Statistics and travelers' descriptions.
ROGUE'S RIVER.Within the long stretch just referred to is found the entrance of Rogue's River, in latitude 42° 25' N., and longitude 124° 22' W. (both approximate), having a long, low, sąndy point on the south side, and a high, steep hill, with two large rocks off its base at the north side. It comes from the interior between high mountains, and it is next to impossible to travel along its course. Just within the entrance and on the north side were large Indian villages in 1853. When passing it in moderate northwest weather the sea was breaking heavily across the bar, and this is reported to be generally the case. It has not been examined or surveyed, and the depth of water on the bar is variously reported from 10 to 18 feet; the former, doubtless, nearer the truth. McArthur reports ten feet on the bar, but that the channel is too narrow for sailing vessels to turn in. In the [summer of 1849] the New York pilot boat W. G. Hackstaff entered the river, and we believe was attacked by the Indians, deserted, plundered, and burnt. The next vessel that entered was the schooner Sam Roberts, in [the summer of 1850], which got out safely. We know of no other vessels ever having made the attempt.
Near the entrance commences the detached deposits of auriferous sand and gravel, which are found northward along the coast to the Coquille River.
The name of the river was suggested by the dishonest propensities of the natives in its vicinity. On the maps it is called Tututnis, and the Too-too-tut-na or Klamath. These names, we judge, have arisen from misapprehension, because the Indians hereabouts, when asked a question which they do not understand, answered toó-ta, toó-ta; toó-ta signifying negation, and rendered more emphatic by repetition. Or the name may be derived from what is called the Too-too-tan village, some distance up the river. That existing (1853) on the north head of the mouth of the river is Tar-shoots. Several campaigns have been made against the Rogue River Indians, and they have been found a warlike and troublesome race; but the manner in which they were treated by some of the early settlers was well calculated to rouse them to a war of retaliation.
ROGUE'S RIVER REEF.The rocky islets composing this reef are not so large as the Dragon Rocks, and run more nearly parallel with the coast line. The southern group of rocks lies W. ½ N., about four miles from the north head of the entrance to Rogue's River, and stretches northward three miles, where a gap occurs between them; and another cluster lying a mile and a half off shore. Off this inner group lie several dangerous sunken rocks, which must be sharply watched from aloft when the sea is not heavy enough to break upon them. As seen from the southward, the inside rock of the outer group shows a perpendicular face eastward, and sloping back to the west. The channel through this reef is perhaps a mile wide, but more dangerous than any other on the coast. No hydrographic survey has been made of it, and it is never used by the coasting steamers. In 1853 the Coast Surveying steamer passed through it. A view of the reef is given on the Coast Survey sheet of 1853.
Abreast of the northern part of this reef is a five-mile stretch of low sand beach, backed by high, rugged, wooded hills, when the shore changes to an abrupt and precipitous face to Port Orford. Many rocks closely border the shore, and five miles south of Port Orford a high rocky islet lies nearly a mile off the base of the hill, about 1,000 feet high.
PORT ORFORD.This is by far the best summer roadstead on the coast between Los Reyes and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. From the extremity of the SW. point eastward to the main shore the distance is two miles, and from this line the greatest bend of the shore northward the distance is one mile. The soundings within this space range from 16 fathoms close to Tichenor's Rock [Humbug Mountain], forming the SW. point of the bay, to three fathoms within one-quarter of a mile of the beach on the northeast side; with five fathoms at the base of the rocky points on the northwest side towards Tichenor's Rock. One mile off the shores of the bay the average depth is about 14 fathoms, regularly decreasing inshore.
The point forming the western part of the bay presents a very rugged, precipitous outline, and attains an elevation of 350 feet. Its surface is covered with excellent soil and with a sparse growth of fir. From this point the shore becomes depressed to about 60 feet at the northern or middle part of the shore of the bay, where the town is located. The hills behind are covered with a thick growth of fir and cedar.
The anchorage is usually made with the eastern end of the town bearing north, being just open to the east of a high rock on the beach, in six fathoms water, hard bottom, having a sharp, high point bearing NW. by W. one-quarter of a mile distant, the beach in front of the town distant a quarter of a mile, and three rocks just in the three-fathom line E. by N., distant half a mile. Steamers anchor a little to the eastward of this position, and closer to the town, in four fathoms. Coasters from the south in summer beat up close inshore, stretching inside of the outlying islets to avoid the heavy swell outside. Coming from the northward they keep just outside of a high rock one-third of a mile off the western head, and round Tichenor's Rock within half a mile. In winter, anchor far enough out to be ready to put to sea when a southeaster comes up. During a protracted gale in December, 1851, a terrible sea rolled in that no vessel could have ridden out The old steamer Sea Gull was driven northward, and lost two weeks in regaining her position, and the mail steamer Columbia hardly held her own for many hours off the Orford reef.
The usual landing is between the rock called Battle Rock, north of the anchorage, and the point of rock close on its west side. A road is cut from here up to the town, which consists of but a few houses. Sometimes a landing is made on the rocky beach a quarter of a mile westward of Battle Rock, in the bight, where a sloping grassy bluff comes to the water; but this landing is over a rocky bottom. A road is cut up the slope to the site of the military post of Fort Orford, which is now abandoned.
From "Battle Rock" the shore eastward is skirted by sand beach for 1¾ mile to a rough, rocky point called Coal Point. About midway in this distance empties a small creek, whose banks are composed of a deposit of auriferous sand and gravel, the same as found in front of the town abreast of Battle Rock, and which has yielded as high as $30 to $40 per diem each miner. Battle Rock was so named because the first adventurers made a stand against the Indians upon this rock in June, 1851. Coal Point was so named from the reported existence of coal in this vicinity.
Several attempts have been made to open a road from this place to the mines, about 60 or 70 miles eastward, but thus far without success. Several parties have gone through, but could find no direct available route for pack animals. Upon the opening of such a road it would become a large depot of supply for the interior. In the neighborhood of Port Orford are found immense quantities of the largest and finest white cedar on the coast, and for some years a sawmill has been in operation, affording a small supply for the San Francisco market of this lumber, unapproachable in quality by any on the Atlantic coast.
The high mountain about 12 miles east of Port Orford is called Pilot Knob.
The primary astronomical station of the Coast Survey, established here in 1851, is on the top of the ridge just west of the town, at a height of 262 feet above the sea, and within a few yards of the western edge of the bluff. Its geographical position is:
From this station Tichenor's Rock bears S. by W., three-quarters of a mile distant.
The secondary astronomical station (1853) is in front of the town, north of the Battle Rock, and within 50 yards of the edge of the bluff. Its geographical position is:
To find the times of high and low waters, first compute the times for Astoria, and from the numbers thus obtained subtract 1h. 16m. for Port Orford.
This bay was called Ewing Harbor in 1850 by McArthur, but is now known by no other name than Port Orford, from its proximity to Cape Orford. A sketch of it was published by the Coast Survey Office in 1854.
From the western extremity of Port Orford Cape Orford, or Blanco, bears N W. ½ N., distant 6 miles, the shoreline between them curving eastward about a mile. Immediately north of Port Orford it is composed of a very broad loose sand beach, backed by a long uniform sand ridge of 100 feet height, covered with grass, fern, salal bushes, and a few firs; while behind this the ground falls and forms lagoons and marshes. This ridge extends nearly to the mouth of a stream called Elk River, 3½ miles from Tichenor's Rock. This narrow stream, fordable at its mouth at low tides, comes for miles through broad marshes covered with fir and white cedar, and an almost impenetrable undergrowth. The south side at the mouth is low, sandy, and flat; the north side, a slope rising from the marsh inshore and terminating on the beach in a perpendicular bluff, averaging 100 feet high, covered with timber to its very edge for a couple of miles, when the timber retreats some distance inland. The face of this bluff exhibits vast numbers of fossil shells in the sandstone. At its base a sand beach exists which may be traveled at low water.
At the mouth of Elk River, a bottle, nearly buried in the sand, was picked up on the 18th of May, 1860, with a memorandum, stating that it had been thrown from the steamship Brother Jonathan in latitude 42° 00', longitude 124° 50', on the 23rd of March, 1860, the wind at the time strong from the south. It had traveled nearly north about 50 miles.
Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress of the Survey During the Year 1862, Government Printing Office 1864, pages 345-347
JACKSON COUNTY.Jackson County, situated in the extreme southern part of the state, is distinguished both for its agricultural and mineral resources. The valley of Rogue River contains many well-improved farms and old orchards. The placer mines on Rogue River and some of its tributaries, particularly the Applegate, are very productive. Gold-bearing quartz veins of extraordinary richness also exist. Mount McLoughlin, in the eastern part, rises several thousand feet above the line of perpetual snow.
COUNTY SEAT--JACKSONVILLE.--Distance from Salem, 240 miles.
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT.--Hon. P. P. Prim, Judge Circuit Court, sessions, first Monday in February, June and October.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY.--Rufus Mallory, Esq., Roseburg.
SENATOR.--Hon. A. M. Berry, Jackson, 1862.
REPRESENTATIVES.--Hons. J. B. White, J. W. Keeler and J. N. T. Miller.
ATTORNEYS.--Jacksonville, Joseph H. Bledsoe, D. William Douthitt, B. F. Dowell, J. J. Foster, A. Hartz, J. H. Reed, W. G. T'Vault; Phoenix, O. Jacobs.
JOSEPHINE COUNTY.Josephine County is situated in the southern portion of the state--its southern boundary adjoining California. Its predominating interests are gold mining, prosecuted mainly on the Althouse and Applegate creeks and their tributaries. It is abundantly supplied with redwood timber.
COUNTY SEAT--KERBYVILLE.--Distance from Salem, 350 [sic] miles.
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT.--Hon. P. P. Prim, Judge Circuit Court, sessions, third Monday in March, June and October.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY.--Rufus Mallory, Esq., Roseburg.
SENATOR.--Hon. Daniel S. Holton, 1864.
REPRESENTATIVE.--Hon. George T. Vining, Slate Creek.
William H. Knight, ed., Hand-Book Almanace for the Pacific States: An Official Register and Year-Book of Facts for the Year 1862, H. H. Bancroft, San Francisco, 1862, pages 155-156.
Jacksonville and Salmon River Wagon Road Expedition.
Report of Col. John E. Ross.
DESCHUTES RIVER, June 6th, 1862.To the Citizens of Jackson County:
Being entrusted by you with the command of the Jacksonville and Salmon River Wagon Road Expedition, I submit the following brief report of our progress up to this date:
After spending one week in breaking a trail through the snow on the mountains north of Mount McLoughlin, May 24th we left camp and moved up to the snow, and camped on a bald ridge; distance from Rancheria Prairie, ten miles. We lay there until next morning.
May 20th--We started over the mountains at 4 o'clock a.m. and reached a camp, with good grass, five miles east of the snow, at 12 o'clock m. The distance across the snow was ten miles. Camped on a flat near Lake Toqua (commonly called "Klamath Lake"). The snow on the summit of the mountain was from fifteen to eighteen feet deep.
May 26th.--Moved on along the shore of the lake eight miles, and camped on a gravelly prairie three or four mies from the lake. Found good grass. Two miles from this camp we built a bridge across a small stream and over a miry swale.
May 27th.--Cloudy and cool; snowed during the forenoon.
May 28th.--Moved camp from Gravelly Prairie. We could not travel the old trail, on account of its being miry, and much of the way for several miles under water. The lake at this time was so high that it had overflowed its banks and had covered most of the prairie on the west side of the lake. We passed along the base of the mountain for four miles, making a new trail, through dense timber, and over several rocky points. Four miles from Gravelly Prairie we came down on the prairie forming a part of the Lake Valley. The prairie for two miles was mostly under water one to two feet in depth. One mile from the mountain the trail crosses Wood's River. This stream we bridged. At this point the river is forty feet wide and ten or twelve feet deep. After crossing the river, we found the prairie miry. Camped on Woods River, eight miles from Gravelly Prairie.
May 29th --Moved on to Coffee River--distant from Woods River, by route we were compelled to travel, eight miles. Built a raft on Coffee River, and by four o'clock had the train on the opposite bank, where we camped, with good grass. The river, when within its proper banks, is seventy or eighty feet wide and twelve to fifteen feet deep. At this time it was out of its banks, and extended over a surface one hundred yards in width.
May 30th.--Moved four miles to Spring Creek. This stream we were compelled to bridge, and had also to brush the trail fifty yards on the east side. The valley, extending from Wood's River to Spring Creek, is a beautiful prairie of good soil, and contains at least one hundred and fifty sections of good land.
June 1st.--Left camp on Spring Creek. One mile from the creek the trail leaves the valley, and passes over a low divide between Toqua and Klamath Lake. Six miles from Spring Creek the Jacksonville trail passes into the Yreka trail. Eight miles from Spring Creek the trail strikes Williams River. This is the outlet of Klamath lake, and connects it with Toqua. We attempted to pass up near the river, but were unable to do so by reason of the miry nature of the ground. Later in the season the trail along the river and lake can be traveled, and grass undoubtedly found. Twelve miles from the point where we first saw the river is a small stream and good grass. The country is a level, pumice stone bed, covered with a thick growth of small spruce timber. The trail, earlier in the season, had been very miry. The Californians have encountered much difficulty from that cause. We have seen fifty or sixty dead horses and mules lying along the trail and at their camps.
June 2nd.--Made several attempts to get down to Klamath Lake Valley, but was prevented by marshes and miry and springy ground. After fording a swale, finally found a point from which we made the valley without difficulty. Found a large prairie and good grass not more than five miles from last camp, in straight line.
June 3rd.--Explored the route across the valley, with the view of crossing a range of hills east of Klamath Lake Valley. Found it impossible to take the train across at present. We were informed by the Indians that if we could get across the level country, we would find plenty of grass to the emigrant road, the distance of which, from the trail, is not more than five or six miles.
June 4th.--Left camp for the Deschutes. Found the country level, covered with pumice stone and a light growth of timber. Fifteen miles from Klamath Prairie is the best water; a small creek; no grass. Ten miles further is another small creek; no grass. Unpacked and rested the animals here two hours. From this stream to the Des Chutes the country is a little rolling --other wise its natural features are unchanged. We reached a small stream, emptying into Deschutes, at ten o'clock p.m., ten miles from last creek; no grass; camped for the night.
June 5th.--Left camp early. Eight miles from the last camp in the Deschutes. But little grass on the east side at the point where we first reached the stream. On the west side I think grass can be found. At this time the stream was spread out over a surface one hundred yards in width. We here left the river, and eight miles further on found a swale and fair grass, having driven the animals over fifty miles without feed.
June 6th.--Six miles from the swale we reached the Deschutes. From this point down the river the grass is good. We traveled down the river seven miles, then forded up a small stream, and three-fourths of a mile from the river found a fine prairie, on which several companies of Californians were encamped. We shall lay here until June 9th.
We have encountered some difficulties, but have not lost an animal. We have met with no serious accident. The character of the country is changed--the pumice stone has nearly disappeared and sand is found. Later in the season the trail can be shortened very much. I do not think it advisable for parties driving stock north to follow our trail from Klamath Lake Prairie to Deschutes. I do not think it advisable for them to start for at least five or six weeks. I think that, later in the season, cattle can be driven by way of Klamath Lake to the emigrant trail. A company of Californians passed here yesterday, only seven days out from Yreka. We are camped eighteen miles above Union Falls, and are one hundred and ten miles from the Dalles. We intend to leave the west fork at the falls, and strike for the east fork, with a view of traveling around the southeast side of the Blue Mountains.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 5, 1862, page 2
Leaving Salem, a journey of twenty-four hours passes as through Corvallis and Eugene City; and through on exceedingly beautiful and rich agricultural country on to Oakland, where the celebrated. "Baker Mills" are established, producing it is said the finest flour in Oregon. The disasters of the flood were too visible at each and every point, sweeping away bridges and ferries, and destroying property to the extent of thousands of dollars. A large structure across the Umpqua, costing $10,000, was thus carried off--its convenience being now replaced by a ferry. All along the road we passed small parties of emigrants who crossed the Plains this season; some in search of new homes; others to join their friends who years since had preceded them. The Umpqua is a beautiful valley, in a high state of cultivation; the school houses, dotting here a hill, and there a valley, betoken that the education of the youth of the country was not being neglected. Roseburg, the county seat of the Umpqua region, is a gem of a village; streets neatly laid out, and neat, white frame cottages giving the place a rare picturesque beauty; where mountain and dale, and the hand of refined culture, all joined in beautiful harmony. The line of telegraph posts extends throughout this entire distance from Portland to Canyonville--the farthest point south where they are as yet erected. It is fully anticipated to have the line from Salem to Portland in working order by winter; as also the link from Jacksonville to Yreka. The posts are supplied and erected by contract by the farmers and others living along the line, at from $1.25-$2 per post, and the line when completed will cost $200 per mile. Local intelligence and the interest which every citizen feels in the reception of intelligence, now bristling with so much import, will cause this line, as soon as placed in good working order, to pay to the stockholders fair dividends upon their capital. This link between Canyonville and Jacksonville will be completed during the next season. I saw Mr. Strong in Yreka, and found him pushing ahead the line with all his characteristic energy. He deserves much credit for prosecuting this project thus far to a success that is to bring to our doors daily intelligence from the East; and it is to be hoped that the citizens of the Upper Columbia will move in the same matter as soon as the line is completed to Portland.
A ride of twenty hours brings us into the Rogue River Valley and to Jacksonville, a region I regard as one of the most beautiful and picturesque to be found in Oregon. The valley is from twenty-five to thirty miles square, entirely taken up by beautiful farms and under high cultivation; with farm houses and barns in good keeping with the character of its progress; grist and sawmills erected to supply the wants of its inhabitants; and with inexhaustible forests of timber. Gold mining is here carried on with much success; and it was interesting to see the lines of sluiceboxes running through the streets of Jacksonville that turned out as pretty gold as any mined on the coast. Unfortunately for this fine valley, it has no outlet for its produce, and is dependent solely on a home market. Its supplies are brought in by the way of Crescent City, by a good wagon road, at a cost of four to five cents per pound. Oats here are 40 cents a bushel; wheat, 70 to 90 cents; lumber, $15 per M.; labor, from $30 to $40 per month. We observed, in squads, the ubiquitous Chinamen, moving from mining locality to mining locality; fleeing from the kicks of one to the cuffs of the other; with no fixed abiding place to be called his permanent home.
A location for a railroad line from Portland to Jacksonville is eminently practicable, and the citizens of the Willamette will be blind to their own interests if they do not so move in the matter so as to secure to themselves the advantage of the ample provisions made in the Pacific Railroad Bill, for a connection between Portland and Sacramento. But south from Jacksonville there will be a severe problem for the engineers to solve, both in the shape of grades and tunnels. The Calapooya Range will present an easy problem for solution; but the Scott's and Trinity mountains will not be easily handled. They are high, broad and broken, and no railroad line can be laid across or through them, except at most enormous cost. But that it is practicable, and will in time be built, I have no doubt. But my views relative to this location as a branch of the Pacific Railroad have been more than confirmed by a detailed view of its geography, and I still insist that a branch of the Pacific Railroad that will benefit Oregon and Washington, as such, can only be found by tapping the main trunk at or near Fort Laramie, and coming into the Columbia at or near the mouth of Snake River; and thence using the main Columbia to such a point whence freight can be be shipped to and across the ocean. I made special inquiries relative to the depth of snow across the Calapooya, Scott's and Trinity mountains, during the past winter, and learned that not less than eight feet fell upon these mountains; still the stagecoach passed these mountains every day until the freshet suspended the travel, which was for the period of six weeks. The Scott's and Trinity mountains are higher than any mountain crossed by my road from Walla Walla to Fort Benton; and knowing that the question of snow with us is no more difficult than that met and overcome on this and other lines, I am sanguine to believe that a mail line from Fort Laramie to Walla Walla will prove eventually practicable. But the "experimentum crucis," that will leave no lingering doubt even with the most uncompromising caviler, will be afforded us, I trust, during the next twelve months; and that will deliver at our doors in Walla Walla the mails, direct from St. Louis, in fifteen days. I am but too anxious that this last crowning success should be afforded us; not only to give as increased mail facilities for the present but to awaken a practical attention to that region where the isothermal and isochemical lines have for ages past presented and do still continue to present to us meteorological phases as wonderful in their nature as they are destined to prove useful in their future results.
To those who derive pleasure in seeing the rough, rugged, wild face of Nature made to wear the smiles of civilization and of progress, and to witness what money and labor can accomplish, I know of no point where they can visit to see these in all their grandeur than across the Scott's and Trinity mountains; which, in point of difficulty and rugged wildness, surpass any mountain region it has ever been my lot to travel from the Columbia to the Missouri rivers. Toll roads lead over both of these mountains; one connecting Yreka with Rogue River; and the other, Yreka with Shasta. The road over Scott's Mountain is about twenty miles long and made at a cost not far from $200,000; and the other eight miles made at a cost of $16,000. The mind that conceived the road, and the hand that executed it, were not cast in Nature's ordinary mold; genius of a higher order was Nature's gift to them. Those who invested their capital (for they were both built by private enterprise) are being now well repaid; of this, the long line of wagons and pack trains, freighted from Red Bluff to the northern mines, furnish unmistakable evidence.
A ride over Scott's Mountain amply repays one for all the labor required to make it; and can be made by no one who will not appreciate that bold enterprise that is today leveling mountains, leveeing valleys, bridging torrents, and by the sound of pick and drill even arousing Nature from her lethargy of sleep--deep down in the very bowels of the mountains--throughout the length and breadth of California.
Leaving Rogue River, we pass at once from an agricultural to a wild, mountainous region, which constitutes the mining section of Northern California, of which Yreka may be considered the center. It is a place of much trade, built mostly of brick, and presents a bustling. business appearance. It supports two newspapers, three or four hotels; has a large post office; and, at present, is the northern terminus of the state telegraph line. A cemetery, well arranged in its plan, forms the northern entrance to the city; the number of graves it contains shows that here as elsewhere, inexorable death has done its work. A day's journey, and we come to Shasta, a mining town of one thousand people, possessing few attractions outside of a business locality. The road, approaching Yreka, winds near the northern base of Mount Shasta, a frowning snow peak, 14,000 feet above the level of the sea. Though grand and majestic, it does not compare favorably in either respect with Mt. Hood--the father of all snow peaks on the Pacific.
Captain John Mullan, "From Walla Walla to San Francisco," Washington Statesman, Walla Walla, December 6, 1862, page 1
Last revised May 10, 2021