Jackson County 1886
SOUTHERN OREGON.(Special Correspondence of the Leader.)
The Majestic Mountains, Rushing Rivers, and Impenetrable Forests of That Region.
Some of the Impressive Scenery of the Cascade Range and its Canyons.
The Mineral and Timber Resources--The Gold Coast--Possibilities of Development.
ROSEBURG, SOUTHERN OREGON, February 11.--Several of my communications to the Leader last summer were from the great state of Oregon, but they were wholly restricted to its northern parts, none of them touching interests external to the valleys of the Columbia and Willamette. Finding myself now in the important section technically called "Southern Oregon," I purpose to furnish its columns such accounts of the splendid region as I may gain from personal observation and credible hearsay. I shall endeavor to be correct in the work, yet doubtless some errors will intrude, [in] spite of all caution.
To most readers the title "Southern Oregon" will be quite misleading, since it applies to but a fraction of the nether portion of the state. On this coast the term embraces only the five counties lying in the southwestern corner of Oregon. These are Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties. The Cascade Mountains bound the district on the east. California adjoins it on the south. On the west it is washed by the waters of the Pacific. On the north it is barred from the cultivated valley of the Willamette by the rugged Calapooia Range. The estimated area of Southern Oregon is about 12,000 square miles. Its coastline approaches one hundred and fifty miles in length and includes one of the best harbors between San Francisco and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This haven, commodious and safe, is Coos Bay, whose tributary creeks and river well nigh drain the county of that name. The water is of sufficient depth
TO FLOAT THE LARGEST SHIPS.The chief exports from the port are coal and lumber, both articles being abundant in the vicinity.
Like certain portions of the Golden State, this quarter of Oregon is distinguished for remarkable diversity of scenery. Lines of high hills, or ranges of majestic mountains, with rich arable vales intervening, ramify it in all directions. Within it, also, lie the renowned valleys of the Umpqua and Rogue rivers, localities conspicuous in the history of the coast. In my hearing yesterday a prominent citizen of Roseburg styled the district "the Switzerland of America." To the writer Switzerland is an unknown land, but if in the sublimity of its mountains, the wonderfulness of its lakes, and the delightful beauty of its gentler landscapes it surpasses Southern Oregon, then all the admiration lavished upon it by hundreds of visitors annually is well deserved.
Few parts of our land are so bountifully and so serviceably watered as are these five counties. Multitudes of streams distribute their blessings on every hand as they march toward the great sea. Springs of pure cold water swell up from the earth, or leap forth from the hillside, until, as said an old resident this afternoon, you can hardly go a half mile in any of these counties without finding springs perennial, clear and palatable. During the rainy season, now at its height in this part of the coast, the thousand minor streams of the mountains are, of course, vastly increased in speed and volume. As our train came spinning down the southern side of the Calapooia Range yesterday afternoon there foamed and tumbled in the gorges on either hand a score of noisy tributaries to the Umpqua River, one of the chief watercourses of Southern Oregon. Rain was falling rapidly, and had been most of the time for a month. Thus these effluents found their task of bearing it away not a trivial one, and in the discharge of their duty were
AS GARRULOUS AS THEY WERE BUSY.Now a word descriptive of the Umpqua itself, which is really an impetuous mountain torrent. Its main, or north, fork heads virtually in the Cascades, or, definitely, in Diamond Lake. After flowing westwardly for a distance of eighty miles it receives the South Umpqua at a point nearly one hundred miles from the sea. Thence striking off toward the northwest it enters the ocean "one hundred and seventy-five miles south of the mouth of the Columbia," draining in its journey something over 4,000 square miles of territory. The Umpqua is navigable only twenty-six miles above its mouth. At points in this distance the stream acquires a great depth and [flows] between precipitous, rocky banks, which present some imposing scenery. Within this space also its breadth increases to thousands of feet, and at intervals small areas of grazing and cultivable land stretch away from the brink. Other principal streams of the five counties are the wonderful Rogue River, the Illinois and the Coquille, all of which ultimately lose themselves in the mighty ocean.
In historical dignity, as well as in physical characteristics, Rogue River transcends all the others. It is to Jackson County what the Umpqua is to Douglas County, draining and enriching, by its many confluents, a tract of country nearly three thousand square miles in extent--a surface slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Four mountain ranges enclose this territory with bulwarks of rock. These are the Coast, Canyon, Cascade and Siskiyou chains. At one point in the Cascade Range this defense rises to a height of nearly 9,000 feet. The entire space enclosed "is broken up into valleys, hills and mountain ridges," all the valleys trending toward one central depression, as all the inferior streams flow toward the Rogue River. This turbulent watercourse has its birth near the base of Mount Thielsen, one of
THE STUPENDOUS SNOW CONESof the Cascades, at an altitude of six thousand feet above the sea. [The Rogue River's source is on the flanks of Mount Mazama--Crater Lake.] Within the limits of Jackson County, or a distance of one hundred miles, it makes the descent of five thousand feet, having a mighty canyon for its pathway, until the lofty mountains fade into gentle hills in the valley proper. Rogue River Valley, specifically, is about forty miles long by twenty wide. Although these twin rivers spring out of the heart of the Cascades, "almost within a stone's throw of each other," they flow farther and farther apart until they enter the Pacific ninety miles asunder, both plowing a steep gorge through the Coast Range on their way.
Heavy forests cover the major part of "Southern Oregon," and are one of its important sources of wealth. Only the lower hills, the chief valleys, and bottom lands are free for the plow. The sides of all the principal mountain ranges are thickly clothed with giant trees, which were hoary when first the voices of white men echoed among the dark canyons. Here and there, indeed, a saw mill sends out its stimulating voice, but it is only one where many might be, and makes but faint encroachment upon these miles of dense growths. One more great railroad from the Pacific to the East, cutting the Cascade Range at its notable pass about due east of Roseburg, would bring an immediate change to these silent, primitive timber lands. Thousands of acres are absolutely unapproachable for want of proper transportation. Southern Oregon needs, and someday will have, its "transcontinental railway," with its Pacific terminus at Coos Bay, about midway between the exits of the Northwestern and Central Pacific roads. Such an enterprise would convert Coos Bay, with its fine harbor, its salmon industry, and its coal, lumber and agricultural resources, into
AN ATTRACTIVE WATERING PLACEas well. In that event Roseburg would have the advantage of being about midway between the pass and the port.
It has been said that in Douglas County, the largest and northernmost of the five, there are not less than thirty townships which are densely mantled with pine, fir, yew and cedar trees of gigantic size and height, and all capable of producing the finest grades of lumber. In one section, thirty or more miles in length, the western slope of the Cascade Range is studded with stately trees from the line of eternal snow down to the border of perpetual green. The sugar pine and the yew furnish woods of rare beauty. The durability of the latter places it beside the red cedar for some purposes. It is also a favorite with the cabinetmaker. The forests of the Coast Range in this county, particularly on its seaward slopes, include some growths seldom seen on the river sides of the Cascades. Here the white cedar flourishes with the family of firs, while the bays and maples thrive together in beautiful groves.
In short, it may be said that the supply of timber throughout the district is as inexhaustible as it is valuable. The great wonder is that the earth anywhere can nourish so vast an army of trees of such magnitude.
But "Southern Oregon" has sources of wealth beneath her soil, as well as above it. Besides her coal, gold and silver, tellurium, quicksilver, marble and other minerals exist. Gold has been found in all the counties. In each, I believe, mining has been conducted by the usual methods, and with the common mutations as to fortune. Josephine County has perhaps yielded the richest returns for the effort expended. In it, during the year 1851, occurred the first gold mining done in Oregon. The work still proceeds, and the sanguine anticipate for the industry even a brighter future. At many points in the other counties operations have languished, or died out altogether.
THE ROADS TO THE MINES,with other accessories to the pursuit, have fallen to decay, leaving to the future the option of restoring them and renewing an unsuccessful experiment.
In the vicinity of the mouth of Rogue River, in Curry County, the sands of the seashore have for over thirty years yielded gold in paying quantities. "Beach mining" has continued there during all this period, notwithstanding old Ocean has often amused himself by covering the gold seeker's work with mighty waves of worthless sand. The distance mined is "about twenty-five miles," and has from the first discovery of the precious sands borne the name of Gold Beach.
Profitable quicksilver mining has been conducted in Douglas County for several years. There are at least three mines. It is presumed none of them are very extensive. A tellurium mining company has been operating for some time and "has made the pursuit a success." Copper, nickel and iron are also minerals of Southern Oregon. Its as yet practically unmolested coal beds underlie a vast surface and could long furnish fuel for a denser population than will ever occupy the district.
Leaving the subjects of the climate and productions of this remarkable region for another communication, I here mention that the Oregon & California Railway extends entirely through it from north to south. Its termini are the handsome and growing--[in] spite of the hard times--city of Portland on the north, and the village of Ashland, at the base of the majestic Siskiyou Mountains, on the south. The distance between the points is 344 miles. The existence of this thoroughly built highway in Western Oregon is a feature in the material development of the country, whose importance cannot be overestimated. The company operates two lines of road, one on each side of the Willamette River, thus reaching all the varied and bountiful products of the great valley of that stream. The west side track extends from Portland to the city of Corvallis and binds together a large number of enterprising towns.
The eastern line bisects Southern Oregon about midway between the Cascade and the Coast ranges of mountains, thus becoming the common carrier for the teeming productions of its myriad interlacing valleys, and also conveying the traveler for nearly two hundred miles through one of nature's masterpieces in the way of scenery. In the later spring months its union of the beautiful with features august and awful is not often paralleled.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, March 1, 1886, page 5
SOUTHERN OREGON.Special Correspondence to the Leader.
Coos Bay and the Rich Mineral Deposits Found in its Vicinity.
Coal Fields Which Will Produce Millions of Tons of Excellent Fuel.
The Great Timber Resources--Fortunes in Store for Enterprising Capitalists.
ROSEBURG, SOUTHERN OREGON, March 8.--Among the many interesting localities in Southern Oregon, as viewed from a business standpoint, few are more worthy of notice than Coos County and its ocean port, Coos Bay. For thirty years or more the vicinity has been known as one remarkably rich in resources. But owing to inadequate connections with other parts of the state its wealth has hitherto been but slightly developed. Both its inhabitants and its material possessions have all this time waited for a railroad, that prime factor in the opening up of a country.
The people have indeed once moved energetically toward securing such communication with the interior of the state and the East. A company was organized to construct the road, a considerable grant of land was obtained from the farmers through which it would pass, and I believe the route was surveyed. Then, a trusted party being dispatched to the East to interest capitalists in the work, he succeeded so well that he sold the whole thing completely out of the hands of the company, leaving it powerless to proceed. And to this day the much-desired railroad has failed to appear. But as the time of the land grant expires in five years, the citizens are hopeful that they will yet hear the echoes wakened among the thousand hills of Coos and Douglas counties by the locomotive as it marches from the oceanside eastward through Roseburg, through the Mount Thielsen Pass in the Cascades, and onward over the vast plains of Southeastern Oregon to a connection with a through eastern line at Baker or Boise cities.
"But where is Coos Bay?" someone asks, "and what has the neighborhood that the country so much wants?"
A good map will show you that some two hundred miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River
THE GREAT OCEAN INVADES THE LANDin a most capricious manner, flowing eastward through a deep and irregular channel many miles in extent and sending out wide arms in several directions. This invasion is Coos Bay. The name is reported to have emigrated from New Hampshire. That little state, you notice has a Coos County. The word, however, has changed its orthography several times, and at this date is not at all sure that it sprung from the White Mountain State. [It's an Oregon Indian name.] By reason of improvements already made by the government this bay affords the most capacious and easily accessible harbor between the Columbia River and the Golden Gate. The depth of water is sufficient to float the largest coastwise steamers. Even its arms, or sloughs, as they are here called, are navigable each some distance, by boats of light draft. Its area is estimated to be fifty square miles. This bay is the natural outlet to the area for all the marvelously rich district known as Southern Oregon.
Its existence was first made known to the American settlers in the Umpqua Valley in 1852. The next year it was explored, and desirable town sites located by parties hoping to control the advantageous port and its vicinity. They were also stimulated to these steps by the discovery on the beach a few miles to the south of an abundance of gold in the black sand, at the mouth of a small creek.
For some six months placer mining was here carried on with gratifying success. A few men made fortunes. But after a time the good luck flagged, and for a period the black sand quite lost its attractions, though at no time entirely failing to reward the labors of the gold seeker. At present the "diggings" are known as the Randolph mines, having been named in compliment to John Randolph. A son of Joseph Lane is, I believe, a very successful operator in them. Meanwhile mining of another character had opened on the southern tributaries of Coos Bay. Coal had been discovered.
Some miles inland this body of water
SENDS OUT A LONG ARMtoward the south, somewhat as does the bay of San Francisco, thus forming a broad peninsula between itself and the sea. On the northern and eastern borders of this tongue of land were the first disclosures of coal observed. Immediately extravagant investments, preparatory to the real work of mining, were made, and at unfavorable points. Thus, as has so frequently been the case in gold and silver mining, large sums of money were thrown away, causing no little discouragement. Still the country, far and near, was full of coal, the quality of which was excelled by that of no other section of the Pacific Coast. Some veins contained steam and gas coals of decided merit.
In 1855 shipments to San Francisco, the market, began. Capitalists in that city soon discovered that coal property in Coos County, Oregon, was worth the purchasing. Geologists of repute visited the district, made estimates of the deposits, and pronounced the store practically inexhaustible. The Bank of California invested a large sum in this mineral land, as did also other San Francisco parties. And some time after a Massachusetts company purchased 7,000 acres, including the total town site of Marshfield, the largest village on the peninsula, besides much other valuable territory in the county.
The veins carry from two to five seams, which vary in thickness from two to seven feet. Some of the seams are separated by but a few inches of sandstone, and others by a layer of slate, or a stratum of clay. One writer on the extent of the Coos Bay measure says: "The amount of the mineral obtainable is so large that estimate is superfluous in considering it as a resource. There are no faults or breaks in the vein of any magnitude. The coal is distributed over two hundred square miles. The first vein alone, if extending over but one-fourth the field, would yield fully 132,000,000 tons of coal, if worked by the long-wall system."
Another excellent authority asserts that: "Within an area of ten miles of the bay exist not less than 75,000 acres of fine coal land, which will produce, from the one vein usually worked, 45,000,000
TONS OF GOOD FUEL,and in some parts of the field there are as many as six workable veins. Still farther east of the bay stretches a vein claimed to be eleven feet in thickness, and adapted to foundry uses, the making of gas, etc."
In addition to this enormous wealth in coal, little Coos County--the smallest in the state except Multnomah, but every inch of which is rich--has a second vast resource in its timber lands. No accurate estimate of their real extent and value has ever been made. But it is safe to say that the county is mantled with stately forest, from the seaside to the summit of the mountains, forty miles back. The trees embrace the usual variety found on the coast, such as fir, cedar, spruce, hemlock, myrtle, shittim, maple and other less valuable species. There is little pine. Spruce is not abundant. Fir and cedar predominate largely, and "yield the finest timber of the kind in the world." Coos County is the home of the Port Orford cedar, of which I hear so much in all conversations on the lumber industry of Oregon. It is of the white variety, and as a finishing wood is the most valuable grown in the state. Its peculiar qualities are strength, hardness and durability. It takes an elegant finish, and is in great demand for ship-building. The quantity is limited, and such has been the waste attending its handling by lumbermen that the species will probably disappear in a few years.
Of the red cedar, remarkable for its size and height, so much has already been said in these letters that it may now be passed without remark. On the contrary the lovely myrtle deserves generous mention. A lady reared in Coos County considers it the most beautiful tree of their forests, and of the North Pacific Coast. Its natural habitat is the loose, sandy soil of the streams of Coos, Curry and Douglas counties. It thrives well, however, in their bottom lands. The trees attain a uniform height of about seventy feet, the limbs all being thrown out within twenty feet of the top, thus leaving a long, clean trunk. When growing close together in groves, as they often do, the effect is very charming, reminding one of the eucalyptus groves of Southern California. The foliage is dense, and the limbs intermingling form a perfect shade, beneath which one may wander, on a warm day, in supreme enjoyment. The leaves of the myrtle are oval, stiff, about three inches in length, pointed at the end, with a yellowish-green tint and
A SHINING UPPER SURFACE.Both the wood and the leaves are fragrant. The latter are filled with a pungent, aromatic oil, and when tasted affect the tongue quite as powerfully as do cloves or cinnamon.
But the myrtle is esteemed not alone for its beauty in the landscape. It is one [of the] most valuable woods for cabinetmaking that the forests of America produce. It rivals the mahogany in susceptibility to finish, and the handsomest of young chestnuts in richness of graining. As an ornamental wood it commands a high price. As has been the case with the Port Orford cedar, acres of it have been wantonly destroyed in order to clear the land for agricultural purposes, thus removing a product manyfold more remunerative than would be successive crops of grain, or indeed the land itself.
Next to the myrtle, in Coos County, come maple and ash, both of great utility in various kinds of handicraft, and abundant enough unless swept away by man's shortsightedness.
The lumbering interests of the county center chiefly about Coos Bay, where [there] are several mills. That of the Southern Oregon Improvement Company has the largest capability, and cuts 100,000 feet of lumber daily. The total daily output of all the mills upon the bay is said to be 200,000 feet. The whole finds market in San Francisco. An indefinite estimate makes at least one half of the county heavily timbered. Then, taking but one half the quantity the forests have so far yielded, per acre, it contains ten billion feet of prime lumber.
Another considerable industry of Coos Bay is shipbuilding, the port being the only one between Puget Sound and the Golden Gate where marine architecture has attained the rank of a regular pursuit. The largest boat ever constructed at the yards was a ship of 2,000 tons burden. It was built entirely of red fir, and was celebrated for its strength and speed, having, it is said, made the quickest voyage to Liverpool on record. Many vessels and steamers of smaller capacity have been launched from the ways at Coos Bay.
Still another pursuit is salmon canning. The streams of the little county are alive with the beautiful fish, as are nearly all the rivers
EMPTYING INTO THE NORTHERN PACIFIC.Indeed, salmon packing in the western waters is limited only by the world's demand for the food. Millions upon millions of the fish are never taken. The Coos Bay salmon are reputed to be of unusually fine flavor. Among the parties early engaged in the calling in this county may be mentioned Mr. David Hume, the pioneer of the industry, both on the Sacramento and Columbia River. Mr. Hume's cannery is located on the Coquille River, and employs a hundred men. The Coquille is a tortuous watercourse emptying into the ocean route miles south of the bay. Although taking its rise only thirty miles inland, its entire length is eighty miles. Coquille City, on its banks, was long the home of Hon. Binger Hermann, present member of Congress from this district, and now a resident of Roseburg.
Salmon canning has its resources as well as most other industries, and the wife of David Hume, when a young girl eighteen years of age, was called upon to act a prominent part in one of them, as appears from the following account. I have the story from a lady, then [a] resident of Coos Bay, but quite distant from the young girl's theater of action. At an early period a Mr. Duncan, living in New Zealand, concluded to remove his family from that far-off quarter of the globe to Oregon. He made choice of Coos Bay as a location, and engaged extensively in salmon canning. One season, in the midst of the "run," he was prostrated by an accident, or a sudden illness, which caused his immediate removal to San Francisco, accompanied by his wife. This left the daughter sole superintendent of the business, aided by a brother in his early teens. She proved herself equal to the emergency and regularly had the daily "catch" of fish properly cooked and prepared for the market. But how unfortunate that troubles never come singly! In a short time the brother was stricken down with typhoid fever, not only depriving her of his help, but requiring her most skillful services as a nurse. Did she now falter and let the business go to ruin? No. Nothing daunted, she assumed this duty also and performed it nobly, still managing the details of the packing establishment to the close of the season. Then snugly winding up affairs with the men, she closed the cannery and taking her brother joined her parents in California. There, I believe, she met Mr. Hume, not long before from the Pine Tree State,
AND IN THE SAME BUSINESSas her father--or rather herself. In time they were married. And last July when the writer was busy taking notes on the salmon industry in Mr. Hume's packing house at Astoria, an invitation was extended her to visit this lady at Eagle Cliff, Mr. Hume's home far up the Columbia. The invitation could not be accepted. But the praises of Mrs. Hume, heard from many lips, were an evidence that no small pleasure was lost in consequence.
It remains to make mention of the soil and climate [of] Coos County. Like that of all Southern Oregon, the surface is extremely diversified, hill and valley intermingling. Along all the lower stretches of the streams lie bottom lands of great fertility. The soil is a combination of sandstone rock and decayed vegetation. It drains easily, and when cleared yields productions in any quantity and variety. Unfortunately, the land is held at too high a figure, is too difficult to clear, and too restricted in amount to invite immigration. Besides, at present, the spot can be reached only by sea.
The climate, like that of all this upper coast, is damp through the greater part of the year. And though the temperature seldom falls below 30º Fahrenheit, yet to one accustomed to a cold, dry atmosphere, is exceedingly uncomfortable. Between the rainy seasons there are many delightful days.
As has been said, Coos Bay is the natural outlet and inlet for all manner of traffic for Southern Oregon. And the present transcendent need of these five richly endowed counties is a railway from this port to Roseburg. A brief study of the resources of the intervening territory enforces conviction of that. The interior needs connection with the bay, and the bay with the interior. Such a thoroughfare would instantly stimulate agriculture, multiply the sawmills, intensify the development of the coal mines, and infuse new life into every artery of business. Today, with the country lined with coal and robed with forests, fuel is both scarce and expensive. The former is not to be had at any price.
Moreover, all travel from this section to California, whether
FOR HEALTH, PLEASURE OR BUSINESS,is forced to take one or the other of two tedious and costly routes, namely, northward by railway to Portland, 200 miles, and thence by steamer 600 miles to San Francisco. Or, southward by rail 150 miles to Ashland, at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, and over that chain by stage, 125 miles, to Delta, Cal., and thence via the Central Pacific to Sacramento and on to the metropolis. In the rainy season many persons, ladies especially, choose the northern and longer route rather than encounter the ride by coach, which, though grand and delightful at other periods, is in winter formidable if not dangerous.
The trip via Portland requires five days at least, and often more; that over the mountains about the same number. Both carry the traveler through miles of magnificent scenery. On the other hand, a railroad from Roseburg to Coos Bay, by the very feasible route which nature seems to have long ago provided for the work, would bring the traveler to the sea in a half day, distance eighty miles. Thence the time to San Francisco by steam is frequently less than forty-eight hours. Very apparent is the vast economy of time and fare.
Now all kinds of merchandise and fruits from the Golden State destined for Southern Oregon are conveyed by ship to Portland, and thence brought by rail to this quarter of the state, actually traversing an unnecessary distance of 400 miles, and of course arriving with an excessive freight bill to be added to the first cost of the goods. Similarly all products of the soil find a distributing market only at Portland and must be set down in that city, I have been told, subject to a deduction of about one third their values for transportation. This, with the general low prices which prevail for such products, causes a widespread stagnation in agricultural labors here, and consequently in most other lines of business. The crying want of Southern Oregon is a railroad to the sea, and after that an immigration full of vim.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, March 28, 1886, page 5
OREGON GOLD MINES.
Some of the Rich Mineral Deposits of the Faraway States.
The Wonderful Machine with Which the Precious Metal Is Extracted from Quartz.
An Interesting Account of Hydraulic and Other Processes of Mining.
Special Correspondence of the Leader.
JACKSONVILLE, SOUTHERN OREGON, March 24.--"Southern Oregon" contains three important civil centers. These are Roseburg, near the northern boundary of the region embraced in the above technical term; Ashland, about twelve miles north of the California line; and Jacksonville, the oldest, and, in a historical sense, the most important settlement of the section. Both Roseburg and Ashland have direct railway connection with other parts of the country by means of the Oregon & California Railway. Jacksonville lies to the west of this important thoroughfare a distance of five miles. Ashland is its present southern terminus. There remains to be built of the road, to complete a through line from Portland to Sacramento and San Francisco, one hundred and twenty-five miles. But this portion, being that crossing the Siskiyou Mountains, presents formidable difficulties in the way of construction. A large force is, however, at work upon the track south of this great chain, and in reasonable time it will be completed. It is not difficult to foresee that when done the flood of a new life will be propelled through every artery of business in this wonderful part of Oregon. At present a daily stage, bearing the traveler along a road from which he never loses sight of noble scenery, connects Jacksonville with the railway at the growing town of Medford.
Similar to Roseburg and Ashland, Jacksonville is walled around by an amphitheater of stately hills. Shapely buttes pierce the air in every direction. Mount Pitt, a magnificent snow cone of the Cascade Range, looms up fifty miles or so to the east, and yet appears as though rising just beyond the outskirts of the city. Far away northward, peeping over the shoulder of a massive brown mountain, can be discovered a diamond-shaped snow point of exquisite beauty. This is "Diamond Peak," one hundred and forty miles distant. From these kingly summits the snow never parts. For ages it has clothed them and will for ages more.
THE SWIFT ROGUE RIVER,tortuous, historical, and in some localities awful in its flow and force, is the great stream of Jackson County. From its chief tributaries minor creeks and rivers wander off among the hills and valleys in all directions.
Much of the soil of the county, like that of a large portion of the state, is a rich, black alluvium, formed by the continual wearing away of the various kinds of rock and the admixture of vegetable mold.
The slopes of the hills and lower mountains, though of a gravelly character, contain nearly every element of fertility. "There exist some extensive tracts wherein deep deposits of warm loam overtop a bed of deep clay." As a whole, the cultivable parts of Jackson County are considered unrivaled for all agricultural purposes. The county embraces about four hundred thousand acres of such land. Crops are a certainty annually. "The cereals have not missed a harvest in thirty-five years," says a gentleman who has resided here longer than that.
To fruit culture in the neighborhood of Jacksonville I need not allude, so much have I heretofore written on this and kindred other topics as pertaining to Oregon, but may pass it by, devoting the remainder of this communication to an entirely different subject, namely, that of gold mining, of which industry Jacksonville is the center for Southern Oregon.
Viewed in any light we please the subject of gold mining is a most interesting one, on account of the facts and lessons it teaches. For the knowledge I have gained of the industry, as conducted both in Oregon and California, I am greatly indebted to a citizen of Jacksonville, whose familiarity with every phase of mining dates from early boyhood, and also to a gentleman of Ashland possessed of extensive mining intelligence. I have been very grateful to both, for and in preparing this article.
That portion of Southern Oregon which is known as the "Mineral Belt" is from sixty to seventy miles long and from twenty-five to fifty miles wide. Its resources are extremely rich and varied, embracing gold, silver, lead, iron, copper, iridium, platinum, cinnabar and several other metals of greater or less value. Numerous new discoveries of gold deposits have been made the past year, more than for some time preceding, and most of them are believed to be rich and worth the working.
GOLD WAS FIRST DISCOVEREDon the present site of Jacksonville in 1851 by parties passing through from California to the valley of the Willamette. At that date there was not a white man living in the territory now known as Southern Oregon. [A few settlers had located land claims by then, as well as Indian agent A. A. Skinner.] No sooner, however, was the discovery noised abroad than miners in large numbers began flocking in from California and elsewhere. And in an incredibly short time there were scattered among its hills and gulches between six and seven thousand men, all intently engaged in prospecting for the precious metal.
From time to time men brought their families on the scene and put up rough frame tents for their shelter. Presently other temporary structures followed for the protection of supplies and stores. Thus Jacksonville sprang into being. In most instances its settlers were a fearless, energetic class of people, possessing very marked characteristics. These, as the production of light placer mines declined, finding themselves surrounded by a country whose soil was as marvelously rich as were its hills and gulches, gradually settled down to other pursuits.
To even approximate the amount of gold taken from the mines of Southern Oregon, between the years 1851 and 1865, is said to be an impossibility, for during that period the metal was carried out of the country, not only on mules, in stagecoaches, on pack trains and by express companies, but in large quantities by private individuals. Nothing like an accurate record of the quantity was attempted, nor indeed could be, for the large force of men were not only scattered over a vast extent of country, but surged from point to point as new and fabulous discoveries were reported, or visions of instant fortune rose up before them. It is, however, admitted by all that the amount was very great.
Not so was it during the next ten years. After the light placer mines had been worked out and the body of the mining population had drifted to other more tempting gold fields, the steady annual production is estimated to have been not far from half a million dollars. From the close of that period, 1875, down to the present winter, the yield per annum has perhaps not exceeded $100,000. This is due to the light yearly rainfall which has rendered placer mining less practicable. The present winter turns the current again. The supply of water having been abundant, it is believed the production will not fall below $500,000.
Just now "quartz mining," encouraged by the aid of greatly improved machinery, is for the first time
UNDERGOING A PRACTICAL TESTin Southern Oregon, and gives promise of becoming one of the valuable industries of the region. The entire mineral belt is almost one continuous and compact network of quartz leads, and it is well known that a large percentage of these carry sufficient gold to pay for crushing.
Many years ago a few of these ledges were prospected with crude machinery, but the trials were made when the gold excitement was at its height, when to secure less than half an ounce daily was considered to be putting forth efforts unworthy [of] a man's thought. Men looked with contempt upon a quartz lead in which they could not discern an abundance of face gold. But today, with marked and welcome improvements in machinery, and increased practical knowledge of quartz mining, it is thought by men who consider themselves good judges that a new and important era in the pursuit is about to dawn upon Southern Oregon, an era rivaling all the past in value to the country generally.
A quartz mill, combining all the late improvements, has recently been set up, and is now in successful operation in Jacksonville. It is expected this mill will be a prime factor in introducing the promised new order of things. Among mining men the machine is known as the "Jones' Combined Crusher and Concentrator." Its chief inventor is Mr. E. W. Jones, of Cincinnati, O. The important principle involved in it is this: The handling [of] the ore with the least possible amount of labor, and the bringing [of] every particle of the pulp in contact with the quicksilver, so that not a grain of the gold is lost. Another feature of importance is the small amount of power required to run the very complex and beautiful piece of mechanism, which is that of six horses.
The mills with which this class of mining has heretofore been attempted have failed to effect a thorough separation of the treasure from the baser minerals with which it is associated in the leads. In this respect the new invention is a complete success. It execution, also, in crushing the ore is something amazing. Mr. Jones himself is on the ground personally superintending its working. He is a gentleman of pleasing address, and possibly is thirty years of age.
Altogether, a quartz mill in operation is a sight well worth seeing, and should the visitor be so fortunate as to be presented with a small gift of the renovated gold, the sight will prove still more interesting.
In addition to the placer and quartz mining of Southern Oregon,
HYDRAULIC MININGis at present claiming much attention. A number of such mines are in working order, giving employment to a large force of men, and adding very materially to the revenue from the gold industry. Very possibly not all the readers of the Leader have had an opportunity of witnessing this impressive method of taking gold from the earth. For the benefit of such a brief description of the manner of doing it will be appended, after some preliminary paragraphs.
It may be stated in a general way that all mining countries are for the greatest part mountainous, and also that the presence here and there of scoria, trap, basalt, pumice and lava strongly indicates, if it does not conclusively prove, that intense volcanic action has taken place at some time in the past, by which the mountains were heaved up, and the deep, dark canyons were formed. In countries of this character, where the surface has undergone striking changes, new watercourses have made their appearance, flowing their way between mountains and through fair valleys.
At the same time there exist ancient or "dead river" channels, which have their way through the mountains without any reference to the present streams. "Indeed," says one of the authorities above referred to, "they generally cut existing rivers at right angles, and as a rule are situated far above them, in some instances thousands of feet." Most of the dead and of the living streams of Southern Oregon contain gold. As the ancient rivers obtained their treasure from the country through which they passed, so, in many cases, have the streams of today obtained their gold by crosscutting these old channels, and they are found to be rich in the precious metals just in proportion to the wealth of the old waterways they have intersected.
Into these old-time watercourses the prospector cuts his way with pick and shovel, and with a pan "prospects the dirt" as he proceeds, until satisfied of its richness. These channels and gravel deposits are frequently found high up on the sides of mountains, or on elevated benches of land. They often contain gold from the top down, which increases in amount until the bedrock is reached, and there the best pay is always expected. These deposits vary in depth from ten to one hundred feet, and many of them are much deeper.
It was expressly to secure the treasure
BURIED IN THESE DEAD RIVER COURSESand gravel bars that the modern hydraulic was intended. In working them a large amount of earth must necessarily be removed, and to do this profitably by other than the most improved hydraulic machinery would perhaps be impossible, since sometimes considerable mountains must be washed away.
We now come to the modus operandi of obtaining the gold. Suppose it is desired to work a bar, or ancient watercourse, fifty or one hundred feet above some river. The instrument by which it must be done is that powerful contrivance known among mining men as the "giant" or hydraulic. Two things then become indispensably necessary. These are an ample supply of water and a sufficient amount of pressure. How are these secured? Sometimes the water is brought from the stream near which the prospector proposes to work. When that is the case, he ascends the stream such a distance as, taking into calculation the fall of the water and the circuitous route it must traverse, will afford him the required pressure. From that point he proceeds to construct a ditch of the capacity necessary for its operations along the mountainside down to opposite the bar or gravel deposit. There he erects a watertight crib, reservoir or receptacle, called a "bulkhead," which is to receive the water from the ditch. At other times, or rather in some instances, the water is brought from a stream thirty or perhaps fifty miles distant.
Into the bulkhead the prospector inserts and securely fastens a large sheet-iron pipe two feet or more in diameter, which gradually tapers to a diameter of about fifteen inches, and is of a length sufficient to convey the water from the bulkhead down the mountainside to the giant. Through this it is forced and thrown against the gravel bank from the pressure above almost with the power and speed of a cannonball, but with this decided advantage, that the blow is constant, and therefore resistless.
It is now proper to describe the giant, the most powerful of any known mining invention, and yet
A SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE DEVICE.It consists of a heavy sheet-iron pipe about ten feet in length, strongly banded, and tapering gradually from its coupling with the main pipe bringing the water from the bulkhead down to the nozzle. The size of the nozzle depends upon the amount of water controlled and the height of the supply ditch above the mine. The greater the fall of the water the greater is its power to force a given quantity through a nozzle of given size. Perhaps the most effective size is one six inches in diameter.
The coupling is a very important part of the giant, or hydraulic, and consists of a combined oval and circular knuckle or joint, having a complete pivotal and circular center, so adjusted as not to leak, and yet so perfect in its action as to be entirely under the control of the piper, who may raise or depress it, or turn it to either side at will.
Sometimes there is attached to the nozzle an ingenious little contrivance termed a "deflector." Its purpose is to give direction to the flow of the water without moving the hydraulic. But many miners consider it unsafe, because it turns the powerful stream of water at so short an angle that the piper, unless constantly on his guard, is in danger of letting the instrument get the advantage of him, in which case he is liable to be seriously hurt.
The stream of water from the giant is applied at the base of the bank, next [to] the bedrock, thus undermining it and causing it to fall by its own weight. At the same time water is kept flowing upon the top of the bank, whence it percolates downward, softening and adding to the weight of the mass, until finally down it comes, "thousands of tons in amount, and attended with a roar like that of some demon issuing from the realms of Pluto," and dashing a confused mass of earth, rock and trees at the feet of the operator, whose life is thus oftentimes placed at great peril, and is saved only by the closest vigilance, and sometimes by hasty flight.
The mass thus laid low is now ready for the ax, sledge and nozzle. Staunch and well-aimed blows from the two former soon dislodge the rocks and trees, while
THE MIGHTY STREAM OF WATERspeedily dissolves and drives away, through a conduit or canal, styled a "tailrace," the mass of mingled earth, sand and gravel, with their accompanying wealth of gold.
The "tailrace" is either cut in the solid rock or is made of heavy timber.In the latter case it is called a "flume." It may vary in width from two to eight feet, but must be of ample depth to allow the coarse debris to float away. If built of timber there are placed crosswise in the bottom one, or several, series of iron bars securely fastened. These bars are termed "riffles." Their purpose is to catch the gold, which otherwise would be borne away by the strong current of water now kept flowing through the race. When the race is cut in the bedrock the natural unevenness of the stone secures the same result as the riffles.
Furthermore, at convenient points along the conduit, "undercurrents" are constructed to further aid in securing the gold. These are located wherever the descent will admit of their introduction beneath the flume. Here an aperture is cut in the flume over the "undercurrent," and spanned by strong iron bars. "Over these bars the water conducts all the coarser matter, while the finer material, with any gold that may have escaped the upper riffles," drops into the secondary race. Thus but a very small percentage of the treasure eludes the alert miner. Of course great skill is needful in manipulating the water that the baser matter may be carried off not too hastily to give the treasure ample time to find the bottom of the race. This it is not tardy in doing, their own weight soon bearing the particles down unless too small to resist the force of the water.
Sometimes, however, the gold is not in "nuggets," but in the form of precious sand. In such case quicksilver comes to the rescue, as it always does in the quartz mill. To this end, a quantity of the cinnabar is placed in a buckskin bag and sifted to and fro in the flume. The metal breaks through the skin in tiny globules, falls down among the worthless gravel and sand, seeks out the gold, forms an amalgam with it, holds it secure until "cleaning up time," when the weeded-out particles are collected and the metals disunited by a process we have not space to describe.
After the hydraulic has been at work, say, from three weeks to six months, throwing against the bank of gravel a powerful stream of one thousand or fifteen hundred inches of water,
THE SUPPLY OF THE FLUIDprobably fails. The "dry season" has arrived. Then this branch of the business ceases until the next "rainy season," and the process known as "cleaning up" begins. All hands set to work to collect the gold. Some carefully wash and search the bedrock uncovered. Others cautiously remove from the race the accumulated rock and gravel. The task may be accomplished in a few days. It may consume the remainder of the year. It depends upon the amount of bank washed away. Until the foreign matter is cleared from the race the water is kept flowing gently through it from the giant, minus the nozzle. But that done, the water is partially turned off, the riffles are removed, and the common sand lightly washed away. The gold is now disclosed to view, is gathered up with knives and spoons, carefully rinsed, weighed and sent to the mint, where the government places upon it the "stars and eagle," and sends it forth to swell the circulating medium of the country.
It would be well if the making of gold eagles plentiful were the only result of hydraulic pressure. A more bitter fruit is the overspreading of fertile plains, valleys and hillsides with the destructive debris which the giant produces in vast quantities. In Southern Oregon the devastation has as yet proceeded to no great extent. But in California, where hydraulic mining continued for years, some of the fairest portions of the state were actually desolated by thick deposits of broken rock and gravel that were conveyed to them from the mines.
So long as the mining interests of the state were regarded as paramount to those of agriculture the havoc went on. But when mining suffered some decline, and as a consequence agriculture assumed more importance, it was discovered that the covering up of land so valuable would prove an irreparable loss. The farming community, therefore, became aroused, and exercising superior wisdom, pluck and forethought, went to work and secured a perpetual injunction against that class of mining, in any locality where waste of productive lands could follow.
Wholly aside from its mineral resources a mining country contains valuable sources of information. Its topographical and geographical features embrace topics of unusual interest. A chapter on facts and theories connected with these subjects may someday follow this article.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, April 12, 1886, page 3
SOUTHERN OREGON.JACKSON COUNTY.
The Wonderful Sulphur Springs in and About Ashland.
Their Medicinal Properties--Peach Raising--How Other Crops Flourish.
Special Correspondence of the Leader.
ASHLAND, SOUTHERN OREGON, April 6.--Besides being more or less noted for its inspiring scenery, its extremely fertile soil, its almost faultless climate, its splendid water power, and for the renown of some of its citizens. this ultimate town of Southern Oregon is famed throughout this region for its white sulphur springs, and throughout the country for its current activity in peach culture. A few paragraphs on the two last topics may not be without interest to readers 2,500 miles away.
Within the past week I have visited, and of course drunk from, something less than a dozen white sulphur springs--cold, warm, sparkling with gas, and curative in their properties. The consequence is--of the drinking--that I now have lingering in my system no such formidable hindrance to happiness, no neuralgia, rheumatism, dyspepsia, salt rheum, scald-head, nor love of money.
These fountains for thinning the blood of the Oregonians are scattered all about the town and its vicinity. They differ not only in temperature, but to some extent in healing power. Still, all are the friends of man, and do their best to give the race pure blood, a clean skin, and flexible hair.
Two of them, one warm, the other cold, well up on the five-hundred-acre farm of General J. C. Tolman, some four miles from town, and much enhance its value, since they are perennial, and as wholesome for stock as for persons. It is said the animals will every time
PASS BY COMMON WATERto quench their thirst at the mineral spring, and always seek the tepid water in preference to the cold. Some years ago the General had the clear, fragrant fluid from the warm spring conveyed into his residence from the distant field, that it might be always at hand for drinking or bathing.
In my recent description of the long wedding tour of General and Mrs. Tolman, I omitted to mention that the former is a native of Washington County, O., and also that for some years prior to his majority, he was a resident of Urbana, Champaign County. Previous to their emigration to Iowa, the parents of Mrs. Tolman were likewise Buckeyes. So she is not without her interest in the land of frost and famous people.
In connection with one of the sulphur fountains in the village, a commodious hotel has been erected, wherein the water, at all temperatures, from refreshing cold to scalding hot, is furnished to visitors, diseased or sound. By confining themselves to it as beverage, and as a medium for afflictions, the ill may in time get well, and the well do far better--[and] keep so.
As a remedy for skin diseases, these waters are reputed to possess great virtues. In case of scald-head they have been known to prove particularly efficacious. I mention this fact, so that, since sulphur springs are scattered over the country quite generally, persons so afflicted may avail themselves of the remedy, when near them. The Sulphur Spring Hotel of Ashland is in summer quite a resort for invalids living at a distance. Guests from Portland, 350 miles north, are frequently chronicled on its books.
The Mr. Helman, an Ohioan, mentioned in a previous letter, also has on his farm, which skirts the river in the very foreground of the village, a warm spring highly impregnated with the mineral. Beside it stands
A NEAT LITTLE BATH HOUSEfitted up with every appliance for taking the waters, and open to citizens and strangers on two days of the week. The present facilities for reaching the resort are not very recommendatory, but once there, and a bath takes in the exhilarating fluid, the patron comes away in perfect good humor. There are in the village various other springs which are little utilized, and waste their fragrance on the mountain air. Considered in connection with the climate, these many cleansing waters must in the future invite much company to the little town "under the shadows of the Siskiyous."
Coming to the subject of peach culture, it may be remarked, first, that probably no locality on the continent is better adapted to this special industry than the foothills of the Bear Creek Valley. I say foothills, because, planted on these elevations, the danger from frosts after the trees bloom in the spring is reduced to almost a minimum. The fruit is not finer than when grown in the valley, in either size, color or flavor, but the crop is nearly a certainty. This element of safety, together with that of a soil highly suited to the production of the fruit, marks the spot as one peculiarly favorable to the culture.
But utterly futile is the growing of vast crops of fruit unless somewhere there is in prospect a market for it. "Has Ashland such a prospect?" I inquired an hour ago of a prosperous nurseryman of the place, a man who said he came from Maine, where the people pry the sun out of bed every morning. He replied:
"We have practically all Northern Oregon, but few peaches are grown in the Willamette Valley, and that is about all there is of that part of the state that will produce fruit. Then we have all Eastern Oregon, now devoted to flocks and herds, higher and colder than we are, and shut off by the Cascade Range from the blessings of the warm stream in the Pacific. The people there must have fruit. Besides, Montana and Dakota look to this coast for their supplies. California sends her peaches to St. Paul and Minneapolis, and
WE CAN DO THATeasier than she can. There will be no trouble about a market. The great question is whether we can secure terms for transportation cheap enough to pay for raising and marketing the fruit. And the men pushing the industry are sanguine as to that."
"Great impetus has lately been given to the pursuit in your midst, I understand?"
"Yes; this year and last thousands upon thousands more peach trees have been planted than in all the previous history of Southern Oregon. There are one or two orchards just below here which alone contain thousands of trees, and there are scores of smaller tracts set out."
"What varieties do best?"
"Every variety does well. A man may raise the kinds he chooses--some to eat out of hand, rich, juicy and high-flavored; others that are more delicious covered with cream and sugar, and the long-keepers, firm of pulp, for the more distant markets, with good sorts for canning."
It remains to be said that south and west of the town many of the hillsides are today fairly pink with the blooms of the young peach trees. Some of them, only the second year from the bud, are bearing lightly, but next year they will yield a bountiful crop. There are some seedlings which bear fruit scarcely inferior to that of the budded varieties. A fine-flavored peach called "the Willow" is a universal favorite here, and is to be seen in every garden. It is a freestone, often of large size, and externally is almost a pure white.
Occasionally the eye is relieved by a cluster of prune trees heavily laden with snowy flowers. The prune is a redundant bloomer and an object of great beauty, whether freighted with flowers or fruit. Thousands of them have been planted in Jackson County this season.
Today, also, there are blooming luxuriantly, out of doors, hyacinths of every conceivable hue. They are rich and beautiful beyond power of pen to describe.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, April 19, 1886, page 6
Something More About its Many Mineral Springs with Medicinal Virtues.
The Healing Waters Which Bubble Upon the Brink of Emigrant Creek.
Wonderful Physical Contortions of Nature and How They Are Accounted For.
Special Correspondence of the Leader.
ASHLAND, S. ORE., April 14.--It may seem, from my last letter, that brimstone is about the only mineral which nature stirs into the waters of Southern Oregon for her sons and daughters to drink. But that is just the truth. True, she has used this ingredient freely, and it seems to be one of her favorites, probably on account of its cleansing properties. Nevertheless she remembers that there are complaints which it will not cure, and for some of these, at least, she has provided very different remedies, as a part of the following lines will show.
Just after breakfast last Wednesday morning a bright little woman from Ottumwa, Ohio, Mrs. Tolman, with whom the reader is already acquainted, her daughter, a sensible [illegible] of mortality, and the writer took seats in an open carriage, drawn by two mismated horses--Mrs. Tolman being the driver--and set out for the angle of country formed by an intersection of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains, some ten miles distant. There, as almost all over the five counties of Southern Oregon, most of the land stands on ends, and winding back and forth around these hills flows Emigrant Creek, one of the chattiest streams that ever rippled over stones.
The object of the jaunt--on the driver's part--was to show the two Eastern women a wonder in the form of a medicinal spring welling up on the very brink of the above peak, yet with waters totally unlike its own, and another marvel in the shape of a group of huge, dark red sandstone rocks, which no other people than the Cyclops could have raised up in positions so precarious, and none other than the fingers of the waves could have
CHISELED INTO FIGURESso whimsical, and which yet are far removed from any body of water whose talent for sculpture could there have found exercise.
For at least half the distance our way lay in the narrow valley of Bear Creek, with its numerous cultivated farms, its peach and cherry trees all abloom, and its frequent wheat fields smiling under the glowing sun. Some of these farms are very large, embracing hundreds of acres, but they consist largely of foothills, of greater or less altitude, on which herds may graze and fruit orchards may flourish, but the quantity of grain and vegetables raised little exceeds the home demand, simply from the fact that until very recently there has been no practicable market for any excess. In Southern Oregon the most indifferent husbandry ensures crops sufficient to sustain the farmer's family. So he has tilled the soil negligently, unconcernedly. For thirty years he has had no inducement to do otherwise. Mighty mountain barriers have actually corralled him in on four sides, and until the Oregon & California Railway came thundering through these valleys, about two years ago, if he had anything to sell he must dispose of it near home. Thus with no great incentive to toil, the agricultural class lapsed into chronic indolence, and in time gained a reputation for being the laziest people alive, and not because they were placed in a peculiar spot, and lived under peculiar limitations. Nature was most kind to them, and they had allowed her to be so, sometimes hardly saying "thank you" for her choice gifts of soil and climate. But now that railroads are come in fashion out here, all their dreaming will be over, and scores of these tiny, fertile valleys will teem with products which the world will want.
After awhile, turning eastward from Bear Creek we crossed an august spur, or foothill, and lo! great mountains stood up all around us, and at our feet swept Emigrant Creek, so called from the circumstance that in an early day a noted Oregon pioneer, named Lindsay Applegate, piloted parties of emigrants over these elevations into Rogue River Valley, along the course of this garrulous stream. Mr. Applegate had great influence over the Indians, was their true friend, and had no fear of them; therefore a body guided by him was nearly certain to reach its destination safely. [Lindsay Applegate wasn't known as a guide; he guided only one train over the Southern Route--the first one, in 1846.]
But now here, clinging to an elevation on our left, are the rocks above mentioned. Gigantic stones are set upon lilliputian ones, exactly as if by design. What power could have shaped that enormous hat, of perfect Shaker pattern, crown large, brim broad, and placed it, top down, on that tall column of sandstone? And what hater of reptiles fashioned that colossal toad, and cruelly stationed it where, to the end of all time, it must be denied
THE PLEASURE OF ROBBING BEE HIVESof their inmates, and of clearing gardens of destructive insects? Geological speculation answers on this wise.
In the long bygone of time almost all of what is now termed "the Pacific Coast" was covered with the waters of the great sea, which extended as far eastward as the Blue Mountains in Eastern Washington and Oregon. As the years rolled on there took place three successive recessions of this vast ocean, volcanic or other agencies lifting up the bold mountain chains and forming corresponding depressions at the bottom of the sea. As the upheavals occurred the waters withdrew until there existed the Pacific Coast of today; the Rocky, Cascade and Coast ranges marking the limits of the three vast abatements of the deep. It is claimed that this hypothesis is susceptible of full proof. If so, it gives us the agencies by which most, if not all, of the physical miracles of the Pacific Coast have been performed.
Two or three miles more travel, with more crossings of the creek, bring to view an inviting hotel, facing the east, built of wood, two stories in height, painted neatly, with a veranda across the main front, rooms for about thirty guests, and kept and owned by Jacob Wagner, born about two miles from Dayton, O. Surrounding the house are fifty acres of land. Some of it was not made to lie down. Standing around are big trees and little trees, all intending to grow more. A small wilderness of rose bushes, suggestive of June at home, forms a tangle in one corner of the premises, and daisies, double, smiling, rimmed with pink, dot the grass, making you careful where you tread, and reminding you that "the flower crushed to earth" may not rise again.
In front, behind, to the right, to the left, giant mountains show their respect for you by standing. They are green to the top. Cattle range on them. Trees clothe them. Numberless swift little streams leap forth from them. They crowd close around you, narrowing your horizons, and after the best is said, are at heart but solid rocks of the ages.
A few feet from the road which passes in front of the hotel, down in a shallow ravine, flows the noisy creek, with water clear and cold, and banks fringed with alder, willow, wild cherry and a beautiful evergreen shrub, called Oregon grape. A narrow bridge laid over the current, just opposite the house, leads to the spring which we four women had traveled ten miles to taste, and is but one of several scattered along this creek, all differing slightly in the composition of the water, as do oftentimes
THE FEATURES OF CHILDRENin the same family. Over the fountain stands a summer house of latticework, and from it, through the conduit of masonry provided, steadily flows a little current which dyes the stones the color of iron rust, showing that iron is a chief mineral in the water. Other constituents are sodium and magnesia, both present in large quantities, besides several more, all curative.
The spring appears to be one of nature's chosen centers for the relief of the people suffering from kidney troubles and the horrors of dyspepsia, and for breaking up fevers, typhoid, bilious and others. For those diseases physicians of the region advise taking the water, not forgetting to recommend the resort for its perfect quiet, its pure mountain air, and freedom from the everlasting fog of some localities. Usually the house is full of guests three months in summer only. Still, it affordS a good home for invalids the year round, provided they can make up their minds to live apart from the world, during the rainy season, for then the mud is often so deep that exit from the place is nearly impossible.
The table is excellent, and there is always provided an abundance of good milk, cream and fruit, and Mr. and Mrs. Wagner personally supervise all details, besides being intelligent and companionable people. Mr. Wagner is an old pioneer of Oregon, and was the first white man to enter Emigrant Creek Valley. Three times since coming West, he says, he has paid a visit to the good old state of Ohio. He has numerous relatives living in the vicinity of Dayton. In this town of Ashland he has a son-in-law who is the editor of a newspaper. That fact, of course, entitles him to appreciative notice.
A remarkable feature attaching to the medicinal springs of Emigrant Creek is this: They all come to the surface on the very brink of the stream, which itself possesses no healing virtues, while each of the spring contains striking curative properties. They are situated several miles apart. One of them bursts forth from a small basin of rock, in the very bank of the creek, and during high water is overflowed. Its water differs from that of the Wagner spring in that it is strongly impregnated with salt, soda and iron being liberally mixed therewith. Its properties are so highly esteemed by the inhabitants of the region that in passing they frequently leave their vehicles to take a drink from it.
These health-giving fountains all lie on the old stage route from Jacksonville, the county seat of this county, to Fort Klamath, in the famous Klamath Lake country, and on the Indian reservation of that name, east of the Cascades, and are known all along the way. In short, and finally on this subject, Southern Oregon is as rich in such sources of health as it is in deposits of gold and silver.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, April 25, 1886, page 13
THE COLUMBIA VALLEY.Special Correspondence of the Leader.
The Grandeur of the Wonderful Mountain Scenery of Southern Oregon.
A Stage Ride Over the Siskiyou Range--Its Pleasures and Discomforts.
What it Costs to Run a Stage Line--Stories About Road Agents.
BERRYVALE, AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT SHASTA, CAL., April 30.--The tourist whose sightseeing in Oregon includes only the far-famed valley of the Willamette and the trip up the Columbia River departs from the state with very little knowledge of the wonders, in the way of scenery, which it contains. True, in their way, both these sections are deserving of the traveler's attention. Aside from the fact that the Columbia is one of the grand waterways of the continent, and that along its banks, for the distance of a hundred miles, where it flows through the Cascade Range, there is presented some of the finest scenery imaginable, the great stream is interesting for its historical associations also.
In the stirring events which have taken place on its shores Americans, Englishmen and Indians have all acted conspicuous parts. The little towns of Astoria and Vancouver perpetuate the names of two men still famous, though both have long slept in the dust. The one made his reputation in the walks of business, the other in the field of discovery. Both villages are the outcome of the spirit of enterprise and of daring in man. Both owe their existence to the fur trade on this continent, yet today neither is a rendezvous for the trapper. Astoria catches salmon instead of beaver. Salmon clothe her citizens, teach her children, preach the gospel in her midst, build her homes and execute her laws. Vancouver houses a small detachment of
OUR GREAT STANDING ARMY.She delights in uniforms, titles, military parades and the beauty of her location, and, reports being true, in misdoings manifold and serious.
On the other hand, in the valley of the Willamette quite different pursuits obtain. Its wheat is known the world around. All the coast and the distant isles of the sea are acquainted with its red apples. Its prunes are winning a name and making a market in our great Eastern cities. Neither is it devoid of its chapters of exciting history. Early in the century the valley was the center of missionary labor among the Indians of Northwestern Oregon, the great Calapooia nation, which numbered, it is said, not less than fifty tribes, some of whom were noted for their intelligence, influence and singular traditions. In that day also the valley was a point for schools as well as the seat of legislative power. And there education still flourishes, and Salem is yet the capital. But in its broad level acres the ordinary traveler will probably feel no special concern. They interest the farmer, the miller, the fruit-grower, the local tradesmen.
It is rather "Southern Oregon," and, as being closely connected with it, extreme Northern California, which the men and women who journey simply to behold the grand and wonderful in nature should see. Almost from the moment one touches the Calapooia Mountains, which separate the Willamette from the Umpqua Valley, until he emerges into the vast valley of the Sacramento, at Redding, he rides among works stupendous or beautiful. The distance is three hundred miles more or less, and
NOWHERE IS THE LANDSCAPE TAMEfor a half hour. Almost every mile of it is cut after striking patterns, and is infinite in variety. One is ever hungering as he climbs this majestic mountain or winds through that deep gorge to know what were the thoughts of God during the long ages he was at work over these heights and depths. Countless are the cones and pinnacles and ridges into which he pulled the earth up. Some he painted white to the end of time. Some he garnished with trees forever green. Many he filled inside with gold and silver and iron and coal. Down the sides of hundreds he laid narrow streams, foaming, tumbling, full of glee, and the delight of every lover of running brooks. Between scores he sunk canyons and gorges, deep, dark and dangerous. Multitudes of them he carpets in the spring with bright flowers, some very small, others very fragrant, all beautiful and millions in number. Here he piled up a castle of rocks, massive, mighty, a marvel of towers, turrets and gables, and capable, one would think, of resisting the "fervent heat" which St. Peter says shall meet the elements in the last days. Here he set a world of slabs and blocks of stone up on end, and then allowed chemical action or subterranean fire to tip them all aside from the perpendicular, making them strongly suggestive of mankind bent out of moral perpendicularity, by the force of original sin and unresisted temptation.
About one fifth of this "overland route" from Portland and Sacramento is at present made in stage coaches, and though, with the exception of the Cow Creek Canyon, in the Umpqua Valley, which is traversed in the cars, they bear the tourist through by far
THE GRANDER PORTION OF IT,yet comparatively few persons make the journey solely for sightseeing. Business and the desire to see relatives living in the lovely vales which ramify the whole region bring most of the visitors, especially from the East, who penetrate the spot. In summer, however, numbers of Pacific Coast people hide away here for the sake of the hunting, fishing, rest and tonic air which they find. Thus the coaches are usually filled, and often crowded, each way. And "meeting the stage," generally a six-in-hand, several times a day is not the least interesting feature of the journey.
On these occasions the drivers make it a point to stop their teams for a moment, and exchange a few friendly words, while the passengers thrust their heads out the coaches and inquire about distances, the state of the roads, and so on. It is quite diverting to sweep around the sharp shoulder of a precipitous mountain, and find yourself brought up face to face with six or eight strangers, possibly all men, and just as curious to know who you are as you may be to learn how they chanced to climb so high up in the world. And if you happen to occupy a seat outside, where you can make all the masterpieces of the scenery your own forever, how envious they all look. You do not speak. Neither do they. But you imagine that they set you down as either a woman's rights lecturer from Washington Territory or as some Bridget [i.e., a hired girl]--that depends upon your features--going to the next hotel to engage in cooking, and you are willing they should.
Some features of the public service, known as the California & Oregon stage line, render it deserving of more than passing notice. Few strangers who pass over the route have any idea of its importance, or of the extent of its equipments. For many years it has been the great means of communication between the miners and settlers in these mountains and the outside world. Thousands of men and women and millions of treasure have its coaches carried safely up and down
THESE GIGANTIC HILLS.Minerals have long been the chief resource of the district, and mining its chief pursuit, and every Friday morning an express messenger comes up "from below"--an expression sometimes meaning California in general, but often San Francisco in particular--on the stage to take charge of the treasure boxes, waiting for him at different points, in which the crude gold is conveyed to the mint in San Francisco. This has been done for years, the express companies being responsible for its safe delivery. Notwithstanding, scarcely a day passes when there are not treasure boxes on board the stage, simply in the care of the driver, backed by the stage company. Sometimes a large amount is thus brought down. Usually the passengers are unaware of its presence. A heavy sum, the agent at this point informs me, made a part of our freight to Berryvale last night.
Formerly, before the existence of the railroad, this stage line extended from Sacramento to Portland, a distance of about 600 miles. But step by step the locomotive has pushed the coaches off the route until now it embraces but 125 miles. From time to time, in the earlier years, the coast was startled by the report that a great stage robbery had been committed. Such events are now more rare. It is not so easy to stop the flying iron horse as a stage team at a walk on an up grade. But many are the stories afloat among these hills and gorges of the exploits of daring "road agents." They are a part of the stock on hand of veteran miners and old pioneers, for conversation on idle evenings, or, in wet weather, especially if an "Easterner" be present. usually the robbers were "too gentlemanly to plunder the lady passengers," and often were content with
SECURING THE TREASURE BOXESand rich mail bags, leaving all the occupants of the coach unmolested. The experienced thief seldom stopped a stage on a down grade.
The company provides relays of horses every twelve miles, and ordinarily changes drivers every ten hours. The kindness and civility of these men are remarked [upon] by all passengers. They are well informed on matters pertaining to the regions, and are patient and courteous, and thoughtful of the traveler's comfort. A wearisome night ride helps one to appreciate these characteristics. The line carries a heavy equipment in men, animals and vehicles. The annual cost of operating it last year was something like $50,000. Other lines of various length diverge from Yreka to many points in rugged Siskiyou County. One reaches out even to the Klamath Lake country.
Having made the passage from San Francisco to Portland by sea last June, and being not very well pleased with the treatment I received from the ocean, I resolved to turn a cold shoulder to the great water and return to the Golden State "overland." So crossing Oregon from north to south by rail during the winter, I found myself at Ashland, the northern terminus of the stage line, of which I have been speaking, early in March. And after a sojourn of five weeks among its kindly and genial people, its splendid hills and lovely valleys, where I several times witnessed such curiosities among nature's phenomena as perpendicular and triangular rainbows, resting on the grass instead of appearing in the atmosphere, I seated myself in the southbound coach early one crisp morning and began climbing the rugged Siskiyou Mountains. The road over the ranges, which winds up and up, along dizzy heights and beside deep gorges, is a toll road, and commonly is in good repair, but heavy rain had fallen for over a week, and that morning it was simply execrable. The ponderous wheels of the coach sunk to their hubs in the thick, adhesive mud. The six strong horses strained and pulled, and had to stop frequently to take breath. At a quarter to 11 we had gained the sharp summit, then but a single turn of the wheels, and
DOWNWARD WE ROLLEDtoward the California line, which runs a little south of the crew. Henceforth we were tossed, shaken, thrown from side to side, until, [in] spite of the driver's care to avoid ruts and stones, every inch of our flesh was bruised and aching. Yet, for all that, the ride well repaid the cost. I would take it again tomorrow, just for the pleasure of seeing the grand scenery once more.
Toward 2 o'clock we were coursing along through a fine rolling valley, with bold mountains not far distant on both sides, when the vehicles suddenly drew up at a neat stage station, and several voices exclaimed: "Dinner." Upon setting out again we were considerably behind time, but with fresh teams we dashed away through Cottonwood, Klamath and Shasta valleys toward Yreka, the great center for all the stage lines of this upper world. All the afternoon we traveled with famous Mount Shasta in sight, now on one hand, now on the other, according as we turned in our devious way. As the sun went down its snowy head was flooded with rose color soft and lovely. The grown-up passengers kept silent a time and watched the scene. On we sped, occasionally passing a farmhouse far from neighbors, until sunset merged into dark night. Finally the frequency of lights and the sound of many footsteps and voices told us we were in the metropolis of Northern California. A moment later and a pleasant voice said at the door of the coach:
"You unload here." It was the voice of Mr. A. H. Burrows, the general agent of the line and a resident of Yreka. The gentleman soon had the contents of the coach, men, women, boys, cloaks, umbrellas and lunch baskets, out on the sidewalk, and quickly learned our names and destinations. Alert, courteous and ready to attend to the wants of each passenger, at the end of twenty minutes he had placed us in a more comfortable vehicle, consigned us to the care of one of the most attentive drivers in the world, and with a "good night" had sent us out into the darkness again. As we rattled away we all thought and said:
"Mr. Barrows is just the man to manage a great stage line."
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, May 16, 1886, page 12
Central Point--Jacksonville and the Bountiful Surrounding Country.
Perhaps there is no place in Southern Oregon more prominent in variegated beauty of hills, mountains and plain than the view from Central Point, Jackson County. To the east can be seen Mt. McLoughlin, half covered with snow, and following down from its loftiest peak, the lesser spurs of the Rogue River mountains are seen jetting down, down to the beautiful and fertile plains which constitute the Rogue River Valley, while to the northwest looms up the Siskiyous, which are now also partly clothed in snow. This, in contrast with the valley teeming with thousands of grain fields almost ready to don the harvest hue, is a scene not only beautiful but one which leaves the impression that the sturdy hand of the husbandman has not been derelict in bringing into fruitful requisition the natural advantages so hospitably provided by a generous Providence.
We are glad to know the people of Central Point are putting forth an effort to make their town correspond with the surrounding country (which is a vast one) contiguous to it. In an article in this paper heretofore we have taken occasion to contemplate its future, and give to the outside world an idea of what people can and will do under adverse circumstances. It must be admitted that no town ever started under such a pressure of opposition as Central Point--opposed by the railroad company, who have from the start refused to give them the advantages of a depot and convenient sidetrack; opposed by all her sister towns and denied the privilege of favorable argument in behalf of public facilities looking to its future benefit by its own county press; yet in the fact of all this the people are going right along and the town is building up, backed by the people of the largest and wealthiest portion of Jackson County--an area of country extending from near Willow Springs on one side of the railroad to Big Butte Creek on the other, a distance of probably over thirty miles, covering the most productive agricultural portion of the county.
What will make Central Point a town? some ask. We will endeavor to answer by saying that it will become the greatest shipping point of agricultural products on the line of the O.&C. road in Jackson County. The productions of Big and Little Butte creeks and a large portion of Sams Valley must come to it, besides those in its immediate vicinity and from towards Jacksonville. The large warehouse and cleaner already provided substantiate our predictions in this direction. There is also every reason to believe that a large flouring mill will soon be another addition to the enterprises of Rogue River Valley, and that it will be located at Central Point. With the above enumeration of facts, the ones upon which the people who are already there have considered sufficient to invest their capital on in the erection of business houses, stocks of goods and other enterprises, we see no reason to doubt the future importance of the place as one of the leading towns in Southern Oregon.
JACKSONVILLEIn consideration of the many kind friends the Courier enjoys at the county seat, it is not flattery when we say it gives us great pleasure to visit this beautiful town with its nicely shaded streets, fine dwellings and business houses, an evidence of wealth, good taste and enterprise. Away back in the past, when excitement enlivened the populace in the discovery of rich "diggings," the town was more noted than now. In those days, when an ounce of gold dust was not worth more than a sack of flour, and a pick, pan and shovel were the principal, in fact the only, implements used in the development of the county, it was then that Jacksonville seen its palmiest days and became one of the wealthiest towns in Oregon; in fact the town is built on an immense deposit of the "precious." Mining has been its chief support and is yet to a great extent one of the principal sources of its revenue.
The ride from Central Point to Jacksonville at this time is extremely pleasant, passing by some of the finest farms in the county, all giving evidence of thrift and prosperity, judging from the fine residences, stock and other substantial improvements. Especially attractive are the farms of Hon. T. F. Beall, now deceased, R. V. Beall, George M. Love, Col. J. E. Ross, M. Hanley, the Ish farm, and the property of Wm. Bybee and others.
At Jacksonville we find a whole lot of wide-awake, liberal business and professional men, a large number of whom are our patrons, and gentlemen who merit the most favorable mention in their different occupations. The legal profession is ably represented in the persons of Hon. J. R. Webster, who on Monday last was chosen his own successor, after serving a term by appointment and one by election--a compliment liberally bestowed by his constituents. Hon. P. P. Prim and Hon. H. K. Hanna are both ex-judges and excellent men, as are also Messrs. Kahler, Kelly, Neal and Kent, the latter gentleman having been twice elected district attorney. Mr. William Colvig, the prosecuting attorney-elect, will also, we believe, add brilliancy to Jackson County's excellent bar.
The schools of Jacksonville are among the best in the state. For several terms they were under the principalship of Prof. J. W. Merritt, now one of the leading mercantile men of the place. The high school is now under an able management and is progressing finely.
The churches of the different denominations are equally creditable with the institutions of learning--their respective pulpits being filled with able advocates of the different faiths.
Mr. William Kahler, father of our friend C. W. Kahler, Esq., who has been sick for some time, is improving.
Dr. C. Lempert makes a specialty of eye and ear diseases. Persons afflicted in this direction should consult him.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, June 11, 1886, page 2
The counties of Jackson, Josephine, Coos, Curry, Lake and Klamath form what is commonly known as Southern Oregon. It comprises the lake region to the east of Jackson,the valley of Rogue River, the Umpqua and the Coquille rivers, and a vast domain lying south of the Calapooia spur and north of the California line. Whether we speak of Southern Oregon as a stock, fruit, grain, timber or mineral region, it is equal to any other part of the state. In many respects--fruit and corn for instance--this section is unmatched in the state or on the Pacific Coast. The whole domain will stand the closest examination of the immigrant who comes to find opportunity for building up a profitable business and permanent home.
The climate of Southern Oregon is its strong point; the healthfulness of the section in comparison with other parts of the state or with other states presents it in a most favorable light. The soil is fertile and prolific. Anything that will thrive in a semi-tropical climate will grow here and attain a degree of perfection unknown elsewhere. Southern Oregon is a very empire, the pride of every citizen there, and containing within itself all the elements of prosperity; the very place for new homes, new energy, new industries.
JACKSON COUNTY.It is not easy for a person to form a correct idea of Jackson County without visiting it, and even then a hasty tour, although instructive, is apt to be misleading in many particulars, unless accompanied by the closest observations and the most diligent inquiry. It is a land of novelties. In topography, climate, water, soil and products, it has its own peculiar character. There is a strange commingling of mountains and plains, hills and valleys, gardens and deserts; and their unusual and unexpected combinations are ever ready to interest the intelligent observer and confuse the careless sightseer. Climate and seasons are unlike anything known in the states east of the Rocky Mountains. The great differences of soil in the same neighborhood, and often on the same farm, render any description made, otherwise than in detail, vague and unsatisfactory.
Bounded north by Douglas, east by Lake, and south by California, it contains an area of about 4,100 square miles, and fully one-half of its surface is comprised within the Rogue River Valley and the valleys tributary to it. Jackson is, by many, termed the garden spot of the Pacific Coast, because of its excellent climate, its beautiful scenery, and the richness and great variety of its productions. It is eight townships or forty-eight miles wide, east and west, with an average of nine townships, or fifty-four miles, north and south. This area contains 2,592 square miles or, in other words, 1,658,880 acres. Of this amount, 278,000 acres are in cultivation, which can be enlarged to a total of 500,000 acres or more. Dividing the 1,658,880 acres into three parts, one-third is arable land, one-third grazing, and one-third timber land. The arable land comprises the valley, table and rolling hill lands.
It has neither the humidity of the Willamette nor the excessive heat or drought of the Sacramento Valley, but maintains an equable temperature, a kind of happy medium between the two. Besides its mines, fruit, vegetables and grain, it is particularly famous for its fine stock, especially horses. From the first there seems to have been a rivalry among the stock raisers of Rogue River Valley for the improvement of all breeds.
Rogue River Valley is a most beautiful one, dotted here and there with groves of oak, intermingled with evergreen, covered all over with well-cultivated farms and excellent improvements. The summits of the highest mountains to the east and south are covered with everlasting snow, while in the valley snow seldom falls at all. Thousands of streams come tumbling down the mountainsides to beautify and enrich the valley below.
The great diversity of soils and the admixture of the elements composing one class of soil with those of another grade render it exceedingly difficult, in the space at our command, to describe it so that one not acquainted with its peculiarities and the climatic influences can form a rational conclusion concerning its merits. The soil of all sections of country seems to be adapted to the climate, or the climate to the soil. These conditions seem to be admirably adjusted here. There is no frost to loosen up or pulverize the mineral elements, but this work is done by chemical action caused by the admixture found in nearly every grade of soil. Nothing more astonishes the novice than the crops found growing on lands which appear to him as worthless.
The same widespread variety of soils manifests itself in the products. Take, for instance, any of the valley farms, and on all of them you may grow, with a reasonable amount of industry, all that is necessary for the support of man or beast, including fruits from the semi-tropical to the most hardy varieties. Couple to this the fact that crops never fail, that houses or other improvements are never molested by wind or storms, that the climate is mild, invigorating and healthy, and you will have a fair conception of nature's works to the wants of man who makes his home in this valley.
The mildness of the climate and the absence of any prevailing disease among stock makes this an inviting field for stock growers. Very few persons furnish shelter for their stock in winter. In the valley, where it is more densely settled and the native grass more exhausted, more hay for winter feeding or more tame pasturage is required. Some of the best horses ever grown on the Pacific Coast were the product of this country. Stock of all kinds have always commanded good prices.
The county seat is Jacksonville, a delightful town of considerable importance, about five miles to the west of the railroad. It has two newspapers, a large number of mercantile establishments, excellent schools, churches, a $40,000 courthouse and other attractions. The other principal towns are Medford, a new town on the railroad near the center of the valley, of rapid growth and great promise. Phoenix, also on the railroad, and Ashland, the present terminus of the Oregon and California road, and the most considerable town in Southern Oregon. It has a college, woolen factory, marble factory, two cabinet factories, a large flouring mill, newspaper, two excellent public schools, a bank does a large commercial business with the surrounding country, and with the Lake County across the mountains. Ashland Creek flows through the town and furnishes an excellent water power and an abundance of water for irrigation and domestic purposes.
Oregon As It Is, State Board of Immigration, Portland, October 1886, pages 52-54
Last revised January 11, 2018