The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1871

See also Theodor Kirchhoff's account of his travel through the Rogue Valley in 1871.

A Trip to Ashland.
    At the invitation of one of our good citizens on Saturday last, we took a seat with him behind a pair of champing steeds and wheeled away toward our destination for this little village at the upper end of our valley, simply on an excursion of seeing what we had never seen. We passed many beautiful farms, whose broad acres were being blackened by the plowman's recent furrow, and in many places the young grain was peeping up in feeble contrast, and in a few spots of early seeding it was wearing a carpet of lively green. The ride was marked with alternate shower and sunshine, giving hope to the bosom of the anxious farmer, who seemed busy on every hand in honestly turning the glebe, and lending new life to the lowing herds that were eagerly cropping the tender grass on the warm sides of the lower hills. Passing this beautiful and fertile region, which seems more like a view of panoramic art than a reality, we reached our destination at dark, and was kindly welcomed at the Ashland Hotel, kept by Mr. E. Emery.
Is, naturally, one of the most favored inland locations we have met on this coast. Situated at the head of Ashland Creek Valley, on a gently elevated bench from the lowlands, resting as it were in the lap of the lower hills of the Siskiyou Range--just where the creek leaps down from the last mountain gorges--precipitating its crystal waters in calm volumes along a gentle channel at the lower limits of the town. The scenery of the contiguous hills shoot up into sharp peaks, studded with the majestic sugar pine and symmetrical fir overshadowing the scene below, while the Oregon ash and the evergreen madrone complete the rare adornments to the lower margins.
    Nature has done much for this favored spot, and the earnest pioneer, in the absence of the proper outlets, is struggling to do his share. Several enterprises seem to be under favorable headway. A woolen factory has been recently established here, run by this magnificent water power, and was in operation until a short time ago, and for some cause is suspended, but we learned that it will resume operations again soon. The building and findings are of the most approved style, and it turned off an excellent article of woolen goods. A splendid flouring mill, saw mill, marble works, and turning mill, all moved by the same water power, gives activity to the place. The village also contains a good hotel and livery stable, two stores, a model blacksmith shop, quite a number of tasty private residences, and a neat Academy. There is now, however, a fine, commodious Academy in course of construction, and will soon be ready for use, which manifests a high spirit the citizens of this place have for the cause of education. There is quite a flourishing school here under the tutorage of Mr. H. C. Fleming, assisted by Miss Maggie Hutchinson, whose efficient mode of instruction and excellent tact in discipline recommend them alike to the good will of patron and pupil.
    Mr. Rutan, the blind music professor, is dispensing the favors of the science of harmonious sounds to the young people of the town. The Professor has deservedly won a high reputation in his art, and what the sad dispensation of Providence has taken away from him in sight has kindly made it up to him in the ear. He will give a grand musical concert soon, which will doubtless be a rare entertainment.
    After being most kindly cared for by mine host, we bid this pleasant little village adieu, that happily honors its historic name, feeling the force of sentiment of the homespun couplet:
"In leaving pleasant places and people,
One will keep looking back at the steeple."
    A few hours' ride, retracing the beautiful expanse of valley to our right, along the tread of the western range, brought us to our home, that not less picturesquely nestles in another inviting lap of our motherly hills, that patiently awaits the puff of the iron horse to give it that activity its surrounding country so justly merits.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 4, 1871, page 2

Jackson County--Its Agricultural and Mineral Resources.
    Jackson County is bounded west by Josephine, north by Douglas and Wasco, east by Grant and south by the state line. I am fully persuaded that this description must necessarily be, to a great extent, unsatisfactory, but in the absence of the law establishing the boundary it must suffice. The estimates respecting its area vary everywhere from eight to eleven thousand square miles--the highest figures probably approximate nearest the true result. The county can certainly be little less than 170 miles long--it is probably more--and 60 to 70 miles wide, which would give the result near the last named figures. The county is naturally divided into two great and distinct divisions, each possessing its own peculiarities of scenery, resources, climate and soil, the one lying to the east, the other to the west of the Cascade Range. This natural barrier between the two sections is destined at no distant day to become the eastern boundary of this county. When the eastern division shall have become sufficiently populous to sustain a county organization--and that time is not far distant--circumstances will render this result an absolute necessity, and with the county seat located as it is, in the extreme southern part of the county, "wayfaring" men may prophesy upon this result with absolute safety. That part of the county lying to the north and east of Klamath Lakes, and of which I design writing in this communication, has been thought, until recently, of little value. This impression seems to have obtained from the general appearance of the country at a distance, for few, until late years, thought it of sufficient consequence to repay explorations. But a more intimate knowledge of this heretofore terra incognita reveals the fact that, aside from the many beautiful and fertile valleys known to exist in this region, it is conceded to be the finest grazing country in this world.
    Among the most noted of these valleys may be mentioned that of Upper Goose Lake, Lost River and Sprague's River valleys. To enumerate the countless rich alluvial valleys--small 'tis true--yet without a name, skirting the mountain streams which like [a] network traverse the country in all directions--the larger flowing west--is the work of the near future. The rich, luxuriant growth which, without an exception, characterizes these valleys, great and small, places their fertility beyond a peradventure; for soil, climate, pure cold water and picturesque scenery they are surpassed nowhere. For the most part, however, this region is either mountainous or consisting of high tablelands or plains, of little or no value for agricultural purposes, but this fact does not detract so materially from its value, as many may be inclined to suppose. It is well understood by most that these elevated plateaus or plains produce the finest quality of bunchgrass, and in great abundance, and experienced stock-growers unite in testifying to the fact that this species of grass is far superior to all others, its grain-like virtues having the effect to fully develop the animal system at an early age, while the "cattle on a thousand hills" prove most unmistakably the native wealth of the mountain fastnesses. The valleys above mentioned are capable of sustaining, under judicious cultivation, a population exceeding that of the whole of Jackson County at this time. The first thing our "Rip Van Winkle" will know, some intelligent and energetic German colonization company will draw the first prize in this country. Stick a pin here.
    There is a highly probable conjecture respecting this country which, in connection with its description, may be necessary to mention, viz.: Nearly the whole region appears strongly indicative of past volcanic action. The brown basaltic plains, with copious feldspar, chrysolite &c., which may be observed at intervals, apparently running east and west, are evidently of igneous origin. Within these supposed volcanic belts may be found a species of lava or melted rock, resembling in many respects that which is frequently ejected from volcanoes. From the foregoing we may safely assume that here has been the seat of fierce volcanic agencies.
    The numerous hot springs to be found here, and which constitute another interesting feature of this country, go very far to confirm this opinion. The water which issues from these springs is strongly impregnated with one or more metallic substances, and when cooled has a sulfurous or iron-rust taste, and [a] smell repulsive and nauseating. Its medicinal virtues, however, are said to be all but miraculous, the alleged effect being that of an invigorating tonic. The most mysterious thing in connection with these springs is that in many instances only a few paces distant may be found another spring cold enough to have its source in perpetual snow. There are also in this region numerous small, clear lakes, every one of which abounds in fish of the finest quality. The mountain trout, esteemed such a delicacy in many of the eastern states, are here so plentiful as to be regarded with little or no interest; "chubs" may be taken with pleasure, and in any desired quantities--the lakes literally teeming with them, nor are the mountain streams less alive with the finny tribe than the lakes. The famous mountain streams of Virginia, in times past, were not more replete with trout than these.
    The timber in the south and east of this country, except in the mountain gorges, is of little value, being scarce and of inferior quality; to the north timber of fair quality is found, and sufficiently abundant for all practical purposes. So far as the precious metals are concerned, little or no prospecting has been done. The face of the country is unfavorable for placers, but more favorable than otherwise for silver and copper. The whole country, from center to circumference, abounds in every variety of game, and the "hunter's paradise" is a beggar to its quantity and quality. The future of this country, so long regarded as worthless, may be brighter than we anticipate. Klamath Basin next.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 25, 1871, page 2

Jackson County--Its Agricultural and Mineral Resources.
    The open valley of the Rogue River is forty miles long by about ten miles wide. (The estimate, it will be observed, does not include the long line of valley extending from Rock Point to the boundary between Jackson and Josephine.) From the foothills of Little Butte to Jacksonville the width is not far from twenty miles; but from this central point it grows gradually narrower each way so that the average is materially cut down and will not exceed the figures above named. The best and most important part of what is called Rogue River Valley is not Rogue River Valley at all, and no sane man, conversant with the facts in the case, could be induced for a moment to believe it to be such; the inconsistency of such a supposition is too glaring and its fallacy too plain and palpable. And, though it should be proved beyond a peradventure that this river was the feeder of the great lake which, at one time, occupied its site, it does not necessarily follow that [it] formed or even assisted in forming the basin or receptacle into which its waters were discharged; but, on the contrary, the lay of the valley, its altitude, together with the adverse direction of the river, must conclusively prove that it did not, and could not in any conceivable way or by any conceivable route or means form the great valley which lies to the southeast [of it]. It is not, therefore, properly Rogue River Valley. Mary's River--better known as Bear Creek--flows the entire length of the valley, issuing from the Siskiyous and discharging into Rogue River. This stream divides the valley as near centrally as could have been done by the most competent surveyor. Let us "render under Caesar the things which are Caesar's," and unto this river that which is due it. Bear Creek or Mary's River Valley, and Rogue River, so far as this little honor [sic] is concerned, must take a back seat. The same may be said of Dry Creek, Antelope, Butte and Sams Valley, not one of which could be strictly called a valley of Rogue River. While the lower part of Sams Valley might claim this honor the upper part must indignantly deny it, and a "house divided against itself must fall." At best, we may write Rogue River's claim to this valley is--doubtful. The valley of Rogue River, taken in the strict sense of the term, in comparison with the valleys above mentioned--though there are many rich and valuable farms along its bank--is exceedingly limited and unimportant. It does not represent a tithe of the fertile land of this noble valley.
    By examination it will be found that the valley, so far as regards its soil, is divided into three divisions. All that part of the valley lying east of Rogue River and north of Bear Creek may be included in division 1st. This division presents a peculiarity of soil not found anywhere else in the valley. Here we find the noted "big sticky," a tough, gluey and tenacious kind of clay and loam mixed. The nature of this soil is such as to adhere with incorrigible obstinacy to everything brought within its reach, and won't let go worth a c-c-cent. Almost every foot of the upland of this division, in times past--and not very remote either--was a barren desert incapable of producing the lightest vegetation. Its reclamation is of comparatively recent date, and may be attributed solely to the wash of the hills that bound it on the east. This supposition approaches certainty, and may be satisfactorily proven. 1st--by a comparison of the valley soil with that of the hills. Second--by the fact that a large area lying along Rogue River and reaching towards the hills is yet totally desert, the wash not having yet reached it. Third--the unusual susceptibility of the soil to the motion of water. The whole region from Reese Creek to the Siskiyous is more or less cut up with drains or niches; and in some places these washes are so numerous and deep that stock hunters, unacquainted with the passes, experience great difficulty, and not infrequently delay, in finding a practical crossing. Now if these ditches were only seasonal, or confined to any particular locality in the given distance, they might be regarded as proving nothing; but on the contrary, along every little hollow, inclination or watershed of any kind, [water] has made its mark; and some of these "marks" are eight to ten feet deep and six or eight miles long.
    This whole side hill, from opposite Phoenix to its termination on the desert, is one succession of slides, and some of them, even now, so well defined as to be distinctly observable at a distance of five or six miles. Should the Butte Creek Ditch, now talked of, ever be built it will probably cross this spur (of the Siskiyou) east of the rocky butte, hence along the south side in a southeasterly direction, crossing the valley somewhere in the vicinity of Ashland. There is no enterprise, unless of a like nature, that would so speedily develop the resources of the country as the building of this ditch if found to be practicable. This division of the valley, though regarded as less valuable for farming purposes than either of the others, the fact is due, mainly, to the great difficulty experienced in working it--it will "stick"; yet wheat, oats and barley, when the season is favorable for working this peculiar soil, yield well, the average of wheat being about seventeen bushels per acre; oats and barley thirty per acre. When any attention is paid to gardening, vegetables rarely fail, and this part of the valley, if any difference, is superior in this respect to the black loam lying south of Bear Creek. Fruit has never as yet been fairly tested; and though there are a goodly number of young and promising orchards here and there, but little fruit, comparatively, is grown in this division. The whole district is well watered, produces excellent grass, and offers every facility for an easily accumulation or growth of stock with little or no expense. It will be found that this fact alone furnishes the key to the prosperity and independence of the many sterling citizens of this section.
    Several years ago a vein or bed of coal was discovered in the foothills north of Bear Creek, but on account of the superior attractions of gold, it was only sufficiently developed to prove the fact that it was veritable coal; and being tested by some of the 'smiths of this place, was pronounced first-rate. A notice in the Sentinel, at the time of its discovery, gave it as "anthracite coal of a good quality."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 8, 1871, page 2

Valleys--Rogue River and Valley--Crops--Capabilities of Soil--Climate--Scenery--
East of the Cascades--Crater Lake--Railroad Prospects--Minerals--
Inexhaustible Resources--Western Oregon.

(From Correspondent to the Oregonian.)
    Jackson County contains a larger area than the state of Massachusetts. In fertility, range of productions, climate and minerals, it is superior to that rugged state. But these are gifts of nature. Whether this will ever equal that in wealth, culture and influence is a problem to be solved by the people themselves.
    The county embraces eight thousand square miles extending across the Cascade Mountains eastward, including the lake region of Oregon. There are several large valleys in this county, the most prominent of which are the Klamath and Goose Lake valleys on the east, and the Rogue River on the west.
    Travelers on the stage pass through this region in the night, and are therefore unacquainted with its beauties by actual sight. The writer has passed through it three times, and although he had heard of its attractions, had no opportunity to behold them. The glimpses of it which the stage traveler catches do not disclose the best part of the valley.
    Mountain ranges define it on every side. The isolation is complete. But the valley is so broad that it produces no sensation of confinement. The southern boundary presents for the most part a precipitous barrier; on the other sides are gentle slopes, climbing to a great height, and rounded in verdant beauty. Some of these tops are clothed with grass of greenest hue, and some with giant firs, which in the distance look like shrubs. Anon, a bolder summit overtops the rest, crowned with spotless white.
    Between these towering ridges is spread out one of nature's fairest scenes. It is a broad plain intersected by the swift-flowing river, descending into it from the Cascade Range by a canyon of extraordinary wildness, through which it plunges with many a lofty leap. Into it from point to point flow the affluents which drain the adjacent vales, all bordered with deciduous and evergreen trees and oak openings, groups of trees and groves, with lordly pine and fir overtopping them with staid precision, [which] diversify the prospect. In various directions appear isolated hills, some of which from peculiarity of form are worthy of a nearer inspection.
    This valley is only a part of the area which may be properly designated the Rogue River region. There are other well-defined valleys which take their names from streams that empty into the river. All of these contain numerous settlements.
    The isolated position of these valleys naturally prompts the inquiry how they came to be so extensively settled. The wide range of production, ease of cultivation and genial and salubrious climate give the explanation.
    The capacity of the soil has been tested for twenty years. All sorts of grain, every variety of fruit known to the temperate zone, and some belonging to the tropics, grow and flourish here. Indian corn, so fickle in most places on the coast, is here a regular crop. Livestock was out on exhibition [sic], worthy of highest prizes. Splendid horses, strong, sleek, ponderous cattle, thick-set fleeces crop the rich pasture, and the ever-grunting swine is pushing snout into more redundant fatness.
    The climate is captivating. Some days in summer are very warm, but a hot term does not last long, and the mountains furnish delightful and very accessible retreats. The rains of winter are frequently suspended by cloudless skies, when sparkling sunshine and balmy breezes repel depression and make breathing a luxury. Rev. M. A. Williams, who has kept a meteorological record regularly for twelve years, reports a highly agreeable state of wind and weather, a remarkable equability of temperature, and a combination of climatic qualities which are highly favorable to health and longevity. Mr. Colver, who is known throughout the state, and knows it by intelligent observation, selected this valley for a home, after having traveled all the states of the Union, except two. He raises upon his splendid farm a great variety of fruits of delicious flavor, and regards the valley as able to compete with any agricultural region of the coast.
    Mr. S. D. Van Dyke, formerly a member of the Legislature, gives good reasons for a high estimate of the capabilities of this region.
    These are examples of views and opinions which are universally entertained by the inhabitants, and appear to be quite reasonable to strangers.
    The larger part of Jackson County lies east of the Cascade Range. The pass through the mountains presents some sublime views, mingled with some of nature's strangest freaks. Beyond it, on an elevated plateau among the mountains, is the "Dead Indian Country," which received its name from an occurrence which took place in the time of Indian hostilities. On this extensive tableland snow falls early and stays till May. But the grass grows under the snowy fleece, and when that covering is melted off makes amends for delay. The droves of cattle, which left the shortened herbage of the plains as the spring advanced and cropped the grass as they ascended towards the summit of the hills, wend their way in summertime through the pass and plunge into the luxuriant pasturage provided on that elevated plain. Thither not only the drovesbut the families also go and camp out for a season. Leaving artificial tastes at home, they seek natural luxuries. Putting an arrest upon fin and wing and hoof, and levying an income tax upon vine and berry bush, they luxuriate in the choicest gifts of nature. The mountain air exhilarates. Rest on the bosom of Mother Earth recruits exhausted energies. Communion with nature in her unprofaned haunts tends to independence of character and simplicity of life.
    Beyond this, on the lake level, is Fort Klamath, and six miles from it the Klamath Indian Reservation. Further still is Lost River and Goose Lake.
    Near the Dead Indian Country is Sunken Lake, a great natural curiosity. Mr. James S. Howard, surveyor of Jackson County, related to the writer some particulars respecting it, which he obtained by personal examination. It occupies a very lofty elevation, and exhibits with its surroundings a desolate scene. It must be fed by subterranean springs, since no viable stream, except rills from melted snow, ever enter it. Below it, and at a considerable distance from it, two streams glide away from it in opposite directions, one to Klamath River and lake, the other to Rogue River. If these proceed from this mountain reservoir, as is highly probable, they find their way out through subterranean cavities. The first view of it is very grand and thrilling. It discloses a chasm, like a vast excavation, in the depths of which the silent waters reflect the surrounding gloom. Perpendicular cliffs, like walls of masonry, rise from the water's edge and prohibit all access to it, except in two places, and the lowest point which overhangs the chasm Mr. H. estimated at 830 feet from the surface of the water. Its form is elliptical. The narrow diameter he reckoned at five miles, and the long one at eight miles across. The great gulf looks like the crater of a vast volcano, whose fires were extinguished by an irruption of water. And from this resemblance it is proposed to call it Crater Lake. A picture of this curiosity, probably the only one ever taken, is now on exhibition at Mr. Shanahan's in Portland. The painter, Mr. [James M.] Sutton, now a resident of Portland, estimates the diameter at five or six miles by twelve miles. But I must return to more utilitarian themes.
    As I was coming this way, men were looking northward. Here their gaze was divided. They were looking northward, and also towards the east. They were all looking for the locomotive. The announcement of a new railroad connection is received with enthusiasm. The California Pacific Eastern Extension Company propose to enter Jackson County near Goose Lake, send a branch track into this valley, and another to Ogden to connect with the Union Pacific. The Oregon Central will place this valley on the main coast line, and the new project will give it a direct connection through the transcontinental line, with the vast network of railroads on the Atlantic side. The prospect is very bright. These connections will undoubtedly be made, and all of Western Oregon and Washington, and the North Pacific Coast, will share in the benefit. Starting from Portland, travelers can then pass through to the Eastern States without change of cars, or being at the outset marked as way passengers, to be set down by a branch railroad, to wait for the train.
    The settlement of this valley is connected with gold mining. Mr. Colver's surveys led to the discovery of rich placer diggings 20 years ago. [Samuel Colver is not known to have any connection with the discovery of gold in Jackson County.] And the search for the precious metal in the surrounding mountains led to the discovery of gold quartz, silver, iron, lead and inexhaustible supplies of coal. Here are the ores of both precious and useful metals, and here is the coal to smelt them. Salt springs and medicinal waters also abound.
    A vast amount of gold has been lifted from its native deposits and carried out to enrich other localities--making the valley by so much poorer instead of wealthier. This seems to be the fate of mining localities. The yellow stream hastens to get away. It should be arrested, and made to irrigate the soil whence it first flowed. But no arbitrary law can effect this. The course which wealth takes is like the course of trade--it flows where it can be used and equivalents rendered for it. It is the old law of exchange and circulation, as inflexible as the law of nature. What the mining districts need, then, is an intelligent population, sustaining the institutions and promoting the ends of modern civilization, engaged in diversified pursuits, with cultivated tastes, happy families, attractive homes, and local attachments. Such a community manipulates the law of circulation within itself, as well as beyond. It keeps the golden stream meandering in every direction, sending off supplies on every hand, percolating the soil and distilling its drops like the dew.
    The foundations of such a society are laid in this valley. The men and women are here who helped to lay them, and now measure its course with joy. All honor to them! May they live to pluck the golden fruit!
    It is well that the precious deposits of this state have not all been extracted. Western Oregon is probably as richly endowed with valuable minerals as any portion of the globe of similar extent of surface, and no doubt the supply is inexhaustible. The introduction of varied industries will demand the extraction of these minerals, to be used at home or wrought for other markets.
    Western Oregon is beginning to feel the mighty movement of our age. She hears the locomotive blowing the bugle of a grand march. Its sonorous blast is awaking strange echoes in nature's solitudes. A few years of wise legislation, supported by intelligent and patriotic cooperation, will make her an empire in herself. Her three great valleys, interlinked by social and commercial, as well as political ties, uniting their advantages with those of the mountains and the sea, now invite an enlightened immigration to share in developing these inexhaustible measures.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 1, 1871, page 1

Scenes of Jackson County.

(From the Portland Bulletin.)
    Yesterday we indulged in some general remarks about Oregon scenery. We now have something to say of a few of the particular scenes of much natural beauty or scenery in the southern portion of the state. At the store of Geo. W. Hillman, on First Street, above Morrison, can be seen two paintings, executed by an Oregon artist, named Sutton, which represent scenes in Jackson County. One is of landscape nature, and gives a pretty view of the noted Table Rock with the waters of Rogue River laving its precipitous basaltic base, and adjacent to it a portion of the valley which takes its name from the river. The artist, for one who may be termed an amateur, has done well, and yet it is no harsh dispraise to remark that he has omitted to present the beautiful and grand natural scenery he has attempted to the best advantage, or as a more experienced landscape painter would present it. Still, to those who have never seen the scenery in all its native beauty and grandeur, the painting will appear very well worth looking at or possessing.
    The other painting is of a large waterfall [Mill Creek Falls] near the head of Rogue River, far up in the rugged mountain gorge. The scene is splendidly wild. The falls are nearly one hundred and fifty feet in height, and the large volume of water leaps from the contracted rift above with one grand plunge into the seething basined chasm below. The deep and narrow mountain gorge, down into which the sunbeams radiate only during midday, is well delineated, and the artist discovers his manifest fondness for natural scenery in the fidelity with which he has treated the details of his praiseworthy picture--the rocks and trees and vegetation. It is singular that, although Rogue River Valley and the mountain regions for miles about there in every direction have been for twenty years explored and located and inhabited, these falls were discovered only a year or two ago. For years teamsters and travelers had passed over the road not more than half a mile from the verge of the great bold rock off which the waters plunge, and they had heard the tremendous roar which reverberated and echoed from the deep chasm into which these waters fall, but as it was known that the gorge was very steep and wild and narrow for a mile or more above, they all supposed the roaring and crashing sounds proceed from the angry torrent as it rushed and foamed down the river's rocky bed. But one fine day about two years ago, a teamster in hunting his stray animals wandered down into the gorge, and there discovered the falls. They are called, we believe, the Falls of Rogue River--a name at once appropriate and likely to last.
    A look at these paintings will well repay one for the walk from any portion of the city to Hillman's Art Gallery. There are likewise other sketches in watercolors and ordinary crayon in his collection of scenery in Oregon and in Washington Territory. The watercolor sketch of Snoqualmie Pass is a charming bit of art, well executed, and is worthy of a place among the art collections of our citizens.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 2, 1871, page 1

    The following we take from the S.F. Bulletin of Sept. 15th. It is from the pen of Mr. Hugh Small, a gentleman of culture, who has recently visited this section of country:
JACKSONVILLE, Aug. 31, 1871.       
    The greatest canyon at the head of the Umpqua Valley south is a marvelous work of nature. It is at least ten miles long, and the mountains on each side, all the way, average some hundreds of feet high, heavily timbered on the highest point. The road is very narrow in some places, the inclines are steep and precipitous, but good horses and a competent driver gives an assurance of safety. I passed through this canyon by moonlight; it presented an aspect of wild, natural boldness and grandeur that was solemn and impressive.
    The head of the canyon leads from Douglas into Jackson County, over the Rogue River Mountains, a rather tedious, rough and tiresome ascending and descending, but the reward is ample in beholding the fertile valleys below that manifest signs of rich, productive soil and abundant crops. The Rogue River is of inestimable value to Jackson County. It runs through the entire county, and from it proceeds numerous branches widely distributed, and into it flow numerous tributaries, and out of the mountain ranges are constantly running a vast number of springs of delightful water.
    Along Little Butte Creek, Big Butte Creek, Antelope Creek, Stuart's Creek [i.e., Bear Creek] and many others of a similar character are valleys of great beauty and richness, producing crops of wheat, oats and barley equal in quantity and quality to any in Oregon. This famous river has its rise in the Cascade Range, and runs into the Pacific Ocean, distributing in its course fertility, richness and beauty. The country is distinguished for, and is especially adapted for, grazing, but its numerous valleys, large and small, are equally suitable for agricultural purposes.
    The reason why its agricultural resources have not been more fully developed is simply for want of a market beyond the local wants. The nearest port for hauling wheat for shipment is Crescent City, 120 miles distant. The price of wheat would not pay the inland freight alone, and therefore shipping wheat has been abandoned long since. Shipping for some time has been confined to wool and bacon, which have paid well, the former for many years, and the latter last season in particular. The climate of Jackson County is highly favorable to the production of
    I have seen and examined a number of large fields of corn as good and abundant as I ever saw in any of the eastern states, and very little behind the yield of many of the western states. Between corn, wheat and acorns, the raising of hogs in Jackson County will continue to be great and profitable. Chicago and the West may pour in their bacon, hams and hogs into the San Francisco market, but when the Oregon and California railway reaches this country, the farmers and merchants will continue to compete successfully with them. The farmers of Oregon say that all they want is a clear stage, fair play and convenient market, and they will hold their own with any on wheat and flour, hogs, ham and bacon, cattle, sheep and wool.
    I have visited several vineyards in the neighborhood of Jacksonville, and I have found them in a very favorable condition, laden with every variety of grapes. Some of these vineyards are from ten to fifty acres in extent, and are being cultivated extensively. One of the small vineyards produced 700 gallons of wine last year. The soil, climate and foothills of Jackson County are admirably adapted for grapes. There is now no doubt in the minds of intelligent men here but that this country will be as distinguished for vines and grapes, peaches and figs, almonds and apples, pears and plums, cherries and currants, as it is for the production of herds and flocks, wool and hogs.
    Is a town of considerable importance. It has a population of 800. The whole aspect of the place indicates business, life and trade. There are a number of large stores, fine houses, neat cottages and good public buildings, such as the county courthouse, churches, private schools, and above all a first-class public school, and a fine academy just being finished. There are the usual number of professional gentlemen; a fair percentage of them are distinguished in their line. The town enjoyed great prosperity during the early discovery from 1852 onwards. Now it is depending almost wholly upon the rich and prosperous agricultural and grazing districts of the county.
    The limited fall of rain during the winter, and the dry summers for the last three years, have rendered gold mining unprofitable, and will continue so until a sufficient supply of water from some quarter can be obtained. Placer, hydraulic and quartz mining were very productive from 1852 till 1866 in the neighborhood of Jacksonville and the surrounding districts. During that time more than $15,000,000 were taken out of these mines. Some of these mines are still wrought to advantage during the winter months, but the great majority of them are useless at present, for want of water. There is an abundance of water in the river and lakes of the county, but the expense in cutting a ditch to secure a supply would be considerable. There is plenty of capital in Jacksonville to accomplish this desirable object. All that is wanted is an experienced, competent and energetic leader to head such a movement, to call out the individual and united cooperation of the wealthy and intelligent men of this town and county to organize a company for this purpose.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 23, 1871, page 2

(From the Willamette Farmer.)
    Table Rock Valley comprises that portion of country in Jackson County north of Rogue River, in the vicinity of Table Rock. The arable land contained therein is about equal to the Boise Creek Valley, in the same county; but being separated from the main thoroughfare, it has heretofore attracted but little notice. The expectation that the railroad will pass east of Table Rock has caused much excitement of late. Parties, mostly speculators, have gobbled up the best portion of the country. Yet there remains much good land subject to preemption or homestead.
    The time is not far distant when there will be extensive and valuable improvements in this part of Jackson County. It is contemplated to extend a water ditch of sufficient capacity for manufacturing and irrigating purposes from Hamar's ferry, on Rogue River, to the mouth of Sams Creek, a distance of about 25 miles. This done, it will open up to agriculture a large section of land which is now comparatively of little value, besides creating water power for mills and machinery to any extent desired.
    The timber upon the mountains, north of the valley, is not excelled in the state.
    Coal of excellent quality has been found in several localities, and is supposed to exist in large deposits; but little prospecting has been done, however, as yet, to develop that valuable mineral.
    Grazing is the principal occupation and yields better returns for the capital invested than any other employment.
    It is not necessary for me to say that Jackson County is the banner county this year for its yield of cereals, in proportion to the amount. Some corn in Table Rock Valley will compare favorably with the best crops in Iowa or Missouri.
    I think the climate in Southern Oregon much better than in the Willamette for those who have weak lungs. There is less cloudy weather in winter, and perhaps a few degrees colder. The summers are much like the Willamette.
    The White Sulphur Springs in Sams Valley (a portion of Table Rock Valley, situated at the west of lower Table Rock) possesses rare medical properties, and in time will be a favorite resort for invalids. The health has been excellent for the past year, very few cases of sickness having occurred in this portion of Jackson County.
    I would suggest to those who wish to try a different climate from the Willamette and escape from the rain and fogs there, and dread the severe cold of Eastern Oregon, to try this part of the state. All kinds of produce being abundant and cheap. Peaches, apples, pears, plums and grapes grow well here. Game in the mountains is easily captured, giving pastime to the sportsmen. Let me say, in conclusion, to those who are seeking homes, health or amusement, come and see us.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 14, 1871, page 1

Last revised June 16, 2018