NOTES BY THE WAYSIDE.
STAFFORD, Or., April, 18, 1884.
Editor Willamette Farmer,
I met with Pomona Grange at Salem April 3rd. Was rejoiced to find present so many of our tried veterans, among them Bro. White of Butte Creek, and Bro. Bonney of Woodburn Grange. Spent the night pleasantly with the editor of the Willamette Farmer and family. Bro. C. is busily engaged on his farm, while our kind hostess is as ever busy in the performance of household and editorial duties. On the morning of the 4th, W.S.M. [Worthy State Master] and myself took the train for Roseburg; Bro. Owens met us at the station with a cordial greeting. W.S.O. [Worthy State Overseer] Buick and Sister B. met us on the morning of the 5th, ready as usual to labor for our Order. At 1 o'clock we held a meeting, at which W.S.M. Boise proved to his hearers the interest he so ardently feels in the agricultural portion of this rising state. Took the train at six, for Myrtle Creek, where we spent the Sabbath with Bro. and Sister Buick, enjoying our visit amid those romantic hills and fertile valley with the true Grange relish, and on Monday morning, that we might have an extended view of the country by daylight, boarded the freight train at 8:30 for Grants Pass, a distance of seventy-five miles. Having crossed the Umpqua River at Myrtle Creek, we coursed our way along its western bank, some ten or twelve miles from Cow Creek, where the railroad leaves the Umpqua and enters Cow Creek Canyon. Here we seated ourselves on top of the car that we might enjoy the delightful scenery along the creek and over the mountains. There is some mining done on the creek. Here we passed out of the farming country, and the iron horse pulled us up, up, up for miles in the canyon, through tunnels and along mountain gorges, until we came to the divide, where we passed through two tunnels and shot out to the other side of the mountain, the appearance of the entire country being changed; the mountain steeps consist of granite. The pine and manzanita bush reminded me of the gold fields of California in '49 and '50. The road follows down along the side of the mountain until it reaches Wolf Creek, where it forms a complete loop and winds its course toward Rogue River, the country being rough and almost barren. Arrived at Grants Pass, on Rogue River, about 4 o'clock. The farming land here is quite limited. This place may in the future make quite a shipping point for Josephine County, if the inhabitants can succeed in raising such products as will demand a greater price in the market than the railroad company charges for transportation.
After spending the night, crossed the Rogue River on the 6th, and traveled some fifteen miles to Applegate Creek. Here we found a nice little valley, the lowlands producing corn and sorghum; the syrup made from it is every good. Fruit, particularly peaches, grows abundantly in this valley.
We visited the Grange Cooperative Store, kept by Bro. Powell, for Washington Grange. They have at present a $5,000 or $6,000 stock of goods and are doing an excellent cooperative business. Spent the night most pleasantly with Bro. Basye and family. Attended Washington Grange on the 7th, and was surprised at the concourse of Patrons met in the hall, who made its walls ring with vocal and instrumental music, which delightful exercise seemed to be conducted by the sisters, who are wholehearted Grangers. W.M. [Worthy Master] Day finally called to order and Judge Boise addressed the meeting for an hour and a half, in which everyone seemed interested. Then followed the tables laden with delicious delicacies enough to satisfy a company three times its number, at which we all labored faithfully. Order being again restored, your Lecturer was requested to favor them with an address. We had a very interesting meeting and many a cheering word was spoken for the good of our Order. The Patrons of this remote locality are deserving much credit for their praiseworthy and heroic conduct, and for their indomitable perseverance, for which at every meeting they seem to realize a full compensation. With reluctance I bade adieu to friends so generous and kind.
There having been no other appointments made in Josephine and Jackson counties, and wishing to accomplish as much as possible during our brief sojourn, the S.M. [State Master] visited as far as possible in the former, while I traversed a portion of the latter county laboring in behalf of the Grange, explaining its objects and urging upon the citizens the necessity of immediate, earnest cooperative action.
On the 10th went up the Applegate to Poormans Creek. The country as we proceed further east seems better adapted to the raising of stock. Hydraulic mining is carried on to a certain extent, but water seems to be scarce. After traveling fifteen or twenty miles obtained a bird's eye view of Rogue River Valley proper. The lovely valley spread out before us like a rich panorama, dotted with fine farms, presented a spectacle beautiful to behold, while the grand old Siskiyou Mountains standing to the south and Mt. McLoughlin, with her eternal snowcap, and the Cascades to the east and north, seemed to say: "This is my treasured farm, trespass not."
We proceeded about five miles into the valley, called on Bro. Mingus, last Master of Jackson Grange, who after a lengthy conversation decided that it would be best to converse with other brothers throughout the valley, which I did, spending the night with Bro. Plymale; my companion, Bro. Clappel, tarried with Bro. Walker. April 11th. Bro. Walker took his team and hack, and we visited the farmers in various sections of the valley, while Bro. Clappel returned to his home on Applegate.
The renowned Table Rocks stand in the northwest part of the valley, and to the south is the farm of Col. Ross, whom we visited, finding him a granger both in heart and practice. His farm is in order and everything about it bespeaks taste and refinement. Found the Colonel engaged in tanning deer skins, which reminded us of early days.
I saw large fields ready to plant to corn and sorghum. Went through Bro. Walker's mill for crushing cane and making syrup, of which he can manufacture two barrels a day. The valley has not yet produced enough for home consumption. Am informed that it grows very large upon black soil, though it is sometimes caught by frost, but always ripens upon thin soil. The yield of syrup per acre is from sixty to one hundred and twenty gallons. In my opinion the raising of sorghum is the most inviting business for farmers of Jackson County, as the manufacture of sugar would soon follow, while they could find ready market in the various sections of this large state, and we should import nothing which we can successfully raise at home. It will be necessary for fruit growers to resort to the drying and canning processes, as the freights by rail are so enormous that no profit would return to the producer upon green fruit.
We are in hopes that there may yet be several Granges organized in Jackson County. The little town of Medford is upon the line of rail, five miles from Jacksonville and near the center of the valley, and I think ere many years will be the principal town in the county.
H. E. Hayes, Willamette Farmer, May 2, 1884, page 7 End of the letter not transcribed.