The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Bondinell's History of Jackson County
Serialized in the Central Point Morning News in 1979.

Meet the Author
    Carl Bondinell, 38, is a freelance writer and historian who currently [in 1979] lives in Ashland.
    He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at Upsala College in New Jersey in 1961. Emphasis in his undergraduate work was in the area of history of religion and philosophy.
    After one year of American History graduate studies at the University of Illinois, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Asian studies. He has been interested in Western history since moving to the West Coast.
    He has published a variety of short stories and children's stories, and currently is working on several book ideas.
An Account of the Events and People That Contributed
To the History of Jackson County in Thirteen Chapters.

Part One:
The Geology

The beginning . . .
Oregon was two ancient islands
By Carl Bondinell
    Perhaps the single most striking aspect of the Oregon landscape in ancient times to us today would be that the coastal mountains and the towering Cascade Range which enclose the Rogue Valley were nowhere in sight. Where they are today was only water. As we shall see, it would take over 50 million years of extensive and almost continuous volcanic activity to create them.
    If we think of time in terms of the age of the earth--over four billion years--it was not so long ago, only 60 or 70 million years, that almost all of Oregon still lay under the Pacific Ocean. The waves and crashing surf which today we have to drive two hours in order to see once rolled as far inland as the Rocky Mountains.
    If it were possible for you to stand on the ancient beach somewhere in Idaho, what might it be like? The water would be shallow and warm, teeming with crabs, shellfish and other marine life. The weather would be hot and humid. The land would be covered with lush, subtropical forests and swamps. Huge reptiles might be padding ponderously through the mud. Our mythical modern-day observer might be frightened by a wandering dinosaur, but would be unmolested by the beast, who was a vegetarian and who would soon become extinct.
    Looking westward out over the ocean you would see two large islands, massive rock formations that had erupted from the ocean floor. This was Oregon 60 million years ago. The island nearest you is what is today roughly the Blue Mountain region of northeast Oregon and Idaho. The other island, comprised of what are today the Klamath Mountains, extended from Northern California into the southwestern corner of the state. Early in this century, Thomas Condon, the father of Oregon geology, identified these earliest land forms. The northern island he named the "Shoshone," and the other, the "Siskiyou."
    When you drive up to Mt. Ashland today, or over the pass into California, you are traveling over the oldest terrain in Oregon. Both Paleozoic and Mesozoic volcanic and sedimentary rocks are present in the Klamath Mountains. The oldest rock in the state is believed to be a series of outcroppings along the California border south of Mt. Ashland estimated to be at least 350 million years old.
    At the beginning of the Eocene period, 60 million years ago, the geography of Oregon began to change radically. The ancient sea bed began to shift and crumble, forcing up a great sea dike of volcanic mountains along the present area of the Cascades. Hundreds of miles farther out to sea, eruptions of an even greater scale were taking place. Flows of basalt poured from fractures in the sea bed, forming a rock shelf over 1,000 feet thick in places. When the eruptions subsided, 50,000 cubic miles of basalt had been discharged onto the ocean floor, creating a long, narrow peninsula, similar to today's Baja California, extending as far north as Washington. Millions of years from now it would become the Coast Range.
    The effect of the other sea dike was to create a new coastline for Oregon which ran along the present Cascade foothills from Portland, Salem, Eugene, then swung westward around Roseburg to include the "Siskiyou Island," which now jutted out into the sea joining the southern tip of the long coastal peninsula.
    Between this peninsula and the land lay a shallow, warm-water gulf, in places more than a hundred miles wide. The gulf was bordered by a subtropical forest in which avocado, cinnamon, fig and persimmon trees flourished. Just below the southern end of the gulf (which included most of Jackson County), rivers of the Rogue and Bear Creek valleys were depositing sand and gravel over their flood plains.
    In adjacent swamps, decaying vegetation was turning into peat bogs, which in time would become glistening coal deposits. Since the lower Rogue and its tributaries, such as Bear Creek, drained from the mountains of "Siskiyou Island," they are probably the oldest rivers in Oregon.
    Whatever lived in Oregon during the next 40 million years lived in a land of volcanoes. There is found today a greater variety of volcanic remnants than exists in any other state, including Hawaii. During this time, which covers the Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene periods, there was almost continuous volcanic activity. Oregon was creating itself.
    The earth's crust heaved, fractured and folded. Enormous amounts of magma (liquefied rock) welled up from beneath the earth's surface. Lava, containing different types of molten rock, fell or flowed upon the land creating mountains and thick basalt plateaus. The land alternately raised and then lowered, sinking under the weight of the lava ejected onto its surface.
    At times land movements forced the ocean back, beyond even today's coastline, and, at other times, permitted it to flow back over the land, though never farther inland than the Cascade foothills. Through these millions of years, mountains were built only to be eroded away and replaced by others. Slowly, ever so slowly, the land was emerging.
    Because of the importance of volcanic activity in forming the land, an understanding of the four basic types of volcanoes is essential.
    Shield volcanoes are the most massive. They are formed primarily by copious outwellings of highly fluid basalt lava, which spread widely and rapidly like sheets of water. Consequently, they assume the shape of inverted saucers, or shields. The island of Hawaii is built of five such overlapping volcanoes. In Oregon, Newberry volcano, near Bend, is a shield volcano.
    Composite cone volcanoes assume the familiar classic cone shape featuring steep slopes near the top with a gently flared base. These are formed by a combination of quiet, effusive eruptions and violent explosions. If there is only one vent, near-perfect symmetry may result. Mt. McLoughlin provides a good example. If there is more than one vent, they will look like Mount Shasta and Mount Hood, which are also composite volcanoes.
    Dome volcanoes form from lava that is too stiff and viscous to flow freely, and which oozes out creating steep-sided, bulbous mounds. Because they often seal off underlying conduits, they are also called "plug domes." Compared with the rate of growth of "shield" and "cone" types, which may take a million years to form, dome volcanoes, such as Mt. Lassen, may form in the incredibly short span of 10 or 20 years.
    Cinder cone volcanoes are the fourth major type. They rarely reach a height of more than 500 feet, and are formed by globs of lava that are so heavy they fall back close to the base of the volcano. There are many such ragged, needlelike cinder volcanoes in Oregon, of which "Wizard Island" in Crater Lake is an example.
Camels and tigers roamed Jackson County

    For many millions of years, Oregon's climate was wet, lush and tropical. Around 20 to 15 million years ago the climate became more temperate and drier. Intense volcanic activity had turned most of the landscape into a dreary plateau of dark basalt, rising only slightly above sea level. Trees and grasses grew abundantly along the banks of wide, slow-moving streams. The Cascades, by this time, had become a broad belt of cones with an average elevation of between 3,000 and 5,000 feet. Streams from Central Oregon, no longer able to pass over them, retreated to form vast lakes.
    The flora (trees and plants) changed from tropical species to those of a more temperate climate. It was still sufficiently humid for redwoods to exist both east and west of the Cascade belt, where they mingled with warm-temperate trees, such as bald cypress, mahogany and sweet gum. Madrones and oaks occupied the drier slopes, with willows and maples flourishing along lakes and streams.
    The reduction of forests and the greater expanses of grassland resulted in the extinction of some earlier species of animals adapted to tropical climates. Others evolved into species which more closely resemble those of today. There were camels, rhinoceroses, pigs and peccaries, deerlike antelopes, tapir and oredonts, accompanied by species of dogs (wolves), cats (sabertooth tigers and hyenas) and rodents (weasels and squirrels).
    The evolution of the horse provides us a clear example of evolutionary change in response to climate. The Eohippus, which lived 40 million years ago, was the size of a small sheep, and had tour toes on the front feet and three on the rear.
    It was a browsing animal which fed on the tender, succulent leaves of trees and bushes abundant in tropical forests. As forest gave way to open grasslands, these animals had to learn to run faster and to be able to eat tougher vegetation, such as grass, in order to survive.
    Consequently, the horse became larger and the side toes gradually disappeared, leaving a single hooflike heel. Its teeth became stronger and more adapted to grazing. This new horse, called Pliohippus, survived in Oregon until only a few thousand years ago. This ancient native was subsequently reintroduced into Oregon by the Spanish.
    The principal event of the Pliocene period, from 10 to one million years ago, was the growth of a chain of large "shield" volcanoes along the crest of the Cascade belt, and the consequent voluminous outflow of fluid lava from their countless fissures. These volcanoes formed the "base" upon which the later cone volcanoes, which comprise the recognizable peaks of the range today, were able to build. And, for the first time, caused the range to reach a height which effected a change in climate between the western and eastern parts of the state.
    The moisture-laden winds from the ocean were cut off by the range. Rainfall decreased on the eastern slopes, where the redwoods disappeared. The climate of Eastern Oregon became cool and semi-arid, as it is today.
    Mastodons and hairy mammoths roamed the land. Camels, Pliohippus and horned antelope shared the grasslands with herds of bison, buffalo and musk oxen.
    At the close of the Pliocene period, some one million years ago, the climate became much cooler. Snows falling on the mountain peaks no longer melted in summer. The patches of permanent snow grew larger and thicker, ultimately becoming glaciers which crept down the mountainsides. This marked the beginning of another great ice age.
The Ice Age (one million to 25,000 years ago)

    Volcanic activity occurred on a smaller scale during the Ice Age than during the preceding period. In contrast to the broad "shield" volcanoes built by quiet lava flows during the Pliocene, the volcanoes of this era were the more violently formed "composite cone" types. These are the familiar peaks of the High Cascades we see today, such as those of Shasta, McLoughlin, Hood and Rainier. The equally imposing and majestic peak of Mt. Mazama was formed at this time, only to disappear some 6,000 years ago.
    Even while these peaks were growing, they were covered by glaciers that advanced and retreated in response to changes in the climate. It was at this time that the great river canyons of the Columbia and Rogue were formed to accommodate the drainage of the vast amounts of water produced by the periodic melting of the glaciers.
    During times when the volcanoes were erupting, these canyons would become filled with streams of fluid basalt lava. In places, flow upon flow piled up to a depth of 1,500 feet. Today, their remnants can be seen as flat-topped benches on the canyon walls of the Rogue and Umpqua, and on Butte Creek. Table Rock, which has been reduced by erosion to a detached mesa, is one of the older of these Ice Age flows.
    Although volcanic activity at the close of the Ice Age decreased and glacial erosion gained precedence, many High Cascade volcanoes continued to erupt. One such eruption constituted one of the more dramatic events in the volcanic history of Oregon. Because it occurred relatively recently (4,500 B.C.), geologists have been able to recreate a detailed and 
rather dramatic picture of the event. This was the eruption of Mt. Mazama and the formation of Crater Lake.
Mt. Mazama blows its top

    The peak of Mt. Mazama, a "composite cone" volcano that had probably taken a million years to form, rose to a height of over 12,000 feet. It contained more than one vent and was constantly altered by glaciers, so that it was never a smooth-sided perfect peak. During the Ice Age it was completely covered by glaciers extending as far as 17 miles from the summit down into the Rogue Valley. Deposits of this glacial system are traceable today.
    By 4,500 B.C., all of the glaciers, save three very small ones, had disappeared from the peak. To the Indians living in the area, the massive mountain must have appeared as a timeless and stable part of the landscape. It had not erupted or shown signs of activity for centuries. Wildlife lived in the thick green forest that surrounded its base.
    But during this period of external quiet, liquid magma in the feeding chamber within the mountain was slowly crystallizing. This process was creating gases of increasing pressure. Cracks opened in the ceiling of the chamber to allow the gas to escape. Liquid magma surged upward. For miles around, the ground shook violently. Animals and Indians, heeding the warnings of the earthquakes, fled to safer ground.
    A plume of white vapor rose from the summit. Within hours it changed into an ominous dark cloud of ash. At first the eruptions were mild. Day after day the intensity of the explosions increased. At night incandescent rock fragments made fiery arcs across the darkened sky. The roars from the crater grew louder. The falling fragments became larger and showers of fine ash began to fall hundreds of miles away.
    After several weeks the eruptions stopped. In their wake they left a scene of desolation. Over thousands of square miles a gray-white mantle of ash covered everything like newly fallen snow. On the mountain itself the banks of pumice were 50 feet thick. Seventy miles away, near Bend, the ash was six inches deep.
    During the few days of calm that followed, it appeared that the fury of the volcano had been spent. But these first eruptions were only a prelude to the devastating blasts to come. The end came with alarming suddenness. A huge white mushroom-shaped cloud appeared at the summit. An avalanche of molten lava ran down the sides in every direction reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour at the base!
    The sheets of glowing lava raged through the forests, easily filling canyons two and three hundred feet deep. Superheated pumice and ash at temperatures over 2,000 degrees Centigrade swept 35 miles down the Rogue River Valley and across Diamond Lake into the Umpqua Valley. Chunks of pumice 14 feet in diameter were carried as far as Chemult, 25 miles away.
    The next day, more avalanches rushed down from the summit. They consisted not of white pumice fragments, but of dark cinderlike crystallized scoria. It was clear that the lower levels of the vast reservoir were being expelled and that the end was near. The avalanches were accompanied by noises of terrifying magnitude. It was like the sound of an enormous rock slide magnified a hundred times--the sound of an entire mountain breaking into pieces.
    Several days later, when the wind had cleared the air, the mountain was again revealed. The change in the shape of the mountain was one to stagger the imagination. The entire peak--17 cubic miles of rock 5,000 feet high--had vanished. In its place was.a huge cauldron, over five miles wide and 4,000 feet deep.
    What had happened was not that the peak was blown off, but that the magma in the chamber had drained so rapidly that it was no longer able to support the top. Within hours, the summit had simply collapsed into the void below.
    The volcano continued to be active--though on a much less spectacular scale--until only 1,000 years ago. What magma remained in the reservoir forced its way up again and settled quietly on the floor of the cauldron. Two other more violent eruptions created two small "cinder cone" volcanoes in the lake. The first, called Merriam Cone, is under water. The other stands 800 feet above the surface of the water and is known as "Wizard Island."
    There are more than four cubic miles of water in the lake, which reaches a depth of just under 2,000 feet, making it the seventh deepest in the world. It is neither fed by springs nor drained by a river. Rain and snow provide the water, and seepage and evaporation maintain the surface at a constant level. The water has no color and is remarkably free of sediment. Samples show solids at only 80 parts per million, compared with up to 500 parts per million generally allowable for drinking water.
The span of time . . . erosion erases the volcanoes
    The eruptions of the last 25,000 years mark the dying phase of a long volcanic episode. Even the catastrophic outburst of Mt. Mazama was more a sign of old age and decay than of increasing activity.
    In this very brief outline it was necessary to compress incredibly long periods of time into comprehensible units. We can conceive of a period of 50 years or a span of one's life easily enough. We are not that uncomfortable with grasping periods of one or two hundred years, like the Bicentennial of the United States. Some people, with a particularly history-oriented frame of mind, may also deal comfortably with two- or three-thousand-year periods. But, one million years? Ten million years?
    Perhaps some idea of the magnitude of time we've been talking about can be glimpsed by looking into the future, geologically. In all probability we are living today at the very beginning of a period when the forces of erosion take precedence over the volcanic forces of creation. Wind and rain are relentlessly eating into the sides of the volcanic peaks of the Cascades. Streams and rivers are carrying the waste downward through the valleys to the sea--the graveyard of mountains everywhere.
    Mountain ranges as large as the Cascades have been eroded away to nothing before. First the giant cones on the crest will disappear; then the whole range will be wiped away and finally, all the mountains of Eastern Oregon will be erased. How long do you think this would take?
    During the last 50,000 years another geological event took place which greatly affected Oregon and the Rogue Valley. At this time, which was the height of the last ice age, when almost all of northern Asia, Europe and North America was covered with glaciers, so much frozen water remained on the land that the oceans dropped between four and five hundred feet.
    This created a land bridge between Asia and North America where the Bering Strait is today. Large animals from Asia, like the bear and mammoth, migrated eastward over the bridge into Alaska.
    They searched for the larger river valleys that were ice-free passages to the warmer lands in the south. Behind them, traveling slowly in small bands, came the first Americans (the first inhabitants of the Northwest).
The Morning News, Central Point, February 24, 1979

Part Two:
The Indians

The first humans wandered through Oregon 20,000 years ago
By Carl Bondinell
    Who lived in this beautiful and isolated valley for perhaps over a thousand years before the first white man crossed its mountain barriers in the early 19th century? How did they live? What were they like?
    The first white men to discover the river and the people living along its banks were French-Canadian fur trappers. They called it "La Riviere aux Coquins," or "The River of the Rogues." (Why they called it this remains a mystery since reports on the early relations between the trappers and Indians indicate that they were friendly.) [The "rogue" description arose from a native's stealing of the McLeod brigade's hatchet in 1827.] General history books have called these people "warlike," and make much of the Rogue River Indian Wars of 1851-56, which were just one of  the many inevitable conflicts over rights to the land between the people who were already on the land and the people who came and wanted it.
    Who were these "warlike people"? Where did they come from? We can go back 25,000 years in search of the ancestors of the Rogue River Indians. The first humans in Oregon were probably early migrating bands of Paleo-Indians from Asia who passed through on their way south to escape the glaciers 25,000 to 20,000 years ago.
    Archaeologists using Carbon-14 dating methods place the time of the first habitation of Oregon as 11,000 years ago at a cave site on the upper Columbia River. Another excavation at Fort Rock in Central Oregon uncovered sandals woven of sagebrush that date back 9,000 years.
    These early people lived solely by hunting large animals, such as the mammoth, bison, horse, camel and sabertooth tiger. They hunted with stone-tipped spears which were thrown with the aid of a "throwing stick" called an atlatl. (The bow and arrow did not come into general use until a little over 3,000 years ago).
    Around 7,500 years ago a profound change in weather and environment took place in the Great Basin which extended from Central Oregon through Nevada into Arizona. The climate became very hot and dry, turning habitable land into desert. Lakes dried up, vegetation disappeared, and the large animals became extinct.
    Dr. Luther Cressman, pioneer Oregon archaeologist in the 1930s, believes that it was at this time (7,500 to 4,000 years ago) that the early North Americans migrated north in large numbers into the wetter, more habitable areas of Oregon. It was also a time when man was forced by the disappearance of the large animals to change from being exclusively a hunter to also depending upon food-gathering and fishing for survival.
    It appears that the migration [to the] westward of the Cascades was a slow process. Evidence shows the Indians lived in the foothills west of the Cascades as early as 7,000 years ago but did not reach the edge of the Willamette Valley until between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago.
    By the time of the Roman Empire and early Christianity, 2,000 years ago, the Indians had spread out into the valleys of Western Oregon, although they probably had not reached the coast. On the Rogue River the earliest evidence of habitation dates from 500 A.D. to 1,500 A.D., when the climate was much as it is now.
    Families were living in the Rogue Valley during the Dark Ages, and were certainly here when the man who was to have the greatest effect on their future was begging Queen Isabella of Spain for a few ships to prove that he could sail west and find India.
    Indians did not have a written language, so our knowledge of their history before the white man is very limited. What we do know derives from the work of the anthropologists who translated their various languages and then interviewed surviving members. Franz Boas pioneered this work at Columbia University in the late 19th century, and three of his students, A. L. Kroeber, Leslie Spier and Edward Sapir, studied the Indians of Oregon.
    They found that the Indians of Southwestern Oregon were divided into three major language groups, each entirely distinct from the other. These were the Shastan, the Athapascan and the Takelman. Fortunately, Sapir chose to do his first study on the small and nearly extinct band of Takelmans who had inhabited the Rogue Valley. In 1906 he interviewed one of the last surviving full-blooded Takelman women who was living on a reservation. Almost all of what we know of these people is based on Sapir's work.
    The Takelma inhabited almost all of the Rogue Valley from Cow Creek in the north, south to the Siskiyou Mountains and west to the Illinois River. (The exceptions to their dominance were two Athapascan-speaking bands, one living along Galice Creek and the other along the Applegate River).
    The Takelma themselves were divided into two groups. The Dagelma, which translates as "those living along the river," lived in villages on Jumpoff Joe Creek, Butte Creek and the Rogue and Illinois Rivers. The Latgawa, "those living in the upland," inhabited the poorer areas below Table Rock, and around Jacksonville, the Little Applegate River and Bear Creek. Although they spoke the same language, the two were apparently hostile to one another. The Dagelma, living along the salmon-rich rivers, were more prosperous and stable than their upland cousins who occasionally raided them for food and slaves.
    East of the Cascades and south of the Siskiyous along the Klamath River lived the second language group, the Shastan. This old and aggressive group included the Shasta, Klamath, Yurok and Tolowa bands. These were the neighbors of the Latgawa, who, over time, came under their influence and adopted some of their ways.
    Athapascan-speaking bands lived along the mouths of the rivers in the area between the coastal mountains and the coast from the Coquille River in the north to the Smith River in Northern California. Bands living north of the Rogue Valley along the upper forks of the Umpqua River were also Athapascan. Although different bands spoke different dialects, some incomprehensible to another, the coastal bands all came to be called "Tututni," which was actually the name of a small group of villages near the mouth of the Rogue.
Social and political

    It is important to realize that these large language groups were not political or social entities. Unlike the more famous Indians of the Plains such as the Sioux and Cheyenne, who formed themselves into large "nations" and tribes, the mountainous terrain of Southern Oregon kept the Indians split into bands.
    The term "tribe," meaning a political structure and an all-important chief, cannot be applied to these groups. Instead, the people lived in independent villages containing several families, numbering between 30 and 150 persons. Each village had a headman, whose position and importance was determined by his wealth, not his prowess as a warrior.
    Not only were the Indians of this area fragmented, but also, their numbers were small. It is impossible to know exactly how many lived here before 1850, but estimates for that year put the number of Tututni at just under 9,000 living in 106 villages. The estimate for the Takelma was only around 500 living in 17 villages. To get some idea of how few people this was, in 1860, only nine years after the first white settlement in the Rogue Valley, there were over 3,000 whites living here--seven times the number of Takelma!
    The lives of the Indians during the centuries before the white man undoubtedly did change. But the changes were probably slow. Improvements must have been made in tools and in hunting and fishing techniques, but no great social or political restructuring occurred. Loyalties remained restricted to the family or clan unit--and most importantly, to the land.
    If we want to understand the Indian's reaction to the white man it is important to understand the special relationship the Indian formed with the land. Like all Indians, the Takelma believed that the whole of nature, inorganic as well as organic, was "alive" with spirits (or spirit powers). To lose contact with one's guardian spirits meant disaster.
    The land provided the material and immaterial sources of life; it was therefore to be used, but also protected. There was enough food and land to go around. Each band took enough to supply the needs of its populace. The hundreds of different bands did not move from place to place.
    For generation after generation they lived in the same place. The Shastas, for instance, considered the Takelma their "enemies," but were content to live where they did along the banks of the Klamath River. It did not cross their minds to wage a great war against the Takelma so that the Shastas could live on the banks of the Rogue River. One very strong reason for not doing so was that their ancestors and guardian spirits were not there.
    Those of the Takelma were there. Their legends, beliefs and ceremonial observations all contain references to specific places. Important ceremonies were held in what is today Sams Valley near Table Rock, which was believed to be the home of a number of spirits and a place of safety.
    The "Acorn Woman," a giantess who walked forth each year with her giant "burden basket" sprinkling the oak trees with parts of her "flesh," thus causing them to grow, was believed to live on Mt. McLoughlin.
    Similarly, there was a special rock on the north bank of the Rogue near Leaf Creek which was always spoken of as "grandmother" by all Takelma who passed it. Food offerings to her were laid on top in the hope she would help cure illness.
    This does not mean that neighboring bands lived in complete harmony. They regarded each other with mistrust and defensive hostility. The worst offense was the violation of territory; trespassing on favorite hunting or fishing sites, or theft of property led to feuds in which the whole village got involved.
    Occasionally, these resulted in a violent and bloody battle, but more often than not, the two groups stood at a distance from one another and attempted to intimidate the other with shouts, gestures and perhaps a few thrown rocks, until one retreated or made adequate payment.
    The Takelma did not possess hatchets, tomahawks or spears. The lack of efficient weapons suggests that warfare was not a highly developed or frequent activity. Within the village units, all disputes, even those involving murder, were settled by a system of payment, and not with physical retaliation. If the disputants refused to settle on their own, they were obligated to hire a go-between, who would help them reach a settlement. These proceedings took place in front of the entire village, who acted as witnesses.
    Contact among the various bands of the entire Northwest on a more friendly level certainly did exist. Women often married men from distant villages. Trading was surprisingly widespread. The Takelma and Tututni valued obsidian, which they could only get by trade with the Modocs and Klamaths in Central Oregon. The Takelma women, skillful basket makers themselves, wore basket hats which were made by the Shastas. Dentalium shells, which are found only in the waters of Puget Sound, were used as "money" throughout the Northwest. The Takelma, living hundreds of miles away, managed somehow to possess many strings of these shells.
Housing and food

    The Takelma lived in houses made of sugar pine boards. The first task was to select suitable logs. Then, to split off boards, sharpened wedges of elk horn were placed along the log and pounded in. The boards were placed upright and attached to a pole frame which was set over a pit about two feet deep. The buildings were rectangular, with an opening high in one wall to make a door. Boards, bark and moss were laid across a ridgepole for the roof. A dirt ramp led to the door from the outside and a notched log served as a ladder on the inside. The distance from the floor to the smoke hole in the ceiling was between six and seven feet.
    During summer, when the village moved in search of food at its fishing or berry-picking sites, the Takelma built temporary "summer houses" of branches and bark.
    Every Takelman village also had one or two sweathouses next to a stream or spring. These were no more than a hole covered with boards, brush and dirt to make an almost airtight chamber large enough for six men. Water was poured over heated rocks to create steam. Only men (or a woman if she were a shaman) were permitted in the sweathouse. Women had their own smaller, temporary sweathouses.
    Sweating was believed to be very beneficial. The Takelma used it for religious purification, for training, for good luck, and for preventing and curing disease. After a prescribed time in the damp, breathless heat, the men would emerge and plunge into the cold water of the adjacent stream.
    Food was abundant in the Rogue Valley. For as long as they lived here, the Takelma were a society of hunters and food-gatherers. This simply meant that they did not cultivate crops or raise animals for food. The Takelma did keep dogs, possibly part wolf, which they used for hunting deer. But unlike many other Indians, they did not eat them.
    Fish, particularly salmon, formed a major part of their diet. Each band had its favorite site along the river at which it waited for the annual "run." The entire village took part in the trapping, catching and cleaning of hundreds of salmon as they migrated upstream. The fish were then smoked to preserve them for winter.
    The other staple food of the Takelma was the acorn. These were gathered by the women and children in the fall, shelled by the children, ground and then leached of the bitter tannic acid and made into a dough. This was boiled into a mush that could be eaten fresh or dried for the winter.
    The bulb of the blue camas lily, seeds and berries were other favorite foods. The women dug the camas bulbs, which when cooked tasted somewhat like sweet yams, out of the marshes with a special curved elk horn digging stick.
    The roots were peeled, cleaned and baked slowly in an oven-type fire pit for 24 hours. They could then be eaten or dried for the winter. The gathering was done in June of July when the plant was in flower. This was done to avoid the possibly fatal mistake of digging up the similar-looking white camas lily, which was extremely poisonous.
    Seeds, particularly those of the yellow-flowered tarweed, along with numerous wild fruits and berries, provided variety. A mush made from pine nuts and manzanita berries was a favorite Takelman dish. Grasshoppers, gathered from a field which was set on fire to trap and partially cook them, were eaten as a snack.
    The major source of meat was venison--deer, elk and antelope--which roamed in large herds in the open area around Agate Lake. The deer were hunted by large groups of men and dogs which drove the herds into a net made of finely woven ropes placed at the end of known runs.
    Possibly because of the abundance of easily accessible food, hunting was not very highly developed among the Takelma. The large number of food taboos suggests that many of the available animals and birds were not hunted for food. The list of forbidden foods includes most birds and their eggs, frogs, snakes, wildcats, wolves, dogs, coyotes and bears. Though not taboo, the meat of most other fur-bearing animals, such as beaver, muskrats, mink and rabbits, was not eaten.
    The Takelman's bow was accurate up to 50 yards. Their obsidian-pointed arrows were constructed of two separate shafts, one inserted slightly into the other. In the event a wounded animal was able to escape, the more valuable feathered part of the arrow would fall off and could be retrieved. Curiously, the Takelma were the only Indians in the Northwest to hold the bow in a horizontal position across the chest, rather than in the usual vertical position.
    A great deal of cooperation was obviously necessary in Takelma village society. Certain jobs, such as the gathering and preparing of acorns, camas bulbs and seeds, seems to have been done exclusively by the women. Women also did the basket weaving and tanning of hides. Yet the division of labor was not rigid, nor did it imply a lesser status for women. They often helped the men in their fishing, hunting and canoe-building, while the men often joined the women in their food-gathering expeditions. Takelma men were reported to be excellent at sewing.
    As would be expected in a food-gathering society, there were a great variety of baskets for carrying, storing and preparing. The large "burden basket" was a strong, lightweight funnel-shaped container. It was carried on the back and held in place by straps across the forehead, so both arms were free. Good weavers produced baskets that were nearly watertight. Coated with a thin layer of pitch, they were used for boiling food, which was done by placing heated stones into the basket containing the liquid mush or broth.
    Cradle-baskets were made in different forms to keep growing children comfortable and safe. For infants there was a deep, long basket with straps by which the child could be secured. For older children there was a chairlike basket in which they could sit, and for the toddler there was another type of basket with holes for the legs to dangle through. Cradles were colorfully adorned, and strings of beads or shells or wooden toys were suspended within easy reach.
    In the winter the Takelma wore deerskins and fur robes. Basket hats and reed capes served as rain gear. In summer, the men wore loincloths and the women lightweight grass skirts and shirts.
    Body painting and decoration among the Takelma was reserved for special occasions. The use of white paint was restricted for war or revenge. Painting the forehead white gave the wearer the strength and spiritual help of the grizzly, whose face bore a blaze of white above the eyebrows.
    Boys did not tattoo, but it was considered proper for girls to wear three downward stripes tattooed on their chin, one in the center and one from each corner of their mouth. The arms were also tattooed. Girls with no tattoos were considered "tomboys."
    The Takelma loved to play games. There were a variety of games for children, men and women. Children played a game in which round stones were rolled into regularly spaced holes, like miniature golf, and a version of "keep away" with balls made of soft skins stuffed with moss. Foot races, tree-climbing or log-throwing contests would commence at the slightest opportunity. Combative sports such as wrestling and boxing were not encouraged.
    The most popular game among the men was "shinny," a form of field hockey played with a wooden ball and sticks. When these games, which lasted for hours, pitted one village against another, the intensity of play approached that of a World Cup South American soccer match. Women had their own version of shinny in which they used sticks to toss two small boards joined by six-inch leather thongs into a goal--an early version of lacrosse.
Social structure

    The most important function of the village society was the acquisition of sufficient food. Everyone contributed and received his share of food. Just as no adult was permitted to remain unmarried, no one was allowed to starve.
    Beyond this, the social structure was not one of equality, but a hierarchy based on the accumulation of wealth. Whereas food was more or less shared communally, wealth was not. It did not circulate freely, but remained within a family through inheritance. One's social position was determined by his wealth, and the wealthiest man in the village was accepted as the headman.
    The measure of a man's wealth included such things as a fine house, the number of wives he could afford to purchase, a well-made canoe, an albino deerskin, obsidian knives and the scalps of redheaded woodpeckers, which were highly valued as ornament.
    By far the most important measure of wealth was dentalium, the grayish-white shells of a mollusk from the shallow waters of Puget Sound. The shells were strung in groups of 10 and were often decorated with feathers or special beads to identify their owner. They were stored in snakeskins or hollowed-out elk horns. Many a Takelma must have had dreams of stumbling onto a hidden cache of dentalium, or of returning home from some northern realm in a canoe filled to the gunwales with the precious shells.
    The dreams of acquiring wealth could, in real life, turn into a nightmare. Payment for a serious crime could wipe out a man's "savings," and if the payment demanded was more than he had, he would have to sell himself in service to make up the difference. The Takelma also loved to gamble, which was another way one could slip into such poverty as to have to become a slave.
    Although slaves did not comprise nearly as large a part of Takelman society as in other bands, members of their villages who became impoverished did become slaves. Since wealth was all-important, slavery was the worst disaster to befall a person.
    There was another way to attain wealth and prestige in Takelman society other than through inheritance. That was to become a shaman. Among North American Indians shamans have popularly been called "medicine men." Yet among the Takelma, not all doctors of medicine were shamans and not all shamans were men. At least half of them were women.
    Every Takelman child went through an initiation time alone when he or she discovered what particular guardian spirit was to be theirs. But a young person could choose to go further and become a shaman. This involved many more years of rigorous training: weeks and even months spent in isolation in the mountains, fasting and praying.
    One or many spirits would make themselves known to the person through their "song." The spirits were usually animals, but could also be natural objects or forces. Coyote was the most powerful and popular spirit among the Takelman shamans. Other strong spirits were panther, wolf, rattlesnake, eagle, hummingbird, moon, sun and wind.
    The prospective shaman was not free to choose whom he wished as his spirit, but was rather chosen by that spirit. The shaman was actually considered the "slave of his spirit," and his actions interpreted as carrying out its wishes. Since the Takelma believed that fortune and misfortune, disease and health were caused by spirits, the shaman's role was that of intermediary and placater of these spirits.
    When called upon for his services, the shaman could not eat before he danced. The dance was the "food" for his spirit. To eat first would mean satisfying his own hunger before that of his master.
    In cases of illness, the cure for the disease was to have the offending spirit withdrawn from the body, much as a splinter is removed. It was in the power of the shaman to do this. But in an ironic way the shaman had to pay for this power. Since it was believed that he could cure disease, it was also believed that he could inflict pain, disease and death.
    The shaman had to be constantly on guard, particularly against the accusations of rival shamans. It could happen that if one shaman accepted a call to cure a sick person and could not, he might justify his failure by attributing the sickness to the evil work of another shaman. The accused shaman was then required to cure the person. If he could not, the family had the right to have him killed--a very stiff penalty for malpractice!
    One of the women interviewed by Sapir in 1906 remembered being cured by a shaman in her childhood. The last words of the shaman before she left were: "the child will live as long as I live." She was thereby protecting herself by being assured that the child's family would always do everything in its power to keep her from coming to harm.
    The shamans were perhaps too powerful and awesome to be the only ones who cured illness. Like surgeons today, people probably only called on them when it was absolutely necessary. So the Takelma had another group of doctors capable of influencing spirits. These were the "dreamers" so called because they were said to be able to dream the creation of all things. They could cure disease, but unlike the shamans, did not have the power to inflict it. Their procedure was not to "draw out" the pain, but to sit beside the patient, rubbing the afflicted part of the body while softly singing.
    Shamans and dreamers held such an important place in Indian society because of their power to avert or mitigate the many natural disasters such as floods, storms, fires and famine, as well as curing sickness.
    But there was one calamity against which they were powerless. This was the diseases brought by the white man. Before his coming, there were approximately 100,000 Indians living in Oregon. After the smallpox epidemic of 1781-82 and the fevers (probably malaria) of 1830-33 and other diseases contracted from the whites, the population was reduced by 1851 to less than 25,000!
    Eighty percent of the Indians of the Willamette Valley had disappeared by the time the first settlers began to come in large numbers, which accounts for the feeble resistance they offered to the occupation of their land.
    The reason Indians suffered such a high mortality rate from white man's diseases was that their systems had not developed the antibodies to fight them. When Indians fell ill with tuberculosis, smallpox, measles or fevers, from which whites often recovered, they seldom lived.
    The Takelma, isolated behind the four mountain walls of their valley, apparently escaped these early epidemics. Unlike the Indians of the Willamette Valley who were too weak to defend their lands, the Takelma, small in numbers but still healthy, saw no reason why they should not fight for their land.
    But the reprieve was temporary. A devastation of another kind was about to overtake them. Stephen Beckham, in one of his books on the Indians of the Rogue Valley and Western Oregon, describes the Takelma on the eve of their first contact with the white man as follows:
    "The Rogues loved to play at the fishing weir, gamble about the outcome of their cricketlike shinny games, fight with their neighbors, and carve their marks on boulders in the river. They left unnoticed the gold that glittered in their streams. Beaver, otter and ether game were abundant, but they killed only to supply their needs. Except for the digging sticks of the women, they left the fertile meadows untouched. They were a Stone Age people in a ruggedly beautiful and rich land."
    History was about to catch up with the Takelma.
The Morning News, Central Point, March 3, 1979

Part Three:
The White Man Comes

The political strategy: 'Strip the streams bare of beaver'

By Carl Bondinell

    The first white men in Oregon came by sea. They were explorers and traders in search of new lands and otter pelts, which were bringing high prices in Asia. Their activities played a major role in shaping the future of the Northwest and the Rogue Valley.
    In 1792 the American trader Robert Gray anchored his ship off the coast between the Coos and Umpqua rivers and began trading with the Indians. In the same year a British captain named George Vancouver sailed into the mouth of the Columbia River.
    These initial ventures marked the beginning of a 20-year period in which British and American captains traded from their ships in the Columbia River. Based on such early explorations, both nations claimed ownership of the Oregon Territory.
    It was not until 1811 that the first permanent settlement, Fort Astoria, was established. It served as a base of operations for Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company. With the outbreak of the War of 1812, Astor realized that the fort was indefensible and sold it to the British-owned North West Fur Company, which renamed it "Fort George" after the king.
    In 1814 the fur company established another fort at Champoeg near French Prairie in the Willamette Valley. In 1821 the company merged with the powerful Hudson's Bay Company, which took over control of all British trapping in Oregon and California.
    George Simpson, governor of the company, immediately set out to streamline operations in Oregon. He appointed Dr. John McLoughlin chief factor, and directed him to establish a new, self-sufficient post on the north bank of the Columbia near the Willamette River.
    McLoughlin, sometimes called "the father of Oregon," and for whom our Mt. McLoughlin is named, was born in Quebec in 1784 of Irish, French-Canadian and Scottish descent. He had joined the North West Fur Company in 1803 as an apprentice surgeon, but decided he could advance more quickly as a trapper.
    By 1814 he was a partner in the company and helped instigate the merger with Hudson's Bay. His large frame, wild mane of white hair, dominating blue-gray eyes under thick, bushy brows commanded respect--as did his powerful voice and imposing manner. He was stubborn, easily angered and used to having his own way. Yet he was fair-minded, compassionate and known as a gracious host by both American and British visitors to Fort Vancouver, which he ruled like a feudal lord.
    The choice of a vigorous administrator such as McLoughlin enabled Simpson to carry out a policy which was political in nature. Since the British felt that they would not be able to hold the land south of the Columbia in the face of American expansion, Simpson decided on a policy of short-term profit and long-term political strategy.
    He directed McLoughlin to have his trappers literally hunt out the region south of the Columbia. They were to strip the streams bare of beaver, down to the last cub. His plan was to leave a "buffer zone," an area so barren of pelts that it would discourage American trappers from coming north into the region. Ultimately, Simpson's ruthless "scorched-earth" policy did not work, and it was the poor, furry, industrious Castor canadensis alone who suffered from this political gambit.
    In 1826 McLoughlin was finally ready to send out two large parties (or "brigades," as they were called) to trap and explore the unknown regions south of the Umpqua River.
    One, led by his assistant, Peter Skene Ogden, was to trap south along the Snake River in Eastern Oregon and Idaho, and then west along the Klamath. The other, under Alexander McLeod, was to trap down the coast in search of a "large river" which the Indians claimed to be only a few days' march south of the Umpqua.
    These brigades resembled large caravans. They contained 20 or 30 trappers (mostly French-Canadians), guides, hunters and often the men's Indian wives and children. Each trapper needed four horses or mules, bringing the total to over 100 animals.
    They went out for four to five months at a time, living largely off the land. Their major concerns were food and keeping the horses healthy. When food could not be found, it was their horses that kept the men healthy--by keeping them from starvation.
Brigades discover the Rogue Valley

    McLeod's brigade set out from Ft. Vancouver in October of 1826. For two months he and his men trapped and explored the mountains and streams around the lower Umpqua.
    Attached to the party was the 21-year-old botanist David Douglas, who had named the fir tree that bears his name today. He had heard from the Indians about huge pines that grew on the upper forks of the Umpqua and was determined to find them. After a number of misadventures he finally found the trees which he named Pinus lambertiana, or more commonly called "sugar pines."
    Both McLeod and Douglas agreed that for the most part the Indians south of the Umpqua were friendly. McLeod wrote to McLoughlin: The natives, or "children of nature," as he called them, "were well disposed toward strangers."
    Douglas wrote in his journal: "All the natives had never seen white men before, and viewed them narrowly, and with great curiosity. They were kind and hospitable in the extreme, assisting to kindle the fire and make the encampment."
    On November 7 Douglas returned to Ft. Vancouver, and McLeod took his men back down the Umpqua on another try at finding the "great river."
    Soon after New Year's Day, 1827, McLeod was following a well-established Indian footpath over rocky but not wooded country along the coast. Ten days later he reached the Elk River. The villagers there donned war garments instead of taking flight at his approach, but his signs and gestures of friendship won them over. They laid down their weapons and received their "tribute" of a few beads.
    He left them to hurry on to his "great river," which the Indians in that region called the "Tootonez." McLeod was tremendously disappointed with the Tootonez. It was no Columbia, nor was it the great mythical river explorers then believed rose out of the Great Salt Lake.
    He complained in his journal: "It falls far short of the description report has given in size and depth, for it does not exceed a quarter mile in breadth where we fell upon it about four miles from the sea. There are signs of beaver in the nearby creeks, but the natives here do not even know how to hunt them, so they did not have a single pelt to trade."
    Just as McLeod was about to backtrack up the coast, an Indian stole a small hatchet. When McLeod demanded either its return or payment, the headman gave him a hostage, explaining that the culprit had fled. McLeod made the best of a bad bargain by keeping the hostage for a time solely to impress "the damned rogues" (rascals) of his abhorrence of thievery. Thus, for the theft of a small hatchet, the river and the Indians got the name they could not shake, and which, in some ways, they were forced to live up to.
    Actually, it was a small scouting party that McLeod had sent out in December which was probably the first to arrive on the banks of the Rogue. This party of six men led by Michel Laframboise certainly trapped along the banks of Jumpoff Joe Creek, and probably, according to later reports, traded with the Takelma on the Rogue near present-day Grants Pass. However, the party left no account or impressions of its visit.
    Fortunately, Peter Ogden did keep extensive records. Three weeks after McLeod discovered the mouth of the Rogue, Ogden was leading his party over the Siskiyous from the south into the valley of the Little Applegate River. He was surprised and delighted with the warm weather (it was early February), green grass and oaks "double the size" he had ever seen.
    As soon as he had set camp, an Indian boldly entered his tent. He presented Ogden with a fresh salmon and a beaver skin. He told Ogden that his kinsmen had hunted all the beaver in the area but that there were plenty farther on.
    Since Ogden was familiar with the Shastan dialect from his dealings with the Klamaths, he was probably right in guessing that this was a band of Shastas which had crossed the mountains and settled in the valley. Their bearing, and the fact that they hunted and wore beaver skins, also suggests that they were not Applegate Athapascans or Latgawa Takelmas, who, as he would soon find, inhabited most of the valley.
    As Ogden worked his way downstream, the character of the Indians changed. Unlike the Shastas, it was apparent that most of them had never seen white men or horses before. Ogden complained that they were poorly clothed and "insolent," and that they "lurked around the camp."
    When one trapper met a trio of Indians, it was noted that they strung their bows and made signs for him to leave their land. The trapper fired a shot and they fled. The next morning Ogden found one horse killed and several wounded by arrows. He wrote in his journal: "They appear determined to oblige us to leave the country, and we are equally so not until we examine it farther."
    The brigade moved down the Applegate, trapping as it went, until it emptied into the Rogue, which it crossed. Ogden described the Indians there as "miserable-looking wretches." One night 50 of them assembled near the camp and asked for peace. Ogden gave them two dozen buttons, but they were so poor (according to Ogden) that they had nothing to offer in exchange except a dance, which they performed before leaving.
    Traveling north to Jumpoff Joe Creek, Ogden's party approached a village of about 100 Indians. They grabbed their children and possessions and fled into the hills. Ogden was amazed to find horse tracks along the creek.
    A few days later he met an Indian, who spoke Umpqua, who told him that six white trappers had already come and taken beaver. (This was McLeod's scouting party.) He also told him that the local Indians, probably Dagelma, traded beaver pelts and dentalium shells for axes and knives.
    Ogden decided to turn east overland to a river he was told was full of beaver. He tried to hire a guide, but the Indians ran from his approach. His men finally dragged in an unwilling candidate who was "wild and alarmed." They tried to get him onto a horse, an animal the Indian probably had never seen before, much less knew how to ride. He fell off so often, Ogden noted, that he finally had to tie him on and lead the horse himself.
    The guide did lead Ogden to the river he sought, which turned out to be another part of the Rogue. He crossed it near Big Butte Creek and worked his way down the south bank to the mouth of the Applegate and left the valley the way he had come.
    Ogden finally learned why the Indians fled at his approach and refused to act as guides. An old Indian informed him that news of the coming of the white man had spread through the valley, and that the pale strangers came not for beaver, but to enslave Indians.
    Ogden's assessment of the Indians of the Rogue Valley was that they were miserable and close to starvation. He decided that with all the deer around they must either be very inept hunters or lazy.
    With some compassion, he wrote: "It is distressing to see human beings suffer in this way while others are enjoying life. I have observed natives from dawn until evening employed in digging roots." It should be noted that he encountered the Indians at the end of winter, the time when their food supply was at its lowest.
    He does record a sad and curious incident, however. After his men had wounded a grizzly, a local Indian (who may have been the "guide" he had humiliated by tying to the horse) determined to prove Ogden wrong in his low opinion of them as hunters, asked to borrow an ax. Before the men could stop him, he rushed at the bear with his bow and ax. He was mauled to death.
    During the three months Ogden spent in the Rogue Valley he found it rich in grass, clover, timber and deer. His beaver catch, however, was disappointing, about 150 pelts. He came into contact with a large number of Indians and convinced them that the white men came in friendship and sought only beaver.
    Before leaving the Rogue River he sent a small party back to Ft. Vancouver north over the Umpqua Mountains, thereby completing the last link in the trail from the Columbia to the Klamath--what was to become the Oregon-California, or Siskiyou Trail.
    The Hudson's Bay Company continued to send one or more brigades annually through the Rogue Valley into California. These brigades never had serious trouble with the Rogues. The size and discipline of the brigades were protection enough. But more importantly, McLoughlin realized that the Indians were a valuable source of furs and guides, and insisted on a policy of dealing fairly and firmly with them. The trappers were instructed to avoid conflict at all cost--and were to always pay for anything they took.
    The smaller American trapping parties which came through were more vulnerable because of their size. But they themselves did little to help good relations.
    Since they were there usually only for a season, they saw no need to ensure future friendship. This is not to imply that the British and French-Canadians were more sympathetic or less racist than the Americans. The usually mild Ogden, exasperated by the tension of constantly having to be on guard, wrote: "We all know Indians are a treacherous, bloodthirsty set of beings." Angrily, he added: "The sooner the extermination system be introduced amongst them the better."
    McLeod and Ogden had opened up the Rogue Valley. It would take more than 25 years before Ogden's dire prophecy of an "extermination system" would come to pass.
    During the next 25 years the Indians of the valley watched the white man traveling back and forth, trespassing on their lands, but never staying.
    Any contact between the two peoples was temporary. The whites never stayed long enough to establish a basis of understanding. To whites the valley was just a "bad stretch of road," where they always had to be on guard against attacks by hostile Indians.
    Yet the initial response of the Indians, as we saw, was not uniformly hostile. It was to gradually change over time, but for the most part it depended on what band they belonged to, who the whites were and what they were doing.
    At times, the Indians were curious and friendly, often assisting as guides or in river crossings. Other times they were frightened. They would flee or revert to their time-honored techniques of harassment and intimidation to keep the white men moving away from their land.
    They must have envied the white man, his horses and cattle and traps, and felt that the theft of one was a small price for permitting strangers to pass through their land. Finally, after years of contact, the Indians of the Rogue Valley were deadly and effective warriors when forced into retaliation.
    For the white man this period was a time of exploration and discovery, of trail-blazing and road-building, and of incredible adventure and hardship as the frontier was opened for the thousands and thousands of Americans who would soon be moving westward.
    In 1828 the famous trapper and explorer Jedediah Smith led a party of 18 American trappers along the Northern California coast into Oregon. While camped at the mouth of the Umpqua River, a seemingly unimportant incident with the Indians over a stolen ax led to disaster for the party.
    On July 14 about a hundred Kelawatset Indians walked into the unguarded camp and killed 14 men. One man from the camp, along with Smith and two others who were away from the camp, escaped to Ft. Vancouver.
    Although it was just such a party as Smith's that Simpson and the company hoped to keep out of Oregon, McLoughlin treated Smith and his fellow survivors very well. As soon as he could, he sent McLeod out with a party to try to recover Smith's pelts and supplies.
    They did manage to recover most of them, but did not find the Indians responsible for the attack. McLoughlin bought Smith's pelts at a fair price, after subtracting the cost of the recovery party.
    During the next five years, brigades under McLeod, John Work and Michel Laframboise traveled the now-established Siskiyou Trail through the Rogue Valley. By 1833 it is estimated that over 250 whites had come through the valley. This was also the year of the disastrous malaria epidemic in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys which killed most of the Indians of that area.
    Whites traveling north into Oregon were often sick with the disease. The Indians of the Rogue Valley fortunately escaped its ravages. 1833 was also the year that another famous American trapper, Ewing Young, made his first trip to Oregon.
    With a small party he followed Smith's route up the coast to the Umpqua, then down through the Rogue Valley and back to California by way of Klamath Lake. This crusty old trapper from Tennessee would be back.
1834-1840: Hostilities increase

    In 1834 Young was in Los Angeles. Since profits from trapping were declining each year, he was looking for some other enterprise worthy of his mountaineering talents. In Monterey he met Hall J. Kelly, a New England schoolteacher who for years had been advocating the colonization of Oregon.
    Kelly was trying to put together a band of colonists and asked Young to be their guide. At first he declined the eccentric, greenhorn schoolmaster's proposition, but then decided that if Kelly was right about the richness of the Willamette Valley, it would be a good place to settle and start a stock ranch.
    Young bought 77 horses and in June set out with Kelly and five others. When they had been on the trail only a few days, nine men of questionable reputation asked to join the group along with their herd of horses, which both Young and Kelly knew were stolen.
    Kelly was against taking the rustlers on, but Young thought the extra hands would be useful in case of trouble. The "colonizers"--16 strong, and with 154 head of stock--set out. The motley group must have been a far cry from the hardy and wholesome colonists Kelly envisioned back in Boston!
    Kelly's fears concerning the men turned out to be right. They caused much more trouble than they prevented. Not far from Yerba Buena (San Francisco) three of the newcomers slipped into an Indian village from which the men were away and raped several young women, before helping themselves to whatever caught their fancy.
    The next day, the men from the village approached the party. Kelly, displaying considerable courage, boldly advanced toward them. Pointing to the guns of the men behind him, he desperately gestured for the Indians to leave before they were killed. After what seemed an interminable time to Kelly, the Indians and their proud-looking chief turned and slowly walked away. To Kelly's horror, two of his party followed the chief and killed him.
    The following day; Young found several of his horses killed by arrows. He was incensed. Later, while encamped on a river, seven Indians crossed into the camp bringing gifts of fresh salmon and pine nuts.
    One of Young's men asked: "Are these the ones from yesterday?" "No," said Kelly. "Yes," said Young, and the men opened fire, killing five as they still clutched their gifts. The other two were pursued into the river and killed. Young's mentality, born of years as a mountain man, was purely and simply: When in doubt concerning Indians, shoot first.
    The party moved north over the Siskiyous and down the Bear Creek Valley unmolested and without incident. Half the men, however, had come down with malaria. When they reached the Rogue River, Young decided to camp on an island as a measure of safety for his men and the herd.
    Two Indians, possibly Dagelma Takelmas, walked openly toward the camp. The two apparently friendly Indians said that they lived nearby. Young was afraid that the two visitors would report back to their tribe on the weakened condition of his party. He talked the situation over with a few of his men, and the matter was settled.
    Kelly was too horrified to write anything about it in his journal. But another of the party, Webley Hauxhurst, writing of the incident two years later, wrote: "The two young hunters were killed, their remains covered with rocks and brush, and then as soon as they (the Americans) could get away, they pursued their way northward to the Umpqua."
    Of course the Indians found the corpses of the missing hunters. Hauxhurst goes on to lay the responsibility for the future hostility of the Rogues squarely at Ewing Young's feet.
    "From then on," he wrote, "the Rogues considered it their special and legitimate vengeance to slay the traveling white men who they supposed were affiliated with these ruffians who so ruthlessly slew their brothers."
    He was probably right. It did not take long for the Rogues to retaliate. Inspired by Young's successful horse drive, but unaware of the legacy Young left behind on the island in the Rogue River, John Turner led a party of 14 Willamette settlers south on a cattle-buying expedition.
    For the eight years since Ogden had entered the valley, the Indians here did harass, steal and try to intimidate the whites, but there had been no outright attacks.
    Turner and his men were literally surprised by an ambush at the base of the Siskiyous, probably just past Ashland. The Indians killed 10 of the white men. Turner and four others escaped. This was the worst attack in terms of lives lost in Southern Oregon since the Umpquas attacked Smith's party in 1828. Oddly enough, Turner was one of the survivors of that attack!
    The next spring (1835) found the intrepid Turner in California where he and seven men formed a party to go to Oregon. One of these was Dr. William Bailey, a rough-hewn medic who had left home to escape the nagging of his mother and sisters about his drinking problem. He signed on a British ship and then jumped ship in California. He decided to go to Oregon with several other drifters who were also momentarily at loose ends.
    Miss J. Allen, a resident of the Willamette Valley, later described the makeup of the group thus: "Having selected no leader, and all aspiring to that honorable office, their journey was a continual scene of bickering and contention. At the first point of danger this lack of organization would not serve them well."
    The party was ambushed in the Siskiyous. Bailey, his face horribly gashed, struggled for 15 days through the Rogue Valley before reaching Ft. Vancouver. A few days later three more survivors arrived, including Turner (for the third time!).
    The year before, when Young arrived at Ft. Vancouver, he got an icy reception from McLoughlin, who had been informed by letter that Young's party included horse thieves. He branded Young a thief and forbade anyone connected with the company to do business with him.
    Young was infuriated by this application of "guilt by association," but could get nowhere with McLoughlin. He gave up his raving against the Chief Factor, pre-empted 50 square miles of the Chehalem Valley and established a successful ranch independent of the Hudson's Bay Company.
    In 1887, Navy Lt. William Slacum, who had been sent by the U.S. government to investigate the conditions of American settlers in the Willamette Valley, advised Young that the greatest need of the growing numbers of settlers was for cattle. The Americans formed the First Willamette Cattle Company and on Feb. 10, 1837, Young and 13 others sailed on Slacum's brig, the Loriot, to San Francisco to buy cattle.
    With the group were John Turner, Dr. Bailey and John Gay, three of the four survivors of the 1835 ambush in the Siskiyous. It is possible that they joined the party as much in the hope of a chance for revenge as for profit. .
    Young was able to buy some 800 cattle from the Mexican government. But to Young's distress, the cows were "wild, thirsty and half-starved." Before heading north the men had to make them "trail wise" and healthy. The drive, which took seven months, was a masterful feat. River crossings meant days of work. The long trek over the Siskiyous took an enormous amount of stamina on the part of the drovers to keep the tired herd moving.
    Near the Klamath River an Indian and a young boy walked into the camp and sat down. Gay shot the man and Bailey tried to shoot the boy, who escaped. They, along with Turner, justified the murder as revenge for the attack the three men had suffered two years prior.
    A violent argument broke out between them and some others who contended that the Indians couldn't possibly have been of the same tribe that had attacked them, and that the vengeful act had now placed the entire company in danger for the rest of the trip.
    Wisely, the men formed a truce among themselves and advanced very cautiously over the Siskiyous and through the Bear Creek Valley, aware at all times of Indians watching them from a distance.
    When they reached Rock Point on the Rogue River, a favorite ambush site of the Rogues, they were attacked from both sides. Gay was wounded in the back and a dozen cows were lost, but they drove through the ambush and arrived in the Willamette Valley with 630 of the 800 cattle they started with. The herd greatly bolstered the economy of the American settlers.
    Young died four years later, a comparatively rich man. Bailey gave up drinking, married a schoolteacher and settled down to a respectable life. John Turner, survivor of at least four Indian attacks, settled in semi-isolation with his Indian wife in a small house where he made his living as a butcher for the Methodist Mission.
    During the next eight years, five other parties followed in the hoofprints of the First Willamette Cattle Company, bringing over 5,000 head of stock through the Rogue Valley to the Willamette settlements.
    In 1841, an expedition of a different nature crossed the Rogue Valley. A 39-member detachment of the U.S. Geological Survey, commanded by Lt. George Emmons, set out to survey the region between the Columbia and Sacramento as to topography, geology, inhabitants, soils and natural resources.
    Before entering the Rogue Valley, Emmons had been warned repeatedly that the Indians were in an angry mood and were sure to cause trouble. Emmons maintained tight security in the well-founded belief that Indians preferred to attack only when they could surprise the whites.
    While camping along the Rogue the Indians made their presence known, but Emmons was careful to keep them from entering the camp. One night they kept the survey party up well past midnight with shouting and dancing across the river after one of Emmons' party had wounded an Indian dog.
    Sympathetically, Emmons wrote: "They doubtless swore eternal vengeance against our party and race. Poor fellows! I have none of this feeling towards them and if it would avail me anything, I could shed tears for their cruel destiny."
    When the party turned south through Bear Creek Valley, the scientists were distressed to find the valley filled with smoke from the fires the Indians were setting to facilitate their food gathering. The dense smoke not only limited visibility, but destroyed potential plant specimens.
    The party encountered surprisingly few Indians. As they reached the sulfur spring near Ashland, one of the botanists observed: "Indian signs were numerous, though we saw but one, a squaw who was so busy setting fire to the prairie and mountain ravines that she seemed to disregard us; her dress was a mantle of antelope or deer skin, and cup shaped cap, made of rushes. She had a large funnel shaped basket which they all carry to collect roots and seeds in."
    The growing number of American settlers and the arrival of the U.S. Survey Expedition essentially marked the end of any hopes Britain had for maintaining control of Oregon.
    McLoughlin saw the handwriting on the wall. Oregon was bound to fall to the aggressive Americans. In 1842, he and Simpson had a falling out. McLoughlin liked the Americans and argued for a policy of friendship and cooperation. Simpson detested them and insisted that the company continue to use its brigades as before, even though his policy of hunting out the beaver streams was finally having the effect of reduced profits for the company.
    McLoughlin was driven out of company service. He took out American citizenship and moved his family to Oregon City in 1843. The final years of "The Father of Oregon" were sad and bitter. The British accused him of being a traitor, and the Americans stupidly accused him of having caused the deaths of hundreds of Americans at the hands of the Indians. McLoughlin died on Sept. 3, 1857.
    Peter Skene Ogden remained in the service of the company until ill health forced his retirement in 1853. In 1848 he went to Washington to represent the financial interests of the company, which were yet to be settled under the Treaty of 1846 in which Britain ceded the land south of Puget Sound to the United States. He retired near Ft. Vancouver with his children, grandchildren and wife, Julia, to whom he had been devoted for over 30 years. She was his constant companion, even when he was on the trail, yet because he had promised his family he would only marry a white woman, he never married her or mentioned her name in official reports. Julia was a Nez Perce Indian. Ogden died on Sept. 27, 1854.
    In 1843 the Hudson's Bay Company sent out its last brigade through the Rogue Valley. The Siskiyou Trail became a road for cattle drovers and emigrants. In June of 1845 one such party of 40 emigrants, led by mountain man James Clyman, traveled through the valley into California. One of the members of the party was James W. Marshall, who three years later discovered gold at Sutter Creek [the discovery was on the American River], which set off one of the most remarkable eras in the history of the United States and Oregon.
    The party was impressed by the snow-capped Mt. McLoughlin to the east. Clyman surveyed Table Rock and correctly assumed that the Indians used it as a "place of safety in seasons of danger." They passed along Bear Creek, climbed the Siskiyous, and as Clyman expressed it, "soon had a view of the country from the summit which was wild and awfully sublime."
    Eighteen years after the arrival of the first white man, the Rogue Valley was still relatively untouched. The Takelma still held their hunting and fishing grounds intact. There were no white settlements in the valley.
    The only natural resource which was exploited was the beaver, which were not highly valued by the Takelma. The Indians had gained a little; they now had horses, metal implements and perhaps a few guns. The whites were enemies, but hostilities were restricted to a single skirmish or battle and then they were gone.
    In 1846, one year after Clyman looked down on the "wild and awfully sublime" valley, an event took place which was to eventually change this. A second road was cut into the valley, which would be traveled not by men looking for furs, but by families looking for land.
    Land settlement on a large scale had begun in the Willamette Valley three years earlier. In 1842 Congress passed a bill promising 640 acres of free land to any white immigrant to Oregon. In 1843 the first wagon train, containing almost 900 people, arrived by way of the Oregon Trail. By 1845 over 3,000 more white settlers had moved into Oregon. [The Donation Land Claim Act was passed in 1850. It had been preceded by the Preemption Act of 1841, but at that time Oregon was not yet a U.S. territory.]
    The last stages of the Oregon Trail were very hazardous. It involved crossing the almost impassable Northern Cascades and then rafting the wagons down the Columbia Gorge to the Willamette. Jesse and Lindsay Applegate had been in the 1843 train and had each lost a son when the rafts overturned on the river. They were determined to find a safer route which would come in from the south.
    In June of 1846 they left their homes in the Willamette Valley and along with Levi Scott and 12 other men traveled south along the now-familiar Siskiyou Trail. [The June expedition was the second attempt; the first, earlier that year, was led by Levi Scott and didn't include the Applegate brothers.] They crossed the Rogue near present-day Grants Pass, moved upstream near Central Point, then turned south along Bear Creek through the future sites of Medford, Phoenix and Ashland, where they camped on Emigrant Creek.
    Rather than taking the usual trail over the Siskiyous, they headed east. They discovered a pass over the Greensprings Summit, close to where Highway 66 now crosses. They followed Keene Creek down the other side, found places to ford the Klamath and Lost rivers and joined up with the original Oregon Trail in Idaho.
    Greatly pleased with their success, Jesse Applegate arrived at Fort Hall with glowing descriptions of the new route. Nearly 100 wagons decided to try the trail, leaving in early August. Scott and David Goff guided the train while the Applegates and others went ahead to cut brush and clear the trail.
    The participants of this historic event did not find the going easy and undoubtedly began to question the wisdom of their choice as well as the sanity of their leaders.
    Near the Humboldt River, attacks from Digger Indians with poisoned arrows took their toll of both cattle and immigrants. ["Digger" has since been recognized as a slur; the natives were probably Piutes.] Some hills were so steep that it required all of the train's oxen to pull a single wagon to the summit. Trail sickness, a barren desert, the sharp rocks of the lava beds cutting the hooves of the animals, and constant raids of Pit River, Klamath and Modoc Indians all slowed progress. Food supplies ran low and the train became widely scattered.
    The first wagons reached the Rogue Valley on Oct. 9, but stragglers were days behind. The train traveled slowly through the valley in order to regain its strength and to allow the others to catch up before attempting the crossing of the Umpqua and Calapooya mountains. But many lingered too long in the valley and by the time they started up twisting Canyon Creek, torrential rains had made it almost impassable. Winter was setting in.
    A 14-year-old girl named Martha Crowley died and was buried beneath an oak tree. After filling the grave, horses and oxen were corralled about the tree to pack the earth and hide the location from the Indians to prevent their stripping the body of its clothing.
    The Indians did find the grave, salvaged the clothing and placed the body in the limbs of the tree, where it was found and reburied by California-bound prospectors two years later. The name of Grave Creek was given to this area and still remains so, despite efforts later settlers made to change it.
    Throughout November and December, members of the party fought their way down the canyon. Wagons were abandoned. Many died of shock and exposure. Twelve families remained stranded on the trail and survived only with the aid of food and supplies sent to them by settlers in the Willamette Valley.
    Less than half of the party reached the Willamette, and the route was bitterly denounced by Governor Abernathy in a letter circulated in 1847. Nevertheless, two more parties were led successfully over the Applegate Trail in the next two years, but by then an event had occurred that would accelerate the settlement of the West and the Rogue Valley in a dizzyingly short period of time--the discovery of gold.

The Morning News, Central Point, March 10, 1979

Part Four:
Gold Miners, Jacksonville
and the First War with the Indians

California gold changed the Rogue Valley
By Carl Bondinell

    On Aug. 1, 1848 the schooner Honolulu, bound from California, sailed into the Columbia River and docked at the small town of Portland. The captain quietly proceeded to load the vessel with provisions and all the mining equipment he could buy.
    Before setting sail, he displayed a sack of gold dust and broke the news of the discovery of gold in California. Any doubts Oregonians had were dispelled a week later when a second ship arrived from California and confirmed the news.
    Gold fever struck as the news spread rapidly among the eight to 10 thousand inhabitants of the Willamette Valley. During the next three months an estimated two-thirds of the male population of Oregon set out for California. Work stopped, fields were left unharvested, newspapers were suspended and the provisional government was unable to secure a quorum for its meeting. 
    The men of the Willamette quickly formed their parties. In late August John Ross led 37 men to California in 14 days. Another group which left in August stopped on the way to pan in the Applegate River. One of the party was Lindsay Applegate, for whom the river was later named. In September, Peter Burnett resigned his office as Chief Justice of Oregon and led a train of 50 wagons and 150 men to the gold fields in California.
    Since most of the Oregonians were settlers with families, many returned from California after only a few months. They brought back enough gold to get their farms out of debt or set up businesses.
    The influx of gold also provided Oregon with a medium of.exchange to replace beaver pelts or bushels of wheat. One estimate set the average brought back by each man at $1,500--or a total of two and a quarter million dollars' worth of gold in six months.
    More important in the long run than the quick riches of gold was the fact that Oregon farmers and merchants now had a large market for their products and services. Supplying the miners was an economic boon for Oregon.
    The centers of trade also shifted. Before 1848 Oregon City was the largest town on the Pacific Coast, while Portland was comparatively insignificant. With the sudden increase of shipping, Portland, with its greater accessibility for ships, replaced Oregon City as a flourishing port.
    During the three years from 1848 to 1850 the number of people passing through the Rogue Valley increased drastically. These new travelers, miners and packers, with their long strings of pack animals loaded with supplies, and their minds mostly on the future riches that awaited them at the end of the trail, became easy targets for the Takelma Indians, for whom stealing from trespassing whites had become an accepted part of life.
    They discovered that sometimes they were even able to lead gullible miners far off the trail with stories of glittering rocks lying everywhere in a stream bed.
    In October of 1849, the territorial governor of Oregon, Joseph Lane, stated in his report to the Indian Commissioner that there were between 700 and 800 Indians living in the Rogue Valley.
    He went on to write: "They are warlike and roguish and have lately given much trouble to our people returning from the mines, killing and robbing. They have got several thousand dollars in gold dust, many horses and some guns."
    In the spring of 1850, one such group of successful miners returning from California was attacked by the Takelma as they camped on the Rogue River near Rock Point.
    When the men fled into the brush, the Indians took what they wanted from the camp, including several bags of gold dust. When the angry miners reached the Willamette, they asked Lane, who had just retired as territorial governor, to help them recover their gold.
    General Lane, a hero of the war with Mexico, happened to be leaving for California to try his own luck at mining. He enlisted 15 men and 11 Klickitat Indians to go with him to the Rogue River to recover gold and draw up a treaty. This was the first government action in the Rogue Valley.
    Lane made camp at the mouth of Bear Creek near Table Rock and sent invitations to all the neighboring bands. Two days later about 75 unarmed Upland, or Latgawa Takelma and their headman, Aps-er-ka-har ("Horse Rider") arrived at the conference.
    Soon afterwards, another 75 Indians armed with bows showed up and stood at a distance from the camp. Lane was careful to make sure Aps-er-ka-har remained well within the conference circle. Then he induced the new group to sit down and join the proceedings.
    Speaking through an interpreter, Lane paced up and down, gesticulating as he spoke, explaining that white man's laws now extended over the Indians' land and that the attacks and thefts must stop and all stolen property be returned.
    When it was Aps-er-ka-har's turn to speak, he called loudly to the group of armed Indians, who jumped to their feet shouting and brandishing their weapons.
    Lane was prepared for such a possible double-cross. At his signal the Klickitat chief instantly threw the headman to the ground and held a knife at his throat. This had an immediate effect. The Indians quieted down and at the request of their embarrassed headman, they left, promising to return in two days.
    While Lane waited, he got to know his hostage headman and his wife, who had voluntarily joined him. He promised Aps-er-ka-har that an Indian agent would reside in the region and that "gifts" would be given them each year the treaty was observed. The headman was so impressed with the bearing and courage of Lane that he asked to take his name. Lane agreed and "Horse Rider" became known as "Joe."
    Most of the headmen of the valley soon adopted or were given English names, mostly for the convenience of the whites. Joe's brother, who was headman of a band that lived in the next valley, became "Sam."
    Today, Sams Valley is the only place in the area to be named for an Indian. The headman whose band lived on Little Butte Creek was known as "Jim," and his cousin on Big Butte Creek was named "Jake." The head of the Applegate band was known as "John," and the Grave Creek headman was named "Taylor."
    The most feared headman was "Tipsu Tyee," head of the Costa Shastas on the upper Applegate. Commonly called "Tipsy," this fine-looking man with a graying beard was a loner who kept his own counsel, which gave him the reputation for unpredictability. Two other headmen closely associated with him were "Sambo" and "Sullix."
    In two days Joe's and Sam's men returned to Lane's camp bringing several stolen items, but not the gold. They explained that they had dumped it into the river because they wanted only the fine leather pouches. A provisional agreement was signed. Joe and his fellow headmen had found a white man they could admire, and perhaps trust. Lane left for California and Joe retired to await the benefits of this first "treaty" of the Rogue Valley.
    No agent came. No gifts were delivered. Joe and his people watched as still more and more white men passed through their lands, killing deer and elk and overturning gravel in stream beds which destroyed Indian fishing sites as they went.
    In the spring of 1851 gold was discovered on the Shasta and Scott rivers in Northern California. Thousands of miners headed north from the Sacramento Valley to Scott's Bar, then fanned out along the Shasta, Trinity and Klamath rivers, an area well-populated by the Shasta Indians, who tried to resist the invasion. But there were too many white men. The mining towns of Shasta City and Yreka grew overnight. The wave of white miners was pressing on the borders of the Rogue Valley.
    On May 15, 1851, three packers and two supposedly friendly Indians were camped on Bear Creek near present-day Phoenix. During the night the Indians took the only gun in the party, killed one man and fled with the mules and packs. When the two survivors reached Yreka, a company of 30 volunteers was raised to avenge the murder.
    The miners rode over the Siskiyous into the Rogue Valley, shot two Indians and seized four hostages--two men and two women. They returned to the Klamath River where they rode up and down for another two weeks killing Indians as they went.
    The murderous activities of the volunteers which took place on both sides of the Siskiyous was surely known to the Takelma. For this, or perhaps some other reason, Joe and his bands decided to strike back.
    During the first three days of June, five separate pack trains, numbering between four and 37 people each, were all attacked by the Takelma. Over 75 whites were involved, with one battle lasting over four hours. Four whites and perhaps a dozen Indians died. The Takelma made off with a large number of mules and many supplies.
    When the news of these attacks reached the Willamette Valley, Lane decided to take action. He wrote to Governor Gaines that such attacks "will cut off our trade with the mines, kill many whites and seriously injure the prospects and interests of the people of this territory."
    Lane, who had business in California, volunteered to return to the Rogue and draw up another treaty. Just prior to the attacks, Oregon's representative in Washington [had] recommended the withdrawal of all army troops from the territory, claiming that they were "no longer necessary."
    Major Philip Kearny, who was already on his way to California with 28 troops from Ft. Vancouver in compliance with the order, decided to stop at the Rogue on the way and teach the Takelma a lesson.
    A few miles up the Rogue River from Table Rock, Kearny was attacked. [Kearny initiated hostilities.] A Captain Stuart was killed and two others wounded before the Indians escaped, leaving 17 dead. Kearny, determined to defeat them, sent to Yreka for 30 volunteers.
    These two groups fought another battle which lasted for four hours and only ended when the Takelma were able to escape in the darkness. Meanwhile, Lane and his volunteers arrived. Then they searched the river for the retreating Indians. At Sardine Creek, Kearny captured 30 women and children whom he took with him to California. [The regulars and volunteers spent the next ten days hunting for more Indians to murder, burning their deserted villages and destroying their winter food stores.]
    Lane estimated that at least 50 Indians had been killed or wounded in the 10 days of warfare. This was the first time the Takelma engaged a regular army unit and were surprised and impressed by its clearly superior firepower. Lane left for his mine at Yreka. By the time Governor Gaines arrived with an escort of 15 men, both Kearny and Lane were gone, and he could do nothing to clean up matters until the hostages were returned.
    Kearny refused to bring them back. Fortunately, when Lane finished his business he went to Kearny's camp near Yreka and relieved him of the hostages, which were becoming an embarrassment to the major. On July 7 Lane returned the women and children to the Takelma. Gaines got them to renew their pledges which they had made to Lane the year before. Eleven headmen representing about 100 warriors set their mark to the treaty. The bands of the upper and lower Applegate, and of Grave Creek, did not attend.
    Two months later, Lane's year-old promise to Joe was made good. Judge Alonzo Skinner was appointed Indian agent and took up residence in September on Bear Creek near Willow Springs, a few miles north of present-day Central Point. [Most scholars place his cabin on Bear Creek within present-day Central Point.]
    Skinner was a conscientious man and was sympathetic to the Indians' problems. He believed they would surely behave if they were treated fairly. In less than a year he was to resign, not because he had lost influence with the Indians, but because he could not control the white miners who were bent on continuing their killing ways.
    In the fall and winter of 1851 the first permanent white settlements were established in the Rogue Valley. Before Skinner took up his donation claim (640 acres of free land), there were only three other permanent houses. These were built by the men who ran the ferries across the Rogue River.
    The first was built by Joel Perkins three miles west of Grants Pass. (A year later he sold it to a man named Vannoy. It was the most heavily used of the river crossings.) The second was built at the mouth of Evans Creek by Davis Evans, and a third by a man named Bills, who ceased operating his ferry a year later when he was arrested for inciting the Indians in Sams Valley. [Worthington Bills is not known to have ever operated a ferry.]
    Skinner's interpreter, Chesley Gray, built a house on an adjoining claim to fulfill the legal requirements of a donation, but preferred to live with Skinner. N. C. Dean and Moses Hopwood filed claims at Willow Springs soon after. Samuel Colver filed a claim on the present site of Phoenix, and in December, Stone and Poytz filed on Wagner Creek. By New Year's Day 1852 there were 28 men living in the valley.
    Although the Takelma had lost quite a few men in the fighting during the year, they still controlled most of the valley. The 28 settlers took their claims some distance from the Takelma villages and presented no real threat.
Lost mules lead to a gold strike

    In only one year this situation was to change radically. As far as the Indians were concerned, the worst happened: Two packers accidentally discovered a rich deposit of gold in a small stream a few miles [west] of Bear Creek. In one year the population of the valley jumped from 28 to over 2,000!
    In January, 1852, James Clugage was carrying supplies from Scottsburg to Yreka. While camped near Table Rock two of his mules wandered off. Clugage trailed them west along a steam later called Jackson Creek. Near where the stream left the hills, the packer found gold. [There are dozens of versions of the gold discovery story, no two of which agree.] The strike was so rich that he and his partner, [James] Poole, were later said to have averaged 100 ounces of dust and nuggets per day.
    The two men staked their claim, which they named "Rich Gulch." They hurried on to Yreka where they bought equipment, saying not a word about their find. Whether they were followed, or whether they simply could not keep their good fortunes from being written on their faces for other miners in Yreka to read, within two months they were joined by over 1,000 men.
    By February all of the gulch had been staked and miners fanned out into the surrounding hills and ravines. The residences of the miners' tents, bark shelters or simply a blanket thrown over a manzanita bush popped up all over.
    In February Appler and Kenny, two enterprising Yreka merchants, set up the first store in a tent. They sold tools, rough clothing, tobacco and lots of whiskey. W. W. Fowler built the first log cabin at the west end of Main Street. By the summer, the town was surveyed, Oregon and California streets were laid out and soon were lined with a dozen or more structures common to all mining towns.
    Writing 30 years later, A. G. Walling gives us this picturesque description of Jacksonville in the summer of '52: "Clapboard houses, with real sawed doors and window frames, began to rise among the tents; the little, busy town emerged from the chrysalis state, and before the end of summer assumed an air of solidity…with this came a marked change in the social structure. Gamblers, courtesans, sharpers of every kind, the class that struck prosperous mining camps like a blight, flocked to the new El Dorado. Saloons multiplied beyond necessity; monte and faro games were in full blast, and the strains of music allured the 'honest miner,' and led his feet into many a dangerous place, where he and his treasure were soon parted."
    In June, a correspondent of the Oregonian described Jacksonville as "composed of tents, sheds, shanties and frail houses of split lumber." He estimated the population of the town to be about 150 and the number of miners in a five-mile radius as between 1,500 to 2,000. By September the peak of the rush to Jacksonville was over. The nature of the deposits around Jackson Creek were such that many claims were quickly mined out. Miners scattered. Bar mining was begun on the Rogue. Scott's Bar and other diggings around Yreka were still paying handsomely, as were the new mines on the Trinity River. In Oregon, the diggings at Althouse Creek were yielding heavily. This was strong competition for Jacksonville.
    Yet the new town avoided the fate of becoming just another "ghost town" for a number of reasons. It was not a hunting ground of Indians. It was a convenient supply center, located as it was at a good stopping point on the road from the Willamette Valley to Yreka, and later, to Crescent City. It had a pleasant, sheltered location.
    And finally, when the Oregon Legislature established Jackson County in January, it named Jacksonville as the county seat, thus helping the town in its battle for permanence. [The Legislature created Jackson County on paper roughly at the same instant gold was discovered--almost certainly unaware of the discovery. The county wasn't organized politically until March 7, 1853.]
    During the summer most of the families that arrived took donation claims all along the Bear Creek Valley from Emigrant Creek to the Rogue River. As early as January, R. B. Hargadine and Pease claimed a donation near the sulfur springs at the south end of the valley. A week later seven other men arrived and began to build houses. Four of them then started construction on a sawmill which was completed in June and named "Ashland Sawmill" in honor of A. D. Helman's former home in Ashland, Ohio.
    The winter of 1852-53 was a hard one for the inhabitants of the Rogue River--settlers, miners and Indians. In early November the snows began to pile up in the passes and soon the valley was cut off from supplies. The price of flour rose to a dollar a pound and that of tobacco a dollar an ounce. The supply of salt ran out completely.
    Several men crossed the Siskiyous on snowshoes and returned from Yreka with a small quantity of salt, which was sold at exorbitant prices. In spring, when the passes finally cleared, a local merchant met a pack train outside of Jacksonville and purchased the entire shipment of 250 pounds of salt for $8 per pound.
    When the miners learned of the transaction they gathered at a mass meeting and passed a resolution regulating the price. No one was allowed to buy more than one pound or be charged more than $16 a pound.
A shooting in Jacksonville

    Although Jacksonville had all the earmarks of a wild frontier boomtown, historians agree that there was very little crime. Two cases are reported in 1852, a murder and a breach of contract. In the first, a gambler named Brown shot a miner named Pike. A hastily assembled jury found Brown guilty, hanged him from an oak tree near the present site of the Presbyterian Church and buried him under another oak tree not far away.
    What happened was this: Brown had been a miner and had gotten sick. Unable to work his claim he turned to gambling and was doing pretty well at it. After a few drinks, Pike began casting aspersions at Brown concerning his manhood and parentage. Since gamblers were never very popular among miners, Brown found little support among those gathered in the saloon.
    He went home and returned with a gun concealed in his shirt. He dared Pike to repeat what he had said. Pike was only too glad to oblige. Whereupon Brown shot him, explaining that since he was too sick to fight for the honor of his mother, that was his only defense. [The man's name was Platt or Plott. I've never found a version calling him "Pike."]
    Some were for hanging him right away, but cooler heads prevailed and Brown was tied up to await proper trial. Soon after the shooting Pike's widow showed up in town with her three children. This did little to help Brown's case, which was concluded after a short trial the next day.
    The second case is more illuminating as an instance of "frontier justice," since it dealt with the sanctity of partnership. Sims and Sprenger were partners in a claim. Sims went north with their joint assets to buy supplies for the winter while Sprenger stayed to work the claim. But Sprenger injured himself and could not work. [Memoirs by two of the lawyers survive, but disagree on the specifics of the case.]
    When Sims returned, he broke off their partnership and turned the now useless Sprenger out of the cabin without a dime. Sprenger got a fellow miner, Daniel Kenny, to represent him in a suit against Sims heard before the justice of the peace, Rodgers. Kenny argued well, but in vain since Sims had bribed the justice, who dismissed the case and rejected Kenny's request for appeal.
    Winter was coming and Sprenger was desolate. He had no resources and could not work. He learned that a miner by the name of Paine Page Prim was a lawyer and sought him out. Partnership was a sacred trust in the mines and equity had been violated by Rodgers' decision, so Prim agreed to see Kenny and discuss a possible course of action.
    The two decided that in the absence of a higher court of appeal they would create one, which would be nothing more or less than the entire population of Jacksonville. A notice for a meeting was posted and Sprenger visited several claims and camps nearby, urging all to attend. His case was well known and stronger appeal was not needed. The next morning over 1,000 people gathered at the meeting site.
    Rodgers was called to answer charges of malfeasance, but he refused to appear. The "court," which had already elected a judge, a clerk and had empaneled a jury, then called Sims. A promising young lawyer named Jacobs (who later became Chief Justice for Washington) argued the case for Sims, concentrating on the finer points of law. Kenny and Prim argued for Sprenger, emphasizing the less fine points of simple justice.
    The verdict came quickly, but the decision as to what to do with Sims and Rodgers took some time. Here were 1,000 miners who suddenly realized that they had the power to do whatever they wanted. Some wanted to hang both; some wanted to hang one, but it was not unanimous which one. Finally Sims was freed upon making full restitution of Sprenger's rights.
    With Sims freed, the crowd turned its wrath on Rodgers. They would hang him. As the crowd surged forward, Kenny, Jacobs and Prim begged them desperately not to spoil the day's work in the name of justice with such a foul deed. Happily, they succeeded. Rodgers' life was spared on the condition that he would resign. Which he did. The people had spoken; justice had triumphed. The miners expressed satisfaction with the civilized nature of the proceedings and returned to their claims.
    In spite of, or because of, the great influx of settlers into the Rogue Valley in 1852, there was very little trouble between the whites and Indians that year.
    Agent Skinner's first contact with the Takelma left him with a favorable impression. He wrote to his superior, Anson Dart: "From what I have seen of these Indians I am satisfied that by exercise of a little forbearance and discretion on the part of the whites, any further difficulties may be avoided." He reported that the Table Rock bands under Joe and Sam had every intention of honoring the treaty they signed in July. These headmen, Skinner wrote, "appear entirely friendly and have sufficient intelligence to see that neither they nor their people have anything to gain by hostility." He added that the white settlers he had met were also disposed to follow a course of peace."
    However, settlers began to take claims on the north side of the Rogue River, land that had been set aside for the Indians in the treaty they had signed with Governor Gaines. [Gaines' 1851 treaty did not create a reservation, nor was it authorized or ratified by Congress.] Skinner protested, but the new settlers refused to move. The Indians felt that the promises were being broken, but did nothing.
    Peace continued in the valley until early summer. The trouble began with a murder of a miner on the Scott River in California and a minor land dispute near present-day Gold Hill, which Skinner could have easily settled if conditions had not gotten beyond his control.
    After the murder of the miner in California, a band of volunteers led by Elisha Steele was raised to find the Indians responsible, whom the miners believed were members of Tipsu Tyee's Applegate band. With one Indian prisoner already in hand, the Yreka men crossed the Siskiyous and took another prisoner in the area near Ashland.
    A few days before this, Skinner was called upon to settle a dispute between a white settler named Ambrose and Sam's band. The Indians had killed some cattle belonging to Ambrose, claiming the beef as payment for the land Ambrose took from them. Ambrose claimed that he bought it from another white man. Skinner succeeded in settling the dispute, but after he left, Sam offered Ambrose a trade: two Indian children and a horse for Ambrose's two-year-old daughter.
    This generous offer, which was a common practice among the Takelma, obviously struck Ambrose as being a bit too bizarre for comfort. Fearful that Sam might press his case harder, Ambrose rushed off to Jacksonville for help. A company of volunteers was immediately formed under John Lamerick and set off for the Ambrose place. Skinner succeeded in persuading them to hold off doing anything until he could talk to Sam.
    Skinner selected a conference site near a large gravel bar in the Rogue River below Table Rock. He got the 75 volunteers from Jacksonville to stack their arms and persuaded about 20 Indians to join the meeting.
    At this point, Steele and his Yreka volunteers rode up with their two prisoners, still looking for the Indians responsible for the murder on Scott River. Skinner asked Steele to have his men stack their arms and turn over the prisoners they had taken in Skinner's jurisdiction. Steele refused.
    Naturally, Joe and Sam refused to cross the river to the conference site for negotiations unless these conditions were met. Skinner crossed over to them and tried one last time to get the two headmen to the meeting anyway. While Skinner was talking he looked back and saw the Yreka men seize the weapons of the Indians who had assembled.
    As he rushed back across the river, one of the Yreka men, believing that one of the prisoners was trying to escape, shot the young man in the head at close range; killing him instantly. The Indians ran for the far bank and the volunteers opened fire, killing at least four. Skinner threw up his hands in disgust.
    The volunteers broke up into small parties, and raising the cry of "extermination!" rode off to clean the Indians out of their villages. The next day Lamerick's men attacked a village at the mouth of Evans Creek.
    They succeeded in killing several women. Two days later Skinner was able to contact Sam and establish peace. He reported that the acts of the volunteers were without cause and that the murder in California was committed by Indians of that region, not the Takelma, who were trying their best to live up to the treaties they signed.
    A few days later, on Sunday, July 25, a public dinner was held at Table Rock to honor Captain Lamerick and his volunteers for their heroic campaign. [The dinner was held at the town of Table Rock--i.e., Jacksonville.] Twenty-two women and over 100 men attended. They rose to the following toast: "In behalf of those who contributed to this dinner--may your generous acts on this occasion be honored throughout the valley…and may you live to see the time when the Indians of the Rogue River are extinct." [The toast quoted was one of many.]
    In August Skinner took a census of all the bands of Indians living in the Rogue Valley. The results of the census suggest how close the Indians actually were to becoming extinct. Skinner counted 406 men, 443 women and 305 children.
    For those who survived the severe winter, the spring of 1853 was a time of great activity. Gold was still to be found around Jacksonville. The spring runoff of water enabled miners to sift through as much dirt and gravel as they could dig. For most of the settlers in the Bear Creek Valley this was the first full season for planting and harvesting. Springtime was the time for planting. For the Indians, spring was the time that the spirits caused the salmon to run, the camas bulbs and acorns to grow; a time when deer wandered through berry patches and fields of tarweed.
    This year the spirits who had provided the Indian with his food year after year for centuries failed him. Miners overturned gravel bars and flooded rivers with mud. The salmon no longer ran in the Rogue River. The hogs ate the acorns. The cattle trampled the camas bulbs. White hunters killed off the deer. Farmers fenced in the fields of tarweed.
    In the summer of 1853, the 20-odd years of sporadic conflicts between the Indians and the whites turned into a deadly struggle for survival.
The Morning News, Central Point, March 17, 1979

Part Five:

Mrs. America Butler writes of 1853

By Carl Bondinell

    In many ways the year 1853 determined the character and future of the Rogue Valley. During this year, gold mining continued to provide a livelihood for hundreds of men. Merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen found a market for their goods and services. The town of Jacksonville attained an air of permanence and respectability.
    Doctors, lawyers and clergymen settled there. The first school and church was established to fulfill the educational and religious needs of the settlers. In the rich bottom land, farms flourished.
    For the Indians of the Rogue Valley the year 1853 marked the beginning of the end of any hope they had of remaining on their ancestral lands. Their food supply was permanently destroyed by the miners and farmers. The year ended with a series of murders and battles which cost many lives and forced most of the Indians to agree to live within the confines of a small reservation, dependent on the whites for food and protection.
    Since this year is so important and rich in historical data, we will depart from the usual description of events and try to get a picture of what the life of the early settler was like on a day-to-day basis. The settlers faced many problems other than the Indians. Their fields had to be planted, weeded, irrigated and harvested. Their stock had to be kept from wandering off. Their house and clothes had to be kept clean. They had to face the very human problems of drudgery, sickness, loneliness and, as we shall see, what to do when one needed a dentist.
    During 1853 hundreds of farmers moved into the valley and took out claims. The Donation Land Act provided that settlers would be given 320 acres of land if single, and 640 acres if married, one-half to the husband and one-half to the wife in her own right.
    The marriage clause undoubtedly had a striking effect on the marital status of many Oregonians. Although California also had donation claims, these were more difficult to obtain than in Oregon, because of conflicts with previous Spanish land grants. For this reason, many farmers originally headed for California came to the Rogue Valley. The valley was being claimed so rapidly that one man, arriving in September, complained that he had difficulty finding a claim.
    In 1852 Ashmun J. Butler and his wife, America, left their home in Illinois to go west on a wagon train. They spent the winter of 1852-53 in Yreka and in February, tempted by the ease of making land claims in Oregon, moved into the Rogue Valley. They took out a claim and built a house on Bear Creek, probably somewhere between Medford and Central Point.
    The Butler household and farm was a typical pioneer establishment. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Butler, the household contained relatives and single men who boarded and worked as farm hands. The 27-year-old Mrs. Butler kept a daily diary, and it is through her eyes that we will try to create a picture of the life of a typical settler in the Rogue Valley.
Friday, May 20, 1853.
    "Rogue River Valley. Pleasant weather--alternating sunshine, clouds and showers. Mr. Butler is breaking prairie. Cousin John and John Chatfield are hoeing potatoes. As to myself, I am maid of all trades, sweeping, dusting, churning, ironing, baking bread and pies, dishwashing etc."
Monday, May 23.
    "The men are weeding the garden. Fine growing weather. Hope to raise a great many vegetables as we anticipate a large emigration this year."
Tuesday, May 24.
    "Quite a number of pack trains this week for Yreka. Three today. Provisions cheap."
Wednesday, May 25.
    "All hands busily employed and our crop looks very flourishing."
Friday, May 27.
    "This is dreaded washing day. I finish by noon, then scrub in the afternoon. Feeling quite tired. I must get supper for the men (who) have worked hard today and must be hungry."
    Her next entry shows that summers in the valley have not changed much in over a hundred years.
Saturday, June 4.
    "Oh! This is one of the warm days. The heat is almost intolerable in the shade. The men are in the fields. I bake and iron and darn. Nothing of any particular note today."
    Farmers found the land in the valley good for most crops. The dry summers made irrigation necessary for produce, which included vegetables, potatoes and melons. Wheat, oats and barley did well; corn, not so well because of the cool nights. Cattle and other stock thrived.
    Whereas there was more than enough work to be done on the Butler farm, in Jacksonville miners had a different problem. Their claims were too dry to work. With time on their hands they entertained themselves as best they could and turned their minds to other matters--chiefly, what to do about the Indians.
    By now, however, Jacksonville had become more politically organized and socially refined, according to Mrs. Butler's diary.
Monday, June 6.
    "(Today) is the day of election. The first one ever held in this county. Much excitement is the result. I am alone all day. Suffer intolerably with the heat."
    It should be remembered that it was to be many more years before women were eligible to vote.
Tuesday, June 7.
    "Another long pack train yesterday. Loaded mostly with flour. Miners at Jacksonville doing well. Business pretty lively."
Wednesday, June 8.
    "This is the day of the Grand Dedication Ball in Jacksonville. Mr. Butler and I have at last yielded our consent to go." [The ball was to dedicate the new hotel, the Robinson House.]
Thursday, June 9.
    "The Ball is at last over. I am home once more. Oh! what an assemblage of beauty and soft nothings. The Ball was well attended. All the youth and beauty of Jacksonville and the surrounding country were present. Our supper was splendid. It reflected honor on the house and its proprietor, Dr. Robinson."
Friday, June 10.
    "Second day after the party. I have hardly recovered from the effects of it yet. Have been in bed most of the day with headache and toothache. Think if I had the company of some lively female acquaintance I would feel better."
    Mrs. Butler evidently enjoyed herself at the Ball. It was held in the largest building in Jacksonville, a hotel built by Dr. Jesse Robinson on the site of the present-day U.S. Hotel.
    Mrs. Butler was also pleased to discover that so many refined women were living in the valley and was perhaps feeling the loneliness of being the only woman in a household of three or four men. All too soon, the Ball is over and life on the farm goes on:
Saturday, June 11.
    "Washing day. A dreaded day always, but particularly today for I do not feel as well as usual."
Sunday, June 12.
    "This is Sunday morning. I attend to my domestic duties which are a thousand and one. Arrange my hair and sit down with my Bible to read. But I am interrupted by Mr. McEntyre and Lupton. They take dinner with us."
Monday, June 13.
    "Warmer today than usual. Cousin John is preparing to go to Yreka. Mr. Butler and Taylor are irrigating. I as usual am attending to the household duties. My tooth gives me great trouble."
Wednesday, June 15.
    "Cousin John leaves for Yreka to collect money for cattle. Taylor goes to town. Buys a mule (which) he does not like and thinks of not keeping. Mr. Butler is almost sinking with heat at his work in the garden."
Saturday, June 18.
    "After completing the arrangements of my house for the morning, I commence ironing. The dentist calls to fill a couple of aching teeth. (He) attempted to extract one, but failed. After gouging, breaking and digging at it below the jaw bone, he gave it up as a bad job."
Sunday, June 19.
    "This is Sabbath morning. Mr. Butler and I breakfast alone. My teeth are so painful I can scarcely eat. Spend the day reading and sleeping."
Monday, June 20.
    "I am quite unwell. Passed a very uncomfortable night. My teeth remain very sore. Mr. Butler (and) Sampson go to Judge Skinner's to settle a claim dispute."
    Around this time, miners in Jacksonville became suspicious about the gold dust some Grave Creek Indians were spending and concluded that they must have killed seven miners who disappeared around Galice Creek the previous winter.
    They rode out of Jacksonville and seized the headman, "Taylor," and several of his band. They put Taylor on a white horse, gave him a pipe to smoke, and dropped a noose around his neck. Before the old man could protest, one of the miners struck the horse with a board. [Taylor reportedly boasted of killing the missing miners.]
    Then they bound the hands of the other Indians and told them to run. As the helpless Indians stumbled across the meadow the miners opened fire. A few days later, four more Grave Creek Indians were hanged. These executions, which took place some miles away, had little immediate effect on the settlers along Bear Creek. But they do illustrate the mood and attitude the miners held toward the Indians. Peaceful conditions continued in the valley for another six weeks. In fact, Mrs. Butler was finding life a bit dull and monotonous.
Tuesday, June 28.
    "Time hangs heavy. Business dull and very little doing at present. Jacksonville almost vacated on account of the report of gold mines at Port Orford."
Wednesday, June 29.
    "Mr. Butler has gone to town with vegetables. Finds a poor market for anything. Mr. Silcott (one of the Butler farm hands) is preparing to go to the new mines."
Thursday, June 30.
    "Alone all day. Finish new dress. Wish I had some new book to read to pass off time to some profit. Mr. Butler is making preparations for mowing. Oh dear! I am tired of the same dull monotony of time."
    The Butlers were invited to a Fourth of July celebration in Jacksonville which included another ball at Robinson's hotel, but for some unexplained reason they did not attend. On the Fourth Mrs. Butler wrote: "This day 77 years ago our independence was declared. I hear the guns at Jacksonville which shows that they have not forgotten the past, and I trust will not the future."
    One of the most common problems for the early pioneers was sickness, particularly "ague," which was a flulike illness accompanied by severe chills and
fever. [It was malaria.] According to Mrs. Butler, it took on the proportions of a minor epidemic during July.
Wednesday, July 6.
    "Mr. Butler has been called away today to assist in surveying Judge Rice's claim. I am quite sick and keep to my bed all day. Symptoms of ague."
Tuesday, July 12.
    "Mr. Butler and myself are both sick with chills. One not able to wait on the other. All alone. Cousin John is at Table Rock. We will send for him."
    John, too, was too sick to travel and could not return home. On August 3 Mrs. Butler wrote with some humor: "All our neighbors are shaking all along this creek, which we call Bear Creek, but (which) I think ought to be called 'Ague Creek.'"
    For awhile, Bear Creek was called "Stuart Creek" in honor of Captain James Stuart, who was killed at the Battle of Table Rock in 1851. [The name "Battle of Table Rock" is usually reserved for the final battle of 1853--which took place miles away on Evans Creek. Stuart was shot miles upstream from the Table Rocks.] But the settlers preferred the name "Bear Creek," so called because someone saw three bears on its banks one day. [Three grizzly bears were killed at the same time and their carcasses left on the trail by the creek.]
    So far, not a word about the Indians in Mrs. Butler's diary. But they were there, not far away. The Table Rock bands of Joe and Sam continued to abide by the terms of the peace agreement they signed in [1851]. Yet they must have begun to feel uneasy and threatened.
    As we have seen, settlers continued to take claims throughout the year, obviously crowding on the Indians' land. If so many whites were sick, it is probable that the Indians were, too. Indians feared new diseases which they rightly accused the whites of bringing into the valley. It is also probable that they realized that because of their diminished food supply they had not been able to store enough to get through the winter.
    In addition to the Table Rock bands of Takelma, there were two other major concentrations of Indians: those of "John" on the Lower Applegate and the Shastas of Tipsu Tyee on the Upper Applegate. Neither of these had signed the peace agreement, and living in the mountains they came into contact almost exclusively with miners.
Servants hired
    The white settlers and Indians did not lead totally segregated lives. Indians often came into Jacksonville, usually to beg for food. The more prominent of them were even invited into the settlers' homes. Indians were hired as servants.
    White families sometimes adopted an Indian child. The buying of Indian women for wives and servants was also common. It was a dispute over one such transaction that touched off the war of 1853.
    Two accounts of the cause of the war survive. In one, an Indian from Tipsu Tyee's band sold a woman to a card dealer in Jacksonville. When the man refused to pay, a fight ensued, the miners siding with the dealer. The angered young man returned to Tipsu's village and persuaded the Shastas to attack the whites.
    In the second account, a man named Edwards stole a Shasta slave from "John's" band and refused to pay the owner. The men decided to fight. A number of Shastas who had been driven over the mountains by miners in the Klamath were hanging around and were all too willing to lend a hand.
    On August 3 Edwards was found murdered in his cabin on the banks of Bear Creek near Phoenix. The next day, the Shastas robbed several cabins, stole cattle, wounded two men and killed a miner on Jackson Creek. On August 5 the Indians shot and fatally wounded a man just outside Jacksonville.
    Fear swept through the valley. Settlers "forted up" with their neighbors in one place for protection, or rode into Jacksonville for safety. The day after Edwards' body was discovered Mrs. Butler found herself alone in the house:
Friday, August 5.
    "Mr. Butler starts to town this morning, and is detained until dark, something very unusual for him. It causes me great uneasiness as the news has just come of two more men being shot by the Indians. It makes me look with trembling anticipation for his arrival."
Saturday, August 6.
    "Another man killed. One missing and one very badly wounded. Families are leaving their homes for safety. We have not left yet, and perhaps will not. Taylor has gone to collect our cattle and drive them to safety."
Sunday, August 7.
    "We spent the night at Judge Rice's, but we returned home this morning. Our Indian trouble has come to open warfare. They have had a regular battle. Two men wounded and seven Indians killed. Great excitement prevails. Our people are (all) action (and) very rash, which will cause much trouble."
    If fear swept through the Valley, an atmosphere of near hysteria filled the streets of Jacksonville on Saturday, August 6. Miners and refugees, 800 strong, congregated on the streets. The miners found two young Shastas, dragged them into town and immediately hanged them.
    Soon after, a couple who had fled their home on Butte Creek arrived. With them was a seven-year-old Indian boy, whom they had probably adopted. When the miners saw him, they ran up and down the streets yelling "Hang him! Hang him! When he is old, he will kill you." Tense as the situation was, enough of the assembled probably felt that this was going too far.
Indian boy hanged
    The balance was tipped when a miner, Martin Angel, rode into town with some men shouting: "Exterminate! We've been killing Indians in the valley all day." Within minutes the mob had the boy hanging beside the two others. The men formed themselves into bands of volunteers and rode out in search of Indians. One group attacked a Shasta village near Ashland, killing six or seven Indians.
    Mrs. Butler made mention of the attack on the village near Ashland, but not of the hanging. We don't know how many other non-hostile Indians were killed in Jacksonville. The headman, Joe, whose Table Rock bands had as yet taken no part in the war, later explained that his participation resulted from the whites having killed 14 of his people, most of whom were servants in Jacksonville.
    Mrs. Butler continued to describe the events of these terrifying days from their home, which they are determined not to leave.
Tuesday, August 9.
    "Our Indian troubles still continues. One house burnt and other property destroyed. Soldiers and ammunition are expected from Yreka today. Strong threats are made of exterminating all the red man's tribe."
Wednesday, August 10.
    "Have not heard any news from (the) war today. Forty men have arrived from Yreka. More are expected. Arms have also come. Great excitement prevails."
Thursday, August 11.
    "Another house burnt last night, which makes three. Dr. Rose killed and Hardin mortally wounded. Taylor went to town with an ox wagon. No difficulty."
Friday, August 12.
    "A written notice for us to report to headquarters. Of course we will not obey. Also a verbal notice to go to Judge Skinner's. Many men are passing today. Talk largely of their anticipated battle."
Saturday, August 13.
    "We are home as usual. The weather is very warm. No news from the war department. All but three families have left their homes and congregated at town or some other point."
Sunday, August 14.
    "Poor Hardin is dead. Leaves her who has been his wife (only) two months to mourn his untimely end. May he be the last one in this valley to die by hand of red man."
    On August 9 Lt. Bradford Alden arrived at Jacksonville. With him were ten regular soldiers and 80 volunteers from Yreka. Two companies of Jacksonville volunteers joined Alden at [Camp] Stuart on Bear Creek, bringing the total force to about 300 men. The next day five men were attacked at Willow Springs.
    As Mrs. Butler noted, William Rose and John Hardin were killed. As darkness descended on the valley, the volunteers at Camp Stuart could see burning cabins and hay ricks in the distance. Several of them deserted during the night to hurry to the defense of their own homes.
    This is probably the reason the Butlers refused to obey the order to report to the camp. They decided to stay rather than run the risk of having their farm looted and burned.
    The volunteers set out on August 16 to trap the Indians between Table Rock and Evans Creek. Up to this point it is not certain that the Table Rock bands had participated at all. Later, Joe was to explain that he was pressured into fighting by the Shastas and some of the younger men of his own band and by the presence of so many armed whites on his land.
    In any event, the Indians had fled to the hills and were ready for the volunteers. In the first battle on Evans Creek the Indians had nearly succeeded in surrounding a detachment of 22 men who were only saved by the timely arrival of reinforcements. The Indians retreated with 18 pack animals loaded with blankets, guns and ammunition.
Five men killed
    The next day, the Indians killed five more men, attacked the cabins of
Dunn and Alberding, and a wagon train of emigrants.
    For Mrs. Butler the war involved people she knew, and she reflected the more personal reaction of the settlers. .
Wednesday, August 17.
    "Wills that was wounded on the 6th died today; also Houston who was shot by an accidental discharge from his own rifle caused by the falling of his mule yesterday also died today. A scouting party of 20 V-men [volunteers] was surprised. Five men killed and five men wounded."
Thursday, August 18.
    "Fifteen men have been killed and six wounded. Isham Keith was one that was killed. He was an old acquaintance and also a schoolmate. He is an only child aged 19. O! what sad news to his mother--the only hope of (her) declining age."
Friday, August 19.
    "No news from the war department today. Mr. Butler went to town. Times look rather discouraging."
Saturday, August 20.
    "Mr. Butler is out hauling logs. Bethel and Taylor are out all day hunting cattle that have strayed off."
Sunday, August 21.
    "General Lane arrived from lower Oregon [i.e., Northern Oregon] today. The Indians have again attacked Dunn's house, killing one man and wounding three others."
    Lane arrived at Camp Stuart on August 21. Lt. Alden immediately placed his men under the more experienced command of the general. In two days of fighting the volunteers had little success. They lost five men and 18 packs of arms. And while they were in the field, the Indians attacked the settlers in the valley. Lane divided the men into two battalions and took the field the next day.
    The two battalions, one led by Colonel John Ross and the other by Lane and Alden, searched the mountainous country north of the Rogue River for the retreating Indians, who tried to hamper their pursuers by setting fires. On the 23rd the volunteers picked up their trail and the next morning found their camp.
    The Indians, unaware that their pursuers were so close, were caught by surprise. The volunteers got within 30 yards of the campsite before they were discovered. The yells of white men, the war cries of the Indians, the howling of Indian dogs, and the smell of powder filled the morning air.
    In the first assault Lt. Alden was wounded and the volunteers were forced to retreat. Since the Indian camp afforded good protection in a battle of long-range firing, Lane decided that only a direct assault would work.
    Lane led the charge but was felled by a ball in his right shoulder. He directed his men to hide behind trees and continued to give orders for three hours until he was so weakened by loss of blood that he was removed to the rear.
Truce called
    After another hour of fighting, the Indians called out for a truce. In spite of his wound, Lane met with the headmen Joe, Sam and Jim. Joe told his namesake that his people were sick of war and would meet at Table Rock in seven days for treaty talks. And that was the end of the fighting.
    "The Indians," wrote one of the soldiers,"as soon as the firing ceased, carried out water to our wounded men, and furnished a party to assist in conveying the litters with our wounded for 25 miles, through the mountains. This appears to be a new feature in Indian warfare."
    Mrs. Butler's diary entry for the 26th describing the results of this last big battle was concise and accurate. She wrote: "News from the mountains. Our men have met with another defeat by the Indians. Repulsed three times. Three men killed and five wounded. (Four men were killed.) General Lane and Alden are among the wounded. A treaty is spoken of. The Indians made the proposal and said they never wished to fight."
Saturday, August 27.
    "Nothing talked of but the present war."
Sunday, August 28.
    "Today they bring in the wounded from the battle field. The white men have treacherously decoyed six Grave Creek Indians with pretenses of peace unarmed and then shot them
[at the Bates House]. Two of the white men were afterwards shot by the Indians."
    On their way home from the battle one group of volunteers lured six Grave Creek Indians to a cabin with offers of a roast beef dinner and peace. Once inside, the men killed five of the six Indians. The Indians retaliated by attacking the volunteers as they were on their way home, killing three.
    The remainder of the volunteer forces returned home in high spirits, flushed with victory and success. Mrs. Butler recorded her own, slightly less exalted, opinion of the volunteers:
Monday, August 29.
    "Some prospect for rain. The soldiers have arrived from the mountains. Rendezvous at Angel's. Go to town. Get drunk. Swear, fight and disgrace themselves as rational beings. We are all at home today."
    On September 1 a military parade was held at [Camp] Alden near Table Rock. Speeches were made by the various commanders and by the headman, Joe, who took the opportunity to remind those assembled that it was the Shastas and not his people who began the hostilities. [Joe Lane spoke at the parade--not Chief Joe.]
    Three days later treaty negotiations opened on a narrow bench of land near the foot of Table Rock. [The bench is at the foot of the cliff, not at the foot of the mountain.] Lane, his arm in a sling, was wearing fatigue dress. Joe wore a long black robe over his regular clothing.
    In the conference circle were Captain Andrew Smith, who was to take command of the newly established Fort Lane, Benjamin Alvord and Jesse Applegate, the volunteer commanders and Judge Matthew Deady, who was on his way to Jacksonville to open the first district court in Southern Oregon. [Jesse Applegate was not present at the Table Rock Treaty.]
Indians paid $60,000
    On September 8 the Indians agreed to give up most of their land and their guns for a small reservation, clothing and blankets. They were to be paid $60,000 for their ceded lands, which included most of the Rogue Valley, a quarter of which they had to return to the whites as damage payment.
    The agreement was never ratified by the Senate, but a similar treaty of September 10, signed by five additional headmen was approved--the first treaty in Oregon to be ratified. The boundaries of the reservation were drawn, which included mostly rugged hillsides covered with poison oak north of Table Rock. [It also included the prairie area of Sams Valley.]
    The treaty was signed by Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs; Samuel Culver, the new Indian agent; and eight headmen representing 287 Indians. About half the Indians of the Rogue Valley accepted the treaty conditions and came to live on the reservation under the agent's supervision.
    For a third time Lane successfully obtained promises of peace from the Takelma. Before leaving, he went to Tipsu Tyee's village and extracted a pledge of peace from him in return for presents. The man who had the fight with the card dealer in Jacksonville and incited the Shastas to war was not present. [This unnamed Indian did not incite the Shastas to war; he precipitated the whites to war by murdering Edwards and Wills.]
    Lane told the headman that this man would get his presents when he came into Jacksonville to sign the agreement. When the man arrived to pick up his gifts, the miners summarily tried, convicted and hanged him. [There's no written record of any gifts, trial or execution.]
Profitable war
    The unemployed miners who joined the bands of volunteers soon discovered that fighting for the U.S. government could be more profitable than mining. The volunteers turned in a bill for $107,287 for soap, candles, powder, lead and the use of their horses and mules. They also asked for $15,390 in wages and $43,140 in damages.
    How much of this money they actually got is not known. The government accounting office may have become suspicious of a bill that claimed to have used 29,100 candles, 19,000 bars of soap, 14,432 rounds of powder and 10,184 pieces of lead in a campaign that lasted less than three weeks.
    The war turned out to be economically profitable to the miners who fought, but for the Butlers and other farmers the aftermath of the war brought economic hardship. During the last weeks of September the Butlers faced more sickness, falling farm prices and the breakup of the partnership between Butler and Taylor.
Saturday, September 17.
    "Cloudy but not raining. Mr. Constant has his house raised today. Four of our men help him. Two of them come home sick."
Monday, September 19.
    "The Coos Bay fever is carrying off a number of families from this valley. [Coos Bay was recently discovered. An economic boom was predicted for this new harbor adjacent to coal and gold deposits.] Mr. Butler and Cousin John both have symptoms of the ague."
Tuesday, September 20.
    "Mr. Butler and I go to town. Business is very dull. Have some difficulty selling our produce. Finally succeed at a very low price. We return in the dark."
Friday, September 23.
    "Mr. Butler has got the ague and I fear will have it all winter. O! could I see through the future if but one step."
Wednesday, September 28.
    "This morning four out of the five are shaking. Oh! what a country this is for the ague. Eight men at the two houses and only one able to do a day's work."
Saturday, October 1.
    "Quite a number of emigrants have arrived this week. A great many of our citizens are leaving for Coos Bay. Our Indian difficulties will be quite a drawback to this valley. Provisions are so cheap that it won't pay expenses."
Tuesday, October 4.
    "This morning our troubles seem likely to come to a crisis. A general division of property and the Firm breaks up. Mr. Butler takes the land at $1,450 and $612 of stock. Taylor leaves for the Applegate."
    Butler and Taylor may or not have had a falling out. At any rate, the Butlers appeared to be left without a partner and half the men to run the farm. Later diary entries suggest that Butler formed a new partnership with a man named Miller.
Friday, October 7.
    "Mr. Miller wishes the crop fence fixed so Mr. Butler must go and haul rails sick or well, and will probably shake for it tomorrow."
Monday, October 10.
    "Four emigrant wagons and about 100 cows pass today. Farmers are all anxious to put in largely of wheat. Some are putting in a hundred acres this fall."
Thursday, October 13.
    "Mr. Butler is hauling rails. Cousin John is too sick to work. Mr. Miller wants us all to come up and help raise a house."
Tuesday, October 18.
    "Mr. Butler goes to town. Does not succeed in selling his horses or engaging wheat. Emigrants are daily arriving. One hundred wagons are reported yet to arrive. Business dull. No sale for produce, or very little."
    During the first weeks of November the Butlers faced the problems of harvesting. The wagon broke and the rain and lack of hired hands slowed the work. Time was always taken off to help a neighbor raise a house. Mrs. Butler wrote: "Business is dull. Work pressing and times hard. It (all) looks discouraging. But let us hope for the best." Butler had been going to the Ashland Sawmill for lumber for a potato house. He arranged to have it raised, which was a trying time for Mrs. Butler.
Thursday, November 10.
    "Raining pretty hard. We fear much that the rainy season has set in and all our potatoes are in the ground yet. Mr. Butler gets his house ready to raise. I am washing and am quite tired with (the) approach of a hard day."
Friday, November 11.
    "Oh dear! Today I have much to do. Mr. B is going to have his house raised and I have got to get dinner for about 20 persons besides being bothered by two lady visitors. Dinner is over and I am heartily glad of it. For I never did like to cook."
    With the coming of winter and of snow which covered even the valley floor, produce and especially potato prices began to rise. The weeks and months of labor began to pay off. On December 14 Mrs. Butler wrote: "One and one-half feet of snow. Potato excitement. Everyone ready to fight for his 50 pounds at 25 cents. What is this, the price of Gold?"
    On New Year's Day, 1854, Mrs. Butler wrote: "Clear and beautiful. Second New Years. We welcome you with hearts overflowing with joy. You seem such a welcome guest after four weeks of stormy weather. Husband is not very well and my head aches very much."
    Mr. Butler died five years later in 1859, leaving one son. Six years later Mrs. Butler married Jacob Thompson. In 1910 she died at the age of 84.
    For the sake of clarity, I have made minor grammatical changes in the excerpts of the diary that I have quoted. For those who are interested, the complete text of Mrs. Butler's diary, edited by Oscar O. Winther and Rose Dodge Galey, can be found in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, Number 4 (1940).
    By the end of 1853 the Rogue Valley had become farming country. In two years it would become the most prosperous county in the state. [
The county was briefly populous during the mining boom; the miners briefly provided a market for farmers.] In a report, Captain Smith confirmed the observations of Mrs. Butler. He wrote: "A large number of families moved into the valley in the fall of 1853, and the farmers were all engaged in putting in large crops of grain, mostly wheat. By now a stable farming population has been established to counteract the transient character of the miners."
    Perhaps the clearest picture of the changes that had occurred in the Rogue Valley can be seen by comparing the following two descriptions.
    In 1845, James Clyman looked down from the Siskiyou Mountains and beheld a valley "wild and awfully sublime." Just eight years later, in the fall of 1853, an emigrant looked down at the valley and beheld "an enclosed field, with shocks of grain, a house surrounded by gardens, people and appurtenances of civilization.… It was a picture varied with shadow and sunshine, lofty mountains and little hills, meadows, groves and silvery streams, altogether more beautiful than a painter could portray, or even imagine."
The Morning News, Central Point, March 24, 1979

Part Six:
The Final Indian Wars in the Rogue Valley

While agents tried to keep the peace,
rebel Indians were plotting revenge
By Carl Bondinell

    The year 1854 was a relatively quiet year in the Rogue Valley in terms of conflicts between whites and Indians. However, in many ways, the events of the year represented a preview of the drama which was to be played out to the bitter end the following year.
    It involved a struggle among the various groups living in the valley, whose differing goals, interests and principles could not be reconciled. There were the militant whites, mostly miners, who wanted to exterminate the Indians. [The subject of extermination was brought up in moments of frustration, but there was never any concerted effort to put it into practice.] There were the settlers who hoped to live peacefully with them.
    There were the Indian agents and the U.S. Army, who sought to protect the Indians' rights. There were the friendly bands of Indians, who hoped to survive by accepting the conditions of reservation life. And there were the militant Indians who hoped to drive out the whites.
    Among these, perhaps the most thankless task fell upon the shoulders of the Indian agent. In the fall of the previous year, Agent Alonzo Skinner was replaced by Samuel Culver. Culver, who had lived in the valley for over two years, understood the problems of the Indians on the reservation, and harassed the government for not fulfilling its promises to them. [Samuel H. Culver--not Sam Colver--was the Indian agent. He was new to the Rogue Valley.]
    For the Takelma on the Table Rock Reservation it was a cruel winter. After the signing of the Treaty of 1853, Culver and Captain A. J. Smith, commander of Fort Lane, managed to persuade several bands in the Applegate region who had not signed the treaty to move to the reservation.
    No sooner had they done this, however, than an epidemic broke out. Culver wrote that the "bloody flux and intermittent fever" made it impossible for him to govern the stricken people. He realized that they would have a better chance to survive if they were not all packed together, and therefore granted permission for many families to leave the reservation and resettle in their old villages. Nevertheless, an estimated one-fifth of the Indians on the reservation died from sickness, exposure and insufficient food that winter.
    Culver's superior was Joel Palmer, the Superintendent for Indian Affairs. He, too, was an energetic and diligent administrator determined to carry out the responsibilities of his office. In the spring of 1854, Culver wrote to Palmer that, difficult though it might be, he would try to persuade the Applegate bands who had quit the reservation to return.
    Culver succeeded in urging a few bands to return, but failed to persuade the Lower Applegate bands under the headman "John," and the bands of Shastas under Tipsu Tyee, the latter even refusing to come out of the mountains to meet with Culver.
    In 1853 Tipsu had accepted the gifts from Joseph Lane and had signed a peace agreement which he never intended to keep. This old, bearded Shasta headman was truly a rebel: clever, militant and determined to fight the whites to the death, at the same time encouraging or forcing other headmen to do the same.
    He had nothing but contempt for the Indians who accepted the reservation, and like his [white] counterpart, the militant miner, knew that if he could initiate hostilities in this racist struggle, one would no longer make distinctions between friendly and non-friendly Indians or whites.
    As we have seen, Tipsu's tactic had worked perfectly in 1853. [Tipsu didn't start the 1853 hostilities.] He and his band had killed five or six whites, and had then retreated to the mountains to watch the whites attack the peaceful Table Rock bands of Takelma, who had no choice but to resist.
    In the summer of 1854, Tipsu tried to repeat this gambit. The Takelma on the reservation were led by the aging "Joe" and "Sam," and by "Jim," who was now the most influential of the three. Tipsu's plan was to arouse the Takelma to fight by killing "Jim" and fixing suspicion for the assassination on the whites. "Jim" was shot and killed one day while he was in Jacksonville, but the assassin from Tipsu's band was seen by "Jim's" friends as he escaped, and the scheme was thus frustrated.
    But Tipsu was undaunted. After killing a miner on the Applegate, he tried to frighten small bands of Indians to join him. When he tried to enlist the aid of a large band of Shastas near the Klamath River in California, he met with a surprise. The Shastas told him that his activities were causing the deaths of many of their people, and warned him to stop. Tipsu agreed.
    Two days later, he, and his son and four others of his band departed for the mountains on a "hunting trip." They attacked two packers on the trail, murdering one. They then returned to the Shasta camp with the stolen supplies and told them that they had to join him now since the soldiers were certain to be on their trail.
    Two detachments of soldiers, one from Fort Jones in California and one from Fort Lane were in pursuit. The Shastas, unsure of what to do, sent for their headman "Bill," who decided not to join Tipsu, but instead to kill him and his five followers, which was done the next morning. The cunning old headman who had been the scourge of the upper Rogue Valley for nearly two decades was dead.
    "Bill" then decided to turn his band over to the soldiers to be escorted to a reservation near Fort Jones. Culver and Captain John Bonnycastle, commander at Fort Jones, believed "Bill's" decision to be a move in assuring the Indians' peaceability.
    "Bill," accompanied by 60 of his people, commenced the march to Fort Jones. When they reached the ferry at the Klamath River, the Indians stopped to bathe. While five of them were still in the river the miners from the area surrounded them and opened fire. "Bill" was shot, beaten, scalped and, while still alive, was thrown into the rapids. Two other men were killed, while the rest of the terror-stricken band, which included many women and children, fled.
    Captain Bonnycastle was so outraged that in his report of the incident he stated: "An Indian from behind a bush fortunately shot and killed a white man named McKanny." Culver, too, was upset. He had thought that "Bill" would assume the same role of peacemaker for the California Shastas that "Joe" and "Sam" had for the Takelma. He correctly predicted that the Shastas would now avenge the death of their headman, and as a consequence involve the Indians of the Rogue Valley.
    During 1854, the Indian Agency did much to maintain peace and to attempt to devise a system in which the two races could coexist in the Rogue Valley. Unfortunately, with their meager resources, this vision was hopelessly optimistic. There were still many whites who believed that the only solution was the extermination of the Indians.
    As for the Indians, the changes wrought on them were so radical that they could not hope to survive without massive assistance from the whites. Their food supply was nearly destroyed. Reluctantly, the Takelma agreed to allow Culver to place even more Indians on the reservation, after Culver promised them that a hospital and workshops would be built on the reservation.
    Culver must have felt a little strange making this promise, since the housing, clothing, blankets, food and money promised to the Takelma in the Treaty of 1853 still had not arrived!
    Superintendent Palmer's report of September, 1854 reflected the dismal conditions of the Indians of the Rogue Valley:
    "I found (them) excited and unsettled. The hostilities of the last summer had prevented the storing of the usual quantities of food; the occupation of their best root-grounds by the whites greatly abridged that resource; their scanty supplies and the unusual severity of the winter had induced disease, and death had swept away nearly one-fifth of those residing on the reserve. Consternation and dismay prevailed; many had fled, and others were preparing to fly to the mountains for security."
    In November, the respected Takelma headman, Aps-er-ka-har, or "Joe," as he was commonly known, died of tuberculosis. During his illness he was cared for by the family of Nathaniel Dean, one of the first settlers in the valley. He refused Captain Smith's request that he come to Fort Lane for medical attention, pointing out that should he die at the fort it might embarrass the whites.
    The extent to which the Indian population of the Rogue Valley had decreased can be seen by comparing census figures. In August 1852, there were 1,154 Indians, 406 of whom were men. Two years later in the fall of 1854, Culver counted less than half that number: 523 people, 147 of whom were men.
    The year 1854 brought ill fortune to the farmers of the Rogue Valley as well. The destruction of farms the previous summer prevented many from expanding their farms. The summer was dry and hotter than usual. To add to their troubles, thousands of grasshoppers swept through the valley, consuming wheat, oats, melons and vines, and even stripping the oak trees of their leaves.
    Nevertheless, by the end of the year three flour mills, one in Ashland and two in Phoenix, were in operation. Although many miners left for new strikes, Jacksonville continued to grow as the political and commercial center of Southern Oregon.
The war of 1855 begins

    The beginnings of the war of 1855 followed the same pattern as those of 1853. In May, a miner on Indian Creek near the Klamath River was murdered. The miners suspected the Takelma of the Illinois Valley. They formed two companies of volunteers, crossed the Siskiyous and killed four Indian men and one woman on Althouse Creek near Kerbyville.
    The new Indian Agent for the Rogue Valley, Dr. George Ambrose, who had replaced Culver, heard that the volunteers were coming. Just hours before they arrived, he succeeded in evacuating a number of Indian families from the area and relocating them on the reservation. Had he failed to do so, more may well have been killed.
    Meanwhile, "Old John," headman of the Takelma on the Lower Applegate, was emerging as the leader of the non-reservation Indians. While it is not known whether members of his band were responsible for killing the miner, the reprisals by the volunteers surely strengthened his position as leader of the resistance among the Indians of the Illinois Valley.
    Two months later, in July, another incident in California created repercussions in the Rogue Valley. Two packers on the Klamath River traded whiskey to a group of Shasta Indians. The Indians became intoxicated. When a miner near the diggings on Humbug Creek foolishly got into an argument with them, the Indians killed him. The Indians then went on a two-day campaign of retribution, killing 11 other miners along the Klamath, Scott and Shasta rivers.
    It happened that six Indians who had left the Table Rock Reservation with passes issued by the justice of the peace in Jacksonville were in the area when the killings began. Although they quickly returned to the reservation, the California miners had seen them and suspected them of having taken part in the murders.
    Just as they had done in 1853, the Yreka volunteers mounted up, rode to Fort Lane and demanded that the six men be turned over to them. Captain Smith and Dr. Ambrose refused. They were willing to send the men to Yreka for trial, but under no circumstances would they allow the volunteers onto the reservation to seize them.
    The incensed volunteers withdrew and set up a meeting with local settlers and miners to garner support for their cause. They sent an ultimatum to Ambrose, giving him three days to hand over the Indians. To back up their threat they hatched a harebrained plan which included getting the soldiers drunk and then attacking the fort.
    Ambrose refused the ultimatum, but, hoping to placate the men, ordered two of the Indians placed in irons at the fort. The local settlers approved of this action and the Yreka volunteers were forced to capitulate and return to California. Two months later they would be back.
    In September, a white man and several of his neighbors searching for a stolen horse were ambushed. One man was killed and two others wounded. During the month, acts of theft and destruction committed by Shastas and non-reservation Indians in the Applegate increased.
    They burned a fence at Vannoy's Ferry, stole boots and blankets from a settler named Walker, and shot three head of cattle at Tuft's Ranch. On September 25, three men driving wagons of flour to California were attacked just below the Siskiyou Summit. The next day, a Shasta went to a miner on Cottonwood Creek to reclaim his wife, killing the miner in the process.
    When news of these events reached Yreka, the volunteers immediately set out for Jacksonville. The situation in the Rogue Valley was ripe for serious hostilities. A prolonged dry spell had nearly ended all mining operations. The animosity of a few settlers, the fear of many others and the outright hatred of a few militant miners combined to fuel an already tense situation. Court sessions opened in Jacksonville the first week of October, which brought dozens of spectators and idlers into town.
    Stories of Indian outrages were exchanged, repeated and greatly embellished. A company of surveyors seen on the side of a mountain was transformed into a rumor that the Indians had surrounded the valley for a general slaughter. A man reported having been fired upon by a band of 30 Indians: this formidable host turned out to be three boys shooting at a target. Fires on the mountainsides were seen as signal fires summoning Indians for miles around for the final attack.
    Into this tense and uneasy situation rode the self-proclaimed "Major" James Lupton, heading a company of 40 Yreka volunteers. On Oct. 5, he called a meeting in Jacksonville to set forth his plans for exterminating the Indians. Finding many sympathetic to his plans, he asked those interested to attend the quarterly church session which was to be held two days later.
    The meeting, led by two Methodist ministers, dealt solely with the expression of grievances and plans to exterminate the Indians. When the charges were exhausted, the chairman, remembering the original reason for the meeting, asked if anyone would like to speak on a religious subject.
    One courageous man, John Beeson, firm in his convictions and calm in his demeanor, rose to address the audience. An immigrant from Illinois who settled in the valley in 1853, he dared to challenge those who proposed extermination. He urged the people to remember that they were civilized Christian men, and pleaded with them to hearken to the precepts of Christ and abandon the violent course of action they were contemplating. He beseeched them to allow the authorities to deal with the situation, lest their actions bring calamity and suffering upon themselves as well as the Indians.
    His remarks were greeted with silence by most, and by some with contempt. Given the mood of the assembled, a pro-Indian position was a very dangerous one to assume. Indeed, that night Beeson fled the valley for his life. A few months later, he wrote and published a book entitled A Plea for the Indians of Oregon. But it was too late.
    When the meeting ended, Lupton divided the volunteers into two groups, who set forth during the night to carry out their "mission." Carefully bypassing Fort Lane, Lupton's group went to an old Indian village on Butte Creek near the reservation.
    They quietly surrounded about 40 members of "Jake's" band who were sleeping in their brush shelters. Just before dawn, the men opened fire, killing eight men--four of them aged--and 15 women and children. The other company had less success; they only managed to kill one woman and two small boys from "Sambo's" band.
    Charles Drew, quartermaster for the volunteers, wrote that the plan was "admirably executed," and regretted only that more Indians had not been killed. He also took pains to explain that the reason the women and children were killed was that it was too dark to distinguish between the sexes. When it became light, the volunteers shot only men.
    Drew was correct. The plan was "admirably executed." Lupton had succeeded where Tipsu Tyee had failed; he managed to plunge the entire valley into a general war of extermination. However, "Major" Lupton did not live to see the fruits of his work. In spite of the obviously overwhelmingly superior position of the volunteers, the Indians somehow managed to kill two of them. One of them, Lupton, was found with an arrow through his lung.
    The Indians on the reservation were terrified. The next day, many of them gathered their weapons and families, killed an agency employee and fled downriver. [Fewer than a dozen natives, led by John, went downriver on a spree of destruction.] Others, sick of war and fighting, went to Fort Lane to seek protection.
    It is a tragedy of war that those who initiate violence cannot, or will not, comprehend even the most immediate consequences of their actions. The victims of Lupton's raid were not only innocent Indians. For the settlers and their families along the river, the morning of Oct. 9 dawned as just another work day. Unaware of the attack by Lupton's volunteers, they set about their daily tasks.
    On that morning the frightened and vengeful Takelma, pushing down the river to the safety of the coastal mountains, first struck the Jacob Wagner ranch, where they killed Wagner's wife and daughter, along with a woman visiting them. [The visitor had left before the attack.] At a nearby farm, George Harris was splitting shingles in the yard while his wife was behind the house washing clothes. Indians poured out of the forest. Harris ran with his family to the cabin, but was shot as he tried to close the door.
    He revived long enough to instruct his wife on how to load and fire the pistols and rifles in the house, before dying. Alone with a wounded seven-year-old daughter, with Indians yelling and setting fire to the outbuildings, and fearful for her 10-year-old son who was somewhere out in the fields, she defended the cabin for over five hours. When the Indians left, she hid with her daughter in the woods until volunteers found her the next morning.
    The Indians, joined by the Applegate bands, continued to attack unsuspecting whites for the remainder of the day. They killed four people at the Haines farm. The Harris' hired man and their son were killed near the cabin. J. K. Jones and his  wife were murdered, although their children escaped. The Indians killed Issac Shelton at Evans Ferry and four teamsters hauling apple trees for a nursery in the Willamette Valley. In all, 20 whites were killed that day. [The murders are here out of chronological and geographical order. John and his warriors left the fight after the attack on the Wagoners; subsequent attacks were by George's people.]
Settlers flee to Jacksonville; 500 volunteer to fight

    As news of the outbreak spread, the settlers defended themselves as best they could. Many fled into Jacksonville, while others, refusing to abandon their farms or claims, built palisades and dug trenches around their cabins. Within four days, Colonel John Ross had raised a volunteer militia force of 500 men. The Indians fled for protection to the rugged canyons of the Rogue River near Galice and Grave creeks.
    One can only try to imagine what the fear and uncertainty which faced the Indians was like. Would they and their families be able to survive the winter in the strange mountains without sufficient shelter, clothing or food? How soon would the soldiers come? What hope for the future did they have now? Could they reasonably hope to drive out thousands of settlers and soldiers and return to their homes in the Rogue Valley?
    The only Indians left in the Rogue Valley were a few scattered bands hiding out in the Siskiyou Mountains and about 300 at Fort Lane. The rest, perhaps 150 to 200, were hiding in the mountains to the north.
    During the last week in October, a small detachment of troops who were surveying a road from Port Orford to the Rogue Valley accidentally discovered the Indians' encampment near Grave Creek. When the party reached Fort Lane, a force of 250 men, 100 regulars under Captain Smith, and 150 volunteers under Colonel Ross, set out to surprise the Indians.
    On Oct. 31, they found the Indians, who were waiting for them on the top of a ridge. Before Smith could deploy his men and develop a plan of attack, the volunteers, overanxious to begin the killing, charged up the mountainside in a foolish and suicidal assault.
    The Indians easily drove them back. The battle continued throughout the day with sporadic firing. The next day, the Indians surrounded the soldiers and launched an attack. The Indians were driven back, but Smith, realizing that his position was not very good, retreated with 11 men killed and 27 wounded. The battle of Hungry Hill was over.
    A few weeks later, a force of more than 400 men, under Major James Bruce, engaged the Indians in a narrow canyon of the Rogue. The battle lasted one day. One white was killed and four were wounded. The Indians had turned back a force five times as large as theirs. With winter coming and rations running short, Bruce decided to discontinue the war and marched the men back to Fort Lane.
    During the winter of 1855-56, the war returned briefly to the Rogue Valley. As Christmas approached, the weather became colder. Eighteen inches of snow fell on the valley floor. Sleigh parties went out from Jacksonville for winter rides through the open fields. The temperatures dropped so low that the Rogue River froze over at Vannoy's Ferry, and men and animals were able to walk across.
    For the 314 Indians camped at Fort Lane it was a miserable time. They lacked food, adequate shelter and clothing, and many were sick with tuberculosis and measles. Palmer had already decided that the only way to save them was to move them to a reservation in the Willamette Valley 300 miles away. The agency could no longer guarantee their protection from the bands of volunteers who were still active in the valley.
    On Christmas Eve, two such companies of volunteers under Alcorn and Rice marched to Butte Creek. The day before, the commanders had paid a "peaceful" visit to the two villages in order to find out if the Indians had any guns. They did not, so the volunteers returned, killing 19 men, burning their houses and food, and leaving the women and children to survive as best they could in the freezing cold and snow.
    The next week, Rice's volunteers and 25 soldiers left for the Applegate where some Indians were reported to be living in abandoned cabins. On Jan. 2, 1856, while the expedition was crossing the hills behind Jacksonville, Indians fired a few random shots into the line of march.
    Perhaps they were not so random. Only one man was killed, struck four times with bullets, while the man riding next to him was not hit. This was Martin Angel, who in 1853 was instrumental in causing the hysteria in Jacksonville which ended in the hanging of a seven-year-old boy and indiscriminate attacks by parties of "exterminators."
    The soldiers continued down the river, but were unable to launch their attack because the mule carrying the ammunition for the 12-pound howitzer they had taken along fell over a cliff and drowned. They sent back to Fort Lane for more ammunition, which arrived four days later. Everything ready now, they fired the cannon into the cabins, but failed to dislodge the Indians, who escaped during the night.
    With these two rather pathetic encounters, the war in the Rogue Valley ended. The "Problem of the Indians" was solved. The whites could now live in peace and safety among themselves. For the Indians, it was not yet over.
    In spite of strong opposition from politicians and settlers in the Willamette Valley, Palmer proceeded with his plan to move the Takelma living at Table Rock to the Grand Ronde Reservation on the Yamhill River. On Feb. 22, 1856, under an escort of 106 soldiers, some 300 Takelma set out on foot for their new home, leaving behind forever the land in which they and their ancestors had lived for 500 years.
    The escort proved to be necessary. Six days' march from Fort Lane they were overtaken by a company of volunteers. Without warning, one of the volunteers shot an Indian man in the back, killing him instantly. When this man persisted in following them for several days, he was finally arrested by the soldiers. During the cold hard march, which took 32 days and covered over 300 miles, Agent Ambrose reported that many of the Indians became sick and eight died on the road. [The ten miles a day was walked during an early spring; the caravan included two wagons for provisions and the sick.]
    The hostilities that broke out in the Rogue Valley in the fall of 1855 eventually led to a war that involved all the Indians of Southwestern Oregon.
    As the Takelma moved down the Rogue River, news of the war reached the Tututni Indians living on the coast. Besides realizing that the war was no longer a local affair, they also had little faith in their Indian agent, Benjamin Wright, an Indian fighter from California who was often drunk and once tore the clothes off an Indian woman and chased her through the streets of Port Orford with a bullwhip.
    The Tututni decided to strike first. They attacked the settlers around Gold Beach and completely destroyed the town on Feb. 22. Before retreating up the Rogue River, they had killed Agent Ben Wright.
    For the first time in their history, dozens of different bands of Indians found themselves in a desperate alliance fighting for survival against a common enemy. During the spring months of 1855, more and more companies of soldiers and volunteers moved into the canyons of the Rogue, tracking and skirmishing with the tired and hungry Indians.
    On May 8, the army began its major advance. The Indians had had enough fighting. Their leaders met with Colonel Robert Buchanan and promised to bring their people to the Big Bend of the Rogue in 10 days' time to surrender. Captain Smith with 90 troops waited for them there. Rain poured down on the hills and canyons. The first groups of Indians arrived at the camp; others were on their way.
    The volunteer companies stationed at Fort Lamerick upriver decided this was the time to strike. As the wounded and hungry Indians slowly made their way along the muddy trails to surrender at Big Bend, the volunteers, hiding behind trees and rocks, began shooting every Indian in sight, those on the trail and those coming down the river in canoes.
    The Indians who had already gathered at Big Bend heard about the murders upstream and wondered whether it was not a trap. They decided not to take the chance. In the meantime, Captain Smith, sensing that something had gone wrong, moved his men to a ridge overlooking the Big Meadow.
    On May 27, the Indians made a desperate charge up the hillside into a steady fire from the soldier's guns and a large cannon. By dark, they had killed 15 and wounded four soldiers. The Indians, realizing that this might be the last battle of their lives, resumed the offensive all of the next day, but could not quite reach the entrenched soldiers.
    Late in the afternoon, after 30 hours of fighting, reinforcements arrived. The fresh forces drove the Indians to the bank of the river where most of them surrendered, including their leader, "Old John" from the Applegate.
    Although fighting continued in some places for the next several weeks, the Battle of Big Bend ended any major conflicts with the Indians of Western Oregon. In June, 600 Indians were put aboard the steamship Columbia and transported to a reservation at the mouth of the Siletz River.
    Two weeks later another 800 were shipped or marched overland to the reservation. Those who remained in the hills were designated as "wild Indians," and became the prey of "bounty hunters" who were given government contracts to hunt them down.
    Life on the Siletz Reservation for the Takelma (who were moved there from Grande Ronde) and other Rogue Valley Indians was no better than at Table Rock. Nearly all the Indians came to the reservation in sadness and depression.
    The agent at Siletz wrote: "They all express a strong desire to return to their native country, and appear to have a superstitious awe of having their bodies buried in a foreign land. Many of the more sensitive have died from a depression of the spirits, having failed in the last desperate struggle to regain their country."
    In addition to this, the land on the reservation was incapable of providing enough food. It was not good for stock, the salmon did not run in its steams, the wild game quickly were driven back into the mountains. The Indian agency had planned to make the reservation Indians self-sufficient by turning them into farmers.
    Yet Siletz was not well suited to agriculture. Two years after the creation of the reservation the agent reported: "Neither corn, beans nor vines of any kind will grow here, and many garden vegetables are killed by the cold nights." He went on to say that the land became so overgrown with ferns that it was impossible to grow wheat or other grains.
    If farming was to be the way by which the Indians had to survive, the future looked very bad. In 1858, Superintendent James Nesmith tersely concluded: "The entire reservation is the worst possible selection that could be made for agricultural pursuits, and was so worthless that at the time of its selection it was almost entirely destitute of white settlers."
    That same year, the agent at Siletz took a census of the Indians of the Rogue Valley who were living there. Whereas a year ago there were 590, there were now only 350. He concluded that, "A few more years will put an end to the most fierce and warlike race of people west of the Rocky Mountains."
    "Fierce and warlike," or simply extremely determined to fight for their homeland, the Takelma and other Rogue Valley Indians, who had never been decisively defeated in any battle, lost the war--and their homes. Whether the outcome of the war between the two races was inevitable or not, and whether such a conflict would be inevitable in its outcome even today, is something to think about.
    In 1906, there were only four full-blooded Takelma women left alive on the Siletz Reservation. There are none today. Rather than serving as a reservation where the Indians would find peace, health and "civilization," Siletz had become more like a death camp.
    In contrast to this, agriculture, ranching, mining, orchards and trade all flourished in the Rogue Valley. By the end of 1855, Jackson County was listed as the most populous and prosperous in the state of Oregon.
[The county was briefly populous during the mining boom; the miners briefly provided a market for farmers.]
The Morning News, Central Point, March 31, 1979

Part Seven:
Communities and Place Names

How local places got their names
By Carl Bondinell

    Place names are fascinating. The way a town or mountain or stream or road gets its name, if it is not purely descriptive, is derived from an historical event or person.
    Rarely is the origin of a name ambiguous or unknown; most can be traced, and this knowledge, although not usually of crucial importance to historians, does contribute to the "historical sense" of a particular place and helps make it come to life for people today.
    In the narrative thus far the origins of a number of place names in Jackson County have already been described. Mt. McLoughlin was named for Dr. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson Bay Company in the 1830s.
    The Applegate River was named for the early pioneer and trail-blazer, Jesse Applegate. [It was named for his brother, Lindsay.] Sams Valley was named for the headman of the Takelma band of Indians who lived there.
    Bear Creek was originally called "Stuart Creek" in honor of Captain James Stuart who was killed in a battle with the Indians in 1851. Grave Creek was named for the child, Martha Crowley, who was buried there in 1846.
    The creeks and streets we pass today were named for those who played a major role in the early settlement of the county--men such as Samuel Colver, Colonel John Ross, Abel Helman, Robert Hargadine, James Tolman, Jacob Wagner, Davis Evans, David Birdseye and Thomas and Vinton Beall.
    What were the events and who were the people who have left us so many intriguing place names? When the county was created on Jan. 12, 1852, it took the name of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. Jackson, who was known as "the common man's President," possessed the qualities of grit and independence which the pioneers identified with and admired.
    JACKSONVILLE, however, is not named for the President, but for Jackson Creek, which in turn was named for one of the men who discovered gold on its banks. [No one named "Jackson" is credibly credited with the discovery.]
    Jackson County originally included parts of Klamath County (named for the Indians who lived there who Peter Ogden called "Claminitt"), Curry County (named for George Curry, governor of Oregon in 1859) and Josephine County (the only county to be named for a woman.)
    This was Josephine Rollins Ort, the daughter of the man who discovered gold in Josephine County [her father was not the discoverer], and who was probably the first white woman in that part of the state.
    Perhaps the most intriguing place name in the county is JUMP OFF JOE CREEK. "Joe" was Joe McLoughlin, the son of John McLoughlin. The rest of the name derives from an incident that happened in 1828. That year Joe was traveling with a trapping brigade led by Alexander McLeod. One night, the trappers camped on this stream and McLoughlin, who came in after dark, fell over the edge of a bluff and received severe injuries, which, it is said, subsequently caused his death. [He died years later, possibly due to his injuries. There are many places named "jumpoff" across the U.S.; those named "jumpoff joe" are all within 300 miles of Fort Vancouver.]
    Less dramatic are the streams that were named for the men who first lived, or took up claims, along their banks. BIRDSEYE CREEK was named for David Birdseye; COLEMAN CREEK for M. H. Coleman; GRIFFIN CREEK for Captain B. B. Griffin; WAGNER CREEK for Jacob Wagner. LANE CREEK, which flows into Willow Creek at the location of WILLOW SPRINGS, the first community along Bear Creek, was not named for General Joe Lane, but for an old man of that name who was murdered there. [Willow Springs was not near Bear Creek.]
    KEENE CREEK east of Ashland also took its name from a victim of the Indian wars: Granville Keene, who was killed there on Sept. 1, 1855.
    SAVAGE CREEK is not named for persons displaying that characteristic, but for James Savage, who took a claim near there in 1853. Likewise, SARDINE CREEK does not contain the fish of that name, but was given it by some miners working a claim there, whose rations were reduced to a carton of canned sardines, for which they soon acquired a strong distaste.
    Among those streams which were not named for persons, HUMBUG CREEK received its name after a dispute broke out between two miners over a gold claim, which later turned out to be worthless. FOURBIT CREEK derived its name from an eating place located on its banks which was reputed to serve good meals for 50 cents.
    DEAD INDIAN CREEK was so called when in 1854, settlers found the dead bodies of two Indians, in then abandoned houses. It was supposed they were killed by Klamath Indians. The story behind the naming of WHISKEY CREEK is that a bootlegger who was taking a load of whiskey from Jacksonville to Fort Klamath was forced by heavy snows to hide his load in a cache near the stream for the winter. Someone discovered it, reported it to the soldiers at the Fort who happily retrieved it for themselves, leaving not a single bottle for the man who returned later to claim his stores. [The name long predates the bootlegging of the 1930s.]
    Two of the mountains in the county had their original names changed. ROXY ANN was first known 'as "Skinner's Butte," after Alonzo Skinner, the first Indian Agent. [The name was also given to Eugene Skinner's butte.] Its present name was given it by packers in 1854 in honor of Roxana Baker, an early settler who lived nearby. [It was named for Roxy Ann Bowen.]
    PILOT ROCK was originally given the name "Emmons Peak" for Lt. George Emmons, who led the U.S. Geological Survey expeditions through the Rogue Valley in 1841. Travelers going between Oregon and California on the Siskiyou Trail used it as a guide, or point of reference, and gave it its popular name, the same one we use today.
    The SISKIYOU MOUNTAINS is the only place in Jackson County whose name is derived from a word in the Indian language--the Cree word sisikiyawatim, which means a bobtailed horse, spotted horse or possibly just a pack horse.
    In 1828 a Hudson Bay brigade under Alexander McLeod was caught in a snowstorm near the summit. It is reported that he lost a number of horses, including a favorite of his, a bobtailed race horse. In memory of their chief's loss the Canadians in his company named the place the "Pass of the Siskiyou."
    Among the other peaks of the Siskiyou Range, GREEN SPRINGS MOUNTAIN was. named because of the springs near the summit which enabled plants there to stay green most of the year. CHINQUAPIN MOUNTAIN is named for the Western chinquapin tree, commonly called the "golden-leaved chestnut," which grows on the mountain.
    In the Applegate region. TALLOWBOX MOUNTAIN was named after an event in the year 1880. Hunters had killed more deer than they could carry back. In order not to waste the valuable tallow, they took it from the remaining carcasses and packed it in a box, planning to return later. To keep it safe from the birds and animals, they then fastened the box high in a tree. The tallow was never salvaged and the box gave the name to the mountain. NIGGER BEN MOUNTAIN was named for a black who operated a small blacksmith shop near the Applegate, and did work for the miners, sharpening and repairing their tools. Recently, the name was officially changed to "Negro Ben Mountain."
    A number of localities were named as a result of the expansion of the postal service in the 1880s when a great many tiny post offices sprang up to serve the people of a particular area.
    Most often they were located in the only store that was there. People tried hard by means of petitions to get the government to establish an office in their neighborhood. In two cases, the name of the town was derived from these efforts. ["Petitioning" for a post office was a simple application; it did not involve collecting signatures.]
    In 1884, William Willits, who lived in the northern part of the county near Bitter Lick Creek, began trying to get a post office to serve him and his neighbors. After 18 years of persistent effort, he succeeded. He was appointed postmaster and named the town PERSIST.
    Although the origin of the name of CLIMAX is not certain, one story suggests that it also involved the efforts of the people to petition for a post office. When it was finally granted, the man who spearheaded the petition drive and who happened to be fond of the word "climax," described the success of the petition as the "climax of his efforts" and so named the town.
    More often, these tiny "post office towns," many of which, like Persist, no longer exist, got their name from the men who were appointed postmaster.
    BEAGLE was named for William Beagle; KUBLI for Jacob Kubli who became postmaster there in 1891. Similarly, RUCH was named for C. M. Ruch, who had a blacksmith shop, store and house in the Applegate Valley, and gave the town his name when he was appointed postmaster in 1897. COLESTIN was named for Rufus Cole, who owned the hotel and soda springs in the mountains south of Ashland.
    In 1885, a man named Cleophas Ragsdale moved from Yolo, California to Willow Springs. He disliked the commonplace name of his new home and petitioned to have it changed to "Yolo." In Washington, the Y was misread as a T and in 1886 postal authorities changed the name of the office from Willow Springs to TOLO. [In the years since Bondinell wrote this in 1979 the original application form has been found and copied at the Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. "T-O-L-O" is very clearly written on it. Chief Tolo was a Shasta chief in Northern California in the 1850s; his name in Chinook jargon meant, variously, "gambler"  or "opportunity"--a good name for a village started as an entrepreneurial enterprise.]
    PROSPECT was originally called "Deskins" after Harvey Deskins. The name was changed in 1889 because the local settlers were optimistic about the future of their community.
    In one instance, the postmaster tried not to have the town named after him but failed. In the 1880s A. P. Talent was appointed postmaster of the place commonly called Wagner Creek after Jacob Wagner. Talent suggested the name of Wagner, but postal authorities gave it the name TALENT. [The original application survives on microfilm. It was filled out by by Conrad S. Sergent, not A. P. Talent, and was returned with the note "Select another name. There is an office in Grant Co. named Wagner.]
    STEAMBOAT derives its name from a mining term. When a mine fails to fulfill expectations, miners said that they were "steamboated" (or swindled). Such was the case with a mine on the Upper Applegate; hence the name of the town and the nearby mountain.
    BUTTE FALLS takes its name from the falls on Big Butte Creek. The creek got its name from "Snowy Butte," which is what the early settlers called Mt. McLoughlin. BROWNSBORO was named for Henry R. Brown, who took a claim there in 1853. A post office was established in 1873 with the name "Brownsborough." A few years later, perhaps in an effort to save time and ink, the last three silent letters were dropped and it became Brownsboro again. [An administrative decision in Washington deleted the "gh" from all U.S. post offices other than Pittsburgh, Pa.]
    THE CITY OF ROGUE RIVER was located at one of the earliest fords on the Rogue River. It was also the place where Davis Evans ran his ferry. A story goes that during high water, miners and other travelers who did not want to pay the ferry toll, swam across holding on to the tails of their horses, giving the place the name of TAILHOLT. [In thirty years of research into the 1850s era, I've never found the name "Tailholt" used in newspapers or correspondence.] In 1872 John Woods was made postmaster and renamed the town WOODVILLE. In 1912, the town was given its present name, which was considered more interesting than Woodville and would attract more people.
    PHOENIX was laid out by Samuel Colver on his Donation Land Claim, which he took out in the fall of 1851. (Over the years, most historians, including myself in the last article, have incorrectly spelled his name with a "u"--the correct spelling is Colver, not Culver.) [Bondinell's spelling was correct in the last article. Indian agent Samuel H. Culver was a different person from Phoenix's Sam Colver.] Land around his claim on Bear Creek was taken up very rapidly in 1852 and 1853, producing a demand for a sawmill, which was constructed in 1854 by Milton Lindley and a large flour mill built by Sylvester Wait in 1855.
    In the summer of 1855, Colver and John Davenport began work on a big new house. They intended it to be a hotel and store as well as a rendezvous for settlers in time of trouble. Colver's wife, Huldah, vetoed the idea of the hotel, though over the years the house was seldom without guests.
    During the Indian wars which broke out that year, the house, still unfinished, was called "the blockhouse." After the war it became known as "Colver Hall."
    The building which still stands today on Highway 99 in the center of town is one of the oldest buildings left in the county. It was constructed 50 feet square of 14-inch hewn timbers which were dovetailed at the corners and secured by wooden pins.
    Loopholes were cut on the second floor for rifles. There was a balcony and outside staircase, and three front doors. The rooms were all plastered and each had its own fireplace--a very elaborate building for the times.
    When the Indian attacks began in the early part of October, most of the families in the area gathered at the house, creating a virtual village of tents and wagons around the construction site. Some of the men worked in Lindley's mill cutting the timbers, while others worked on the construction itself, which now proceeded rapidly.
    Orson Stearns, who arrived as a boy in 1853, wrote his reminiscences of the early days, which give an excellent portrait of the early years. He describes the gathering at "the blockhouse" in 1855 and how the town, which was called GASBURG for the first 25 years of its existence, got that peculiar name. [The town was also called "Phoenix" as early as 1856. "Gasburg" was a jocular appellation.]
    He writes: "In the evening, after the day's work was over, there was usually a huge campfire burning in a central location, and all the young people and many of the old used to gather around the fire, sing songs, dance and tell stories till bedtime."
    He goes on to say that among those who gathered there were many young men and bachelors, but only one young marriageable woman. She was Kate Clayton, who was employed by Mrs. Wait to help her cook for the men employed at her husband's mill.
    Stearns describes her as "a girl about twenty, and one of the most fluent talkers I ever met. 'Miss Kate' usually had a dozen or more admirers, and because of her ability to carry on an animated conversation with a half a dozen or more admirers at once, and her prompt and witty repartee, she was given the name 'gassy Kate.'" The term "gassy" meant in the slang of that day talkative, or one who was adept at light, frivolous conversation.
    One night when there was an unusual lull in the conversation, one of Kate's admirers looked around at all the tents and people and declared that the place looked as big as a town and should have a name.
    One man suggested "Gasville" in honor of Kate. Another, thinking the name sounded too small and insignificant, vetoed the name in favor of his own choice "Gasburg," which was immediately adopted.
    In 1856 a post office was established across from the flour mill and the postmaster, Wait, called the office "Phoenix," which was the name of the insurance company from which he bought fire insurance. Nevertheless, "Gasburg" remained in popular usage for many years after.
    In 1856 the town had a population of between 75 and 80. The discovery of gold in a gravel bar a mile east of the town brought miners and an increase in population. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Gasburg was chosen as a recruiting base and FORT BAKER was established. [It was never referred to as anything but "Camp Baker." The camp was not fortified.]
    It was named in honor of the popular Oregon Senator, E. D. Baker, who had recently been killed in the battle of Ball's Bluff. With the mine still producing and an army base to supply, new businesses and services flourished, causing some to think that it might outstrip Jacksonville and someday become the county seat.
    By 1865 Gasburg had reached the height of its prosperity. The closing of the mines and Fort Baker ushered in a period of decline. In 1875, a traveler who had been in the town during the war bloom years was dismayed by the changes that had taken place.
    He wrote that "decay, desolation and death are inscribed on her mouldering walls." The town is "dusty in summer and muddy in winter: the picture of grim want and hard times." The writer went on to offer hope by saying, "It may yet resume and surpass its old-time greatness, when railroads connect this isolated country with the great marts of trade and commerce."
    Nine years later, in 1884, the railroad did reach Phoenix from the north, and a period of renewed growth was begun. It was probably at this time that the name "Phoenix," which was a mythical bird which every 500 years was believed to rise again from its own sacrificial ashes, came to be used exclusively.
    CENTRAL POINT is located near one of the earliest claims in the Bear Creek Valley. In September 1852, Issac Constant bought the Donation Land Claim from Chesley Gray, who as Alonzo Skinner's interpreter and assistant had taken a claim next to Skinner's in 1851.
    Constant brought fruit trees, grain seed and stock for his farm. He added several rooms to Gray's one-room cabin. In 1856, he built a one and one-half frame house with lumber from a sawmill in Prospect.
    In 1868, Constantine and Theophilus Magruder took out a claim on the present site of the town, where they built a store. Before this, settlers from the Butte Creek and Antelope Valley had to go six miles farther to Jacksonville for supplies. In addition to being on the main California-Oregon road, the little store was midway between Butte Creek and Jacksonville. That is to say, it lay at a point which was centrally located. In 1872, when a post office was established in the Magruders' store, they decided to name the town "Central Point."
    The area south and west of the Magruder store was the best farmland in the county. The land north and east was known as "The Desert" or "Big Sticky" because the soil there was mostly clay and very sticky. It was difficult to till, but did produce grain and was used mostly for grazing.
    The town remained small, the activities of the area being devoted to farming and ranching. In 1883 there were, according to Walling, seven buildings, a school house, blacksmith shop, wagon shop, hotel, post office, feed stable and saloon.
    In 1884 the railroad was built close to the town, but not through it, so the citizens moved the town to the tracks. The land chosen for the site was owned by Magruder, Constant, Haskell Amy, and Thomas and Vinton Beall.
    Before this could be done, the thick manzanita brush had to be cleared and some trees dug out. Constantine Magruder built a new store on the corner of Pine and present-day Highway 99 facing the railroad tracks; streets were laid out parallel to the tracks and several other buildings were built.
    One story, perhaps apocryphal, claims that the tracks were laid where they were because of a dispute between Haskell Amy and the track-laying crew. The latter, feeling that the bill for bacon and produce which Haskell sold to them was exorbitant, retaliated by laying the tracks between his house and his barn. [The route was surveyed months before any track was laid.]
    EAGLE POINT is on the site of a joint claim taken in 1853 by three men who later that year sold it to James Fryer. John Mathews, who settled there in 1854, gave the town its name because the rocky bluffs nearby were a favorite nesting place of the American bald eagle. In 1872, John Daley Sr. and Eben Emery built the "Snowy Butte Flour Mill." It contained two run of buhr-stones with a capacity of 40 barrels a day. Its turbine was turned by a 17-foot fall of water from Little Butte Creek. The flour sacks that contained the best grade white flour were printed with a large picture of Mt. McLoughlin, which was better known then as "Snowy Butte." The mill still exists and has been recently restored.
    MEDFORD, compared to the other communities in the Rogue Valley, rose quite late and rather quickly. It grew up because of the railroad and its history belongs to the post-railroad period. It was named by David Loring, a civil engineer for the railroad, after his home town of Medford, Massachusetts.
    In 1883 when Jacksonville refused to pay $40,000 to have the railroad pass through their town, four men, C. C. Beekman, Ira Phipps, C. Mingus and C. W. Broback, put up the money to have the tracks run through their land on Bear Creek. [The four owners of the Medford town site paid no money; the railroad paid them for the land used by their right-of-way. The $40,000 "bribe"--it was actually $25,000--would have only moved the tracks a couple of miles closer to Jacksonville. Jacksonville residents didn't see that as a good investment; it was suggested at the time that the town would have been unable to raise that sum under any circumstances. Jacksonville's Oregon Sentinel tried to quash this "bonus myth" in an article in 1885, but it refuses to die.] Residents of Jacksonville, not overly enthusiastic about this new rival community, referred to it as "Chaparral City." ["Chaparral City" appears in no known contemporary newspaper or correspondence, only in memoirs.]
    Within a single year, 40 wooden buildings were erected near the proposed tracks. The first of these buildings was built by J. S. Howard, whose house and planing mill in Jacksonville were destroyed in a fire the year before. He immediately bought into the new town and built a store. As soon as the railroad reached Medford, Howard was appointed postmaster, an office he held for 10 years. [Howard built the first store, but not the first building in Medford.]
    Since most of the early buildings were saloons, catering to the railroad workers, the town definitely had a rowdy character. [Most of the early buildings were residences; most of the early businesses were stores.] Incorporation was necessary, which was done in March of 1885. At the first council meeting, three ordinances were passed.
    The first was to outlaw disorderly conduct, riots and disturbances. The second was to prevent minors (not miners) from hanging around the depot. The third made it illegal to let hogs run at large in the streets.
    This ordinance was to take effect in six months. There was an outcry against the severity of the measure by the hog owners, who asked that the time limit be at least one year. The council refused, and the hog owners were forced to clean up their act, which apparently they were still doing 12 years later.
    JACKSONVILLE continued to grow between 1855 and 1884, but it also experienced a number of disasters in the form of fire, flood and pestilence. In 1855, Colonel William G. T'Vault, an old-time politician and pioneer who founded the "Dardanelles," which later became Gold Hill, founded the first newspaper in Southern Oregon in Jacksonville, the Table Rock Sentinel.
    In 1858 T'Vault formed a partnership with W. J. Robinson and the name was changed to the Oregon Sentinel. A year later it was taken over by two other men. The editorial policy of the paper was strongly Democratic, which in the days just before the Civil War meant pro-Southern.
    Pro-Union Republicans refused to buy the paper, and in 1861 it went bankrupt. Under the new owner, Henry Denlinger and his editor Orange Jacobs, the paper became uncompromisingly pro-Union, which coincided with the majority view. During this period several Democratic rival papers appeared but quickly died, one because the post office refused to deliver it.
    In 1860, a new road was opened from Waldo to Crescent City and Jacksonville lost much of its packing trade. Clugage and Drum immediately put in a semi-weekly stage run to Crescent City to take up the slack of falling business.
    This year also saw the establishment of the first Catholic church in the community. A year later, C. C. Beekman, who for years carried the mail and thousands of dollars of gold from Jacksonville to Crescent City, opened the first bank in Southern  Oregon. [Beekman built his current bank building in 1863, but had been engaged in banking for several years previous.]
    In the fall of 1868, a case which was diagnosed by the town doctors as "chickenpox" broke out among some mix-blooded Indians near the town. It turned out to be smallpox.
    The people were vaccinated and quarantined, but people continued to die. A quarantine, or "pest house" as it was called, was set up at the south end of town, where most of the sick were taken. In spite of these precautions, the disease spread. The people were terror-stricken: The Protestant ministers of the town fled. The Catholic priest, Father Blanchet, and the Sisters of St. Mary's Academy remained to nurse the sick. Often those who were dying had only the priest to be with in their last hours, since friends and relatives could not dare come into contact with them.
    The epidemic lasted for two months and killed 40 people, including William T'Vault.
    The next summer, a freak flash flood swept down Jackson and Daisy Creek, inundating the town and destroying many houses. Four years later, in 1873, fire destroyed the Union Hotel and nearby buildings. The damage was estimated at $75,000.
    In the summer of 1879, Abigail Scott Duniway came to speak in both Jacksonville and Phoenix. Mrs. Duniway was an advocate of women's rights, and leader of the women's suffrage movement in Oregon. She was editor of the New Northwest and well known throughout the state. She was an experienced and quick-witted speaker, but her views found little support in Jacksonville that summer. Not only was her audience unfriendly, they threw eggs at her and a crowd outside the building burned her in effigy. [Duniway was cordially received by her friends; a friendly audience was disrupted by rowdies.]
    Her report of the incident to her paper attests more to the character of the woman than that of Jacksonville.
    "The 'militia's' been out and egged us!" she wrote. "And they've burned us in effigy, the image being a fair likeness of George Washington, so we were told; and it wore a white apron with the words 'Libeler of Families' on it in big letters.… Verily, there's no form of tyranny that dies so hard as man's rights. Let us be patient with it as it undergoes its death agonies. Only one egg hit us, and that was fresh and sweet, as it took us square on the scalp and saved a shampooing bill. But what a comment on the manners and morals of an incorporated town!… But to the credit of the better class of men be it spoken they were not engaged in it at all."
    Mrs. Duniway then went to stay at Colver Hall. The women of the house, especially Grandmother Colver, wanted everything to be clean and spotless, inside and out. In his reminiscences, Orson Stearns recalls that the job of cleaning up the outside fell to young Louie Colver, and it was not one he relished. You see, in those days, wrote Stearns, "wild and domestic livestock ran at large. An irrigation ditch crossed the road just a few feet from the Colver House, and wagons crossing this ditch made a nice wide puddle. Hogs would wallow in this puddle, then, on hot days, would lie down along the front of the house to be in the shade, making a veritable pig pen of the entrance."
    It was Louie's job to drive the pigs away from the front of the house as best he could so as not to offend the distinguished Mrs. Duniway. "He drove the pigs away to the best of his ability, swearing all the bad words he knew every step of the process, and expressing the wish that Mrs. Duniway would make her visits few and far between."
    Mrs. Duniway's report to her paper on her visit to Phoenix contrasts greatly with the one from Jacksonville. It reflects the influence of "Uncle Sam" Colver and his ideas on the community. She wrote: "Phoenix is a charming little country village, chiefly noted as the abiding place of Hon. Sam Colver and his splendid spouse, with whom we spent several delightful days, and lectured in the evenings to overflowing houses.… Phoenix is about a dozen miles from Jacksonville and it is thought by many will yet become the county seat.… Our lectures here have been so largely attended and so well received that we have promised to return."
    Louie was doomed to do battle with the front porch hogs once again.
    A year later, in 1880, another distinguished personage arrived in Jacksonville for a visit. This was President Rutherford B. Hayes and his party, who came by two special stagecoaches. The party was put up in special suites in the new U.S. Hotel. The owner, Madame Holt, went all out to make the President's stay a pleasant one. That night she threw a grand ball in his honor.
    The next morning, a crowd gathered on California Street to watch the President's departure. Among them was Madame Holt, clutching a piece of paper. Instead of shaking the man's hand, as many others had done, she handed the President's aide a bill for $100. The aide stared dumbfounded at the bill and then snapped, "Madam, you misunderstand. I don't want to buy your hotel."
    Madame Holt, though probably taken aback, persisted in her demands. What happened next no one knows for sure. Some say the aide reluctantly paid the bill, others that he paid part of it. The latter is more probable. As for President Hayes, he wrote in his memoirs concerning his stay in Jacksonville that he had not minded spending the evening with his local supporters, but did object to spending the rest of the night with an army of bedbugs which had joined him in the presidential bed.
    ASHLAND--In early 1852 James Tolman settled with his family on a large claim in the mountains southeast of the town. This area was known to early settlers as the "Mountain House District."
    At the end of 1852, Abel Helman and Eber Emery took claims on the present site of the town and proceeded to build a sawmill. They were soon joined by J. A. Cardwell and Robert Hargadine, who took claims around the mill.
    In 1854, the Thomas brothers built a flour mill which they called "Eagle Mill." That same year, Helman, Emery and Morris built another which they called "Ashland Mill." The name being chosen in honor of Helman's hometown, Ashland, Ohio. The mill was later bought by another early settler, Jacob Wagner.
    In the early 1850s wheat was the major crop grown in the Rogue Valley. The two mills produced enough flour to supply the needs of the community and ship the surplus to Yreka to be sold at four cents a pound.
    In 1859, Emery built a hotel called "Ashland House." By then the business section of the town had moved up from the sawmill to the plaza near the hotel.
    In keeping with the original name of the town, "Ashland Mills," a joint stock company was formed to build a woolen mill. In 1868, the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Company began operations. The factory, four stories high, was the largest building in [Jackson County.]
    In 1875 the name was changed to the Ashland Woolen Manufacturing Company. It employed 32 full-time workers, who operated it 24 hours a day, except Sundays. The mill had a capacity of 16,000 pounds of wool per month and made underwear, hosiery, shawls and blankets. It continued to operate until 1901, when it was destroyed by fire.
    Ashland Mills dropped the "Mills" and was incorporated on Oct. 18, 1874. In 1884, A. G. Walling described the town as follows: "Architecturally, Ashland is one of the finest of towns. Its situation is all that could be desired; its buildings are really creditable; its surroundings are beautiful; and its social advantages are of very high order."
    By 1884, the population had reached 1,000. The number and kind of shops bear a striking resemblance to the city today. These included among others two groceries, two hardware stores, two drugstores, three of millinery, two of jewelry and one confectionery.
    Others included two watchmakers, a bakery, a music store, a newspaper (the Tidings), four hotels and restaurants, two photographic studios, two laundries, five saloons and a shooting gallery.
The Morning News, Central Point, April 7, 1979

Part Eight:
Politics and Prejudice

Many county residents favored slavery
By Carl Bondinell

    In the years preceding the Civil War, Jackson County politics--as in the rest of Oregon and indeed the entire country--centered on the highly charged issue of slavery.
    Since many of the settlers in the Rogue Valley came from the South or from northern states that supported slavery, the issue was widely discussed. William G. T'Vault, owner of the Table Rock Sentinel, the first newspaper in Jackson County, was an ardent slavery advocate and used the paper to espouse the Southern cause.
    In 1857, when the voters of Oregon were asked to decide whether or not they wanted slavery, Jackson County came closer to approving a pro-slavery clause for the constitution than any other county. The vote, 405 in favor and 426 opposed, represented just under one-sixth of the total pro-slavery vote in the state. During the Civil War Union leaders singled out Jackson County as one area needing to be closely watched for possible rebel activity.
    Since very few Rogue Valley settlers even conceived of owning slaves, why did almost one-half of them vote in favor of it? The answer is twofold. First, for most Southerners and small midwestern farmers the prospect of blacks moving about freely was threatening both economically and emotionally. Secondly, the slavery question, while treated by the North as a moral problem, was closely tied to the political principle of "popular sovereignty"--a principle far more important to the Democratic Party and the individual frontier settler than the moral issues of slavery itself.
    The majority of settlers in Jackson County were Democrats, and as such, supported the basic party principle of popular sovereignty, or "states' rights." Simply stated, popular sovereignty meant that the inhabitants of a state or territory had the right to determine their own affairs with as little interference from the federal government as possible.
    If the government was given the power to institute, prohibit or abolish slavery (which is what the abolitionists advocated), it would mean opening the door for ever-increasing federal control over the internal affairs of the individual states. For the independent-minded pioneer settler of Jackson County this principle of local self-determination took precedence over all other questions pertaining to slavery.
    The Democratic Party in Oregon was founded in 1851 by Asahel Bush, owner of the Oregon Statesman, and quickly became the most powerful party in the territory. The nucleus of the party, which was called "the Salem Clique" by its enemies, created a political machine second to none. Members of the group included Bush, Supreme Court judge Matthew Deady, James Nesmith and the charismatic and extremely popular Joe Lane, territorial delegate to Washington. With their political control virtually assured, the Clique decided to push for statehood.
    This caused an immediate reaction among the leaders in Jackson County. In January of 1854, some 15 men, principally from Jackson and Siskiyou counties, met in Robinson's Hotel in Jacksonville to discuss the possibility of creating a separate territory and future state out of the seven Southern Oregon and Northern California counties--to be called "the State of Jefferson."
    Although most of the organizers were Southerners, the presence of Sam Colver, a free state advocate (and who later founded the Republican Party here), suggests that it was not primarily a movement to create a future slave state, but one aimed at ensuring that the common interest of the region would be served, and not, as they were already beginning to fear, neglected by their respective capitals in Salem and Monterey.
    The delegates agreed to circulate petitions and mobilize popular support for a convention to be held in three months. They also agreed to work against the Salem Clique's drive for statehood. The convention was never held, possibly because of the lack of local support, but more likely because Joe Lane strongly opposed the separatist movement.
    As to working against statehood, the Jackson County delegates succeeded in that. In the first unsuccessful popular vote on statehood later that year, the voters in Jackson County opposed the measure by an overwhelming 723 to 20. After that, interest in the "State of Jefferson," which was never really very strong, finally died out.
    Political activity in Jackson County during the next few years followed the same pattern as on the state and national levels. In 1854, Democrats decided to test the issue of popular sovereignty with regard to slavery.
    Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, in which the people of those two territories (and by implication, Oregon) would decide by popular vote whether or not to have slavery. Most Oregonians, and especially Jackson County Democrats, favored the bill as an exercise in local control, and eagerly awaited the results of the experiment in Kansas.
    On the national level, opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act joined together to form a new Republican Party whose major goal was to give Congress the right to outlaw slavery in the territories. By 1856, the party in Oregon had acquired sufficient strength from ex-Whigs and dissident Democrats to become the second largest party in the territory.
    In May of that year, Samuel Colver held a meeting in the Lindley schoolhouse in the Eden district south of Phoenix and founded the Republican Party of Jackson County. The Democrats were so firmly in control of Jacksonville and county politics that they took little notice of the new opposition party.
    Ever since the first session of the territorial legislature in 1849, bills had been introduced to sample the sentiments of Oregonians concerning statehood. Three times a popular vote was taken and three times it failed. The strongest argument used by opponents was that the expenses of state government, as opposed to federal funding of territorial expenses, would raise taxes prohibitively.
    In 1857, the United States Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision, which denied the right of a territory to prohibit slavery. This decision, in effect, rejected the principle of popular sovereignty so dear to Oregonians. And since the Court declared that only states were constitutionally given this power, the people of Oregon voted by a seven-to-one majority to call a constitution convention.
    The constitution drawn up by the delegates was similar to those of other states. It did, however, give the legislature the right to "restrain, and regulate" the immigration of nonwhites, and specifically denied the "Negro, Chinaman and Mulatto" the right to vote. Chinese migrating after the adoption of the constitution were not permitted to work mines, or to own mines or property. [Chinese had little difficulty working around these restrictions.] The questions of slavery and the admittance of free blacks was to be decided by popular vote.
    At a special election in November of 1857, the people approved the constitution (and statehood) by a vote of 7,195 to 3,195. Slavery was rejected by a vote of 2,645 to 7,727. Free blacks were excluded from the state by the rather large margin of 8,640 to 1,081.
    In Jackson County the vote in favor of the constitution was a slim 465 to 372, which indicates that many residents were still suspicious of the party machine in Salem. The vote against slavery (426 to 405) was, as already noted above, the strongest pro-slavery vote in the state. On the question of the admittance of free blacks, the vote for exclusion was 756 to 46, which was in line with the rest of the state on that question.
    It took two years of diligent effort by Lane in Washington to get Congress to admit Oregon as a state. Opposition came from Republicans who didn't want another Democratic state, and from Southerners who didn't want another non-slave state. Finally, enough Republicans crossed party lines and voted for ratification. On Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 1859, Oregon became a state.
    Meanwhile, events in Kansas were having a profound effect on the nation and the Democratic Party. The doctrine of popular sovereignty, which in theory the Democrats had felt was the best solution to the problem of slavery, turned out in practice to be a nightmare.
    Just before the vote was to be taken in Kansas, pro-slavery militants from nearby Missouri crossed into Kansas to ensure that the vote went their way. At the same time, anti-slavery militants from the Northeast came to make sure the vote went their way. The result was two separate governments, one pro-slavery and the other anti-slavery, and a series of violent clashes between the two groups which forced the slogan "Bleeding Kansas" upon the public consciousness. The Democrats could not agree on which government to support. President Buchanan led a faction in favor of the slavery group and Stephen Douglas, the author of the act, led the anti-slavery faction.
    The split seriously weakened the Democrats nationally and in Oregon, where Lane sided with Buchanan and the pro-slavery faction and split off from the Salem Clique which supported Douglas. The split gave the Republicans in Oregon the opportunity to offer a serious challenge in the elections of 1859 and 1860.
    The presidential election of 1860, one of the most important in American history, was also the first election for Oregon voters. The fact that there were three Democratic candidates and only one Republican, Abraham Lincoln, caused confusion among the Oregon voters, most of whom were Democrats. They had to choose among Douglas who was pro-Union, or Breckinridge, who was pro-slavery, and who had chosen Joe Lane as his running mate, and Bell, a third-party Southerner.
    In the state, Lincoln received a slim plurality of votes, but his total combined with the other pro-Union candidate, Douglas, represented a very strong union sentiment in the state. In Jackson County, Lincoln received less than one-third of the vote (394). Breckinridge received the most (675), but this was probably because the ticket included Joe Lane, who enjoyed much popularity in Jackson County because of his role in the Indian wars of 1851 and 1853.
Election of 1860
Oregon Jackson County
Lincoln 5,344 394
Breckinridge 5,074 675
Douglas 4,131 406
Bell    212   88
    Newspapers also had an effect on the strong showing of Southern sentiment in the county. In 1859, T'Vault sold his paper, which was now called the Oregon Sentinel, to James O'Meara, who was even more pro-Southern than T'Vault. O'Meara's anti-Union views soon became too offensive and he began to lose subscribers.
    In May of 1861 he was forced to sell the Sentinel to two Republicans, who ran it as a pro-Union paper for the duration of the war. In an attempt to keep pro-Southern sentiment alive, O'Meara began publishing the Southern Oregon Gazette, in which he continued to express his anti-Union, anti-Lincoln view.
    In less than a year, the paper was suppressed by the government. The Sentinel railed against the "rebels and copperheads," and urged everyone to support the Union, candidly admitting at one point that such loyalty could pay dividends in terms of federal money after the war.
    On the whole, the people of Jackson County were relatively unaffected by the Civil War. During the first year or so, the presence of the pro-Southern element and the newspapers kept interest in the conflict alive. In spite of government apprehension concerning possible rebel activity in the county, rebel and union antagonisms never reached a serious level.
    In fact, in 1864 most of the Southerners, including T'Vault, left Jacksonville for the gold mines in Idaho. A small number of residents went off to fight, some for the Confederacy and some for the Union. Two companies of volunteers were raised and a garrison was set up at Fort Baker in Phoenix, but ultimately, the war was just too far away and interest gradually waned.
    Politically, the war fostered a growing union sentiment in the county which helped the Republican Party to grow and even win a few local offices. But in the presidential election of 1864 Lincoln still only managed to receive 39 percent of the vote.
    After the war, the county again became almost solidly Democratic and remained that way, with very few exceptions, until 1890. An examination of precinct tabulations shows that within the county party loyalty remained unshaken. Jacksonville regularly voted Democratic by huge margins. Many precincts voted with Jacksonville, but some did not. Ashland was as chronically Republican as her neighbor was Democratic.
    Phoenix, the home of Sam Colver, usually sided with Ashland. In 1864, for instance, Lincoln polled 80 percent of Phoenix's vote. Butte Creek and Central Point, farming districts like Phoenix, customarily went Democratic. Countywide, however, the number of Democrats so far exceeded Republicans that an election was seldom in doubt.
The Chinese

    Although the vast majority of immigrants to Oregon were white, several nonwhite ethnic groups also came in search of a new life. One of the earliest minorities to come were Hawaiians, or "Kanakas" as they were called, who came in the 1820s with the express purpose of settling and learning western culture. They lived in the Willamette Valley and worked as laborers, canoemen, sailors, gardeners, herders and servants for the Hudson Bay Company. They readily converted to Christianity and tried to become part of white society.
    When the provisional government was formed in the 1840s it passed laws that taxed Kanakas and their employers, and severely restricted their right to own property or vote. In 1848, many Kanakas tried to circumvent these laws by applying for citizenship.
    The final blow to their aspirations to become citizens of Oregon came with the passage of the Donation Land Act of 1850, which gave emigrants free land, but at the insistence of Territorial Delegate Samuel Thurston excluded Hawaiians and blacks.
    Thurston feared that the settling of these two groups would result in their joining with the Indians into a racial combination directed against whites. After living and working in the Willamette Valley for over 30 years, the Hawaiians were forced to abandon their hopes and return to the Islands.
    This pattern of discriminatory legislation and economic pressure was to be used again in dealing with ethnic minorities who tried to come to Oregon, and succeeded in keeping the numbers of nonwhites at an insignificant level.
    But there was one ethnic group--the Chinese--who did come to Oregon and Jackson County in such numbers that they could not be ignored. Because they came to work and not to own land, the restrictive land laws did not apply to them. Three hundred Chinese lived in Jackson County in 1864, and by 1870, one out of every eight persons living in the county was Chinese!
    In spite of the fact that they lived here for over 50 years, information about them is incredibly limited. This is partly because of the indifference whites showed them as human beings, and partly because when the Chinese went away, they left nothing behind--not even the bones of those who died here. [It's largely due to language and cultural barriers.] All Chinese wanted to be buried in their homeland, so that whenever a friend or relative was returning to China, bones of the deceased were dug up, cleaned and taken back. [Repatriation of bones was conducted on a regular basis by groups organized for the purpose.]
    We do know that the Chinese first came to California in the early 1850s. Most came from the southern provinces around Canton, where poverty and political turmoil drove them to seek opportunities abroad.
    In China they signed with Chinese companies as contract laborers and were then sent to California to work in the gold mines and on the railroads. They dealt only with their Chinese "boss," who negotiated with the American companies for them, provided them with food, clothing and shelter and distributed their wages. Almost all Chinese came with the intention of returning to China after they had made enough money.
    The Chinese stuck together and avoided contact with the whites. They worked and lived together in groups and seemed better able to withstand the almost intolerable working and health conditions of the camps than white laborers were. One railroad executive described them as "Quiet, peaceable, patient, industrious and economical. Ready and apt to learn all the different kinds of work required in railroad building."
    Within their groups, the Chinese continued to live as they had in their native land. In large part, it was their "foreign" customs, religious rites, dietary practices and dress that whites found most offensive and frightening.
    The Californians in particular, greeted them with fear, abuse, resentment and oppression. As their numbers increased and the demand for their labor decreased, California passed an ever-increasing number of laws designed to keep them from working. In the 1860s many crossed over the Siskiyous into Oregon primarily to escape the repressive California laws.
    Most of the Chinese who came to Jackson County settled in and around Jacksonville and along the Applegate River where they took over abandoned mines, or bought claims that the white miners felt were already worked out. Usually working in groups of 10 or 15, the Chinese patiently and methodically reworked the gravel, taking out enough gold to make a living and to send money back home.
    The attitude of the miners and residents of Jacksonville toward the Chinese was no different than that of the Californians and most other settlers in the West. In their ignorance of Chinese languages, customs and religion, they treated them with ridicule, contempt and, on occasion, with violence. Their strange customs and behavior only confirmed the opinion of most whites that they were an inferior race. Newspapers routinely described the Chinese as "nasty, opium-smoking, thieving, moon-eyed heathens," who were most certainly "the most filthy race of human beings in the world."
    As with the Kanakas and blacks, the whites hoped to force the Chinese to leave by passing special laws, ordinances and taxes which made it difficult for him to live. Chinese paid very high fees to run a business. They paid a monthly tax to work a mine, and a yearly "poll tax" for the privilege of living. He could not vote, and those arriving after the adoption of the Constitution in 1859 were forbidden to own mines or property of any kind.
    The following editorial may or may not accurately reflect the attitudes of the general public, but it does comment on the economic role most whites believed the Chinese played in their community, and how it could be corrected. After urging the present legislature to continue the policy of taxing the Chinese, the editorial writer goes on:
    "It seems an unwise policy to allow a race of brutish heathens who have nothing in common with us, to exhaust our mineral lands without paying a heavy tax for their occupation. These people bring nothing with them to our shores, they add nothing to the permanent wealth of this country and so strong is their attachment to their own country they will not let their filthy carcasses lie in our soil. Could this people be taxed as to exclude them entirely, it would be a blessing."
    Although the Chinese did pay their taxes, which added considerably to the county treasury, and did buy supplies from local white merchants, their frugality and attachment to home and religion strikes the editorial writer as being "un-American."
    Although the heavy taxes did work a hardship on the Chinese and may have forced some to leave sooner than they wanted, the fact is that many remained here to live, some for over 30 years. They were not total outcasts. The courts and legislature eventually did provide them with some protection. In 1862, the Chinese were given the right to testify in court. Before this, cases of assault and robbery against Chinese by whites, who knew they could not be prosecuted, were very common. After, the number of such incidents declined considerably.
    Similarly, not all the people of Jacksonville were determined to drive them out. Benjamin Dowell, a lawyer and newspaper owner, tried to moderate local hostility and fears by pointing out that as soon as the mines were worked out, the Chinese would move of their own accord. He urged people to accept the fact that they were here and that they did perform services as laborers. He also argued, although cautiously, that they were entitled to legal rights and should be given the chance to become citizens. In the privacy of his journal he wrote, "They will make as good or better citizens than one-half of the rebels will ever be."
    In the end, Dowell's first prediction proved to be correct. As the mines played out, many Chinese did leave. The census of 1880 records 323 Chinese living in the county, where 10 years before there were twice that number. By 1890, the number had dropped to 224.
    Those Chinese who remained contributed to society and attained some degree of acceptance. Gin Lin, a Chinese "boss," lived in Jacksonville for 30 years from 1864 to 1894. He became successful enough to own a hydraulic mining operation near where the Little Applegate flows into the Applegate River. Although he never became a citizen, he owned almost 9200 acres of land. He was accepted by most whites and even attained a certain amount of respect from the people of Jacksonville. Gin Lin returned to China in 1894, where he died three years later.
    Most Chinese were still miners, but others worked as cooks and domestics in the U.S. Hotel, or in private homes. A few operated laundries. Between 1883 and 1887 many Chinese worked on the railroad, which was finally being built through the Rogue Valley and into California.
    The incredibly difficult and dangerous job of digging 13 tunnels and laying track over the Siskiyous was accomplished largely by Chinese laborers. In 1887, the year the road was completed, the Ashland Tidings reported that they would need 100 Chinese to gravel the roadbed and keep the tracks in condition. A man named Wah Chung was in charge of the Chinese who worked on the railroad. He and his family and his workers lived near the tracks on "A" Street in Ashland for many years.
    "Chinatown" remained a part of Jacksonville life well past the turn of the century. The Chinese remained a segregated community, which allowed the whites to generally accept or ignore their existence as they pleased. On occasion, Jacksonville politicians tried to legislate morality for the Chinese. In 1873 they passed an ordinance against brothels and in 1882, one against opium smoking. The ordinances proved to be unenforceable as long as there were enough whites who participated in these activities.
    George Wendt, who spent his boyhood in Jacksonville in the early 1890s, remembers that "Chinatown was a busy place. There was a solid block of Chinese houses from the town hall up the street to the corner. Each was built one on top of the other. Opium was smoked in the open with no interference, and that terrible smell was very potent all evening long."
    He remembers that he and the other boys sold pigeons to the Chinese cook at the U.S. Hotel for 25 cents a pair and that they were fascinated by the colorful funeral ceremonies and New Year's celebrations. On New Year's the Chinese hung long strings of firecrackers on their porches from the eaves to the floor. When they were set off in the evening, "it was a sign for all the kids in town to line up and go through each house for a treat of Chinese candy and sweets."
    Thinking back on the Chinese during this time, Wendt remembers that "They lived pretty well among themselves. Some worked out as laundrymen and cooks. But most mined gold in the Applegate in groups of 15 or 20."
    Wendt's father, who drove the stage between Jacksonville and the Applegate every day, knew most of the Chinese miners. There must have existed a certain amount of trust between them, since young George remembers that the miners simply gave his father their gold, which he took to Beekman's Bank in Jacksonville to be weighed, and then returned with the appropriate exchange.
    Besides the Indians, the Chinese were the only large nonwhite ethnic minority to ever live in Jackson County. They were not welcome. They were legally and socially discriminated against, despised by some and tolerated or ignored by most. Yet they continued to live and work here for over 40 years.
    Their customs, their skills and their determination to live, work and raise families in an environment which was either hostile or indifferent to them must have made a favorable impression and opened the minds of those white settlers who lived beside them for any length of time. Fortunately, the whites, who only a very few years before had resorted to violence to drive off the Indians, used more subtle and "civilized" means to control the Chinese.
    As the number of Chinese gradually became smaller, they became less of a threat and more acceptable to the whites. In the 1910s and 1920s there were just under 100 Chinese still living in Jackson County. By 1930, there were only five.

The Morning News, Central Point, April 28, 1979

Part Nine:
Economic Development
Railroads, Public Morality and the Press

Farming grew as gold mines began to decline
By Carl Bondinell

    From the beginning, the economy of Jackson County rested on two separate, but interdependent, activities--mining and farming. Between 1852, when gold was discovered on Jackson Creek, and 1862, mining held the center stage, drawing literally thousands of men to Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, and producing millions of dollars worth of gold.
    In 1856, the year of the biggest bounty, the diggings yielded approximately 1.5 million dollars. But in the following years, the "boom" continued to wane as the supply of loose surface ore dwindled, and capital investment became necessary for more sophisticated operations, such as hydraulic mining.
    While miners came in the 1850s by the thousands, farmers came by the hundreds. Most came from the Midwest looking for good land, not gold, and took out land claims in the fertile Bear Creek Valley. Others, who had originally come to mine, forsook the lure of gold and turned to farming.
    Just a few miles away from the noise and hubbub of Jacksonville, farmers were quietly cultivating the soil, and like the merchants, were benefiting from the well-known western principle that there was more profit to be made in "mining the miners" than in mining for gold.
    The mines and the miners, who had to be fed, furnished tremendous incentive for early agricultural ventures, but the farmers prospered more than anyone realized. By 1855 the valley was largely self-sufficient, and by 1860, farmers were looking for outside markets for their surplus crops.
    Phoenix and Ashland became prosperous centers of rural trade, and their three flour mills ranked second in Oregon in output. In 1860, the county contained 164 farms representing an investment of a million dollars. Populations in the farming districts actually exceeded that of the mines, 1,502 to 1,340. [By 1860 the placer mining boom had waned.]
    In prestige and responsibility the farmers far surpassed the more colorful and supposedly more prosperous miners. The jury list drawn in the bonanza year of 1854, which totaled 150 men, listed 129 farmers, a few merchants and a single miner; and this ratio continued in succeeding years.
    Life seemed uniquely drab and monotonous in Jackson County between the decline of mining and the advent of the railroad. Excitement over the coming of
the railroad and the prosperity it would bring to the valley began as early as 1864. But it took 20 years before it arrived from the north and another three before the last connection was made with California.
    During this time valley residents had to learn to "fend for themselves" in a semi-isolated economic island. It is to the credit of the residents that the county did continue to grow economically and not, like other western towns and regions, decline or stagnate while waiting for the railroad to "save" them.
    The prosperity the Civil War brought to most of the North hardly touched Jackson County at all. Phoenix did enjoy a slight revival with the opportunity of supplying the garrison at Fort Baker, but this had little countywide effect. In fact, these years proved to be ones of painful adjustment, requiring either new markets to replace departed miners or new products to sell at home.
    Everyone spoke of "hard times." There was a great falling off of business, and debtors were chronically defaulting on loans which resulted in a large increase of civil suits in the courts, or as one observer noted: "Everyone is bringing suit against somebody."
    More significant was the fact that the white male population rose only 10 percent between 1860 and 1870, and farm values fell sharply. The population and gold production was buttressed by the arrival of the Chinese, but still the annual yield of gold declined steadily, at least 30 percent between 1860 and 1870; by 1890, it had dropped to $31,000.
    New strikes, no matter how small, were widely exaggerated and publicized by the Jacksonville press in an attempt to revive the more prosperous days of the past. But it had become clear that gold was no longer the economic backbone of the county, and that Jacksonville was entering a long and steady economic decline.
    However, the initial impact of gold was strong enough to have lasting effects on the development of the county. Jacksonville continued to dominate political and commercial enterprises until the late 1880s. With a cosmopolitan population aspiring to urbanity, this proud village stood alone in the power of its lawyers and German-born merchants.
    There existed a political and social elite consisting of men of enterprise and energy, such as C. C. Beekman, the banker; B. F. Dowell, lawyer; and Peter Britt, the first photographer in the Northwest. Men like these succeeded in making their village a metropolis in miniature, complete with feminine finery, foreign-born artisans and a "Chinatown." Diversity of personal background and energetic business sense bred a social stratification which in many ways set Jacksonville apart from the farming population.
    For the farmers, the recession of 1860-1870 was not easily reversed. They lacked adequate markets for their grain. A few even left to take up farms in Klamath County, where they could supply the garrison at Fort Klamath. Others pinned their hopes on the railroads, but a home remedy seemed the only solution. Some had suggested that the valley could be self-sufficient, but it was not easy for each farmer to take personal responsibility and be the first to revamp his customary operation.
    The Oregon Sentinel and civic leaders campaigned for the development of local industries to ease the farmer's burden. The only notable result was the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Company, which began production in 1867. That heavy local support caused the mill to be built in Ashland was a bitter pill for Jacksonville, but it reflected the direction in which economic currents had begun to flow.
    Meanwhile, farmers gradually solved their own difficulties by trimming their output of wheat and beef to conform to local needs and by experimenting with alternative crops and stock. One farmer, David John, planted 24 different grains, grasses and vegetables in 1868, and another resourceful farmer even put in a few acres of tobacco. [David John farmed in Williams--in Josephine County.]
    The success of this policy demonstrated again that prosperity in the Rogue Valley issued from its farms rather than its towns and mines. Without aid from the railroad, the agrarian sector of Jackson County began to prosper in the mid-1870s. The number of farms and acreage of cultivated land tripled in that decade; production of wheat and oats, corn and hogs, sheep, hay and even honey and potatoes made farming
unusually profitable.
    This new prosperity in turn stimulated industry and immigration. The production of the valley's flour mills continued to increase and the woolen mill purchased approximately 80 percent of the county's wool clip. As more and more people moved into the valley, small farms replaced large ones.
    Settlement of the outlying areas along the Applegate River and Butte Creek gave rise to trading centers like Eagle Point and Central Point. The population of the county almost doubled in the 1870s. In addition, shifts in the economic and social balance created a more homogeneous population. The number of Chinese working marginal mines dropped from 634 to 337, while foreign-born residents now made up only 11 percent of the total.
    Ashland became the symbol of this new prosperity, as Jacksonville had represented the old. Its population of 300 in 1874 almost tripled to 843 six years later in 1880. It surpassed Jacksonville in population and became one of the fastest growing towns in Oregon south of Portland. Its mills together with the establishment of a college and newspaper provided the foundation for a stable and progressive community.
    Prosperity had preceded the railroad in Jackson County. The people of the valley had created a potentially self-sufficient economy. In two decades, economic and social institutions had gained such stability that they often seemed wearisome, causing the eminent contemporary historian, [A. G.] Walling, to complain that historically these years in Jackson County were "singularly bare and uninteresting."
    Despite some uncomfortable economic adjustments and an uncertain relationship to outside economic forces and institutions, the people of Jackson County accommodated themselves easily to an unruffled, moderately prosperous, relatively
progressive rural community.
    Because of the optimism which permeated the Valley, residents eagerly awaited the arrival of the railroad which would open "a new era of business." By 1870, it was a foregone conclusion that the road would come through the Rogue Valley (and not swing east toward Klamath Falls); it was only a question of when.
    By 1872 the road from Portland was built as far south as Roseburg. But the company went bankrupt, and no additional track was laid for another 10 years. Finally, in 1882, under the management of German-born Henry Villard and backed by German stockholders, the Oregon and California Railroad began construction again.
    Once begun, the work progressed quickly. By May of 1883 railway service was open to Glendale, and by December the rails had reached Grants Pass. Before the end of the year construction crews had passed through Central Point and what was to become Medford.
    On May 4, 1884, the line reached Ashland, where it stopped. The company went bankrupt before it could complete the tunnels over the Siskiyous to Redding. The Southern Pacific took over the company and completed the road to Ashland three years later in December of 1887. The ceremonial golden spike was driven in the Ashland yards on a dark, snowy evening to commemorate the historic event. However, the economically minded Southern Pacific no longer provided a new spike for such occasions, but brought an old one which was brought back to San Francisco after the ceremony.
    The immediate effect of the railroad was that it determined the location and stimulated the growth of towns. Places like Woodville (Rogue River), Gold Hill, Central Point and Talent, which had previously been no more than clusters of houses, became centers of commercial activity. Medford, which was nonexistent before, was chosen by the railroad to be the major freight terminal. [Medford wasn't chosen as the major freight terminal; it was created as the major freight terminal.] The result was a period of spectacular growth between 1884 and 1890, by which time its population had reached almost 1,000.
    The impact on Ashland was almost as great. Its businessmen reported that sales doubled the first year. New buildings went up to accommodate the influx of people. Streets were improved, a water system installed, along with electric lighting and a modern hotel. By 1890, the population had again doubled to 1,784, making Ashland the foremost town in Southern Oregon.
    Jacksonville's progress had already ceased and being bypassed by the railroad only accelerated the decline. Many of its citizens, seeing the handwriting on the wall, fought to save the town. Fearing that they might lose their position as the county seat to Ashland, or even Phoenix, they constructed a new and impressive courthouse in 1883, and began working for the construction of a spur railroad which would connect them with Medford.
    There also exists a story that before the tracks reached the Rogue Valley, a group of local businessmen were led to believe that the railroad could still be brought through Jacksonville if a subsidy of $25,000 was raised. When Beekman refused to contribute and then later financially backed contracts between Medford and the railroad, it was felt by some that the banker had betrayed them and the town. [Beekman's personal correspondence confirms this is false. T
he $25,000 subsidy would have only moved the tracks a couple of miles closer to Jacksonville. Jacksonville residents didn't see that as a good investment; it was suggested at the time that the town would have been unable to raise that sum under any circumstances. Jacksonville's Oregon Sentinel tried to quash this "bonus myth" in an article in 1885, but it refuses to die.]
    The truth of the matter was, as Beekman probably knew, that railroad records show that a route through Jacksonville was never even contemplated. One look at the terrain explains why. Climbing the grade into Jacksonville would have cost the company more in fuel annually than the proposed subsidy. Furthermore, there was no economic reason for building to Jacksonville. The route chosen was more central to the valley and its farms. Jacksonville, which sits at the foot of the hills, developed nothing in the way of revenue-producing freight.
    In 1891, through the joint efforts of the citizens of the two towns, the five-and-one-half-mile Jacksonville-Medford railroad was built. The Rogue River Valley Railway Company began service on Feb. 12, 1891 with a schedule calling for two trains a day each way. The railroad obtained the contract for carrying mail, and passenger revenues continued to be high even after the novelty of the trip began to wear off. The connection with the Southern Pacific also enabled the road to increase its freight revenues.
    The original equipment was borrowed from the Union Pacific, and when the company's own locomotive finally arrived from New York it proved to be too small to pull any kind of load up the grade from Medford. This led to a delightful diversion for the school children of Jacksonville. The line came up a slight grade past the school house.
    Enterprising youngsters discovered that if the tracks were smeared with grease, the tedium of the schoolroom could be momentarily broken by the spectacle of the little train suddenly sliding backwards down the grade right outside the schoolroom windows.
    By 1894, profits fell off to just over the break-even point and stayed that way. Freight revenues never amounted to much. The major business of the line was passenger traffic. There were always people needing to go to the county seat for one reason or another. Even this began to slacken in 1896 after roads were improved. Maintenance was largely ignored and the rolling stock deteriorated.
    By 1900, the "Jacksonville Cannonball," as it was affectionately called, was up for sale. It was purchased by W. S. Barnum of Medford for $12,000 and, with the exception of a three-year period, was run for the next 25 years by Barnum more or less as a family operation.
    Whereas the small spur line did little to increase the prosperity of Jacksonville, the main line did, as everyone expected, maintain the prosperity of the county. However, to the great surprise of many, the trains that brought markets to the Rogue Valley also brought competition from the hundreds of other farming areas in the West.
    The farmers momentarily found themselves in a very awkward situation: they needed to find a crop with which they might compete successfully. The answer was not hard to find. Rogue Valley fruit had sold well even before the railroads, and now its potential as a major cash crop seemed almost unlimited. In 1888, an estimated 200,000 trees were planted. Production of other crops fell off and the average farm shrank in size by 50 acres.
    The railroad did not initiate prosperity or revolutionize the economy. Jackson County had been prosperous before and remained a predominantly agrarian region. Although farmers changed from a diversified agriculture for the local market to money crops for the wider markets of the railroad age, the change took time. The great orchard boom did not begin until well into the 1900s.
    In his reminiscences, George Wendt creates the following evocative picture of farming in the early 1890s:
    "Before the orchards in the valley the farmers raised mostly grain.… In the fall, a view from the schoolhouse (in Jacksonville) on the hill seemed like the whole valley was being plowed by horse power. Then at harvest time all the grain would be stacked waiting for the threshing machines. They would go from field to field. They all had rail fences at that time. I have seen five big threshing rigs in operation from where we lived. They were big outfits, big steam engines, two fork derricks, large separator, one wagon with a feed rack on it. One team would haul water for the engine. They would have 10 horses in all, one wagon for a cook shack and dining room with a Chinese cook."
    During the four decades between 1851 and 1890, the economic foundations of Jackson County had undergone a substantial shift. The emphasis had veered from mining and mining communities to farms and a rural society. The early influences of the mines faded. The population became more homogeneous and stable. In 1890 male residents comprised only 55 percent of the people, whereas in 1860 they comprised almost 90 percent.
    Yet within the general rural character of the county the railroads did create significant changes. Most of the new immigrants who came in "the cars" gathered in the towns, and with that came the need to make adjustments to accommodate the problems of a diversity of people living in a dense urban situation. Railroads also provided greater accessibility to new and different intellectual and cultural ideas from the outside. To some, these posed a threat to the sober and conservative way of life they were used to while the valley remained in semi-isolation. To others, it provided the opportunity to move ahead into the twentieth century.
    One of the most influential forces in not only the economic, but cultural and political, life of Jackson County was its newspapers. Because so little outside literature entered the valley, they were the primary source of information and education. However, editors saw this only as a secondary function. The primary function of the press in Jacksonville, as in Salem and most of the West, was fanatically political. Newspapers were used by their editors or owners to promote the views of one or the other major political parties, and sometimes as a means by which the editor could advance his own political career.
    Colonel T'Vault's Table Rock Sentinel, which he founded in Jacksonville in 1855 and a year later changed to the Oregon Sentinel, was published as a rabid Democratic, radical pro-Southern organ until 1861, when it was taken over by two Republicans. In 1865, it was purchased by Benjamin F. Dowell, a Jacksonville attorney, who continued to run it as a Republican paper for the next 13 years.
    From 1861 until 1888 two politically hostile papers operated almost continuously in Jacksonville. The Democrats were represented at first by a succession of nine different, generally ill-financed, badly written papers. In 1870, the financially sound Democratic Times was established and operated as a successful competitor of the Sentinel for two decades.
    When Dowell took over the Sentinel in 1865, his goal, he said, was to make it "one of the best political papers in Oregon." More specifically, he expected it to boost him toward three goals, all wholly political: First, payment by the government of the county's Indian war claims, which represented the major part of Dowell's law practice. Second, to assure "the success and ultimate triumph of truth, justice, law, under the Constitution and the Union." And thirdly, to gain for Dowell a position as a justice on the Oregon Supreme Court.
    He never succeeded in achieving the third goal and only partly succeeded in the first, but he did manage to run a successful Republican paper for 13 years in a town and county that was overwhelmingly Democratic in its sympathies.
    In 1865 the Sentinel led the attack on President Andrew Johnson and supported attempts to impeach him. Dowell's paper also advocated progressive programs of "worldwide suffrage based on principles of equal rights under law without regard for race color, or sex." It was the first paper on the Pacific Coast to support Negro suffrage and strongly advocated the right of women to vote.
    The Democratic Times, representing the dominant Democratic Party, was strongly anti-black, anti-Chinese and pro-Southern. Early issues presented defense of the Ku Klux Klan, attacks on Chinese, and was violently opposed to women's rights. The key to its financial success was not its circulation but the fact that Democrats controlled the county government. It was patronage in the form of county printing contracts that brought in the profits.
    The Ashland Tidings, founded in 1876, paid little attention to Jacksonville politics, and indeed, to politics on any level. It tried to maintain a nonpartisan position and dealt primarily with local issues of social and cultural importance.
    One should not get the impression that because the Jacksonville papers were political in orientation that the result was a high level discussion of political issues. In fact, the case was just the opposite. In the absence of libel laws, editors literally exhausted their vocabularies in malicious, personal attacks on rival editors and papers. Oregon editors became so adept at this kind of name-calling, mud-slinging political reporting that such journalism became known as the "Oregon Style." Two examples of such writing, one from the Sentinel and one from the Democratic Southern Oregon Press, adequately represent this style:
    In the first, the editor of the Sentinel "analyzes" the Democratic Party and concludes that the party:
    "Will live as long as wretched drunken editors prostitute the press and mistake calumny and vilification for argument, and when the loathsome garbage of its literature ceases to be proper food for the public mind it will live no longer."
    In the second, the editor of the Democratic paper responds to the accusation of the Sentinel that he is a drunkard and dissolute in the following manner:
    "The charge is a contemptible falsehood…and its author a sneaking, contemptible, malicious, deliberate liar.… We have always written down the whelp who conducts the Sentinel as an ass, but had no idea that he was the slimy, cowardly slanderer that he had proven himself to be.… If the editor of the Sentinel should call on us we will treat him as we would any other vicious cur."
    It is difficult to imagine that these tactics yielded either financial or political benefits. And to the majority of readers, living on the fringe of political life, such blasts must have sounded trite and irrelevant, more like adolescent bantering in the schoolyard than serious political reporting.
    Such writing was also inconsistent with the educational function of the weeklies, which, despite their devotion to political skirmishing, did carry material of general interest and utility, and did see themselves as guardians of the public morality.
    The newspapers also took on the role of alternately praising and prodding local citizens to greater civic pride. The editor would urge the planting of trees, repair of the church and more vigilant parental supervision of children. His incessant promotion of religion, education and morality issued, not from any personal allegiances, but from the conviction that they contributed to his community's stability and progress.
    The newspaper in Jackson County, as in most rural areas, filled half its columns with "ready-print" material. In a four-page edition, page one and parts of pages two and four consisted of imported articles on all imaginable topics, some borrowed from other journals and some turned out commercially for this purpose. [A four-page newspaper with pages one and four preprinted was referred to as one with a "patent outside."] Reading this portion was like opening an encyclopedia at random; there was information, some useful and some exotic, about historical and geographical subjects, fashion, religion and almost anything else.
    Religion, or the moral teachings of religious groups, was espoused more openly in ready-print than in other portions of the papers. To most editors, religion was only an aid to community prosperity and prestige. Accordingly, they dutifully endorsed the common virtues of honesty, sobriety and industry. But further they did not go. The Tidings was much less a political sheet that the Jacksonville papers, and its devotion to community welfare was more genuine. It featured religious items more conspicuously because religion made more news in Ashland than it did in Jacksonville. [Or because that was the personal taste of the editor.]
    The newspapers, of course, also provided valuable information on coming events, and provided ample space for advertisers and for the poetic or literary offerings of local citizens.
    Since morality resides primarily within the private conscience of each person, a description of the moral tone of Jackson County, or any other community, cannot be analyzed in detail. Yet because morality often becomes a public concern, certain elementary features and trends can be observed. The violence and lawlessness associated with "frontier society" and Indian wars passed out of existence rather quickly in Jackson County. Between 1861 and 1870 there were only two murder trials and, generally speaking, violent crimes were rare.
    On matters concerning moral conduct differences did exist within the county. The contrasts between Jacksonville and Ashland reflect the disparity between mining-commercial and agrarian districts. Ashland was representative of most of the other farming communities in its adherence to high moral standards. Religious and temperance groups were well supported; liquor sales and saloons were prohibited; the town council and newspaper steered clear of politics and generally encouraged hard work and clean living.
    In Jacksonville, on the other hand, saloons and gambling houses built by the miners remained a part of the town's commercial life. Disturbances, such as bar or street fights, were fairly common. Prostitution and opium-smoking existed. The newspapers thrived on political in-fighting and mud-slinging. The Sentinel favored law and order and strict propriety for the young, but was never sanctimonious about street fighting and moderate drinking.
    Newspaper accounts indicate that in Jacksonville juvenile gangs, noted for profanity, rowdyism and intoxication, were also a chronic problem. In 1878, the editor of the Ashland Tidings reported that "a number of boys, ranging from 10 to 16 years of age were in a state of helpless intoxication on the streets of Jacksonville last Sunday." [Similar incidents were also reported in Ashland. There's no way to tell if they were reported less often because they were more uncommon--or if the editor chose to portray Ashland in a better light.]
    Ashland and other farming villages, which lacked the hectic origins that made Jacksonville what it was, usually seemed to be models of industry and sobriety. The Sentinel's editor conceded as much after a visit to Ashland in 1879: "One of the pleasant features of our neighboring town is the apparent busy character of its inhabitants. We appeared to be the only loafers there; no one asked us to drink except to test their pure mountain water, and we found that it left neither heartache nor headache behind it."
    As we have seen, a great many people moved into Ashland during the 1870s and early 1880s. This, combined with the advent of the railroad, contributed to exert great pressures on the high moral codes in Ashland. Within a two-year period, four attorneys nailed up their shingles to compete for the increasing litigation. In 1880 Ashland's proud status as a "dry" town was seriously challenged. In one case a prohibitive license fee closed one prospective saloon, and in another a woman's temperance group successfully raised enough money to buy out the saloon. These efforts were only partially successful. At least one unlicensed saloon maintained a flourishing business during that year.
    The railroads brought new people with varied backgrounds and habits. Their arrival alarmed many of the old residents. People began to bolt their doors at night. The town council had to pass ordinances against such newly arrived vices as gambling, disorderly conduct and prostitution. The row of saloons that sprang up in the railroad district was distressing. Old timers must have been shocked to read in the usually staid Tidings reports of saloon brawls in which "one of the belligerents had his features hammered into the general appearance of a two-pound beef steak."
    Church leaders felt powerless and frustrated by their inability to reverse the decline in the moral climate. One churchman complained: "Things moral are no better than in scores of other places. Five or six saloons and a billiard hall are open seven days in the week."
    By 1890, Ashlanders comprehended for the first time the warning of Presbyterian clergy: "In rapidly growing populations, where the growth is largely through immigration, the constant tendency is to degeneracy."
    The majority of people living in Ashland and Jackson County in 1890 certainly did not believe that such a strong moral indictment applied to the quality of their lives. Families living out on their farms continued to live as they had before. However, the railroads did, as in the case of Ashland, by promoting the rapid growth of towns, effect changes in attitudes and behavior which often clashed with the older, more placid conventions of a pre-industrial agrarian society.
    Wallace Farnham, in his treatise on the influence of religion in Jackson County, writes of the period between 1860 and 1890: "Clearly, the most placid sections of Jackson County were those in which the churches flourished. The correlation is noteworthy, but it is not so simple as appears on the surface. Generally speaking, one does not gain the impression that religious teaching dominated people's behavior. Rather, this was one among several congenial factors that blended, in agrarian districts, to create a stable, moral community. It was neither purely cause nor purely consequence. In Jacksonville, and in Ashland in the 1880s, incompatible elements shattered this happy combination. Religion could no longer be an effective guardian of morality."
The Morning News, Central Point, May 5, 1979

Part Ten:
The Orchard Boom

Some good advice launched the valley's orchard boom
By Carl Bondinell

    The history of Jackson County during the first three decades of the twentieth century is centered on the growth of its principal towns, Medford and Ashland, and the decline of its county seat, Jacksonville. The shift from a rural to a town-centered economy and social system was a direct result of the impact of the railroads, which linked the valley to the national economy and created the need for commercial urban centers.
    Each part of the county took advantage of the railroads by exploiting the resources closest at hand. Thus, in the foothills on the east and west sides of the valley, the railroads were used to form the beginnings of the logging and lumbering industry.
    In the Bear Creek Valley, Medford took advantage of its climate, soil and central location to create a fruit-growing and -packing industry. In the foothills of the Siskiyous, Ashland took advantage of its setting, mineral springs and cultural heritage to become an educational and recreational center. To the west, five miles off the main railroad line, Jacksonville, the once-proud gold town and county seat, found precious little to take advantage of, though it tried.
    As was noted in an earlier section, the long-awaited coming of the railroad to the Rogue Valley in 1884 temporarily placed the farmers in the awkward position of having to find a crop that could successfully compete with the produce of other sections of the West.
    In 1883, a year before the railroad reached Medford, Colonel J. P. Moore, a land commissioner for the railroad, advised Arthur Weeks to plant a commercial orchard. Weeks took the advice and planted 15,000 apple, peach and prune trees near Medford. This orchard proved to be the beginning of an industry which in less than 25 years would give Medford and the Rogue Valley a national, even worldwide, reputation.
    Fruit trees were introduced into the valley very soon after the arrival of the first settlers. The first trees were grown from a few seeds of black walnut and pears which were brought across the plains to Ashland by the Billings family. They were planted in the Valley View area in 1854.
    The first Bartlett pear trees were planted by Henry Barneburg in 1855 along the Hillcrest-Phoenix road. Ten years later the first Anjou pear trees were planted in an area that is now part of the Medford Country Club. These remained small home orchards until 1884, since before the railroads there was no practical way at all to transport fruit. These venerable old trees lived for over 100 years, but eventually succumbed to neglect and encroaching development.
    In 1885, J. H. Stewart, a nurseryman from Missouri, and his friend J. D. Whitman planted a commercial orchard of apple and pear trees south of Medford next to Stewart Avenue. [The Stewart and Whitman orchards were independent of each other.] A year later the first orchard devoted entirely to pears was planted near South Stage Road. Thereafter, acreage expanded rapidly. The first carload of pears and apples was shipped by Stewart in 1890.
[Fruit was shipped by the carload from the Rogue Valley in 1884, the year the railroad--and J. H. Stewart--arrived here. Bartlett pears were shipped by the carload from the Rogue Valley as early as 1888--before Stewart's orchard came into bearing.] Three years later, in 1893, his 60 acres produced 15 cars of pears and 14 of apples. In 1896 the number of cars had increased to 95. By this time, the 15,000 trees planted by Weeks began to bear. [Weeks planted his trees in 1883 or 1884 and began bearing in quantity a few years later.]
    In the years after 1897, the number of acres planted with fruit trees increased very rapidly. Orchards were not only planted with apples and pears, but with cherries, peaches and prunes. At one time there was a substantial prune industry in the valley, with four or five dryers. In the 1890s, 300 acres of Bing and Lambert cherries and Early Crawford peaches were planted, mostly in the hills around Ashland.
    It should be noted that in the early years of the industry, apples and not pears were the major export. Considerably more acreage, some 10,000 acres, was planted with apples, the principal varieties being the Yellow Newtown and the Spitzenberg. The principal varieties of pears planted were Bartlett, Winter Nelis, Anjou and Bosc. Comice were not introduced until 1897.
    For Medford, the first decade of the twentieth century was the beginning of a period of steady and phenomenal growth, the result of an orchard and building "boom" which for a time made it one of the fastest growing cities in the country. In 1902, the Medford Commercial Club was formed. One of its main objectives was to attract Eastern investment capital for land development. To this end they published and distributed books, poems, leaflets and pamphlets which described the Rogue Valley as being a virtual "paradise."
    One such booklet, called simply, "Medford, Oregon," published in 1909 is nothing short of a masterpiece of advertising and salesmanship. It described the natural wonders of the area, the ideal climate and the many modern and progressive features of Medford. It described the orchards and cited the record prices Rogue Valley fruit commanded at home and abroad. It claimed that the average yearly profits from a single acre of fruit trees is between $500 and $1,500. It listed examples of simple mechanics and tradesmen who bought a few acres of orchard land and within a year or two realized profits amounting to thousands of dollars. The following excerpt gives the flavor of the kind of appeal that was being read by people thousands of miles away:
    "Will the earning period in your life close in ten years hence? Are there boys and girls coming on who will be in the market for a collegiate education about that time? Set out an orchard in the Rogue River Valley now, and when the time of need is at hand it will provide an annuity which none of the insurance or guarantee companies will care to duplicate. It is a pleasant occupation, in a sense carrying one back to Eden.… There is perhaps no more fascinating nor ennobling pursuit in life than horticulture, and possibly none more profitable than the growing of apples and pears.… Fruit growing is no longer an experiment in Oregon. . . . In the Rogue Valley, pioneers in horticulture have blazed the way for the beginning, and as a consequence perhaps no other industry offers so many attractions or is so sure of large financial rewards."
    The booklet concludes with a dramatic challenge: a promise to pay $1,000 to any city in the United States that can prove that it has as many diversified resources within a 40-mile radius.
    Many people in the East, believing this to be the way to get rich quickly, bought acreage sight unseen. Some made a good start in fruit growing, and many others discovered that they were victims of a promotional land swindle.
    Relief agencies had many cases of people who spent their life savings on worthless plots of land. Clifford Cordy, former head of the Agricultural Extension Service, writes that "considerable acreage of apples and pears was poorly planted in unsuitable soil, improperly prepared.… This was done as a promotion to sell to unsuspecting and unknowledgeable investors in the North Central and Eastern states. The stock sold in most of these ventures soon became worthless."
    Some idea of the magnitude of the influx of people into Jackson County and Medford can be gotten from census figures. In 1900, Jackson County ranked eleventh in the state with a population of 13,698. In 1910, it ranked fifth with a population of 28,756. Between 1920 and 1930 the population of Medford rose 92 percent from 5,756 to 11,095. This could be a little misleading because during the previous decade every city in the county, including Medford, declined in population on account of World War I. Many left to join the service or work in war-related industries and then returned to be counted in the next census.
    Although many who came found poverty, some managed to do well. And a few came to whom financial success was a matter of indifference. These were the sons of wealthy eastern families who simply bought them an orchard to give them something to do or to get them out of the way. These rich young men of the Roaring Twenties took little or no interest in their orchards, but they did combine with the families of the more successful growers to form a social elite in Medford which dominated the social scene with an almost continuous round of dances, parties and
    What the promoters neglected to tell prospective investors was that the fruit industry in the Rogue Valley also had some serious problems. The first of these was frost. At first orchardists believed that thick smoke or "smudge" would prevent heat loss. This was done by burning wet straw, manure and leaves. When they realized that heat was also necessary, they tried wood fires and then, when oil became generally available around 1910, they burned that in seven- or nine-quart lard pails which they placed in clusters. Finally, in 1917, the U.S. Weather Bureau established its Fruit Frost Service which was able to warn orchardists in advance of possible frost damage.
    The second biggest problem was fire blight, a bacterial disease that attacks young pear and apple trees. The blight attacked local orchards in 1905, and many limbs from the young trees had to be removed. At this point the only preventative measure was to sterilize the cutting tools after every cut, since it was discovered that the bacteria clung to the metal blades.
    In 1912, possibly because of unusual weather, local scientists claimed that the blight was under control and nearly eradicated. This was the first and last time anyone would make that statement! The following year, the orchards suffered a severe attack of blight. And for the next 30 years farmers experimented with many different chemical treatments, different cultivating techniques and root stocks--all to little avail.
    Apple production reached its peak in 1910 and then declined steadily, for a combination of reasons. Of the two varieties chosen, the Spitzenberg, a delicious red eating apple, turned out to be highly susceptible to disease. The other, the Yellow Newtown, is a big green apple that never enjoyed public popularity. This, combined with tree losses from blight, poor orchard performance, poor soil and market prices, caused many apple orchards to be pulled and replanted with pears. Within a few years a total acreage of about 10,000 was reduced to 400.
    The growth of orchards also produced the growth of the fruit packing industry. At first, packing houses were built at the larger orchards. This was because roads were still bad and most of the transporting was still done by horse and wagon.
    With the improvement of roads and trucks, there was a shift from farm packing to larger centralized packing houses with cold storage facilities along the railroad tracks. Standardized fruit grades at a high level and nearby cold storage gave Medford the deserved reputation for producing high-quality fruit which commanded premium prices in the markets.
    With the increased importance of a quality pack, the Medford fruit industry organized and conducted a packing school in 1909. Students learned to wrap and pack until they gained the skill and rhythm necessary to put up a pack with the exact number of fruit per box. The school was before its time, since the apple box was not standardized by Oregon law until 1910.
    In 1911, Edythe Stone, a packer from Central Point, wrote her name and address on a pear wrapper just for the fun of it. The pear was bought by a woman in Scotland, who wrote back and enclosed a twig of scotch heather.
    In the late 1920s and 1930s the pear industry began to falter. Two of the reasons for this were that many orchards, now 15 or 20 years old, became poor producers, and new orchards had been planted on unsuitable land. The third reason was the fall in prices caused by the Depression, which forced owners to cut expenses. As the Depression wore on, more and more growers either neglected their orchards or gave them bare maintenance care. This in turn led to an increase in pests and disease, especially blight.
    In an attempt to control the blight, the Fruit Growers League sent out inspectors and requested growers to cut the diseased limbs or have their orchards condemned. Nearly 100 orchards were condemned. The blight was cut out of many, but in some cases the growers preferred to pull. If growers ignored the notices, a crew of W.P.A. workers furnished to the League was sent in to cut down the trees. In three years, 1,500 acres were removed. Cordy recalls that "these were sad days to see the loss of a lifetime of work because of lack of money and an uncontrolled disease."
    In 1932, when the Depression was at its worst, two Medford fruitgrowers, Harry and David Holmes, set out for San Francisco and New York City. They were faced with the choice of finding new markets or pulling their trees. They took with them two dozen boxes of fancy pears which they delivered to all the wealthy and important people they could think of.
    The results were almost immediate. Soon after the boxes were delivered, orders for fancy fruit began to arrive in Medford. When the two men returned home, Harry alone had orders for 467 boxes of gift fruit. The next year they sent out 2,000 packages. In 1934 orders reached 37,000 and in 1935, Harry and David shipped 87,000 boxes of fruit. .
    In addition to pulling themselves out of the Depression, their purchases of fruit helped other orchards stay afloat, and also provided jobs in their factory to many who were unemployed.
    The new century began on an inauspicious and costly note for Ashland. At 2:15, Sunday morning, January 21, 1900, the locomotives in the railroad yards blew their whistles and alerted the citizens to the fire which was raging through the Ashland Woolen Mill. By the time firemen arrived, the blaze had almost completely engulfed the four-story frame building and firefighters had to be content with trying to save the adjoining buildings.
    The woolen mill, which had begun operation in 1867, was Ashland's major industry. It had 32 full-time employees and produced prize-winning blankets which were shipped to Denver and San Francisco. At the time of the fire, business was so good that it had two months of back orders and the management was planning to install $3,000 of new equipment to meet the demands. It was insured for only $14,000, and though there was talk of rebuilding at first, these plans came to nothing.
    Traditionally, residents of Ashland were more culturally and educationally minded than the rest of the county.[This is a common attitude in Ashland, but has no basis in historical fact. Medford was the cultural center of the valley until Ashland's theater explosion of the 1970s.] They were much less interested in politics than people in Jacksonville, and although they founded the first flour and saw mills in the valley, they were content to keep what they had and let other areas closer to the farms, such as Phoenix and Eagle Point, assume a greater and greater share of this enterprise. Similarly, Ashlanders tried to cash in on the orchard boom. Some 200 acres of trees--bearing mostly cherries and peaches--were planted, but it was apparent that it would be foolish to try to compete with Medford, whose location and determination to expand put Ashland at a disadvantage.
    So Ashland looked to the resources it had. These were the natural beauty of its surrounding area, its mineral springs, its college and its Chautauqua Park.
    The drive to become a cultural and educational center began in 1892 when Ashland became one of the first four towns west of the Rockies to be on the Chautauqua circuit. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Chautauqua movement provided a real service to rural areas throughout the United States. It began modestly in 1874 as a Methodist summer camp on Lake Chautauqua in New York state to train Sunday school teachers. It soon developed into a nondenominational, nationwide summer program of lectures, entertainment and seminars. It also produced a well-organized home-study reading program which in the days before adult education and correspondence schools enabled many to keep on with their education.
    In the fall of 1892, the Reverend J. S. Smith, who had just returned from several Chautauquas in Kansas, attended a camp meeting in Central Point and decided to form a Chautauqua for Southern Oregon.
    Another Ashlander, G. F. Billings, was also enthusiastic about the idea and tried to convince Smith that facilities in Ashland made it a far better location than Central Point. The next year he even suggested the place, a seven-acre plot near Ashland Creek called Roper's Grove. In June, the committee voted to move to Ashland, but since the first meetings were only three weeks away, Smith argued that it was too late to make the change for 1893.
    Billings said Ashland wanted the first one and that it would be ready. In 10 days the site was set up. In five days, 40 workmen constructed a dome building 80 feet in diameter and 40 feet high. It was a wood frame construction, entirely shingled, with no posts or pillars in the center. It was built on a sloping hillside and had a dirt floor. This unique architectural structure with excellent acoustics comfortably accommodated over 1,000 people. On July 5, 1893, the meetings opened on schedule.
    The program was initially financed by a $2,500 locally subscribed bond issue. It took 10 years before it was finally retired. This was in large part because admission prices were purposely kept low in order to make the program accessible to everyone. At first, tickets for the entire 10- or 11-day sessions sold for $1 and then $1.50, where it remained for many years. Single events were usually 25 cents and Sunday programs were free.
    The programs were so well attended that in 1905 the building was enlarged by cutting it in two and moving half of it uphill to make an oblong amphitheater of nearly double the original seating capacity. Many who came stayed in the park for the duration of the 10-day session. They camped out in tents in the Grove and along Ashland Creek. Usually there were as many as 100 tents.
    The program ran from morning through night and were extremely varied. The speakers spoke on a variety of subjects such as travels through "Dixie," Iceland, the Holy Land, the projected Nicaraguan canal, the Bering Straits and seal fisheries. Some speakers were famous, such as William Jennings Bryan, who spoke on "Bimetallism," the black educator Booker T. Washington and the evangelist Billy Sunday. Speakers included university professors, newspaper editors, world travelers, poets and humorists. A good portion of the lecturers were politicians, mostly governors and senators from the Midwestern states.
    Musical groups ranged from the Chicago Operatic Company, classical ensembles and choral groups to cornet bands, Swiss yodelers, bell ringers and Ciricillo's Italian Band. There were magicians, jugglers and "Bronte"--a trained collie. The programs also gave local musical groups the opportunity to perform. There were children's matinees, one of which included readings from A Tale of Two Cities and Les Miserables.
    In addition to the entertainment and lectures, Chautauqua offered classes in physical education (especially swimming), nature study, elocution, literature, history, Bible study and W.C.T.U. (Women's Christian Temperance Union) methods, as well as classes in shorthand, painting, sewing and cooking. In the "Grove" after the afternoon lecture there was a round table group on some timely topic which was open for free discussion.
    Beginning around 1912, the quality of the programs and attendance began to decline. This was due partly to the growth of radio, movies and magazines, which provided much the same type of service, but without the sense of community and participation. [Commercial radio would not exist, of course, for another ten years.] But the major reason was that the circuit was taken over by a single booking agency which was more interested in making money than in producing programs of quality. Unfortunately, it was at this time, in 1918, that Ashland voted $15,000 in bonds to construct a new and larger building. The new building had concrete walls and a huge white dome, which in a short time began to sag and had to be removed. But by this time the Chautauquas had stopped.
    In 1922, the city took over the land. The building was now an empty concrete shell filled with weeds--a drab gray reminder of man's folly. The Chautauqua story does have a happy ending, however. Twelve years later, in 1934, a young English professor at Southern Oregon Normal School by the name of Angus Bowmer got the idea of using the old amphitheater to put on open-air Shakespearean plays.
    Bowmer got backing from local businessmen and on July 4, 1935 the first plays were performed. It was a rather inconspicuous three-day community event with local talent. In fact, the backers, fearing that too few tickets would be sold, insisted on scheduling a boxing match for the first afternoon performance! The plays more than paid their own way. Boxing matches were dropped from the format, and the Ashland Shakespearean Festival was born.
    At the time when Chautauqua was at its height and the Park was being expanded and beautified, a movement was started to develop one of Ashland's more peculiar natural resources--its lithia water. In 1911, soon after the discovery of a lithia water spring in the hills east of town, the idea occurred to the editor of the Tidings that Ashland might become a famous health spa like Carlsbad in Germany or Saratoga in New York. Enthusiasm grew until it was learned that the owners of the spring refused to cooperate. Then another spring was found closer to town and the project surged forward.
    Mass meetings were held, chemists analyzed the water, land adjacent to the Chautauqua Grove was donated by E. K. Anderson for park development. A special election passed a bond issue of $175,000 to pipe the water to the town. John McLaren, the man who designed Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, was retained to landscape the new Lithia Park. The work was completed in 1915, and the health-giving water bubbled from fountains all over town.
    For the next five years little more was done on the project. Outside of town, at the Wagner Soda Springs on Emigrant Creek, a 20-room hotel was built to accommodate those who came to partake in the "recuperative powers" of the waters. [This probably refers to the hotel Wagner built in 1885.] When the word got around that the water made a good "chaser" that would minimize the bad effects of hard liquor, a bottling plant was installed. Bottles of Siskiyou Natural Mineral Water were sold in great quantities locally and in bars in Portland and San Francisco until prohibition collapsed the market.
    In 1920, the health spa idea was revived as the result of the arrival of one Jesse Winburn, an eccentric millionaire philanthropist who had taken an interest in Ashland and its dream to become a famous resort. While on a lecture tour in New York City, Professor Irving Vining met Winburn and kindled his interest in Ashland. Winburn had made his fortune by developing the idea of advertising in streetcars and subways in New York and other cities and was a millionaire many times over. He was a homely little man, five feet six inches tall, with a bald head covered with freckles, a hot temper and a squeaky high-pitched voice which made him recognizable anywhere. Winburn visited Ashland for two weeks in February of 1920 and upon his return to New York announced that he would retire there and "put the town on the map." He felt that Ashland's potential as a resort was based on the mineral waters, the railroad, climate and scenic beauty. While still in New York, he formed a corporation in Ashland, the "Ashland Development Company," put a down payment on the Ashland Hotel, took options on the Murphy-Wagner Springs bottling plant, and purchased a cabin on Ashland Creek in the canyon above Lithia Park. Winburn returned to Ashland in April the following year accompanied by Bert Moses, a writer whose syndicated column, "Sap and Salt," appeared in many papers throughout the country. Improvements were started on the cabin, which Winburn called "Sap and Salt in the Woods." Crews of workers built stables and a swimming pool.
    Dressed in riding breeches and carrying a gold-headed cane, Winburn became a familiar figure in Ashland. He would appear on the Plaza either in a chauffeur-driven custom-built red Lincoln, or riding his horse, which he would hitch wherever he pleased.
    Almost from the start, however, things went badly with the Ashland Development Company. Perhaps because of excessive enthusiasm on the part of some members, unauthorized expenditures were made and some monies turned up missing. Winburn suspected a swindle, which may well have existed. He withdrew his support, and the plans to buy the hotel and bottling works were scrapped.
    He also entered into a running battle with the city council and city attorney Briggs over sanitation problems at his cabin. The problem was that his cabin sat on the watershed for Ashland's drinking water. The town fathers, worried about contamination, tried in vain to keep Winburn from dumping his garbage and allowing his stock to graze freely. For the same reasons, the town prohibited fishing in Ashland Creek. But Winburn loved to fish. So every time he was caught, he paid the fine and came back the next day to fish. He spent a lot of time in court.
    These problems notwithstanding, Winburn continued to show interest in the town and its citizens, especially the children. Once he hired trucks and transported 300 children to Sap and Salt in the Woods for a gala party with all the trimmings. He contributed time and money for the building of a road to Mt. Ashland and for promotions of celebrations and parades and picnics. He also got the idea while riding through the park one day that the presence of swans would greatly enhance the beauty of the park. He told the park curator to order a dozen. The curator, feeling this was a bit excessive, ordered six from Portland. These arrived in September and promptly took up their new residence in what is today the lower duck pond.
    He noticed that work on the clubhouse the women's organization had started had stopped, so he completed the building for them and installed a $5,000 pipe organ. Once, when he became sick, he had to spend a few days in the Granite City Hospital.
    He was not pleased with his accommodations, so he bought all the stock in the hospital, spent $30,000 remodeling in an attempt to make it "one of the best small hospitals in the country," and then deeded it back to the city.
    Because of these generous gifts, the city fathers renamed the street through the park "Winburn Way." But they continued to fine him regularly for fishing in their drinking water.
    In the gubernatorial election of 1922, Winburn suddenly decided that he liked the platform of Walter Pierce, which was his prerogative. But when he announced that if Pierce did not win Ashland would not get another penny from him for civic projects, many thought he was going too far.
    Pierce won, but ill feelings resulted, and about this time, Winburn began to tire of Ashland. He became wary and annoyed with constantly being approached with ideas and projects that needed financing. He was also getting tired of the city's complaints about the contamination problems at his cabin. And the citizens of Ashland were probably getting a little tired of him. So one day in the summer of 1923, he sold Sap and Salt in the Woods. dropped all his projects and left town as suddenly as he had come.
    But the people of Ashland were not yet finished dealing with big city promoters with schemes to make them and their town rich. On July 4, 1922, a man named H. W. Hartman came to town and drew a crowd to the Plaza, where he set up a scale model of a retort, a machine he said could extract oil from shale, which existed in great quantities in a high meadow on the far side of Grizzly Peak.
    Farmers, cattlemen, lumbermen, bankers, merchants and teachers hurried to invest their money in the syndicate Hartman formed. They cut a road through the foothills to the shale beds. They built a small town, called Shale City, complete with schoolhouse, and a 250-ton Hartman retort. So great was their hope in this machine that the investors worked all these months without wages. On July 30, 1924, headlines blared, "Ashland Has Struck Oil."
    From that day on, the news was always bad. The retort broke down or needed adjustment. Then the governor's stock investigation committee began to investigate the syndicate's books. Hartman chose this time to leave town on a quick business trip. He was never seen or heard from again.
    The stockholders had invested too much to give up their dream. They secured more financing, spent two years building a new and better-designed retort, filled the shale bins--then stood by to watch as the big machine was started up. Before their horrified eyes, it melted into a pile of junk. That was the end of Shale City.
    In 1925, the people of Ashland made another decision which was more in line with their traditional character, and which in the long run probably proved to be the best choice for the town. That year the legislature appropriated funds for the creation of a state college to be located in Jackson County. They also designated Medford as the logical site. But that year there was also an election to choose a site for the county seat. Medford and Ashland were the obvious candidates. Both wanted it, but Medford wanted it more. It was rumored that in order to assure that it was chosen, Medford offered Ashland the college in exchange for Ashland's votes. Much to the distress of Jacksonville, Medford was chosen as the new county seat by a large margin, and Ashland got the college. [Ashland made no visible campaign for the county seat.]
    For Jacksonville, the first two decades of the twentieth century was a period of steady deterioration. The population declined steadily as businesses closed or moved. Compared to the efforts of Medford and Ashland to cope with the modern age, those of Jacksonville to pull itself out of the nineteenth century appear feeble indeed.
    Gold mining had been played out for a number of years, but it remained the one source of hope to the people of Jacksonville. The Opp mine, a quartz operation just outside of town, became the focus of this hope when it reopened in 1907 to great fanfare. It closed soon after. A few years later, in 1915, a Spokane firm with a new process for reworking the tailings leased the mine, but the venture barely covered expenses. During these years the Opp and other old mines were periodically reopened. Every time a new vein was reported new financing was brought in, but none ever produced nearly enough to restore the town to its former glory.
    The Rogue River Valley Railroad, the spur line that connected Jacksonville with Medford, upon which Jacksonville also pinned its hopes for recovery, proved to be even more futile a hope than the mines. The line continued to deteriorate in the first decade of the century. As the population of' Jacksonville decreased, so did the profits of the road. There was barely enough money to keep it running, much less looking spiffy.
    Waiting rooms were seldom open, and Medford complained when the train was left unattended for hours, blocking the downtown streets. Customers noted the train seldom stopped at the platform, which resulted in their having to board the train from large mud puddles.
    For several years W. S. Barnum operated the railroad at a deficit, despite it being a family effort. In 1912, an all-weather auto road was opened between Medford and Jacksonville. Auto jitneys started operating and undercutting the railroad's fare. Barnum fought back with a rate war. Eventually he won out, but it was an expensive victory.
    In 1913, the Southern Oregon Traction Company, owned by S. S. Bullis, built an electrified line in downtown Medford. Two years later he bought the "Jacksonville Cannonball" from Barnum. The line was electrified, which provided cheaper passenger service, but the returns never paid the costs of electrification. Bullis also extended the line beyond Jacksonville into the hills. This extension was operated as the Bullis Logging Railroad, and used to bring logs into Medford, where Bullis had a mill. [The mill did not belong to Bullis.]
    Meanwhile, on the other side of the valley, the 13-mile Pacific and Eastern Railroad was built connecting Medford with Eagle Point and Butte Falls. The name of the road gives the clue to why Jacksonville placed so much hope in its little nine-mile spur. The idea was that it would someday be part of a transcontinental line. [The railroad began construction in 1905 as the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad.] To the east it would connect with the P&E, which in turn would connect with the Great Northern R.R., which had mentioned a plan to come through Central Oregon from the East Coast. In the other direction, the plan was to connect with the coast at Crescent City. In 1917, Bullis made a reconnaissance of a possible route up and down the mountains from the Applegate to Smith River and then down the coast. That one look was enough. He gave up the idea.
    The Jacksonville line was a losing proposition, so Bullis allowed Barnum to foreclose on the mortgage and regain ownership. In 1922, the substation which furnished the electric power for the line burned. That was pretty much the end of the line. In 1925, the city of Medford bought the line and began to dismantle it.
    Since Ashland and Medford were spending millions of dollars on such city improvements as streets, sewers, parks and water, Jacksonville decided to do the same. In 1912, the town bonded itself and built a reservoir for a water system. It was a good system and gave the community its first good, dependable supply of water.
    True to its heritage of gold mining, the excavation for the reservoir was done by the use of a hydraulic rather than more prosaic earth-moving equipment normal to such jobs. The town was not, however, able to generate interest in the establishment of a sewage system. In fact, it was seldom suggested locally.
    Jacksonville's fight for life was perhaps not feeble in this era, but hopeless. The community was too small. Its only real industry was the courthouse, but county offices were not sufficient to support the town, since improved transportation allowed workers to live outside of town.
    For several years Medford had been agitating for the courthouse, and in 1925 a vigorous campaign was mounted to bring the county seat to the Pear City. As we have seen, Jacksonville never had a chance of retaining it. But the move of the county offices to Medford did not occur right away, and in 1927 Jacksonville had its final moment of glory as the county seat. It was the site of the nationally covered trial of the DeAutremont brothers, who were accused of blowing up and robbing a Southern Pacific train in a tunnel south of Ashland.
    But the trial was soon over and Jacksonville had lost its last remaining industry. Main Street storefronts gathered dust as businesses failed or trickled away to more profitable localities. Vacant lots seemed to dominate the town and the old houses got more run down as the years took their toll. After years of struggle, the old gold-mining town was finally in danger of meeting the same ghostly fate of so many
other gold rush towns.

The Morning News, Central Point, May 12, 1979

Part Eleven:

Crusading editor fights the Ku Klux Klan
By Carl Bondinell

    The years 1922 and 1923 witnessed two of the most interesting and sensational events in the history of Jackson County.
    With the appearance of the Ku Klux Klan in 1922, the power of the press was severely tested. The groundwork for strong and responsible journalism was laid 15 years earlier when the Medford Tribune entered into a battle over press freedom which ended in the Oregon Supreme Court.
    In 1907, a young, energetic publisher and editor by the name of George Putnam came to Medford. He bought the Jacksonville Times and the weekly Southern Oregonian, which he consolidated with his third purchase, the Medford Tribune. (Three years later, he joined with the Medford Mail, and the Mail Tribune was born.) Putnam was an outspoken newspaperman with more than a touch of the crusading spirit. His arrival in Medford was not to go unnoticed.
    It was the time of the "orchard boom," when the Medford Commercial Club was sending out far and wide thousands of pamphlets extolling the virtues of Medford and the Rogue Valley. The city was described as having paved streets, good schools, churches, electricity, a fine water system and a progressive, responsive city government.
    One can imagine the reaction of the city fathers upon reading one of the new editor's first editorials which criticized the city's water system by pointing out that "the water from Bear Creek is so muddy that it is clogging the meters…it is a question whether to sell such stuff as water is not a violation of the pure food law, as well as obtaining money under false pretenses."
    It is not surprising that Putnam quickly acquired a number of influential enemies, particularly the small group of men who had been running county government and maintaining power for the past 20 years.
    Nor was Putnam surprised. His expressed intention for the Tribune was "to expose everything that is crooked and to support anything that is sincere and right. The paper that has no enemies has no friends, and the Tribune has something to say, something to do and intends always to be a vital force in the community."
    Within two weeks of the "muddy water editorial," Putnam got a chance to witness first hand the workings of Jackson County government and justice, and his enemies got their chance to strike back at Putnam by convicting him of criminal libel. The result was dubious notoriety for the county, the removal of the county's political "machine" and an Oregon Supreme Court decision which upheld the freedom of the press.
    As was noted in an earlier section, the Rogue River Valley Railroad Company spur line between Medford and Jacksonville was deteriorating in service. There was a chorus of complaints against the railroad and its owner-operator, W. S. Barnum. Some of these complaints reached the State Railroad Commission, which directed Barnum to construct depots at either end of the line.
    Barnum began to comply with the order by moving an old 12'x14' shed into downtown Medford to serve as the depot. Meanwhile, in an effort to stop this move the city council pushed through a (then pending) fire ordinance requiring that all buildings in that part of town be built of brick or stone. Barnum felt this action by the council to be unfair.
    While Barnum was mulling over the situation, State Railroad Commissioner, Oswald West, former governor of Oregon, arrived in Medford on the morning train to see how things were progressing on what he later called "this short jerkwater line."
    Together with Medford mayor, Doctor J. F. Reddy, Judge F. L. TouVelle and Tribune editor Putnam, West started out on his tour of inspection.
    When Barnum saw Reddy, whom he believed to be responsible for the commissioner's visit, he immediately got into a shouting match with the mayor. One of Barnum's sons (the railroad was a family operation) attacked the mayor, but was driven off. Whereupon, the elder Barnum picked up an ax and swung it at Reddy, who took off, pursued by the irate ax-wielding Barnum. When Barnum saw that he could not catch the younger man, he threw the ax at him, narrowly missing his head.
    Barnum was bound over to the grand jury, which happened to contain a number of his friends. After a number of friendly witnesses testified, the only unfriendly witness, George Putnam, told the jury what he saw that morning. After three days' deliberation, the grand jury voted no true bill, which meant there was not enough evidence to warrant a trial.
    Putnam was outraged. In his editorial entitled "A Grand Jury Farce," he named the members of the jury and accused them of having "justified the murderous assault." He went on to declare:
    "There is no doubt in the world that W. S. Barnum, in a fit of insane rage, did try to kill J. F. Reddy with an ax, struck at him, chased him and threw the ax at his head. That it did not split Dr. Reddy's head open was not Mr. Barnum's fault. He did his best."
    Of Deputy Prosecutor Clarence Reames he wrote: "(He) is a most relentless prosecutor, when a man drops a nickel in a slot machine or takes a drink on Sunday, or a poor fallen creature is caught sinning. Such heinous offenses must be punished.… But any man can try to brain a man with an ax and secure immunity from the blindfolded representatives of justice."
    The grand jury was quick to retaliate. On the basis of this last remark in the editorial they promptly indicted Putnam for criminal libel. Although there was ample time to make the arrest in Medford, no action was taken until the editor was on his way to Portland. He was taken at night from his Pullman berth in Roseburg and placed in the Roseburg jail for 24 hours. (Though surely an unpleasant experience for Putnam, later editorials he was to write about the squalid conditions in the Roseburg jail led to an investigation and improvement of the system by Douglas County officials.) To his readers of the Tribune, he wrote: "A free press as much as free speech is the heritage of all Americans.
It has fallen upon the Tribune to make anew the fight for a free press in Southern Oregon."
    The trial was held in January, 1908 before Judge H. K. Hanna in the Circuit Court at Jacksonville. The prosecution contended that Putnam had implied that the members of the grand jury were bribed. The defense claimed that the editor believed the jury to be derelict in its duty.
    But the judge ruled that once the grand jury had already given a verdict on the incident between Barnum and Reddy, nothing concerning the alleged incident could be introduced as evidence. Each time Putnam or the other eyewitnesses tried to testify that the incident Putnam wrote about was true, the judge disallowed the testimony. All questions dealing with the incident were excluded from the court. And in his instructions to the jury the judge told the members that the truth or falsehood of the attack had nothing to do with the case.
    After three hours' deliberation, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty. Putnam was fined $150, and his lawyers filed notice of appeal.
    The reaction from newspapers and jurists throughout the state was immediate. A specific Oregon statute (Section 2170) had been disregarded by the court. The statute plainly stated that "In all criminal prosecutions for libel the truth may be given as evidence."
    Newspapers throughout the state railed against the decision. The Oregonian called it an "invasion of the liberty of the press and an unjustifiable denial of Putnam's elementary rights before the law as a citizen. This decision means that a newspaper has no right to criticize a grand jury or a court."
    Locally, the Central Point Herald asked editorially: "Has Jackson County a political dynasty which no newspaper dare question? The Putnam case is an attempt to throttle the freedom of the press; but, if we are to judge from comment from all parts of the state, the people will not stand for it."
    Governor Chamberlain expressed his disapproval of the conviction and offered to issue a pardon. Putnam refused to accept the pardon, preferring to meet the issue head-on by waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court. After a year's wait, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Putnam and reversed the ruling of the Circuit Court.
    During the time the case was awaiting action by the Supreme Court, Putnam and his paper scored an impressive victory in the 1908 county elections. Every man supported by the Tribune for county office was elected. In view of the fact that Republican registration outnumbered Democrats 2½ to 1, the defeat of the incumbent Republican "ring" was an impressive vote of confidence by the people of Jackson County.
    In addition to verbal abuse, Putnam suffered a number of physical assaults, one by a deputy sheriff and one by a member of the Medford City Council. Finally, Putnam obtained a permit to carry a gun and published a notice that the first person attempting an assault would be shot. That ended the physical attacks.
    The Ku Klux Klan originated after the Civil War in 1865 as a secret organization dedicated to the ideal of white supremacy. Its object was to prevent blacks from taking advantage of their newly won rights as citizens through the use of intimidation and violence.
     During the night, members dressed in white sheets and pointed hoods rode through the countryside carrying torches and terrorizing and killing blacks. When the activities of what was essentially a criminal vigilante organization became too excessive even for Southerners, the white-hooded "night riders" gradually began to disappear in the late 1870s.
    In 1915, the Klan was revived by William Simmons, a minister who was denied a pulpit because of "ineptitude and moral impairment." Although based on the premises of the old Klan, America had changed so much in 50 years that Simmons had to find causes other than white supremacy to keep his young organization alive. During World War I, the group dedicated itself to defending the country from "alien enemies, idlers, strike leaders and immoral women."
    In 1920, Simmons hired a professional promoter who took over and organized the country into an "invisible empire" complete with "realms" and "provinces" and "kapitals" governed by a "King Kleagle." In 1921 there were 200 acting kleagles.
    After the War, America went through a period of moral upheaval. New ideas from Europe, greater mobility produced by the automobile, a freer morality, Prohibition and the emergence of anti-alienism proved to be ideal breeding ground for the new Klan.
    Besides being dedicated to protecting 100 percent Americanism, womanhood, white supremacy and secrecy, the Klan took on the role of guardian of the public morality. Its crusade included the suppression of the Roman Catholic Church, aliens, drug addicts, bootlegging, graft, nightclubs and illicit sex.
    The organization of the Klan in Oregon began in Medford. [It began in Medford solely because the organizer was traveling north on the railroad, and Medford was the first major stop.] In January of 1921, "King Kleagle" Luther Powell signed up more than 100 members in the Medford-Ashland area. By the end of the year the Klan had spread throughout Oregon claiming to have a membership of 15,000. Almost every community had a Klan organization, with the largest and most active being in Jackson County, Salem and Portland.
    On the surface, Oregon would seem a very unlikely place for Klan activities. The population was 85 percent Caucasian with only three percent black; five percent oriental and less than eight percent Catholic. These low percentages reflect the fact that throughout its history Oregonians had been consistently anti-minority and anti-Catholic. [Like the rest of the country.] Consequently, the Klan concentrated more on its role as moral guardian and on attempts to gain political control of the state--which it nearly did.
    Although there were probably less than 30 blacks living in Jackson County in 1921, Medford Klansmen achieved statewide notoriety by staging three separate so-called "necktie parties."
    On the evening of March 14, 1921, George Burr was released from the county jail after serving 30 days for bootlegging. The jailer, Bert Mose, hailed a passing car and asked the driver to drive Burr to Medford. The car was soon joined by other cars, which escorted Burr not to Medford but to a lonely spot near the Siskiyou Summit. Burr was beaten, threatened with a lynching by having a noose drawn tightly around his neck and then told to get out of Oregon and never return.
    Three days later, on March 17, J. F. Hale, a white piano salesman in Medford, was enticed into a car by a group of Klansmen on the ruse that Hale was wanted at the long distance telephone. The kidnap car was met by 10 other cars whose occupants were dressed in white sheets and masks. They drove to Table Rock with Hale at gunpoint. Once there, preparations were made for a lynching.
    Hale's offense was that he had brought a civil suit against a prominent local Klansman, H. B. Bunnell, who owed him $150. Hale was strung up three separate times while being ordered to withdraw the suit, make an apology and leave town. On the third partial hanging Hale became unconscious. This alarmed the night riders, who drove him back to Medford and dropped him off on Genessee Street.
    Hale made his way home, called a doctor and notified Sheriff Charles Terrill, who did not consider the case important enough to report to the Mail Tribune until several days later.
    Hale recovered from his experience, but refused to leave town. He walked around the streets of Medford at his business with a loaded rifle to protect himself.
    On April 12, a third incident took place. Samuel Johnson, a young black man, was taken at gunpoint from the truck he was riding in with two white companions by seven hooded Klansmen. He was taken to a lonely spot near Voorhies Crossing outside of Jacksonville and strung up so that his toes barely touched the ground. [Voorhies is where South Stage Road crosses the railroad line.] His tormentors accused him of stealing chickens, which Johnson denied. Then they asked him if he had ever peddled booze or had associated with a white woman. Johnson said no. Finally, the men released him and told him to run.
    By this time, the Klan had become a burning issue in state politics. In the May primaries, Klan candidates showed surprising strength. Senator Hall, a Klansman, just narrowly lost to Governor Ben Olcott in the Republican primary for governor. The three incidents in Jackson County drew statewide attention as anti-Klan spokesmen tried to use them to discredit the Klan.
    Throughout May, the Klan in Jackson County continued to gain support. Twice the American Legion Post in Medford voted down a resolution condemning Klan activities. Five members who resigned in protest were sent threatening letters, as was Circuit Judge F. M. Calkins. On May 24, the Ashland Tidings reported that a large crowd attended a lecture and slide show on the Ku Klux Klan given by Dr. R. H. Sawyer at the Vining Theater. In the Republican primary, Klan candidate Hall won a majority of the Republican votes in the county.
    In Medford, after Mayor C. E. Gates publicly denied being a member of the Klan, the Klan issued an invitation to the mayor to attend one of its initiation ceremonies and challenged him to find anything illegal or unwholesome about the organization. The Klan even accepted Gates' conditions that no masks be worn, that he be shown a full membership list and a copy of the Klan's bylaws, and that if he found anything unconstitutional or contrary to good citizenship, he had the right to publish it.
    Gates returned from the meeting impressed. He wrote in the Tribune that "The obligations and oath was one no Christian man could take exception to.… The work was beautiful and very impressive.… When all the masks were removed, and I looked around the room into the faces of the over 200 men present, men from every walk of life, I could not help but wonder why the packing of so many guns in Medford."
    Others, less impressed by the beauty of the organization than Mayor Gates, offered explanations. On May 13, Governor Olcott called for the suppression of the Klan and warned the people of Oregon that "Dangerous forces are insidiously gaining a foothold in Oregon, stirring up fanaticism, race hatred, religious prejudice and all those evil influences which lead toward factional strife and civil terror."
    Colonel E. E. Kelly, one of the five who resigned from the Medford Legion Post and one of the leaders of the anti-Klan movement in Jackson County, offered a concise, but powerful, explanation for his resignation:
    "I regard the Ku Klux Klan as the gravest menace to internal peace that has threatened the country since the Civil War…it appeals to the well-meaning but ignorant and inculcates in them prejudice, racial hatred and religious bigotry.… It proposes to wipe out nine centuries of growth and civilization and to substitute for constituted authority and law, mob violence and trial by ordeal of hanging and torture."
    At an emergency Medford City Council meeting on May 16, two days after Mayor Gates' visit to the Klan meeting, Kelly called upon the council to pass an emergency ordinance prohibiting the wearing of masks or disguises on public streets. Since Gates had been made an honorary member of the Klan, Kelly and the rest of the council had not told him beforehand about the resolution. Although Gates favored the ordinance, he was angered by the proceedings, and when Kelly and Councilman Keene suggested that any official who belonged to the Klan should be investigated, Gates went to the defense of the Klan.
    Kelly passionately responded: "This is an honest-to-God American community and is no place for cowardly, sneaking masked street organizations taking the law into its own hands."
    Gates responded by asking Kelly why, if the three "mob happenings" were committed by the Klan, had the federal officers not turned up a particle of evidence and begun prosecution.
    (A month earlier Governor Olcott, displeased with the slowness with which Sheriff Terrill and Jackson County authorities were investigating the three night-riding incidents, sent federal agents to Medford to help with the investigation.)
    Kelly replied that they were being hampered by old federal statutes and red tape which forced them to move slowly. Councilman Keene concluded the discussion by declaring that "the appearance of the local Ku Klux Klan is the worst thing that's ever happened in this city's history!"
    The ordinance was passed unanimously, carrying with it a $25 to $100 fine or 30 days in jail. The next day the Klan published a statement saying that they accept and support the ordinance.
    By far the most outspoken critic to the Klan was former Mail Tribune editor George Putnam. Throughout the year, Putnam used the pages of his Capital Journal to attack every aspect of Klan activity everywhere in the state. In July, he turned to the situation in his former county. He wrote:
    "The Ku Klux Klan has sown more pernicious activity at Medford than anywhere else in Oregon, having evidently constituted itself moral or immoral censor of community affairs. Three individuals have been kidnapped, strung up and threatened, while wholesale threats have caused a general arming of citizens in self-defense."
    He went on to suggest that it was Klan affiliation by county officials or Klan pressure that kept the authorities from doing anything about the "necktie parties." He referred to the threat made on Judge Calkins and concluded that "it is high time that
somebody did something to enforce the law, and clean up the situation in Jackson County."
    July was a trying month for Sheriff Terrill. First, Governor Olcott decided to send agents from the state Attorney General's office to speed up prosecutions in Medford. The federal agents admitted to being hamstrung by technicalities, and turned over all the evidence they had gathered to the state officials.
    Second, a petition demanding Terrill's recall had gathered more than enough signatures to warrant an election. The recall movement was spearheaded by temperance and religious organizations centered in Ashland. The basis of the recall was "malfeasance in office" and lax enforcement of the law--particularly prohibition.
    The real issues were cloudy. In Ashland it appeared to be a question of his moral character based on his attitude toward drinking. In Medford it was rumored that the Klan was behind his recall since it had said that it preferred the replacement candidate. The recall failed, with Ashland voting heavily for it and Medford against it.
    On Aug. 4, 1922, the Jackson County grand jury finally handed down indictments against six men for "assault" and "riot" in connection with the night-riding episodes. The six men were Dr. Jouett P. Bray, Methodist minister and chiropractor (three counts of assault with a deadly weapon in the Hale case); Jesse Hittson, an auto dealer; Bert Mose, former county jailer; J. Alex Norris, another former jailer; Thomas Goodies, a garage owner; and Howard Hill, an orchardist. Bail was set at $2,000 each. The first case did not come to trial until six months later.
    As the state elections neared, the campaigns for governor and other state offices became bitter. The Klan printed "yellow tickets" which listed the candidates they endorsed. The Klan had also placed on the ballot the Compulsory School Bill, which called for all children between six and 14 to attend public schools. This was a thinly disguised attempt by the Klan to destroy the private and parochial (especially Catholic) schools in the state. Although the bill would almost certainly be ruled unconstitutional, the Klan backed it vigorously.
    In the governor's race, the Republican candidate, Olcott, opposed both the Klan and the school bill. His Democratic opponent, Walter Pierce, who was endorsed by the Klan, supported the school bill and based his campaign on the issue of taxation, avoiding as much as possible any discussion of the Klan.
    In Ashland, the eccentric millionaire philanthropist, Jesse Winburn, worked hard for the election of Pierce, going so far as to tell the people of Ashland that if Pierce did not win, Winburn would no longer contribute money to the city. In the Nov. 7 election, Pierce won by a substantial margin, 132,000 to 98,000. Ashland and Jackson County voted for Pierce by a margin of four to three. The school bill also passed, 115,506 to 103,685. In Jackson County residents approved the bill by 10 to one. More importantly, Klan candidates captured more than one-half of the Senate seats and were elected to numerous other state and county offices.
    On Feb. 28, 1923, the first trial for the men indicted by the Jackson County grand jury for the night-riding incidents took place. The defendants, Jouett Bray, Howard Hill and James Hittson, were charged in "night-riding" and rioting in connection with the hanging of J. P. Hale.
    In spite of objections by the prosecution, the defense attempted to discredit Hale, the victim, by attacking his moral character. The defense also came up with an alibi for the defendants that the prosecution claimed to be weak. On March 14, after deliberating only 40 minutes, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
    After the trial the state prosecutor dismissed the charges against the other men declaring that, given the circumstances, the state did not have a chance. The circumstances were simply that the men were tried before a Klan-endorsed judge, who had been one of the two local attorneys who had refused to sign a petition condemning the Klan's threat against Judge Calkins, and that in a county where local prejudice and feeling ran so high that it was impossible to get an impartial jury or know if jurors were fellow Klansmen or not.
    Then, when members of the jury who acquitted the first case were allowed to sit on the second, the farcical nature of the proceedings became abundantly clear, causing George Putnam to conclude that:
    "The acquittal of the men accused of night-riding at Medford emphasizes the fact that a member of the Ku Klux Klan cannot be convicted in Oregon at the present time. The evidence does not matter, if a Klansman sits on the bench, or Klansmen are on the jury."
    It was at this time, shortly after the November election, that the Klan reached the peak of its power and influence in the state. Soon after, however, internal and external events caused its power to crumble rapidly. Once in office, Governor Pierce considered himself under no obligation to the Klan and did nothing to serve its interests. In 1923, the Klan considered initiating his recall.
    In the higher echelons of the Klan organization in Portland, corruption, dissension and internal strife led to defections by longtime members, whose condemnation of the Klan took its toll on the membership.
    In the 1924 elections, Klan candidates lost badly. In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Compulsory School Bill as unconstitutional, which was another serious blow to the Klan. By 1926, the Klan had ceased to become a major influence in the state, though the organization continued to operate on the local level in several areas of the state.
    It is difficult to assess the role of the Ku Klux Klan in Jackson County during this time. Although the three Medford incidents were contemptible, no fatalities occurred in the county during the height of Klan activity, and the publicity from the incidents probably did the Klan more harm than good. The problem with the Klan for many people was that it contained within itself both the pernicious tenets of bigotry and violence, and the more benign, though self-righteous, tenets of moral rectitude.
    In the Medford Klan the more pernicious side seemed to predominate. But it was also in Medford that opposition to the Klan was strongest. Men like Colonel Kelly and Robert Ruhl, the editor of the Mail Tribune, continually spoke out against them. Almost every issue of the Tribune published during 1922 contained articles on Klan activities both locally and nationally.
    By comparison, the pages of the Ashland Tidings contained very little about the Klan. It is probable that support for and membership in the Klan was strongest in Ashland, partially because of the predominance of secret fraternal organizations, ministers and churches, whose moral values coincided with many of those of the Klan.
    Those who joined the Klan were probably drawn to the "moral guardian" side of the Klan's program. The Klan in Ashland kept a "lower profile" than others and probably commanded more respect than fear from the citizens.
    This is borne out by at least one account of the Klan given by Ellis Beeson, who was attending Ashland High School during the early '20s. He remembers that at the school the vice principal, Mr. Forsythe, had to wear glasses with lenses that were so thick that it gave young Beeson the uncomfortable feeling of being stared at when the vice principal looked at him.
    One day, Beeson and a few classmates decided to go to a show at the Varsity Theater. He was surprised to find several men in white robes and hoods standing around outside the theater. (They were probably protesting against the movie being shown.)
    Young Ellis suddenly looked up at one of the men, and behind the eye holes in the hood he saw two thick lenses and two big eyes staring at him. He recalled that he was just about to say, "Hello, Mr. Forsythe," but decided his chances of graduating would be better if he didn't.
    Klan activity died down in Jackson County just as it did in the rest of the state after 1924. We do know from an article printed in the Tidings that it still existed in early 1925 and that it was the first public appearance of the Klan "in some time." The article described how 50 or 60 men "dressed in full regalia of the order marched down the aisle of the Church of Christ during the evening session." They sat quietly throughout the service and before leaving left a large donation in the collection plate.
The Morning News, Central Point, May 19, 1979

Part 12:
The Infamous Siskiyou Train Robbery

The incredible robbery of a Southern Pacific passenger train

By Carl Bondinell

    A little after 11:00 in the morning on Oct. 11, 1923, Southern Pacific train Number 13 from Seattle coasted to a gentle stop in front of the Ashland depot. It was a clear, bright day with just a hint of approaching winter.
    Passengers got off to stretch their legs. If they had picked up a copy of the Tidings while waiting, they would read that the "Ashland climate, without the aid of medicine, cured nine out of ten cases of asthma--proven fact."
    If they turned to the inside pages, they would find that the city was concerned about the hordes of drug addicts who were coming into the city. The paper noted sourly that "morphine fiends" and "hop heads" were out on the city streets panhandling, trying to earn some "easy money to buy morphine with." One "hop head" wrenched a black pack from the hands of a doctor and ran into the nearby woods. Only later did he discover he had stolen the doctor's typewriter.
    The train crew which had guided Number 13 from Seattle to Ashland turned the throttle over to a fresh team from the Shasta Division. As they gave up the train they wished them a good journey to San Francisco. Fifty-one-year-old engineer Sidney Bates acknowledged the good wishes as he climbed into the cab. His fireman was a youngster, 23-year-old Marvin Seng. Both Bates and Seng lived in Dunsmuir, and their trip would take them through their hometown before sunset.
    Coyl Johnson, the brakeman, was a tall, thin man, with a narrow face and high forehead. The next day was his 38th birthday. His wife Ruth was planning a party for him on the day after when he was scheduled to return from San Francisco.
    In the mail car, mail clerk Elvyn Dougherty puffed on his pipe and set about preparing for the long trip. When he left his home in Ashland, his wife Rollie was doing the fall cleaning. This was not his regular run. He was filling in for a friend and fellow mail clerk who had been out late the night before at an important Masonic Lodge meeting and asked Dougherty to take his run for him.
    As Bates eased the "Gold Special," as the train was sometimes called, out of the Ashland station, the second game of the World Series between the Yankees and the Giants was just starting. The Giants had won the first game on the strength of a home run by a flashy outfielder named Casey Stengel. But the Yankees still had Babe Ruth, and their fans were not particularly worried.
    The train belched black smoke as it slowly climbed the summit. Passengers had just finished their noon meal and were gazing out at the spectacular scenery. With the aid of a "helper," an extra engine to provide additional power, the train neared the summit and Tunnel 13 where the helper would be uncoupled and Bates would stop to test the brakes before taking it down the other side.
    Just north of the tunnel, Bates made a quick check of the brakes and started forward. As he happened to glance backward he saw two men running for the train. Bates pushed the throttle wide open. The men ran faster. One of them made it aboard, but the other appeared to be too slow.
    Finally, in a last desperate push the man grabbed the extended leg of his partner and barely scrambled on. Hobos and drifters "riding the rails" were such a common occurrence during these years that Bates didn't give the two men a second thought.
    Two minutes later, two men dressed in coveralls, their faces covered with grease, jumped down into the cab from the tender. One of the men held a gun menacingly at Bates and shouted: "Don't move and don't do anything unless we tell you to! When we get in that tunnel, stop the train so the engine cab just clears the tunnel. Understand?"
    Bates then told the two young men that it was a company rule that he had to turn on the warning bell anytime the train entered a tunnel. The two men looked questioningly at each other and then told him to go ahead.
    The electric bell began ringing as Number 13 entered the half-mile tunnel. Minutes later, Bates stopped the train with its nose just protruding from the south portal. Conductor C. D. Merritt reassured passengers concerned over the sudden stop by saying there was a section crew ahead and that they'd be moving again any second.
    When the "few seconds" became almost 10 minutes, passengers and crew members began to wonder what was going on. Merritt and brakeman Johnson decided they should go up front and find out what was causing the delay. Suddenly, a tremendous explosion ripped through the tunnel, blowing out the train's windows and sending a shower of glass flying everywhere. Smoke poured into the cars. Passengers hit by the glass screamed for help; others just screamed.
    Amazingly, although the tunnel was rapidly filling with smoke, most of the passengers remained remarkably calm.
    The blast was heard several miles away at S.P. maintenance camps at Siskiyou and Hilt. Believing that Number 13's boiler had blown, Leonard and Chester Smith grabbed a couple of fire extinguishers and ran for the tunnel, telegraphing the news of the boiler explosion to rescue crews in Ashland, Medford and Yreka.
    In the tunnel, Johnson, Merritt, most of the crew and a few adventuresome passengers were cautiously working their way through the smoke and blackness toward the front of the train. When they drew near the mail car, a wall of flames stopped them. Only Johnson, holding his red lantern in front of him, kept going on through the smoke.
    Merritt waited behind the mail car for Johnson to return. After a few minutes he heard a spate of gunshots, followed a few moments later by five or six more.
    It was another 10 minutes before the fire in the mail car died down, allowing Merritt to pass by. He found Coyl Johnson lying motionless on his back, his midsection ripped away by a shotgun blast. Closer to the engine, Merritt found Seng crumpled on the ground next to the locomotive, shot twice at close range. Bates was slumped over in his cab, a bullet wound in the back of his head. The mail clerk, Dougherty, was nowhere in sight.
    Merritt was still trying to compose himself when the Smith brothers arrived with their fire extinguishers. When they realized what had happened they sent one of the passengers, a Southern Pacific employee, to the tiny hamlet of White Point a mile away for help. He ran all the way.
    Finally the word was flashed to the world. Southern Pacific's Number 13 had been held up; four men were dead. In Yreka, Sheriff Calkins quickly organized a posse and set out for the stranded train. In Jacksonville, Sheriff Terrill formed several posses and ordered them to fan out.
    Posses were now rushing toward the stricken train from opposite sides of the mountain, but it was already more than an hour since the holdup.

The Morning News, Central Point, May 19, 1979

Train robbery brought out hundreds
    Shortly before one o'clock, Thursday, Oct. 11, 1923, Southern Pacific train #13, the "Gold Special," was held up inside Tunnel 13 at Siskiyou Summit. Four men, the engineer, fireman, brakeman and mail clerk, were murdered and the mail car blown open with an excessive charge of dynamite. It was almost two hours after the holdup that Jackson County Sheriff Charles Terrill reached the site.
    When he arrived, he found people milling around trampling clues into the ground. He unsuccessfully tried to halt the flow of curiosity seekers. Word had spread to Ashland and Medford and soon a caravan of automobiles, including ambulances and doctors, was making its way up the mountain.
    In spite of the chaos which prevented a thorough search for clues, Terrill was pleased to discover that the robbers had left behind a number of items: a Colt 45 automatic with the serial number filed off, the detonator, a pair of overalls, a knapsack, a one-pound can of pepper and foot pads soaked in creosote. The sheriff issued an all points bulletin for three men, between 5'7" and 5'8" tall, about 160 pounds, between 25 and 30 years of age. The description turned out to be fairly accurate, but it also fit hundreds of men, and during the next few days Northwest police stations and jails bulged with men fitting the description.
    By dawn the next day, Sheriff Terrill had numerous well-armed posses ranging as far north as Roseburg and as far south as Redding. Many of those in the posses were Southern Pacific employees whose anger, bordering on fury, boded ill for the robbers if they were caught. Men combed the woods; search planes from Medford crisscrossed the sky. Redbone bloodhounds were on their way from Seattle, and the railroad and Postal Service posted a $7,500 reward.
    Sheriff Terrill was deluged with phone calls offering advice and "hot tips." Rumors and theories were rampant. There was one about a mysterious plane that had taken off from a secret airstrip. A number of cars with suspicious-looking occupants were seen speeding away from Ashland. Three young men standing together on the street in Ashland were arrested because they fit Terrill's vague description. Residents for miles around carefully locked and piled furniture against their doors at night.
    The posses roaming the hills had uncovered more than a dozen moonshine stills, but not a trace of the robbers. The bloodhounds arrived, but were unable to pick up the trail. As the search continued, Terrill was becoming discouraged. He had no idea as to the identity of the men, and his leads were turning cold. On the 13th, Southern Pacific Chief Special Agent Dan O'Connell set up headquarters in Ashland and took charge of the investigation.
    Frustrated, as Terrill had been, at not finding any clues in the things left behind, O'Connell shipped the evidence to professor of chemistry Edward Oscar Heinrich at the University of California at Berkeley. By using methodical laboratory techniques, Professor Heinrich had helped solve a number of crimes, earning him the nickname "The Edison of Crime Detection" and the "Wizard of Berkeley."
    During the next few days, there were more arrests, but no suspects and the trail was growing colder. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, six days after the holdup, O'Connell and Terrill were beginning to despair--the killers had obviously eluded their dragnet.
    Then on Thursday, O'Connell received Heinrich's first report. A careful examination of the overalls led him to conclude that the men were white, approximately 160 pounds, between 23 and 25 years old, and were lumberjacks. The authorities were both confused and relieved. Confused because lumberjacks don't rob trains. Relieved because of their fears that it may have been a gang from the Midwest or East Coast, which would have made tracking them even more difficult.
    But there was more: Professor Heinrich had found a piece of paper, missed by both Terrill and O'Connell, wadded up in the bottom of the narrow pencil pocket of the overalls. It was a postal money order receipt signed for by one Roy DeAutremont. The father, Paul DeAutremont, was contacted in Eugene. He said three of his five sons, Ray, Roy and Hugh, had left on a hunting trip to Puget Sound two weeks prior, and he hadn't heard from them since.
    The investigation continued. Heinrich discovered that the Colt Company also stamped an additional serial number inside the handle of the gun, and through this they were able to trace its purchase to Ray. A hair found on the overalls which matched one taken from a sweater in the DeAutremont home placed Hugh at the scene of the holdup. The authorities got pictures and detailed descriptions of the three brothers and by the end of October, over 50,000 reward posters were sent out offering a reward of $14,400. Eventually, a total of 2.2 million posters would be distributed throughout the world in one of the largest manhunts in American history.
    The twins, Ray and Roy DeAutremont, were born in Iowa in 1900. Because of their father's inability to settle down (he dreamed of making it big one day) the family roamed the Midwest like gypsies, moving five times in 15 years. As a barber at the turn of the century, Paul DeAutremont earned 15 cents for a haircut and 10 cents for a shave. After finally getting fairly well established in Colorado, he was lured by a land promoter to buy land in a "fertile valley" near Lakewood, New Mexico. When the family arrived they discovered they had been swindled--the land was arid desert.
    They rented a farm and tried to make a go of it. This was a time of bitter frustration for young Ray. First, to see his father duped, and then to have to stand by helplessly while they were cheated on the price of their crops and while the more powerful rangers stole their water and allowed their cattle to destroy their fields. At 16 Ray had enough. He took to the road, riding the rails looking for work and "a place to fit in."
    In 1917, as the Great War was coming to an end, the rails were crowded with a new generation of Americans trying to find themselves. Labor organizers and socialists moved among the thousands of itinerant men and women looking for work. The ideals of Big Bill Haywood's International Workers of the World, the I.W.W., or "wobblies," as they were called, appealed to Ray who was having trouble finding a regular, worthwhile job and saw thousands of others in a similar situation. When he arrived in Portland in 1918, he was a proud carrier of the red I.W.W. membership card.
    While working at a Portland shipyard, an event in Centralia, Washington changed the course of Ray's life. On the first Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1919, shooting broke out between American Legionnaires and the I.W.W. Four Legionnaires were killed, one I.W.W. leader was arrested and then lynched. Within days more than 1,000 men and women carrying I.W.W. cards were arrested on the charge of "criminal syndicalism." Ray was one. Thinking him a minor officer, the detectives treated him roughly after his arrest. While in jail, he saw an opportunity to escape and tried it. He was recaptured and sentenced to one year.
    Ray's twin brother Roy, who in the meantime had become a barber, went to Vancouver as soon as he heard of his brother's arrest. Together with their father they tried to no avail to get the judge to reduce the sentence. Roy stayed near his brother and after numerous visits and arguments (he had strong religious beliefs and was thinking of becoming a priest) he came to agree with Ray that he had been wronged by "society," and accounts had to be squared. Ray was released in May of 1921 after serving the full 12 months.
    For the next two years Ray and Roy moved from place to place, working when they could and then moving on. In prison Ray decided that the way to take revenge on society was to live a life of crime. (At one point he even rode to Chicago to try to join one of the big gangs, but couldn't find them.) They did plan two robberies, a small bank and a confectionery, neither of which got off the ground. As they moved from job to job they kept each other's spirits high by plotting a train robbery.
    Their imagination was fanned by the large number of robberies which were taking place during those years. They were especially impressed by the exploits of Roy Gardner, who from 1920 to 1922 waged a personal war against the Post Office and Southern Pacific. It started when Gardiner mailed $200 to his sister. When she got the letter it was empty. The Post Office refused to consider Gardiner's complaint, so he offered them another chance.
    He robbed a San Diego mail truck of over $50,000 and then offered to return the money if the Post Office would give him back his $200. The Post Office turned down his offer. He wrote to local papers saying he would take more if he didn't get his money. By the time he was finally captured Gardiner had stolen more than $300,000. He did it without hurting anyone and after each robbery pleaded with officials to give him back his $200 in exchange. His offer was always rejected. None of the money was ever recovered.
    The brothers figured that if one man could do that well, they could do even better. In the spring of 1923, they were joined by their youngest brother, Hugh, who had just graduated from high school. The three brothers took jobs at the Silver Creek Logging Camp near Silverton and began serious preparations for the robbery.
    By July, they had saved enough money for a down payment on a six-cylinder Nash touring car. Next they bought weapons and ammunition. Because of the summer heat, most of the logging was done in the mornings, which left the afternoons free. These the brothers spent at their cabin practicing shooting and learning Spanish from Ray. (Part of the plan was to pretend to be Mexicans.)
    By September they felt they were ready. They drove all along the railroad line as far north as Seattle looking for a suitable site. None suited their purposes, but they did manage to steal a case of dynamite from a construction site along the way. As they headed south to the Rogue Valley, Ray remembered from a trip he had taken that the trains nearly came to a stop going over the Siskiyou Summit. They decided that the perfect location was Tunnel 13 near the crest of the summit where all S.P. engines were required to make a brake check before starting the long descent into California. The brothers also believed that the tunnel would muffle the sound when they blasted open the mail car.
    They spent the next four or five days walking over the mountains, familiarizing themselves with the terrain. About two miles west of the tunnel they found an ideal hideout under two large trees that had fallen over a small stream. They dug out enough room for the three of them and stocked it with supplies. On Oct. 2, they decided that Hugh should drive the car to Eugene and leave it with their father.
    On his way down the mountain Hugh hit a cow standing in the road and had to leave the car at the Park Garage in Ashland for three days while the front end was fixed. After dropping the car off, he took the train back from Eugene to Ashland. While waiting for a southbound freight to hop, a railroad agent became suspicious. He searched Hugh and then made him buy a ticket. Hugh gave him the slip and hiked up the mountains to the hideout.
    Meanwhile Ray and Roy were at the point of despair. Hugh was five days late and they were sure something had gone wrong. They were cold and hungry and on Oct. 9 decided that if their brother didn't show up in another hour, they would call the whole thing off. Hugh returned before the hour was up with his bad news. The fact that he had spent all their money and that the agent knew their names was a strong argument for giving up their plan. After a long discussion they decided to go ahead with it. On the morning of Oct. 11, Hugh and Roy took their places at the north end of the tunnel while Ray waited at the south end with the dynamite.
    The dynamite was their undoing. In their hurry they placed too much on the mail car. They could neither get inside because of the fire nor uncouple the car because the wheels had been lifted off the track by the blast. And far from muffling the noise, the tunnel sent the sound of the explosion for miles.
    Everything had gone wrong. Totally confused and panic-stricken they fled from the tunnel. They had killed four men and had come away with nothing. If there was money on the train (postal authorities claimed there wasn't) they had neither the time nor opportunity to find it. They ran into the mountains concerned only with the angry lynch mobs which would soon be looking for them.
    For 12 days they stayed in their hideout, not daring to light a fire in spite of the cold at night until finally it was decided that Ray should get the car in Eugene. Ray hopped a freight to Medford and casually walked into a restaurant for breakfast. While sitting at the counter waiting for his coffee, he suddenly tensed and as unobtrusively as possible left the cafe. He could hardly believe what he saw: there on the front page of the newspaper was his and Roy's picture under the caption: "Have you seen the DeAutremont Twins?" While skulking around the streets of Medford, he realized that getting the car was out of the question.
    He walked toward Central Point and then over to Jacksonville. They would need money, so in spite of the risk, he took a job picking apples for C. C. Hoover. He took room and board at the house of Dave Finley, who was spending much of his time these days riding with the posses in search of the killers, and once even asked Ray if he wanted to come along!
    When he had earned enough money, he bought some food and returned to his brothers with the news that they had been identified. Ray, in a complete state of despondency, suggested that they commit suicide rather than face the fate that was surely awaiting them.
    Roy argued with Ray all night, finally convincing him that they should make the break for freedom and "go down fighting" if they had to. On the chill morning of Oct. 29, they emerged from their hideout and struck out for the coast. After four days, the snow and cold forced them to change their course south into California. For once, luck was with them. Twice, just as they were on the verge of dying from the cold and exposure, they stumbled upon an unoccupied cabin where they could revive themselves.
    Two weeks after leaving their hideout, they reached the outskirts of Hilt. As they were walking through the town past the depot, hoping to catch a southbound freight, a car pulled up behind them and framed them in its headlights. One of the men in the car called to them. The brothers just kept walking, not daring to turn around. The men in the car got out and began to follow them, calling to them again. They still just kept walking. Near the end of the yard they split up, took cover and with guns ready, awaited the confrontation. At this point the police officers turned back, probably assuming that they were just three hobos.
    They spent a bitter freezing night huddled together in a drain. Suffering from the cold and fearing imminent capture, Ray again brought up suicide. Roy again dissuaded him. The next evening, they reached Hornbrook. Ray went into a store and bought three candy bars with their last 15 cents. The next morning they decided to split up. Ray left for Marysville; Roy and Hugh went together as far as Grenada, where Roy stayed to work on a farm. The two brothers said goodbye, not knowing that it would be almost four years before they would see each other again.
•    •    •
    For three and one-half years the three DeAutremont brothers evaded capture in spite of the unflagging efforts of O'Connell, who continued to issue thousands of reward posters, and the hundreds of detectives, professional and amateur, who hoped to claim the reward money.
    After six months of wandering, Hugh enlisted in the army and was sent to the Philippines. He adapted well to army life, was a good soldier, a fine athlete, and quite popular with the men in his outfit, although considered somewhat of a braggart.
    After a year's separation, Ray and Roy settled down together in Southern Ohio. They found work and acceptance by the local residents. Except for periodic bouts of paranoia when Roy believed he was being followed by detectives, the brothers gradually came to feel that it might be possible to leave their past behind them and start a new life. In 1925, Ray married Hazel Sprouse, and by the end of the year they had a child. After 25 years of frustration and fear, Ray finally found happiness. He loved his wife and child. He enjoyed the respect of his neighbors and the company of his brother, who came to stay with them between jobs.
    On July 2, 1926, Sgt. Thomas Reynolds was idly looking at the posters on the company bulletin board in San Francisco when he recognized the picture of Hugh as being the same man who had served in his company in the Philippines. On March 17, 1927, Hugh DeAutremont was formally arrested and confined to the stockade on Alcatraz Island. During the eight days of interrogation which followed, Hugh told investigators that he and his brothers had been hunting in the area around Tunnel 13 when the holdup took place.
    Since their clothes and supplies had been stolen the night before, they decided it would be too risky to confront the posses, and that they would return after they had earned enough money to hire an adequate defense to "clear their name." Hugh stuck to his story and on March 25 he was turned over to Jackson County Sheriff Ralph Jennings, who took him under heavy guard to Jacksonville to stand trial.
    County officials, fearing possible acts of reprisals by those who remembered the murders at Tunnel 13, ordered extra guards to the Medford station for the arrival of the train carrying Hugh and Sheriff Jennings.
    Their fears were unfounded. The more than 500 spectators who crowded the station were interested only in gaining a glimpse of Hugh DeAutremont. Young girls, hearing that he was handsome and had a reputation for being a ladies' man, dressed up and waited near the front. It was not every day a famous person came to Medford.
    Hugh looked anything but the cold-blooded criminal the reward posters had made him out to be. As he stepped from the train, he stood erect and proud. He was smiling and jovial. Nodding to the young girls, he turned and said something to his guard at which they both laughed. He maintained his confident and jovial demeanor throughout his interview with the press later that day.
    Hugh sensed the power of the press and was playing to it. Consciously or not, he was creating an image of the underdog, the poor boy being pitted against the wealthy and powerful railroad and federal government. Although the reporters noted that his jauntiness and bantering were not completely spontaneous, they built a favorable image of him. The headlines painted a picture of an innocent man fighting for his life against terrible odds.
    At his arraignment Hugh pleaded "not guilty" in a clear and unemotional voice. Newsmen noted his respectful attitude toward the court and a genuine interest in the proceedings. His trial was set for May 2.
    Outside the courthouse a large crowd waited for him to be brought out. As he left the building, a bystander shouted "Are you ready for the trial?" Hugh held up his hands and rattled his handcuffs. "Tell the jury I guess I'll be there when it starts."
    Everyone laughed except District Attorney Chaney. The prosecution was by now becoming deeply concerned by Hugh's popularity. Chaney was assisted in the prosecution by State Attorneys George Neuner and George Roberts, who actually took charge of the case. Hugh was defended by Fred Smith, John Collier, Dave Evans and the only local attorney, Gus Newbury from Medford.
    After years of decline, Jacksonville once again became the center of attention in the county. Although Medford was the new county seat, it agreed to hold the trial in the stately old courthouse in Jacksonville. [Construction on the new courthouse had barely begun.] The trial attracted national interest, and soon crowds of out-of-towners were pouring into the little town.
    They took all the now run-down rooms in the old U.S. Hotel. Since the restaurants in town could not accommodate the crowd, the women of the Eastern Star set up a box lunch and home-cooking operation in the lobby. It was a booming success for the women, but a headache for the bailiffs and janitors who had to clean the courtroom floor of boxes, napkins and banana peels until the judge had to order a stop to the littering.
    Monday, May 2, 1927 was a partially overcast, damp and windy day. More than 300 people waited outside the courthouse to be admitted to the first day of the trial. When the bailiff opened the door, there was a mad rush for the relatively few seats in Judge C. M. Thomas' court.
    The first two days of the trial were spent selecting a jury. Each prospective juror was closely questioned. The state dismissed all the women (fearing "motherly" sympathies) and all those who showed aversion to capital punishment on a conviction gained by circumstantial evidence (which would comprise the entire case against Hugh since there were no eyewitnesses).
    At one point during the lengthy and often tense proceedings, defense attorney Fred Smith glared at Neuner and said: "I'm beginning to think the prosecution here isn't going to be happy with the jury until he has 12 men who own rope concessions. He seems to be saying that none of the fine citizens of this county can be trusted unless they are for the death penalty."
    On its side, the defense refused to accept anyone who worked for the railroad, knew any of the victims or had served on any of the posses.
    Late Tuesday afternoon, May 3, a jury of 12 men was finally accepted. The jurors were assigned rooms in the Holland Hotel in Medford for the duration of the trial.
    On Thursday the trial began with opening statements and the beginning of the prosecution's case. It was clear that Neuner was going to push hard for his conviction and the death penalty. On Friday, the court was crowded beyond capacity. Judge Thomas solved the problem by ordering the large number of high school students who were cutting classes back to school. For the most part, the day's proceedings were uneventful. The state presented an array of items found in the hills near the tunnel to which the defense made only a few mild objections.
    The next day, Saturday, the students arrived early to make sure of getting seats, and it was necessary to install extra chairs for the press table. Many of those in the audience were obviously sympathetic to the young, good-looking defendant and expressed their dislike for the big, burly Southern Pacific investigators on the stand. From a safe distance, young flappers outrageously flirted with Hugh, who merely gave them a quiet smile.
    On Monday, the court was again jammed with spectators. Evidence was introduced placing Hugh with his brothers when they bought the Nash. In all, the state had amassed 49 separate pieces of evidence which it was about to draw together to prove Hugh was with his brothers and had been their accomplice.
    But before either side had a chance to organize its final arguments, 63-year-old jury member S. W. Dunham was stricken again with what was thought to be an intestinal attack and had to be carried from the court. The next day he died in his home of kidney failure. The judge declared a mistrial and scheduled a new trial for June 6.
    During the next four weeks interest in Hugh waned. Reporters were off tracking down more timely stories and the public was enthralled with its newest hero, Charles Lindbergh, who at the time was making a triumphal tour of the capitals of Europe.
    In the meantime, Hugh's attorney Fred Smith moved that prospective jurors from Ashland would not be allowed since the four victims were so well known in the city, but Judge Thomas ruled that Ashland names would be included. Smith also lost motions to have the case dismissed and moved to Medford.
    On June 6, when the second trial began, the courtroom was less than a third full. There was no excitement and little interest in the trial. The novelty had worn off and no one wanted to sit around in a stuffy courtroom during the hot, sultry weather that had come to the Rogue Valley. Prospective jurors purposely tried to avoid having to serve by declaring that they were either unequivocally for or against the death penalty, or had formed an opinion of the case. There was no glamor in hearing warmed-over testimony, and it took four days and the questioning of 288 prospective jurors before another panel of 12 men was installed.
    In contrast to the first jury selection, the only excitement in the second go-round was when Neuner tried to raise a stuck window curtain, causing the whole thing to come crashing to the floor. Embarrassed, Neuner turned to the court and smiled weakly, "Well, they're moving the court to Medford anyway. Guess it doesn't matter if I tear down part of the building now."
    Back in Ohio, when Ray and Roy heard of their brother's arrest they decided to leave for Mexico. But since Ray did not want to leave his wife and young son behind, they stayed where they were until they could save enough money for the four of them to go. Hugh's arrest had rekindled interest in the robbery. A one-time former fellow employee of the twins was in bed reading a long account of the holdup in an Ohio newspaper when it dawned on him that the pictures of the two brothers still at large were the "Goodwin boys" with whom he had worked a year or so earlier. This was on April 19. On June 8, 1927, police arrested the two unsuspecting brothers.
    The evening of June 9, the day the second jury had been selected, word of the twins' capture reached Jacksonville. This created new interest, and the next day when the trial began the courtroom was again packed in spite of the 90-degree heat.
    The trial lasted two weeks. On Monday, the 20th, the state ended its case with the testimony of Professor Heinrich. In addition to its 72 witnesses, it had amassed 86 pieces of evidence. The next day was reserved for closing arguments.
    That night Ray and Roy arrived in Medford. Again the station was crammed with people. Roy enjoyed the attention, but Ray was more reserved. Roy told reporters, "We're innocent and have come back to help out Hugh." When they were locked in the Jacksonville jail their exuberance and confidence faded. They both spent the night very frightened by the prospect of dying.
    The next day, before a packed courtroom, Gus Newbury took the floor to state the final defense arguments in an effort to save Hugh from the hangman. Newbury spoke deliberately but with genuine concern and emotion. He pointed out that the state had used "inference upon inference" and that the only thing the evidence shows is that Hugh was within a mile-and-a-half of the tunnel, not that he pulled the trigger and killed brakeman Coyl Johnson.
    Neuner, who had been straining at the bit, was given his turn next. He literally leaped from his seat and with a look of grim determination faced the jury. Newspaper accounts of his performance as he summed up the case against Hugh recorded that he "fumed and roared like a volcano. He raged up and down…thrashed his arms and stamped his feet and bent himself double time after time…hissed and sputtered and groaned…whispered and crooned and shouted."
    Next door in their cell, Ray and Roy could hear Neuner's booming voice through the open windows. Neuner directed the fury of his attack against both the defense attorneys and Hugh. His attack was interrupted briefly as he stopped to listen to singing coming from the jail house. Ray and Roy were singing at the top of their lungs, "Dear Lord, I Can No Longer Bear This Trial."
    Neuner walked directly in front of Hugh and stood there looking down at the slouching defendant. "Let the jury by a verdict of first degree murder serve notice upon Hugh DeAutremont and all the Hugh DeAutremonts in the land that the law of the land is 'Thou Shalt Not Kill.'" Then he launched another attack on Hugh's attorneys. He whirled toward Newbury. "And you said we were basing our case on inference upon inference," he yelled, furiously.
    "Talk to the jury, not to me," Newbury retorted. "I'll talk to you anytime I feel like it!"
    Newbury jumped up and pulled back his coat. "I'll talk to you outside!"
    The court looked on aghast as they watched the two attorneys about to square off. The entire scene would have been ludicrous had not the two men been fighting over Hugh's life.
    Both men took a couple steps toward each other, and the spectators held their breaths waiting for the swinging to start. Only the furious banging of Judge Thomas' gavel restored order.
    Neuner finished his remarks by again calling for a guilty verdict and a sentence of death. A strange hush enveloped the room as Newbury took the floor for the final time. "Gentlemen," he said quietly and with dignity, "the state has not connected this defendant with the act that resulted in the Siskiyou tunnel crime, and until they can place him there, Hugh must go free."
    With those final words the trial of Hugh DeAutremont came to a close. The case made against him was vast and unwieldy. Now, everything rested in the hands of 12 men who had sat through nine days of heated debates, watched dignified attorneys almost come to blows and listened to confusing and sometimes contradictory testimony.
    It took the jury only one hour and 45 minutes to reach its verdict. Hugh had just settled down in his cell when Sheriff Jennings came to the door. "Jury's in, Hugh. Let's go see what they have to say," he said sympathetically.
    The verdict was guilty of murder in the first degree. The sentence was not death, but life imprisonment. The defense attorneys said they would appeal because they did believe in Hugh's innocence and that there was a basis for appeal. The consensus was that the appeal would be granted. The state had not produced an eyewitness who could place any of the brothers at the scene. The only men who could identify the killers were dead; the only men who knew who the murderers were surely weren't about to incriminate themselves--not when there was still a chance of winning.
    Yet, that is exactly what happened. Ray and Roy were terrified by the thought of being hanged, and in spite of the appeal, decided to accept the offer given them the night before by the district attorney which was a sentence of life imprisonment in return for a confession.
    On June 22, Ray and Roy both gave statements to the authorities describing what had taken place in  Tunnel 13 on Oct. 11, 1923. When Hugh heard that his brothers had confessed, he too agreed to make a statement.
    While serving their sentences in the Oregon State Prison, the three brothers were model inmates. They worked hard, Ray took up reading and painting; Hugh revived the defunct prison newspaper. Roy was always joking around, easygoing and garrulous. Chances for early parole were always blocked by the railroad. Railroad men had not forgotten the slaughter of their comrades, and they intended to make sure the DeAutremonts didn't either. Whenever an S.P. engine rolled by the prison on the spur line that ran along the south wall, the engineer turned on the warning bell, the same bell Sidney Bates had rung that day in Tunnel 13.
    In 1949, after a period of depression and withdrawal, Roy went berserk. It took six guards 15 minutes to subdue him. He was diagnosed as an advanced schizophrenic and was sent to the state hospital, where a prefrontal lobotomy was performed on him, leaving him a borderline vegetable. Whether it was the constant ringing of the warning bell, or deep-seated feelings of guilt fostered by his religious upbringing, his twin brother Ray, who had been devoted to him for so many years, could not say.
    On Jan. 9, 1959, 55-year-old Hugh was finally paroled. A little over a month later he had gotten a job as a typesetter on a newspaper in San Francisco. A few months later he died of stomach cancer.
    On Oct. 26, 1961, 61-year-old Ray was finally paroled. He settled in Eugene and became a part-time custodian at the University of Oregon, where he lived a quiet life devoid of notoriety.
    In 1973, he broke his silence and was persuaded to participate in an hour-long documentary on the holdup for KGW-TV in Portland. During the filming, he revisited the site at Tunnel 13.
    Two years later he told his story to Larry Sturholm and John Howard, who published the story of the DeAutremont brothers. Struck by a phrase Ray had used during the interview, they used it for their book, which is entitled: All For Nothing.
The Morning News, Central Point, May 26, 1979

Part 13:

The Stock Market Crash, the Depression,
and a Plot to Take Over the County

Depression spreads to Jackson County

By Carl Bondinell

    In early 1929, the age of prosperity seemed destined to go on to even greater heights. Business was ever-expanding, stock prices continued to rise, wages remained high, money and credit were readily available. Fortunes could still be made and dreams of early retirement became a reality. Confidence and optimism spread like a disease. President Hoover confidently proclaimed that within a few years there would be no poverty in America!
    The panic and stock market crash of October, 1929 took nearly everyone by surprise. Billions of dollars were lost. Small investors were wiped out, bankrupt. Day by day the newspapers printed the grim reports of suicides. In spite of this, the entire economic system did not collapse. The larger banks and corporations did manage to survive. But they had overexpanded and overproduced. They had to take their losses and cut back. And the depression spiral began: every worker who became unemployed also became one less consumer.
    All through the year of 1930, Hoover and his aides continued to reassure the nation that "things were not as bad as they seemed," and that economic recovery was only a few months away. But as the months passed, factories continued to shut down, prices continued to fall and by 1931, unemployment had reached six million.
    Nineteen thirty-two was the worst year of the depression. The rate of unemployment increased more rapidly in the first part of that year than in any other. The number was at least 10 million and would by the end of the year reach 11 million. If the families of the unemployed or underemployed were taken into account, this meant that some 30 million, or one-quarter of the population, was without adequate means of livelihood.
    At first, local authorities and charitable institutions took on the challenge of offering relief, but their funds were soon exhausted. Hoover believed that it was immoral for the federal government to engage directly in relief payments, but finally agreed it would be ethical to loan money to the states for welfare and passed the Emergency Relief Act making $300 million available to the states.
    The relief act was not only ill-conceived, but extremely difficult to administer. Thousands of men and families left their homes and took to the road searching for work. Without work, they needed the relief money too, but the states and communities resented sharing their meager resources with these newcomers when there were those who lived there who needed it.
    Discouragement and discontent grew among the poor who suffered most the effects of the depression. In June a ragged "army" of war veterans marched on Washington to request the bonus Congress had promised them. This pathetic group camped in shanties along the Potomac while they waited for Congress to act. Hoover finally ordered troops to drive them out.
    The depression did not hit Jackson County as hard as it did factory towns and the Midwest, but it did suffer along with the rest of the country. The fruit industry suffered badly from low prices and a declining market. Many orchards were neglected and dead and diseased trees were eventually pulled. Packing houses and lumber mills closed or cut back. Farmers in the Rogue Valley, as throughout the United States, took a terrible beating with low prices and increasing transportation costs. Thousands were unemployed and on county welfare.
    As in the nation, the unemployed in Jackson County were finding a spokesman for their plight in the Democratic candidate for President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was laying the blame for the continued economic problems of the country at the door of big business. Locally, the unemployed found a spokesman in the editor of the pro-Roosevelt Medford Daily News, Llewellyn A. Banks.
    Banks had moved to Medford in 1926 from Riverside, Calif. He bought an orchard and two years later bought the Daily News. His success as an orchardist and editor brought him statewide notoriety and encouraged him to challenge Charles McNary for the Republican nomination of U.S. Senator.
    His defeat was a bitter disappointment, but the campaign further whetted his political ambitions and provided him with a platform, or at least a political tactic upon which to base his drive for power. Mimicking Roosevelt, he styled himself as the "champion of the down-trodden." Feeling that he, himself, had been thwarted and victimized by the power structure, he strove to identify himself with the poor and discontented.
    He used his paper to criticize and attack the political and judicial system of the county. In this crusade he was allied with the editor of the Pacific Record Herald, Earl Fehl, who held many of the same radical views as Banks. They began to gather a following by playing up alleged incidents of injustice or corruption. When a man named Everett Dahack was shot and killed by police in a raid on an illegal still, Banks made it the focal point for his assertions about the "breakdown of law and order" in the county and his charges that lawyers and judges cared nothing for the common people.
    Banks' continued attacks on District Attorney A. L. Codding led finally to a grand jury investigation on charges of "malfeasance in office." In June, the jury completely exonerated the district attorney of all the charges.
    In August, Banks began to circulate petitions for the recall of Circuit Judge H. L. Norton. In September, he called for a "mass meeting" to be held in the armory. About 500 people showed up and listened to Fehl list the reasons why Judge Norton should be recalled, claiming his tenure was a "history of legal miscarriages of justice." The tenor of the meeting was to arouse the people into feeling that they were being cheated and sacrificed to the power structure. He praised Banks and the work he was doing through his newspaper and called upon the Medford Mail Tribune to "fight for the common people and not for the 'gang.' "
    The Mail Tribune under the editorship of Robert Ruhl at first tended to maintain its policy of moderation and support for the current administrations both nationally and within the county. Although there was no love lost between the two editors, the Tribune played down Banks' activities lest the publicity further divide the people of the county. But these latest moves for recall and mass meetings did prompt the Tribune editor to describe Banks as a "paranoiac publicist possessed by persecution complexes and delusions of grandeur."
    The crucial election of 1932 was two months away. The county, and the whole country, was fearful that the depression might lead to a revolution. People in this country were taking a closer look at the economic progress of the Soviet Union under the state-directed Five-Year Plans, as well as watching events in Germany, where Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party was attempting to bring order out of economic chaos. To many, Roosevelt represented this kind of threat. They and the Mail Tribune strongly supported Hoover and his cautious, conservative attempts to solve the country's problems.
    In some ways, the conflict between the Daily News and the Tribune reflected in microcosm the situation in the nation as a whole. People were discontented and frightened and wanted a change. They had lost faith in the economic system and listened to men like Banks and Roosevelt, who blamed the large economic concerns and called for radical changes in the economic structure.
    In the county, three important offices were up for election: district attorney, county judge and sheriff. Banks and the Daily News ran a slate of candidates which included Earl Fehl for judge, Briggs for D.A. and Lowell Zundell for sheriff. Since there were so many candidates running for each office, the incumbents and the Mail Tribune realized that a bloc vote for Banks' candidates might carry them if the rest of the vote were split. Late in the race, they persuaded the very popular ex-mayor of Medford, "Pop" Gates, to run for county judge, and retiring Sheriff Ralph Jennings to enter the race as a write-in candidate. The popularity of District Attorney Codding was felt to be great enough to sweep him into office.
    Throughout October, the Tribune urged the election of these men and carried out a number of "straw votes." In the last, taken on Oct. 27, the vote for judge stood at 1,140 for Gates and 112 for Fehl; for D.A., 1,046 for Codding, 418 for Briggs; and for Sheriff both Jennings and Beeson were leading Zundell and Gordon Schermerhorn (an independent, but with loyalties toward Banks) by a large margin. There seemed little to worry about with the election only a week away.
    In light of this, the returns must have come as quite a shock to the Tribune and its party. Fehl defeated Gates by more than 1,300 votes; Schermerhorn beat Jennings by 123 votes and Codding barely defeated Briggs by less than 400 votes. On the national level, the Tribune also misread the mood of the county, which voted for Roosevelt 7,519 to 5,459.
    Banks had captured two of the three important offices, and in the face of a hostile judge and sheriff, District Attorney Codding's position would be reduced to a farce. Jennings, upon learning that 381 of his write-in ballots were thrown out because they were improperly marked, called immediately for a recount. The law required that the winning candidate be served with the notice within 30 days, but this could not be done because Sheriff-elect Schermerhorn left right after the election to visit relatives in California and could not be contacted. Jennings had other recourses for the granting of a recount, but these would take time and by then Schermerhorn would already have taken office.
    The next seven weeks were a period of quiet, watchful waiting by both sides. On Jan. 2, 1933, Schermerhorn returned and was sworn in by Judge Fehl, who then proceeded with a large group of followers to the courthouse. The transition of power went smoothly. Fehl took his place on the bench and announced that he was not "the duly elected judge of Jackson County--judge of all the people." At that time, the powers of county judge were extensive. Most importantly, he had charge over the relief disbursements, as well as the county commissary, roads, the appointment of election officials and polling places.
    Fehl's first act as judge was to try to block the appointment of County Commissioner Nealon on the basis of a trivial legal technicality. This dispelled any hopes that Fehl, once elected, might work cooperatively with other county officials. A few days later, he transferred $50,000 from the county sinking fund to the relief fund, citing widespread unemployment as the reason for the action.
    On Jan. 10, Banks decided on a rather bold and daring move. He announced that he would lead a march of 3,000 to the courthouse steps to demand the resignations of Codding and Commissioners Nealon and Billings. Any doubts concerning Banks' intentions were now gone. His goal was to literally gain control of all the county offices and therefore the county itself. Given the surprising results of the election, no one knew for sure whether Banks had the backing for such a revolutionary move or not.
    On that same day, the American Legion post issued a resolution condemning the spread of "vicious propaganda," and attempts by Banks "to incite violence and mob action."
    The meeting was originally scheduled for Friday the 13th, but at the last minute was changed to the 11th. Estimates of the crowd ranged between 750 and 1,200, most of whom were from the rural areas in the northern part of the county. Fehl and Banks harangued the crowd from the steps. There were some shouts of "justice!" and "lower taxes," but for the most part the crowd remained quiet.
    They listened and signed petitions calling for the resignation of Codding and Nealon which were passed among them. Banks' warning that "Jackson County is on the verge of anarchy and chaos" failed to stir much reaction. When the meeting ended, Fehl invited those who wanted into the courthouse where he shook hands and got more signatures for the petitions. What was potentially a dangerous and possibly violent situation ended peacefully.
    On Oct. 13, Lane County Judge Skipworth denied Sheriff Schermerhorn's petition to quash the recount. The Legion began a check on the signatures gathered at the courthouse meeting and discovered that more than half were not registered voters. They called for a "monster meeting" to be held on the 19th to protest the activities of Banks and Judge Fehl and to demonstrate support for Norton, Codding and Nealon.
    The Mail Tribune praised the action of the Legion and added: "We hope the organization will not retard any movement of genuine reform, but will pull Medford and Jackson County out of the mess into which it has fallen and allow it to fight its way out of the depression instead of being ruined by it."
    More than 1,400 people attended the meeting of the 19th. They listened to refutation of the charges made by Banks and passed a resolution supporting the elected county officials.
    On the 30th, Banks held a meeting to formally organize his followers into the Good Government Congress. They elected Henrietta Martin, president; C. H. Brown, her father, secretary, and C. J. Conners, vice president and chairman of the secret membership committee. A resolution declaring that "no action would be taken without the advice of Banks," was challenged by one of the members as making him seem like a dictator. The resolution was amended to read: "Banks' advice would be welcomed, but not necessarily followed." This was acceptable to all, and Banks praised the group for its "democratic spirit."
    In effect, Banks as "Honorary President" had complete power. This was borne out the next day when one of the members, Guy Ray, who had been elected treasurer, quit in protest. He stated that the organization which had been intended "to aid the workingman and farmer had turned into a political organization ruled by a dictator." The next day there was another defection from the ranks of the Congress when Banks' close associate and attorney, M. O. Wilkins, resigned.
    In his column Banks declared that the Bar Association was "corrupt to the core" and must be "completely destroyed . . . If this is not done, the people of Jackson County will be compelled to adopt methods outside the courts to establish law and order." Banks also accused Wilkins of "attempted extortion," for which Wilkins immediately filed a criminal suit against his former ally and client.
    Banks claimed in the pages of the Daily News that he would "resist arrest," and that this was just another example of the "conspiracies against (him) that existed in the county courts." He concluded by declaring: "We have now come to that great showdown where blood is liable to be spilled."
    In his next editorial he continued in the same vein before setting down the platform of the Good Government Congress. He wrote that "only a miracle may be able to prevent wholesale bloodshed in Jackson County" and the Congress may be that "miracle." After again stating that the first order of business was the removal of Judge Norton and District Attorney Codding, he listed the programs of the Congress.
    The goals of the Congress were to create "equality among all the citizens," and to unlock natural resources such as gold mines and farms. He proposed to build a cannery and rehabilitate the pear industry, which he claimed was being ruined by excessive freight charges of "eastern capitalists." He called for the re-establishment of the lumber industry and the reduction of taxes and power rates which "are now 300 percent higher than in 1929."
    He chose to go voluntarily to the court in Ashland to face Wilkins' libel charges. He was met there by hundreds of his followers who had raised his $1,000 bail. He walked out of the court in triumph accompanied by the cheers of the crowd. At the first assembly of the G.G.C. held in the armory, between 1,200 and 1,500 people gathered to pass anew the resolution for Norton's recall and to adopt Banks' program of rehabilitation.
    This probably marked the peak of Banks' popularity and power. He used his role as a "martyr'" to increase his following, which he was formally organizing into a party structure which stressed "loyalty." At the same time, Judge Fehl had literally thrown open the courthouse for Congress meetings and to members who loitered around all day. He also permitted a few members to live there at county expense.
    The reaction of the press outside the county was anything but flattering. In one editorial Jackson County was dubbed "little Russia," while in another, it was suggested that the "senseless feud" might be ended if Banks would undergo tests for insanity. A number of editorials pointed out that the real reason Banks was advocating the defiance of the courts was that he had some 25 separate lawsuits, amounting to $300,000, pending against him which he hoped to avoid paying.
    Whether or not this was true, it was true that Banks had been sued often and was in deep financial trouble. His attitude seemed to be that the proliferation of suits confirmed the fact that there were those who "were out to get him." On Feb. 8, a former employee of the Daily News sued for breach of contract for nonpayment of wages. Two days later, a team of police led by Medford Constable George Prescott entered the Daily News building with a warrant and confiscated 1,200 pounds of newsprint.
    Banks was furious. He called Prescott and the courts "thieves and robbers" and was promptly slapped with yet another criminal libel suit. After returning from the court appearance, Banks printed the following statement:
    "Now my friends, I am back home. I am defending my castle. If any officer of the law attempts to invade my home to illegally deprive me of my liberty or property, I will defend my home just the same as I would if bandits were entering it."
    During the week between the 13th and 20th the momentum and volume of reaction to Banks and the Congress increased dramatically. The Mail Tribune devoted all of its editorial space to the question and began a series of in-depth articles aimed at presenting all the facts connected with the controversy. The editorials urged the people to "Wake up!" to what was going on and stressed the seriousness of the situation by discussing the possibility of having martial law declared.
    Individual civic leaders spoke out at meetings. Judge Norton issued a strong statement to the grand jury and citizens of the county telling them that it was their "indifference" which allowed the crisis to reach the point it has. District Attorney Codding and Wilkins were persuaded by the Tribune to write statements explaining their role, and petitions were circulated aimed at prohibiting the use of the courthouse for political meetings.
    The people of the county were becoming aroused and more sharply divided. In spite of the Tribune's efforts to proceed nonviolently, a potential for armed conflict existed. A delegation of Congress members, some of whom were armed, paid a night "visit" to Commissioner Nealon's home to "persuade" him to resign. The newsrooms of both the Daily News and Tribune had armed "newsroom guards."
    On Friday the 17th, Judge Skipworth announced that he would give his final decision on the request for a recount on Monday, the 20th. That same day it was announced that the county had received $25,000 a month from the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation. County officials felt that this would take pressure off the present relief operations and eventually reduce unemployment in the county, which would ease tensions.
    On the 18th, Banks called what was to be "the last" meeting of the General Assembly of the Congress. He informed the members that the Norton recall would now be handled by a select and secret "inner circle" of members. He also proclaimed that they would not wait out the required six months before they could legally bring a recall against Codding. One did not have to read between the lines to see that Banks was planning a drastic move, but exactly what this "inner circle" was going to do was known to only a few.
    On Monday, Feb. 20, Judge Skipworth declared in favor of Jennings and set the recount for the following day.
    If the results of the November election were a surprise, the recount was to produce an even bigger surprise. During the night of the 20th, the vault in the courthouse was broken into and 46 ballot containers and pouches were stolen!
    The Mail Tribune drew the obvious conclusion that the Congress had done it. Banks countered by claiming that it was done by the "gang" in an attempt to discredit him and the Good Government Congress.
    Within 24 hours, the police announced that they had two suspects in custody, and that they believed the robbery to have been an "inside job." For the next four days, speculation, charges and countercharges were rampant throughout the county while the police continued their investigation without revealing any new information.
    On Saturday, Feb. 25, the police announced the arrest of the first three suspects in the ballot theft. The first of those arrested was Sheriff Gordon Schermerhorn, county jailer John Glen and Congress member T. L. Brecheen.
    Before it was over, 32 people would be indicted. But the troubles in the county were far from over. Banks was still free to make one last-ditch effort to save the Congress and himself.
The Morning News, Central Point, June 9, 1979

Desperate moves include theft of ballots
By Carl Bondinell
    In 1932 and early 1933, 62-year-old orchardist and newspaper editor Llewellyn A. Banks masterminded a plot to take over control of Jackson County. After getting his men elected to the offices of county judge and sheriff, he formed a radical popular organization called the Good Government Congress and used it to launch a campaign to remove those county officials hostile to him.
    Although his popularity and following grew during the first weeks of 1933, reaction to him and his movement set in and he failed to generate the mass support which would enable him to accomplish a "popular" takeover of the county government.
    After months of legal maneuvering, the losing candidate for sheriff, Ralph Jennings, had his petition for a recount of the ballots of the November election granted. It was to take place on Monday, Feb. 21. Banks, knowing that the recount would disclose irregularities in the election, made two desperate moves. First, he formed an "inner circle" of Congress members who would secretly continue to work for the ouster of non-Congress officials. Second, he arranged to have the ballots stolen and destroyed before the recount could take place.
    Although the theft startled the county, it was a clumsy affair aimed only, it must be assumed, to gain time for Banks' other plans to mature.
    The day after the theft, police found a piece of torn clothing on the smashed window frame through which the burglars had gained entrance into the vault. Among the crowd hanging around the courthouse they spotted a young man with a tear in his pants which was of the same material. They quietly arrested him and his brother and took them to the city jail.
    The two brothers, Mason and William Sexton, had been arrested earlier in connection with a brawl on New Year's Eve. After their case was dismissed, Judge Fehl permitted them to stay and live in the courthouse, where they ate and slept at county expense in return for circulating literature and soliciting members for the Good Government Congress. The police interrogated them for four days, but the brothers, believing that Banks, Fehl or the Congress would get them out, said nothing. Finally, when they realized that they were not getting any help, they became frightened and confessed.
    On the night of the 20th, Banks had called a meeting of the Congress to be held in the courthouse auditorium. Before the meeting, Judge Fehl and Sheriff Schermerhorn approached the brothers and asked them if they knew the combination to the vault or if they knew of a way to break in. When they said no, they were told to wait by the vault. During the meeting a group of members including Deputy Sheriff Charles Davis, the mayor of Rogue River Walter Jones, Congress vice president C. J. Conners, and Ashland ward leader Thomas Brecheen, went to the boiler room and returned with a large monkey wrench. The stage was set.
    In the auditorium Banks was stirring up the members with his oration. At the point when the noise from the auditorium was the loudest, Mayor Jones smashed the window with the wrench and unfastened the latch. While half of the group outside stood guard, the rest went into the vault. The pouches and containers were taken away in three cars. One carload was taken to the home of an 80-year-old woman and her daughter outside Jacksonville and burned in their stove. The Sexton brothers drove in another car to the Bybee Bridge and dumped their pouches in the Rogue River.
    When they returned to the courthouse everyone had gone except Brecheen, who told them that not enough ballots had been stolen and that they should get 15 or 20 more pouches while Brecheen went to get a car. After an hour had passed and Brecheen had not returned, the brothers became nervous and took the pouches to the boiler room and burned them in the furnace.
    On the 25th and 26th, the Medford and state police, who had taken charge of the investigation, issued warrants for the arrests of all those implicated in the Sextons' confession.
    The arrests were carried out without incident except for that of Judge Fehl, who had gone into hiding and then suddenly appeared in his courtroom where he threatened to hold continuous sessions so that any officer who tried to arrest him would be in contempt of court.
    After conferring with District Attorney Codding, who told them that not to serve the warrant would place them in contempt of another court, City Constable George Prescott and state police officer James O'Brien went to the courthouse to arrest Fehl.
    They filled their pockets with tear gas cannisters in the event that the crowd of Fehl's supporters who filled the courtroom tried to prevent the arrest. The warrant was read to the judge but when he was asked to accompany the officers, he hesitated. The atmosphere in the courtroom became very tense, but finally Fehl submitted and left peacefully.
    The judge immediately posted bail and then pulled another surprise. He issued writs of habeas corpus for everyone being held in connection with the ballot theft. This would require the police to make public every bit of evidence they had so far collected. The police succeeded in countering this move by taking all the prisoners out of the county (and Judge Fehl's jurisdiction) and placing them in the jail in Grants Pass.
    Meanwhile, Banks was trying to salvage what he could from the latest turn of events. He resorted to his favorite tactic by calling for a "mass meeting" to be held on the courthouse steps on March 6. Of the estimated 1,000 people who gathered, only about one-third were sympathetic to the Congress. They listened to speeches by Congress President Henrietta Martin and Judge Fehl, who told the crowd that their rights were being violated by recent moves by the county commissioners who had taken the power of running the relief fund and the county commissary (which had been used by Fehl to recruit Congress members) out of his hands and who had also placed a ban on Congress meetings in the courthouse.
    When it was Banks' turn to speak, he declared: "I have written to the Governor that unless justice is restored, I will take the field--take the field in revolution!" The response of the crowd was one of amazed silence, laughter and jeers. Visibly shaken and laboring under the strain of the past two weeks, Banks abruptly ended his speech and announced that the meeting would be concluded with "a tour of the courthouse."
    While popular support for the Congress was declining rapidly, Banks worked out his plans with the "inner circle." He instructed Sheriff Schermerhorn, who was out on bail, to deputize and arm as many loyal Congress members as he could, 250 men, if possible. His next step was to announce that he had hired detectives from San Francisco who, upon investigating the ballot theft, would produce indisputable evidence that the whole thing had been a plot by Judge Norton and District Attorney Codding to discredit and overthrow the Congress. At this point, the 250 "deputies" would kidnap Norton and Codding and every city and state police officer and take them to a secret abandoned mining bunkhouse in the hills where they would be kept as prisoners. Norton and Codding were to be hanged.
    To conceive such a bizarre and desperate plan indicates that Banks' unstable emotional state and his sense of persecution had led him to lose touch with reality. It was evident that even the most avid of his followers did not possess the conviction or courage to follow him to such extremes, to literally risk their lives for him and his principles. There simply was not that much at stake for them.
    Nevertheless, when the police learned of the plot, they put a 24-hour guard on Codding and Norton and called in reinforcements. A grand jury was quickly summoned into session, and on March 15 it returned 32 indictments. These included indictments for all those arrested in the ballot theft; one for Henrietta Martin for assaulting the editor of the Jacksonville Miner, Leonard Hall, with a buggy whip on the streets of Medford, and others ranging from riotous and disorderly conduct to criminal syndicalism.
    Banks was one of those indicted in connection with the ballot theft as well as on several counts of criminal syndicalism. Ordinarily, it was the responsibility of the county sheriff to deliver the warrant to Banks. But since Sheriff Schermerhorn had been indicted for the same crime, he was forbidden by law to do this. So at 10 on the morning of March 16, Constable Prescott, accompanied by officer O'Brien and two other officers, went to Banks' home at 1000 West Main to deliver the warrant.
    Banks held a particular hatred for Prescott stemming from the time Prescott entered the Daily News building and confiscated the paper's newsprint. After that incident, Banks had publicly stated that he would "defend his home" and "shoot any officer who tried to illegally deprive me of my life or property." In spite of the fact that they were aware of Banks' threats, the only precautions Prescott and O'Brien took were to station two detectives at the rear of the house.
    They knocked on the door. It was finally opened by Mrs. Banks, but only as far as the night chain would permit. Prescott told her that they had a warrant for Banks' arrest. Suddenly, Banks appeared from behind a colonnade in the dining room, aimed a hunting rifle at the crack in the door and fired. The bullet hit Prescott in the heart and killed him almost instantly. Both he and O'Brien fell to the ground directly in front of the bay window. When O'Brien saw Banks aiming the rifle at him, he stood up and pointed his revolver at Banks, who held his fire and jumped back behind the colonnade.
    O'Brien called for reinforcements and soon the house was surrounded. In the meantime, Banks had called the chief of the state police, Lee Brown, and told him that he would surrender only to him. About an hour later, Brown arrived and went directly into the house. A few minutes later, he and Banks came out.
    By this time a large and angry crowd had gathered outside the house. Banks, "grinning as he left," according to one Tribune reporter, was hurried into Brown's car and taken to the jail in Grants Pass. Whether the murder was to be the signal for the Congress "deputies" to go into action is uncertain. Groups of Congress supporters were in the neighborhood, but they stayed clear of the house. Several incidents of fights were reported, but the strong public reaction to the murder and the presence of numerous state police probably prevented the possible outbreak of widespread violence.
    The murder, and the discovery that membership in the Congress made members liable to charges of criminal syndicalism, created panic among the rank and file. They rushed by the hundreds to try to resign. The Mail Tribune aided them in this by telling them how they could resign and then made their resignations public by printing their names.
    Those already in jail or out on bail in connection with the ballot theft still felt relatively safe from prosecution. Then, on April 2, at the first of the arraignments, eight of those arrested, including Deputy Sheriff Davies, Vice President Conners and the Sexton brothers, shocked the others by pleading "guilty." It meant that they had all made full confessions.
    On April 12, Banks and his wife were taken back to Medford for arraignment on first degree murder charges. If he had expected the courtroom to be filled with his supporters, as they had been so many times before, he must have been sorely disappointed. There were less than a dozen people in the courtroom as he walked slowly toward the bench. His attorney asked for a change of venue, which was granted. His and his wife's trial were set to begin in Eugene on May 1.
    The trial began on schedule in Judge Skipworth's court. The state was represented by Assistant Attorney General William Levins and Special Deputy District Attorney Ralph Moody. Banks was represented by a team of five defense lawyers. It was destined to be a long and hard-fought trial.
    On the third day of the trial, the prosecution suffered a sad and disheartening setback when Levins suddenly died of a heart attack. Although relatively unprepared to carry on with the case, Moody took over and the trial continued the next day. After the prosecution had finished presenting its case, which included several witnesses who had heard Banks say he would shoot Prescott, or any other officer, Banks' attorneys revealed what their line of defense was to be.
    The plea was not "insanity," as was expected but self-defense. "The shooting," the jury was told, "was a defensive gesture of a cornered creature in defense of his home." The defense then went on to try to prove that a conspiracy to kill Banks did exist and that the fear that this created in Banks caused him to act in the manner he did.
    The trial lasted less than three weeks. On Friday, May 20, the jury retired to deliberate. Saturday passed and Sunday dawned and still there was no verdict. The prosecution was beginning to be quite worried. At two o'clock Sunday afternoon the jury reached its verdict. Mrs. Banks was acquitted as an accomplice. Banks was found guilty of first degree murder with a recommendation of life imprisonment. Banks,
suffering from a nervous breakdown, was sent to a Salem hospital while his lawyers appealed the case. As soon as the trial was over, the trials of the other 31 Congress members began. Those indicted on the lesser charges of riotous or disorderly conduct were given short or suspended sentences. The eight members who cooperated and turned state's evidence were given probation. The leaders, Brecheen, ex-Mayor Jones, ex-Sheriff Schermerhorn and ex-County Judge Fehl, all received four-year sentences. On Aug. 14, Banks was released from the hospital and joined his fellow conspirators in the Oregon State Penitentiary. So ended the Good Government Congress and the period of political turmoil in Jackson County. But the affair had given the county a bad reputation throughout the state which officials now had to try to restore. Much of the reaction from outside the county was patronizing and even somewhat light-hearted. Upstate press referred to the situation as "that foolishness in Jackson County," or the "mess in Medford."
    During the Banks trial there was a surprising amount of sympathy expressed for him. The Oregonian criticized Leonard Hall and his Jacksonville Miner for his unrelenting attacks on Banks and accused him of engaging in "personal journalism."
    To the outsider, and in retrospect, the whole thing did have the elements of a comic-opera: The paranoid leader, the manipulating judge, the bumbling sheriff, mass meetings, ballot-burning, people loitering in the halls of the courthouse, a crusading editor "horsewhipped" on the street by an irate female party member and the continuous repetition of the same charges and slogans over and over again.
    How serious was the situation? Serious enough to cause the death of one man and the incarceration of several others. And serious enough in that it gave many people in Jackson County the opportunity to experience firsthand the kind of political movements that were taking place at this time in other parts of the world. Banks' goal was to create a miniature fascist state: absolute control of the political and economic institutions, the use of intimidation against political opponents, and courting and manipulation of a mass base drawn largely from the poor and discontented. Many of Banks' tactics, as well as his goals, were the same as those Hitler was using at the same time in Germany.
    The movement began in the first place because there was (and always is) a need for genuine reform and for the people to constantly scrutinize their elected officials and hold them accountable for their actions. the movement was allowed to go beyond these limits because of indifference: the attitude that it doesn't matter who runs the county; politicians are all pretty much the same. Generally, this is true. But sometimes it isn't.
    At least one other group considered the situation serious enough to grant the county national recognition. On May 8, 1934, the Pulitzer Prize Committee made the following announcement:
    "In journalism, award for the most distinguished and meritorious public service rendered by an American newspaper in 1933 went to the Medford (Oregon) Mail Tribune for its campaign against unscrupulous politicians in Jackson County, Oregon."
    With the coming of the New Deal in late 1933, economic conditions in the county improved slightly. The nearly moribund fruit industry improved after 1933 when two orchardists, David and Harry Holmes, came up with the idea of shipping fruit in fancy gift boxes. The plan met with great success. In addition to pulling themselves out of the depression, their purchases of fruit kept other orchards afloat and their packing plant provided jobs for many who were unemployed. In 1936, the Mail Tribune, which had endorsed Hoover in 1932, now heartily endorsed the re-election of Roosevelt and urged the citizens of the county to cooperate with New Deal programs. In the election, Roosevelt again carried the county by a seven-to-five margin.
    Still, the depression dragged on. Population and unemployment in the county remained relatively static. The city of Ashland, which had remained aloof during the political crisis in Medford, continued to try to support itself as a tourist and health resort. In 1933, an elaborate and popular swimming complex called "Twin Plunges" (because it contained two pools, one heated and one not) was opened. In 1935, Angus Bowmer, an English professor from the college, produced the first outdoor Shakespearean plays in the shell of the old Chautauqua tabernacle in the park. The plays achieved greater and greater popularity in each of the succeeding years until the war caused the suspension of performances.
    During these depression years, baseball games and weekly boxing and wrestling matches in the Medford Armory provided entertainment for many. But the greatest source of entertainment was the movies. A half dozen theaters were operating in the Medford-Ashland area to accommodate the great number of films Hollywood was producing at this time in response to the desire of the American public to have some inexpensive means of taking their minds off the troubles of the depression. Large theaters, such as the Holly and the Craterian in Medford, changed features often and with admission prices ranging between five and 10 cents, most anyone in the county could take advantage of this national diversion.
    In Jacksonville, which had been in economic decline since the late nineteenth century, the depression only made a bad situation worse. Many of the residents responded by turning to the past and to their own backyards and began once again to mine for gold. "Backyard mining" became a part of Jacksonville life during the 1930s. No one got rich, but a number of families did make a reasonable living from it and stayed off relief. In addition, almost all of the abandoned mining cabins which were spread out in the Applegate region became inhabited by families from the cities in search of cheaper places to live.
    The revival of mining gave the civic leaders of Jacksonville yet another idea for making money. In 1932, the town produced the first "Gold Rush Jubilee," a one-day celebration with pageants, parades, entertainment and all-night dancing. It was a great financial success and the following year an even grander Jubilee, depicting the town's historic past, drew crowds up to 15,000 strong. After this, there were no more Jubilees until after the war.
    In 1934, the character of the town's population began to change. The county court discovered that Jacksonville was the cheapest place to house families on relief. This was partly because of the number of unoccupied and poorly maintained houses, some of which dated from pioneer days. The court began a program of moving indigent families into the town, thereby reversing the trend of declining population which had been going on for 50 years.
    Since many of the local landlords tended to think exclusively in terms of making maximum profits from these rentals, they did little or no maintenance on the buildings. In a sense, their prosperity depended upon keeping the town depressed. Instead of becoming a ghost town, Jacksonville was turning into a rural slum.
    The depression and economic decline of Jacksonville, the county and the entire nation was finally reversed with the outbreak of World War II. Many Jackson County men and women joined the service, while those who stayed home found jobs in the geared-up wartime economy. The county received a great economic boost when the Army built a huge training base called Camp White at the site where the Veterans Domiciliary is now located in White City. [The buildings of today's Domiciliary served as the hospital for the cantonment.]
    One historical note about the war is perhaps worth mentioning. In late 1944, the Japanese tried to retaliate for the U.S. bombings of Japan by launching hundreds of incendiary bombs attached to balloons from submarines off the Northwest coast. [The balloons were launched from a beach on the Japanese coast.] Their intention was to start massive forest fires throughout the Northwest. On a night in early January 1945, a family living on South Peach Street in West Medford was awakened by the sound of an explosion in a field near their home. Later, fragments of a Japanese-made bomb were found in the field, which may give Medford the distinction of being the only U.S. city to be bombed by the Japanese during the war.
    In the immediate postwar years Jackson County went through another economic boom. Agriculture and the fruit industry improved markedly. The population of the county increased drastically. In many cases, the newcomers were people who had been stationed at Camp White during the war and had decided to return to the Rogue Valley. The influx of people resulted in a large number of real estate sales, subdivisions and the construction of new housing.
    Both the local and national need for building materials turned the lumber industry into the largest and most profitable industry in the county. As early as 1946 there were 75 sawmills in operation, which was the beginning of what is today one of the three most important economic bases of the county.
    The other two bases are the fruit industry (especially pears) and tourism. As early as the turn of the century, Ashland saw the economic potential in tourism. Taking advantage of their natural setting and the mineral springs in the area, attempts were made to create a famous health spa and recreation area. Although the idea never took hold on a grand scale, it did generate income and protect the non-industrial character of the town.
    After the war, the Shakespearean Festival was revived by popular demand. Its success was immediate. Each year brought a longer season and greater numbers of patrons. It was forced to expand its facilities, and in 1969 built an indoor theater and later added a third. The reputation and success of the Festival continues to this day, providing one of the major cultural events in the county, and bringing millions of dollars into the county each year.
    After the war, Jacksonville leaders, seeing the success of the Festival in Ashland, again turned to their past for profit. In 1948, the Gold Rush Jubilee was revived and was held each year for the next four years, the one in 1951 drawing as many as 12,000 people into the old town. After 1952 interest in the Jubilee waned again. The old U.S. Hotel was condemned by the fire marshal and fell victim to the rocks and carvings of vandals.
    But in the 1950s and early 60s there were people who began to see the historical significance of the town not in terms of a yearly pageant, but in the very stone and wood of the buildings. They proposed that the town be restored and preserved. Those who saw that the future of the town lay in its preservation began working for this as early as 1946, when a group proposed that the county buy the old courthouse to house a museum. [The county already owned the courthouse.]
    Since it was illegal for a county to levy a tax for a historical society, a lobby was sent to Salem to change the law. The voters then passed the tax levy by an overwhelming margin. Jackson County was the first to do this, and during the next 10 years, 22 other Oregon counties followed suit.
    But as the idea of preservation grew it was met with bitter resistance by the local people. Residents did not want to become "museum pieces." They particularly resented the intrusion of "outsiders" meddling in their lives, telling them what to do with their houses. Businessmen felt that the prosperity of the town lay in the construction of new buildings, a shopping center and the bonanza which would come when the new four-lane highway the Oregon Highway Department had proposed was finally built through town.
    In the early 1960s, before environmental and historical preservation was recognized as a high priority, Eric Allen of the Mail Tribune urged the people of Jacksonville to protest the proposed highway. The protest succeeded and the Highway Department withdrew its plans. People were slowly coming to develop a sense of awareness and pride in the historic character of their town.
    The town was historic, but also terribly run-down. "Poverty is often the friend of preservation." It was not until 1962 that Jacksonville voted the money to install a sewer system. Without a sewer system business had no interest in investing in the town, so Jacksonville escaped the postwar building boom when the cry was to "tear down and build." The hundred-year-old buildings were left as they were.
    The museum formally opened in 1950, and under the curatorship of Miss Mary Hanley expanded during the next few years. Historic homes and buildings were gradually acquired by the Historical Society. [The Southern Oregon Historical Society only acquired one home--the Beekman House.] But it was still a struggle to get long-time residents to see the "profit" in restoration and the value of tourist trade. Before the restoring of the U.S. Hotel one candidate for mayor proposed the structure be torn down and the used bricks be sold to finance city government.
    The efforts to restore the town to its original state were deemed important enough to have the federal government designate Jacksonville, the first city in the county, a National Historical Landmark.
    In 1963, Jacksonville added another cultural feature when John Trudeau, professor of music at Portland, proposed that an annual music festival be held in the town. From the first performance given on the hillside adjoining the original garden of Peter Britt, the Britt Music Festival has grown to be, along with the Shakespearean Festival, a major summer attraction, drawing thousands of people into the county each year.
•    •    •
    This series of articles was never intended to present a definitive or even complete history of Jackson County. Because of the limitations of time and space, as well as my own personal bias or prejudice, some historical aspects have been emphasized, while others, possibly as important, have been given less attention or even left out.
    It is hoped that the primary effect of this project will be to create interest in the history of the place in which we live; that it will inspire you to "read up" and look into historical events or people mentioned or alluded to, or into things that you've perhaps been wondering about on and off for years.
    The most ambitious, and perhaps least successful, part of this project was an attempt to trace the history of the Rogue Valley from its beginning to the present.
    If I had to select the single most important historical trend or theme which has emerged from these articles, it would be the special relationship of the inhabitants of this valley to the land. In this sense, the community of people who lived here has always been, and still is, "rural" in both its attitudes and behavior. Time and time again as the pressures of population increased, those living here turned to the natural resources surrounding them for sustenance.
    For at least 500 years the Indians who first inhabited the Rogue Valley maintained a balanced, even reverent, relationship with the land. They took from it only what they needed, and in the end, defended their right to live here with their lives.
    For the first white men it was beaver, and then gold. Over the years, it was the soil, the forests, the rivers and streams, and the natural scenic environment that sustained life in the valley.
    Most of Jackson County is a valley, and for the first three decades of white inhabitation it was a relatively isolated valley. Because of this the residents of the county developed a strong sense of self-sufficiency. Their attitude was essentially conservative--in the sense of "conserving" and using what they had around them. They were not seriously challenged by new ideas or by social upheavals, which were common in other parts of the country. The population was ethnically and culturally homogeneous. Ethnic and religious minorities were for the most part discouraged from settling here.
    Even the advent of the railroad did not significantly alter the character of the county. Although they did produce the growth of towns and some of the social problems associated with urban living, these towns were still basically dependent on what the land provided: fruit, produce, grain, minerals and timber.
    Expansion of the population, largely through migration, has always been an important part of the county's history, and continues to be today. It may be that we have already reached the point where the balance between population on the one hand, and the available amount of land and resources on the other, is in danger.
    The problem of this balance becomes harder and harder to solve. The natural resources, so important to the county in the past, are not unlimited. The quality of life will decline unless efforts are made to maintain our historical relationship with the land, which is in danger. Endangered by careless and unplanned overdevelopment, by wasteful lumbering and agricultural practices, by indifference to the necessity of conserving and discovering new sources of energy, and by air pollution.
    It is possible that the history of the next 10 to 50 years of Jackson County may well be the record of the success or failure of the people who live here to make the necessary readjustment in the relationship between us and our environment.

•    •    •
    Author's note: I want to express my gratitude to Richard Engeman and his staff at the Jacksonville Museum Library. His valuable assistance in helping locate research materials as well as in providing many of the photographs used in the series has done much to make this project possible. I would also like to thank the staffs of the Medford and Ashland public libraries for all their kind assistance.
The Morning News, Central Point, June 16, 1979

Last revised January 2, 2024