The Jacksonville Cannon
A communication was presented from Gov. Whiteaker proposing to furnish the county with one bronze cannon with harness & fixtures complete, &c. on condition that the board of county commissioners will send for it at the expense of the county and be receipted for by them.
The Jacksonville cannon home again on Oregon Street, July 4, 1907
It is ordered by the board that said proposition be accepted and that the governor be informed of the fact, that said cannon will be sent for so soon as the condition of the roads will permit.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, December Session 1860, page 197
The quota of United States arms for Oregon, being four six-pound brass field pieces, arrived here last week. The governor distributes them at Salem, Corvallis, Eugene and Jacksonville.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, March 18, 1861, page 2
Presumed to be the Salem six-pounder on the Capitol grounds, 1920s.
Four brass pieces have arrived at Portland, sent by the government for the use of Oregon. Governor Whiteaker has ordered them to be disposed as follows: One at Jacksonville, one at Eugene City, one at Corvallis, and the last at Salem. From the Union we learn the one intended for Corvallis has been received there. Send along the Jacksonville gun.
"From the North," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 30, 1861, page 2
Ordered that H. Amy and A. H. Stone be allowed the sum of forty-two dollars & fifty cents, advanced payment upon a contract for hauling a cannon from Salem to Jacksonville as per written contract on file.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, April 2, 1861, page 227
THE BIG GUN.--The brass piece apportioned to Jacksonville by Uncle Sam arrived this week. It is a fine piece of ordnance. We are not aware what very serious offense it committed on the way out--as it was doubtless a gun of good report before the trip--but we do know that it has been placed under care of Mr. Yamhill, the jailer, in the prison yard. Perhaps it tried to "go off," whilst in charge of the persons who brought it. It has certainly not been addicted to "busts."
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, May 18, 1861, page 3
At sunrise, a salute of thirty-four guns.
At 10 a.m., a gun will be fired, at which time the procession will move. . . .
Sunset salute of thirty-four guns.
"Order of Procession," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 29, 1861
Ordered that Bigham Langell be allowed the sum of twelve dollars for hinges, bolts, &c. for gun house . . . $12.00.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July Session 1861
Ordered that Burpee & Linn be allowed the sum of thirty-seven dollars and eight-five cents for lumber &c for gun house . . . $37.85.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July 1, 1861, page 1
Ordered that A. H. Stone and Haskel Amy be allowed an additional compensation of Ninety dollars for Hauling Cannon & fixtures from Salem.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July 3, 1861
SALUTE.--The troops stationed at "Camp Baker" fired a salute on the 8th inst., in commemoration of the battle of New Orleans. They used the cannon recently received from the state by the county authorities.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 11, 1862, page 3
At sunrise a salute of thirty-four guns.
At 10 a.m., a gun will be fired, at which time the procession will move. . . .
At sunset--thirty-four guns.
"Order of Procession," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 28, 1862, page 2
Pleasant and warm. This morning we received the joyous news of the victory of our troops at Manassas, and in honor of the victory we fired thirteen guns. Before we fired the requisite number, two of the men were badly hurt by the premature discharge of the cannon. Lindley and Loller were the men. Lindley will not get well; his arm is badly shattered, and his face and body is badly burned, an awful sight. It has spread a deep gloom through the camp.
Camp Baker diary of David Hobart Taylor, March 20, 1862, Southern Oregon Historical Society.
ACCIDENT AT CAMP BAKER.--In practicing with the cannon at Camp Baker on the 20th instant, a very serious accident occurred. A cartridge exploded in the act of loading the gun, injuring two men belonging to Company A; John Linnly seriously if not mortally, and ------ Lawler slightly.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 22, 1862, page 3
RECOVERING.--The two persons who were injured at Camp Baker, on the 20th inst., by the premature explosion of a cartridge, are fast recovering. Their injuries are not as great as at first supposed. One of them will soon be able to discharge his duties again. The sight of the other is not permanently affected, and amputation of the arm will not be necessary. We are obliged to Captain Harris for the above information.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 29, 1862, page 3
The Jacksonville Union Club went, on Thursday last, and celebrated the capture of Richmond with the booming of cannon, and speeches by O. Jacobs, B. F. Dowell, U. S. Hayden, N. Langell, Rev. J .W. Miller, L. S. Thompson, and Judge J. C. Tolman. The club then adjourned until the taking of Raleigh or until peace is made.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 8, 1865, page 3
JACKSONVILLE (O.), April 27th.In accordance with the proclamation of the Governor of Oregon setting apart today (April 27th) for the obsequies of the late President, the stores and all places of business were closed, flags displayed at half mast and city draped in mourning. Guns were fixed every half hour throughout the day and bells tolled during the marching of the procession, which formed at the courthouse at one p.m., and marched through the principal streets in the city, headed by a brass band, to the Methodist Episcopal Church, where a funeral sermon was delivered by Rev. Mr. Miller and an oration by O. Jacobs. At ten a.m. expiatory mass was said at St. Joseph Church and a discourse delivered by Father Blanchet.Sacramento Daily Union, April 28, 1865, page 3
Petition for the Use of Cannon for 4th July 1865
Filed July 3 1865 Wm. Hoffman, Clerk.
To the Honorable Board of County Commissioners of Jackson Co. Oregon
We the undersigned citizens of Said County desire the loan of the Cannon to fire a salute on the Fourth of July 1865
July 3d 1865
A. H. Miller
Thos. G. Devens
John S. Love
John B. Wrisley
J. M. Sutton
and other illegible signatures
The petition of A. H. Miller, Thos. G. Devens and others was presented requesting the use of the cannon to fire a salute on the 4th of July, ensuing, whereupon it is ordered by the board that the said petition be granted.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July 3, 1865, page 399
Ordered that W. A. Owen be allowed the sum of three hundred and eighteen dollars as follows. . . .
Misc. cleaning cannon . . . 25.00
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, September Session 1865, page 403
Cannon firing at sunrise, noon & night.
"Celebration of the 4th in Jacksonville," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 23, 1866
Ordered by the board that the German Singing Club of Jacksonville have the use of the cannon on the fourth day of July 1867 to be returned in good order.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, June 5, 1867, page 166
On arriving at the ground, a national salute by the ordnance.
"Fourth of July, 1867: Programme," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 29, 1867
The day dawned without a cloud visible, and as the golden tints of morn shot athwart the eastern sky, warning of daylight, the sleeping town was aroused by the deep-toned thunder of cannon, and at the same time the Stars and Stripes, the emblem of a great and prosperous nation, was run up to the top of the new flagstaff, to be kissed by the morning breeze, in its passage over the land of a free people.
"Fourth at Jacksonville," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 6, 1867
Ordered by the board that John Bilger be allowed the sum of $13.00 for cleaning and repairing cannon . . . $13.00
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, September 4, 1867, page 189
Salute of 37 guns and hoisting the national flag at sunrise.
Thirty-seven guns will be fired at sunset which will close the exercises of the day.
"Grand Celebration of the Ninety-Third Anniversary of American Independence," Oregon Sentinel, July 3, 1869
Ordered that Gatjen & Huber be allowed the sum of ten dollars for cleaning cannon
. . . $10.00
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July 6, 1869, page 394
Bill of George W. Mace for painting cannon for 4th of July by order of Judge Duncan amounting to $5.00 ordered paid.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July 6, 1870, page 529
THUNDERMUGGINSES.--A lot of Gov. Gibbs' old cheese knives have been lying in the gun house attached to the jail ever since the "Mountain Rangers" laid down their arms in 1865. Last week the indefatigable captain of the Thundermugginses, Ben. Sachs, dug up the aforesaid cheese knives and according to the prescription of the House Committee on Military Affairs of the last legislature, poured "coal oil on the scabbards to thaw them out" and proceeded to arm the entire band of Thundermugginses with the discarded weapons of the Rangers. The result was the deep silence of the midnight hour was startled by the clank of sabers and the tread of martial heels as the gallant Captain led his heroes on the warpath against Joe Wetterer. Joe had fortified his counter with divers glasses of lager en barbette and stood behind his entrenchment calmly awaiting the enemy. The Thundermugginses charged gallantly and seized the guns and discharged their contents--into their own stomachs. But valiant Joe replaced the lost guns with new ones as fast as they were taken, until the front of his entrenchment was covered with the bodies of the slain, and those who were left returned demoralized to sleep in their accoutrements.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 17, 1871, page 3
Hoisting the national flags and salute at sunrise. Salutes at noon and sunset.
"Fourth of July," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 1, 1871
It was ordered by the board that the bill of Howlett for cleaning cannon, guns and whitewashing jail amounting to fifteen dollars and 75 cents be allowed.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, August 8, 1871, page 39
National salute at sunrise.
"Fourth of July Celebration," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 29, 1872
It was ordered by the court that the bill of T. J. McKenzie, sheriff, for attendance on county court, washing for jail, cleaning the cannon and percentage on assessments be allowed, amount $14.28.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, July 8, 1874, page 548
On the morning of the Fourth proper, John Bilger, Peter Bouschey, J. H. Penn and Jos. Hyzer manned the cannon and gave the residents of this valley a grand salute of 37 guns. We have heard a number of persons remark that this was the loudest firing ever heard in these parts, and that the reports were distinctly heard beyond Foots Creek, a distance of over 25 miles. A national salute was to have been fired at sunset, but owing to the critical condition of one of our citizens it was thought best to forgo further ceremonies. The merchants generally supplied the powder used on the occasion.
"The Fourth," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 10, 1875, page 3
National salute at sunrise.
"Grand Centennial Celebration," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 28, 1876
About four o'clock Tuesday morning the denizens of Jacksonville were aroused by the firing of cannon and by half-past eight the roads were lined with vehicles of all kinds from every portion of the county on their way to Bybee's Grove, the scene of the celebration.
"The Fourth in Jacksonville," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 7, 1876, page 3
At sunrise on the morning of the one hundredth anniversary of our nation's birth, our citizens and the neighboring people were awakened from their slumbers by the firing of cannon placed on the heights just north of town, manned by a picked company under command of Capt. Geo. W. Frey. As the dull reverberations of the first discharge rolled away among the distant hilltops and still-darkened canyons, the first beams of the rising sun gilded the neighboring peaks with their sheen of amber and gold and soon the streets were thronged with a joyous and expectant crowd, all anxious to do honor to their yearly holiday.
"Our Centennial Celebrations," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 12, 1876
National salute at sunrise.
"Fourth of July Celebration," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 27, 1877
At sunrise a salute of 36 guns was fired by Peter Boschey and a number of assistants, which had the effect of making early risers out of everyone in town on that morning. The Jacksonville Brass Band were also on hand at that time and discoursed some excellent music.
"Our Natal Day," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 10, 1878
It is ordered by the court that Owen Conner be allowed his bill of $1.00 for labor done on gun house, July 31st, 1880.
Jackson County Commissioners' Journals, September 8, 1880, page 148
Firing of salute and raising the national salute at sunrise.
"Grand Celebration of the Fourth of July," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 30, 1882
The old cannon belonging to Jackson County was cleaned up and repaired this week by Cronemiller & Birdsey and figured in the Fourth of July procession.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 5, 1884, page 3
Sunrise was announced by a salute of giant powder, which awoke the echoes in the surrounding hills. About 9 o'clock the procession was formed. . . . The firemen with their jaunty uniforms and handsome engine followed, after which came the artillery wagon. . . .
"Independence Day," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 11, 1884
The morning will be ushered in by a grand salute to the sisterhood of states. . . .
"Fourth of July," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 3, 1885
At sunrise the grand salute awoke the echoes. . . . Next came . . . the brass field piece, drawn by two horses and manned by a squad of cannoneers. . . .
"The Fourth in Jacksonville," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 10, 1885
Hoisting of flag and firing national salute at sunrise. The procession will form at the depot grounds at 9:30 o'clock a.m. and, after marching through the principal streets of Medford, will proceed to the grove, where the following exercises will be observed: Salute of thirteen guns. . . .
"4th of July Celebration and Barbecue at Medford, Or.," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 29, 1888
The shock of the brass gun fired last Saturday night shattered a few windows and did some other damage, among other things knocking off the plastering of two rooms in Dr. Robinson's residence.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 22, 1888, page 3
Firing of salute of 13 guns at sunrise.
"Grand 4th of July Celebration," Democratic Times, June 27, 1889
Funds have been subscribed by the citizens of Jacksonville for the firing of a salute on the morning of the 4th of July.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 24, 1892, page 3
It took a six-horse team to bring the big cannon up from Jacksonville for the [soldiers' and sailors'] reunion.
"Brevity Basket," Valley Record, Ashland, September 15, 1892, page 3
The Bowery Brigade, manning the county's howitzer on horseback and marshaled by Brigadier General Fay, was next in line, after which came the float with 44 little girls representing the different states of the Union. . . .
"Our National Holiday," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 7, 1893, page 3
The old brass cannon which has been at Jacksonville "since the wah" belongs to the state of Oregon, and has been turned over to the militia. Orders have been received by the officers of the company here to ship the gun to Portland. If it isn't needed for protection against the Monterey, why not leave the little thing out here to fight sham battles and mosquitoes.
Ashland Tidings, August 11, 1893, page 3
The cannon, which has been in charge of the Jackson County authorities so long, was shipped to Salem this week, by order of the chief commander of the O.N.G.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 1, 1893, page 3 The gun was not shipped to Salem.
That little thunder shower of Monday night was a surprise to everybody. J. R. Erford claims 'twas the result of those several cannon shots fired Monday evening, and he is now figuring on how he can get in a royalty as a rain producer--wants to raise money to pay off Jacksonville's claim for having closeted the cannon so cleverly since '59.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, September 8, 1893, page 3
We Talent people were somewhat startled by loud reports of thunder down the valley last night and expected, of course, to see the dust turned into mud this morning, but we learned it was the Medford people giving expression to their joyfulness by firing a salute after learning that they might keep the cannon till after the reunion. We are all glad of this privilege.
"Talent Shavings," Medford Mail, September 15, 1893, page 1 supplement
The Soldiers Are Here.
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Reunion now being held in Medford is one grand success and much pleasure is being had. Yesterday morning there had [been] 134 soldiers registered, and Adjutant Erford expected at least twenty or thirty more would register during Thursday. Commander Stewart is carrying the honors of the day with becoming dignity, and as we are locking our forms for press we hear him shouting, "Adjutant, form your battalion," which is the final step for the third day's pleasures. The program is being carried out minutely, the cannon is being fired each morning at sunrise--and a few more times after the sun has "riz." Members of Company D, of Ashland, are here donned in their blue pairs of clothes; the cannon is crippled, but it keeps banging away like it did when the Modocs were its target; the band is furnishing splendid music and is the recipient of many compliments; the registered Sons of Veterans number twenty-three; the Relief Corps registration we did not get, but there are a great many of the good ladies present. The weather was damp Tuesday and Wednesday, but despite this there were between two and three thousand people in attendance Wednesday, and as yesterday morning opened clear and bright the number present was probably much larger. A full report of the Reunion will appear in the columns next week.
Medford Mail, September 22, 1893, page 3 The Jacksonville cannon did not participate in the Modoc Indian War.
Thursday was as fine a day as one wishes to see, and fully 3,000 visitors enjoyed the day's program. Opening was a cannon salute at sunrise--and while I think of it that cannon saluted several times and right hard, too; so hard in fact that it was a crippled until repaired.
"Soldiers' and Sailors' Reunion," Medford Mail, October 20, 1893, page 1
The old brass cannon that had been in charge of the citizens of Jacksonville so long and which was ordered shipped to Portland some time ago to brigade headquarters will be put in charge of Co. "D" at Ashland, an order to that effect having been received a few days ago. The cannon was last used at the G.A.R. reunion at Medford, and as soon as it is repaired from slight damaged sustained there it will be brought to Ashland and kept here.
"Inspected Co. 'D'," Ashland Tidings, November 10, 1893, page 3
The artillery squad from Ashland had taken position in camp, which is but a short distance from the depot, and "Old Abe" soon indicated to us the direction of the camp.
S. Sherman, "The G.A.R. Boys Have a Good Time," Medford Mail, February 21, 1894, page 2
The old state cannon, that has been kept at Jacksonville for many years past but was lately turned over to Co. "D" of Ashland, was brought up from Medford the other day and will be worked to its full capacity at the coming Fourth of July celebration in Ashland. An artillery corps has been raised to handle it and will be especially drilled for the occasion.
Ashland Tidings, June 25, 1894, page 2
The old cannon which did service in the Indian wars of this valley in the early days and which assisted in salute exercises last year, at the reunion, has been taken to Ashland to be used in opening the sunrise salute on July 4th.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, June 29, 1894, page 3 The Jacksonville cannon did not participate in the Rogue River Indian Wars.
Detachment field artillery--commander Frank Elliott.
"For the Fourth of July," Ashland Tidings, July 2, 1894, page 3
Next came the Ashland Band in their brilliant uniforms. Co. D., O.N.G., under command of Capt. J. L. May; followed [by] and immediately behind them was the big brass field piece hauled by a fine four-horse team and in charge of a G.A.R. detachment of artillery under command of Col. Frank Elliott.
"The Celebration," Semi-Weekly Tidings, Ashland, July 5, 1894, page 2
The volunteer artillery company, in charge of Capt. Frank Elliott, had located the big state field piece on top of the Roper Butte, and at sunrise the town was awakened by the thundering of thirteen guns which opened the day's celebration.
"A Big Day for Ashland," Ashland Tidings, July 6, 1896, page 3
Johnny came marching home yesterday, and if the welcome he got at Ashland is a fair sample of that given him at other places through the state, the honors shown the brave men of Oregon must in some measure at least repay them for the hardships and dangers of the campaigns they have gone through with in Luzon. . . . As the first train pulled in at 1:30 thousands set up a cheer, the locomotive whistles in the railroad yard joined in the chorus, while the Medford band, which was stationed on the veranda of the depot hotel above the great crowd, struck up a welcoming air, and the old state cannon, which has done service for lo these many years, belched forth its thunderous welcome.
"Home from the War," Ashland Tidings, August 10, 1899, page 3
The cannon, which does the honors at every important civil and military meeting held here, was this week shipped to Grants Pass, where it will be used at the reunion next week.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, September 14, 1899, page 3
After the preliminary events of the morning, the sunrise salute to the national flag and the band concert at the plaza, the procession was formed. . . . The procession filed through the streets in the following order: Bicycle escort, which consisted of about 50 riders on gaily decorated wheels, the marshal and his aides followed by the band, float of the K.O.T.M., cannon drawn by six horses. . . .
"The Glorious Fourth," Ashland Tidings, July 4, 1901
At Ashland the day was ushered in with a national salute from Co. B's heavy ordnance, the refrain of which was taken up by the ever-popular firecracker, and not for a minute was there an intermission until the hour of 11:59 o'clock p.m. had arrived to mark the close of the anniversary.
"The Glorious Fourth of July," Semi-Weekly Tidings, Ashland, July 6, 1903
Sunrise salute of 13 guns.
"Fourth of July Program," Ashland Tidings, June 30, 1904
People were awakened at dawn by the sunrise salute of thirteen guns. J. P. Easter was the man behind "Big Betsy," which was located on the heights above the Chautauqua grounds.
"Ashland's Big Celebration," Ashland Tidings, July 4, 1904
From a postcard postmarked 1909..
Joke Turns Out Seriously.
Jacksonville, Sept. 26.--There is great indignation among business men and property owners here, and the city council has been asked to take action to guard against possible repetition of a practical joke which occurred at an early hour Saturday morning, and resulted in demolition of all windows and doors of the U.S. Hotel, and the plate glass front of the Beekman Bank. The matter will be given attention by the council at its next session, and it is possible those instrumental in the work of destruction may be punished.
While darkness still covered that portion of the earth which encompasses Jacksonville, and while Saturday was still young, its residents were rudely awakened from their slumbers--not by the clang of the proverbial fire bell, but by the roar of heavy artillery. There was immediate response to the alarm, and hundreds rushed to see what had caused the terrific explosion. In the very center of the city they found a cannon, from muzzle and touch-hole of which veins of smoke still emanated. Round about it on every hand, there was broken doors, strained walls and shattered glass. But those who were responsible were not to be found.
It developed that a party of young men had secured possession of a cannon, which had lately been used by the Grand Army of the Republic at a celebration. This they dragged to the heart of the city, loaded to the muzzle, and then fired. The damage resulting will amount to considerable.
Unidentified 1904 clipping, SOHS vertical files
. . . along about midnight--and all was quite--Bum Neuber and Marshal Bill Kenney loaded that old brass Civil War cannon with 6 woolen men's socks filled with gunpowder, pointed it down Main Street--lit the fuse . . . BOOM-m-m-m-m! It took old Otto Biede (local glazier and tinsmith) 3 weeks to replace all the shattered windows in downtown Jacksonville . . . with Bum Neuber gladly footing the bill. He said it was real jolly fun.
Pinto Colvig, Clowns Is People, unpublished manuscript, SOHS, page 113
The slumbers of the denizens of Jacksonville were awakened early Saturday morning--near the hour of 2 o'clock--by the booming of a cannon and the violent trembling of the earth, and had it not been remembered by the people that the G.A.R. were encamped within the city limits, every man capable of bearing arms for the defense of his country would have donned his martial suit, grabbed his 30-30 and sallied forth in defense of his home and his loved ones. But it was not necessary. The drowsy resident of the county seat gathered his slumbering recollections together, turned over in his bed, and "slept the sleep" that knew no wakening until the regular hour for arising had arrived. He divined that the members of the G.A.R. were merely indulging in a little side celebration of their last night in Jacksonville, and he slept on. But when at last daylight had appeared, and he had bestirred himself upon the streets, he heard on every corner confusion of tongues which would have done credit to a modern Babel, and a blending of French, Irish and American was distinctly recognizable in the confusion. But it was not due to the G.A.R. In keeping with their regular habits they too had slept soundly. But their field piece had disappeared under cover of the night, and when discovered it was found sitting "bolt upright" in the shattered presence of the United States Hotel. And the bombardment had been effective. Not a pane of glass was left in the hotel, and shattered doors, broken window frames, cracked plaster and jarred walls met the eyes of the proprietors and beholders of the buildings in the vicinity of the "bombardment." How did the cannon get there? The rollicking sports of the town, under the chaperoning of the town marshal, that the job might be done with "decency and order," had taken possession of the cannon, had loaded it with six or eight pounds of powder and awakened the silence of the night with the explosion. That's all. The concussion was light compared with that experienced at Port Arthur, but it was enough, and the damages to property will not exceed three or four hundred dollars. Fortunately no one was injured.
Ashland Tidings, September 26, 1904, page 3
Peter Bushey, a Civil War veteran, lived just north of the fire hall on North Third. The old soldiers and sailors had a reunion and encampment in the Chris Ulrich park, and Bushey with other vets decided to bring our old brass cannon into use in the old town. Powder was wanted, so Tom Johnson, clerk at the Tom Kenney hardware and grocery store, was contacted at his sleeping quarters in the city brewery of Veit Schutz, and all the Kentucky rifle powder in 1½-pound cans was brought. Richard Donegan, clerk at Jerry Nunan's, brought workman's socks, then the powder was put in the old brass field piece. The wet socks were rammed down until the rod jumped out the muzzle and it was pointed, first, at the curb in front of the Banquet Saloon where many men were drinking. It would have been a means of quite a loss of life, but the vets were persuaded to move it to the intersection of California and Third streets over a fire cistern. A rod was heated to ignite the loose powder at the rear end of the cannon, and what a jump that old field piece did make. The roar it did cause. The concussion was so great down Third Street that nearly every windowpane in the U.S. Hotel was shattered, and even some of the window frames were splintered. Bum Neuber, owner of the Banquet Saloon, footed the bills to replace the glass and frames in the hotel; he also paid for those broken in Beek's bank.
“Memoirs of Chris Kenney,” The Table Rock Sentinel, Southern Oregon Historical Society, June 1985, page 13
The Medford Band of 16 pieces will be present during the entire encampment [of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Woman's Relief Corps, Ladies of the Grand Army and the Southern Oregon Soldiers' and Sailors' Association at Grants Pass], and the famous fife and drum corps of Ashland, made up of old Army musicians, will give a martial air to the camp. A brass field piece that saw service in the Civil War and also in the Modoc War will be mounted on the grounds and do duty in firing the sunrise gun and salutes.
"Camp on the Rogue," Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 15, 1906, page 6 The Jacksonville cannon never saw military service. It did not leave the Rogue Valley from 1860 through 1943.
Monday and Tuesday the Rogue River Soldiers and Sailors Association held their annual reunion [in Grants Pass]. This association is largely sociable in its object, so the two days were spent by the old soldiers and their wives in enjoying the renewing of acquaintances and by the veterans in stories of wartime days. The brass cannon belonging to the Rogue River Association had been brought down from Ashland and placed in position on the grounds, and each morning a sunrise salute was fired by the artillery detail.
This old cannon was ordered by the government to be sent to General Lane's command in the Rogue River Indian War of 1856 and was shipped on a schooner from San Francisco to Scottsburg at the mouth of the Umpqua, which was the port from which all freight was hauled to Southern Oregon. [Joseph Lane did not take part in the 1855-56 war; the gun fired at the reunion was not the 1856 gun.] Peter Boesky, a teamster of Jacksonville, hauled it to Fort Lane, near where Tolo now is, taking two weeks with four horses to drag the heavy cannon and caisson over the new and scarcely passable road. The Indian war being over with and on Fort Lane being abandoned, the cannon was taken to Jacksonville, where it did duty for years at celebrations and other events. With the breaking out of the Modoc Indian War the cannon was taken to the Klamath County [again, the Modoc War cannon was not the Jacksonville gun], and at the close of the war it was brought to Ashland and ordered taken with other government property to Fort Vancouver, but the Jacksonville boys stole it and kept it hid for two years when an order was secured authorizing the War Department to turn over the gun to the state of Oregon. [None of that is true.] The gun was brought from its hidings, and on the organization of the Rogue River Soldiers and Sailors Association it was placed in their keeping. The veterans desire that mention be made of the generosity of James Trimble, one of the Grants Pass blacksmiths who made extensive repairs to the gun carriage on damage that some drunken men at Jacksonville did to the cannon while using it to shoot up their town after the encampment in that place two years ago. The repairs cost $10, and Mr. Trimble made a donation of it to the old soldiers.
"Old Veterans Hold Their 25th Annual State Encampment," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, June 22, 1906, page 1
In the matter of the request of certain members of the G.A.R. in regard to the housing of the field saluting piece kept here in custody of the Grand Army Post, the city recorder, to whom the council had referred the matter, reported, recommending that the council paint up the piece, if agreeable to the Post, but that it was not customary or feasible to house such ordnance, but to park and paint it. The council adopted the report.
"Council Has Much Work in Hand," Ashland Tidings, May 27, 1907, page 3
The big cannon, owned by the Grand Army Post, will be drawn over [to Jacksonville] by a four-horse team.
"Hurrah for the Fourth of July," Ashland Tidings, July 1, 1907, page 2
I slept on a cot on our front porch that night [probably 1907], as I wanted to be sure to wake up in time to hear the boom of the cannon which traditionally welcomed the Fourth at sunrise. I don't know whether the cannon was fired at Medford or at Jacksonville, but at any rate it was clearly heard at our place [three miles from Jacksonville]. Needless to say, there was no sleeping on my part once I heard the noise of the cannon. I was up and eager to get going. I surely didn't want to miss the parade!
Genevieve Nicholsen Reukema, "Fourth of July, 1908," Medford Mail Tribune, July 4, 1976, page C1
Firing of sunrise salute from Roper Butte.
"All Ready for the Fourth," Ashland Tidings, July 2, 1908, page 1
FIXING OLD CANNON.
Ancient Artillery Mounting Being Repaired.
The cannon, belonging to Burnside Post, G.A.R., which became disabled while firing salutes last Fourth of July and was left on Chautauqua Butte, has been brought down and the mountings are being repaired at Wilson's blacksmith shop.
Ashland Tidings, May 8, 1913, page 1
The gun behind Ashland's Old Pioneer Hall, above the Plaza, circa 1910.
Detail from above photo.
G.A.R. Move to New Armory
Burnside Post, No. 23, G.A.R., has moved to the rooms assigned to it in the new armory building. The cannon and caisson have been placed at the corners of the building, adding to its military appearance. The W.R.C. will also have quarters with the G.A.R.
Ashland Tidings, January 8, 1914, page 1
Approaching the the massive fort-like structure from upper Oak Street, the visitor is confronted with a cross-looking cannon, which is pointed in the general direction of Japan.
"Private Secretary Filled Armory Friday Evening," Ashland Tidings, January 12, 1914, page 1
Displayed at the Ashland Armory, circa 1915.
Repainted a lighter color and still at the Armory, circa 1925.
Camp White to Aid in Scrap Metal Campaign
Participation of the Camp White personnel in the nationwide drive to salvage display and relic cannons and other war material in public places was assured today by an announcement from the Headquarters of the Commanding Officer, Camp White, Oregon.
Although army personnel will begin immediate cooperation with civilian authorities in the "scrap to beat the Jap" campaign, the salvage drive will go into high gear now and continue after the Camp White dedication ceremony, Sept. 15, 1942.
In the near future complete plans for collection of the materials by the army personnel and their participation in any ceremonies which may be conducted by counties or municipalities will be announced.
It was also revealed that arrangements were complete for the army to take possession of all cannons, cannon balls, iron rails and fences and similar items which counties or municipalities were willing to donate. It was pointed out, however, that items of definite historical value were not to be taken.
For such material as is donated, an appropriate certificate attesting to the gift and to the data inscribed on the various pieces will be furnished by the Ninth Service Command Headquarters. The relics will be combined with good American steel and returned as bombs and high explosive shells to the same enemy from whom we took them. Newer models of the trophies will be available upon the conclusion of the war, it was also announced.
Ashland Tidings, August 25, 1942, page 2
Oldtimer Tells of Day GAR Reunion Shook Jacksonville
By KATHERINE HARRELL
Mail Tribune Correspondent
JACKSONVILLE--There were many stories to tell when men and women who had lived in the Jacksonville area for more than 50 years gathered for the Old Timer's Reunion held in connection with the U.S. National Bank's opening day festivities here.
John Schumpf, born in Jacksonville in 1877, was one of the oldest to attend the affair that was hosted by Wesley Hartman and held in the former Dowell law offices, on Third Street.
G.A.R. ReunionSchumpf's favorite story follows:
"The Grand Army of the Republic reunion of November, 1906 [sic], was a sort of blast for all concerned when the veterans got together and decided to celebrate the event by shooting a cannon down the main street of Jacksonville.
"The artillery piece was pulled by California Street by a team of horses--I was the driver--and brought to a standstill at the corner of Third Street.
"Common cotton socks, donated for the glorious cause, were stuffed with powder and rammed into the cannon.
"At high noon the muzzle was pointed east and the blast was ignited. [Even though this is a first-person story, every other account--including the contemporary ones--say the cannon was fired late at night.] Two shots were fired, and a third was on the way when the Civil War veterans were halted.
"Every window in Jacksonville, from Third and California streets to Fifth Street, had been broken by the concussion. The brick walls of the U.S. Hotel were damaged.
"It cost $700 just to replace the broken windows."
Traces AncestrySchumpf said his father owned the first barber shop in Jacksonville, and his uncle, Sebastian Schumpf, using a foot treadle lathe, made all of the woodwork and the pillars for the courthouse.
Schumpf said he saw the railroad come to Jacksonville, and at that time Jacksonville was the biggest community in this area. It also had the biggest Chinatown north of San Francisco.
Approximately 50 persons attended the reunion.
Fred Corbin led a group that played old-time music while guests danced.
Stories and reminiscing were tape recorded. Refreshments were served.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 25, 1965, page 10 Where are those recordings now?
In response to my letter to the editor printed in the Medford Mail Tribune, Gene Litwiler called. He remembered coming home from school one day early in World War II to find his father, Clarence Litwiler, with his foot bandaged and elevated. He recalls the Ashland Active Club had been loading the cannon for a scrap drive when it got loose and squashed his father's toe.
The cannon seems to have escaped the melting pot, however. Along with the guns from the Oregon Capitol grounds, it was diverted without authority from the scrap stream and stored at the Forestry Building in Portland. In 1964 an "Old Napoleons Committee" was formed (though the cannon were not Napoleons, but 1841 model six-pounders) to work with the Oregon Historical Society to see to their restoration and preservation.
The Jacksonville cannon is now at the Oregon Military Museum at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.
Last revised September 20, 2022