Jackson County 1867
The Klamath Lake Country.Capt. Sprague, in a communication to the Yreka Journal, thus speaks of the country around Klamath Lake. We are thoroughly satisfied as to the correctness of what is herein said relative to that section, and only wonder that immigration has not been pouring into it long ago.
There are perhaps many who have no permanent homes, and who are living upon rented ground, or making a scant living by such employment as they may be able to get, who would like to secure a home where in the course of time they would become independent. To such I would say that land can be had in Southern Oregon and Northern California, south and east of Klamath Lake. The whole country from Klamath to Goose Lake, a distance of over one hundred miles, is yet unsettled, and a large part of this unimproved country is susceptible of cultivation, and for stock raising cannot be excelled anywhere. Over a portion of this there is more or less alkali, but not enough to injure crops nor endanger stock. Except corn and vines, everything that can be raised in your county can be raised here, and I believe in greater quantities. A few claims have been taken in the vicinity of Link River, and will be improved as soon as the Indians have secured a payment, which will not be long delayed, the articles designed for them being on the road.
Persons designing to settle out here should have one year's supplies on hand, as nothing can be raised this year by those coming in. Those of us who intend making this country our home are anxious that it should be settled up, and we will not be jealous of any person coming in, whether he be rich or poor, with large bands of stock or without.
A good road can be made from Siskiyou County (or rather from Shasta Valley, for a large portion of the vacant country is in Siskiyou County), to Lost River, and thence to Goose Lake and Surprise Valley, and communication kept open all winter. The climate is somewhat colder in winter than in your valley, but not so cold as the western states [i.e., the Midwest], and upon the whole more pleasant than where so much rain falls. In what is generally termed the Modoc country, snow seldom lies on the ground a day at a time, and in almost any portion of the country under consideration stock will winter in good order.
Lost River can be navigated four or five months in the year for a distance of sixty or seventy miles, and in connection with lower Klamath Lake, a distance of near one hundred miles. A canal three or four hundred yards long and about six feet deep will have to be dug to make the connection between Lost River and Klamath River. Klamath Lake proper is a body of water about thirty miles long and eight or ten wide. Near its northern end it receives Williamson's River. About ten miles up Williamson's River Sprague's River joins it. These streams, with the lake, can be navigated part of the year for a distance of near a hundred miles. They are narrow, but deep, and have but little current and but few rapids. The lakes and streams all abound in fish, and waterfowl are abundant.
Southern Oregon Press, Jacksonville, June 15, 1867, page 1
LETTERS FROM THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE.
(FROM OUR TRAVELING CORRESPONDENT.)
ROSEBURG, August 2, 1867.When we left Eugene, I took a seat with the driver, so as to have a fair view of the country, and soon we were rolling away up the "Coast Fork." For several miles the valley is broad and beautiful, but as we approach [the] Calapooia Mountains, it grows much narrower. The road passes through a very low gap in these mountains, and the ascent is so gradual that it is not easy to mark the precise locality of the summit. From the summit on for several miles, the road is a toll road. It is rough, being a corduroy, but is far better than a mud road. The country is very rough and hilly until we reach Yoncalla, which is one of the most charming little valleys that I have seen. The Umpqua Valley has been described so often that I will not attempt it. It has been called a "valley of valleys," a "valley of hills," &c. I think the hills predominate, and yet there is so much beauty and diversity in the landscapes that I like it very much. The low lands are very rich and yield fine crops of grain and vegetables, while the hills are sufficiently fertile to make good pastures. It is one of the finest grazing districts in the state, especially for sheep. I am told that one of the Applegates owns 12,000 sheep, and many farmers have from 500 to 2,000 head. Transportation is so high that there is but little grain or flour shipped from here. The surplus grain is converted into bacon, which is hauled to Portland or Scottsburg. At
OAKLANDflour is selling at $6 per barrel, wheat 75 cents per bushel, bacon 10 cents, and beef 7 to 8 cents at retail. This pleasant little town and the hills around it are nicely shaded by wide-spreading oaks, that remind me of the live ones of Louisiana. It contains 3 stores, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 wagon shop, 1 saddler shop, 1 hotel, 1 saloon, and a good flouring mill. The trade and business of Oakland is large for a town of its size. Mr. E. A. Whittlesey, the Assistant Superintendent of the California Telegraph Company, reached here today with his party, repairing the "line." He commenced work on the line at Portland on the first of May, and has spent three months between that point and Oakland. The posts are all reset and thoroughly braced with cedar braces, and the old insulators are all removed and new ones inserted. When this job is completed, the cry of "line down" will not be heard so often. Mr. W. informs me that it is about as much work to overhaul and repair the old line as it would be to get a new one.
THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE SEASONwas the last day of July. At Oakland the thermometer stood at 107° in the shade, and at Roseburg 110° in the shade. Persons from various places in this vicinity have informed me that the plums, where exposed to the sun, were cooked to the center; and, I saw today bunches of grapes that were cooked, and even the stems were killed. The leaves on the most exposed side of a maple tree, in this town, were killed from the excessive heat, and dried so that they might be rubbed into powder.
ROSEBURGis an old-looking town, and I should judge from its appearance that it got its growth several years ago. There are no sidewalks in the town, and as this is in "the black mud" region, I suppose the inhabitants hibernate indoors. Roseburg contains about two hundred and fifty to three hundred persons, and has the appearance of being rather a dull town. P.W.G. [P. W. Gillette]
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 5, 1867, page 3
LETTERS FROM THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE.
(FROM OUR TRAVELING CORRESPONDENT.)
ASHLAND, August 4th, 1867.At Dardanelles, eleven miles north of Jacksonville, is the beginning of one of the prettiest valleys in Oregon. It is about 40 miles long, and from two to twelve miles wide, and runs in a northwest and southeasterly direction across the country. The face of the valley is beautifully diversified with level and undulating lands; with broad prairies and sparsely timbered groves of oak and pine; with voluptuous hills, and crystal streams gushing from the surrounding mountains. There is, perhaps, no richer land in the state than that found in this valley; and where is the scenery any finer than here?
JACKSONVILLEis situated near the foothills on the west side of the valley, and is the largest town south of Albany, containing about 1,000 inhabitants. It is the center of trade for the surrounding agricultural and mineral districts. The town, though rather dull at present, exhibits marks of enterprise and prosperity. The streets and sidewalks are very good, and there are many fine residences, and a number of good brick stores and business houses. The goods, groceries, &c., from abroad, used in this county, are brought in by way of Crescent City, at a cost of about $100 per ton for transportation, and anything that is shipped away from here is subject to the same enormous tax. Hence, it is not surprising that the people of this locality are clamorous for a railroad.
In going from Jacksonville to
ASHLAND,sixteen miles southeast, we pass through Gasburg--once a flourishing little town, but now a dilapidated village with vacant houses falling into ruins. It is said to be the haunt of fever and ague, caused by the stagnant water of that vicinity. Ashland is located on Bear Creek, in a very healthful and pleasant place near the southern end of the valley. It contains a grist mill, saw mill and marble factory now in operation, and the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Co. are erecting their factory building. The stone wall foundation is already laid, and the framework will be ready to raise in a few days. This enterprise will give a new impetus to the town and surrounding county, and will doubtless prove a "success" to the company, because it stands in the midst of the best wool-growing district in the state. The machinery is to be propelled by the water of Bear Creek.
Mr. J. H. Russell of this place is manufacturing marble slabs from marble obtained in the vicinity. The marble is of an excellent quality--beautiful, and of a peculiar formation. It is different from any I ever saw. It is translucent, very hard, and appears to be a mass of large crystals connected together. When highly polished, it gleams in the sunlight almost like diamonds. His saw is run by water power, and so hard is the marble that the saw only penetrates about three inches in a day. So it takes many days to saw up a block.
Yesterday I visited the farm of Hon. L. Applegate, where I found much to please and interest me. Mr. A. irrigates his land, and now it is as green as spring, while the surrounding country is parched and barren. The luxuriance of his corn fields, vines and vineyard almost made me fancy that I was in the Mississippi Valley again. Here I found an abundance of ripe plums and pears, the first I had seen this season. There stands in his yard several large oak trees, with Catawba grape vines clambering over their tops, just loaded with immense clusters of grapes. As this valley is subject to extremer drought than the Willamette, it needs irrigating. There has not been a drop of rain here for three months, and it may be three more before they have any. I found here Hon. J. Wagner and Capt. McCall, whose kindness and hospitality I cannot forget. P.W.G. [P. W. Gillette]
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 12, 1867, page 2
LETTERS FROM THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE.
(FROM OUR TRAVELING CORRESPONDENT.)
"TOLL HOUSE," SISKIYOU MOUNTAINS,
August 10th, 1867.
"SODA SPRING"is about ten miles southeast of Ashland, on Emigrant Creek. This spring is an object of interest, and a source of health and pleasure. It belongs to Dr. Caldwell, who is well prepared to accommodate visitors, health and pleasure seekers. The spring is very clear, and sparkles with myriads of little globules bubbling from the fountain. The water is strongly tinctured with soda, and has a pleasant flavor, and is said to contain valuable medicinal properties. We found several invalids there, drinking its waters. Quite a number of persons go there now, in summer, and the time is not far off when this will be a fashionable resort.
As I was so near, I concluded to see the southern boundary of our state, so I took the stage at Ashland for the "Toll Gate," kept by the Applegate Bros., on the Siskiyou Mountains. At the foot of the mountains we halted at the "Mountain House," to exchange horses. This house is kept by Mr. Casey, who has a fine farm and broad pastures, kept green by irrigation, upon which numerous droves of cattle and sheep are fed, preparatory to ascending the mountains. At the Toll House I was joined by Gen. E. L. Applegate and two of his brothers, and at 5 p.m. we set out for
"PILOT ROCK,"on the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains, distant about ten miles. We packed our luncheon and blankets on a horse, leaving us nothing but our guns and spyglass to carry. At dark we camped by a spring, in the abode of panthers and grizzly bears. In the night we heard the fierce scream of a panther, but nothing molested us. We arose at 3 o'clock, and after taking coffee set off on foot for the rock, still about four miles ahead. Our intention was to be there in time to witness the sunrise, but the brush was so thick and the ascent so difficult that before we reached our destination the sun had been shining over the land an hour. Just before we reached the summit, we drove a huge grizzly bear from his bed, and as he fled through the thicket one of our party fired at him, but the shot did not take effect, and away he went crashing through the brush, over the summit and down into California. We reached the top of the rock at half past six a.m., quite exhausted by fatigue. This giant rock, according to the best estimate yet made, stands precisely on the 42nd north parallel, and consequently the boundary line between Oregon and California runs over the top of it. It stands on the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains, and, at its base, is nearly or quite one-fourth of a mile in diameter, and towers one thousand feet above the ground upon which it stands. We made the ascent from the north side, through a winding canyon or stairway, which reaches to the top. From the top of this magnificent pile, distance only obstructs the vision, and it seems like the whole world was spread out at your feet. You look down on the great Klamath country on the east, Siskiyou County, California, on the south, the Coast Mountains on the west, and Jackson County on the north. Away to the northeast, the great Cascade Range stretches away towards the north until lost in distance, while the far-off Sierra Nevadas fade away in the southward. Sixty miles south stands Shasta Butte (the rival of our Hood), piercing the sky like a monument of alabaster. Yreka likes hid among her hills, but the little town of Cottonwood, California, gleams in the valley below, and the Klamath River meanders through the mountains at our feet and glides on to the sea. Pilot Rock was the great beacon or guideboard to the early travelers of this country, enabling them to find the pass in these mountains. The top of the rock is about 6,500 feet above the sea, and a stone thrown from its top falls over one thousand feet before it strikes the earth. We amused ourselves by rolling huge stones down this frightful precipice, and it was grand to see them bound and hear them thundering down the deep abyss. Before we left, we "laid a cornerstone" and build a monument, and deposited--not a "bottle of whiskey," nor "greenbacks," but simply a paper bearing our names and the date of our visit. While we were laying the "cornerstone," the General made a speech appropriate to the occasion, and characteristic of "Lish." An eagle has built her nest in a niche, near the top of the rock, which she inhabits alone, for I saw no other signs of animal life. The juniper trees on the top of this mountain are stunted and bear the marks of years and storms, and the oaks are mere dwarfs, only two or three feet high, yet they bear acorns. The Siskiyou Mountains are the chain connecting the Coast and Cascade ranges. The road across this mountain is first rate, and passes through the lowest gap in the range. P.W.G. [P. W. Gillette]
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 16, 1867, page 2
LETTERS FROM THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE.
(FROM OUR TRAVELING CORRESPONDENT.)
JACKSONVILLE, Aug. 4, 1867.
STAGING.I have traveled down Snake River in a miserable skiff, glided over the Cowlitz rapids in an Indian canoe, and rode in all manner of small boats in the boisterous waters of the Columbia River about Astoria, but nothing of that nature makes me feel so skittish as a night drive on the stage, over the mountain waves of the Umpqua Valley. Sometimes scaling dizzy heights, and rapidly wheeling over "grades" around abrupt hillsides with yawning gulfs below, or, plunging headlong down into some dark valley, you know not how or where, is by no means pleasant to the inexperienced stager; and when colored by a dark night and backed by a vivid imagination, it is capable of producing the most peculiar sensations. But I suppose it's all a "notion"--the driver says there is no danger, and he ought to know. There seems to be fewer accidents by stage, than by rail, or by water, so it must be the safest way to travel, unless one goes "on foot." Staging is almost science, and the system and order by which this long line is conducted is quite wonderful. The Oregon Stage Company have been fortunate in securing the service of a corps of gentlemanly and obliging agents, and safe and intelligent drivers.
CANYONVILLEat four in the morning, tired and sleepy. But I soon found a comfortable bed at D. C. McCallan's, who never fails to make the wayfaring man as comfortable as possible. Canyonville is at the end of the "good country," or, as some fellow says, "the last of God's country." From there on south for thirty or forty miles it is mountainous and barren, with a few small exceptions. This little place is new but thriving. It has 3 dry goods stores, 1 drug store, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 wagon shop, 1 saddle and harness shop, 1 boot and shoe shop, 1 photographic gallery, 1 hotel, 2 saloons, 1 brewery, 1 grist mill and 1 tannery, besides two sawmills, and one grist mill near the town, and a distillery, not now in operation. The people of the town and vicinity are enterprising and intelligent, and stick closely to business. This is the strongest Union precinct in Douglas County. Canyonville is situated at the mouth of the great
P. W. Gillette]
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 17, 1867, page 2
LETTERS FROM THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE.
(FROM OUR TRAVELING CORRESPONDENT.)
YONCALLA, Aug. 20, 1867.These hot days and warm nights, as well as the wild grape vines on the creeks and valleys climbing over shrubbery and trees, the native plum trees, blushing with loads of crimson fruit; the great bunches of mistletoe on the oaks and pines, and the broad fields of luxuriant corn--are indications that the climate as well as the productions of Southern Oregon are quite different from that of the north part of the state, and reminds one very much of the Middle and Western States.
I saw on the farm of Mr. H. Conn, near Roseburg, a field of corn containing 60 acres. His farm lies in the "South Umpqua" River bottom. The land is very rich, and produces corn almost equal to the western prairies. Small grain, grass, vegetables and fruit of all kinds yield remarkably well upon these bottom lands.
The rich valley lands of Jackson and Douglas counties are already valuable, although so remote from market, and so locked in by mountains. But so soon as the railroad is built to carry away their abundant products, their value will be enhanced fourfold.
In my rambles through the Umpqua, I have fallen upon some of the most charming little valleys that can be found anywhere, among which are Cole's Valley, near where the Umpqua plunges into the Coast Mountains; and Garden Bottom, and the French settlement just above, as well as the country at and above the junction of North and South Umpqua rivers--Yoncalla and others--all of which are rapidly growing into homes of wealth, pleasure and intelligence. I visited the scene of the atrocious "Roseburg Riot" of last Christmas, and entered and inspected the room where the horrid tragedy was enacted. It is about six miles from Roseburg, on the South Umpqua, at the house of Mr. Champagne. I also heard the detailed statements of several persons who were present and witnessed the whole affair, and there seems to be no room for a doubt that it was an unprovoked and premeditated outrage, of too base and malicious a character for any but the most depraved to engage in. The case now seems to have assumed a political aspect--the Copperheads of the locality, with a few exceptions, siding with the rioters. I found
"THE SAGE OF YONCALLA"at home, busily engaged in the affairs of his farm. It is a treat to converse with this intellectual pioneer. He is a man of deep thought, close observation and extensive learning--one from whom something may always be learned. Being one of the earliest settlers of Territory, and having watched its rise and progress, he is a living history of the state. In exploring the country, opening roads and developing our young state, no man has done more than Jesse Applegate. I have met many of the subscribers of the
SACRAMENTO UNION.This paper has been a great favorite among the people of the southern counties of Oregon; as well as in California, but there is not one in fifty of its patrons, that I have seen, who endorse its course in the present political campaign in California. And very many of them declare they will not countenance or sustain that or any other paper that refuses to support the Union nominations. I can see among the people a fixed determination that no newspaper, or man, can, or shall, destroy the Union organization. And it is an object of pride to know that the people of the loyal states acknowledge no leader but the right. Seward was once the great chieftain of his party; Johnson, Dolittle, &c., were favorites, but the great loyal people dropped them in a twinkling as soon as they varied from their standard of principle. Many of the
FARMERSare disheartened, and quite discouraged on account of the short crops and the low price of grain and other farm products. It is true that the present crop is below the average and prices are not so high as usual, but that is not sufficient cause for men to give up and lie down to scold about low prices. Now, it seems to me, that when the profits on the staple articles of the country are small that it would be necessary to produce the greater quantity to make up the deficiency. But the reverse of this has been true in Oregon. Whenever an article gets a little low, nearly everybody stops producing it, so that there is always a "feast or a famine" among us. Whenever it is known that there is always an abundant and constant supply of any of the staple products of the farm, such as flour, grain, bacon, &c., in any state, locality or country, the simple fact that the article is always to be had there opens to it a great channel of trade, and it always has an equal chance in the great markets of the world. Suppose, for instance, that it was known throughout the flour-consuming world that there was always a very large quantity of wheat for sale in the Willamette Valley, at the general market price; how soon would the railroad and steamboat men open a channel to this fountain of trade and wealth, and there would not be half so much danger of monopoly, for the quantity and reliability of the trade would invite competition. Capitalists will never build roads, railroads and steamboats until there is something for them to do, and the more there is for them to do, the cheaper it can and will be done. P.W.G. [P. W. Gillette]
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 24, 1867, page 2
Overland from Portland to Sacramento.Morning Oregonian, Portland, November 14, 1867, page 1
As many of your readers may not be fully posted regarding the route daily traveled by the Overland Stage company running between Portland and Sacramento, I propose to give you a few "jottings by the way," having just completed that trip inside of the schedule time--six days. Your correspondent left Portland on Monday morning, the 28th ult., in one of the company's coaches under charge of the well-known and popular driver "Cal.," who landed us safely at Salem--51 miles on our journey--just as the sun was setting. Supper over, we were greeted with the cry of "all aboard" and seated ourselves in one of the company's new coaches for Eugene City. During the night we passed through Albany and Corvallis, changed horses at Gird's, Looney's and Millroy's and finally reached Eugene City in time for breakfast, having accomplished 125 miles of our journey. Here we were taken charge of by Payne, the popular driver, who was I think the first man who drove a stage coach into Portland, and who beguiled the tedium of the trip by relating reminiscences of his stage-driving career. Just beyond Eugene the road is horrible, being the roughest kind of rough corduroy, and as the running gear of our wagon was not made for that style of thoroughfare, as a natural consequence, we had a breakdown. This delayed us about an hour, and passing Robinet's, Hawley's, Estes' and Ambrose's we finally arrived at Oakland, 182 miles on our winding way. "All aboard" again and we rolled on through the darkness and night, passing through Winchester, and finally reached Roseburg at one o'clock in the morning, being 200 miles from our starting point. Leaving Roseburg an hour later, we found ourselves surrounded by a dense fog, so that it was almost impossible for the horses or driver to keep the road, and as a consequence we had to pull up until the driver had returned from a prospecting tour on foot to ascertain where we were--as, so far as human eye could discern, we might be, possibly, within a foot of a precipice, or in the middle of a prairie--as everything was obliterated, nothing but fog of the thickest kind. Of course the feeling that you are in danger of perhaps immediate death by some unforeseen accident naturally tends to banish sleep, and although the passengers had no rest for the previous fifty-eight hours, yet a more wide-awake, anxious-looking set of individuals I never beheld. Finally the driver found the road and we rolled on again for fifteen minutes when a few emphatic remarks from the driver assured us that something was wrong, and we found upon inquiry that he had gone over the same piece of road before, and we had been making a circle for the past half-hour. Day dawned at last, and the fog began to clear off so that we reached Canyonville in time for a ten-o'clock breakfast. We found the people of Canyonville in a terrible state of excitement--knots of men standing on every corner talking of such suggestive subjects as "a good limb," "a strong rope," and kindred topics. It seems that on the previous night--about 12 o'clock--some miscreant had set fire to a new dwelling house just being erected by Mr. Abrams, a merchant of Canyonville, whose house had been destroyed in the same manner about a month before. That it was the work of an incendiary there seemed no reasonable doubt, so the citizens set to work to ferret out the perpetrator, and in order to be doing something, it was suggested that it might be well to hang a certain Chinaman. Accordingly a rope was procured, a tree selected and a Chinaman captured, and John having been encased in a hempen cravat was told to turn his thoughts to Josh, for were he Confucius himself they would hang him as high as Haman if he didn't confess who burned the house! John pleaded not guilty; "me no burn 'Melican man's house"--and so as the poor fellow was nearly dead with fright it was agreed not to kill him all out--so the rope was unloosened and John let go on his way rejoicing, and the eager crowd was cheated out of a nice dish of "hung Chinese."
Leaving Canyonville and its excited citizens, we rolled on over hills, through ravines, across streams and into mud holes, until finally, at a quarter past midnight we drew up in front of the hotel at Jacksonville, to find the house closed, the fire nearly out, the wood box empty, and the passengers nearly benumbed with cold. However, thanks to the kindness of the driver--and he has many thanks--we were soon made comfortable with a good fire, and having stretched our weary limbs, we again set off at half-past three in the morning, having accomplished 295 miles of our journey.
Leaving Jacksonville, we passed through the beautiful Rogue River Valley, stopping at the several stations to change horses and finally reached Yreka, 359 miles from Portland, at five o'clock in the evening. This afforded the passengers a few hours sleep--the first they had since leaving Portland, and at midnight we were "all aboard" again for the road. For the first few hours we did not make much progress, our speed being impeded by having a horse hitched behind the stage to convey to another station; and as he managed to break loose three times in ten minutes, it may be imagined that his legs did not propel much. Our driver, having exhausted all his swearing vocabulary, finally exclaimed with a sigh: "Oh! for a log chain!" and that useful article not being convenient among the passengers, he tied "the brute," as he called him, to a fence, and we rolled on unencumbered. Breakfast time found Callahan's ranch, and a good fire and a warm meal was most acceptable after our cold morning ride of eleven hours. We then commenced the tedious trip of ascending Scott Mountain--the ascent occupying about three hours. When near the summit, I had the good fortune to meet that energetic gentleman known as "old man Carr," who built the macadamized road leading from Portland to the White House, and who has also superintended the construction of the road over Scott Mountain--one of the greatest enterprises in the way of road-making it has ever been my fortune to witness. Nearly $50,000 was expended in the construction of the road, which runs over mountains that seem impassable, and yet so easy is the grade that we passed some sixteen four-horse teams laden with wheat and other produce, each of which had from four thousand to forty-seven hundredweight in their wagons. As an illustration of the rocky nature of the mountain, a good story is told of an Irishman who applied to Mr. [James] Carr for a job of work, and the "old man" gave him directions to pick out all the rocks in a certain place on the mountain and pile them on the lower side to act as a wall for the road. Accordingly, Pat went to work and in the afternoon "old man Carr" went out to see how his new hand was getting along, but was astonished to meet him near the foot of the mountain on his way home. He asked Pat why he quit, and holding out his hands to show how hard he had labored, Pat cried out, "It's no use, Mister Carr, you'd better give up yer job of trying to make a road up that mountain. I've been picking up rocks, and rocks and ROCKS till me heart is broke, and for every big one I'd pick up, I'd find two young ones under it!" But Carr "couldn't see it in that light," and the result is that he has now one of the finest roads in California; and is, I am glad to learn, reaping a golden harvest. About noon we reached the New York House, where we had dinner, and rolled on to Trinity Center, distant 425 miles from "the old house at home." Here we changed mails and horses, and went through the usual routine of stage coach stoppages, and then rolled on for Shasta--previous to reaching which we had the most interesting ride of the whole trip. If any of your traders want their nerves braced, let them ride on the outside of the stage when it crosses to descend Trinity Mountain, and they will never complain again. The road that crosses the mountain is eleven miles long; five on the up grade, and six descending. The mountain is about 5000 feet high, and the road runs along the ledge of ravines, precipices, caverns and gulches most fearful to contemplate. The snapping of a "brake," the breaking of a line, or the shying of a horse would be certain death to all on board, as the road is just wide enough to admit of one wagon, except in a few turning-off places where two can pass. It took us about an hour to ascend Trinity, and just twenty-seven minutes to get to the bottom--a distance of six miles. I cannot express the feeling of relief which a person has when they reach level ground after passing this mountain. As for myself, I freely confess I felt as grateful to "Jerry," our excellent driver, for his skill in getting us over safely, as if he had saved my life. The feeling is one of awful grandeur--the depths of the precipices below, the frightful depth that you can see down, the knowledge that the least accident might send you to "that bourne from whence no traveler returns," all combine to add to the joy you experience when on reaching the level plain and you find yourself still in the flesh and ready for supper. "All aboard" is the cry, and we roll on through the coming darkness until night finds us passing through that rich mining region known as French Gulch, and a more dismal ride I cannot conceive than that is of a dark night. You seem to fly past gulches, ravines and ditches of all shapes known to mining operations underneath, whilst flumes, water wheels, and a variety of wooden waterways are overhead. Finally we reach Shasta, at about midnight, and here we have several additions to our passenger list, and roll on through the night until daylight finds us entering what is known as the Sacramento Valley, and we reach Red Bluffs, 507 miles from Portland, in time for breakfast. I had heard so much of the fertility of California and the beauties of the Sacramento Valley that I paid particular attention to notice any facts which would warrant such a conclusion. But truth compels me to say that a more forlorn-looking country than that between Red Bluffs and Tehama I never saw on this coast, in any vicinity that had any pretensions to the title of an agricultural section. There are no farms, but few fences, and the whole country has a "worn-out," decayed appearance to one who is accustomed to the green fields and fine fences of Oregon. In the few places that are fenced, the timber generally used is oak, split like rails, about four feet long, and stuck endways in the ground, which gives the place the appearance of an Indian ranchero. Passing along through Tehama, we reach about noontime that town which has been such a terror to many easily scared Portlanders--I allude to Chico. We all know how much excitement has been caused by the Chico route--how many persons have said in times gone by that Portland was dead--Chico killed it--and a hundred such expressions just as sane and as near the truth. Chico is a very nice town, contains several very nice brick buildings, and has a clean, fresh appearance that always pleases a traveler; but as we tarried only long enough to take dinner at the Chico House, of course I cannot give you more than a passing glance of its appearance. On rolls the stage over a fine road, that crosses a low range of mountains that become so numerous you begin to wonder if they will ever have an end, when finally, about five o'clock, you reach the summit of a hill, and there at your feet, in a basin, is the celebrated mining town of Oroville, 571 miles from our starting point. Like nearly all the other towns in Northern California that have sprung into existence and derived their chief support from mining operations, Oroville presents a deserted appearance. Whole acres of mining claims lay there deserted--worked out and "played out," and the town itself, as a natural result, begins to decay. At Oroville your stage operation may be said to end, and the traveler begins to think that it is about time, as, from want of rest--from the thumping and bumping, the jostling and jolting, the pitching and rolling, your experience during the previous five days and nights--you begin to think seriously that like other good things, too much stage riding is not congenial to comfort! As an instance of the effect of the constant jostling upon the human form divine, I must relate an anecdote of a traveler who stopped at Oroville lately, who, in course of conversation, assured an old lady who asked him if he were not very much "jostled" in the stage: "Well, madam," he said, "I don't know what you call 'jostled,' but this I do know--that I had half a dollar in my pocket when I left Portland, it was shaken into five dimes before I reached Yreka!" And she believed him.
Leaving Oroville by the railroad cars you reach Marysville, 28 miles, in a short time, and find yourself in what I consider the prettiest city on the northern coast. Its streets are wide, the stores tastefully decorated, walkways clean and roomy, and the general appearance impresses a stranger very favorably; but ask a storekeeper about trade and the universal cry is, "Ah! Marysville is going down; no trade here now to what there used to be," and such remarks as that. In fact, the complaint is general throughout Northern California. From Marysville you take the company's stage, which brings you to the railroad depot, where you take the cars and find yourself at your journey's end, 642 miles from Portland.
There are many features connected with this great enterprise that I would like to notice were it not for the fact that this epistle has already exceeded the limits I intended, but it may not be uninteresting to know that the mails are carried, exchanged and delivered with commendable regularity--the drivers are all careful, competent and civil men, and the conveyances, with a little alteration, are comfortable. It takes nearly 500 horses to stock the road, 300 of which are almost constantly in use, and their appearance do credit to their owners. The company possesses about twenty coaches and sixty Concord wagons, and gives employment to about one hundred men including superintendent, agents, drivers, hostlers, &c., and the cost of supporting such an enterprise will not fall much short of a thousand dollars a day. The necessity therefore for encouraging such an enterprise must be apparent to every citizen who desires to see beneficial results derived to Oregon from the expenditure of a great proportion of this vast amount for fodder and other incidental expenses within our state. If, therefore, any of your readers desire to enjoy the beauties of an open-air life for a week or two by shaking off the dust of the city, let them call on Dr. Whitehouse and he will give them a prescription that will increase their health and lengthen their life many years.
Yours very truly,
Jacksonville.Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 16, 1867, page 2
Week after week, we have written of and discoursed on our beautiful valley, with its fertile acres and varied resources. We will now say something for the chief town of Southern Oregon. We do not boast that Jacksonville is the prettiest town on the Pacific Coast, nor do we claim that it contains more intelligence than any other town in Oregon; but we do insist that it is the liveliest and most flourishing burg between Marysville and Portland. For the information of those abroad, and for future reference by our own people, we will give some idea of the amount and description of business that makes it the commercial center of the valley. The population of Jacksonville is not definitely known, no census having been taken to ascertain the fact; it is variously estimated at from six to eight hundred, and as there are three hundred and fifty votes in the precinct, the population will probably fall little short of the latter figure. Located here are six stores or general merchandising establishment, which will average a business of $60,000 each per annum; two hotels and one restaurant; three retail groceries and fancy stores; one hardware and tin manufacturing establishment; two jewelers; two meat markets; three livery stables; one drug store; seven saloons; two breweries; three blacksmith shops; one banking house; two printing offices; one photograph gallery; one tailor shop; three boot and shoe makers; two bakeries; one cooper; a first-class saddlery; one cabinet and carpenter shop; a gunsmith shop; one carpenter and steam planing establishment; two barber shops; three wagon shops; a bath house; one private hospital; a saw mill, and one milliner shop. We have five physicians; five lawyers; three notaries public; one conveyancer and court commissioner, and all the officials of the county. In addition to the above, we have a soap manufactory; a stone yard; a brick yard and a broom manufactory. A daily line of stages from Portland (Ogn.) to Sacramento (Cal.) pass through the town; another runs semi-weekly from Waldo, in Josephine County, and Wells, Fargo & Co. and the Western Union Telegraph Co. have offices here. Our public buildings are the court house; county jail; sheriff and clerk's offices; county hospital; town hall; Odd Fellows' hall; truck house. The Protestant and Catholic churches and the public school with a daily attendance of over one hundred scholars, and the Catholic seminary and day school. Five roads, from different points in the valley--from Sterling and from Crescent City--converge at this point; and it is estimated that freights from the latter place will reach $75,000 per annum. It is no exaggeration to estimate the yearly business of this live town at nearly half a million annually, and the number of new buildings and other improvements constantly being added are unmistakable evidences of our prosperity. What Jacksonville will be in the future, when the rugged "Siskiyou" has been spanned with an iron girdle, and the iron steed comes snorting down the valley from across the mountains, bringing new life and population, and opening a market for the products of our industry, it is hard to say; and if its prosperity and population increases as steadily as it has done for a few more years, we need fear no rival in this end of the state.
(From the Mountaineer.)We have gathered some interesting information from Superintendent Huntington concerning the route from here to Fort Klamath, and the country through which it passes. It is a region of which little has hitherto been known, and the impression of the public has been that it is rough, arid, barren, and fit only for a hiding place for the hostile diggers of the sagebrush plains. The contrary appears to be true; for according to the account of Mr. Huntington there is not only a vast extent of excellent grazing lands between here and the south boundary of the state, but there is much arable land, which appears to be fertile, and will ultimately support a large population. Crooked River has a considerable extent of bottom land. Willow Creek and Trout Creek afford fine locations, and the Ochoco (in the valley of which there is a small settlement) is one of the several tributaries of Crooked River, on all of which are valuable farming lands. But the most extensive tract of habitable country is the Queah Valley, situated on the head of the Deschutes. It lies between the Cascades and the group of mountains known as "Paulina's Range," and is about east of Eugene City. It is 30 miles long by 10 or 15 in width. Its grass is of excellent quality. The bottoms along the Deschutes are rich and ready for the plow, while the uplands are covered with an excellent quality of fine timber, which is so open that the growth of verdure is not interrupted. The water is very clear and ice cold, and trout of the finest quality are to be had in the greatest abundance. The climate is cold and perhaps frosty in the spring, but it is dry, and as a stock-grazing region it is probably not surpassed in the state. A few settlers from Linn County have settled in this valley, and more are intending to remove there from Linn and Marion in the spring. We anticipate a large accession to the population of Wasco County in that region, if indeed there is not enough to call for the creation of a new county for their accommodation.
Description of the Country East of the Cascade Mountains.
From the upper Deschutes to the headwaters of Klamath the distance is 38 miles and the country nearly level, barren and destitute of water, but covered with an excellent quality of pine timber. High and cold, incapable of producing any valuable crop, it will never be populated.
The valley of the middle Klamath Lake (called Lake Toqua on some of the early maps) is very extensive and very fertile, but the elevation is so great that none but the most hardy crop can be raised. The experiments made at the Indian Agency (situated on the east bank of the lake) show that barley and oats can be grown; carrots, turnips--all the brassica tribe of plants--flourish, while wheat, corn, potatoes, etc., cannot be produced. The grass is of superior quality and unlimited quantity, and will ultimately feed large herds of stock. Link River, which connects the middle with the lower lake, is only a succession of rapids and falls its whole length--say three miles--affording fine water privileges, and the fertile country around will soon call for the erection of machinery upon it. There is now a considerable settlement in that county, in this state and Siskiyou County, California. Among the names of settlers here, repeated to us, are those of Michael Hanley, Geo. Nurse and Capt. Sprague and others of our acquaintance. We understand there will be a large emigration to that region in the spring.
The only obstacle to the rapid population of this region is the danger of depredations from the Snakes. This at present is very great, and we apprehend some danger to the weak settlements at Queah and Ochoco during the present winter. They are not strong enough to protect themselves and there is no military force within reach to assist them.
Of the road to Klamath Mr. Huntington speaks in the highest terms. It follows the Canyon City road as far as Bake Oven, thence south 24 miles to Trout Creek is rather rough. The remainder to Klamath, and indeed down into California, is nearly level, mostly free from rocks, and requiring little or no labor to make it suitable for heavy transportation. The table of distances which we give in another column will be valuable to those who wish to travel the road, and we doubt not they will be numerous after another year. Why cannot we furnish the transportation for a large amount of supplies which each year go to the military post at Klamath? It is worthwhile for our freighters to give the matter their attention.
Oregonian, Portland, December 10, 1867, page 1
Last revised September 16, 2022