The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford Pioneers: Fred Heath


Property on Which Pugilist Fell Down Brings Higher Price.
    MEDFORD, Or., Dec. 13.--(Special.)--The F. L. Heath ranch of 136 acres near Eagle Point, for the purchase of which Ad Wolgast paid $1000 and then stopped payment on his checks for further amounts, was sold to W. V. Barnett, of Los Angeles, today for $18,000.
    Mose Barkdull and "Shorty" Miles, who made both deals, declare this sale will not interfere with their action against Wolgast for the recovery of money expended on the ranch, nor will F. L. Heath withdraw his claim for injury to the property due to the neglect of Wolgast's manager. Prosecuting Attorney Kelly has these cases in hand and declares Wolgast has started to refund to some of the local people who were out of pocket due to his manipulations.
    The price paid by Mr. Barnett is $1000 more than Wolgast's price.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, December 14, 1913, page 10

    H. Hoogerhyde has been employed as an assistant in F. L. Heath's general merchandise store during the time that Mr. Heath was engaged in taking an invoice of [the] stock of drugs he bought in Medford, and he and his son Fred W. have opened what is to be called the Heath Drug Store in Medford under the management of F. W. Heath.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, January 25, 1916, page 5

    Fred L. Heath, who recently purchased the Diamond Pharmacy, reopened the store again Tuesday and it will be known as Heath's drug store. Mr. Heath has had thirty years' experience in the drug business, came to Eagle Point from Michigan five years ago and has been running a store there ever since.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 1, 1916, page 3

    After an active business career of fifty years' duration, Fred L. Heath, prominent Medford druggist, has announced his retirement. For over twenty years, Mr. Heath has been actively engaged in business in this city, and 12 years ago established Heath's Drug Store, one of Medford's well-known concerns. The management of that firm will now be entirely in the hands of Fred Heath, junior and Larry Mann, who have been members of Heath's Drug Store for the past few years. Larry Mann, former manager of Larry Mann's Drug Store in this city, and more recently connected with McNair's Drug Store, is now back with the Heath organization.
    Fred L. Heath, who retires this week from active business, will be greatly missed by his many business associates. He intends, however, to remain in Medford and enjoy a rest after an unusually active business life, at his home on East Main Street. Mr. Heath has been prominent in civic and business circles in this city for the past twenty years, being affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, Retail Merchants Association and various civic and fraternal organizations.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 29, 1928, page 8

    Occupying the smallest space of any "large-sized" fountain town, the oak-topped counter and gleaming accessories now being installed around a square in Heath's Drug Store on Main Street will be open to business the first of the week.
    The new lunch place will seat 14 patrons at one time--comfortably, too, as the seats are leather cushioned and utterly inviting. A menu of cold, refreshing lunches will be served, with sandwiches and salads a specialty. Cool fountain drinks of all kinds will be prepared, as well as coffee and tea.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1929, page 6

    "This is the coolest place in town and we'll match thermometers with any of them," Fred Heath said today while greeting friends at the new fountain recently installed at Heath's Drug Store. Although their customers have been served with the choicest fountain specialties for several days, the official opening took place today.
    The new Weber fountain is one of the most compact in the city, is strictly up to the minute in every way, occupies the center of the drug store and has fourteen counter stools. Many compliments have been paid the proprietors on its neatness.
    Equipment of the fountain consists of two milkshake machines, six ice cream compartments, eight sundae topping jars and eight syrup pumps worked by compressed air.
    Lorenzo Goss and Mrs. Blanche Wheeler will have charge of the fountain service. Lunches, featuring sandwiches and hot dishes, are also served at the fountain.
    A Kelvinator refrigeration system was installed by the Southern Oregon Electric, and the plumbing was done by William Hammett, well-known local plumber. Products of Snider's Dairy & Produce Company will be served exclusively.
    Fred L. Heath established the drug store fifteen years ago and with service as his hobby and standard products as his motto the business has steadily increased. Mr. Heath, Sir., retired from active business about a year ago and the business is now conducted by Fred Heath, Jr., and Larry Mann. They are known as Larry and Fred, and are two of Medford's live-wire young business men.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 29, 1929, page 3

    Surprising news to the many friends of that well-known business concern and its personnel and owners is that Lawrence C. Mann and Frederick R. Heath announce that Mr. Mann has sold out his interest in the Heath drug store to the latter and soon will no longer be connected with it. Of course, Larry will remain until Fred, who will continue the business and manage it, gets his store organization, which will be somewhat disturbed because of the partnership dissolution, reestablished on a solid basis.
    Mr. Mann (and it should be herewith stated that the writer in using that prefix means no insult whatever) has been connected with the house of Heath, both matrimonially and in a business way for many years, having been connected with the drug store, founded here by Frederick L. Heath, Sr., for the past 11 years, first as clerk and then since about two years ago as part proprietor when Mr. Heath, Sr., retired from active business. During the time he accumulated a host of friends, which augmented by the many friends of Fred R. Heath and those of his father resulted in the brothers-in-law doing a very prosperous and expanding business.
    Mr. Mann and Fred R. Heath give out that the former's sole reason for retiring from the firm is that he finds the business too confining. At present he has no definite plans for the future--does not know whether he will remain in the city or go elsewhere, but hopes he may stay--beyond making a good rest, and with his family visiting relatives and friends in Portland, his former home.
    To his close friends it is not surprising that Larry finds the drug store business too confining, as he has always been known to them as a lover of the great outdoors, fresh air and lots of it, and besides as a sportsman. In his youth he was the champion marble player of his ward in Portland, and in later years was known as one of the city's nearly good checkers players.
    No sport was too strenuous for Larry, and that is why he served in the naval aviation service during the World War, in which service he drank in a lot of fresh air and other stuff. No wonder then that with flat feet and an ever-present longing to know what was going on outdoors, the pleasure of daily and nightly marathons behind the counters palled on him.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 4, 1930, page 1

Fred Heath, Veteran Druggist,
Admits He Can Grow Dandelions
Senior Member of Drug Firm Came to the Valley in 1909;
Is a Democrat and Likes To Play Contract

    "I'm an enthusiastic contract player, I am fond of the outdoors, and I'm fond of working on my lawn and in my garden. For the past five years I have centered my attention on the lawn around our house, and I can safely say that I can make two dandelions grow where only one grew before."
    And that is about all that Fred Heath, Sr., veteran Medford businessman, would say about his hobbies. He did, though, say that he was a Democrat, and had always been a Democrat.
Voted for Cleveland
    "I cast my first vote for Cleveland," he said, "and my father was a Republican. I had only been gone from home a short while, and wrote home, with apprehension, to tell him I was going to vote the Democratic ticket. I felt better, however, when he wrote back and said he was too."
    Fred Heath, Sr., came to Medford in 1909 from Chicago, getting off the train at midnight.
    "The Nash Hotel was the social center of the city then," he said, "and they used to have some high times there. They had what they called 'Nash orchardists,' or fruitmen who owned orchards and lived at the Nash. They used to have some pretty lively parties. That was just at the top of the boom. Their good times didn't last very long.
Remembers John R. Allen
    "That was about the time John R. Allen was cutting a wide swath in Medford," Heath said, his face lighting with his sly smile. "Allen used to tip the waitresses and bellboys ten dollars. He didn't last long."
    When Heath arrived in Medford, there weren't many paved streets. The street paving system was just being started and horses and buggies were the custom. He came to Medford from Chicago, after a doctor in Chicago told him that he had just one more year to live unless he got a change of climate. Heath took all the change he could get.
    "Why did I choose Medford," Heath said, in answer to the query. "Well, the railroad ticket from Chicago to Medford didn't cost any more than it did from Chicago to Portland."
    "But what made you think you wanted to come here even if it did cost the same?" he was asked.
Liked Valley Reports
    "Advertising pamphlets and literature on Medford sent out by the Portland Chamber of Commerce," he said. "The opportunities offered, the scenery, the climate and everything appealed to me. I've never been sorry of my choice.
    "Even now when I go back home," he said, "I tell the folks that if they knew what they were about they'd never live in Michigan, they'd come out here."
    Heath's first investment in the Rogue River Valley was in two orchards, one in Sams Valley and one at Brownsboro.
    "I came out here pretty well fixed," Heath said. "I was in the publishing business in Chicago before I left. I published the 'Electric Traction,' a trade journal devoted to the street railway business. I was at that about three years before coming out here."
Sold to Ad Wolgast
    "I sold both of the orchards I had bought, one of them to Ad Wolgast," he said. "Wolgast was in his prime then, and was champion. He bought the Brownsboro Orchard as a sort of training quarters for fighters. I guess they came up here to work some of the whiskey out of their systems. Anyway, he defaulted on it and I had to take it back. Shorty Miles and Mose Barkdull made the sale. Wolgast had it about two years."
    In 1911 Heath bought a general store at Eagle Point, now owned by E. C. Faber of Central Point. He operated this store for about five years before starting in the drug business in Medford in 1969. Heath first entered the drug business in Hastings, Mich., in 1878 as an apprentice, remaining in the business until he went to Chicago. He was born in Hastings, in 1861. During the years of 1896-1897 he was mayor of Hastings.
Retired Five Years Ago
    Five years ago Heath retired, "to take care of my lawn and grow dandelions," as he termed it. Shortly before retiring from active business he had sold one of his drug stores to Jim McNair of Ashland. Heath had previously bought the Haskins drug store, which was operated by Larry Mann, his son-in-law.
    Two children were born to the Heaths, Fred, Jr., and Frances, who married Larry Mann and is now living in Portland, where Mann is associated with the First National Bank of that city. Fred, Jr., is in active charge of the Heath Drug Store here, but Fred, Sr., is helping out at the present time.
Helping Move Store
    The moving of Heath's Drug Store will be completed this weekend, the store being moved from its former location on Main Street to its new location on North Central.
    "We are moving into larger quarters," Heath said, "because we feel that business will expand greatly in the next few years, and we will need added space. We will have consulting rooms for the doctors, rest rooms, and a much greater line of stock. Both my son and I feel that President Roosevelt's recovery program will be successful, and that the United States is due for the greatest era it has ever experienced. We are getting ready for that growth, because we have explicit confidence in this community."
    While Fred, Jr., operates the drug store, Fred, Sr., finds time to engage in other business as well as several civic enterprises. Heath is president of the Southern [Oregon] Building and Loan Association, and vice president of the Medford Investment Company. He is an active member of the Elks Lodge, and a past chancellor in the Knights of Pythias.
Medford News, September 15, 1933, page 1

    Mr. and Mrs. Fred L. Heath, Sr., of Medford, celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary Sunday, November 20. The event was celebrated by a dinner at the couple's home on Geneva Avenue. Those present included Mrs. Lawrence Mann, of Portland, who arrived Saturday for the event, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Heath, Jr., and daughters Madeline and Nancy, and Reverend Ernest S. Bartlam.
    Mr. Heath was married to Miss Gertrude Williams in Hastings, Michigan on November 20, 1888. In 1909 the couple moved to Medford. They lived for a short time in the Eagle Point district, and since then have resided in Medford.
    The home was decorated with autumn flowers. The centerpiece was a bowl of chrysanthemums, surrounded by crystal glassware. The couple received many appropriate gifts.
    Mr. and Mrs. Heath are well known in the valley, and both are active in civic and social affairs.
Medford News, November 25, 1938, page 3

    Fred Lincoln Heath, one of Medford's most prominent and highly respected citizens, died in a local hospital at 8:32 Saturday morning. He had been ill since January 1. Death was attributed to pulmonary oedema. Mr. Heath was 78 years old.
    One of Mr. Heath's outstanding characteristics was his gallantry. He had been faced with death a number of times, but he gallantly refused to surrender. When he came to Medford 30 years ago it was for his health, physicians in the East having told him he did not have long to live. In recent years he suffered several times with seizures of pulmonary oedema, and each time his life was despaired of. But he pulled himself through by sheer gallantry.
    An attack recently left him in a weakened condition. He was removed to the hospital Thursday in an effort to restore his rapidly waning strength. The succession of attacks and his advanced age, however, were finally too much for Mr. Heath's gallantry to overcome. The end was peaceful.
    Mr. Heath was primarily a business man. He had an instinct for business and, friends say, he could have amassed a fortune had he so desired. Curiously enough, however, though, possessed of a shrewd business acumen, he did not have an acquisitive urge for money or power. He was essentially a simple man, possessed of simple virtues-integrity, trustworthiness, charity, directness, sympathy and a deep human understanding of other persons' feelings. He was sincere, poised, modest and always youthful in outlook.
    A self-educated man, Mr. Heath was thoroughly informed on a wide variety of subjects and kept well posted on world affairs. He possessed a clear perspective and could cut through the fog of propaganda to reach his own conclusions. Though scholarly, he never posed as an intellectual.
    Mr. Heath had several business interests, but he was perhaps most widely known through his identification with the drug store business here. He retired partially from business activity seven or eight years ago.
    Mr. Heath was a member of the city water board, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. He was formerly a member of the Elks lodge. He was president of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association. He was once mayor of Hastings, Mich.
    Mr. Heath was born in Hastings on March 6, 1861. He spent his early life there, and it was in Hastings that he entered the drug business. He was united in marriage to Gertrude Williams in Hastings on November 20, 1888. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last November in their Medford home, 101 Geneva Street.
    From Hastings the Heaths went to Chicago, Mr. Heath becoming publisher of a trade journal there. The couple came to Medford in 1909 for Mr. Heath's health. They bought a ranch at Brownsboro which Mr. Heath operated, though the family resided here.
    Giving up the ranch, Mr. Heath purchased a general mercantile business in Eagle Point and for a time the family resided there.
    In 1912 Mr. Heath bought the Eagle Drug Company, then situated at 109 East Main Street.
    Survivors are his wife, a daughter, Mrs. Larry Mann of Portland, a son, Frederick W. Heath of Medford and four grandchildren. Mrs. Mann arrived from Portland by plane yesterday afternoon.
    Funeral services will be held in the Perl chapel at 2 p.m. Monday. The Rev. Ernest S. Bartlam, rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, will officiate. The body will be cremated.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 26, 1939, page 1

Fred L. Heath Services Held
    Last rites were held Monday at the Perl chapel for Frederick Lincoln Heath, one of Medford's most prominent and best beloved citizens and businessmen, who died Saturday morning following a several months' illness at the age of 78 years. Many times he had conquered ill health, that being his reason for coming to Medford 30 years ago. Told then that he had not long to live, he left the East and gallantly fought for his health in the Rogue River Valley. He came out the victor in each attack until last Saturday morning, when he peacefully accepted the end.
    Always shrewd, but never aggressive, in business, Mr. Heath, during his many years in Medford combined with his moneymaking ability a charity and understanding of people, which won him more friends than riches. He became known as a first citizen, a man to be trusted for his sincerity, wisdom and integrity as well as to be loved for his sympathy and kindness. He sought truth, rather than power, and never let ambition overshadow his appreciation of human needs. He was always classed with the progressives in search of a broader understanding of both local and world affairs. Participating in numerous activities here, he was most widely known through the drug store business.
    Born in Hastings, Mich., he spent his early life there and entered the drug store business in that city, of which he was one time mayor. In that city he married Gertrude Williams on November 20, 1888. Last November the couple celebrated their golden wedding at their home, 101 Geneva.
    From Hastings the Heaths went to Chicago, where Mr. Heath published a trade journal. In 1909, they bought a ranch at Brownsboro, and later Mr. Heath entered the mercantile business at Eagle Point. In 1912 he bought the Eagle Drug Company here, then situated on East Main Street. He was a member of the city water board, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and formerly of the Elks Club. He was president of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association.
    He is survived by his widow, a daughter, Mrs. Larry Mann of Portland, a son, Frederick W. Heath of Medford, and four grandchildren.
Medford News, March 31, 1939, page 1

Last revised June 23, 2023