Jackson County 1873
THE UMPQUA VALLEYIs not as large as the Willamette, which contains about eighty millions of acres, while the Umpqua embraces about ten and a quarter millions. It being further south, it has, of course, a little less rainfall, and more sunny days perhaps in winter. It is made up of a succession of oval hills, covered with nutritious wild grass, and many of them ornamented with beautiful white oak groves, with small valleys of rich prairie land between the hills. I knew many pioneers settled in Umpqua from twenty to twenty-five years ago, owing to what they thought its superior attractions. I have passed through this valley twice. I will tell you what I saw there. Nearly twenty-one years ago, in the early part of May, I came from California to Oregon with pack animals. When I struck the Umpqua Valley, my companion and I stripped the saddles and packs from our jaded horses, and turned them out to graze on grass waist high. This grass, as far as I could see, covered the undulating prairies, and was gently waved by a cool and delightful sea breeze. The soft, clear atmosphere, mellowed with the rays of a warm sun, seemed to have all the golden glory of an Italian climate. I threw myself upon the ground, covered by very large ripe delicious strawberries, and ate to satiety. My rifle soon brought down a deer, out of more than twenty that grazed within a mile of camp. Feasting over, my companion strolled to a clear, rapid mountain stream nearby, and picked up in the crevice of a rock under water a piece of pure gold, about as large as a kernel of corn. I took my tin pan and washed gold from dirt I got from several small brooks running down the hillsides. I washed dirt in many places on brooks down in the level prairie, and never failed to get from ten to thirty particles of gold from every panful washed. Three years ago, last December, I again passed through this valley, now settled up by thriving agriculturists. Instead of deer, I saw sheep, cattle, horses and hogs in all the valleys, and on all the hills. Thriving villages had succeeded to Indian wigwams; villages where church spires and school houses were indices that pointed to the character of the people, and where the flower-skirted paths, adjacent to many a neatly painted residence, give a traveler about as good an idea of the character and tastes of their owners, as any other one thing could. In Roseburg I was presented with ripe strawberries, just gathered on a hillside in the open fields, by a lady who still lives there. Having passed through Umpqua twice, once in May, and again in December, after a lapse of eighteen years, and having seen ripe strawberries both times, I judge that the climate of that valley is not objectionable. The only "drawback" that I ever saw, or ever heard of in this valley, is the soil in places is composed of a very sticky clay which, though black as ink, is no more productive than are our more sandy soils in the Willamette, but more muddy in winter. I have seen stagecoach wheels so filled with this mud that not a spoke could be seen. Now if Umpqua people ever hear that I said this, some of them may possibly be angry because I told it. But I set out to tell the truth, good and bad, and in the language of Old Hickory--"By the Eternal," I will. Umpqua has advantages enough to be able to throw in the mud.
ROGUE RIVER VALLEYComes next, south of Umpqua. I judge this valley is some larger than the Umpqua. It has less rain, and is one of the best timbered and watered valleys in Oregon. It suits many people better than any other portion of the state. It produces all the grains, grapes, fruits and vegetables that grow in Umpqua or the Willamette, and is said to be better for corn. It claims to have already produced over fifteen millions from its gold mines, and every little while I hear of something new having been discovered there in the shape of lime, or sandstone, marble, quartz, gold, stone-coal, or an astounding development of some kind that sets us all to wondering, and retires Roseburg to the shade, as the prolific queen of sensation items. On the whole, Rogue River Valley bids fair to become a very valuable and attractive part of Oregon. The "drawbacks" in this valley are, people sometimes get sick and die. If they don't die soon enough, now and then up rises a chap like Stokes and shoots at some fellow. I do not think, however, that they ever kill anybody they shoot at in Rogue River. Whether this poor shooting ought to be reckoned as a "drawback" or not, I cannot now decide.
W. L. Adams, Oregon As It Is, Portland 1873, pages 55-57
Rogue River and Umpqua Valleys.A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, who traveled by land from California through Oregon, in November last, writes as follows: "Soon after leaving the Klamath we entered Oregon, and she impression given on this road is that the state is covered by one immense and gloomy forest. In places the very daylight seems to vanish into a mild twilight, and, in the few "clearings" we passed through the sunshine was novel and enjoyable. After noon the country began to show signs of improvement; settlers' cabins became numerous, and after running down a narrow canyon, we came out into the beautiful valley of Rogue River. Here is said to be the finest climate, and to wearied passengers just over the mountains, the sight was like a revelation of beauty. Where we enter the valley it is no more than two miles wide, but as we go down it widens gradually to five. thirteen, twenty, while on every hand appear fine farms, thrifty orchards, great piles of red and yellow apples of wondrous size, barns full of wheat and fine stock, and we feel such delight that we are out of the mountains and in the "settlements." Though far retired from the road, the mountains still appear rugged and lofty, sending out a succession of rocky spurs--one every two or three miles--and between these, far back into the hills, extend most beautiful cones in long, fan-like shapes. The air was mild, the roads firm and smooth, and the coach rolled along with just enough of motion to give variety--and appetite.
Of his impressions on entering Umpqua Valley. he says: "Driving hour after hour through the seemingly endless forests, often hidden from the sunlight in their somber shades, it seems strange that lumber should be scarce anywhere, for here is enough of it to supply the nation for a half a century. But the railroad is needed to make it available. At Canyonville we ran into the point where the river comes in from the east. Crossing it by an uneasy and dangerous bridge we travel down the east side of the valley the rest of the day, as the river then turns due north. Many clear and pretty streams dash down from the Cascade Range, cross our road and the valley and empty into the Umpqua. The valley is larger than that of the Rogue River, but the climate does not appear so genial. The Cascade Range, which is really but a northern continuation of the Sierra Nevada, bends in more toward the coast, hence none of these valleys are so wide as the Sacramento and San Joaquin of California.
San Francisco Bulletin, January 4, 1873, page 3 The Oregonian in 1872 excerpted this article, attributing it to J. H. Beadle.
LETTER FROM PORT ORFORD.
PORT ORFORD, June 28, 1873.TO THE EDITOR OF THE OREGONIAN:
The trip across that portion of the Coast Range known as Curry County to the coast is one of deep interest. The bald or prairie hills are covered with rich grass, interspersed with delicious clover. Some parts of the country do very well for sheep. It is, however, too mountainous, and they require shepherding from wild animals; but it ranks among the finest pasture for cattle that can be found on the Pacific Coast. The fattest cattle and the most delicious meat that can be raised are fed on the prairie hills of the Coquille, and that part of the Coast Range embraced in Curry County. The milk, cream and butter raised by the settlers from cows fed on the same grass cannot be surpassed for richness and delightful flavor. This Coast Range--240 miles long by 75 miles broad--from the California boundary in the south to the Columbia River in the north, will be, one day, one of the most valuable grazing districts on this side the Rocky Mountains. From the dairies of the settlers of the Coquille and the adjoining districts of Curry County will be sent as delicious butter as ever was made, and in quantities equal to the wants of Coos Bay and a portion of the Portland and San Francisco markets.
The whole of the Coast Range is well supplied with water. Besides innumerable springs and streams, there are the Rogue and Umpqua rivers in the south, that have their rise in the Cascade Range, the district of which is so admirably adapted to sheep. The Elk and Sixes rivers, Floras Creek, the New and Coquille rivers, as well as their numerous branches that have their rise in the Coast Range, and that water the more northern districts of Curry and Coos counties, are unsurpassed for raising fine stock to advantage.
The bottom lands of the rivers and creeks are nearly all made soil, and are rich and productive almost beyond credit. Cereals, vegetables and fruits can be raised in immense quantities in proportion to the extent of the soil available for such productions. Stock men can get as much land as will supply all their wants of this kind in abundance. On the rivers and creeks mentioned, particularly the Coquille and its forks in Coos County, the Elk, Sixes, and New rivers, and Floras Creek in Curry County, there are numerous places that are adapted to and can be taken up by settlers of small means, that, if industrious and economical, and know how to use the ax, spade, shovel and rifle, can build up comfortable homes and live as independent as lords.
THE TIMBER.Nothing astonishes the visitor so much as the apparently inexhaustible quantity of the forest timber of the Coast Range. The amazing quantity of white, yellow and red fir and sugar pine of the slopes and high mountains; the vast belts of white cedar, ash, maple, myrtle and alder in the lower slopes and bottom lands, from Coos Bay to Rogue River, would seem to meet the wants of the Pacific Coast till the time that Gabriel blows his trumpet. There seems to be no limit to the profitable employment of cutting down timber, saw and planing mills, shipbuilding and all the industries connected with these important interests. The soil is so rich to the top of the highest mountains that the moment the timber is removed and the brush burned, orchard and other grasses can be sown at once and fine pasture cultivated.
THE SCENERY ON THE COAST RANGE.From the Coquille to the Pacific across the Coast Range the scenery for fifty miles is bold and grand beyond any adequate description. Although the trail is, in many places, rough, narrow and not free from danger, the ascent and descent of the mounts very great, tedious and tiresome, yet the path runs along mountain ranges from which magnificent views of mountain scenery come into full view that fill the mind with admiration, and make one feel that the Almighty has left in a striking manner the prints of His fingers and the evidences of His power when forming this part of the globe. No less beautiful and charming are the valley and river scenery that intervene and that go to make up a panorama of sublime grandeur and rare beauty that set at defiance all imitation.
What adds to the pleasure and enjoyment of the scene is the untiring industry, the prosperity, the real comforts and the general hospitality of the settlers. There is not a hotel in Portland that sets a more comfortable table than do the majority of the settlers from the Coquille River to the ocean.
PORT ORFORD.When the heights overlooking Port Orford are reached, and the Pacific Ocean, with its deep blue waters, comes into view, and the invigorating breeze from its mighty bosom is felt, the effects are inspiring and invigorating to wind and body. The headlands are bold and grand, and can be seen from Cape Blanco to Hunter's Point, a distance of 40 miles. The beach for the same distance is one of rare beauty, and its adaptation for safe and comfortable bathing at Port Orford is not surpassed on the Pacific or Atlantic coast. It is equally well adapted, when the tide is out, for delightful walks, drives or rides for many miles. It is destined, at no distant day, to be one of the most valuable and attractive watering places on the Pacific Coast. In addition to its healing waters, invigorating breeze, delightful atmosphere and grand scenery, supplies of the choicest cream, milk, butter, honey and berries can be had to any extent required, as well as meats, game, fish and vegetables in great variety and of the best quality.
THE TOWN OF PORT ORFORDwas once a place of considerable size and importance, principally as a center for supplying the miners on the beach and the Sixes River. These mines were once quite successful, but as mining became less valuable, the town gradually declined, and was finally burned down in the fall of 1858 by a destructive and extensive forest fire in the rear of the town. Since then it has had to contend with difficulties that are being gradually surmounted. At present there are two general stores, owned by Mr. A. D. Walcott and Mr. C. Zumwalt. Mrs. Knapp keeps a small hotel. She is a woman of a large heart, remarkably kind and attentive to visitors; keeps a comfortable house and a good table. She is a German lady of the true type, and is a striking example of what industry, economy and integrity can accomplish. From very small means she and her family have risen to comfort and independence. T. W. Crock, the sub-Collector of the port, resides here, and is quite a favorite with the public. Captain W. Tichenor is the proprietor of the town. He is a gentleman of large property, great experience, mental energy, and is taking an active part in pushing forward the great improvements that are in contemplation at the port. Mr. R. W. Dunbar is stopping at the hotel for a short time on account of his health. He was employed by the government to organize the customs department at Port Orford in December, 1855, and filled the office of Collector for a number of years. He is part owner of what is expected to be a valuable quartz mine on Salmon Creek. He is an intelligent and well-informed gentleman, and a favorite with his friends. There are at present just ten houses at the port, including stores and private residences.
THE HARBOR OF PORT ORFORDis what gives the place its chief value and importance in a commercial and maritime point of view. It is situated midway between San Francisco and Puget Sound, and is specially adapted by its large bay and deep water for a harbor of refuge. It only requires the building of a breakwater to protect it from the southwest gales that prevail in the winter time to make it a safe and reliable harbor of refuge for the shipping trade of the entire coast. Major Robert's official report to the Secretary of War in February last is to the effect that Port Orford is the only bay on the coast, from San Francisco to Puget Sound, adapted for a harbor of refuge, and that a breakwater, such as he describes, is essential to make it so. The Major recommends a breakwater of 1,500 yards in length, to be built in ten fathoms water, so as to make it ample for coming time; but he states that "five hundred yards would be sufficient for the present wants of commerce," the cost of which he estimates at $2,902,000. That this breakwater will be built there is no doubt in the minds of those best capable of giving an opinion on the subject. An appropriation would have been made during the last session of Congress for commencing the work, if all the necessary information had been forthcoming in proper time. It is one of the most popular and desirable objects that has ever engaged the minds of the vast majority of the people of Southern Oregon. Mr. Mitchell has given solemn pledges that he will press the claims of this important work in the United States Senate the coming session, so energetically and successfully introduced by Mr. Corbett, late United States Senator. If Mr. Mitchell is faithful to his promise on this subject, it will greatly enhance his popularity in this section of the state, and add immensely to the rapid development of its vast and varied resources.
The knowledge of an appropriation being made by Congress for the building of this breakwater will secure, beyond doubt, the commencement of the construction of the
ROSEBURG, OREGON AND PORT ORFORD RAILROAD.This contemplated railroad will connect with the Oregon and California Railroad at Roseburg; with steamers at Port Orford running to Puget Sound, Portland, San Francisco and elsewhere. It will drain as fine agricultural, mineral and timber country as on the Pacific Coast. If managed for the interest of the public, and for the development of the material interests of the country, it will be a very popular and successful railroad; its freight and passenger traffic will exceed the expectations of its most sanguine friends. Close observation and minute inquiries confirm these conclusions beyond successful contradiction. The town of Port Orford will become the center of a large population; stores, hotels and private residences will be numerous; property will advance in value; shipping will be extensive and travel will be great. It will be a popular and delightful watering place and summer residence for many families from Portland to Jacksonville. As an evidence of the reasonableness of their statements, a leading merchant visited Port Orford this week, to examine its adaptation for business in the event of the breakwater and railroad being built. So satisfied was he with the reasonable certainty of the two latter being accomplished, and of the desirableness and success of the former, that he purchased an entire block of land on which to erect a store and warehouse at the time.
On the rocks in the ocean between Port Orford and Cape Blanco, a few miles from the beach, are thousands of
SEA LIONS.They are now taken in large numbers by a company organized by Captain Tichenor, at Port Orford. They are shot while resting on the rocks, brought on board the company's schooner, skinned, and the fat or blubber taken off. These are the valuable parts of the animal. The skin is coarse and heavy; it is dried in the sun and sold for making glue. The fat makes a valuable oil which is manufactured on shore, barreled and shipped to San Francisco. Some of these sea lions weigh two tons. Although they are clumsy and unsightly brutes, they move with great rapidity both on the rocks and in the sea.
The number of wild and other animals killed by the soldiers that trade at Port Orford may be inferred from the fact that 2,000 hides and skins were shipped from this port last year. One settler killed 17 bear, 22 elk, 11 deer, 1 panther, 1 wolf and 15 lynx.
AGATESin considerable numbers, of great variety and beauty, are got on the north beach at Port Orford for a number of miles. Seaweed of every variety is in abundance. The ladies on the coast excel in making ornamental work from these two sources of supply, which go far to make home life beautiful and cheerful.
NORTHWEST.Oregonian, Portland, July 8, 1873, page 2
For the Boston Investigator.
A Letter from B. F. Underwood.Forest Grove (Oregon), August 6, 1873.
MR. EDITOR:--The past three weeks I have been in Oregon, hard at work, lecturing almost every evening. I came from California by the overland route, and had the second opportunity to experience all the pleasures and all the hardships of a long stage ride over one of the roughest, wildest, and most picturesque regions on the globe. Nearly the whole way, day and night, I occupied a seat by the driver, and when I could keep my eyes open had a good chance to view the scenery along the route.
When I could no longer keep awake, and was in danger of falling from the stage, I took a seat reluctantly inside. One would imagine sleep quite impossible in a stage, over such a road, but it is otherwise. The stage line has been very much shortened the past two years by the extension of the Oregon and California Railroad at both ends. There is still a stage ride of about sixty-four hours.
I stopped one week in the Rogue River Valley, lecturing during the time in Jacksonville and Ashland. A charming region is this valley. The scenery is lovely, The air is soft and pure, the days warm, and the night always cool. The climate, in the opinion of some who are competent to judge, is pronounced equal to that of the Isle of Wight. The yields of wheat and oats are enormous, while peaches and plums, and all such fruits, are raised in abundance. The valley is small, and can never be the home of a large population; but it is certainly one of the most beautiful spots I have seen in my travels about the country.
I had a very pleasant time in both the places above named. My audiences were large every evening, and a good deal of interest was shown in liberal views. At Jacksonville, I was the guest of Mr. Kelly, Editor of the Jacksonville Sentinel. I passed a day at the home of Mr. Beeson, of Ashland--son of "Father Beeson, the Indians' friend"--who has read the Investigator from boyhood, and is a staunch and earnest Freethinker.
I was in conversation with many of the citizens in regard to the Modoc difficulties. The feeling against the redskins was very strong. Yet it is frankly confessed by thoughtful and considerate men that the same Indians had been cheated, robbed, insulted, and nearly starved to death by government agents. And, in fact, when one comes to get acquainted with the history of Oregon, and the cause of the late Indian difficulties, it is seen at once that the recent barbarities of the Modocs were invited and encouraged by the general treatment they have received from settlers, and especially by the robbery of which they have been the victims at the hands of men honestly appointed by the government to provide for their necessities. And in the same treacherous manner that Capt. Jack and his party assassinated Gen. Canby and those with him, have the settlers on more than one occasion dealt with the Indians. The "Ben Wright massacre" has become historic. I am not an admirer of the Indian. Naturally, he is lazy, treacherous and cruel. But the treatment he has received from settlers, and especially from government agents, has made him far worse than he would otherwise be. I don't wonder Indians regard white men as their enemies. They have not only cheated and robbed them, killed them frequently with no semblance of a just cause, but they have corrupted their squaws and filled the tribes with loathsome and destructive diseases. Say as much as we will against the Indians--and some of their deeds have been indescribably fiendish--the white man's dealings with them don't speak very well for our boasted civilization.
A few days ago, I was in conversation with Meacham, the commissioner who, although badly wounded when Gen. Canby and Thomas were killed, yet recovered, and has since given his testimony in the trial of the Modoc assassins. He says he warned both Canby and Thomas, but the former trusted to the position of his army, and the latter to God, and they both fell. Thomas, who was a very pious man, told Meacham if they put their faith in God and the efficacy of prayer, that no Indian could harm them. Meacham says he suggested that revolvers be taken and concealed for use in the event of treachery, his idea being evidently "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry." But Canby and Thomas thought it unnecessary. Meacham says he tried to dissuade both the gentlemen named from meeting Capt. Jack and his party. The response of Dr. Thomas was: "You don't have faith enough in God. You don't pray enough." He expected, he says, that the whole party, himself included, would be killed; but refusal to accompany them, since he was president of the commission, would have been construed into cowardice; and so he says he deliberately resolved to sacrifice his life, if necessary, rather than give occasion for accusations which would otherwise have been made.
Of my travels and doings in the Willamette Valley, I will make some mention in another letter. I will only say now, that I have lectured in Eugene City, Corvallis, Oregon City, Portland, North Yamhill, and Forest Grove. I have spoken to but one small audience since I came to the state. I will remain in Oregon as late as the 20th, after which I will return to California.
Respectfully, B. F. UNDERWOOD.
Boston Investigator, August 27, 1873, page 1
LETTER FROM MRS. VICTOR.Dear Mrs. Duniway:--If my name is not Peregrine Pickle, it ought to be; for to my peregrinations there is no end, and as for the pickle, I am pretty nearly always in one! When I left Portland-on-Willamette two months ago, it was with the vaguest of ideas about what I should encounter east of the mountains. I had heard of the Modocs, and did not aspire to an encounter with them. There were rumors afloat of Indian agents scarcely less formidable than their barbarian wards. It was understood that alkali and volcanic ash and scoria constituted most of the territory known as the Lake Country. These several distinct impressions were all that I felt sure of--gained I hardly could tell how--from one and another reckless talker.
I set out therefore with a lagging sense of anticipation of what was to come--doubting if my summer wanderings in this direction would prove either pleasant or profitable. I wish it distinctly understood that I hadn't any passes, and therefore speak with entire freedom to say what I choose, and if I thank the officers of the O.&C.R.R. train for courteous treatment, and a ride on the locomotive through the most romantic portion of the railroad route, it is for actual politeness from them, and not an acknowledgment of deadhead privileges. The Root of the matter was the conductor, and its branches were baggagemaster Anderson, and "Jimmy," the newsboy.
Having been over the road in old stagecoach times, I was delighted to find that the charm of novelty still remained, for of course the railroad does not follow the stage road grade altogether. The pass through the Calapooia Mountains into the beautiful Umpqua country is especially fine, passing as it does through a forest of giant timber, and cool, ferny nooks, moist with the trickling of mountain rills. Emerging from this, we came at once into the Yoncalla Valley--a lovely region, and rendered famous from having so long been the residence of one of Oregon's most eminent men and famous pioneers, Jesse Applegate. The old mansion at the foot of Yoncalla Mountain is abandoned by the "Sage" who erst gave dignity to its ready hospitality, and one must look for the proprietor on the borders of Clear Lake in Northern California.
At Roseburg we leave a comfortable car, and hasten to take a not very comfortable coach. As a tourist must grumble somewhere, I seize upon this opportunity. When one is about to commence a night ride, one wants three-quarters of an hour at the very least to prepare for it, but at Roseburg it is presumed that you can attend to your toilet, take supper, and get into your night wraps in fifteen minutes--all on account of the stage company's enthusiastic intention to make time, and deliver its passengers to the waiting train on the California end of the road at a stated moment. I left out the supper, having been fortified thereto by a private lunch on board the train. Stage-driving in Oregon is good--I find no fault with that. But the stage company probably could afford, if they thought of the sufferings of their passengers, to put in cushions that are a trifle less hard than a rock. On the whole, It would be cheaper than smoothing down the irregularities in the road which make the spring cushions desirable.
One gets through the night, to one's astonishment, without being reduced to jelly, and after a comfortable breakfast, resumes the journey feeling somewhat refreshed. But no! outraged nature resents the maltreatment the nervous system has undergone, and the digestive organs are undergoing, and insists upon an outside seat after a dose of camphor-and-water. That is a happy suggestion. The driver proves good company, besides being a philosopher, and the bright morning air becomes a tonic. We get on very amicably to the dinner station at Rock Point, and here our sense of justice is offended afresh. After the coach arrives, time is consumed getting dinner on the table, necessarily. By the time we are seated and have swallowed half a meal, the word is given to start again. Of course the horses and driver have had their meal beforehand without hurry. The miserable passenger, whose only business is to pay his fare, is not consulted. On the contrary, he is compelled to consent to be regarded as fast freight; faster when at the stations than when on the road. But it all conduces to make us glad to come to our journey's end, as well as to vow we never will--no, never! take coach through Oregon again. But we shall--of course we shall--and the stage company knows it.
At Ashland, a charming village in the foothills, my stage ride came to a close, and I was hospitably entertained over Sunday at the house of another of Oregon's pioneers, Lindsay Applegate, brother of Jesse, and father of Gen. E. L. Applegate, of Lane County. From this point I traveled in company with a private party across the mountains, making sixty-two miles in three days! But that was the fun of it. What occasion for hurry "when the world was all before us where (and when) to choose?" It was the most genuine gypsying I ever did, and to my confusion I discovered that on a gypsying excursion I was lacking in some very needful accomplishments. For instance, I have permitted myself to become so effeminate and awkward as not to be able to ride a hard-trotting horse. Palace cars and carriage cushions are demoralizing. But then I could walk--that is something I have not yet given up, and I could laugh heartily at the graceful appearance of the young lady who did venture on the horse with an ugly gait. We had our choice of the hack, the saddle, or afoot, and to redeem my character from the charge of too great luxuriousness, I walked miles in the fragrant shadows of giant pines, conversing meanwhile with a companion of inexhaustible resources, and did not feel in the least punished by my self-imposed penance. But I did regret not being able to keep up with the hunters, who went ahead to choose camp and bring in game. However, I enjoyed the trout if I did not catch them, and enjoyed trying to find comfort in a camp bed. I am a child of Nature, and fond of my mother, but I do rather shrink from reposing on her broad bosom without the interposition of a French bedstead and a good spring mattress; that is to say, I did shrink from it just at first; but that weakness, I hope, is conquered. The second night we had venison for supper, and might have had bear meat, only our hunters had fallen behind to take care of their venison when the great "Cinnamon" [bear] came galloping out of the thicket ahead of us, and hurried off into the forest at our right. Perhaps he heard the rifle and guessed what it meant. I am mourning yet because I did not get that particular bearskin for a rug. As we camped for the night not far from the bear-walks, it was pleasantly exciting to surmise the possibility of an ursine visitor in camp, and terribly disturbing also to be wakened at three o'clock in the morning to see Venus!--just as if Venus was not likely to last one's lifetime, and to be evening and morning star at intervals during the whole of that period. I know of people so insane as to invite you to look at the moon--as if the moon were a novelty!
Our party arrived at Linkville, the metropolis of Southeastern Oregon, on the 3rd of July, where preparations were being made for celebrating the Fourth. As the young ladies were interested in the festivities of that day, and as I was kindly invited to participate, I became patriotic, and went out to hear the young orator, I. C. Applegate, discourse of our Nation's history from first to last in a manner rather more original than anniversary orators are accustomed to do. The exercises of the day closed with a ball; and if anyone is malicious enough to aver that the grave and reverend author of this letter danced, I should state uncompromisingly that they told the truth.
Linkville is well situated to catch the travel and business of the country, but in the least attractive spot of the whole Lake region. It lies at the base of the mountains on the east side, and at the foot of the Upper Klamath Lake, just where Link River, which connects the two lakes, runs out of it. The rolling land about it is destitute of timber, which want is so great a one in any landscape, especially one destitute of green grass. Hot springs and ashen soil attest the volcanic origin of its peculiar features. Yet Mr. Nurse has a fine garden on the river bottom, and near town I saw wheat being harvested.
Thirty-one miles to the north of Linkville is Klamath Agency. Six miles further north, Fort Klamath, both handsomely located among pine groves of great beauty, and furnished with the most deliciously pure and cold water. About half that distance south, on Link River, is the place of Capt. Jack's camp, where the first fight occurred on the 29th of November, and an equal distance beyond takes one down to the scenes of those massacres of settlers which led to the war, and on to Tule Lake, now rendered forever historical, first by unprovoked murders of immigrants, and lastly by an unheard-of act of treachery on the part of the murderers toward a Commission which only dealt too leniently with them. The history of the events which led to the Modoc War will hardly be written in this generation, and the unwritten facts will be those possessing the intensest interest, even when something like a history shall be produced. It is not the fault of interviewers, be it understood, if no account of these things is furnished to the public in proper form. One of this uncanny tribe myself, I felt some compunctions of conscience when I beheld the rapacity of my kind. Be it known that Job's patience would scarcely have been sufficient to meet the exigencies of the quizzing which the officers of the Agency, particularly, had to undergo. The courtesy and kindness extended to us is, and always will remain, a wonder to my mind.
It is so much the fashion to berate Indian agents that I shall most likely astonish a majority by taking their side against their maligners. Everybody knows of what they are accused--stealing, peculation, unfairness to the Indians, cruelty, lying and the rest of the decalogue of sins. It is curious to me how the agents on the Klamath Reservation contrived to make anything out of a position where the appropriations were so small and so slowly remitted; so small, in fact, even now, that it is impossible to carry on the improvements stipulated in the treaty to any degree of perfection. And then the salaries behind, too. At this rate an Indian agent may be looked upon as an underpaid and suffering rather than a money-making individual. The duties required of one are anything but agreeable, the servant of, rather than the master of his wards--attending to every want from a gunlock to a baby's shroud. An Indian likes or dislikes, very much like any other ignorant and narrow-minded person. Everybody knows how much more difficult to deal with is ignorance than intelligence. Add bad propensities and savage ideas to a total lack of all valuable knowledge and you have the character of many of the Indians with whom an agent has to deal. But the government ignores the wrongs of its employees, and in its surpassing sympathy for the Indian forgets to "be just before being generous." I am satisfied that the affairs of the Klamath Agency would bear the strictest investigation, and that the tales afloat concerning the provocation given to Jack and his band are both false and foolish. Having an opportunity to observe the administration of the present agent, and being acquainted with the man who formerly managed affairs on the Reservation, I feel competent to say that there was not only no ground of complaint against them, but that they seem to have acted with singular manhood and good faith towards the Indians and the Department. Yet in California, and even in Oregon, the contrary opinion is recklessly stated by people totally uninformed of the facts in the case.
I did not set out to defend anybody; that last paragraph slipped in unawares. What I meant to tell you of was the many pleasant excursions I enjoyed while stopping at Klamath Agency--from going to take notes of Jack's trial, to visiting the wonderful Crater Lake. But I cannot tell you everything in one number of your paper--I don't know that I want anybody to know the half I enjoyed on this summer voyage. Suffice it for the present that to travel in Eastern Oregon requires you to wear stout shoes, a linen duster, a dust cap, an immense hat; to carry a field glass and a carbine; to know how to make a hemlock bed, or sleep on a haystack, and to talk jargon. With these accoutrements and accomplishments, if you are a good and indefatigable rider, you will get along.
NOTE.--Eastern Oregon is settled by cattle-raisers, and for that purpose the country is first best--and good for little else than good beef, butter and cheese.
MORAL.--If you are well enough off, stay where you are. If you want to raise cattle, and can find two or three thousand acres of unclaimed land with a splendid spring on it, and a magnificent pine grove adjoining, why, go take it; there is nothing to hinder, except, perhaps, capital to stock it.
F.F.V.P.S. I had nearly forgotten the postscript, the most important part of a true woman's letter--and I wish to be true womanly, of course. I will just say here that the only reason I do not put some real information about the country, etc., into my letter, is because I do not resemble Mark Twain, who cannot help being sensible and wise when he only means to be amusing. If I fail of being either sensible or amusing, so much the worse for me.
Frances Fuller Victor, New Northwest, Portland, September 5, 1873, page 1
OVERLAND JOURNEY TO SAN FRANCISCO.TO THE EDITOR OF THE OREGONIAN:
I have never been in sympathy with that irascible hater of the sea who wished to thrash the author of "A Life on the Ocean Wave." If any person is willing to take the risks of howling storms and wild waves he ought to be allowed to sail and sing. But we don't wish any ourselves, and hence we left your beautiful city and ours, a few weeks ago, in a rail car for our carriage, with an iron horse for our steed. The morning was one of those bright and beautiful ones so common in our climate, during the summer and autumn months, when everyone wears smiles, and feels so hopeful and vigorous as to forget whether their age is fifteen or fifty.
As we looked back, Portland lay stretched out like a panorama, and with its sparkling river in front, its hills crowned with evergreens in the background, and faraway the mountains of pure, eternal snow, the view was very attractive, even to less partial eyes than ours.
The fruitful valleys of the Willamette and Umpqua rivers, though disrobed of their waving grain, shone brightly in the sunlight, and seemed to tell us of their great fertility and the prosperity resulting therefrom. These valleys are the objects of universal admiration. Those who understand the extent, beauty and resources of Oregon cannot but repel, with displeasure, the unreasonable assertion that "the Willamette Valley is Oregon," while it is undeniably true that it is an important part of the state, and that it must for the present cast in the shade other districts perhaps as fertile and beautiful, which have no railroad or river transportation.
As we passed along we saw large quantities of grain stored at every station, awaiting its turn to be conveyed to Portland. We remembered, too, that here can be raised, in their utmost perfection, nearly all fruits and vegetables that are not exclusively tropical; and we could not but think that, with such natural advantages, our state is destined to become the center of a great population, when the means of reaching it shall be improved. Its climate is certainly most desirable. Without any of the extremes of heat and cold peculiar to the Eastern and interior states, we have still, we think, the advantage of our California neighbors in a greater variety of temperature. If we have more cloudy days we can better appreciate the bright ones, and an occasional winter's frost enables us the more to value the mildness which usually prevails.
Four years ago Roseburg was a long distance from Portland, and to reach it, even under favorable circumstances, forty-three hours of staging were required. Now the locomotive carries us in twelve.
The shades of night were descending as we arrived at the end of the track, and without much delay were transferred to the stage, in readiness. Dreading a little its confined quarters, and its unceremonious jolts, we put a brave face on the matter, and listened with interest to the conversation which was soon inaugurated.
THE GRAIN CROPand the comparative capabilities for its production furnished by the two principal states of the Pacific Coast were duly discussed. One of the principal advocates for our state was an intelligent Michigan farmer, who had been spending the summer in the Umpqua Valley, but who had also visited other portions of the state. His views were clear, and he argued well, but not so emphatically as did a Californian for his state. The latter gentleman, we were sorry to see, seemed to question the strength of the facts on which our Michigan champion's protestations were based, and resorted to whiskey to fortify them. This was a little damaging to his cause.
"THE BIG CANYON"is suggestive of the grand, and terrible also, in its mountainous heights and cavernous depths, suspended half-way, between which the traveler is conveyed, on a ledge that, to timid eyes, looked sometimes narrower then we could desire.
Wood fires assisted the moon and stars to illuminate our way, an addition quite pleasing to the fancy, if not too neighborly, as actually was the case in this locality. The forest was ablaze on the heights and slopes above us on the left, and on the right our road broke off abruptly to cavernous depths. A long and winding ascent lay before us, and our progress must be slow, while retreat was impossible. For a little time it was a serious question whether the almost consumed trees would stand till we were beyond their reach. Here the road wound apparently into the very conflagration itself. The heat was intense and the
BURNING STEEPLES OF PINE,far above us, and the lower vegetation also in flame, lighting up the distant sides of the canyon and the very chasm over which our road seemed to hang, furnished a strange and startling sight. Our horses were doubtless frightened, but an additional impulse from the driver also urged them forward.
As we advanced we passed through regions made painfully historic by the Indian war too well known by our oldest settlers. Here, naturally enough, the red man formed the subject of discussion, which became the more animated since the day for the execution of the Modoc prisoners was at hand. Traditions were rife, but certainly the tragedies that are well known, and sadly remembered, need no embellishment.
JACKSONVILLEis a somewhat active town, but has apparently grown but little since the days of mining excitement. The country surrounding it, and the whole Rogue River Valley, must impress everyone as very beautiful, and sometime in the future will doubtless be densely populated. The whole aspect of that portion of the state would soon be changed if railroad communication were established between it and the city of Portland.
The ascent and descent of the Siskiyou Mountain is both interesting and exciting. The road bears resemblance to that of "The Big Canyon," being cut on the mountainside, with deep defiles on the outer edge, but we ascend in this case to far greater eminence, and the timid shiver a little when, on the descent, the driver gives the rein to his six horses, and one seems whirled downward around many a rapid turn, which, for the instant, hides the leaders from view.
Before reaching Jacksonville we had observed the sage and grease bush and other plants so common in the interior of our country, which appear, some of them, at least, to be found only in districts otherwise barren. And these we saw at intervals over our entire remaining journey southward. With these few trees were to be found. A large portion of our western coast is, perhaps, too heavily wooded for the best effects in scenery, but the eye tires far more on the wide, naked, sunburnt and uninviting plains, where even our occasionally monotonous evergreens would furnish a delightful variety.
J.W.L.Oregonian, Portland, October 29, 1873, page 4
IMPRESSIONS AND OBSERVATIONSJackson County was created January 12, 1852. It was named for General Andrew Jackson and was created from the original Yamhill and Champoeg "districts." Jackson County today has an area of 2836 miles. Fifty years ago its area was 11,556 square miles and its population about 5000; so there was a little less than one person to every two square miles. In 1873 the county officers of Jackson County were: E. B. Watson, county judge; P. Dunn, county clerk; T. T. McKenzie, sheriff; John Bilger, treasurer; W. J. Stanley, school superintendent; H. Taylor, assessor; B. F. Myer, surveyor; M. H. Drake and Jacob Wagner, county commissioners. At that time there were 12 post offices in the county, which meant there was approximately one post office for every 1000 square miles.
OF THE JOURNAL MAN
By Fred Lockley
Grants Pass, now the county seat of Josephine County, was at that time a stage station at which was maintained a post office and one store. The store was owned by the firm of Magruder Bros.
Linkville, now known as Klamath Falls, county seat of Klamath County, at that time claimed a population of 40 and had a post office and store operated by George Nurse. The Modoc War had made Linkville a point of some importance 50 years ago, and a land office had been established there. Wagner Creek had a sawmill, operated by M. Lindley. Willow Springs, six miles north of Jacksonville, had a saloon and two stores as well as a post office. The saloon was run by Andrew Chapman and the stores by French & Moody and M. Bigley.
Uniontown, 10 miles southwest of Jacksonville, was principally celebrated for being the site of the famous Steamboat ledge.
Rock Point, 12 miles northwest of Jacksonville, gave promise of being a good-sized town. J. B. White was postmaster, Dr. William L. Colvig maintained an office there. L. J. White ran a hotel. A. Shultz had a blacksmith shop. Hammon & White had a general merchandise store.
Applegate, 10 miles southwest of Jacksonville, had a population of 25. Royal Benedict ran a hotel there, and the five general merchandise stores were supported by the trade of the nearby miners and settlers. The owners of the stores at that time were Cameron & Hayden, Casper Kubli, Alf Sturgis, B. R. Hayden and J. Bolt.
Central Point had a flour mill, a blacksmith shop and a store. The flour mill was operated by McKenzie & Amy, the store by Magruder Bros. and the blacksmith shop by J. Buford.
Klamath Lake at that time had one store and a saloon. The store was owned by George Nurse and the saloon by A. Hardy.
Phoenix, 7½ miles south of Jacksonville on the Oregon-California stage road, had a good school, two flour mills, a Presbyterian church and 10 business establishments. Reames & Sachs and C. Coleman owned a general merchandise store there. D. Lathenburg was the proprietor of the hotel. J. Wimer & Son operated the flour mill. R. Ball ran a tannery. Jake Marlow had a wagon shop. Pete Barneburg did painting and paperhanging. D. P. Anderson ran the livery stable. Gullier & Carver and A. Dunlap had blacksmith shops.
Ashland, on Ashland Creek, had a population of nearly 400. It aspired to be a manufacturing city. It had a flour mill and a woolen mill and there was located there a school, called Ashland academy, of which Rev. J. H. Skidmore was principal. The business and professional list of Ashland 50 years ago was as follows: A. D. Helman, bookseller; H. Farlow and O. Nicholson, blacksmiths; Ed DePeatt, boots and shoes; Miller Stephens & Co., cabinetmakers; J. R. Tozer, W. C. Daley, L. S. P. Marsh and Miller, Stephens & Co., carpenters; Wagner, McCall & Co., flouring mill; R. B. Hargadine, Caro & Maum and Mitchell & Reeser, general merchandise; Jasper Houck, hotelkeeper; Slagle & Son, livery; Wagner, McCall & Co., millers; J. H. Russell, marble yard: O. Coolidge, nurseryman; Frank Barnes, meat market; H. T. Inlow and J. H. Chitwood, physician; A. D. Helman, postmaster; Rev. J. H. Skidmore, principal of the Academy; S. Whitmore, saddler; Jacobs, Fox & Co. and Gillett & Co., sawmill men; W. C. Myer, B. F. Myer, J. P. Walker, M. Walker, F. Smith and H. F. Burrow, stock raisers and importers; C. K. Klum, telegraph operator; W. W. Kentnor and Furlow & Patterson, wagonmakers; William Griffin and W. W. Kentnor, wheelwrights; B. F. Myer, president of the woolen manufacturing company.
Jacksonville was the county seat as well as the metropolis of the county. Jacksonville was settled in 1852, when gold was first discovered there. In 1873 it had a population of nearly 1000. In 1873 it was a solid, conservative, substantial city, which looked forward to being the metropolis of Southwestern Oregon. C. C. Beekman, one of the pioneer bankers of Southern Oregon, besides running a bank, was agent for the California-Oregon Stage Company and was also express agent. B. F. Myer, also a pioneer resident of Southern Oregon, was a gunsmith whose work was in demand all over Southern Oregon. The legal profession was represented by Dowell & Kelly. B. F. Dowell, the senior member, had run a pack train and served in the Indian wars in 1853 and 1855. The other attorneys at Jacksonville were H. K. Hanna, Fay & Rea, Neil & Stinson and Kahler & Watson. The medical profession was represented by Doctors Danforth, S. F. Chapin, J. N. Bell and G. H. Aiken. On account of the large number of miners in the vicinity of Jacksonville, and also on account of Jacksonville's being headquarters for a largo number of freighters and packers, the saloon business was one of the principal industries. Wintjen & Helms, Million & Brunson, Henry Polk, C. W. Savage, John Noland, John Walters and Charles Newmeyer all operated busy and profitable wet goods establishments. Peter Britt, who had established a daguerreotype gallery in the early '50s, now operates a photograph gallery. J. Guilfoyle ran a restaurant. L. Horne operated the hotel, Jacob Meyer and J. Badger were wagonmakers. James Herd ran a sawmill, Judge & Noonan had a harness and saddle shop. Hoffman & Klippel and John Bilger had hardware stores. Orth and Gianini ran a meat market. Mrs. Helene Brentano and Miss Kent had millinery stores. Manning & Ish and Kubli & Wilson ran livery stables. John Neuber and Osburn & Brooks had jewelry stores. James Dunn, Solomon Cohn and William Boyer had grocery stores. Hall & Smith and David Linn had furniture stores. Robb and Kahler had drug stores. John Walter ran a bakery. J. Jurber and George Schumpf ran barber shops. Fred Luy, N. Langell and M. Caton had boot and shoe stores. David Cronemiller, Crystal & Wright and Pat Donegan had blacksmith shops. Veit Schutz and Joseph Wetterer operated the two breweries there. William Jackson and A. Chevalier had dental parlors. The following had general merchandise stores: Antone Allman, Max Muller, Sachs Bros., G. Karewski, E. Jacobs, L. Solomon, P. J. Ryan, Fisher Bros. and White & Martin.
Oregon Journal, Portland, December 6, 1923, page 10
Last revised December 5, 2023