The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1849

    In the Umpqua, Rogues and Klamath valleys are found an abundance of elk, deer, antelope, geese and ducks. The deer of this country have been represented by some as small and inferior. Such is not the fact. The meat of the deer of Oregon is as tender and as delicious as the deer of any other portion of the United States. The meat of the black-tailed deer of this country is much superior to the meat of the white-tailed deer of New York, Pennsylvania or the western states.
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    A choice white plum grows in the Umpqua Valley, upon a tree, or rather shrub, so small that their growing and ripened fruit bends them to the ground.
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Umpqua and Rogue Valleys.
    The Umpqua River is about 250 miles in length, and takes its rise in the Cascade Mountains; the tide sets up the river about 75 miles, and within 16 miles of Fort Umpqua. A short distance above Fort Umpqua a broken ridge (through which the river, aided probably by convulsions of the earth, has forced its way) stretches entirely across the valley, dividing it into upper and lower. The lower valley contains some good tillable land; the upper valley is more than half as large as the Willamette Valley. Rogue River is also a large river, and combined with the upper Umpqua their valleys are larger than that of the Willamette, and equally or more desirable, in point of climate, richness of soil and beauty of locality and scenery. Like many other of the rich valleys of Oregon, the upper Umpqua Valley shows marked evidence of having once been a vast lake. As yet, but one claim has been taken in the Umpqua Valley, and none has been taken in the Rogue Valley. Game is very plenty, wild fruits abundant, and the soil rich and deep in these valleys, and they are only from one to two degrees of latitude removed from the upper gold mines of California.
    The land route from the settlements in Oregon to California, and the Southern Route from the United States to Oregon, pass through these valleys. To settle these valleys securely and advantageously, a settlement should be made in the Umpqua Valley of twenty or thirty families, and in the Rogue Valley of fifty or sixty families, in each case provided with machinery for the erection of a flouring and saw mill. Such settlements would rapidly increase to large and flourishing communities. No portion of Oregon presents a better opportunity for the selection of desirable homes than these valleys. Their climate is mild and salubrious; their grasses abundant and nutritious; their soil easily cultivated and capable of producing all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life, and probably they are better adapted to the successful cultivation of fruit than any other portion of Oregon--either north or south. In the neighborhood of these valleys, the Cascade Mountains recede from the ocean, allowing the valleys to penetrate much farther into the interior, and receive more of the wash of the mountains. A large delicious white plum, and excellent grapes, grow spontaneous in these valleys.
    Agriculture and stock growing will probably be neglected in California. If, therefore, persons were desirous to enter into stock growing for the market which the gold mines of that country must afford, these valleys being at the door of that market are very desirable locations. If persons are inclined to engage in agriculture, these sections of the country are in the immediate neighborhood of gold that will be freely paid for the necessities of life. If men desire to enter into mining, they can pass from the bosom of their families in these valleys into the California mines, and back at will. If gold is discovered in workable quantities in Oregon, it will be in her southern, eastern or middle portions, and in either case residents of the Umpqua and Rogue valleys will have the advantage of those of the Willamette Valley. The Klamath Valley, and south of these valleys, is but little known even here. The Klamath River is large, and it is reasonable to suppose that its valley contains considerable good land. 
Benjamin Cleaver, "Oregon," Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, Alton, Illinois, September 7, 1849, page 1. Quoted from the Oregon Spectator.

Last revised December 21, 2017