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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Merrimans



    WILLIAM H. MERRIMAN: died in Jackson County, September 16, 1877; was a cabinet maker and joiner; was born in Kentucky; came to state in 1852 and to county in 1856; was married February 10, 1853, to Mrs. A. Chapman.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 505


    MRS. ARTINECIA MERRIMAN: lives near Central Point; is a farmer; post office Jacksonville; was born in Champagne County, Ohio in 1830; came to state 1851, and to county in 1856; Artinecia (Riddle) Merriman was married February 22, 1848, to James Chapman, deceased. Children John W., Lucinda J., George F., Laura A., Maria E., Annie A., Isaac A., Mary B., Isabel, Effie, Josephine and Willie. Mr. Merriman had one daughter, Auletta L.; Mrs. Merriman has buried four children, Chas. H., Walter, Prudence and Winaford.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 505


MARRIED.
FRONK-MERRIMAN--At the residence of the bride's parents, in Medford precinct, Dec. 31, 1885, C. K. Fronk and Miss Belle Merriman.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 2, 1886, page 2


    MATRIMONIAL.--C. K. Fronk, the clever manager of the railroad office in this place, and Miss Belle Merriman, one of our most amiable and accomplished young ladies, will be united in matrimony at the residence of the bride's mother today. Their many friends wish them much joy and prosperity, says the Medford correspondent of the Jacksonville Times. Charley is well known in this county, having been agent at Aurora for some time.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, January 2, 1886, page 3



    MERRIMAN, GEORGE F., of Medford, was born in Douglas County, Oregon, September 16, 1853. He is a blacksmith by occupation, having pursued it for twelve years in Medford. He was a member of the Douglas County convention in 1886 and 1882, and the Jackson County convention in 1886, 1890 and 1894, and of the state convention in 1894. In 1892 he received the nomination for Sheriff. In 1894 he was secretary of the McKinley Club, and a member and secretary of the county central committee.
Republican League Register, Portland, 1896, page 245


MEDFORD'S POSTMASTER.
Tells of a Cure Effected in His Family by Dr. Darrin.
    The following testimonial from Postmaster Merriman is one of the many hundreds, similar in character, which Dr. Darrin has in his possession. Nearly everyone in Southern Oregon knows Geo. Merriman, for years engaged in blacksmithing in Medford, now our efficient postmaster. It was George who shod horses for the stage company between Roseburg and Yreka in the days prior to the laying of steel rails by the Southern Pacific Company, and that's how all the early-day settlers happen to know him. Here is his testimonial:
    "Noticing Dr. Darrin's advent in Medford, I think it no more than right to tell the public what he did for my wife two years ago. For about six years my wife had a troublesome catarrh of the head, which resulted in bronchitis and asthma. All previous attempts at cure proved futile. Dr. Darrin cured her of the above-mentioned troubles in about three months. I am glad to give this card in justice to Dr. Darrin as well as the good it may do the public. Refer anyone to me or my wife."
GEO. F. MERRIMAN, P.M.
Medford Mail, May 31, 1901, page 2


Notice to the Public.
    Notice is hereby given that I will not be responsible for any debts contracted by my son, George Merriman, after date printed below.
GEORGE F. MERRIMAN.
Dated this 30th day of May, 1902.
Medford Mail, June 13, 1902, page 6


    GEORGE FRANCIS MERRIMAN. In tracing the source of the importance of Medford, mention is due George Francis Merriman, who, from obscurity and financial limitations, has risen to business, educational, and political prominence. Mr. Merriman's ladder of success has been made up of a useful blacksmith trade, fine personal honor, and exceptional executive and general ability, all of which may be acquired by persistent effort, a truth which furnishes vast encouragement to the industrious and ambitious. His family is one of the well-known ones of the state, for his parents, William H. and Artinecia (Riddle) Merriman, reared a family of fifteen children, five sons and ten daughters, of whom three sons and eight daughters respond to the roll call of residents of this prosperous state, and are established in homes of their own. Mr. Merriman is the second of these children, and was born in Douglas County, Ore., September 16, 1855, his father and grandfather, both named William H., being natives of the state of Illinois, born near Springfield. The younger William H. was a farmer, blacksmith and wagon-maker, and in 1852 crossed the plains to Oregon, locating near Riddle, Douglas County. In 1856 he removed to Jackson County and located two miles north of Medford, purchasing one hundred and twenty acres of land from Jesse Robinson, upon which he farmed until his death in 1877, at the age of fifty-two years. He was an active Republican, and in religion was a member of the Baptist Church. His wife's family is perpetuated in Oregon in the town of Riddle, and her brothers, J. B., George W. and Stilley Riddle, are honored residents of this vicinity. Mrs. Merriman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Illinois married John W. Chapman, who died in Illinois, after which his wife crossed the plains in the same train with her future husband, Mr. Merriman.
    George Francis Merriman's zeal in promoting the cause of education is quite remarkable, considering the difficulties which hedged in his own opportunities in this direction. From earliest youth his ears became accustomed to the sound of industry emanating from his father's busy blacksmith shop, and he was put to work at an age when most boys are considering ways and means by which to keep away from school. Not so this youth, however, for while his days were filled with serving an apprenticeship, begun in his fourteenth year, his evenings were spent in poring over books, and acquiring the knowledge denied him in the schools. After completing his three years of compulsory service he continued a year more with his employer, and in 1874 went to Eastern Oregon, and for two years worked in a blacksmith shop at Canyon City. For the following two years he ran a shop at Central Point, in the Rogue River Valley, and in 1878 was employed as blacksmith by the Oregon & California Stage Company. In 1880 he began a four-years' business in Oakland, and in 1884 located in Medford, where he has since continuously worked at his trade, with the exception of two and a half years. He does many kinds of wood work, wagon manufacturing and horse-shoeing, and so large is his trade that four men are required in the shop.
    Mr. Merriman's services as a staunch Republican official have been of a high order, and demonstrate his breadth of mind and knowledge of municipal affairs. While not seeking recognition himself he has earnestly helped his deserving friends, and by no means confined himself to any one party in offering help. He has been a member of the city council one term, and was nominated for county sheriff in 1892, escaping election by only one hundred and eighty-seven votes in a county claiming five hundred Democratic majority. He was appointed postmaster of Medford January 17, 1900, and still holds the office, which is of the third class. Mr. Merriman finds recreation and friends in various fraternal organizations, among them Medford Lodge No. 103, A.F.&A.M.; Oregon Chapter No. 4, R.A.M., of Jacksonville; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; Ancient Order United Workmen; and Woodmen of the World. He is also identified with P. P. Prim Cabin Native Sons of Oregon, and Roseburg Lodge No. 326, B.P.O.E. In all possible ways he has forwarded the best interests of education, has been a member of the school board for many years, and is one of the promoters and directors of the Medford Business College, having succeeded in raising a large fund for its erection. Two miles east of Medford Mr. Merriman married Mary Murry, who was born in Illinois, and whose father, William Murry, emigrated from Scotland to Illinois, and from there to Oregon in 1874, locating on a farm near Medford. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Merriman, of whom William H. is deceased; Thomas is working in his father's shop; May is the assistant postmistress of Medford; George also is in his father's shop; and Blanch, Mollie, Vera, and Sherron C. are living at home.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, pages 887-888


    Among the pioneers at the annual meeting at Jacksonville Thursday was Mrs. Merriman, mother of George Merriman, now in her ninetieth year, who acted as interpreter for the Rogue River Indians when they made the last treaty with the whites in the early '50s.
"Local and Personal,"
Medford Mail Tribune, October 2, 1914, page 2   Family history asserts that Mrs. Merriman served as interpreter, but it must have been for the Umpqua Indians in Douglas County.


Valley Pioneer Died at Medford
    George H. Merriman, pioneer of the Rogue River Valley, long a leader in Republican politics, formerly postmaster of Medford, and one of the most widely known, popular and prominent of its citizens, died at his home in Medford after an illness of an hour, Saturday evening, November 6. He had spent the evening attending to business matters downtown, and his sudden death came as a shock to the community. The deceased is a brother of Mrs. L. A. Harvey of Ashland and well known locally.
    Mr. Merriman was 60 years of age, being born September 16, 1855, in Douglas County, coming to the Rogue River Valley when a child two years of age. He resided here continuously since, with the exception of three years spent in Oakland, Ore.
    In 1877 Mr. Merriman married Miss Mary E. Murray, who survives him, with seven children, Thos. T., George J. Jr., Sharon C., Mrs. Robert W. Telfer, Mrs. Claude Miles, Miss Mollie and Miss Vera Merriman.
    Mr. Merriman was the son of William H. and Mrs. Artie Merriman, who left the East for Oregon in 1851, first settling in Douglas County and coming to the Rogue River Valley in 1857. His mother, who celebrated her 85th birthday last month, survives him, residing with her daughter, Mrs. S. L. Bennett. Twelve brothers and sisters survive him.
    The funeral was held Tuesday in Medford under the auspices of the Medford lodge B.P.O.E., of which he was a member.
Ashland Tidings, November 11, 1915, page 6


Filed for record this 26th day of November, 1915, at 8 o'clock A.M., Chauncey Florey, Recorder.
   

   
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, Thomas T. Merriman, of the city of Medford, Oregon, party of the first part, in consideration of the sum of seventeen hundred and fifty ($1750.00) Dollars, to me in hand paid by H. W. Bingham, of Jackson County, Oregon, party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, hereby grant, bargain, sell, assign and convey unto the said H. W. Bingham, and to his personal representatives and assigns, certain goods and chattels now being situate in that certain building known as No. 20 South Riverside Avenue, in said city of Medford, that is to say:
    The following described blacksmith tools:
    1 forge equipped and in use; 3 tuyer irons; 2 pair of bolt clippers; 60 pairs of tongs; 80 anvil tools; 2 swage blocks; 14 hammers of various sizes and kinds; 1 tire bender; 1 Champion scale; 1 drill press; 1 old punch and shear machine, out of order; 4 anvils of various sizes; 4 vises; 1 trip hammer; 1 motor (electric) emery wheels, table and shafting; 1 tire upsetter or shrinker; 1 gas tire heater; 2 sledge hammers; 1 screw plate with taps and dies; 1 lot of bench tools; 6 horse shoeing rasps; 1 spring set; 1 mandrel; and all other tools in said shop.
    The following described lot of blacksmith stock:
    31 kegs of horse shoes; 53 pairs cut foot horse shoes; 9 pairs of cat foot bar shoes; 8 pairs cat foot rubber shoes; 116 lbs. horse shoe nails; 300 lbs. horse shoe calks; 135 lbs. chain; 17 two-lb. cans of wool fat; 60 12-oz. cans of wool fat; 26 pairs leather and 21 pairs rubber shoeing pads; 8 boxes welding compound; 1 lot of bolts, rivets and washers; 24 stake irons; 13 fifth wheels; 16 turnbuckles; 1 lot of spring clips; 1 lot of singletree and neck yoke irons; 4 seat springs; 10½ sets of buggy axle stubs; 50 lbs. of elliptic springs; 1 lot of old bridge irons; 1753 lbs. of steel stock of various sizes; 8958 lbs. of iron stock of various sizes; together with the business and good will of the blacksmith shop at 20 South Riverside Avenue, in the said city of Medford, formerly operated and conducted by George F. Merriman, now deceased, and all stock hereafter acquired to be used in the blacksmith shop to be conducted by the said Thomas T. Merriman.
    TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said goods, chattels and business unto the said party of the second part, his personal representatives and assigns.
    PROVIDED, NEVERTHELESS, that these presents are on the express condition that if the said party of the first part, his executors, administrators or assigns, shall well and truly pay unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators or assigns, the sum of Seventeen Hundred and Fifty ($1750.00) Dollars, with interest thereon at the rate of ten percent per annum, in the following manner; seventy-five ($75.00) dollars in cash on the first day of March, 1916, and seventy-five ($75.00) dollars in cash on the first day of each and every month thereafter until the first day of December, 1917, and on [the] said last mentioned day the balance of said sum of $1750.00, together with interest thereon at the rate of ten percent per annum, said interest to be paid semi-annually on the first day of every June and December in each year, but in case default shall be made in the payment of the principal sum or interest of any one of the said installments of the principal or interest; or if any claims, charges or demands which can be made prior liens to this mortgage upon said property are not paid or discharged at maturity, or if said property is attached or levied upon, taken possession of, or detained by any person other than the party of the second part, his personal representatives or assigns for any cause, or is removed or attempted to be removed by anyone from the aforesaid premises, or to be sold, transferred or assigned, or attempted to be sold, transferred or assigned, or if the party of the first part shall neglect or refuse to perform any of the covenants or agreements herein contained, to be performed by him, then the whole of said sum shall at once become due and payable, and it shall and may be lawful for, and the said party of the first part does hereby authorize and empower the party of the second part, his personal representatives or assigns to foreclose this mortgage by entering the aforesaid premises, and such other place or places where the said goods and chattels may be, with the aid and assistance of any person or persons, and taking or carrying away the said goods and chattels, and selling or disposing of the same at private sale, with or without notice to the mortgagor, or selling the same at public auction, upon giving one week's notice of the said sale in a newspaper of general circulation published in said county and state, and out of the money arising therefrom, retaining and paying the said sum above mentioned and interest as aforesaid, and all charges touching the same, or incurred in the sale thereof, and reasonable counsel fees, and rendering the surplus, if any, unto the said party of the first part, his personal representatives and assigns.
    It is also agreed that if foreclosure proceedings are commenced on this mortgage, the mortgagee or his assigns shall be entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee, whether the foreclosure is completed or not.
    It is further agreed that if the said mortgagee, his executors, administrators or assigns, at any time before this mortgage is paid, shall have cause to believe that the mortgaged property will be lost, destroyed, removed or secreted, or may deem himself insecure, he shall have the right to declare the whole sum then unpaid on said mortgage, due and payable at once, and may immediately foreclose this mortgage in the manner herewith provided as in case of default in the payment of any sums hereby secured.
    The said party of the first part may retain and continue in the quiet and peaceful possession of said goods and chattels, and in the full and free use and enjoyment of the same except as hereinbefore provided, and it is further understood and agreed that the said party of the first part may use the stock above mentioned in the conduct of the business of a blacksmith shop, but that he will replace any stock so used, with stock of at least an equal value, and immediately when the same is purchased by the party of the first part the lien of this mortgage will attach to the said newly acquired stock, with the same force and effect as if the same were now owned by the party of the first part and mentioned and described in this mortgage.
    And the said party of the first part does hereby further promise and agreed to pay immediately when due all taxes hereafter to be levied or imposed upon said goods and chattels, and to keep the said property fully insured for a sum not less than $1500.00, as long as this mortgage remains unsatisfied, in a fire insurance company to be selected by the party of the second part, against all loss or damage by fire, the same to be made payable to the said party of the second part as mortgagee.
    And in case the said party of the first part shall fail or refuse to obtain insurance, or to pay all taxes aforesaid, within ten days after the same become due, that the said party of the second part may at his option obtain such insurance and pay the premium therefor, and he may pay all such taxes, and all sums of money thus expended are hereby secured by these presents, and shall be payable on demand from the said party of the first part to the said party of the second part, and the party of the second part may retain the same out of the proceeds of the sale of the said goods and chattels above authorized.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.
Thomas T. Merriman
In the Presence of:
Lincoln McCormack,
W. Grant
Jackson County Chattel Mortgage Records, volume 7, pages 323-325.  Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library


MRS. MERRIMAN, NOTED PIONEER, CROSSES DIVIDE
    One of the most loved women of Southern Oregon, and a noted pioneer, Mrs. Artinecia ("Grandma") Merriman died Wednesday morning, January 10, 1917, at the house of her daughter in Medford, Mrs. S. L. Bennett. She was born at West Liberty, O., October 11, 1830. At the age of 18 she was married to John Chapman, and for a few years made her home at Springfield, Ill. In 1851 her parents made preparations to leave Illinois for Oregon, and but a few days before their departure John Chapman died, leaving his widow with a child, John Chapman, and the young woman accompanied her parents to Oregon, coming by the southern trail, where they suffered from the usual Indian attacks, and settled finally at their future home on the Umpqua River, the town of Riddle being named for Mrs. Merriman's father. February 10, 1853, she married William H. Merriman, who was a member of the party crossing the plains with her, and in 1857 the family removed to Jackson County, where the Merriman farm on the Pacific Highway, southeast of Central Point, is still in possession of the family.
Mother of Sixteen.
    Mrs. Merriman was the mother of sixteen children, of whom eleven are still living. A daughter of her husband by a prior marriage, Mrs. Lettie Harvey, of Ashland, also survives. John Chapman, the eldest son, lives at Red Lodge, Mont., and with his wife had the privilege of being with his mother at the end. Mrs. Lucinda J. Prather, the next in age, lives at Big Timber, Mont.; Laura A. Bradley at Washington, D.C.; Mrs. Marie Bennett, Mrs. Annie Clark, and I. A. Merriman, in Medford; Mrs. Mollie Houston in Portland, Or.; Mrs. Isabel Fronk in Minneapolis, Minn.; Mrs. Effie Hill and Mrs. Josephine Beek in Seattle; Will Merriman in Oakland, Cal. Five children are now deceased: George Merriman, Charles, Walter, Prudence and Winnifred. Mrs. R. V. Beall of Central Point is a sister. George and Abner Riddle of Riddle, in Douglas County, and also Stilly Riddle of Hardin, Mont., brothers, are also living.
    Thirty seven grandchildren and a number of the fourth generation do her honor.
A Wonderful Woman.
    Grandma Merriman was one of the most wonderful women who participated in the wrestling of Oregon from the wilds, and the impress of her achievements will be marked for a generation to come. Her efficiency in her work in life was a sermon in what the real American pioneer woman can accomplish. She was thoroughly versed in the Chinook dialect, and with all her household duties found time to act as interpreter between the government and the Indians in the strife of Indian wars.
    Flashed upon the screen at the San Francisco exposition was a picture of Mrs. Merriman engaged in an animated description of pioneer days, and those who were fortunate to see this delineation of an octogenarian in the full possession of her faculties bear in memory this as one of the real treats of the exposition. Would that an endless screen of her whole life could be preserved for posterity, to show of what superb quality were the mothers of the republic.
Enjoyed Development.
    It is not given to many of the human race to be a part of and to enjoy the fruits of such a development as has taken place in Oregon since the day when, with her little son, a forlorn widow, she came with her parents to begin the work of redeeming from the red men the golden West. All the privations of the pioneer were endured in the firm conviction that the better life ahead would be attained by virtue of these privations for the generations yet to come, if not to be enjoyed by the pioneers themselves. It was a source of gratulation to the deceased as well as to her devoted children that she herself was permitted to enjoy all the benefits resulting from those days which tried men's souls and tested almost beyond endurance the fortitude of thousands of women. Adapting herself to the changed conditions as easily and gracefully as she assumed the duties of motherhood and her household duties in early days, in her later years she traveled from from home to home of her children, with quiet dignity enjoying the amenities of life as we live today, so lovingly tendered by the younger generation.
    Paved highways and modern means of transportation put within her reach in towns forty miles away, by the expenditure of one-tenth the energy required in pioneer days, the meeting-house privileges then so highly prized. The half-mile muddy lane of then was a greater barrier to movement than the mountain range of today. The fruits of the earth were at her call, as compared with the scanty provision of dried salmon, game and potatoes and beans of her youth. With the touch of a finger she commanded the gas jet, the electric light and the thousand and one additions to comfort and convenience which science has given us, as compared with the tallow dip, the pine knot, the swinging crane in the open fireplace and the Dutch oven with which she so thoroughly satisfied the wants of her family as they grew to manhood.
    And yet her heart lived in the past, and before consciousness failed her, as dissolution approached, she gave her final word, the wish that she be laid quietly away beside her husband in the village churchyard, not far remote from the old homestead, without ostentation of parade, content to rest there in the happy reflection consequent on a well-spent life.
    The funeral will be held at the Bennett residence Friday afternoon at 1 o'clock, Rev. Carstens officiating. Interment will be in Jacksonville Cemetery.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 10, 1917, page 6


    Isaac Merriman, a native son of this county, died today on Bear Creek, where he and his sons, Lester and Chester, had gone to cut wood, and expired a short time after starting to cut down a tree. Mr. Merriman was born on the farm where he resided all his life. Born September 11, 1861, and was aged 61 years, 3 months, 7 days. He had been a member of Medford Lodge I.O.O.F. for 33 years and also a member of Medford Camp W.O.W. He leaves his wife, Emma, and four sons, Harry Merriman, Clark, Wyoming; Merritt Merriman, Gold Hill, Ore.; Chester and Lester of Medford, Ore. Funeral arrangements announced later. Remains are at the Perl Funeral Home.
"2 Well-Known Jackson Co. Men Called Suddenly,"
Medford Mail Tribune, December 19, 1922, page 6


REPAIRS MADE TO MERRIMAN SHOP
    Not since 1910, when they shoed 50 horses a day, has there been so much activity at the Merriman blacksmith shop as there is now during a general enlargement of the quarters in order to take care of the increased business.
    All of the iron and steel stock will be placed in an annex located at the rear of the blacksmith shop on South Riverside, and the present location will be devoted to working space. Considerable of new equipment will be installed within the next 30 days, when the moving is expected to be finished.
    In 1852 the great-grandfather of Merl and Francis Merriman established the Merriman blacksmith shop on a tract of government land between Central Point and Medford. The shop was moved to Medford in [1885] under the management of George F. Merriman, whose son, T. F. Merriman, now operates the business with his two sons, Merl and Francis.
    Not a horse has darkened the entrance of the blacksmith shop since 1920. In 1917 an average of one horse a day was shod, and previous to that time more than 50 daily.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 9, 1930, page 8


Merriman Sons Reopening Shop
    The Merriman Shop, located on South Riverside, opened today under the management of Myrle and Francis Merriman. The two brothers have been running the business during the illness of the father, T. T. Merriman, the past four years. According to Myrle they have the most complete shop in this part of the state. He says they have the blacksmith, welding and factory spring department for making and repairing springs, as well as a full line of new springs.
    Mr. Merriman says: "We will endeavor to maintain competitive prices in all lines of our work."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 29, 1933, page 2



Last revised October 17, 2018