Jackson County 1882


    We receive so many letters asking information concerning this part of Oregon that we find it most convenient to answer them in our columns. Our description of Jackson and Josephine counties can only be general without going into minute details. Jackson County embraces an area of twenty-eight hundred square miles; Josephine County about thirteen hundred, being jointly about three times as large as the state of Rhode Island. Of this area there is about one-eighth only cultivable, the remainder being mountainous and only valuable for grazing purposes, or for gold mining. The climate varies according to altitude, that of Rogue River Valley in Jackson County, lying 1,400 feet above the sea, being particularly genial and salubrious, snow rarely falling more than three or four inches in depth, and ice of greater thickness than half an inch being an exception. The same may be truthfully said of all the valleys of Josephine County. The rainfall is moderate, being a mean between the excessive moisture of Northern Oregon and the drought of Middle California, but sufficient for crops of every description. Wheat, barley, oats and corn are the staple crops. On the rich bottom lands sixty bushels of wheat to the acre is not an extraordinary yield, while twenty bushels on any land is an inferior yield. The other cereals, as well as corn, yield exceedingly well. The fruits are apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, cherries, apricots and figs, all but the two latter being extensively cultivated, and with the exception of an occasional season when a late frost injures fruit, all bear abundantly. Improved farms can be purchased at from eight to thirty-five dollars per acre according to character of improvement and locality. A few locations may still be found where small tracts of government land may be secured sufficiently large for those who contemplate fruit raising, which industry is destined to become one of our most important interests. Timber of the finest quality is very abundant, fir, yellow pine, sugar pine, black and white oak, ash, laurel and maple being the most common varieties. Saw and grist mills are plenty and are successfully managed. A woolen factory, located at Ashland, produces fabrics of the best quality and is continually adding to its capacity. Extensive experiments in the culture of amber cane have been made, both in Jackson and Josephine counties, during the past two years with very satisfactory results. The climate and soil are found admirably suited to cane culture, and it is safe to predict that with proper mechanical appliances sugar will be made here in large quantities for export. There is a moderate quantity of the finest vine land skirting Rogue River Valley inviting tillage, and a considerable quantity of delicious wine is manufactured annually, nearly all of which is consumed at home. For fertility, the soil of Rogue River Valley--the largest compact body of land south of the Willamette--is unexcelled, and for picturesque beauty the valley has no rival on this coast. Beginning in the angle made by the junction of the Siskiyou Mountains and the Cascade Range the valley stretches northward and widens, before the river is reached, into a beautiful expanse of grain fields, meadow and orchard, interspersed with groves of oak and other timber. The valley is highly cultivated and dotted with comfortable houses but is capable of supporting three times the present population as many of the farms are much too large for the actual wants of their owners. The mineral interest of this section is still quite important. Since 1852 it is estimated that over $30,000,000 in gold has been mined out in Jackson and Josephine counties and there is a large and industrious population engaged in mining and being well remunerated. Iron, coal, copper, cinnabar and marble are among our minerals, but for lack of transportation little or no developments have been made. The railroad, now being rapidly extended in this county by the Oregon and California Railroad Company, is to reach this valley within a twelvemonth, and its completion will open a market for our fine fruits and other products and give an impetus to every branch of industry. Nearly all denominations of religion except the Episcopalian are here represented, and the public schools of Southern Oregon are equal to and, in some instances, superior to those of most agricultural sections of the country. We do not advise any person to come here expecting a rapid fortune to accumulate without labor but to sober industrious people, willing to work, we say come and share the richest soil and the most healthful climate to be found in Oregon, for there is room for many more.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 15, 1882, page 2

Last revised April 6, 2017