Travelers' descriptions and assessments of the state of things.
For the Oregon Spectator.Reluctant is the first day of 1854 to let in the warm and cheering beams of the sun, heavy clouds of fog hovering over the hills and valleys, with the whiteness and almost the density of snow. Perhaps nature is a little ashamed to reveal to the sun of progress her many gentle acclivities, dotted with meager ordure, where a thousand fruits and plants of the temperate and tropical climes should eventually flourish. But,
"High above the sun of glory glows," and ere long he shall scatter the mists of the morning, and the distant mountains shall at evening reflect the smile of his departure, and the winter flowers shall receive into their bosoms a ray of warmth and hope that shall cheer them through the long and chilly night till he comes on the morrow to add a new leaf or blossom to their poetical life. . . .
We have a climate so entirely different from that of the Atlantic coast that I think we may reasonably expect to ripen fruits and vegetables as dissimilar, and if Oregon was settled by a people accustomed to a like climate in another latitude our productions would be of quite another sort. We can as yet scarcely appreciate to what extent and diversity of natural production our climate is applicable, owing to the newness of the settlement, and the lack of enterprise in determinating on the capabilities of our soil and climate. He who lives twenty years hence I fancy will see a vast change in this respect. If there is a country in the world adapted to perfect independence, it is this.
The settlers in this country are making considerable improvements on their claims, and you will no doubt hear next summer of some pretty handsome yields of wheat and other vegetables. I presume that there are not less than 3800 acres of wheat sown in this county the present season.
Respectfully &c.,Douglas Co., Jan. 1, 1854.
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, January 28, 1854, page 3
EMPIRE CITY, COOS BAY, Jan. 28, '54.GENTLEMEN:--After this long silence, I proceed to improve the passing moment by giving you a few items in relation to the Coos Bay enterprise.
Two years have passed since first I found my way into this new region. A year and a half ago I told you of its existence, and of the progress I had then made in its exploration. The bay was here then--the stone coal was here--the white cedar timber was here--and the gold washers. But the resources of nature, like the marble in the quarry, lay dormant. The wild savage was the lord of the soil and the sea, and the white man was as unknowing to the place as its natives were to him. The scene is now changed. Five miles from the mouth of the bay Empire City is located, and before its wharf vessels are lying, discharging their freight and receiving their lading. Small boats are plying from it to all parts of the bay: and pack trains and wagons are loading at it with supplies for the gold diggings, which are only a few miles off. In a word, we have here a city which already presents the appearance of an active seaport town.
You will recollect that I told you in a few years all this would come to pass. You then doubted it, and so did many others. When raising and forming Coos Bay Company, at Jacksonville last spring, I stated the same. I told them that all these resources were here, and I showed them specimens. They believed it only in part. I told them what would be the result of a settlement here; but they doubted my predictions. Yet they tried the experiment, and the result has exceeded the expectations of all. Indeed, the Coos Bay and Coquille country present at present the most fruitful field of enterprise anywhere to be found on our great western border. The bay is large and beautiful--the climate is salubrious--the soil unusually productive--its resources for superior white cedar timber, and for stone coal of excellent quality are unsurpassed--while it is here that the northern extremity of the California and Rogue’s River coarse gold range terminates. As a mining region there is, in our opinion, no field in which the laborer is at once so richly rewarded for his toil, so comfortably situated, and so readily and cheaply furnished with supplies, as in the Coos Bay diggings.
Yours, as ever,Shasta Courier, Shasta, California, March 4, 1854, page 2
P. B. MARPLE.
Mining.We gather the following mining news from our latest exchanges. From the Mountain (Yreka) Herald:
SALMON CREEK.--Miners are doing well on this stream.
KLAMATH RIVER.--Miners at Hamburg and other places on this stream, from whom we have recently heard, are making good wages at present.
SCOTT RIVER.--This river has yielded largely since September, 1850. A friend writes from Scott's Bar that some of the bank claims have paid first-rate this winter; among others those of Galahan & Co., Warney & Co., and Hill & Co. Messrs. Neal & Co., working a hillside claim above the Tennessee Bar, have been making some fine strikes lately. Operations had been impeded by bad weather and high water. Many miners who had left to seek winter diggings had returned.
HUMBUG CREEK has yielded well every season. It is thought that it will yield as much gold this summer as it has any one season since the first.
DEADWOOD CREEK.--The new diggings on the main creek below the junction of Deadwood and Cherry creeks have proved to be very rich; and in that vicinity there will be a large amount of gold taken out this season.
GREENHORN CREEK continues to pay good wages. The diggings are tolerably extensive. Most of the water which we now have for mining purposes in the Yreka diggings comes from this stream.
YREKA DIGGINGS.--Placer diggings, the richest and most extensive ever discovered north of the Trinity range of mountains. The prospective yield will be immense in comparison with the past.
As yet there has none of these mines been worked except with the scanty proportions of water from Greenhorn and the gulches afforded in the wet season. There is an area of country from Greenhorn Creek to the Shasta River, a distance of about six miles by about one in breadth on an average, all of which, with an abundance of water for sluicing, will pay largely. This will afford work for many thousands of men for many years.
We have at this time a fair prospect of a good supply of water from the Shasta River, through the Yreka Water Company's flume, within one year from the present time. The sawmill will be in operation in a few days, and the flume will be commenced shortly thereafter. When this work is completed we may confidently expect to see all kinds of business more flourishing, and money more abundant, than at any time since the discovery of Yreka Flats in March, '51.
BARKHOUSE CREEK empties into the Klamath west of Yreka, is newly discovered, and thought by many to contain extensive diggings. This summer will, however, prove the matter, as there are many miners at work at present on that stream.
INDIAN CREEK.--There are several streams of this name in the north, on all of which gold has been found, but not in sufficient quantities to pay over $2 to $3 per day to the hand.
COTTONWOOD.--Placer diggings next in importance to those of Yreka, and unsurpassed for richness by any in the country. They derive their water from Cottonwood Creek by means of two ditches. There is a large area of auriferous deposits in and about Cottonwood which are being worked at present to good profit.
JACKSONVILLE.--The mines in this vicinity are rich and extensive. Want of water has prevented extensive working. The enterprise of bringing the waters of Applegate Creek to these diggings has been long talked of, and will eventually be accomplished.
ROGUE RIVER.--The bars are auriferous, but few have been worked advantageously.
SAILOR DIGGINGS.--Extensive placer diggings, supplied with water from Illinois Creek by two races.
ALTHOUSE and Sucker creeks are of considerable mining importance. The former yielded largely in places last summer, and will be worked successfully in the bed of the stream the coming season. The latter is generally bank diggings.
NEW DIGGINGS.--A correspondent, writing from Jacksonville, Oregon, says that new surface diggings have been discovered near Fort Lane, which bid fair to prove rich and extensive. The miners there are doing exceedingly well, better than has been done since the first discovery of gold in Rich Gulch, some two years ago. It is thought this region has not been fairly prospected. Rich diggings are said to have been discovered on Rogue River, below the "ferries," and several gentlemen of Jacksonville have gone to visit them.
Sacramento Daily Union, March 27, 1854, page 2
Northern California and Southern Oregon.
The California papers speak of the rapid settlement of this portion of our Pacific possessions, and the development of its resources, in glowing and enthusiastic terms. They represent it as immensely valuable, not only for its mineral wealth, which is supposed to be almost inexhaustible, but also for its great agricultural capabilities. According to their account--and they are no more than confirmatory of what we have already read and heard about it--there is no country in the world which promises to be more productive and flourishing--which has a nobler or a brighter future. There is no place on the continent, if we should ever be afflicted with the horrid thought of leaving our blessed old mother, to which we would more readily turn our faces under the conviction of being sure to find it, in point of climate, beauty and fertility, the delightfullest sort of a home. But the fever of emigration is not upon us, and so we forbear to descant longer upon the loveliness of the distant fairy land, lest by permitting our thoughts to dwell there it might come upon us almost unawares.
We take the following enthusiastic description of this country from the Mountain Herald, a paper published at Yreka, in Northern California:
"There is not upon the face of the earth a country more prolific in resources for the production of wealth than is Northern California and Southern Oregon. The whole face of the earth, in this favored land, is capable of being rendered valuable to the inhabitants. Our mountains, ravines and canyons are rich in auriferous deposits--the precious, glittering metal that gladdens the heart of the poor--that purchases the luxuries of the world--is abundantly strewn over our land. Our valleys are rich in agricultural resources. The farmer richly rewarded for his toil. The stock-raiser can steadily watch the increase and thrift of his herds, as they feed upon the rich pastures of our land, and join with the farmer in the assurance that they have the best market in the world for the sale of their stock and produce.
"We have a delightful climate--unsurpassed by any in the world for health. There is an exhilaration in the mountain air, and an influence in the grand and picturesque scenery which imparts that glow of health and spirits consequent upon a mountain life. Since the first settlement of this part of the country it has progressed with an even, steady and healthy speed, until it is now one of the most flourishing, and promises to be the richest and most important portion of the possessions of the United States on the Pacific."
Richmond Whig, Richmond, Virginia, May 2, 1854, page 4
LETTER FROM EMPIRE CITY.
(LELAND & McCOMB'S EXPRESS.)
Yield of Coal at Coos Bay--Harbor Advantages--Gold Diggings--Coquille Region.
Empire City, O.T., May 6, 1854.Mr. Editor.--A few weeks ago, when in San Francisco, I promised to write to you by the first opportunity on my arrival home. Having now this opportunity, I will not delay in giving you and your numerous readers a few items touching this new region, called Coos Bay. The steamer Crescent City, which has been loading here with coals, will leave this city tomorrow, for San Francisco. Her officers have met with a favorable reception, and, so far as I have heard from them, they are well pleased with the harbor, and with the prospects of the surrounding country and especially with the coal mines, which are indeed very extensive. The steamer has taken her load from Mr. Marple's mines, one mile from the bay, and is the first yield of the banks. We are anxious to learn the result of this experiment upon its qualities for steam purposes.
The coal mines belonging to Coos Bay Company are more convenient for shipping, as they are immediately on the river, and are generally supposed to be much more valuable and extensive. They have been tested already, and pronounced good in every instance. Perhaps the wealth of this new region may be said to consist in its extensive beds of coal, although it has many other advantages.
The Randolph gold diggings are situated only twenty-five miles south of this place, on the coast. At low tide they are worked extensively, and pay not less than $16 to the man per day. The gold is very fine, and is secured by using quicksilver to part it from the sand. There are now about five hundred miners at work, and room sufficient for five thousand more.
The mines are on the coast, extending from this bay south to Crescent City, and I have no doubt but this summer, the tide not being as high as it has [been] during the winter, there will be many thousand miners at work on this coast, near Randolph, and who will have to draw their principal supplies from this bay, it being accessible for ships at all seasons of the year.
New placers have also been lately discovered on Coquille River, running parallel with the bay, and but twenty miles up the bay. With one and a half miles land travel you reach the Coquille River, about 20 miles from its mouth, thence travel up the river about 20 miles further, you reach the forks of the Coquille, where there are quite a number of miners at work on the bars of the river. Many of them are making good wages. The gold on this river is coarse, and from its appearance I should judge it to yield as much as the best gold in California. It is said by many that the coast and Coquille mines will prove as rich as any mines yet discovered on the Pacific.
The Legislature of this territory, knowing the importance of this harbor and surrounding country, and of its commercial facilities, has, at its last session, passed an act to establish a territorial road from Coos Bay to Jacksonville, which town is situated on Rogue River, in the southern part of Oregon--a large and extensive mining and agricultural district. The commissioners appointed to survey and locate the road will proceed without delay. The road may be expected open for traveling about the last of this summer, which will connect us with the whole of Southern Oregon, consisting of the counties of Umpqua, Douglas, Jackson and Coos, and also with Shasta and Scott valleys--the most northern part of California. With these prospects before us, we cannot but expect this bay to become the largest commercial emporium north of San Francisco.
The facilities for lumbering purposes are as good as in any part of the world, consisting of spruce, fir and white cedar. The cedar equals the eastern white pine for finishing purposes. Empire City is located about five miles from the entrance, and has already quite the appearance of a town. The city site is well located, and gives a good view of the harbor and bay, which is about 15 feet above the level of the river--the usual rise and fall of the tide being left. The width of the river fronting the city is about two miles, and the length, which is navigable for steamers, is 30 miles. I would blow this a little more, but am afraid you would get tired reading and would never again ask for communications.
Yours &c. E.Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 12, 1854, page 2
For the Maine Farmer.
LETTER FROM OREGON, No. 2.
Mr. Editor:--In my last letter I promised I would give you some account of Southern Oregon, and in doing this I must rely considerably upon other sources than my own observation. South of the Willamette Valley, and separated from it by the Calapooia Range of mountains, lies the Umpqua Valley. This valley embraces a tract of country lying between the Cascade and Coast ranges of mountains, extending a distance of about seventy miles north and south.
The face of the country differs materially from that of the Willamette, being composed of clusters of small valleys, varying in size, and separated from each other by ranges of hills. In the immediate vicinity of the two principal branches of the river, the valleys are of greater extent, affording a large amount of arable land. The Umpqua is in general not as well timbered as the region both north and south of it, the timbers consisting principally of oak. On the borders of the ravines on the hillsides are groves of fir and pine, but these are comparatively scarce. This deficiency of timber has hitherto had a tendency to retard the settlement of the Umpqua Valley. The more gentle slopes of the hills have not as yet been tilled, but if any judgment may be formed from the luxuriant growth of grass which covers them, most abundant crops of grain may be grown on them. The soil on the hills is less deep than in similar situations in the Willamette; it is of reddish color, and so tenacious that on the steepest hills it washes but little, though subjected to powerful and long continued rains. No part of Oregon that has yet been settled affords a better or more extensive range for stock of all kinds than the Umpqua. The native grasses which cover the face of the country are of the most nutritious kinds, and cattle that have made the journey across the plains, and were reduced to the last stages of leanness, will become in the course of six or eight months, on grass alone, so fat as to render even moderate locomotion a positive annoyance. This may seem tough to the farmers at the East, who are obliged to pursue a long course of stall feeding to prepare their stock for market. But it is a fact well known to all who have spent a year in Oregon that in no place in the United States can beef be found as fat as that exhibited in the markets here, and yet people in Oregon never stall feed.
Hogs in this country require but little feed, in fact few farmers feed hogs at all, from the earliest days of pighood to the time of slaughter. You have doubtless heard of the plant called by the Indians "camas," used by them for food, and found in great abundance in many parts of this country. It is a very nutritious plant, nearly resembling the onion in form and texture, having a sweetish and not unpalatable taste. These tubers are eagerly sought by swine, and during the winter and early part of the summer furnish them an abundant supply. In the fall the oaks furnish a supply of mast. The only drawback upon the raising of swine is a tolerably "smart sprinkle" of bears and wolves, who come in for a share of the pigs, and not unfrequently make a draft upon the more advanced grunters.
There are two varieties of bears in this country, the black bear similar to that found in the East, and the grizzly, a much more formidable and dangerous animal, although much inferior in size to the grizzly bear of California. When wounded, or when the female is attended by her cubs, no animal is more ferocious.
The average weight of the animal when grown is from eight hundred to a thousand pounds. Their great weight prevents them from climbing, and gives the hunter a chance to escape their fury. Deer are found in great abundance in the Umpqua Valley, and elk are occasionally seen. the Umpqua is a rapid stream navigable only for a short distance, and having a difficult entrance.
Scottsburg is the only town of importance on the Umpqua. It is situated near the mouth of the river, and is the seat of considerable trade with the northern mines. There is much valuable land in this section of country yet unoccupied, and emigrants are beginning to appreciate the peculiar advantages which this portion presents to an enterprising farmer.
W.Maine Farmer, Augusta, June 1, 1854, page 2
Willamette Forks, March 7, 1854.
We are permitted to make the following extract from a private letter of our friend Dr. [William] MILLER, who left this city a little more than a year ago to become a citizen of Oregon:
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY, O.T.Since the middle of last November I have broke and put in cultivation between 50 and 60 acres of land, and had some of the land to clear, and am now pushing hard to get my fencing done. I have sown some 27 acres in wheat, 15 in oats, 3 in barley, 3½ in potatoes, 3½ in corn, and a quantity of vines of various kinds. [Miller was living in Perkinsville precinct, near today's Grants Pass.]
We are now milking 8 cows, and shall have more in the course of the summer, and find a ready demand for all our butter at our door at 62 cts. per lb. We have two fat hogs in the pen, some fat pigs, and some poultry coming on. My stock is doing finely, all getting fat. Times are hard for this country. Stock are down and money scarce; still the market here ranges far above state's prices. Beef in Willamette and Umpqua is worth from 8 to 10 cts. In this valley from 10 to 12 on foot. Beef retails at 10 to 15 cts. per lb.
Land claims are still high and will be higher in the fall, after the emigration gets in. Jas. Kinney, of Terre Haute, and J. Hite are in Willamette--went in the Northern Route, and lost considerable of their stock behind them. I am no [sic--now? not?] convinced the route I came is much the best. The climate here is fine in the spring, and so far this spring very seasonable. The rains fall as gently as dew, almost, and vegetation grows faster than I ever saw it in any other country. I commenced sowing my wheat in the middle of February and finished on the 15th of March, and my wheat looks as forward as the fall sowing in the States. One bushel to the acre will produce as good a crop as one bushel and a peck in the States. Wheat here branches a great deal, much more than in the States. Everything here grows very rapidly. Grass now is fine and has been for some weeks; and we have had a constant succession of beautiful flowers since the last of February.
There is no news of much interest here that I know. Political matters are very quiet here. The people are more concerned about money making than anything else.
We have no Indian difficulties, except now and then they will steal. Not long since they came and stole all our butter from a shelf in the porch. Some weeks since one of the Indian chiefs was shot by an Indian of another tribe. We have a garrison of U.S. troops in our valley that, we think, will keep the natives quiet.
In one or two years we expect the title to lands in this valley will be extinguished and the Indians moved to some other territory and give place to those whom they call the "Boston men" (the white men).
Mining in this country is not so flourishing as formerly, but still some men are making a good deal of money, and many others are only living. It costs men here so much to live that if they don't make $5 to $10 per day they consider they are making nothing.
Wabash Express, Terre Haute, Indiana, June 21, 1854, page 2
FAT PASTURES.--The Oregon correspondent of the Maine Farmer remarks that the native grasses which cover the face of the country in Southern Oregon are of the most nutritious kinds, and cattle that have made the journey across the plains, and were reduced to the last stages of leanness, will become in the course of six or eight months, on grass alone, so fat as to render even moderate locomotion a positive annoyance. This may seem tough to the farmers of the East, who are obliged to pursue a long course of stall feeding to prepare their stock for market.
The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., June 7, 1854, page 1
Trinidad, in 41°10', about 12 miles below the mouth of the Klamath, is a small port, open to the south winds, but deep, and possessed of an excellent anchorage. The town had its origin in the Gold Bluff excitement in the fall of 1850. The bluffs lie between the town and the mouth of the Klamath, but is not wrought now. The place has no great resources. It is regularly visited by the Oregon steamers.
Crescent City, in 41°45', is on the south side of Point St. George, which juts out about three miles west into the ocean from the general nearly north-and-south line of the coast. The harbor is small, shallow, rocky, open to the south, and possessed of poor holding ground. Vessels have to lie about half a mile from shore. The harbor might be made secure by an expensive breakwater. There is a rich but small mining, farming and lumber country in the vicinity; but the place cannot rise to much importance, unless, as is said to be fact, a good road can be constructed to the mines in the Rogue River and Klamath valleys. The Oregon steamers stop at Crescent City regularly.
Port Orford harbor, in 42°45', is open to the south, but is deep, of good size, and has a good anchorage. There are a few mines in the vicinity, but no tillable land, and the prosperity of the place must depend on the possibility of constructing a road to the Rogue River mines. The Oregon steamers touch regularly.
Coos Bay, in 43°30', is small and secure, but the bar has only 9 feet water. The coal mines are as yet the chief resources, and they are prospective in their character. The Umpqua River has a bar of 15 feet at its mouth, but inside the water is deeper, and the protection from the winds excellent. The town of Scottsburg is some distance up the river, and is accessible by means of a small steamer.
"Seaports of California and Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, July 15, 1854, page 8
LETTER FROM CALIFORNIA.
YREKA, Cal., June 12, 1854.What shall I write you about? "The people of Yreka?" The people let it be then. We have quite a motley population here. As a matter of course, there are representatives of all the various states--from the genuine Pike Hoosier to the equally well marked and sharply defined Yankee brother! Notice that swaggering, brawling, noisy, drunken, sanguine complexioned, blue eyed, and, withal, good-tempered little fellow! That is, or he may be considered, the delegate to Yreka from the great city of London! I know of no other Londoner about here. Paddy and Sawney are here, of course. Dutch John with abundance of sauerkraut--by the way, we have plenty of it on the table every day at dinner, and out here in California it is first rate, I tell you! Then, here is Johnny Crapeau, but, alas! no nicely cooked frogs! I wish there were. Do you think I would not try what sort of vegetables they make? It is of no use dwelling, however, upon the peculiarities of John Bull--the richly brogued Pat--the canny Scot--the Dutchman--the Swede--the Frenchman, etc., all these you are more or less acquainted with, and, for as much as you have traveled in your time, perchance you know from what land this tall, robust, brawny-chested, broad-shouldered, dark-skinned, wide and flattish-nosed fellow is the one that my brother is serving with something in the store--do you know what countryman he is? "No?" He is a Kanaka or native of the South Sea Islands--many of his brethren are here in the mines. They seem to me a hard-working decent lot of fellows--but they are not popular with some of the folks here, especially the miners--others, however, speak well of them.
"Who is that, and from what country does he come?" Do you mean that man yonder, with the blue cotton trousers, almost wide enough for the skirts of a lady's dress, and whose costume is finished by a sack of the same material, with rather close, long sleeves, fastened at the wrist? He is a native of the Celestial Empire--that is John Chinaman. Observe his small, almost pig-like eyes--his high cheekbones--his eyebrows pointing down towards, and almost meeting at, the top of his wide-nostriled nose--his head, guiltless of hair, excepting the hinder part, from which depends a tail that, beautifully platted, and eked out with an artificial addition, reaches nearly down to his heels!
And that delicately featured little woman, with the light blue satin, wide-sleeved loose sack--a silk kerchief thrown over her head, two of the ends of which are made to meet in her mouth--she is the sister of John Chinaman. Of course, I need only suggest that the reason why she moves along by his side with such a curious, halting, shambling gait is that she wears, as you know, high-heeled, small wooden shoes, whose soles are very small to suit her tiny feet! Then, even Lucy Stone herself would probably have nothing wherewith to find fault in the loose, flowing pants that complete her dress. These, and their fellow countrymen, are the representatives of the Asiatic continent in general, and of Chinese Tartary, or rather, China in particular.
Now, take your eyes off these, and glance at the parties just entering the store--they ask for "kaotig," i.e., "beads." These are some squaws of the tribe of Isastitle or Shasta Indians. The redskins of various tribes are quite numerous about here. We have the Shastas, the Rogue River, the Klamath, the Digger Indians, etc. Do you see that Indian dressed in an old worn-out blue military coat, ornamented with two rows of bright and white buttons that cross each other, with extraordinary effect, on his back? "Do you mean the one with the steeple-crowned hat decorated with an eagle's feather? Yes! Well, that is "Shasta Bill," the chief of the Shasta tribe! Very unheroic he looks, does he not? When Fenimore Cooper drew his picture of Uncas, this is the identical chief that he had not in his mind! Poor, miserable beings they are, squaws, chiefs and all, are they not? Fading, fading and dying out, like the last faint glimmerings of day, before the gathering and deepening gloom of night--melting away and disappearing forever is the doomed red man, before the scorching and withering influence of the white man's coming!
"What is that which makes yonder squaw's face and head look so frightfully, so hideously ugly?" She is a widow, and to show the depth of her sorrow for the loss of her spouse she daubs her face and mats her hair all over with a substance, partly obtained from the pine tree, which with the coloring ingredients forms a kind of tar as black as pitch! The hair can never more be disentangled, and the face still retains these sad marks of an indelible grief--memorials alike of an irredeemable loss, and terrible destroyers of female loveliness! By the way, if one may make the comparison without giving offense, these widowed squaws are by no means so smart as their whiter, similarly bereaved sisters, are they? These latter, on the occasion of their being made "lone lorn widows" do also don the somber weeds of mourning--but, let the critical yet auspicious moment arrive when the good of their country demands at their hands that they sacrifice those selfsame signs of woe and they, as a general thing, hesitate not, but, in the ardor of their patriotism, doff their weeds, and--"save the Union."
That's a picturesque-looking squaw yonder, isn't she? How she trots along, like a Broadway belle, with her red blanket thrown gracefully across her shoulders! What do you think of her headdress? rather striking, is it not? It consists of a finely worked, cone-shaped basket, which, embracing the head after the fashion of a skullcap, allows the long, lank, coarse black locks to dangle from beneath it onto her shoulders. A curious cradle is that in which this matron carries her papoose! Something like a washboard with the two ends sticking up above her shoulders--the child is bound upon the board and sits on a small shelf-like projection at the bottom, with its little legs dangling down--so the mother, her burden on her back, roams about, while the poor little papoose looks the very personification of patience and uncomplainingness!
This other squaw also carries a burden on her back, but of a different kind from the other one's. Into that large, inverted conelike basket, at her back, she throws whatever useful thing she can pick up in the streets! Just like her white sister, the chiffoniere of Paris, or the grubber of the main sewers and streets of London! Very unromantic, all this, and very different from the Indian of the books! Still, all the romance has not yet died out from among the Indians by a great deal. Look, for instance, at this large party just arrived. They are children from the mountains and forests of Oregon--and have taken the war path against the Shastas. These latter have, on two separate occasions, fallen upon small hunting parties of the former--slain some of them--(the Deschutes), plundered their camps, and taken prisoners some of their squaws, whom they yet hold in durance vile. It is to avenge these outrages and insults, and to trade horses, that they have come from the Dalles Mountains of Oregon--a distance of four hundred miles. These, as you see, are a much more picturesque-looking set of fellows than those just passed in review before us. They are all pretty well armed and well mounted. Dismounting in the center of the town, and forming a crescent, they ask, through their interpreter, that the agent of Indian affairs would permit them to fall upon the Shastas in order to revenge the injuries received at their hands.
What a picture of the true and irreclaimable savage is that whose headgear is a wolf's skin! This, and the frightful war paint, with which his amiable features are bedaubed, render him a somewhat ferocious-looking antagonist! Look at that other--high cheekbones--acquiline nose--low, receding forehead--large in the animal regions of the head--black, coarse hair--small, gleaming eyes--those puckered-up lips--the red, glaring war paint gives the finishing touch to the picture--cruelty and unrelenting hate sit enthroned on every lineament and feature! Woe to the Shasta that falls into his clutches--his scalp will not be worth a minute's purchase. But this other one, on our right here, he that stands a little apart from the rest, and who seems to be folding himself up in his dignity and blanket together. He looks much more like one of the chiefs we read of than any of the others, for, though like the rest he has the air of an untamable savage, yet does a redeeming trait of humanity steal across his swarthy features, softening somewhat the otherwise forbidding and ferocious aspect. Look at him as he stands there--quiet, haughty, immovable; his seemingly indifferent air but slightly veils the fire hidden in the depths of his dark eyes. The eagle plume, moccasins, deerskin leggings, blanket, rifle, etc. complete his equipment. And now, their wawa ended, they mount, and after parading awhile through the streets, gallop off to their encampment situated a short distance above town. The result of this conference has been three white men killed by the Shastas on the Siskiyou Mountain--the mountain that shows his white head yonder on the road to Oregon--another white killed by them near Cottonwood, about twenty miles off--and about an equal number of Shasta Indians killed. The whites went with the Deschutes to punish the Shastas for some outrages said to have been committed by them upon the first named also. One white only was killed in the fight--another, a packer by the name of Gates [apparently Daniel Gage]--was attacked while with his pack train crossing the mountain and slain and robbed--the other two whites, names unknown, were seen and heard to cry out while struggling and being slain about the same time, lower down on the mountain. The above attack was, of course, a part of the transaction connected with the Deschutes. The Shastas, who inhabit a large cave about twelve miles from here, have been excited by the nearness of their Indian enemies, and their junction with the whites to perpetrate the above outrage. The U.S. troops were likewise out on this expedition, but have now returned to Fort Jones, about eighteen or twenty miles below here. The Deschutes have also gone to their distant home. So they come, and so they go. Matters are all quiet now, and it is likely they will remain so. Yes! we have a very mixed population here. In addition to the above, we have Spaniards, male and female, Portuguese, Mexicans, half breeds, etc. Variety hath charms! and so we have a charming variety. "Questionable," do you say? Well, well, we won't dispute about matters of taste!
A.C.I.Wabash Express, Terre Haute, Indiana, August 9, 1854, page 1
Letter from Montezuma.
CRESCENT CITY, June 15, 1854.Here I am enjoying the cool sea breeze, listening to the ever-rolling and heaving of the breakers, eating fresh clams, fresh trout, salmon, berries, strawberries, and a hundred other luxuries that you inhabitants of the San Joaquin plains are strangers to. I do not know of a more pleasant retreat than this for the summer season; the woods are full of berries, the streams abound in the finest fish, and upon the hills are found plenty of elk and deer, and only from twenty-four to thirty-six hours distant from San Francisco. There is also considerable mining done within eight or ten miles of here, which mines extend back as far as Yreka, one hundred and fifty miles east. It is not one continued placer, but mining camps are scattered over the whole country; and as heretofore, the Indians have been troublesome. The country has not yet been fairly prospected.
Jacksonville, O.T., about one hundred miles from here, is a place of considerable business, and as it is situated in the midst of a fine farming and grazing country, is bound to be a place of importance ere long.
The learned Legislature of Oregon have lately, in its wisdom, changed the name of Rogue River to "Oro River." I expect the report of the committee must have read something like this--"Uste la conoco old Tom Poco that lived over the otro lado of the lomo; he came vamosing down the camino with a load of llina upon his back crying, de quien quiere compro wood--no entende, signor.* You d--n fool can't you understand your own language?"
The state surveyors left this place some weeks since to run the boundary line between California and Oregon; the ordering of this survey I consider one of the best acts of our late Legislature, as there is a large tract of country which is in dispute. They commenced some fifteen miles above this place, and are now upon the Coast Range of mountains between here and Illinois Valley.
There is considerable talk about a plank road from this place to the interior, but I think for a few years, until the country gets filled up, it would be better for all concerned to turn their attention to improving the pack trail, it at the present being one of the roughest and worst in California. Crescent City has lost trade in consequence of this, as packers will go where they have the best trail; and the Shasta merchants have been very liberal in opening the trail from that place to Yreka, while upon this one, there has not been a creek bridged nor a rock removed this season. Any amount of speeches have been made, and resolutions have been passed at public meetings by at least a dozen persons, upon railroads, plank roads and turnpikes, at which they get so elevated that they entirely overlook the present road. Why, there is one river between here and Jacksonville, about as large as the Calaveras, which the only means to cross is upon two logs, with some split boards lashed between them, which is used as a ferry boat; for a rope they have a rawhide riata stretched; and everything upon the whole road is in about the same keeping. For the honor of California, I will state that most of the trail is in Oregon. No more at present from
CLINTON.San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, California, June 29, 1854, page 2 *Really bad--and badly spelled--Spanish for "You know old Tom Little who lived on the other side of the hill; he came down the road with a load of llina [?] on ihis back crying who wants to buy wood--you don't understand, sir."
CRESCENT CITY NEWS.We have received No. 1, Vol. 1, of a neatly printed weekly with the title of Crescent City Herald, published at Crescent City by B. Y. Fechtig & U. B. Freaner, from which we make the following extracts:--
Our city is fast improving. Fourteen months ago there was but one log cabin standing on the present site of Crescent City--now there is nearly three hundred splendid and substantial houses, with a population of between eight hundred and a thousand inhabitants. The city has sprung up as if by magic, and reminds us of San Francisco and other cities, in the good old days of '49 and '50. If our citizens only pursue the right course in regard to the various improvements now talked of to extend her trade, we will have a large city, with two or three exceptions, as any other in California.
We learn from a gentleman of undoubted veracity, that Mr. Curtis, of Whalesburg, O.T., has discovered a valuable quicksilver mine, three miles below Rogue River. It covers an area of some fifteen or twenty acres, and is probably the largest and richest mine of its kind in the world. Mr. C. holds it by a preemption title.
Mr. J. W. Stateler, an enterprising merchant of this city, has just finished puting up two large and commodious fireproof brick warehouses. We learn that there are some five or six others to be commenced in a short time.
A GOOD MOVE.--The merchants of this city now close their stores on the Sabbath.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, June 13, 1854, page 2
Gold River Valley Jackson Co., O.T.To all my relatives, brethren and sisters and friends dwelling in the Salt Creek and Horse Creek neighborhoods,
June 20th A.D. 1854
My beloved friends, in addition to all that I have written, I feel that a few things more is due you from me, and as I have been here 8 months I am better prepared to give you information in regard to the country etc. than when I came here.
You would no doubt be glad to know whether we are pleased or not in regard to this matter. I will not hold you in suspense, but will say we are pleased. I mean every one of us. Yet there are others who are not pleased, and if some of you should come you might not like the country. I am not astonished that some are dissatisfied. They come foolishly expecting all good and no evil, and when they find the bitter mixed with the sweet they are displeased. This country like all others has its dark as well as bright sides. We came here expecting to find a new country with its mixture of good and evil. In this we are not disappointed. Yet we do not murmur or repine at the evil but thank God for so many good things as we find here and thank God that the bad is no worse.
I will now endeavor to give you in some measure a description of the country. I will in the first place speak of the good. I speak of this valley only, as I have been in no other. In the first place I think it to be more healthy than any of the western states. People here seldom have colds. Hardly ever hear a person cough. I think none of us have had anything like a hard cold since we left the States. I have not witnessed a death since I left Ill. I heard of some on the plains and one after I got here by sickness. I have not seen a person confined to their bed by sickness in this country, and I travel nearly all over the valley, about 50 miles in length, 25 in width.
And 2nd, the soil or much of it is very good and some good springs and excellent mill streams, some delightful streams flowing down from the mountain. We have a plenty of excellent timber, pine, fir of different kinds, cedar or redwood, balm of Gilead, ash, oak, soft maple, alder, etc. The land is very productive and will produce all kinds of grain in abundance and vegetables of every variety. Roads are very fine here about 8 or 9 months in the year, first rate for buggy riding. This country is settled with a very cleanly, industrious, enterprising people such as you like to see, and many of them religious. We have 4 good schools and I think 4 or 5 Sunday schools. We have about one mile from this place a large hewed-log school house, shingle roof, plank floor etc., 20 by 24. A Sunday school celebration is to go off on the 4th in Jacksonville.
Notwithstanding the valley is not very large, yet there is much more of it than I expected when I first came in, and there are other valleys still being discovered. One about 30 miles from here [is] said to be as large as this and is reported to be an excellent country and not a settler in it. D. Newcomb from Salt Creek lives about 8 miles from the valley and has been out and examined the country and brings a good report, and on his return a few miles from home killed 4 grizzly bear in one day. I will send you some of the meat in this letter. Brother Newcomb is one of my preaching places, and when I was there last they had for breakfast bear meat, blackmail deer meat and salmon. That was a feast, you may be sure.
I find that there are settlements from one valley to another for hundreds of miles. The main road leading from Oregon to California runs through this valley and by my door, and it leads to Crescent City 100 miles; from this seaport near one thousand horses and mules passed here in one week, besides many droves of cattle, sheep, hogs, etc. At present there is no wagon road to that place, but one is now being opened, and then a mail stage is to run from Crescent City to Jacksonville and on to Yreka etc.
Another advantage of this country is that the climate is very mild. Last winter is said to be one of the coldest winters known in this country, yet cattle done well without being fed. Cattle get fatter here on grass than they can be made in the States on grain. I think some of them would 'mind you of a very fat hog in Ill. and seem to be a burden to themselves as they walk. The much-dreaded rainy season passed off very pleasantly. I think it did not rain more than one day in ten, and the spring and summer before has been reasonable. Wheat looks fine where it was put in right and in good season. They sow wheat here from September till in March, early sowing is best. Crops of all kinds look well but would have been much better had it not been cut down on the last Saturday night in May by a severe frost. My corn and potatoes were at that time about knee high, but in a single week were cut to the ground. They were put back about 4 weeks. The season has been cool thus far.
We have an abundance of gooseberries here this season, some strawberry, and had it not been for the frost we would have had an abundance of blackberries, raspberries, dewberries etc., but the frost killed them. Have some hazelnuts of a large size and serviceberries, plums, cut off plenty of grapes of good quality. We have plenty of fish in this country of good quality. Salmon in the creek on which I live, Bear Creek, they are not very plenty. Can't get up on the account of mill dams, but in Gold River they are very plenty and large, weighing from 10 to 50 lbs. or more.
We also live in a gold country; thousands of men within a few miles of me are constantly digging for it. Many of them are doing well, some making a fortune in a few days while others do no more than make board. Wages have been from 2 to 3 dollars per day and board and from 40 to 60 dollars per day and board but now in harvest time wages are about 4 or 5 dollars per day and 75 or 80 dollars per month and board. A good hand can almost always get work and good pay while a poor hand may go idle and hungry and almost naked.
A large portion of the valley is prairie interspersed with small groves of timber. Our main body of timber is back in the mountains where it can be obtained in abundance without much difficulty.
I have given you some of the good things of this country, and now if you please look at the other side of the picture, in the first place the valley is not as large as most people would like to have it and while some of the land is very good other portions of it is only middling and some of it very poor, also about 3 or 4 months in the year some of the country is very muddy. Difficult to raise or keep dogs here because if they eat the skin or fins of the salmon it is almost sure to kill them. Again the country is near two years last Jan. since the first settlement in this valley and that by batches, as we call them here. Hardly any families till last year. The fine houses and barns are not here or not many of them. The orchards with the exception of young ones are not here.
And notwithstanding we think the country to be healthy in the general, yet people get sick here and some have died and others will die, and if they die without religion they are sure to be damned. Some had the ague last year and fever. Another great evil, there are many sinners here and they do very wickedly. Now if you want to know any more of the evils of this country you must come and try it for yourselves, for I have been thinking and thinking and can think of no more. Very little thunder or lightning. We have the sea breeze here every day, so the people here tell us, and it is very pleasant.
Aunt Cloa has laid I think more than 60 eggs. We have got a few hens to do our setting. The owners of the hens find feed and we give them half the chickens. We have got 72 young chickens and two more hens setting. As we live on the road we can sell our butter at 50 cts. per pound, smearcase 25 cts. per pound, skimmed milk 50 cts. per gallon and could sell many other things at a good price if we had them. Flour has come down to 12 and 15 dollars per hundred. Beef has also come down to 15 and 20. I mean retail. Flour and groceries and every kind of goods is brought here on mules and consequently are high. Cooking stoves are from about 35 to 110 dollars.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library, typescript in Royal vertical file. Original letter is unsigned, but family lore records the writer as William Royal.
Oregon City, O.T., July 14th, 1854.Before the signal gun had called our passengers on board from Crescent City, the fog had so lifted from the sea and land as to reveal the ship at her anchorage and the points and forest trees of the shore both north and south. A fine country appeared to open toward the mountains, while here and there the house of a farmer dotted the skirts of the forest along the beach to the south. To the north, one rock after another stood out to sea, both to warn and guide the mariner among the sunken reefs that lie in wait along that shore.
Fortunately for us the fog remained lifted long enough to enable us to pass between one of those reefs and the shore, soon after rounding the point that shut the city from our view, thus saving a circumnavigation of several miles. But hardly had we made the last rock which served as a pilot through the reef, when the cloudy curtain dropped again around us, completely shutting out all view of the shore. In three hours, however, the curtain was again opened, and the first mountains and bluffs, receding vales and wooded ranges of Oregon burst upon our view.
The sudden clearing of the sea and shore was soon accounted for by the northwest breeze that freshened rapidly into a gale of wind, driving fog banks far behind us. But the scenery along the shore relieved us of the sickness into which the plunging of our ship would have hurried us. Off Rouge [sic] River (improperly printed Rogue) we clearly discovered, near nightfall, the tents of miners encamped on the beach, the golden sands of which they are engaged in washing. The character of the people at the settlement, as we learned from a passenger, abundantly sustains the misnomer by which the river is commonly called. We wondered not, when we saw its isolated location, and knew that not a woman blessed the place with a home, nor a preacher with a Sabbath.
About eleven p.m. we came to our anchor off Port Orford. The steamer had been expected, and a night fire that had been kept burning for her guidance into port was still burning near the beach. Our signal gun was answered from the shore by the bursting of a pine log, the pioneer gun of Oregon! Soon a lighter from the beach was receiving freight from the steamer, while boatloads of shoremen boarded us with news from the mines! The town was deserted, and gold excitement at its height! The El Dorado had at last been found! We said nothing, but laughed in the dark as "Gold Bluff" loomed up in our memory, and Trinidad town lots, once sold at a premium, revived on the ear! [The writer in the previous installment had visited Trinidad, then a ghost town.]
We awoke next morning in the fog again. Before noon, however, its gradual lifting revealed the shore, dim in the distance, and a sail to seaward, bound in to the Umpqua--a great relief to the tedium always experienced the day before a voyage ends. The shore, as we approached it during the afternoon, presented the same range of densely wooded hills, occasionally relieved by an opening of green, and occasionally by a deep winding valley that marked the course of a small mountain stream. Not a house, nor a fence, nor even a curl of wigwam smoke betrayed one dweller in the solitude. But the track of the red man could be traced in the vast leafless and almost limbless forests, scathed and destroyed all along the coast by his mountain fires. The track of a thousand storms, too, and the deep impressions on the tumultuous waves could be traced in the bold bluffs that lifted themselves up to their violence, and in the isolated or associated rocks, of every shape and size, that had been worn and ruptured from the shore.
T.D.H., "Letters from Oregon," The Pacific, San Francisco, August 11, 1854, page 2. The three-part letter began in the July 21 issue, and concludes on August 25.
Geological Researches on the Coast.The length of the following communication would preclude its appearance, did it not contain a vast amount of interesting information in relation to the coast north of us, which will render it valuable as a matter of study and of reference. The communication is furnished by N. Scholfield, Esq., a surveyor and geologist of well-known ability and scientific attainments:
On returning from a few months residence at the Umpqua River and its vicinity, in Oregon, during which time I have traveled from two to three hundred miles along the coast, and have also made some incursions in the interior, I propose to give our readers a sketch of some of the geological and mineralogical features of the portion of the coast visited by me, as well as some practical observations relative to the beach gold washings, which occur along the shore in occasional deposits throughout the whole distance.
I left San Francisco in February last, on board the steamer McKim, bound for Coos Bay, but, encountering very rough weather, and experiencing severe gales, we were tossed about for eight or ten days, and considered ourselves fortunate in reaching Crescent City, about one hundred and fifty miles south of our destination. Here a few of us procured mules, and proceeded up the coast by an unfrequented trail, through a country which, till recently, had been totally uninhabited except by Indians, and these were now in a state of excited hostility on some portions of the route. Here, then, our journey begins. I need not trouble you with the incidents of our travel, some of which were fully sufficient in interest and excitement for our own amusement, but will pass to the visible portrait of this "terra incognita."
Crescent City is situated on the southerly side of a low promontory extending from the great Coast Range; the extremity of this promontory forms Cape St. George, and consists of table land, elevated some fifty or sixty feet from the surface of the ocean. This table is underlaid by igneous unstratified rock, which appears mostly in boulders, as shown by the bluffs where they have become denuded by the disintegrating action of the sea, and by boulders composing a reef extending outward. On the north side, this promontory consists of low sands, and in the interior is a shallow laguna of considerable size. The southerly side, at the site of the town, consists of low timber land, scarcely elevated above the possible reach of running tides, or such as are always remembered in old countries by the "oldest inhabitant."
Looking southerly, we see the mountain gorge, where the Klamath debouches to the ocean, some ten or fifteen miles distant, and the "gold bluff," of notable memory, some ten miles further, while Trinidad Head, about forty-five miles, appears dimly in the distance.
Traveling north, after leaving the low promontory, we pass along narrow borders of table land, with swelling hills in the rear, and occasionally mountain spurs and ridges come down to the shore, rendering some of the passes extremely difficult. Several large streams occur, which can only be passed by ferrying or swimming; rocky boulders occur all along in the bluffs, and frequently extend a considerable distance to sea. The rock is of an igneous character, basaltic trap and conglomerate occurring with little variation. In the beds of the streams which we passed are great varieties of pebbles, including quartz, gneiss, and many other varieties. This characteristic holds, with little variation, to Port Orford, about thirty miles northwest from the mouth of Rogue River, or, as it is now called, Gold River, by authority of the Oregon Legislature.
From Port Orford reaching some ten miles and including Cape Blanco is mostly table land, some portions of which has rather an undulating surface; continuing north some twelve miles are low sands extending some miles inland, but from thence to the Coquille River about three miles is a recurrence of the table land; this also continues with a little variation about ten or twelve miles further or near to Cape Gregory. This is a high bold cape with reefs of rocks; the rocks in this vicinity are mostly stratified sandstone. After passing the Cape we arrive at Coos River or Bay, passing which the geological features are suddenly changed; a sand beach, with low sand formation back, extends twenty miles to the Umpqua River and continues twenty miles further to the Siuslaw, extending also about eight miles further to the high promontory whose western verge forms Cape Perpetua. Here then for a distance of about fifty miles we have passed by a hard sandy beach; unbroken, save by the rivers above named, with not a solitary rock on the shore or visible in the sea for the whole distance. This sand formation extends inland, varying from one-fourth of a mile to three miles.
At Cape Perpetua is a recurrence of the igneous unstratified and conglomerate rock, which continues to a point about three miles north of the Alsea River, being about twenty miles north of Cape Perpetua. At this place the sand formation recurs and extends about twenty miles, beyond which another mountain range comes down and terminates at the sea shore, forming "Cape Foul Weather." The above is a hasty panoramic glance of the appearance along the shore; looking inland, these characteristics become all merged in one general confusion of mountains, peaks and ridges, whose only system or symmetry consists in their total irregularity. This feature holds through a width of from fifty to seventy-five miles, when the country becomes more open and is variously carved and chiseled into mountains and valleys, here exposing the bright color of the precious ore to the delving of the hardy miner, and these spreading a green carpet, profusely studded with fragrant flowers, inviting the repose of the industrious husbandman and careful herdsman.
Where is a fitter place than this for the development of man's noble destiny? Where the peaks of the mountain, by his side, like the spires of a church point heavenward, directing thither his nobler aspirations. Let him but ascend to the summit of one and he sees in unmistakable characters in the next the word Excelsior! Let him ascend this also and he sees repeated beyond and around him Excelsior! Excelsior! With this motto photographically impressed on his soul his destiny is certain.
Recurring to the Pacific shore we find at various places along the beach deposits of gold, commingled with gravel and sand; this gold is mostly in fine scales, and always accompanied by black sand. The richest deposits yet discovered are those in the vicinity of Gold River, the Coquille, and Cape Blanco, at which places especially the former two, for miles in extent along the beach, which in some localities yield liberally to the persevering efforts of the miner.
And beside these localities gold in small quantities and in fine particles, technically called "the color" exists all along on the shore, from Cape St. George to the Alsea River. I have found it at the Coos, the Umpqua, and the Siuslaw rivers, and in the vicinity of the Alsea. It is known to exist further south than the limits of my examination, and I have no doubt they extend further north.
These deposits are found from one to three feet below the surface of the bench between the ebb and flow of the tides, and are covered at such depth with refuse sand and gravel. The gold thus deposited exists in a stratum of sand and gravel of an inch or so, to one or two feet in thickness, underlaid by a bed of blue clay or of hard gravel.
Much speculation has existed among miners and others relative to the source of this gold, and the manner of its deposit; some have supposed it to have been carried out of the adjacent rivers in fine scales, with the sand, and thrown on the shore by the upheaving of the waves; others, that it is thrown up in like manner from the bed of the ocean, where they suppose there exists an inexhaustible supply; others still, suppose it to be deposited in some way by the washing of the bluff, for these deposits are in nearly all cases found opposite such bluffs, which are the termini of disintegrating table land; but they have not been able to show why it should exist in such quantity in deposit, when it is known that although gold is found to be extensively dispersed through the different strata of the bluff, yet the deposit in any given area is many times greater than all which exists in an equal area through all the different strata of the bluff from the surface downward.
The explanation I offered and theory I advanced some months ago, in a communication more ample than this, embracing a greater variety of detail, and designed for publication elsewhere, is substantially as follows:
It being admitted, as observation shows, that fine gold, though sparsely scattered, exists in most or all the strata composing the bluffs, which in nearly all cases exist opposite the deposits; I imagine that by the action of the waves at the foot of the bluff; at extreme high tides, the bank is undermined, and the crumbling portions deposit the heavier particles of gold at the base; and by the agitation caused by the rolling surf the sand and gravel on the surface become disturbed, and the heavier particles of gold and black sand settle to the lowest accessible points among the lighter sand and gravel of the beach thus disturbed, which is usually in contact, or nearly so with some stratum too unyielding or too low to be thus disturbed by the waves; and as this process proceeds continually, that deposited at one period near the base of the bluff will after a lapse of ages, by the recession of the bluff, be found at considerable distance therefrom; which, on account of the slope of the beach, although at first deposited at some depth, is now become exposed to the direct action of the surf, which action forces it up again to extreme high water line, where the agitation again causes it to become embedded as before, and hence as this action continues through a long succession of ages, or during the destruction of a large extent of land, we have deposited the gathered wealth of all the disintegrated land for unknown ages, laved and accumulated by the rolling action of the waves; and that which was once scattered as the winds is in this manner collected by Nature's mechanical laboratory for the use of man. How grateful ought the successful miner to be, to the power which has thus so diligently collected and kept in store for him this deposit.
These deposits do in all cases, and, I imagine, can only exist consequent on the disintegration of a stratified formation; secondary, as composed to the primal range. For although it should be shown that gold exists among all the materials composing the hills and mountains; yet the accumulation could only be effected on a stratified bed of a sufficient consistence and uniformity, and at a suitable depression below the flow of the tide to receive and hold the current deposit and accumulations. These qualities cannot exist in an unstratified formation; for in such case, no uniform bed would be formed to receive and retain it, but the gold first deposited would become in a manner indefinitely commingled with the accompanying gravel; and if by continual agitation it should not at first be caused to descend too far, it would by the subsequent action--as it should be nearly exposed by the slope of the bank, become again so disturbed as to seek and acquire a lower station, and would so continue. Hence no accumulation could exist; and no more would exist in any given area on the beach than formerly existed in an equal area in the superior strata of the bluff. The stratum containing the gold deposit is usually found underlaid by a bed of blue clay, or gravel, or hard sand, which bed is always an original stratum and base of the bluff. The deposit seldom approaches nearer than eight or ten feet to the angle of the bluff; nor does it often continue fully to the line of ebb tide.
The deposits in the vicinity of Gold River extend about two miles south and nearly eight miles north, with occasional interruptions by rocky bluffs intervening. The table bluff, on the south tide, is low, not exceeding ten or fifteen feet--the land being sandy for a mile or so back, and nearly destitute of soil; but that on the north side is from thirty to eighty feet high, and covered with a soil of rich vegetable mold two feet deep, underlaid by a substratum of clay. Below this is gravel and sand alternately, with occasional rocky boulders. On the beach are many large oval-shaped pebbles of gneiss, measuring from two to five inches across and from one to two inches thick, being originally deposited from the bluff. Some of the mining claims here yield rich returns. Evidence exists that a large extent of table land has here yielded to the encroachments of the sea; for extensive reefs of rocks, such as are exposed by the bluff, extend in some places many miles at sea.
The deposits in the vicinity of the Coquille River are in many respects similar to those just described, and are of equal or greater richness. They commence about two miles south of the river, where the beach is considerably interrupted by rocks, and extends, with some few interruptions, for about twelve miles north. At a distance of five miles from the Coquille is Randolph City--a mining town of about one hundred houses. Here the bluff is about sixty feet high, and its stratification, observed by me, is as follows, viz:
Here in the peat stratum, and in the blue clay are the remains of a forest, buried some fifty feet below the surface. These consist of the trunks and limbs of trees lying horizontally, the stumps and roots in their natural positions in the blue clay or peat, which was originally the soil on which they grew; large trees and stumps several feet in diameter, in a tolerable state of preservation, are numerous. On the beach are immense numbers of blocks of petrified wood, partly rounded by attrition. These I found, on examination, are the debris of the fourth and fifth strata in the bluff. A great variety of pebbles, including all the prismatic colors, and many of them translucent, are lying on the beach, also deposited from the bluff. The components of the bluff at Cape Blanco are mostly similar to those at Gold River, except that there is a stratum of sea shells high up in the bluff in some places. Some of the deposits here, though more limited, have yielded extremely well. The washings at Port Orford are of this formation.
It is asked where was this fine gold derived, and how was it originally disposed in the bluff or table land where it is known to exist? We may ask, at the same time, how and when was this table land formed; what convulsions or what event caused whole forests, swamps, and hillocks to be buried at a depth of some fifty feet by alternating strata of gravel and sand? Was it at a certain period of the earth's history that these shores, that these mountains and hills were submerged, were lost in the ocean, and then by the hand of Omnipotence taken up and rinsed, as man would rinse a fleece, suffering the washings from a thousand hills to be gathered in horizontal strata, as planes in the valley? Was it by recurring surges of the great, the mighty deep that these shores, these hills, were submerged and reclaimed? Then, indeed, we may suppose the gold, as it may have had an anterior existence among the hills, should accompany the other disrupted integrals, and become a component of the table lands, and of the deposits thereby imposed.
Our inquiry is no removed but one step further. How was it originally disposed among the hills? Did it originally exist in solution, or in combinations, as with quartz, distributing itself as other gross materials, and afterwards set free from its solvent or matrix? or was it thrown up by internal convulsions from the bowels of the earth, distributing itself in golden flakes, as snow on the hilltops and in the valleys? Each may answer according to his fancy, or may still remain in doubt.
North of Cape Perpetua is a bluff and beach, similar in many of its features to that at Randolph. A forest is here, in like manner, buried some thirty feet beneath a superincumbent mass of gravel and sand; a stratum of peat, three or four feet thick is exposed in the bluff; black sand is abundant on the beach. Gold exists here, but it is extremely fine--scarcely more than microscopic. The accumulation has not taken place here as in other places referred to, either on account of its extreme fineness or the lack of a proper stratum for a bed. The gold, which was "prospected" by some experienced miners from the gold beach at Randolph, at my suggestion, is found more generally diffused in the sand, but is immensely finer. It was deemed to be impracticable to work the beach profitably at present; but with cheapened labor and improved machinery, it may be done. All the beach gold I have yet seen north of Cape Gregory is extremely fine like this above described. Let it not be supposed that because gold is so generally diffused along this part of the Pacific Coast that profitable washings exist „on all places on the beach, or that their occurrence is only accidental. These only occur at such locations where a stratified formation has been disintegrated, and a suitable substratum for a bed exists, and a beach is formed thereon. I would as soon look for gold at the foot at the table bluff at Cape St. George, or that at Point Conception in the south, as at Cape Blanco, if a proper beach and suitable circumstances for its collection existed at those former places.
I have only glanced at subjects of geological and mineralogical interest of which this portion of the coast is fruitful. Copious indications of coal exist through all this section; a vein has recently been struck about three miles south of Gold River. Large fields of it exist between the Coquille and Coos rivers. Indications are abundant on the Umpqua and Siuslaw rivers. Lead ore is reported to exist at the Alsea River. Having been employed by residents of Empire City and Coos Bay to make a reconnaissance of their coal fields with a view of connecting them with the city and bay by a railway, I found the distance of the outcropping of one of the principal veins to be about three miles from the city, and at an elevation of about 249 feet above the wharf at that place, and moreover a highly practical route for a railroad with a descending grade to the bay. The coal veins, which vary from two to ten feet in thickness, run horizontally through the bluff, and are miles in extent. Some veins of the coal are immediately on the bay, but those referred to above are considered the most pure and valuable.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, August 26, 1854, page 2
THE ROGUE RIVER COUNTRY.--A correspondent of the California Farmer gives the following description of this, the finest portion of Oregon:
Since my return I have paid a visit to the famed Rogue River, and if I had every gift of language, I could not find words to convey to you my exceeding delight. The river called Rogue River is a most beautiful sheet of water, commanding at its mouth a good and safe harbor for inland trade, abounding with immense quantities of fine salmon, and would afford not only the most accessible but the most lucrative salmon fisheries in this region. The lands adjoining and in the immediate vicinity of its entrance into the ocean are of the most valuable class for grazing and farming purposes. The winter, I am informed, is the most pleasant part of the year, and the heat not greater than a Maryland May.
The timothy grows in common, together with luxuriant bluegrass and red top, which you well know render the lands of Kentucky so extremely valuable for grazing purposes. A visit to this place is worth a trip across the Atlantic.
You would be surprised to see the herds of the most beautiful cattle that luxuriate upon the gentle slopes of the hillsides, so burdened with fat as to render them dull and sluggish; and what is most remarkable, they become fat and fit for the market in 6 or 8 weeks after being taken from the drove. The lands which I have alluded to are government lands, and can be secured by the preemption law; and for a very small expenditure, certain points can be secured to control a very extensive range of grazing country.--[John S. Webster.
Sacramento Daily Union, February 13, 1856, page 2
LETTER FROM OREGON.Wabash Express, Terre Haute, Indiana, October 25, 1854, page 1
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY, O.T.The health in this valley is very good. I have heard of some chills. We have peace in our Indian borders. For a while there were some indications of war, but the difficulties are settled and now a prospect of peace. The climate here is pleasant in the summer season. It is true, it gets very warm in July and August. The thermometer rises to 100 or 110 degrees. Generally in the afternoon there is a fresh breeze, and the nights are cool and pleasant. Harvesting here is much more pleasant than in the States. We have no rust, but some smut, and in some fields of wheat this season a good deal. At this time, and from the first of July until the fall rains set in, the grass and other wild vegetation is dried up. But notwithstanding it is so dry, the grass is nutritious and stock thrive on it. But so soon as rain falls the dry grass rots and then feed is scarce until the grass grows, which is not long, and from that time until the dry season the range improves. Times are dull in all this coast country at this present period. The great cause of it has been found in the farmer's neglecting their farms and running after gold, being consumers and not producers. But they have discovered a better policy and are going to farm in good earnest. There is at this time double the wheat in the Territory that there has been in former years, and will be still heavier crops sown this fall. Mining is about at an average of what it has been in former years. Once in a while new diggings are found that pay very well.
Aug. 13, 1854.
The rain commenced here on the 21st inst., and has produced a great change in the appearance of things, having had no rain of any consequence for three months. We are now preparing to plow for the next crop of wheat. The present crop of wheat is good, that is, all that was sown early enough.
Northern California at Yreka, and Scott's Valley a few miles from Yreka, I am much pleased with. The grazing is the finest I ever saw in any country, having at this time an abundance of fresh green grass, clover and pea vines. It is near the best mining region in the country. Times, though considered hard, are good. Wheat and vegetables bear a good price. Milk is worth $1.00 per gallon, and butter $1.50 per pound.
My intention now is to sell out and move to Scott's Valley. As soon as I get my wheat sown, I shall go to that valley and lay a claim and send my hands over with a team and plow to put in a crop of spring wheat and make garden, and so soon as I can arrange business, move.
DR. WM. MILLER.
(Correspondence of the Public Ledger.)
LETTER FROM OREGON.
Life in Oregon--Land Claims--Meeting--Indians, &c. &c.
Sterling City, Oregon TerritoryMessrs. Editors:--As the tide of immigration is flowing towards this country, and many are leaving the good old Keystone to seek a home in the Far West, a voice from Oregon might not be uninteresting to your numerous readers--the world, I might say--for through your columns, correspondents are heard throughout the globe. This country has been misrepresented in many respects in the States, as all new countries ever will be; the bright side over displayed, the success of the few trumpeted forth in glowing colors; the toil, the hardships and sufferings that thousands daily endure, with the vain hope to amass a fortune, and after years of perseverance and suffering in body and mind are unable to save enough to carry them to their once-happy homes, is never spoken of. Yet this country is not all bad, but very different from what the mass that come here expect to find it. The greater part of the Territory is very mountainous, this part particularly, though the Rogue River Valley is but a few miles from this place. It is a beautiful valley, about twenty miles long, and from one to five wide, and good farming land, but suffers much for want of water. On one side of this valley is the much talked-of Table Rock, from which Indian Sam was heard the distance of six miles giving orders to his men last summer, during the war.
October 17, 1854
The land claims in this valley are all taken up, as indeed are most of the farmable lands in Oregon. The Willamette and Umpqua, the principal valleys in Oregon, are much larger and yield large crops of grain. Though all those beautiful valleys are taken up, not more than one quarter of it is under cultivation, owing to the fact that, under the old law, settlers were allowed such large claims that now they have so much more land than they can use and will not let anyone else have it. Many will come to this country expecting to get good farms by settling on them, who will be sadly disappointed, and their only resort will be to the mines. There they will find that speculators hold all the claims and the only way to get into them will be to buy at an exorbitant price, and seldom take out more than the claim costs. A great deal of gold is found in this part of Oregon, but it is what the miners call "spotted," so that but few make their pile, whilst thousands make but little more than board, but work on them day to day, in the hope that they will yet make it "big." Provisions and everything for sale in the mines are high; common brown sugar sells for 37½ cents; coffee the same; bacon, 37½ to 40; tobacco, $1.17 per lb.; salt, $5 for 20-lb. sack, and all other goods in like proportion. In all mining districts there is a grocery for every twenty or thirty men, and every grocery has a bar attached, where the commonest kind of liquor is sold at 25 cents per glass. The gaming table found in all groceries is seldom unoccupied; in fact, it seems as though men in this country had lost all self-respect, have no ambition, and are perfectly reckless of what their future fate may be.
No respect whatever is paid to the Sabbath--all stores are open and all gaming tables full, barkeepers busy at work--gambling and drinking going on as if God had no claim on the inhabitants of this country. Women are scarce here (in the mines). It may be that their gentle influence might have some effect in arresting vice, and restoring morality, if it could be felt among men who once regarded them as "God's best gift to man."
This country, now, is quite thickly settled, and the immigration from the States seems to be on the increase. Some few have arrived from across the plains, and many more are on the way. This season great trouble is apprehended from the Indians, and several companies have gone out to meet the immigration from this and other parts of Oregon. Scarcely had they left when news came by express that eight men were killed and four women and children taken prisoners by the Snake Indians, about six hundred miles from this place, and the next express brought the news that they had also killed the women and children--the particulars of which you will no doubt have in the paper as soon as you will receive this. The Indians here are peaceable, now, towards the whites, though they frequently have disturbances among themselves, caused by killing one another, but they generally settle such difficulties by paying the friends of the Indian killed a horse or the gun or squaw, according to the value set upon the Indian killed. Such is the Indian idea of justice in this country. Well, I suppose there is many a white murderer gets off in the States with less cost. Some two months ago we had reason to prepare for war with them, caused by a white man, on Galice Creek, shooting an Indian who figured conspicuously last summer in the war. He was one of a party who killed eight white men whose hair can yet be seen amongst the brush on the banks of Galice Creek, at the sight of which every white man swears vengeance against every Indian accused of the murder. The same Indian who was killed helped to rob and then shot at a man from Philadelphia (since returned). The ball struck a tree but a few inches from his left breast.
Few persons in the States, except returned Californians or Oregonians, can form any idea of a life in the mines in the summer season. The trading posts are the only houses, and some of them only tents. The miners cook for themselves (no women)--cooking utensils consist of camp kettle and frying pan, which together with pick, shovel and gold pan form a miner's outfit--sleep on the ground, with only a blanket for bed and bedding. In the rainy season they build up log houses to cook and sleep in, and work out in the rain and mud more than half the winter.
The goods are packed to this place, about one hundred miles, on mules, about three hundred [pounds] to a mule, and from twenty to one hundred in a train, which are never tied up and fed, but turned loose at night to hunt their own food. The Indians here are very lazy, but few of them will work. They go from camp to camp with their children tied to a board and hung on the squaw's back, every day, begging for food. There are many different tribes in Oregon, and nearly all speak a different language. The Chinook jargon, a language said to be introduced amongst them by the Hudson Bay Company, is understood by most of them. The whites soon learn it, and so can readily converse with the natives, but few of them learn our language. They are now holding a council amongst themselves concerning one of their tribe, who has been killed by one of another tribe. An old Indian has been speaking nearly two hours, in sight of where I now write. His speech was one that might astonish some of our best orators. It was no studied speech for effect; there is no cultivation there, yet the argument was good and delivered with a feeling that could not be assumed; it was nature itself. He has just closed, and so must I. Perhaps I have already written more than will interest your numerous readers, if this should ever grace the pages of that sheet I once so loved to read, but now so seldom see.
Respectfully yours, O. J. E. [Orange Jacobs Esquire?]Public Ledger, Philadelphia, December 28, 1854, page 1
In the autumn of 1854, while on a business trip to Southern Oregon, I was overtaken by ex-Judge Pratt, on his way to Jacksonville to get acquainted with the people, as he intended to become a candidate before the Democratic convention to be held in the following spring to nominate a delegate to Congress. As I was for Lane and knew pretty well how he stood in the estimation of the people in the southern counties, I ventured to suggest to him that he would encounter much opposition in that section. He, however, nothing daunted, believed that he could readily overcome it. He was a man of rare qualities, a good lawyer and a learned judge. He was very proud and dignified, a fine talker and a very entertaining man. He was readily the peer of the foremost men of the territory, and by many regarded the superior of all. We stopped at the Robinson House, kept at that time by its proprietor, Dr. Robinson, who was a Whig. He treated his guests with great courtesy and much consideration, as his name was well known and he had been much in evidence in the papers of that day.
I left the judge with the host, with the request that he introduce him to persons who might come into the hotel, which he promised to do, and I went out to see some people on business. On returning to the hotel later, I found the judge busily engaged in "making his canvass." He stood before the bar, a thing he was never known to do before in Oregon. He was arrayed in a faultless suit, including a silk hat and a high shirt collar. In the parlance of the times, he wore a "stove-pipe hat" and a "biled shirt with a stake-and-ridered collar." His boon companions were miners in their rough garb, ranged along the bar on both sides of him. The judge was a good talker, and he was giving them the best he had for the occasion, and they were listening with apparent interest. As soon as they caught his drift, however, they looked at each other knowingly, as they were ardent admirers of General Lane, having met him during the Indian war of the year previous. One tall miner reached down to his boot, drew out a long knife and took the silk hat off the judge's head, saying, "This stove-pipe is too high by a j'int." Suiting the action to the word, he slashed it into two parts, and slapping the parts together, put it back on the judge's head. Pratt took this all in good part, and set up the drinks, which at this juncture was the only thing in order.
Pratt had long, curly hair, black and glossy. The miner's next performance was to cut off a lock, saying as he did so that it was the "puttiest ha'r he had ever seed," that he must have just one lock for a keepsake, and that he hoped no offense to him, as he loved him. With that he threw his arms around the judge and gave him a good hug. With a wonderful exhibition of good nature and tact, Pratt took it all pleasantly. This somewhat nonplussed the miner, and if he had any further designs upon his victim he evidently abandoned them, as he remarked, on putting away his knife, that he would not take off the top rail of his "stake-and-ridered" collar.
They bade each other good night and parted, apparently the best of friends. The next morning I complimented the judge upon his successful entrance upon his canvass, and he seemed to be very well satisfied with the outcome of it. He had seen much of the world, but this was the first time he had seen this corner of it. He went over to Sterling the next day and then returned to the Willamette Valley.
George E. Cole, Early Oregon: Jottings of Personal Recollections of a Pioneer of 1850, 1905, pages 66-68
OREGON.-- By the arrival of the Columbia from Portland, Oregon, at San Francisco, we have the following items of Oregon news up to August 20. Great improvements have been made throughout Umpqua Valley during the past year. Sawmills, grist mills, and good substantial dwellings are being erected.
Illinois Daily Journal, Springfield, October 7, 1854, page 3
ILLINOIS VALLEY, about forty-two miles from Crescent City, is some fifteen miles long and fifteen wide, and well adapted to agriculture. The valley is well watered and there are already a number of farms under cultivation, on which during the past summer an abundance of vegetables, melons and pumpkins have been raised. Here are also the mines of Sailor Diggings, to which water has been brought, in two ditches, at a cost of $75,000, and which are calculated to give steady employment to 1500 miners.
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY is about one hundred miles by present circuitous road from Crescent City. We learn that in twenty townships 230,000 acres, or 360 square miles, have already been surveyed. Numerous valleys of lesser size, for instance Applegate Valley, embosom the gold-bearing confluents of Rogue River. This section, situated near the boundary line of Oregon, already famous for its productive mines, will at an early day become not less celebrated for its agricultural wealth. Jacksonville and Sterlingtown are at present the principal towns there.
"Agriculture," The Pacific, San Francisco, December 1, 1854, page 2
THINGS IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding there is a prevalent disposition on the part of some of those who sojourn among us to cry down everything in Oregon, and a proclivity to institute invidious comparisons between the old States and their nativity, and this new country, Oregon still continues to progress, as fast as any Territory which ever belonged to the Union.
Oregon, very naturally, in the last four years, has seen many changes--and changes for the better in most instances. Four years ago people complained of the scarcity of merchandise, and the conveniences and comforts of life in the way of products of the farm, comfortable tenements and congenial associations. Then, gold was relatively plenty in our midst. Now, by the course and fortune of trade, the shining ore is not so plentiful as formerly, and the complaint is now grumbled forth that the money is all gone from the country. But is Oregon less prosperous now than then? Are her people less happy and contented? Is her population which has increased from 15,000 to 50,000 no permanent acquisition to the country?
Four years ago one small river steamer, the Columbia, made a trip occasionally between Astoria and Portland, Milwaukie and Oregon City. This constituted all the steam power that then navigated the waters of the Columbia. Her place has been filled by not less than eight river steamers, five of which run daily on the waters of the lower Willamette and Columbia rivers. The upper Willamette has now three or four steamers on its waters where four years ago the row boat and Indian canoe constituted its whole navigating fleet. Then it was several days travel to Salem in open boats, or by land over bad roads, on jaded ponies. Now a day or so is only required to perform the same journey on board a steamer, or in a comfortable stage.
Four years ago Southern Oregon, with the exception of Umpqua, was not settled. Rogue River Valley was an Indian wild. Since that time three large and wealthy counties almost like magic have sprung into existence, viz: Jackson, Douglas and Coos, while the other counties of the Willamette Valley have steadily increased in population and wealth. All Oregon needs is the development of her natural resources, as the above facts fully demonstrate.
In former times, fortune hunters in great numbers, came here, not for a permanent residence, but to raise the "dimes" and return to the States. In past times Oregon has suffered injury from such policy, but since it has become to be understood that fortunes cannot be accumulated here in a day, the spirit of wild and reckless speculation has given way to a more rational and sound policy in business transactions, and it is better for the permanent interests of the country that this change has taken place. Hitherto Oregon has suffered from the fictitious value placed upon everything, with an idea entertained that no changes could affect them; and Oregon business matters are very much like a fever patient when the malady leaves him, weak, but out of danger. From a hasty general view of Oregon, past and present, which we have seen, we are inclined to the belief that Oregon was never, in all respects, so permanently prosperous as at present, though the money market be stringent, and a general disposition manifested by the "croaking" fraternity to find fault and cry the country down.--Times.
San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, California, December 22, 1854, page 2
We have been favored with the perusal of a long and quite interesting letter from Mr. Thomas Arundell, dated Rogue River Valley, Oregon, October 6th, 1854, which we must content our readers with an abstract of, owing to the crowded state of our columns and the multiplicity of communications on hand.
Mr. A. is not an admirer of Oregon and, judging from the tone of his letter, would gladly exchange a residence there for one in Iowa, his former place of abode. He says the country is shut out from the balance of the world, the climate is disagreeable and unhealthy, the territory broken and mountainous, the soil sterile and unproductive and that Oregon would not retain even its present population for any considerable length of time, were it not for the productiveness of the gold diggings. He thinks it better as a grazing, rather than a grain country, but doubts its profitableness in this respect, because of the difficulty of keeping stock together and protecting it from the roving bands of thieving Indians who abound in that country.
Altogether Mr. Arundell is decidedly "fernent" Oregon. He says that thousands in that country are disgusted with it and would leave it if they could dispose of their effects. He says his claim is for sale at $1,000 and if he can sell it, which he thinks very probable next spring, he shall return to Iowa, and be content with less gold and more civilization, refinement and happiness.
The price of grain and provisions is put down at the following figures. Wheat $4.50 per bushel--potatoes 5 cts. per lb.--flour 12½ cts. per lb. and beef from 12 to 20 cents per pound.
Mr. Arundell concludes this letter by hoping that the time he has spent in Oregon will not be marked against him, as he has not lived but merely starved.
Tri-Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, January 6, 1855, page 2
Center Bend, Umpqua Co.,MR. EDITOR:--Permit me through the columns of your excellent paper to inform to public something about the much talked-of land, Oregon, in the far West, and in doing so I will try to represent things as they are, or at least so far as I have a knowledge thereof.
Oregon Ter., Oct. 30, '54.
Oregon is a mountainous country, yet it being large, there is a great deal of good tillable land that produces very well. Some of the finest wheat in the world is raised in Oregon. All kinds of small grain does well, and corn yields a far better crop than I expected to see in this country. I have seen good sound corn that produced 40 bushels to the acre. Vegetables grow fine. As for fruit--apples do first rate, peaches do very well some seasons, and others they do not yield as well on account of their starting too early. The advantages for raising stock are great. We have very little cold weather here and cattle need but very little feed; in fact there is not one man in a hundred that pretends to feed his cattle at all that run at large. We have two crops of grass in a year, fall and spring. It is growing now very fast. People have commenced breaking up prairies and will continue it from now until July next; and will be sowing wheat from now till March next. We are never troubled with rust in this country. The mines of this territory are considered inexhaustible. The more they are worked the more gold is found. The new mines have been opened this season, and they generally prove to be very rich. Some men make their fortunes in a few days, yet there are many who work a long time and make but very little. Wages range from three to fifteen dollars per day in the mines, the general price being from five to eight. This country is impregnated with gold, more or less, throughout. It can be found along most all watercourses, yet not plenty enough to make it profitable at the present high prices of produce and labor, yet in time many places will be worked where people would not think of working at present. As to the health of this country, it can't be surpassed by any in America.
The privilege for shipping is great. The Puget's Sound, the Columbia and the Umpqua rivers are bound to go ahead, as there are splendid harbors where boats and vessels can land in perfect safety. The fir timber grows very large and handsome. The fish are plenty in the rivers and plenty of game in the woods, such as deer, elk, bear, panther and wildcats. The common wages here is about fifty dollars per month.
The Willamette Valley is a splendid country; about one hundred and fifty more in length and will average about sixty in width; it consists of prairie, openings and heavy timbered land, all of which is very rich soil. Land is worth from two to forty dollars an acre, averaging about eight. The Umpqua Valley is very rough, and nearly the size of the Willamette. The Umpqua lies south of the Willamette near the gold mines and near the center of the Territory and affords a good harbor, and will in a short time be the best part of the country.
A.G.L. [probably Abram G. Langdon]Sauk County Standard, Baraboo, Wisconsin, January 10, 1855, page 2
(From the Crescent City Herald.)Smith River Valley and Elk Valley, each from five to six miles long, the former running northwest, to the ocean, the latter south, to Crescent City harbor, form the two legs of an obtuse angle, or the northern and eastern boundary of a tract of country having the shape of a rhomboid, containing about sixty square miles of slightly undulating land, bounded on the west and south by the ocean. This constitutes what we term Crescent City Plains. The southwest corner of this plain is flanked by the promontory of Cape St. George, to the northward, and Rocky Point to the southward; the northeast corner is formed by a portion of the redwood intervening between Smith River and Elk Valley; the bases of Smith River Valley and Elk Valley respectively form the northwest and southeast corners of the same plain.
Our Agricultural Resources--Crescent City Plains.
Crescent City is situated in a recess on the southern boundary line of this plain, between Rocky Point and the base of Elk Valley, where a smooth sand beach forms a crescent for the distance of some two or three miles.
Crescent City plain, as we have already indicated, presents an undulating surface and is intersected by a number of perennial spring branches, brooks and creeks; about one-third of its surface is covered with a heavy and dense growth of timber, spruce and fir; the other two-thirds consist of open prairie, burnt clearings, a lagoon, a small quantity of low marshy land, and some chaparral or brush. No portion of this plain, we believe, is over two hundred feet above the level of the sea.
The land is rich and produces a heavy growth of timber, fine crops of grass and clover, a profusion of wild berries, and on cultivated portions of it have been raised wheat, barley, oats, corn, and cabbages weighing sixteen pounds, turnips and rutabagas weighing from sixteen to twenty-three pounds, and potatoes as much as thirty pounds in one hill.
If our information is correct, about one hundred claims, of 160 acres each, have been located on this plain; some for agricultural and others for grazing purposes.
For the permanence and future prosperity of Crescent City, this plain forms an important feature. It will make homes for several hundred families, and from the fact of its being well watered, its situation, surface and soil varied, [it] is well adapted to furnish all the fresh vegetables and fruits for a large city.
THE COAST RANGE.From the immediate vicinity of Crescent City to Illinois Valley, there is little or no chance for the agriculturist; the country is a confused labyrinth of mountains, precipices, narrow defiles and innumerable watercourses, confluents of Smith River and Illinois River, the latter stream being itself but a tributary to Rogue River.
ILLINOIS VALLEY.About forty-two miles from Crescent City is the next to present a considerable body of arable land, and from such information as we possess, it appears that the valley is about fifteen miles long by fifteen wide, containing perhaps forty square miles of land adapted to agriculture. The valley is well watered, and there are already a number of farms under cultivation, on which, during the past summer, an abundance of vegetables, melons and pumpkins have been raised; here are also the mines of Sailor Diggings, to which water has been brought in two ditches, at a cost of $75,000, and which are calculated to give steady employment to 1500 miners.
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.Passing on over an open, undulating country, presenting facilities to the husbandman of more or less extent, the next and largest body of arable land is found in Rogue River Valley, at a distance of about 100 miles by the present circuitous road from Crescent City. We learn that in twenty townships, 230,000 acres, or 360 square miles, have already been surveyed. Numerous valleys of lesser size (for instance, Applegate Valley) embosom the gold-bearing confluents of Rogue River. This section, situated near the boundary line of Oregon, already famous for its productive mines, will at an early day become not less celebrated for its agricultural wealth. Jacksonville and Sterlingtown are at present the principal towns there.
It is further to be remarked that the northern side of Rogue River Valley was by last year's treaty with the Indians made an Indian reservation and contains a large amount of good land. It will therefore be but a low estimate to compute the amount of arable land in this whole section at 600 square miles.
Across the Siskiyou Range of mountains and to the south of Klamath River we notice also three valleys, affording superior inducements for agriculture.
TRINITY FLAT.From the best information we can get, this valley is situated about twelve miles above the junction of Trinity and Klamath rivers, and contains about fifteen square miles of fine arable land. As yet there exists very little or no direct communication between Crescent City and Trinity River.
SCOTT'S VALLEY.We have had occasion in previous numbers of the Herald to allude to the richness of this valley, and to the activity already displayed there in the various branches of husbandry. It is situated some ten miles above the junction of Scott's and Klamath rivers, at a distance of 120 miles by the present winding and imperfect trail from Crescent City, and contains not less than 100 square miles of arable land. The rich diggings on Scott's River occupy at least 2000 miners.
YREKA OR SHASTA PLAINS.Our information as to the agricultural facilities of the Shasta Plains are very limited. It is, however, well known that on Shasta River, and even in the immediate vicinity of Yreka, there are already many farms under cultivation, and assuming the amount of arable laud in this section to be 80 square miles we fall probably short of the reality.
Sacramento Daily Union, December 1, 1854, page 1
STERLINGVILLE.--This is the name of a flourishing mining precinct in Siskiyou [sic] County, about eight miles distant from Rogue River. The population consists of six or eight hundred miners and traders. There are eight well-stocked stores, two gambling saloons, one billiard saloon, one tenpin alley, four boarding houses, one blacksmith shop, and one livery stable. The farmers from the Rogue River region come in every few days with different articles of produce, which they dispose of readily at fair prices. The stock of provisions about the place is small, and high prices are looked for. It is believed that if the miners had an abundance of water, the aggregate yield would be greater than in '49. The practicability of bringing in the waters of Applegate Creek is being agitated, and the enterprise will receive the hearty approval of the people of the place and also that of the citizens of Jacksonville.
Sacramento Daily Union, December 21, 1854, page 2
THINGS IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding there is a prevalent disposition on the part of some of those who sojourn among us, to cry down everything in Oregon, and a proclivity to institute invidious comparisons between the old states and their nativity and this new country, Oregon still continues to progress as fast as any Territory which ever belonged to the Union.
Oregon, very naturally, in the last four years, has seen many changes--and changes for the better in most instances. Four years ago people complained of the scarcity of merchandise, and the conveniences and comforts of life, in the way of products of the farm, comfortable tenements and congenial associations. Then, gold was relatively plenty in our midst. Now, by the course and fortune of trade, the shining ore is not so plentiful as formerly, and the complaint is now grumbled forth that the money is all gone from the country. But is Oregon less prosperous now than then? Are her people less happy and contented? Is her population which has increased from 15,000 to 50,000 no permanent acquisition to the country?
Four years ago one small river steamer, the Columbia, made a trip occasionally between Astoria and Portland, Milwaukie and Oregon City. This constituted all the steam power that then navigated the waters of the Columbia. Her place has been filled by not less than eight river steamers, five of which run daily on the waters of the lower Willamette and Columbia rivers. The upper Willamette has now three or four steamers on its waters where four years ago the rowboat and Indian canoe constituted its whole navigating fleet. Then it was several days travel to Salem in open boats, or by land over bad roads, on jaded ponies. Now a day or so is only required to perform the same journey on board a steamer, or in a comfortable stage.
Four years ago Southern Oregon, with the exception of Umpqua, was not settled. Rogue River Valley was an Indian wild. Since that time three large and wealthy counties almost like magic have sprung into existence, viz: Jackson, Douglas and Coos, while the other counties of the Willamette Valley have steadily increased in population and wealth. All Oregon needs is the development of her natural resources, as the above facts fully demonstrate.
In former times, fortune hunters in great numbers came here, not for a permanent residence, but to raise the "dimes" and return to the States. In past times Oregon has suffered injury from such policy, but since it has become to be understood that fortunes cannot be accumulated here in a day, the spirit of wild and reckless speculation has given way to a more rational and sound policy in business transactions, and it is better for the permanent interests of the country that this change has taken place. Hitherto Oregon has suffered from the fictitious value placed upon everything, with an idea entertained that no changes could affect them; and Oregon business matters are very much like a fever patient when the malady leaves him, weak, but out of danger.
From a hasty general view of Oregon, past and present, which we have seen, we are inclined to the belief that Oregon was never, in all respects, so permanently prosperous as at present, though the money market be stringent, and a general disposition manifested by the "croaking" fraternity to find fault and cry the country down.--Times.
San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, California, December 22, 1854, page 2
Last revised March 31, 2021