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

A Word to the Homeless.
    EDITOR SENTINEL.--As there is a general movement being made throughout Oregon to encourage emigration, and show what inducements our young state affords as a desirable place to locate, I would like to say a few words to the homeless about their chances in our almost isolated county.
    Curry County lies on the coast, in the extreme southwest of Oregon, is sparsely populated, is broken, wild and mountainous, and possesses the most delightful and healthful climate of Oregon; indeed, it is much to be doubted whether any other spot of the globe surpasses it for health and even temperature of climate. The wind blows hard here, some winters; but never in whirlwinds and hurricanes, and not a whit harder than it sometimes does in Webfoot. Along the coast we never have to contend with snow and ice, and their subsequents and alternates: thaws and slush, heat and cold.
    The great body of the land can never be occupied, as it is heavily timbered mountains; but there are many places yet vacant that will make pleasant homes and, in time, be valuable. Along the coast are broken, hilly prairies, adapted to grazing; while along all our mountain streams are many rich but small bottoms, often convenient to some good stock ranch, that can be enclosed and made into homes.
    Our county can never be an agricultural region, for we have few extensive fields; but there are innumerable fertile places where men can cultivate a few acres, make an independent living, and be surrounded by the blessings of that magic word, "Home!"
    I would say to those men who desire to locate, come and see our coast country; but come first without your families, and judge for yourselves. We have no wagon roads, only a trail over which the settler must pack his family and fortune on horseback. The trail in places might frighten a man of weak nerves, and we want you to come and try your nerves, for this is no place for the timid and the unenterprising to settle; besides we do not want both you and ourselves imposed upon--we want men to know what they are doing--and we want men!
Ellensburg, Jan. 20th, 1869.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 6, 1869, page 2

    March 16th 1869
    POSTMASTER, JACKSONVILLE, OREGON--DEAR SIR:--Having a desire to know something in regard to your part of the country before emigrating, I take the liberty to address you a few inquiries. * * * If you will answer, giving all desired information, you will confer a favor upon many persons desiring to emigrate to that country.
Very Respectfully,
    There are many such letters as the above written to citizens of this valley, by persons living in different parts of the Union who desire to immigrate hither, but who wish to know something in relation to the merits of the same before coming. A few facts published for the benefit of such persons may induce them to come and make our valley their home.
    Jackson County embraces Rogue River Valley. The county covers an area of about 8,000 square miles; a reasonable proportion is suitable for agricultural purposes, the soil being as fine as can be found anywhere in the United States. The remainder of our county is composed of grazing and mineral lands, which are inexhaustible. The price of land ranges from five to fifteen dollars an acre--the price being governed by the location and the amount of improvement.
    The value of taxable property is assessed at $1,250,000. Our county is out of debt and has money in its treasury. Our population numbers six thousand. Educational facilities will compare favorably with those of any new county. We have plenty of school houses and many good teachers. We need more children to fill the vacant seats in our school rooms.
    The mild and healthful climate of our valley is its chief attraction. A country at once so good and beautiful is rarely found. The Rogue River Woolen Factory, which is located in our midst, affords us a market for our wool. California and Nevada furnish us a ready market for our surplus stock. We have at this time a market for but a limited supply of produce. We believe that our valley will soon be connected with San Francisco by railroad. When that event shall be realized, then, indeed, will we have a market for all the farmer can grow. There are vacant lands enough in Jackson County to supply one thousand families with homes, upon which they can make a good living with a reasonable amount of industry and economy.
Democratic News, Jacksonville, May 1, 1869, page 2

    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

Jackson County.
    This county, like Douglas, situated in an extensive basin of unsurpassed fertility and loveliness, seems to have been supplied by nature with all those inherent elements that tend to render a community independent of other localities, and capable of supplying a dense agricultural, manufacturing and mining population with all the luxuries of independence, contentment and wealth. Bounded on the north by the Rogue River mountains, which separate it from Douglas and Grant, east by Grant County on the line of the 120th parallel of west longitude, south by the Siskiyou Mountains, on the 42nd parallel of north latitude, dividing it from California, and west by the Coast Range mountains and Josephine County, this county would seem to the casual observer or stranger to be an almost isolated location cut off from communication from the outer world. But the energetic miner, the industrious farmer, and the hardy pioneer were not to be intimidated by any trivial obstacles in the way of opening a communication with a valley where nature has lavished her wealth with so liberal a hand. Bridges have been constructed, passes surveyed and roads graded through all the different ranges of mountains with which this lonely valley is surrounded, and Jackson County is now provided with good roads and means of communication with Portland on the north and Sacramento on the south, by a daily line of stages and mail coaches running between these two places. The enterprising citizens of this county have also opened a wagon road by which the immigrant of the plains can come by the way of [the] Humboldt, Goose Lake and Klamath Lake route from the east. Pack trails and wagon roads have also been opened westward through the Coast Range mountains to Port Orford and other points along the Pacific Coast.
    This county has an assessable property valuation of nearly one and a half million dollars, covers an area of about 9,000,000 acres of land, and has a population of between 5,000 and 6,000. The mineral resources of this county are too celebrated throughout all parts of the country to require any lengthy description of this place. The immense quantities of gold taken from the placer diggings annually for the last eight years, with the numerous quartz lodes of inexhaustible wealth, give unmistakable proof of the capacity of her gold mines, and render it a county of importance not only to the state of Oregon, but also worthy of high consideration in the financial circles of the whole United States. These gold mines annually furnish profitable employment to a large number of men, yielding handsome dividends on the amount of capital invested and the number of men employed. New discoveries of gold are annually being made in this county, and with the knowledge that iron, coal, silver, lead and copper also exist here, it is but fair to infer that mining in this locality is but just in its infancy. Valuable mineral springs also exist in this county, from some of which a superior article of salt has been manufactured for a number of years, and is now taking precedence in many of the markets of Southern Oregon and Northern California. These springs are capable of yielding an almost unlimited supply of salt, if properly developed and worked to their full capacity.
    Timber of all kinds known to Oregon, and of the finest quality for fuel, fencing, building, and general lumbering purposes, is conveniently distributed through all sections of the country, with water power and mill sites of sufficient capacity to drive the machinery for the milling and manufacturing purposes of an entire state.
    The face of the country in this county is diversified with lofty mountains and extended ranges of hills, from whose summits may be seen extensive valleys through which Rogue River and its numerous tributaries, like silver threads, seem interwoven in a chain of wild, enchanting loveliness. These valleys, as they roll back from the center in gentle, undulating swells, or break into abrupt elevations, extending their long lines in either direction toward lofty mountain ranges in the distance, covered with immense forests, form a basin apparently encircled with mountains, and known as the Rogue River Valley.
    The general geological character of the county bears strong indications of volcanic action, scoriaceous and trapean masses occurring in many places in the eastern part. Still there is often found in this valley a sort of conglomerate siliceous composition, which often contains shells and other indications of sedimentary formation.
    At the intersection of the Coast Range mountains by Rogue River, sandstone prevails, and the strata remain uninterrupted, except at long intervals. The soil along the creeks and river bottoms and through the valley is very fertile, being an alluvial deposit of sediment, decomposed earth and vegetable mold. These valleys, when cultivated, produce all kinds of cereals in perfection; also, roots, vegetables, Indian corn, tobacco, and all the varieties of fruit known to the climate of Oregon. The plateau, or more elevated, portions have a moderately rich soil, whose chief component parts are silica and a brownish gray mixture of decomposed vegetable, clay and loam. These lands, where cultivated, have proven very productive, and are nowhere excelled for their capacity to raise wheat. This entire valley seems particularly adapted to stock-raising--its hills, prairies and valleys affording an almost unlimited supply of pasturage, where stock of all kinds fatten and thrive with but little care, seldom requiring extra feed, and in those instances not more than two or three months in the year. The climate, similar to that of the same altitude in other portions of the state, is mild, even and temperate, but not so humid as in the Willamette Valley, the extreme of cold seldom falling below zero or that of heat rising to one hundred degrees above.
    The water is pure, soft and abundant, being supplied by springs, brooks and rivulets from the mountains, while the numerous cascades along Rogue River and its tributaries furnish motive power in abundance for every variety of machinery.
    In regard to the health of this county, there can be but one conclusion formed. A locality with pure running water, and the facilities of enjoying a climate in summer fanned by a gentle sea breeze, or by altitude to inhale the bracing air of perpetual snow, must impart strength and vigor to the invalid and ensure to the man of health a hale old age. The facilities for marketing are confined principally to the various mining camps in this portion of Oregon and Northern California, where fruit, vegetables, flour, bacon, beef, butter and cheese find a ready market at remunerative prices.
    Liberal provisions for schools and religious instruction have been made--the generous-hearted and industrious miner being generally ready to contribute to the establishment of good society as liberally as any other class of man within the state. Flouring mills, lumber mills and all kinds of mechanical industry are established and carried on in the various settlements in this valley. Also, stores, well supplied with agricultural implements, miners' and mechanics' tools, and with a general assortment of merchandise, where an immigrant or new settler can obtain supplies of all kinds at reasonable prices.
    The price of farming land is from five to ten dollars per acre, and there are now about 15,000 acres under cultivation. Good government land for grazing or agricultural purposes can be obtained in many portions of the county.
    A woolen mill is now in successful operation at Ashland, making up the products of the flock into articles for bedding and clothing, suitable to the wants of the community. The water power at Ashland is splendid. There are at this place a flouring mill, and two lumbering mills. The character of the goods manufactured here does credit to our manufacturing establishments. The marble is of excellent quality, and is found near by.
    Jacksonville, the county seat, is a flourishing town, with good public and private schools, a number of churches belonging to the various religious denominations, mechanic shops, stores, hotels, a post office, fine private residences, and all the different business establishments, sufficient to render the town pleasant and prosperous. There is a number of other thriving towns in this valley, with stores, post offices, and other business operations. Among them are Ashland, Willow Springs, Applegate, Grants Pass, Rock Point and Phoenix.
    The creeks and rivers abound with fish, among which are the salmon, chub, sucker, and mountain trout. Bear, elk, antelope, deer, and many kinds of small game are found in this locality; also, a great variety of wild birds and water fowls peculiar to the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 31, 1869, page 1  Reprinted without attribution. Also printed in the Willamette Farmer of June 28, 1869, page 1., which attributes it to A. J. Dufur.

    CREDIT.--We should have credited an article on the outside of last issue entitled "Jackson County" to the "Statistics of Oregon." We now do so.

Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 7, 1869, page 2

Sprague River Valley.
ALBANY, July 20, 1869.
    From Lost River we pass over hills somewhat stony, and but lightly timbered on the south side, to a small valley between Lost River and Sprague River valleys which, for stock raising, has some inducements, and from this valley to Sprague River Valley the timber is good and plentiful.
    Sprague River Valley has a length of perhaps forty miles, and lies in an east and westerly direction. The western portion is in the Klamath Reservation, which is the best portion for farming purposes. The valley has a width of from one to five miles, is generally good soil, with fair timber on the southerly side, and on the north but little at a convenient distance. Small creeks and good springs of water are frequent, and grass is plentiful, both bunch and marsh. On the hills and the dry land in the valley, the sagebrush is more or less found. There is considerable marsh land in this valley, with fine hay grass growing on it. Wild flax is seen all over the valley, and is of good growth. The growth of everything indicates that the soil is good and productive. The rivers and creeks have but a moderate current, and abound with fish. As a general thing, there is no timber upon them except willow, and that sparse.
    The whole of this valley is quite level near the river and creeks, except at one place about the middle, where the eastern line of the reservation is said to cross, there is for a distance of about two miles on the river what is called a canyon, the hills coming down to the river, though forming no obstacle to travel. The O.C.M. road, as surveyed, runs through this valley its length, yet no work had been done on this part by the company when we were there.
    From information received (in the main, from Indians), the winters are not severe, though considerable snow may fall, yet it does not get very deep or lay long at a time on the ground, and the seasons must be quite as early as in the Willamette Valley, as indicated by vegetation. The Indians were about closing their camas digging when we passed through on the 10th of June.
    As a whole, this valley is one of the most desirable localities we visited, either for farming or stock raising, and will doubtless at no distant day be settled, and the evidence of a goodly land witnessed and realized.
    Having now reached the western boundary of the "Devil's Garden," I will tarry a week.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 14, 1869, page 1

Josephine County.

    This county is situated in the southern part of the state, and bounded north by the Rogue River Mountains, which separates it from Douglas, east by Jackson County, south by California, and west by Curry County, and covers an area of about 2,500 square miles.
    The face of the country is hilly and in some parts mountainous, interspersed with valleys of rich alluvial soil. Its geological features have both volcanic and sedimentary indications with quartz lodes of gold, silver, copper, and other mineral deposits, showing to the experienced miner a district of great mineral wealth. The soil of this county is very productive when properly cultivated, and well repays the husbandman for his toil. This county has between one and two thousand inhabitants, with between five and six thousand acres of land under cultivation, and an assessable property valuation of about $250,000. Kerbyville, situated on the Illinois River, the shire town of this county, is a lively business place, with post office, stores, mechanic shops and other public buildings necessary for a flourishing country town. The other towns of importance in this county are Leland, Slate Creek, and Waldo.
    The following description of this county furnished the committee by Dr. Watkins, an eminent practicing physician in that county for quite a number of years, is a perfectly reliable statement of facts:
    Josephine County, in the southwestern portion of the state, attracted attention as early as 1852, as a locality for placer gold mining. The first mining of any importance was on Josephine Creek, which derived its name from a daughter of one of the miners, and afterwards gave name to the county. In the spring of 1853 there was a great rush to the mines on Althouse Creek, which rises in the Siskiyou Range, and runs in a northerly direction, uniting with other tributaries forming Illinois River. The diggings on Althouse were very rich, the bed of the stream paying not only heavily but quite uniformly. At one time Adams & Co.'s books had a thousand names to obtain letters for in the different localities, where miners had previously resided. Sailor Diggings was then a famous locality; a ditch was dug some fifteen miles long at a cost of some seventy-five or eighty thousand dollars to bring water to the rich placers of this vicinity, and when fairly under way paid for itself the first year. It paid heavy dividends to its stockholders for ten or twelve years, and many parties who live sumptuously every day owe their fortune to their connection to the Sailor Diggings Ditch Company.
    Sucker Creek, a tributary of Illinois River, a large, turbulent mountain stream, was extensively mined from 1854 to 1860, but the diggings are deep, the boulders are large and unwieldy, the stream an unmanageable one, and I think never made an adequate return for the labor expended, but Sucker Creek has never had its day, and with cheaper labor and better facilities it will yet yield a golden harvest to the hand of adventure.
    Canyon Creek, Illinois River and Galice Creek were mined during these years, and generally with an adequate return for labor expended.
    Williams Creek, a tributary of Applegate Creek, has had for the last few years a hardy mining population, who have met with a moderate return. Josephine is a mining county, and has had all the vicissitudes of such a county. Her citizens lead a roving life, and having little to bind them to the soil mostly left during the Indian war in 1855-6. Her rich minerals brought back to her a renewed population, however, but the great Fraser River excitement nearly depopulated her, and now she is only the shadow of her former self. But her rich placers are far from being exhausted. There are rich veins of copper running into her hills, the most noticeable one, of bronze, some eight or ten feet in thickness, in the hills between Waldo and Althouse, but for some reason attempts to work it have failed, although it appears to be of great purity and inexhaustible in quantity. But the copper mines down Illinois River will yet make this locality famous; the copper is found in well-defined lodes, and practically inexhaustible. The question is one of transportation.
    Platter & Beach have been running a tunnel for the last three years through a heavy divide to turn the waters of Applegate so as entirely to drain the bed of Althouse Creek. Hanson & Co. have done the same at another point, and are now striking it rich. These two operations have opened a district of great mineral wealth, and which will awaken the old times in placer gold mining on Althouse. The returns of the Malachi quartz lode have been very heavy. I see by the telegraphic dispatches that this property has been purchased by a San Francisco house, who are pursuing their enterprise with vigor.
    Though this county is chiefly a mineral county, yet it has many quiet nooks and pleasant valleys which generously reward the husbandman's toil. Fruits flourish as well as in any portion of Oregon, and peaches do much better than in the Willamette Valley. The whole county is well wooded with the various firs and pines; the most notable, for majesty as well as usefulness, is the lofty sugar pine. Groves of oak are scattered about over the valleys, resembling in the distance some old orchard, and nearer by furnishing the most delightful resorts for a quiet drive or a brisk canter. To judge by my own feelings, I should say that the climate for pleasantness and salubrity could not be excelled. The quiet calm of her valleys, the grandness of her mountains, the healthful influence of her mountain streams, all combine to make Josephine County a desirable place for residence, but she lacks those attractions which bind men to the soil. She is isolated and shut in by great mountain canyons. She is dependent for supplies upon a slow, laborious and costly transportation over the Coast Range of mountains.
    Schools, churches, associations do not take kindly in such a community as hers, and perhaps above all she has the inherent vice of all mining communities, that her every dollar taken from her mineral deposits she is one dollar poorer. There is no accumulation; there is no heaping up by one generation for the generation which is to follow. She sows that others may reap.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 14, 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
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
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.
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,
    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
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.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 28, 1869,  page 1

    Having recently arrived here by stage from Oroville, Cal., via Jacksonville, Oregon, a brief description of the route may be interesting to the readers of the Sentinel. The mails arrive here regularly from San Francisco in six days. They could arrive here much sooner, if a few of the stoppages were stopped by the Postmaster General. At Sacramento I arrived at 8 o'clock p.m., and left the next morning at 7 o'clock a.m. Here is an unnecessary loss of 11 hours. At Marysville we had to wait 3½ hours for the Oroville cars. Both of these delays ought to be avoided. The stage line from Oroville to Portland makes good time. The roads generally are in good order, and the horses and coaches of the Oregon Stage Company are in excellent condition.
    I regret to say that the worst roads on the whole route are found in Douglas County. They are out of repair from Canyonville to Lane County. Some portions are intolerable. The bridges across South Umpqua, Myrtle Creek, and many smaller bridges are very dangerous. At Myrtle Creek the supervisor knows the bridge is worthless, and in place of warning the hands to work and repair it, as the law directs, he has posted the following notice on the bridge: "This bridge is considered unsafe, and the county will not be liable for damages." It is to be hoped that this timely warning may prevent any serious accidents, but we would respectfully inform the supervisor and the county that such a notice, in case of an accident, will not excuse either him or his county; but it would be conclusive proof of their negligence. It is the duty of all supervisors to keep their roads and bridges in good repair, and if they neglect to do it, and any person or their property gets injured, both the supervisor and the county are liable for the damages. No notice can shield the supervisor or his county. The notice shows that the supervisor knows the bridge is out of repair, yet he fails to repair the bridge. The life of every horse and every man who rides the bridge is in danger. So the supervisor and the county would do well to repair it at the earliest possible moment.
    The road around the point below the bridge on Umpqua is still dangerous, and it ought to be made more level and wider. Douglas is one of the richest and largest counties in the state, and she is more than able to make the most public road in Oregon a good and safe road. Such negligence would be inexcusable in any county, much less in a county as rich as Douglas. Such roads and such bridges are a disgrace to the Umpqua supervisors and county commissioners. Supervisors, county commissioners, and county judge, one and all, I say, you ought to do better. Several men have been killed by those roads, and many more may be during the coming rainy winter, unless you repair the road and bridges from one end of your county to the other.
"A Letter from B. F. Dowell," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 25, 1869, page 2

    We hope no one will leave Oregon by steamer who has not enjoyed
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 exerc
    KEEP CLEAN!--If you want good health go to Dr. Overbeck's today and get a bath; you can get them regularly Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, and anyone who takes a bath once a week will have no doctor bills to pay.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 21, 1869, page 3ise. 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

Warm Climate.
    Jacksonville is situated in latitude 42 degrees, 30 minutes north, yet we have a very warm climate. During the week we have had several white frosts, but the grass and vegetation is still green and beautiful. We observed this morning in the flower gardens of Peter Britt, James T. Glenn, B. F. Dowell, and others, roses and plenty of other flowers in full bloom. The Sisters of Charity have plenty of grapes on their vines, and two apple trees full of good winter apples. The farmers have just commenced sowing their fall and winter wheat. We believe we have the most delightful climate on the continent. It is not as wet here as in the Willamette Valley, during the winter; it is warmer in the summer, and the winters are always mild. We have resided here for sixteen years, and during that time the rivers and creeks in the valleys have never been frozen over. There has never been a winter cold enough to get ice sufficient to fill an ice house, without going in the mountains.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 4, 1869, page 2

Last revised September 6, 2022