The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford Pioneers: Alfred K. Ware

A. K. Ware House January 22, 1911 Sunday Oregonian
January 22, 1911 Sunday Oregonian

Oregonian's Picture of Medford Home
    The Sunday Oregonian contains a picture of the residence in Medford of A. K. Ware, the former Minnesota legislator. This fine mansion has just been completed at a cost of $14,000. The following is taken from the Portland paper's description accompanying the cut:
    "It is said to be the finest house in the valley, overlooking Medford from a hill two miles out. It is of the Craftsman type, finished in eastern oak. The living room is twenty-one by forty-two feet, with a large stone fireplace. Adjoining the home, Mr. Ware has twenty-five acres of apples and pears. He came from Minnesota last spring."
Medford Sun, January 24, 1911, page 1

A. K. Ware--Expert Driver of Horses and Men

    Gather round, people, and see who's here. For here comes a citizen with a record. He's plastered with records. He's fairly alive with records. Some are low and some are high. The low ones belong to his horses. The high ones belong to Al.
Ware 1911-9-10Sun     Yes, we have here with us this beautiful Sabbath morning Alfred K. Ware, and if he isn't "multum in parvo," then we never saw one.
    In the first place, he is a horse man. In the second place, he is a politician. And let it be said right here that if there is anything horsey or political that Al doesn't know, we'd like to see it. He began working with horses when he was three months old, and was carried on the back of some descendant of May Bell by his father on the old farm near Waterloo, Ia. He hitched horses and harnessed them when he had to get a stepladder to put in the bit. And like men who know horses down to the ground, he has a deep understanding of human nature.
    Yes, sir-ree sir, some David Harum is our little A. K.
    Just now Mr. Ware is busy making the coming district fair the best ever. Which is quite proper. For a man who knows everything about horses and politics knows something about county fairs, believe us.
    And Al is going to drive in the races. He always drives, usually in third place. But that isn't Al's fault. May Bell is a little old now, but Al drove her a mile in 2:17 once upon a time, and he now owns the fastest horse in Southern Oregon. Ashen is his name, and A. K. drove him in 2:12½ at the Galesburg (Ill.) race meet a few years ago. And listen here. The fifth-greatest stallion of his time in the 2:30 class was owned by our hustling secretary of the Fair Association. Name? Al Cantara, with a mark of 2:23 and a life insurance of $50,000. Then there was Sidmont with a 2:10¼ and Barlotte, 2:17½. Horses did you say?
    But how on earth, you ask, did such a record-breaker ever settle on a ranch in the Rogue River Valley? Not that this isn't just the place for record breakers, but how did Al hear of it way back there in Northfield, Minn.?
    Ed Andrews--that's the answer. Yes, sir, Ed was managing the Andrews Opera Company at that time, and Al was owner of the Northfield opry house. And the two came together, the opry house and the opry company, and in the mixup Al and Ed shook hands and said they were glad to make acquaintance.
    Then Ed started to talk about Medford and Oregon and what a fine place it was to grow fruit, and long hair, and all that sort of thing, and the first thing Ed knew he had caught a life subscription to the Medford Booster Club. Right then and there the opry house was sold, the political game was abandoned and Al's family and horses and carriages were packed up and routed for the station kept by our genial Rosey [Rosenbaum].
    As was previously announced, A. K. was born in Waterloo, Ia., the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. As the first shot was fired on Fort Sumter Al opened his eyes, or thereabouts. From that time to this he has voted the Republican ticket.
    Naturally, he knows President Taft. So does his daughter, Mildred. In fact, Mildred Ware a few years ago rode the biggest elephant that could be found in Minnesota at the head of the procession which met the president when on his stumping tour, and presented him with a bunch of American Beauties. The President accepted them with thanks and then gallantly returned them to the donor.
    But Al doesn't care for elephants. They are too hard to harness. He prefers the elephant to the donkey, but he prefers the elephadonk to both. That is to say, he is an insurgent.
    Here's what the Minnesota Who's Who has to say about it:
    "A. K. Ware, or Al Ware, as the boys know him, was born at Waterloo, Ia. Married to Harriet L. Fletcher at Lake Benton, Minn., in 1887. Al was ranching it then on a wheat ranch near there. From there they went to a stock farm at Brimfield, Ill., where they lived a number of years; afterwards moved to Northfield, Minn., where A. K. soon became interested in politics and was the prime mover in starting the Northfield Commercial Club and reorganizing the Rice County Fair; then being elected to the city council, serving as chairman of the committee on roads and bridges two years.
    "He was then elected mayor, and having served a term as mayor was promoted to the legislature, where he had the honor to introduce the famous anti-pass and two-cent fare bill, and while it was defeated at this session, it went through with a hurrah at the following session.
    "Elected for a second time, he introduced the county option bill, which was the bone of contention all that session and during the next state campaign, but has not become a law yet."
    The Minneapolis Journal in an article at the close of the session said Representative Ware of Rice County was one of the insurgents who carved out a niche for himself that will not soon be forgotten in Minnesota legislative halls. Many papers throughout the state highly commended Mr. Ware for his efforts to get a square deal for the people  and taking a stand on all the leading questions that came up, so that the people knew just where he stood and showed a willingness to work for the best interest of the whole people and not special interests that were in politics for the money there was in it for themselves or their employers.
    So, you see, mayor, commercial club organizer, state representative, builder of county fairs, horseman and now rancher, and the man who is making the sparks fly for the pear show in Medford this fall.
    When asked which he liked best, politics or horses, Al deliberated for some time and then replied softly, "Well, there isn't much money in horses unless you happen to get a record-breaking winner. There isn't much money in politics, or ought not to be. But I guess I like politics better. It's the greatest game in the world. Still, you take a good horse--"
    So there you are. Al hasn't been doing much in the political game since he arrived here, something over a year ago. Just now he is working harder for the district fair than he ever worked for the anti-pass bill, and they do say Al worked something awful for that. And he's going to win--put that in your pipe and smoke it. There's nothing of the blowhard about Al. He's quiet and pleasant to everybody, but he's on the job, believe us, from 6 o'clock to midnight. And when he decides to run for President or governor or something of that sort--there'll be a solid volley for him, and on election day a lot of red fire and fireworks for Little Al.
"Medford's Hall of Fame," Medford Sun, September 10, 1911, page 12

G. W. Perkins No Longer Associated with Big Financial Concern.

    A. K. Ware, chairman of the Progressive Party committee for Jackson County, is in receipt of a telegram from G. W. Perkins denying any connection with the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co. The wire is in response to an inquiry from Mr. Ware and is as follows:
New York, Aug. 27, 1912.
A. K. Ware, Medford, Ore.
    Referring to yours of the 20th, I entirely severed my connections with J. P. Morgan & Co. a year ago last January, since which date have had no financial or business connection with that house. You are authorized to make this statement as public as you see fit.
Ashland Tidings, August 29, 1912, page 4

    Mrs. Harriett F. Ware, a native of Northfield, Minn., and wife of A. K. Ware, died at the family home, two miles south of Medford, at 12:20 a.m. Saturday, November 9, 1912, aged 48 years, 4 months and 16 days.
    Mrs. Ware came to Medford from Northfield, Minn., with her husband and children, two and a half years ago and has since lived on an orchard home which her husband purchased soon after arriving in Medford. For the past eight months the deceased had been afflicted with cancerous troubles, and while every effort possible was made to effect a cure, all proved fruitless.
    Besides a husband, deceased leaves eight children. They being Cecil G., Mildred R., Ralph F., Fletcher K., Marjory H., Alexander E., John T., Alfreda L., all living at home except Fletcher, who is a student at the University of Oregon.
    Mrs. Ware was a devoted Christian, a kind, loving wife and mother, and possessed all the attributes which can justly be the claim of all good, home-loving women. Such a life as was hers was truly the exemplification of all those excellent trials of noble womanhood which have so much to do in framing the destination [sic] of an enlightened and noble Christan people.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 9, 1912, page 8

of Real Estate
in Rogue River Valley.
    Having had so many inquiries for property in this valley during the past week, I have decided to leave for Minneapolis next week and talk personally with people who are desirous of coming here and endeavor to sell as much property as possible this spring, as the time seems ripe now to get new settlers for the Rogue River Valley. So see me this week if you have any property to sell.
                A. K. WARE.
                Room 29, Jackson County Bank Bldg.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 2, 1912 page 2

A. K. Ware March 23, 1913 Sunday Oregonian
March 23, 1913 Sunday Oregonian

A. K. Ware May 6, 1913 Oregonian
May 6, 1913 Oregonian

Ware and Kizer Places Go to Californian for $95,000.
    MEDFORD, Or., May 15.--(Special.)--An orchard deal involving $95,000 was closed yesterday when J. B. Doner, of Uplands, Cal. secured the Ware and Kizer ranches, aggregating 87 acres, trading the same for a hardware business and city property in the California town. Mr. Doner will move to Medford with his family, making his home in the handsome Ware residence near the city and managing both properties.
    A. K. Ware is secretary of the Medford Commercial Club and will remain in Medford. With the death of his wife last fall he has been anxious to sell his property, including a $20,000 residence, one of the showplaces of the valley, and secure a business for his two sons, who will manage the hardware business in Uplands. The Ware orchard comprises 27 acres of pears and apples just coming into bearing.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, May 16, 1913, page 7

A. K. Ware, of Medford, Exchanges for California Property.
    MEDFORD, Or., May 17.--(Special.)--One of the largest orchard sales of the present month was closed last week, when A. K. Ware, of Medford, sold his highly developed property, lying one mile south of Medford, to J. B. Doner, of Uplands, Cal., for $52,000. The tract contains 26 acres, which is in bearing apple and pear trees. It is improved with a beautiful residence. Mr. Ware accepted as part payment a hardware business at Uplands.
    Mr. Doner also purchased the Kiser orchard, near Jacksonville, for $45,000, giving in exchange an orange grove and property in Uplands. The orchard contains 65 acres and is in bearing apple and pear trees.
    Mr. Doner announces that he will bring with him several families from Southern California, who will locate in the Medford district.

Sunday Oregonian, Portland, May 18, 1913, page D8

    At a meeting of the directors of the Commercial Club Tuesday night the resignation of A. K. Ware as secretary was accepted to take effect August 1. Mr. Ware yesterday made the following statement:
    "So many people ask me nearly every day when I expect to go to California, etc., etc. Now, I wish to say that I have gone over the question of leaving Medford very carefully and have decided to stay right here. A number of busybodies have repeated a version of some remarks I made at the last public meeting held by the Commercial Club in the city hall last month, trying to make out that I was disgusted with the fruit business and orchards in particular, and was glad to sell my place, etc., etc. Now, this is far from the truth, for the truth is that it was about the saddest day of my life when I signed the deed completing the transfer of Alview to Mr. Doner. No man who has seen the letters that I have written daily to inquirers through the Commercial Club could possibly accuse me of being lukewarm on the fruit situation in the Rogue River Valley.
    "I can prove by the copies on file that no one could possibly write more enthusiastically about the conditions here and the wonderful future that seemed to be in store for our people who will hold on to their homes and property interest will sure be glad they did so. All I ask for is a square deal, and am willing to work for the highest good of the greatest number of people, not only in Medford, but in Oregon, and so will stay right here and women who wish to line up for a better and larger Medford and a course of action that really means progress, not retrogression.
    "The Commercial Club has accomplished wonderful things for Medford and can do wonderful things yet if the members choose to get together and plan a line of work that may mean something definite. The directors are business men with large interests and no doubt will do the very best that they know how to manage the affairs of the club in a generous spirit for the advancement of Medford and the attracting of many new residents to the valley. For myself I am glad to step down and out and work in the ranks again and assure the people here that I will do all I can now and in the future for Medford and Oregon."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 30, 1913, page 3

Well-Known Medford Man Takes Bride in California.

    Oakland, Cal., Aug. 14.--Hazel L. Rollins of San Francisco, formerly of Medford, Ore., was married here tonight to Mr. A. K. Ware, a prominent rancher of Medford. The wedding was a quiet one, only relatives of the principals and a few intimate friends being present. The bride and groom left tonight for a wedding trip to Crater Lake.
    Medford, Aug. 14.--The marriage of Mr. Ware will come as considerable of a surprise to all but the most intimate friends of the former secretary of the Medford Commercial Club. Miss Rollins is well known in Medford, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Rollins of Minneapolis, and lived for a few years on the McClatchie place on the Old Stage Road near Jacksonville, Mr. McClatchie buying the place from Mrs. Rollins.
    Upon leaving Medford Miss Rollins entered the employ of the S. C. Tooker Fruit Company of San Francisco, a position she held up to a few months before her marriage. Mr. Ware and Miss Rollins have been friends for many years, and the romance started through a mutual admiration of fine horses, Miss Rollins being an enthusiastic and accomplished horsewoman, while Mr. Ware's great hobby is racing and race horses.
    Mr. and Mrs. Ware upon returning to Medford will be at home to their friends at 635 West Palm Street.
    As secretary of the Medford Commercial Club, secretary of the Jackson County Fair Association, president of the Jackson County Progressive Club and until recently one of the largest ranch owners in the valley, Mr. Ware was well and favorably known throughout Southern Oregon. He is president of the Uplands Hardware Company of Uplands, Cal., but there is a strong probability that he will make his permanent home in Medford.
Ashland Tidings, August 18, 1913, page 4

(Los Angeles Herald)
    All you men who contemplate marrying your stenographers--
    This is the advice of Alfred K. Ware of Upland.
    Ware is a dealer in hardware.
    His wife said in her divorce suit that he was a hard man.
    She said his name was peculiarly adapted to his business.
    Today Mr. Ware, the hardware merchant of Upland, retaliated. He issued a statement, the burden of which was--
    Ware is 50 years old. Mrs. Ware is 27. The hardware business is about 20.
    That his stenographer-wife married him to escape the monotonous click of the typewriter is Ware's statement today.
Housekeeping Distasteful
    But he says she found housekeeping even more distasteful. Then they quarreled and she called him "hard" (ware) and got a divorce on the ground of cruelty.
    Ware today said he had heard a great deal about it being "the woman who pays," but this time, he asserts, it is the man, and he is that man, and that it is hard wear on him.
    "Love is the chief essential of happiness in matrimony," the hardware man says, and he declares that this requisite was lacking on the part of his wife.
    Ware continued:
Longs for Old Life
    "She longed to be back to the old free and easy life, with a dance twice a week, instead of being tied to one man, and that man one she did not love. Yes, I think I could tell prospective bridegrooms quite a lot of interesting truths, and might help some of our social agitators to work out some kind of good legislation on the divorce evil, and incidentally do something toward a law requiring all applicants for marriage licenses to answer very pointed questions as to domestic experience before granting the license."
    So Ware, the hardware man of Upland, who [is] thought hard by his wife, reiterates the warning--
    Both Mr. Ware and his wife are former residents of Medford. Mr. Ware for five years owned a fruit ranch on Kings Highway and was secretary of the Commercial Club a year ago. He came from Minnesota. He traded his orchard for the hardware store at Upland a year ago. Mrs. Ware was formerly Miss Rollins and came here from Minneapolis. The couple were married last August in California, where the bride was then residing.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 11, 1914, page 8

    The marriage of Alfred K. Ware and Martha Belle Syske was solemnized at Inspiration Point, Mount Lowe, June 9th, at 4 p.m., the Rev. R. C. Stone of the First Presbyterian Church of this city officiating. At the wedding ceremony were but the bride and groom and Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Edmundson of Pasadena and Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Roncoviero. Mr. Edmundson is a brother of Mrs. Ware, and Mr. Roncoviero is superintendent of schools of San Francisco city.
    Mr. Ware is well known here not only as president of the Chamber of Commerce, but as president of the A. K. Ware & Co. Hardware, which was recently sold to the Eymann-Goerz Company.
    Mrs. Ware is not known here, but comes from a noted family in Kentucky, and is a graduate of Hopkinsville High School and McLean College as well as the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and has just resigned a position as head of the music department in a southern Kansas high school. Mr. and Mrs. Ware will make their home in Hollywood.--The Upland [California] News.
Medford Sun, June 20, 1915, page 5

Last revised January 3, 2018