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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Jackson County 1869


    Jackson County covers an area of about 8,000 square miles, with a population of 3,000. This county combines within its limits agricultural, manufacturing and mineral resources which will tend to render it in future of great importance to the balance of the state. For nearly eighteen years the gold mines of this county have been successfully worked, and even now they yield sufficient to repay for the outlay of capital and labor expended in working them. The grazing facilities of this county are extensive, and it is contemplated to put in operation a woolen mill which will consume the vast quantities of wool which hitherto had to be sent out of the county to seek a market. Jacksonville, the county seat, is a prosperous place, containing within its corporate limits many handsome buildings. The Methodists, Catholics and other denominations have churches here, and with several public and private schools, the Sisters of the Most Holy Names have an academy for young ladies. Two weekly newspapers are published here. The other towns and post offices are Applegate, Ashland Mills, Grants Pass, Phoenix, Rock Point and Willow Springs.
    COUNTY OFFICERS.--Commissioners, Frederick Heber and W. A. Childers; Judge, L. J. C. Duncan; Sheriff, Thomas G. Reames; Clerk, W. H. S. Hyde; Assessor, Josiah Hannah; Treasurer, Max. Muller; School Sup't., T. H. B. Shipley; Surveyor, James S. Howard.
    Notaries Public.--D. M. C. Gault, Chas. W. Kahler and William Hoffman, Jacksonville; Oliver C. Applegate, Fort Klamath
Oregon and Washington Almanac, 1869, page 16


JACKSON COUNTY SCENERY.
    The Jacksonville paper says: The railroad promises to bring us any number of' sightseers and adventurous tourists from the East the coming summer. California, with her picturesque valleys, her rugged mountains and her big trees, may satiate their curiosity for a while; but if they wish to see truly fine scenery--some of the grandest touches of nature's variegated workmanship--let them come to Oregon. Rogue River Valley alone is a sight well worth crossing the continent to behold. No matter from which direction it is entered, the sight that greets the traveler is grand and transporting, and beautiful beyond all powers of the pen or pencil to describe.
    The two Table Rocks, standing out like [an] impregnable fortress, overlooking and frowning down upon as fine a valley as man could wish to inhabit, never fail to attract attention; while Mt. Pitt, Mt. Diamond, and one or two other towering peaks lift their snow-white crests high toward heaven to complete the splendor of the picture we have before us. But our greatest natural curiosity, and one that may well rival the world-renowned Falls of Niagara, or Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, is the deep Sunken Lake, situated on the summit of the Cascades, near the road leading to Fort Klamath. The water is seen from the top of the mountain, many thousands of feet below the surface [sic], and resembles a great well, dug out and walled up by the hand of Jehovah. This, then is the place for those in search of wonderful phenomena. Here is the "land of endless forests," "where rolls the Oregon."
Weekly Enterprise, Oregon City, June 19, 1869, page 2


    Well, I left San Francisco, June 16--passed up the Sacramento River 150 miles, on the splendid steamer New World to Sacramento--here I took rail to Oroville, then stage the balance of the distance. From Sacramento, the first place of interest is Sutter's Mill--the spot where the yellow ore, "filthy lucre," was first discovered. I passed up the Sacramento Valley, 200 miles, through Marysville, Chico, and Red Bluffs. Through this valley there are miles upon miles and thousands upon ten thousands of acres of land, entirely destitute of water and timber--the soil is a sandy waste. At Red Bluffs, we left the river and took to the hills, forty miles to Shasta, a mountain mining town, which has retrograded "muchly" since I visited it in 1856. Here we commenced the hills and mountains in good earnest; and here I wish you could have been with me. I think L. could have enjoyed it hugely--rather imagine she would have thought it decidedly romantic. Tell her to imagine, if she can, herself riding in a stage up a continuous ascent for seven miles--the grade being as steep and narrow as the hill is going from your place to Richmond, and, upon one side or the other, all the way, offsets as abrupt as it is at the turn of the road at Whitewater Hill, and the distance so great that you can look down (not up) into the tops of the trees, 250 to 300 feet high, that grow upon the mountainsides--in fact, the kenyons are so deep that your vision cannot penetrate to the bottom! Well, when about one mile up the mountain, we overtook some fifteen or twenty freight teams plodding slowly along. Our driver chafed along behind a short time, and resolved to pass them, and, in doing so, the wheels of our coach passed within ten or twelve inches from the edge of the precipice. I was riding on the outside with the driver--his horses would prance and shy sometimes at the huge freight wagons--now and then he would give them the lash, and, as our wheels would near the "jumping-off place," my hair would raise and my muscles would be braced for a spring, in case our vehicle should make the fatal leap. Oftimes I picked out spots upon the freight wagons, or between them, to alight; but I must praise the bridge which carries me safely over. We passed, and all was well--a miss was as good as a mile! And now we are at the top--having come slowly up, and we needs must make up for lost time. The descent is narrower and steeper, if anything, than the ascent, and down the mountain we go, sometimes on a trot, sometimes on a run, and thus we passed over Trinity Mountain, a distance of fourteen miles. We passed over Scott's Mountain, the worst of the two, in the night. These are the celebrated mountains over which Colfax rode, and I can assure you he did not over-paint the picture.
    Now we are at Yreka--the last town in California before entering Oregon--and soon we shall leave it. You have had my opinion of it--such is the surface and natural appearance of the state that has made so much boast--the state that has swallowed the interests and advantages of Oregon up to this time. She has stolen our flour, grain, fruits, lumber and fish--resacked, marked, branded, shipped and sold them as her own. She has stolen our mineral products and called them hers; and, worst of all, she has stolen our reputation and credit; but her career in this respect is about over. The inhabitants of the United States are beginning to learn that there is such a place as Oregon and what her national advantages are; but of this you may judge as we progress. As we leave California and approach Oregon, the timber grows taller and more plenty--the water is better, purer, and more abundant. The dust disappears, and the air is cooler. The first place of interest is Jacksonville, a flourishing town of some two thousand inhabitants. From thence we pass through the Rogue River Valley, which was a wild prairie and forest when I was in it in 1853, fighting Indians. Now, large and well-improved farms meet the eye at every turn. As we are leaving this valley, to go to the Umpqua, we pass through the celebrated kenyon, 12 miles long--a mountainous gorge with a stream running through it--no habitations--heavy timber on either side--road just wide enough for teams to pass. In '53, we crossed this mountain stream over 40 times in going through the kenyon; but now there is a splendid turnpike road the entire distance, and the stream is bridged at every point. At the mouth of the kenyon, some enterprising "Yank" has dared to dam the rapid torrent and made it subservient to his wishes in grinding grain and sawing lumber.
    The Umpqua is a small but rich and fertile valley, covered with good farms and surrounded with low hills, which make good grazing lands. Next comes the Calapooia Mountains, which are covered with dense forests of fir, pine, spruce, hemlock and cedar. Once over this, and we enter the beautiful valley of the Willamette, which is the heart and pride of Oregon.
J. W. Case, "Letter from Oregon," Richmond Palladiium, Richmond, Indiana, October 26, 1869, page 1


Notes of Travel in Southern Oregon.
(From the S.F. Times Aug. 21.)
(From an occasional correspondent.)
    Having lately made the trip overland from Portland, Oregon, to Oroville, California, on the Oregon and California stage line, which, of late, is favored with a material increase of travel, at the request of a friend I herewith append a cursory sketch of some of the towns and places in Southern Oregon, not but that Central and Northern Oregon, or Northern California, have as many points of interest to the traveler or tourist along the line, but Southern Oregon is the section of which least has been said. I will take the privilege of tracing my sketch backward. From Oroville northward, then, we omit the description of all the interesting towns on the line, viz: Chico, Red Bluffs, Shasta, Yreka, Cottonwood, etc., with all the varied scenery between the Oroville and the state line. This, by the late survey, was located three miles farther south, and is apparently considerably south of the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains, which are crossed on a fine toll road of easy grade; in fact, at this season, all the roads are fine, and the fields and forests are in their smiling moods. Coursing northward from the line the first place you reach in Oregon is
ASHLAND,
which, reposing in the valley of Ashland Creek, during the past year has taken a new start on the road to progress and built a fine woolen factory which is the nucleus of a new development, as well as the center of much local attraction. You have an extensive view south and eastward from an elevation near Emery's Hotel, far away up the gently sloping, oak-fringed prairies of Bear Creek to the steep bases of the Cascades on the east, and the Siskiyou Mountains on the south, whose evergreen summits seem to join at right angles, the former trending northward toward Alaska, while the latter pitch westward toward the sea. Both the above ranges were surveyed for railroads the past season, and found practical over two or three passes. The soil from the northern declivity of the Siskiyou Mountains for over a hundred miles northward is (geologically speaking) a granite formation, the surface being a mixture of decayed granite and soil, and constitutes an elegant material for roads or railroad, becoming hard and compact by use, and it does not rise during drought and blow away. Having fertile soil, these valleys produce bountifully of cereals and vegetables. Some eighteen miles further on you reach
JACKSONVILLE,
which is the county seat and center of a large trade. One of the first things to be said here is that the leading merchants have surprisingly large stocks of goods. As they all get their supplies in San Francisco, and bring everything via Crescent City (which is ninety miles away) economy and the rates of freight require them to lay in a year's stock in autumn, hence firms fill two stores at one purchase. This town is on the border of the Rogue and Bear River valleys (which here is some fifteen miles by seven). It is screened from the coast winds by a low oak-fringed ridge in the rear, with a mild and very healthy climate and dry soil, on which flowers are said to bloom every month in the year. As yet they have no railroad at Jacksonville, but it is the center of several stage and express lines. Besides the daily express and passenger line of the Oregon and California Stage Co. (the favorite of the people), they have cross lines to Josephine County and the coast, and express to Klamath, and other branches, all centering here, which foreshadow the business that would be immediately tributary to a railroad when built. There are many railroad men in Southern Oregon, ready with all the means at command to aid that enterprise, and the Sentinel (a live paper) is infusing a healthy railroad spirit among its readers.
    In places the miners get "good pay" in this and adjoining counties, and recently a San Francisco company have opened a fine quartz ledge on the Illinois River, Josephine County. As we had no time to visit the mines--by conversation we were convinced that facts indicate a successful future for quartz operations in these counties. Rogue River Valley is very limited. Aside from the space above mentioned, most of the way below Jacksonville to the sea there are narrow bottoms--now on one side and then the other--and the rest of the surface is hilly and broken. The grain fields of this section appeared unusually promising this season. In a trip through this part of Oregon you will notice that the citizens do not aspire to the honor of being called "webfeet." Citizens in these southern counties, in trade and commerce, and almost all interests except political, are tributary to and are identified more closely with California than with Oregon. Many of the early settlers came from California. The mines were first opened and settled by pioneers from there, and this part of the state may be termed a child of California. These valleys are not afflicted in winter with that abundance of humidity and mist which prevails in the Willamette Valley, where alone they claim the name of webfeet.
CANYONVILLE,
sixty-seven miles from Jacksonville. Beside the usual appendages of a thrifty town, there are several parties engaged in mining around Canyonville. A mineral-bearing spur of the Cascades, reaching some twenty-five miles from the main range, terminates near here, and good limestone is abundant. Timber, rock and lime are here found in inexhaustible supply, and only wait the organization of enterprise and capital to place them in line. The telegraph operator, from his weather reports, claims this valley (the South Umpqua) to be the mildest of any between Portland Sacramento in winter, and fine for corn.
    Quite lately some stir was made in this county (Douglas) over the discovery of placer mines on Myrtle Creek, eighteen miles north of Canyonville, and about one hundred miners have located claims there, with fair prospects when water is in full supply.
    Twenty-six miles further on we reach the county seat of Douglas County,
ROSEBURG.
    This town, being near the railroad survey, contains the county offices and officers, the United States Land Office, an academy, churches, a new courthouse (soon), humanitarian societies, a weekly paper (the Ensign), stores, mining companies, and a Metropolitan Hotel, and stage office. Roseburg has D.P.O. for cross lines of mails and expresses, etc.
    The new road building to Coos Bay will bring Roseburg within forty miles of tide water, and lumber vessels from San Francisco. On the subject of railroads the people of Douglas are enthusiastic, and ready to aid with all the means in their hands, justly considering it of vital importance to their future prosperity. Hundreds of families may find cheap lands or government tracts in these southern counties, which, with railroad communication, would become profitable homes.
    Crossing the North Umpqua we soon reach a slate formation, with still a rolling surface and heavy soil, supporting fine grazing with scattering oak trees on the hills. Making seventeen miles from Roseburg northward, you reach Calapooia Creek, on whose shady banks stands the rising town of
OAKLAND,
which, during the past year, has advanced finely in the matter of new dwellings, if not in population. Oakland is in the center of a fine stock-growing region, and only a short distance from the late railroad survey. Here are a number of mining companies, with ledges in the Bohemia district, yet undeveloped. Leaving this thriving town to realize her high hopes for the future, we pass on up Yoncalla, via Pass Creek, near the railroad survey, over the Calapooia to Eugene City, on the Willamette, sixty miles from Oakland, where, for the present, I will bid you adieu.
F.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 28, 1869,  page 1


    We hope no one will leave Oregon by steamer who has not enjoyed
A STAGE RIDE
southward to California. The ride occupies five days from Portland to Oroville, to which place the cars run from Sacramento. The first hundred and twenty-five miles through the Willamette Valley keeps the tourist constantly occupied in studying its beauty and resources, while the Coast Range on the west and the Cascades on the east, with Mounts Hood and Jefferson, Diamond Peak and the Sisters will keep his emotions of sublimity in constant and active exercise. At Eugene City, where we were most hospitably entertained by Captain Packard and others, the stage road bends to the left and follows up a branch of the Willamette, and by a low pass scarcely perceptible reaches the waters of the Umpqua, thus avoiding the Calapooia (erroneously called the Siskiyou Range in a former letter) almost entirely. From the summits of this range we first looked down on the beautiful of the Willamette Valley four years ago. Following down the northwestern tributary of the Umpqua for a few hours, nestled under the Yoncalla Mountain, with a fine, fertile valley in front, we reach the hospitable home of the Hon. Jesse Applegate. Here Mr. Colfax and his party received a most cordial welcome. A statesman of extensive reading, ripe judgment and sterling patriotic purposes, a philosopher of deep original thought and wide culture, he seems content to remain here in this beautiful valley home among the mountains of Oregon, rearing his large family in the principles which he so well and so truly illustrates, and blessing with his good deeds and kind words all within his influence. After entertaining our party as long as our inexorable timetable would permit, our host, and his daughter, whose words, apparently without care or effort, sparkle with original and kindly thought, or biting sarcasm, did us the favor to accompany us to Oakland. The road for the afternoon's ride crossed a high mountain spur, between two branches of the Umpqua, and afforded some splendid views to break our conversation with exclamations of admiration for their varied and wonderful beauty. By the timetable on which the coaches now run, most of the wider and more cultivated sections of the Umpqua Valley are passed in the night. At Roseburg, a fine little town, which we reached about 8 o'clock in the evening, our party found the hotel and several other buildings most beautifully illuminated, to welcome and do honor to this second visit of the Vice President. In this complement, men of all shades of political opinion most cordially united. After an excellent dinner was fully discussed, Mr.Colfax made one of his most appropriate and charming speeches when we left with the cheers and apparently with the hearty good will of all who had listened to the remarks of the Vice President.
    Morning found us at Canyonville, a little town situated at the mouth or north end of the Umpqua Canyon, in the early history of the state considered almost impassable. It affords the only passage for a road through the mountains that divide the Umpqua and the Rogue River Valley, or the two south forks of the Umpqua--we are not sure which--for a long distance east and west. The first good road through it was built by General Joe Hooker, when commanding in Oregon, and therefore his name is indissolubly connected with this improvement. The steep mountains, densely wooded with huge pines and firs, that wall the canyon on either side, make the ride through it exceedingly interesting. It is one of those marked passes in the mountains which the traveler will be sure never to forget. This day's ride through beautiful valleys and over several high ridges, some of which, anywhere else, would be dignified with the name of mountains, brought us in the evening to Jacksonville, the most southerly town in Oregon. It once was a mining town of considerable importance, and some of its gulches and leads are still worked with profit. The valley of Rogue River, though not very large, is beautiful and very productive. Early dawn found us on top of the Siskiyou Range, and soon Mount Shasta, with his snowy mantle, old as creation, now all gilded with glory by the morning sunbeams, seemed to pierce the heavens to the southward in majestic, solemn grandeur. For more than a hundred and fifty miles of our journey, this sublime volcanic cone commands our unbounded admiration. It is almost worth a journey across the continent to see it.
"Across the Continent," Chicago Tribune, November 12, 1869, page 2



Last revised June 20, 2021