are. Mrs. Coggins is ably assisted by Miss Adabee Seiler. Both Mrs. Coggins and Miss Seiler are expert workers and have had years of experience.
Miss Thelma Humpton is secretary to Mr. Isaacs and has charge of the office.
The public will find every member of The Toggery staff most courteous and obliging, ready to assist in making your shopping pleasant and profitable.
Strange as it may seem, in this day of fierce competition and feverish pursuit of the dollar, the desire to satisfy the customer--to know that they leave the store happy with what they have purchased, does absolutely come first at The Toggery, and always has. That is the spirit which animates the entire establishment, and that is the spirit which Mr. Isaacs has endeavored to inculcate in all his staff so that when one enters the store this welcoming, friendly atmosphere is felt.
You cannot fool a community in which you have lived and carried on a business for 31 years. And the city of Medford knows positively that The Toggery stands for these things:
Quality and satisfaction, dependable merchandise, truth in advertising, up-to-the-minute styles.
Mr. Isaacs is proud of his city, and its welfare is always close to his heart. His homes are here, his interests are here, and on this thirty-first birthday of The Toggery, he wishes to extend his heartfelt thanks to all his friends and his wish and hope that he may continue to serve them many more years in this greatly favored spot--the Rogue River Valley.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 4, 1934, page 5
WILLIAM ISAACS TO RETIRE FROM BUSINESS CAREER
"The Toggery" Proprietor Ending Nearly 35 Years Activity--
Hess and MacKenna To Open Own Store
William F. ("Bill") Isaacs, for almost 35 years owner and manager of The Toggery, first exclusive men's furnishing store established in Medford, has announced his retirement from business. All fixtures in the store at 129 East Main Street and all merchandise has been sold to Weinstein and Company of San Francisco and will be shipped there immediately, Mr. Isaacs said.
Conjointly with the announcement by Mr. Isaacs of the closing of the popular men's store is the revelation by Arthur D. Hess and B. C. MacKenna, for many years associated with The Toggery, of their plans to open an exclusive men's store at 34 North Central Avenue, at present occupied by the Medford Stationery Store. The latter establishment will move to the location at 210 East Main Street now occupied by Piggly Wiggly when the grocery store transfers to its new building at Riverside Avenue and Thirteenth Street. Mr. Hess said today he expected their store would be open for business sometime in March.
The new men's store, as yet unnamed, will feature the same class of merchandise and many of the same lines handled by The Toggery for so many years, Mr. Hess said, among them being Society brand clothing, Dobbs hats, Nunn-Bush shoes, Manhattan shirts, Interwoven socks and many other leading and well-known lines. Opening stock for the store has already been purchased, the co-owner stated.
The two partners have long been associated with The Toggery, Mr. Hess acting as assistant manager during the latter portion of his 18 years with the store and Mr. MacKenna being employed in the clothing and hat department for the past 12 years.
Although little remodeling will be necessary, Mr. Hess said that all fixtures and all merchandise in the new store would be brand new. He expressed his confidence in the business future of Medford and the valley, stating that was one of the principal reasons for the opening of the new establishment.
To Enjoy LeisureIn closing The Toggery and retiring from all business connections, Mr. Isaacs, better known as "Toggery Bill," brings to a close a colorful, popular and highly respected career as a merchant in Medford. The Toggery first made its appearance in the city, then but a village, March 1, 1903, being located in the Palm building. In 1912 Mr. Isaacs moved his establishment to the location it has occupied of almost 26 years, and through all those years kept pace with the rapid growth of Medford, expanding as did the city and serving the men of the county the finest possible in merchandise and friendliness.
Mr. Isaacs will continue to make Jackson County his home, he said, spending much time fishing the Rogue River near his beautiful "Rock Lodge," and enjoying the scenic beauties of this valley. Always extremely active in civic and music affairs, Mr. Isaacs will devote more time to those activities, he stated. He is president of the Southern Oregon Civic Music Association and has given generously of his time in the interests of promoting the artistic and cultural growth of Medford. He has been a member of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce for many years, serving on its board of directors and enthusiastically aiding every endeavor toward the betterment of the city.
Regrets Losing ContactsIn retiring from business, Mr. Isaacs expressed his regret at losing personal contact with his hundreds of friends who have been patrons at The Toggery for over a quarter of a century. However, he stated, he was certainly not going to leave the Rogue River Valley, location of all his friends and interests.
Inventory of stock at The Toggery is being taken this week, after which all merchandise will be shipped to San Francisco. The space which will be made vacant by The Toggery's demise will be occupied by the Medford branch of the United States National Bank of Portland when it remodels and expands soon.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 21, 1938, page 4
TOGGERY OPENING SLATED THURSDAY AT 34 N. CENTRAL
Grand opening [of] The Toggery, exclusive men's clothing store at 34 North Central Avenue, will be held tomorrow, it was announced by B. C. MacKenna and Arthur D. Hess, co-owners. A cordial welcome is extended to all old customers and friends to inspect the new establishment, completely remodeled and redecorated.
The store space, 60 by 23 feet in area, is especially well-lighted by 12 huge globes overhead, and the store is heated by steam. In the back, a 40-by-23-foot storeroom provides ample space for stock not displayed.
A feature of the store is the large display tables, which will be used instead of counters. The tables are made of knotty pine, as are the deep wall shelves, and the owners believe this will be the only store in southern Oregon furnished completely in that kind of wood.
All stock and fixtures are new and modern, and the store will continue to feature nationally known brands of merchandise, such as Society brand clothing, Dobbs hats, Nunn-Bush shoes, Manhattan shirts and Interwoven socks.
The two owners have had many years' experience in the clothing store business, having been employed by The Toggery while it was under the ownership of Bill Isaacs, who recently retired. Formerly located on Main Street, the store was moved to its present location when the Medford Stationery Store moved, March 10, to 210 East Main Street, where the official opening will be held soon.
Assisting the owners in the new store will be Dick Woodcock, a Medford High school graduate.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 23, 1938, page 7
Two Elected as Life Members of C. of C.
C. E. "Pop" Gates and Wm. F. "Bill" Isaacs were elected life members of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce by the board of directors at their regular meeting July 14. The two have retired from active business.
"During their active business life, they were strong supporters of Chamber of Commerce activities and held many important offices and participated in all of the projects undertaken by the organization," the committee report said. "In recognition of these services for which the community is very grateful, the membership committee recommends the election of Messrs. Gates and Isaacs as life members." The board of directors unanimously approved the recommendation of the membership committee, of which Joe Early is chairman.
Central Point American, July 20, 1944, page 3
William F. Isaacs, 'Toggery Bill,' Dies at His Home
William F. Isaacs, better known to generations of southern Oregonians as "Toggery Bill," and who at one time was nationally known for his fishing prowess, died early today. He was 81.
Mr. Isaacs owned and operated "The Toggery," a men's clothing store, in Medford for 38 years. He had been retired, living for some time in a rustic home on the banks of the Rogue River above Bybee Bridge, before moving to 103 South Holly St.
An ardent fisherman, Mr. Isaacs was an expert fly caster, and was the unofficial "host" to many famous sportsmen who came here from all over the nation to fish the Rogue.
Hoover Is Guest
Herbert Hoover, then campaigning for the Presidency in 1927, was one of Mr. Isaacs' fishing guests.
He was born in Brownsboro, Ore. on Dec. 8, 1879, and lived his entire life in the Rogue Valley. He established "The Toggery" in about 1906 [it was 1903] and operated it for 32 years, finally retiring in 1938.
A lifelong booster of the valley in general and the Rogue River in particular, he was well known for his conservation enthusiasms.
Survivors include a son, Dick Isaacs, who is manager of the Ashland branch of the First National Bank of Oregon; the widow, Mrs. Louise W. Isaacs; a sister, Agnes I. Merrell, of Oakland, Calif., and a grandson, Bill F. Isaacs.
Funeral services will be announced by Perl Funeral Home.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 22, 1961, page 1
Last revised April 26, 2018