THROUGH TO JACKSONVILLE.We take the following from a communication published in the Oregonian, written by Fred. V. Holman, who was here not long since:
We arrived at Rock Point, in Jackson County, at 3 o'clock in the morning. It was a long and dreary waiting for 7 o'clock to come--the hour that we were to leave for Jacksonville. As it grew light we saw that we were near Rogue River. It is a beautiful, small river, not navigable, running there between banks of solid rock. A little rain had fallen during the night and laid whatever dust the sun of the few preceding days had made. Rock Point is thirteen miles only from Jacksonville. The road is good and the country quite level. A large part of the way the stage road runs on the eastern slope of the mountains. As you idle along you get a fine view of the Rogue River Valley--for its size the most beautiful and richest valley in Oregon. The small groves of tall and well-shaped pines, the wide-spreading oaks, and that shapely and beautiful tropical-looking evergreen, the madrone, relieve what would else be a monotonous level plain. The valley has the appearance of being entirely surrounded by high mountains. Far in the east is Mt. Pitt, a snow peak similar in shape and of the apparent size of Mt. St. Helens, as seen from South Portland. "All along here," says the driver, pointing with his whip to some meadows, "was the first mining done in the valley, and plenty of gold could be taken out now if they had water only for hydraulic mining."
Jacksonville is a charming little place built on a hillside. Here was found some of the richest placers in Oregon. Back of the town are evidences of the flush times of long ago. But for the lack of water mining would be very profitable within the town limits even now. The town has a thrifty, substantial look. More of the business firms are in brick buildings than in wooden ones.
The people of Jacksonville are a whole-souled, generous, open-hearted people, glad to see strangers who do not come here to run the town. They have that frank and manly way usually found in the mining districts of the Pacific Coast, a way which came from the kind of men who settled and mined when money was plenty and cowardice and meanness unknown. Jacksonville and her citizens have been without many of the luxuries of other places, but she has not some of the vices which other places have got among their luxuries. The only means of reaching here so far have been over the wagon roads. Freights have been high. The people are anxiously waiting for the sound of the locomotive, that open sesame of all isolated inland places.
Most of the soil in the valley is very fine, but there are sterile spots, usually surrounded by the richest black loam, looking so much as though it were half gunpowder that one almost fears to throw down a lighted match.
As I passed a field with several hundred bushels of wheat growing, and in the very best condition, I asked a man repairing a fence whether the land yielded well. He said, "Last year there were in wheat 60 acres only, but it yielded 3,000 bushels, which I saw measured myself."
In many places large fields of alfalfa are growing. It needs to be planted but once, and there is a volunteer crop forever after. It is a foot high now. I am told that it averages three crops a year. There is no place in Oregon so well adapted for dairy farming. Before many years I believe that Rogue River butter will have the call in the Portland market if the farmers here will take the trouble to make first-class butter. They have the soil, feed and climate; their own industry is the only other requisite.
There is no place in Oregon better adapted for fruit raising. Peaches, grapes, apples, cherries, strawberries and other small fruits are said to have a size and flavor which cannot be excelled. The only orchards of any size in the valley now are of apple trees. It seems almost too bad that they did not, several years ago, start large orchards of peach trees in anticipation of the coming of the railroad. It is not too late now. This valley cannot raise too many peaches, for all that are not used as fresh fruit will be taken by the canneries. It is said that the peaches here are far better than any grown in California and rival even the Delaware peaches.
In the suburbs of Jacksonville are two vineyards having together an aggregate of 25 acres. The market has been so limited for fresh grapes that most of them have been made into wine. The owners evidently have not yet learned to make the grape into its best wine. I tasted some white wine which was a light very dry wine, quite palatable. But a red wine which is here called claret--well, I pass. It is said, however, that a good article of grape brandy is made here.
Jacksonville has a population of about 1,000. It is not likely that it will ever be a place of any great size. It was built up mainly by the stimulus of placer mining. It is on one side of the valley, and has no especial facilities for manufactures although there is a good steam grist mill and a distillery here, while Ashland, 15 miles away, has good water power. The Rogue River Valley is not large--say 15 miles wide [and] 20 miles long. These would be its extreme dimensions. The foundation is now laying here for a new court house to cost $30,000. The building will be finished this year. There are three churches. The Presbyterians have a new church, one of the neatest and most tasteful buildings I have seen in any of the small towns in Oregon. The Methodists also have a church, while the Catholics have a church and a girls' boarding school, all clean, nice-looking buildings. There also is a fine public school building with a good school in it. To save the town from the reputation of being too goody-goody I will mention that there are several saloons here. Jacksonville is very orderly indeed and I notice a very pleasant lack of hoodlumism. Still, if outsiders come here for the purpose of taking the town and setting it to rights, they are likely to fail in such amateur missionary labor. There are a number of very handsome dwellings here, several being brick. Take it all in all, Jacksonville is a clean, thrifty-looking place, and a citizen of it need not be ashamed to claim it as his residence. There are two papers here, the Times (Dem.), and the Sentinel (Rep.), both party organs, but each good local papers. I notice a commendable lack of the celebrated "Oregon style" in their allusions to each other.
Most of the farmers are men who came here early in the fifties or before and live on their own donation land claims. Most of the farmers have on them good houses and barns. The fences are good and show that they are well attended to. Heretofore but small crops have been raised, for the want of market. But from this on Rogue River Valley will be known in the market. While all the temptations to idleness--a rich soil and limited market--the whole valley shows for itself that its farmers are thrifty, industrious men, who need but a market to be as prosperous and well to do as in any section of the state.
From its natural beauty and delightful climate it will not be many years until tourists will find that the Rogue River Valley is one of the most charming spots on the whole Pacific Coast.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, April 28, 1883, page 4
We met at the late pioneer celebration with Col. John E. Ross, who is one of the pioneers of Jackson County as well as among those who came to Oregon at an early day. Col. Ross is a Rogue River farmer whose place is only three miles from Jacksonville. He is well informed, of course, concerning that region and says it offers great inducements to new settlers. Rogue River Valley, including the territory from Umpqua Mountain on the north to the Siskiyou Mountain on the south, is forty miles wide, north and south, by sixty to seventy miles long, east and west. Of this the land and open country of the valley that is already settled is about equal to one-fourth of the total. The remainder is a hilly region, covered with undergrowth in part, but when cleared makes the best of vineyard and orchard land. If we only claim one-half of the whole valley to be available for agriculture, that will leave as much vacant land, subject to entry, or purchase from the railroad company, as is now cultivated or owned in Jackson and Josephine counties. There is diversity of soil in Jackson County. Part is clayey soil, well adapted to vine growing or orcharding. There is considerable granite decomposition that has been tried for orchards with success. We met the other day with a gentleman who formerly lived in that region, who told his experience in planting an orchard on decomposed bench land.
Of the whole area described as within the limits forty by sixty miles, the open prairie lands of the valley, that constitute the farming region of Jackson County, form not over one-fourth; the remainder is generally vacant. Within a few months the O.&C. Railroad will reach that section and give it all the necessary facilities of transportation. The natural outlet of Southern Oregon is towards the north, where its products will find a market. The soil and climate of Rogue River Valley favor the products that are natural to California, on the south of it. While it produces well all the cereals, fruits and vegetables that grow to the northward, it also grows corn, grapes and peaches that do not succeed with certainty in the valleys north of it. The climate of Southern Oregon is pleasantly modified so that it has not the hot summers, nor the fear of drought that are so common to California. Its winters have not the excess of rain sometimes known in our own section. We have often asserted that Jackson County possesses advantages of climate over any other part of Oregon. Its southern location, midway between Oregon and California, secure for it the best features of each state.
Oregon needs corn, and settlers in Rogue River Valley can raise that cereal to advantage with certainty of a market close at hand. Market gardening will pay well there because a market for early vegetables will be secured at Portland and other northern towns. We already receive early fruits and vegetables from Douglas County, in the Umpqua region, one hundred miles north of Rogue River Valley.
The soil of the Rogue River country is quick and responsive, similar to that of California, and can be depended on for early production. We have spoken of the different soils. We look to the future with certainty that there will be great population in cities, and that Rogue River farming will be called on to supply the demand of these northern cities for the products it can raise, which the rest of Oregon cannot grow with certainty. Rogue River vineyards make excellent wine and grow very fine grapes. It will be natural for the future cities of Oregon to seek their supplies from an Oregon source in preference to going to California. As to peaches, also, we shall require extensive shipments.
But fruit growing there can include all varieties known in the Willamette. The fruit grower can work with a certainty that he can compete in all respects with the fruit grower of any other section. He can dry or can his product or ship it green and be able to do each to advantage.
We do not mean to intimate that fruit growing is the only resource in Rogue River Valley. The people of that county carry on farming extensively and are stock raisers on a generous scale. We are referring to the new lands, overgrown with brush, that abound in that portion of Oregon. Our effort is to show their especial value, where proper locations are secured, for fruit growing. We have also shown the especial adaptability of Jackson County for that occupation. A few acres, well tilled, will afford occupation to a family. The man of small means can manage to clear a few acres in garden until it bears fruit. There are many inducements for settling that region, and there is every reason to believe that in time it will become the garden spot and fruit-growing portion of Western Oregon.
Willamette Farmer, Salem, June 22, 1883, page 1
After leaving Eugene City we still follow the Willamette River, but it is becoming quite a small stream, and is more suggestive of an afternoon's fishing than of commerce. The fact is, one hundred miles up the stream, at Corvallis, is the head of navigation, though some years boats run to Eugene, twenty miles further, and even beyond. The valley is narrowing, and the country getting quite hilly. At Roseburg, of which you people have probably heard, we are among the hills, and so continue the remainder of the journey. Somewhere in the afternoon or evening, I forget exactly when, after passing up a long valley for miles the road swings around, we climb a hill across the head of the valley, and looking down the stream see one of the prettiest little pieces of country the sun ever shone on. It looked as though one could live there a thousand years without getting tired of the valley or of life. After leaving Roseburg--7:30 in the evening--my impressions of the country, people and surroundings, are rather confused until we pass Glendale--but no, there is one very distinct recollection. A bright-looking mother with three small children is on the train. The station she is destined for is reached, and one of the youngsters is asleep. With the three children to look after, several bundles to carry, and no one appearing to help, the little woman is terribly worried, and getting nearly frantic. There are two or three married men on the cars, with their wives, and I look to some of them to help the lady, but not one moves. So there is no help for it. I spring forward and say:
"Shall I help you with this boy?"
"If you will."
"I take the youngster and one of the packages, and we make a rush. On the platform I set the youngster down, and he staggers about like a drunken man. His mother tries to wake him by shaking and saying:
"Wake up Nellie!"
Nellie! That is not a boy's name! But I can name a boy that vanished very, very suddenly. The same old mistake, that people always make. "Why cannot fond mothers label their youngsters and provide against this? "This is a girl," or "this is a boy," conspicuously attached to the dress somewhere would do away with the necessity for many embarrassments that are now unavoidable.
Glendale, two hundred and seventy-five miles from Portland and seventy-five
from Roseburg, is reached at 10:45. The darkness of the hour prevents us from seeing much of the place, but judging from what we do see, such darkness is a blessing. The "front" of the railroad, it is a hard town. No one is anxious to stay there, and when the stage goes out at 11:30, the rustic writer of this goes with it. We pass up the main street of Glendale and note the usual percentage of saloons,
then through a city of tents into the woods and are on a corduroy road. It is my first experience with corduroy, and with good luck and no preventing providence, I resolve that it will be my last. There is a little Jew on the other end of my seat, and every time his side of the stage dives into a rut I go down and visit him. I can't say that he has a great appreciation for my company, and I suppose he would kick a little more if the stage upset; but not much. However, we finally get off this "road to Jordan," and climb a hill at the extreme "front" of the railroad, where a large gang of men is working day and night tunneling Cow Creek mountain. The timber is quite heavy, the trees tall. Near the stage lamps light the sides of the road, and further away are the lights of the camps, the motion of the coach giving them an appearance of dancing like will o' the wisps. The hill is steep, and at places we look over a steep bank and see the tops of large trees. When the top of the hill is finally reached I draw a long breath. I need it, for it is soon frightened out of me by a steep descent on the other side. Looking ahead the stage seems to be rushing off a terrible precipice, over the edge of which the tops of trees can barely be seen, when whisk! we turn a corner and miss the edge by seemingly half an inch. If I dared, I would jump out, but that edge is too close, and it looks like hundreds of miles to the gulch's bottom. What a relief it is to get to the creek's bed and draw one good, natural, unfrightened breath once more! We cross another hill, but a comparatively mild one, and stopping at Grave Creek take in two more passengers, mother and daughter. It is too dark to see the features of either, and though I feel sleepy and ugly I try to be accommodating and give up my seat to the elder. The Jew pretends to be asleep so the younger woman has to be content with the next best seat. No seat is very good, for we have a rough driver, who seems to purposely hit all the stones and ruts in the road. I sit facing the two and, it is perhaps not necessary to say, build air castles. The elder lady has a severe headache and the younger has to see to her a good deal. No one can even pretend to sleep except the Jew, who hangs to his seat with desperation, and as I have not yet said my say in the coach and here is a chance to make an impression, I drop an incidental remark to my neighbor, evidently a miner. He responds, and we have quite an animated talk for a time, in the course of which I mention that I have been in college for a year, am a newspaperman at present reduced to the painful necessity of sticking type for a living, but hope to soon rise to my proper level, mention that I am from Colorado. My neighbor is from Colorado, too, and much better posted than I am, which I soon find out, but I have most assurance and father every assertion [sic] he makes, so that the others in the coach take me to be well informed, while my neighbor sets me down, I won't say whether correctly or not, a senseless ass. But he gets too far off my range and I have to change my base to keep up. So I talk of Walla Walla. He has been there, too, and lets me know it before I have a chance to say anything. Here is a chance to crawl out easy, and remarking that I was but a short time in that city I shut up and let the other man spread himself.
As the morning gray begins to appear in the east we start up a long hill. After getting over this, we come to what would be good tiding, if we had an ordinarily decent driver, but the old pirate we have continues to make things interesting for us. To add to the other pleasures of the time, the motion of the stage or the emptiness of my stomach, or both, made me terribly faint and sick. The Jew has
kept up a continuous snoring all night, the sick lady has only complained once or twice, the young lady and my neighbor are silent and occasionally wonder how long until breakfast time. So it will be seen we were all enjoying ourselves. At. about six o'clock the breakfast station was finally announced and we all got out, and--by George! the young lady was a blooming lass of about sixteen and rather pretty.
Breakfast over, everyone felt better. The old philosopher was right. "A man's stomach makes a man his happiness." At another station further along two more passengers got aboard, one of whom was an odd genius, a very convenient person to have aboard. During the morning I had made an attempt or two at a pun and been a little successful--the younger lady laughed; but when this passenger got aboard I shut up. His good humor was immense and was augmented at each stopping place. The stories he treated us to were Munchausen-like and terrific, until the elder lady told one, of the early days in Oregon.
"It was," she said, "an exceptionally cold winter. Snow laid on the ground longer than was over known before or since. A neighbor of ours had put about three thousand sheep on his place the year before, and the cold and snow soon begun to tell on them, as well as on the horses and cattle. My husband owned quite a number of horses, and we were at our wits ends to feed them, having no hay and very little straw. Still we were not near as poorly off as our neighbor with the sheep, as he came out in the spring with six head left, while our horses all lived, and how you can't guess. The sheep were frozen to death and as soon as they were frozen solid our horses would eat them up, wool and all.''
The story-telling passenger looked at the gray hairs of the narrator and sighed, and it was some minutes before he could do more than open his mouth and sigh again. Then he turned appealingly to the daughter. There was an amateur sun in each of her eyes that dazzled his gaze and he looked hopelessly away. He did not fully recover the rest of the trip. Of course he told us more stories, but he did not venture on any very large ones. When he started one that was fair to average stunning lie would look slyly at the lady to see if she had anything to say, and if the signs looked promising he would gulp down his yarn. He even failed to relate how Hank Monk had got Horace Greeley through on time, though he did ask if any of us had heard it. Before we parted, however, the daughter was heard to say confidentially.
"Why, Mother, you used to tell that and say hogs instead of horses."
Above a place called Rocky Point we came to the bank of the Rogue River, which we follow down through forests of oak, fir, pine and laurel, and occasionally a cultivated valley to the basin in which Jacksonville, my destination, is located. This Rogue River is a wonderfully pretty stream and is said to abound in trout. In places it reminded me much of the Big Thompson, and especially at Rocky Point is it like Loveland's river. Here the natural obstructions in the stream create quite a "riffle" and make one wish for a good pole and plenty of line.
Jacksonville is reached at about 12 o'clock, and here I took leave of the other passengers, and dismantle more air castles. Jacksonville was in early days the center of an immensely rich placer district, and still has a large business from the where there is water. It is, however, a small place, with scarcely a thousand inhabitants, and will soon lose much of its trade. The railroad misses it by six miles and passes right through the nice town of Ashford [sic]. Owing to the manner of her mines, some of which run almost into the town, Jacksonville will always control a certain amount of trade, and be a certain sort of a town, but if her residents ever dreamed of her being a city they dreamed in vain. Two or three days spent here ends the boy's visit, and a ticket for Portland is again in his pocket, and this letter is written from the latter place.
F.A.M."Portland, Oregon," Fort Collins Courier, Fort Collins, Colorado, July 12, 1883, page 1
JACKSON COUNTY.Though a third of a century has rolled by since smoke first issued from the clay chimney of the settler's cabin in Rogue River Valley, that region is but now being opened to the world by that great factor of modern progress, the railroad. The iron horse of commerce is rapidly approaching it from the north and the south, and before the birth of another year its forest-crowned hills will echo across the grain-carpeted valley the locomotive's shrill whistle. A new branch will be added to the tide of commerce; not a tender shoot but a stout limb of vigorous growth, one that will give more than it receives and strengthen the trunk to which it is united. Though to a degree isolated from its sister counties, communication maintained only by means of the stage and cumbrous freight wagon, cut off almost totally from an outside market for its products, the natural resources of Jackson County have been developed to a degree almost unknown and entirely unappreciated by those not familiar with its condition and history. The rude cabins have given place to comfortable and elegant residences, large and substantial barns have succeeded the thatched stables of the pioneer, well-tilled fields and thrifty orchards attest the success of agriculture, manufacturing industries have sprung up, towns with houses, dwellings, population and trade that astonish the stranger have grown and flourish, farmers and business men have become wealthy, and all the indications of prosperity are observable on every hand. With such a beginning, what must be the result of an early connection with the trade centers of the world?
Its Great Agricultural and Mineral Resources.
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY THE ITALY OF OREGON.
Fruit, Grain, Bay, Butter, Stock, Timber and Minerals.
Jackson County lies in the extreme southern end of Oregon, bordering on the California line, and is hemmed in between the Cascade Mountains on the east and those of the Coast Range on the west, the Rogue River Mountains on the north and the Siskiyou on the south, all of which occupy a portion of the 2,800 square miles embraced within its territory. Surrounded by these mountain ranges is the thickly settled portion of the county, the beautiful Rogue River Valley. The valley proper is about forty miles long by twenty wide, though sometimes the name is made to embrace the whole watershed of that turbulent stream. The mountains are heavily timbered and rich in minerals; the foothills afford splendid grazing for cattle and sheep, and their special adaptation to viticulture and the growth of certain kinds of fruit is now being recognized; the valley lands produce cereals, hay and vegetables in abundance, and the river bottoms fruit of unsurpassed excellence. In the diversity of its products and resources, Jackson County is superior to any in the state, and needs but the railroad advantages soon to be given to take a front rank in wealth and importance.
The beauty and probable fertility of Rogue River Valley were first commented upon for years by the bands of American and English trappers that traversed it on their way between the Columbia and the trapping grounds of California, but owing to the fact that it was cut off from approach by sea and to the hostility of the Indian tribes of that region, no effort was made to occupy it until long after the settlements in the Willamette had become so numerous that the Territory of Oregon was organized. The hostile and thieving character of the savages won for them the title of "Rogue Indians," and this name has descended to the valley, the river that drains this whole region and the mountains that border the stream toward the coast. The regular trail from the Willamette to the Sacramento led through this valley, and many a fatal encounter is recorded between the natives and bands of trappers and emigrants passing through. Under such circumstances there was small inducement for the emigrants to settle there with their families, when so much desirable land could be found in the Willamette Valley, where a degree of safety was assured by the very extent of the settlements. The discovery of gold on Klamath River and its tributaries in 1850 and the great rush to those mines in the spring of 1851 led to the discovery, also, of rich diggings on the streams of Jackson and Josephine counties a few weeks later. Hostile Indians never protected a rich mining region from invasion by the irrepressible gold hunter. Miners flocked into the mountains bordering the valley on the west, and though they suffered frequently at the hands of the native proprietors, they not only were not driven away but increased in numbers. The town of Jacksonville sprang up and became the trade center, pack trains brought supplies from both Oregon and California, and the quiet wilderness awoke suddenly into life and activity. The great demand and high price for hay, vegetables and grain induced settlers to occupy the choice spots in the valley and along the streams, exposed to the wrath of the savages and suffering the other disadvantages of pioneer life. For the next six years a constant warfare was maintained. Travelers and pack trains were ambushed, whole families massacred, bloody battles fought and worthless treaties made, ending in the extermination of a majority of the Indians and the complete removal of the remainder to a reservation many miles away.
Freed from this great drawback to its prosperity, Jackson County made rapid progress. Its mines were rich and supported a large population, drawing supplies of food chiefly from the farmers in the valley. The mutual support thus afforded by its two leading industries is the secret of the great prosperity of this region, a prosperity wrought within itself, substantial and permanent. The opportunity soon to be offered of shipping to other markets the surplus products, of which there will be an abundance as soon as the shipping facilities are provided, will be improved by the people now living here and the hundreds who will be led to make this their home, and the present prosperity and wealth will rapidly increase. Such is a brief resume of the past, and we will now consider the Jackson County of today.
CLIMATE.In its climate this delightful region possesses the combined advantages of the various other sections of Oregon without the accompanying drawbacks. It enjoys the warmth of summer and the frosts of winter known in Eastern Oregon without the extremes there experienced. With a rainfall ample enough for all the purposes of agriculture it escapes the continual rains of the Willamette Valley in winter, and receives but occasional refreshing showers in summer, the annual rainfall varying from twenty to forty inches and averaging about twenty-five. The extreme limit of the thermometer in summer is 100°, though it seldom exceeds 90°, while in winter it seldom sinks as low as 10°, the average for the winter months being about 40° and in summer about 70°. Snow falls occasionally to the depth of three or four inches but rapidly disappears, while ice never exceeds two inches in thickness and forms but a few times during the season. In the mountains, of course, there are more snow and ice, and upon this fact the miners rely for a supply of water for their business. It will thus be seen that in both valley and mountain nature has provided just the climatic conditions required by the two great industries of the county, agriculture and mining. To the eastern man especially, who desires in summer a warm climate without the excessive heat of his native state, and in winter a clear, bracing atmosphere unaccompanied by extreme cold and exemption from continuous snow or rain, Rogue River Valley presents attractions peculiarly inviting. It is beyond question the Paradise of Oregon.
AGRICULTURE.The market for the valley's products has hitherto been necessarily local and limited, though more extensive than one would at first suppose. The stage companies and teamsters have consumed large quantities of hay and grain, while the flour, vegetables and fruit of Jackson, Josephine, Curry, Del Norte, Klamath and Lake counties have been largely supplied from this region. Beyond what was necessary to supply this demand, however, has not been produced, and it can truly be said that the capabilities of the valley for extensive agriculture have never been fully tested. The arable land embraces about one-fifth of the entire area of the county, including foothills, plains and river bottoms. The foothills possess that rich soil to be found on all the hilly lands of Western Oregon, while the plains have much adobe land and the bottoms are composed of the most fertile alluvium. In the valley wheat, oats, barley, corn, potatoes, hay, etc. yield abundantly, and anything less than a half crop has never been experienced during the thirty years of cultivation. Twenty bushels of wheat to the acre are considered a very unsatisfactory crop, while as high as sixty bushels have been realized. Barley and oats produce proportionately well, and potatoes and corn are of especial excellence and yield abundant crops, the former contrasting favorably in quantity and quality with the inferior tubers of California. The facilities now afforded for shipment to other markets will no doubt serve to largely increase the crop of cereals in the future.
LIVESTOCK.The foothills of Jackson County furnish grazing for sheep of the finest quality, and the best strains of fine Merinos have been introduced into the county. So much attention has been paid to improving the sheep of this region that Southern Oregon wool is rated higher in the market than that from the Willamette Valley. About 30,000 are kept, chiefly in small bands, by the ranchers. About 10,000 beef cattle graze on the hills, and many fine stock, including Jerseys, etc., are kept. Horses, too, are made a specialty by some of the farmers, and Rogue River Valley has the reputation of producing the finest horses of Oregon. In the matter of improving the blood of their animals, the stock men of this region have shown commendable enterprise, and are reaping their reward in the reputation and increased value of the animals. Some 5,000 horses are assessed in the county. Of hogs about 10,000 are kept, the majority of them getting their own living in the woods.
DAIRY PRODUCTS.The butter and cheese of this region have an enviable reputation wherever they are known. The fine breeds of dairy cattle, the climate, grass, water, etc., all combine to produce a superior quality of butter and cheese. With the facilities for cheap shipment of these articles offered by the railroad there will, beyond question, be a great increase in dairy products and a new source of wealth opened to the farmers. The market in Portland for butter, cheese and eggs is high and permanent, and the old and new farmers of the valley will find it extremely profitable to supply the required products.
FRUIT.It is because of its superior fruit that we refer to Rogue River Valley as the Italy of Oregon. It is a well-known fact that the finest flavored grapes of California are produced on the sunny slopes of the foothills, and the conditions there found exist in the foothill region of Jackson County. The vines produce large clusters, and the grapes have a most excellent flavor, being very juicy and making a superior quality of wine. The conditions of soil and climate are also very favorable to peaches, the fruit being superior in flavor, though a trifle smaller in size, to the California product. The slight touch of frost in winter, though too mild to injure the vines or trees, gives a flavor to the fruit that is lacking in that of the warmer regions of California. The bottom lands are especially adapted to fruit culture, and it is that class of soil that has been utilized the most by fruit growers. In addition to grapes and peaches apricots, pears, plums, apples, cherries and the small fruits produce luxuriantly, and are of excellent quality, especially the apples, which have no superior anywhere. Hitherto the foothills have been used chiefly as a grazing ground for sheep, but that the flocks will seek "pastures new " and the land be planted extensively in vineyards and orchards is certain. On the whole the fruit interest of Rogue River Valley consists more in the possibilities of the future than in what has already been accomplished. With no market beyond the limits of Southern Oregon, farmers had formerly no encouragement to plant extensive orchards or large vineyards, but enough has been done to show the wonderful adaptability of the soil and climate to the production of fruit. The whole Northwest offers a market at good prices for fruit of all kinds, while certain varieties are largely sought after in the East. There is no business that can be embarked in with greater promise of a golden reward than that of fruit culture. It must, however, like everything else, be managed properly to be a great success. Orchards and vineyards must be planted and taken care of in a systematic manner and the business from first to last be conducted as experience in other places has shown to be best. Especially must the fruit be put up in an attractive and marketable shape, well assorted, conveniently packed for handling by the dealer, and attractive to the eye. Experience in California and elsewhere shows that the most successful fruit raisers are those whose product reaches the market in the best condition and presents the most inviting appearance. Already we hear of a number of experienced orchardists who intend to locate in Southern Oregon immediately. It is a great pity that the farmers of that region have not prepared themselves for the market now being opened by planting extensive orchards, but it is by no means too late, though the golden harvest must be delayed. The men who set out at once large orchards and vineyards and get them into bearing condition will be the first to reap their reward. The market is large, growing and permanent.
PRICE OF IMPROVED LAND.Farms and ranches of all kinds may be purchased in Jackson County at prices which are extremely moderate when the advantages are considered. Good improved farming land can be bought from twenty to fifty dollars an acre, though a few choice places would command a higher price. Other lands, not so well improved but just as fertile, and in some cases more desirable for fruit and grape culture, can be had as low as five dollars per acre. These prices depend upon the amount of improvements, location, character of soil, water facilities, etc. Two farms, two miles apart and containing a total of 400 acres, were recently sold for $8,000, or $20 per acre. Another of 300 acres brought $7,000, or $23 per acre. These are choice places, wholly arable land, with good buildings and modern farm improvements. Many partially covered with timber, or a portion of which is too hilly or rocky for easy cultivation, can be purchased at much lower figures and turned into excellent farms. Small farms, upon which orchards could be made the principal source of income, can be bought at low prices, and there are many places where a little work in clearing off brush and timber would reward the industrious farmer with many acres of land of the best quality for grain, orchards and vineyard. Much of the hill land will produce good crops of grain, and its capabilities for grapes have been pointed out. It has been used chiefly for grazing and is nearly all owned in large tracts, which will of necessity be cut up into smaller divisions for farming purposes and sold. The land is so well adapted to mixed farming that it is especially valuable, for with grain, fruit, hay, cattle, sheep, horses and hogs to depend upon such a thing as an entire failure would be impossible. We advise parties desiring to gather more particular information about special tracts of land for sale to visit the valley or address a letter to the dealers in real estate whose advertisement may be found in this issue of The West Shore. There is much government land in the foothills and mountains, as well as large tracts reserved to the O.&C.R.R. Co. Information in regard to the former can be had at the Roseburg land office, and of the latter at the company's office in Portland. A great increase in the value of real estate in the next four years is beyond question.
VALUATION AND PRODUCTS.The assessment roll of 1882 shows a total valuation of $2,464,832 in Jackson County, which is almost fifty percent, of the actual cash value of assessable property. This was divided as follows: Value of improved lands, $658,985; unimproved lands, $144,531; town lots, $62,982; improvements, $264,509; merchandise and implements, $396,435; money, notes and accounts, $594,277; household furniture, etc., $68,735; horses and mules, $149,005; cattle, $72,335; sheep, $31,361; swine, $21,677. These figures will be increased at least 25 percent, by the assessment of the present year. According to the census of 1880 the population was 8,116, but it has since advanced to fully 10,000, and a still more rapid increase during the next few years is certain. The annual product of the county can be given approximately as follows: Wheat, 300,000 bushels; barley, 100,000 bushels; rye, 3,000 bushels; oats, 350,000 bushels; corn, 40,000 bushels; potatoes, 60,000 bushels; apples, 100,000 bushels; peaches, 15,000 bushels; pears and plums, 15,000 bushels; hay, 30,000 tons; wool, 250,000 pounds; grapes, 150,000 pounds; butter, 26,000 pounds; cheese, 15,000 pounds; vegetables, 150,000 pounds; bacon, 400,000 pounds; lard, 80,000 pounds. Now that an outside market is opened there will be a great increase in the above figures, especially in fruit, grain and dairy products.
MINING.Since the discovery of gold led to the first settlement of Jackson County in 1851, the mines have been the mainstay and prop of this whole region. Without them there would have been no market for the farmer's produce, though of late years the grazing regions of Modoc, Klamath and Lake counties have drawn heavily from the valley for their supplies. Placer mines are the must numerous. Hydraulic power is used on quite an extensive scale by several companies, while rockers, sluices and wing dams are utilized where the location requires them. The Sterling hydraulic mine is situated on Sterling Creek, about eight miles south of Jacksonville, and was opened several years ago at an outlay of $100,000. The company owns ground enough for fifty years of continuous work, the whole property being valued at about $200,000. Other large hydraulic mines are yielding handsomely. It is estimated that the yield of gold dust during the past thirty years has been over $30,000,000, and there is no reason to anticipate falling off in the industry for many years to come. Iron, coal, copper and cinnabar exist in varying quantities, though the lack of cheap transportation has retarded their development. The iron ore along Rogue River is being prospected aud tested by experts with the view of using it at the great iron works at Oswego, near Portland, and if it proves to be in sufficient quantity and of the quality required the mine will be worked on an extensive scale. The opinions expressed are very favorable, and there is but little doubt of the development of these mines at an early day. Marble of an excellent quality abounds, and with the facilities offered by the railroad it can no doubt be quarried to advantage. The same may also be said of coal, a good quality of which has been discovered in various localities. Cinnabar and copper have both been worked to a considerable extent, but owing to the expense of transporting the required machinery the development of these industries has been seriously retarded.
MANUFACTURES.Manufacturing on an extensive scale in a region cut off from railroad privileges could hardly be expected, and yet the excellent facilities offered have been improved to as great a degree as possible, and commendable enterprise has been shown, especially in the establishment of a woolen factory at Ashland. This institution has been running successfully for a number of years, and its goods have an enviable reputation throughout the whole Pacific Coast. It was founded on the theory that it was cheaper to ship the manufactured article than the raw wool, and the success of the undertaking has demonstrated its correctness. The mill is large, is operated by a splendid water power, is fitted up with the most approved of modern machinery, and is in every way capable of turning out the finest quality of goods at a minimum cost. Several excellent flouring mills are in operation at Ashland, Phoenix and Jacksonville, supplying the whole of Southern Oregon with a superior quality of flour, and no doubt the bulk of the surplus wheat of this region will, ere long, be shipped abroad in the form of flour. Saw and planing mills produce all the rough and finished lumber needed in this section, which is by no means a small quantity. The mountains are covered with dense forests of fir, yellow pine and sugar pine, while black and white oak, ash, laurel and maple grow in abundance on the foothills, in the valley and along the numerous streams. Extensive experiments have been made the past few years in the culture of amber cane, and both soil and climate have been found admirably adapted to it. It is probable, then, that the manufacture of sugar will be embarked in at no distant day. Splendid water power exists in numerous localities very advantageously situated for manufacturing, and it is but a matter of time when much more of it will be utilized than at present.
SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL.The first two inquiries made by a man of family seeking a home in a new country are, "What is the condition of society here, and what facilities are offered for the education of my children?" To both of these important questions Jackson County can give a favorable answer. In the first place it must be remembered that this is by no means a newly settled country, that it has been occupied by an intelligent, industrious and law-abiding population for more than thirty years. The pioneers who located here and subdued the wilderness came from nearly every state in the Union. Many of them were highly educated and all were accustomed to the requirements and conveniences of older communities. Here they have made their homes and reared their families and have spared no effort to give them the advantages enjoyed by communities more closely united to the outside world. The fact that they have been all these years beyond the reach of railroads has had no power to check the growth of education. Railroads are but an effect and not a cause of knowledge. The community has grown and prospered by the mutual support of its own industries, and this prosperity has enabled it to provide even better educational facilities than are enjoyed by many a community which would appear to a superficial observer to be more favorably situated. The public schools throughout the county will compare favorably with those in any portion of the state, while the schools of Jacksonville and Ashland are of a very superior order. In the latter place is a college where a high order of scholarship is maintained, and which annually receives over 200 students of both sexes. It was recently designated as a state normal school by the legislature. St. Mary's school for girls has been an institution of Jacksonville for many years, in charge of the sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and receives many pupils from a great distance as well as from this county. Nearly every leading religious denomination is represented, and most of them have good and some of them even elegant church edifices. The daily and weekly papers of Portland and San Francisco are taken in great numbers, besides instructive magazines and periodicals, and the three excellent papers of the county are given good support. The advantages of a daily mail and the telegraph have been enjoyed for years, and they have little to gain in this respect by the advent of the railroad, except in the saving of about a day's time in the receipt of mail.
JACKSONVILLE.The county seat is Jacksonville, once the liveliest mining camp of this region and still the most important trade center. The conditions of its existence have gradually changed from that of a rudely constructed and transient mining camp to that of a thriving trade center for a large expanse of mining and agricultural country. Its business is firmly established, its business buildings large and substantial, and its private residences neat and often elegant. It has always held the position of the leading town of Southern Oregon, which its enterprising business men are determined to maintain. It has a population approximating 1,200, and is beautifully situated on the banks of Jackson Creek, a tributary of Rogue River, in a western arm of the valley. Its taxable property amounts to about $500,000, and is increasing year by year. The advent into this region of many new families to engage in agriculture and fruit raising, which is certain to follow the railroad, will facilitate the growth of Jacksonville and increase its business, and the citizens very properly anticipate a large advance in its population, trade and the value of real estate. Several classes of manufactures could be conducted here profitably, and their founding is only a matter of time. The most prominent buildings of the city, aside from the long rows of substantial brick business blocks, are the Masonic temple, Orth block, United States Hotel, the Presbyterian church and the court house, now in process of erection. The last-named structure will be of brick on a solid stone foundation, and will cost about $50,000. It will be very ornamental in its architecture, two stories high, and surmounted by a belfry. The Presbyterian church is one of the most handsome edifices of the kind in Oregon. The Methodist and Catholic denominations also have neat church buildings. A large flour mill is one of the institutions of Jacksonville. Two excellent newspapers reflect the intelligence and enterprise of the citizens. The Democratic Times is ably conducted by its proprietor, Charles Nickell, and is one of the best exponents of Democratic principles in the state. The Oregon Sentinel, published by Frank Krause, is a supporter of the Republican Party and has been ably edited for a number of years by W. M. Turner. Both papers are excellent local journals, and make their presence felt throughout the state in the political field.
ASHLAND.The second town of Jackson County is Ashland, situated on the line of the railroad now being constructed, and in the southern end of the valley at the base of Siskiyou Mountain. It has a population of about l,000, and is rapidly increasing in size and importance. In the beauty of its location and the character of its residences, public buildings and business blocks, it is the equal of any town of its size in Oregon. In addition to its excellent public school, college and woolen mills, which have already been mentioned, it has a fine flouring mill, a saw mill and planing mill, doing a good business. Another flouring mill is situated a short distance from town. Ashland is a thriving place, and its position as the most southerly railroad town in Oregon and the nearest station to the Lost River and Goose Lake regions assures it a large increase in business and population. Its water power is excellent and capable of being utilized much more than at present. The leading public buildings are the Masonic temple, Odd Fellows' hall, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and Ashland college. The handsome residences with their well-kept yards and beds of flowers, the streets and walks, the business buildings, and in fact everything pertaining to the town, present an appearance that indicates culture and refinement. The Ashland Tidings is a spicy independent weekly, published by W. H. Leeds, and is devoted to the interests of the town and Jackson County. The assessable property of the town amounts to $250,000 by the assessor's valuation, having increased largely over the total of last year.
PHOENIX.This is a little town lying in the valley on the road between Ashland and Jacksonville. It has a good flouring mill and is one of the oldest settlements in the county. There are twenty other post offices in the county, none of which have yet arrived at the dignity of towns. Stations will be established at some of them, however, as rapidly as the railroad advances, and a few, such as Grants Pass and Rock Point, will no doubt become business centers and shipping points.
SHIPPING FACILITIES.As has been before remarked, Jackson County's connection with the outside world, so far as shipment and receipt of goods and products is concerned, has hitherto consisted of the slow and cumbrous freight wagon. The Oregon and California Railroad began extending its line south from Roseburg a few months ago, and it has already reached nearly to the northern line of this county. It is the expectation that the road will reach Ashland by the first of January, where it will be compelled to halt for a few months until a very expensive tunnel through the summit of Siskiyou Mountain shall have been completed. The Central Pacific is also extending its line northward from Redding, and will reach the south end of the tunnel before that great work is finished. Work is being vigorously pushed on the tunnel, and it will be completed for the passage of trains in about one year. Connection will then be made by the two lines and a route be opened from San Francisco to Portland. Rogue River Valley will be on the through route between Portland and the east by the Central and Southern routes, and between San Francisco and the East by the Northern. Its facilities for reaching markets north and south and the east by two routes will stimulate its industries and increase its production. Good roads lead from the valley to the grazing regions of Southeastern Oregon and Northeastern California, also to the mines of Southwestern Oregon and Northwestern California, and a stage road runs from Jacksonville to Crescent City, where connection is made with a steamer for San Francisco. Good county roads lead out from the towns in all directions, and the conveniences for reaching the railroad from outlying districts are extremely good. The stage accommodations on the regular through route have always been good, but those now supplied by the California & Oregon Stage Co. are very superior. New coaches were put on the line this season, and with the skillful drivers employed travelers enjoy as great a degree of comfort and safety as on any stage line in the world. The trip between Glendale and Redding now occupies about forty hours, and many passengers prefer going by this route to traveling by steamer. The scenery is grand, and it alone leads many to adopt this route between San Francisco and Portland. Parties desirous of visiting this region in advance of the completion of the railroad will find the stage accommodations excellent, and the employees and agents of the company courteous and attentive.
SCENERY.The diversity of mountain and valley scenery in Jackson County is pleasing in the extreme. After a long ride on the steep mountain grades, through the dense forest and along deep and rocky canyons, it is like a glimpse of Paradise to come suddenly upon the summit of a ridge commanding a view of the rolling hills, plains and green-fringed streams of the valley. And from the valley itself a lovely picture is formed by the encircling walls of mountain, the graceful pines spreading their mantle over the very summits, save where here and there some rocky peak thrusts up its barren head, often crowned with a wreath of snow. Besides the usual beauties of mountain scenery, this region offers special attractions to the tourist and the lover of the grand or wonderful in nature. The beautiful Rogue River Falls, so much admired by all who see them, lie but a short distance from the railroad. The river is a very turbulent stream, running through deep gorges and canyons and forming a succession of rapids, cascades and falls until it loses itself in the ocean. Pilot Rock, on the summit of Siskiyou Mountain, is an old and familiar landmark. Mount Pitt, in the Cascades, is a snow-shrouded peak worthy of much admiration. The Klamath Basin lies at the eastern base of the Cascades Range, and is about fifty miles long by twenty wide. Big Klamath Lake lies in the northern extremity and is some thirty miles in length with a varying width of five to twenty miles. Little Klamath, a much smaller body of water, lies immediately south and receives the water of its companion through a stream 300 feet wide, which foams and dashes down a perpendicular height of seventy feet in its short length of one and one-half miles. This connecting stream has been aptly named "Link River." The river and lakes are alive with the most delicious trout, weighing from two to eight pounds each, and waterfowl of many kinds abound. Deer in great numbers can be found in the mountains. The most wonderful feature of Klamath Basin is the hot springs which issue from the ground in many places with great force, having a temperature almost to the boiling point.
The Hole in the Ground is one of the curiosities of Rogue River Valley, being a spot where a small stream pours into an opening in the earth and disappears, the noise of its falling waters gradually fading away as they descend. It is not a chasm, but simply a hole, and all efforts to sound its depth have been fruitless. [This is a confused description of Natural Bridge on the Rogue River.] Pyramid Canyon [The Pinnacles, near Crater Lake], on the road over the Cascades, is a deep canyon where sandstone, worn by the constant action of water, forms huge pyramids and fantastic forms of many kinds.
CRATER LAKE.The greatest curiosity of this region and one of the greatest of the whole Northwest is Crater Lake, in the very summit of the Cascades, seventy-five miles northeast of Jacksonville. Its remoteness from the usual routes of travel has kept it in comparative seclusion, but more are attracted hither yearly, and it will, in the future, be one of the regular objects visited by tourists in this region. It has been variously known as Blue Lake, Deep Lake and Lake Majesty, but the more appropriate title it now bears will no doubt remain with it forever. In approaching, the visitor suddenly finds himself upon the edge of a tremendous precipice and looking across a wide stretch of water that lies far beneath. The shores vary from 1,500 to 3,000 feet in height. To be critical, there is no shore, for only at one point can a sure-footed person descend the cliff to the lake level, and when there the presence of a few boulders and some fallen debris is all that indicates a shore. The waters are wide, deep and silent. It is seldom that a breeze disturbs them, but at moments a weird breath moves softly along and breaks the calm surface into ripples. Looking across from the surrounding wall the sky is seen so perfectly reflected in the water that were it not for the rocky margin of the lake it would be impossible to discern the line of division. The circumference is more than twenty miles, and the altitude of its surface as great as the summit of the pass over the mountains. On the outside the steep walls shelve off into mountain ridges, wooded to the top; on the inside they stand almost perpendicular, looking down forever on the captive sea.
In the early years, before the wide scope of country to the east was covered up with lava and ashes, there must have stood here one of the grandest mountains of the world. How great this immense volcano must have been can be imagined when it is realized that these walls, that now stand from 7,500 to 9,000 feet high, are only the shell of the mountain as it once existed. With a base twenty miles in circumference, at a height of 7,000 feet, what must have been the the altitude of the cone that was reared above it? Beside it Hood, Shasta and Tacoma would hide their diminished heads. That such a mountain once stood here as an active volcano cannot be doubted. The country to the east for many square miles is buried beneath ashes, pumice and volcanic scoria. To the terrible convulsions of nature, those miles of desolation, those rocky walls and this vast crater bear witness. In the midst of the lake rises a perfect but extinct volcano, at least 1,500 feet in height, its sides fringed with a stunted growth of hemlock. The lava flowing from this has made an island in the lake at least three miles long. The cone [on the island] has a dish-like depression in its apex, which shows where once its crater was, and into which one can look from a position on the bluffs above. The period of the first great eruption was probably followed by a season of rest and then a second eruption, during which this small cone was formed by the final effort of the expiring forces. Burning lava flowed fiercely down its sides, where now the dwarfed hemlock has gained a precarious foothold and seeks to hide its ugliness beneath a mantle of vegetation.
The Indians view Crater Lake and its surroundings as holy ground, and approach it with reverence and awe. It is one of the earthly spots made sacred by the presence of the Great Spirit, and the ancient tribal traditions relate many mysterious incidents in connection with it. In the past none but medicine men visited it, and when one of the tribe felt called upon to become a teacher and healer, he spent several weeks on the shore of the lake in fasting, in communion with the dead, and in prayer to the Shahullah Tyee [saghalie tyee--"great spirit"]. Here they saw visions and dreamed dreams, and when they came down from the mountain, like Moses from Sinai, they were looked up to with reverence as having communed with the Great Spirit and seen the unknown world.
The West Shore, Portland, August 1883, pages 172-175
Letter from Oregon.
JACKSONVILLE, OREGON, July 17, 1883.EDITOR DEMOCRAT--I promised that I would write you and give you the outlines of my journey and a description of Oregon. I have enjoyed excellent health since I left home. I left Indianapolis Tuesday, the 3rd, by way of the L.B.&W., promptly at 1:30 p.m., and traveled on the Union Pacific railway as far as Ogden in Utah, and then on the Central Pacific to Rocklin, where I struck north through California. This is a very excellent route. It makes excellent time, and all the conductors and officials along this line are gentlemanly and accommodating. I can say to all who want a pleasant and quick trip to the Pacific Slope to come over as I came.
Ogden is quite a handsome town of several thousand inhabitants, situated about thirty miles northwest of the noted Salt Lake City, where the followers of Brigham Young reign supreme. Salt Lake comes nearly up to Ogden. Here we took supper, and after a detention of about an hour in changing trains, &c., we went westward and passed the north side of the lake four miles after we left Ogden just as the sun was setting. The lake is about thirty miles in length and extends from the R.R. to Salt Lake City. The lake was beautiful as the sun cast its setting rays over its placid waves. All eyes were turned upon it, and a thousand and one remarks were made by the passengers about its beauty and the inhabitants of the great Salt Lake City. This lake is subjected to the ebb and flow of the tide just like the ocean, and is supposed to be fed by some subterraneous connection with the ocean, which I think is quite probable. The water is strongly impregnated with salt; two barrels of water will make one of salt. Some six miles west of the lake, as we were westward threading our way, something about the engine gave way and we were detained at a small town, the name of which I cannot now remember. Several ladies and girls came on the cars to sell coffee and refreshments to the tired and dust-coated travelers. Among them was a Mrs. Wilson, quite an intelligent lady, and who was peculiarly talkative to all who wished to engage in conversation with her. She gave us quite a history of the Mormons, and informed us that they had some years ago induced her husband to join them and that he had abandoned her, etc., and she gave the history of the attack the Indians made on the whites in that section of the country, induced, as she claimed, by the Mormons to make an onslaught upon them. Just at this time a small, respectably clad, but cadaverous looking Englishman interfered with the lady and said that she must not make such statements. For a moment the intruder seemed to interrupt her, but in a moment she recovered and I can assure you she gave him one of the severest hecklings I ever heard. The first question she asked him was: "What is your name, sir, if you please?" He paused, stuttered and showed embarrassment, but in a faint, quivering voice said, "My name is Davis." Then she asked him if he was a Mormon. He hesitated again, but answered, yes. The lady then said, "Oh, yes, you are the Davis that has six wives and who lives on the ranch out there and who cannot make a living for them." This completely nonplussed the "Hinglishman," and amid a complete uproar of the passengers the iron-clad matrimonial gentleman jumped out of a loophole and was away. We gave her "three cheers" and westward we bounded again.
We glided on our way in a southwesterly direction for hundreds of miles over the barren plains, where we could see scarcely a living creature, not even bird or beast or waterfall, save here and there the rude wigwam of the lonely Indian, who seemed hungry and poorly clad, and wherever we stopped they came up to the train to beg something to eat. The squaws had their papooses strapped on their backs and carried all articles of baggage while the male Indians walked leisurely along, carrying nothing save their guns and tomahawks. At stations we indulged in some sport with the young Indians from ten to twelve years of age. The passengers would put nickels fifteen or twenty yards distant and had quite a shooting match. The little fellows could knock them with their arrows pretty nearly every shot.
All along through the plains the soil seemed white and nonproductive, and nothing but sagebrush grew upon it. We were all theorizing on how many years and perhaps centuries these plains would have to slumber beneath the sun's genial rays and frigid cold of winter before ever a single sprig of grass could make its appearance and maintain support. Just amid these musings we reached Humboldt, the county seat of Humboldt County. I may here say we are far west in the state of Nevada. We struck Nevada at Tecoma, and have been traveling along and within sight of the Humboldt River about half the distance since the proud engine invaded this loathsome, not Godforsaken, but almost man-forsaken country. On either side of us all along we could see the baldheaded mountains, sometimes seemingly close to us, and at other times only in the dim distance. When we reached Humboldt we commenced to change the theory we had formed about the soil. Here we found a beautiful little city of 1,500 inhabitants, beautiful shade trees, verdant lawns, bearing fruit trees and everything that shows growth and prosperity. We learned that the reason for all this was a San Francisco company had conveyed the water fourteen miles from the mountains. A complete system of irrigation was going on throughout the limits of this beautiful and thrifty growing town, each family and business house paying in proportion to the amount of their consumption, a groceryman paying fifty dollars for his supplies per annum, hotel men one hundred and twenty dollars, etc., in proportion to the amount of water they each consumed. So we all settled upon the opinion that all this country needs is rain and irrigation to render it productive and fertile. Whether or not irrigation can be obtained to water all these vast plains I am not able to determine.
We passed several towns which were similarly irrigated as Humboldt and all their surroundings showed equal prosperity and growth in vegetation. We bounded on our course westward swiftly drawn by the iron horse that knows not the lack of health, dry weather or lack of irrigation. It only made one demand, and that was more coal or wood. This was Sunday noon that we reached Humboldt and spent the afternoon. At eleven o'clock at night we reached Rocklin Junction, eighteen miles from Sacramento and about one hundred and twenty-five miles from San Francisco. The above junction is just at the southwest foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We spent the greater portion of Sunday afternoon and until eleven o'clock at night in passing over these mountains. They are very beautiful, grand and attractive. The mountain scenery here was beautiful.
I stopped off at Rocklin Junction until Monday, 4 o'clock p.m. I then took the train again for Redding, and until 10½ o'clock Monday evening passed through that part of California known as the Sacramento Valley, at all times in view of the Sierra Nevada range of mountains on our right. This was a beautiful and rich valley. It looked more like a large apple orchard, for here and there were beautiful shade trees. Here the wheat crop yields an average of about fifty bushels per acre. When we reached Redding everything was in commotion and the stages all ready to carry us north through California and Oregon. Redding, the terminus of the railroad running north, is about 200 miles south of Jacksonville, Oregon, the point of my destination. The stages carry all the mail that goes north for Upper California, Oregon and Washington Territory. I think each stage hauled about fifteen bushels of mail matter. Here I had the good luck to be seated in the same stagecoach with a Mrs. Powell and her daughter, residents of San Francisco, who, on account of the health of the daughter, were on a health-seeking tour to a watering establishment situated about one hundred miles from Redding, north on the Sierra Nevadas. These ladies were very communicative and intelligent. The ladies and myself, through good luck, occupied the inside of one stagecoach, the balance being filled up with mail matter. The route was very rough and we had to drive very slow, for the road for about one hundred and fifty miles just threaded itself along the side of the mountains, which was a winding path of about fifteen feet in width and wound up and down the mountainside just to suit our surroundings. I have seen the Allegheny Mountains in crossing to the Atlantic, and heard a great deal about the beauties of rugged mountain scenery, but never did I expect to see such high and rugged mountains as the Sierra Nevadas. At times our feelings were sublime with their beauties, and all at once when we would cast our eyes to the right or the left we could see a perpendicular precipice below us hundreds of feet in depth, where if a horse should stumble or the driver happen to carry a brick in his hat we might in moment be precipitated to the bottom. The latter scenes at times caused our blood to chill in our veins. The mother of the party of which I have spoken would gaze upon the distance below at times and become frantic with fear, and would lean as far as she could toward the mountainside and exclaim, "Mr. Driver, hold on, or don't drive so fast," etc. The conduct of this lady reminded me of the travels of the lamented Horace Greeley, who, when he took his western trip, passed along this same mountainside in the stagecoach. All along the line the drivers would laugh and tell about Greeley's trip over the mountains. They said at first and before they reached these steep mountainsides he would exclaim, "Drive on faster, driver," but when he reached the steep grades about where our fair lady companion indulged in such exclamations aforesaid, he, like her, drew himself up in as small an area as he could, and called out, "Driver, hold on there, hold on; don't drive so fast." The daughter and I proved more patriotic than the mother, and seemed iron-clad against fear. We both laughed so much at the mother that she almost became angry at us, but the one being her daughter and the other having all along been playing the agreeable with the daughter, kept the mother's ire down and in pretty good cheer.
All along these mountain ranges is the finest of pine timber. I never saw such large and tall trees before. In places the sugar pine trees stand just as thick as they can stand. Some places I counted as many as twenty trees in say three rods square, all of them large and many of them from six to eight feet in diameter and tall in proportion. The railroad which is to connect Portland with Redding is to run along the mountainsides where we have passed.
At 5 o'clock Wednesday evening the stagecoach reached the watering place where my lady friends were going, and here we parted. They extended a kind invitation to call and see them at San Francisco as I returned home. The driver and myself were the only persons left, and I rode the whole night in the coach alone. I reached Jacksonville, Oregon, at 12 o'clock the next day, Thursday. I was hungry, bruised and coated with dust. I had not slept a moment for two nights, so you may depend upon it I was weary and worn out.
I was pleased to find my sister and family in good health. Jacksonville is one of the oldest and handsomest towns along the Pacific Coast, is situated in Rogue River Valley, contains 2,000 population. It is situated 300 miles south of Portland, 200 miles south of Salem, the capital of the state, 80 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, and some 30 miles north of the California line. The valley is about 35 miles in length and 10 to 15 miles in width. It is a most lovely valley, surrounded on all sides by beautiful pine-clad mountains. The valley is said to be the most productive spot west of the mountains and east of the ocean beach. Most everything grows here in abundance. As to the quantity of fruit grown here it is really wonderful. The fruit was all killed along the mountains, but as soon as we struck the valley we found the trees not only bending under the weight, but the branches absolutely breaking. No country can excel this valley in the raising of fruit. Even apricots, almonds and lemons grow here and develop well. The corn crop is limited; but little raised. I saw some corn that looked as well as it does in Indiana or anyplace along my travels. Wheat and barley is raised here in abundance. The usual yield of wheat in this valley is 40 bushels per acre; barley, about 50 bushels per acre. Here there is but little rain during the summer months. Everything seems dry to me, but the soil is so constituted as to do with but little rain during the summer season. They harvest their wheat and barley just when they please after it gets ripe. There is no rain to injure it, and the air being pure and dry, it can stand out in the field six weeks without being injured in the least. Prices of all kinds of produce are about the same as in the States. The days are pretty warm, but the nights are quite cool and pleasant. As soon as the sun sets the cool mountain air makes its way to the valleys. We can sleep under several blankets at night and enjoy them. The air is very pure. No consumptives and but very little sickness of any kind. People do not live long with disease here; they either recover at once or die. Lands range from five to forty dollars per acre; perhaps twenty-five dollars would be an average. The railroad from the north is completed to within forty-five miles of this place and will be here in four months. The railroad running north lacks 200 miles of being completed to this point. I expect to remain here for some weeks. I find the people very kind and pleasant. Have had quite a number of invitations to go hunting, fishing and to see the mining districts. Some of the best gold mines are only nine miles [away]. Where Jacksonville now stands was once all dug over for gold, and much of the rich treasure was taken from this point. At this season of the year you cannot see a single cloud. Nothing above us but the blue and vaulted heavens. The rainy season sets in about the first of November and continues for four or five months. They have a good graded school at this place with five teachers. Prof. [J. M.] Merritt, the gentleman who married my niece, has been principal of the school for the last eight years. He is a graduate of some New York college. They have three very nice church buildings, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic. The Presbyterian church building is new and quite imposing. All is hurry and bustle here. Everyone is after the almighty dollar; none after nickels, for there is none in circulation. I expect to visit Salem and Portland after I get through my visit at my sister's. From Portland I will sail for San Francisco, and remain there a few days and from there home.
There is plenty of wild game here in the mountains. Jacksonville is situated at the foot of the mountain, so we will not have to go many miles to find bear, deer and antelope. Rogue River is about nine miles from this point and trout are caught in it which weigh twenty pounds.
Here I find Patrick J. Ryan, formerly of Indianapolis, Ind., brother of Hon. James B. Ryan, ex-State Treasurer. Mr. R. emigrated here in 1852, and in a few years afterwards returned to his native city, Indianapolis, and married Miss Maggie Dill, who at one time edited a paper in that city and is well known to the people of your state. Mr. Ryan has grown up with the country and is quite wealthy. He owns some 2,000 acres of land. He is now engaged in the dry goods trade. My sister, Mrs. McCully, settled in this place in 1851, which makes her one of the oldest pioneers in the valley. Their supplies were then brought over the mountains by pack horses, so in the winter when the mountain passes were filled with snow and the pack horses could not travel, all commodities were very high. Mrs. McCully informs me that she has seen common table salt sell at $16 per ounce, flour $100 per sack, and other commodities in proportion. This was some thirty-one years ago. But now the great change, the then wilderness has been made to bloom as the rose, the rude and untutored Indian has been driven back over the mountains by the energetic and progressive white man. In place of the hunting ground the waving grain and luxuriant fruit are seen, and in place of the rude wigwam are lordly and magnificent towns and cities with their gilded spires directing back the sunbeams in their splendor. In the place of ignorance and stupidity learning is taking its stead, and everywhere along this beautiful coast you can see colleges, academies and high schools being erected to educate and refine the the youth. And here, too, is to be found the church of the living God and the gray-haired servant of Christ zealous in his sacred calling, pointing the erring ones to the Lamb of God, and painting the beauties and happiness of the celestial world beyond the river.
I will write to you again from Portland.
J.L.M. [James L. Mason]Hancock Democrat, Greenfield, Indiana, August 2, 1883, page 3
Letter from California.
SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., Sept. 4, 1883.EDITOR DEMOCRAT: When I wrote you my last letter from Jacksonville, Oregon, I thought I would go from there to Portland, but I have concluded to come by the way of San Francisco and take a steamer from here to Portland, and then home by way of the North Pacific Railroad.
When I wrote you my last I stated that I found all my relatives in Oregon in good health, but since that death has laid his hand on a sweet little nephew. He was a bright, sweet babe of nine months and twelve days of age, the only child of Prof. J. M. and Mary B. Merritt. God's ways are mysterious and past finding out. But let His will be done. How strange it is to live how mysterious is death. This beautiful little child came among us like a shadow; he has departed from among us like the first budding of a sweet flower of an early May morn. It is sad to see one we love at any time fade away from the land of their birth, and be cut down like a flower by the hand of death. But it is a beautiful thought to think that one so young, so pure and blameless, while in early life, and in the very morning of his existence, possessed of such a sweet disposition, brilliant intellect and smiling countenance, and before his little form had been developed into manhood and his young mind blossomed so as to realize the world, should be called away to that fadeless mansion of rest by the snow-winged messengers of God, and there be permitted to enjoy His smiles and His blessings forever. The world was too rough for his little, frail form to withstand.
It was sad to see the life of this sweet babe pass away, but
"It is not all of life to live,It is true he has passed from our vision in this world, but his spirit will continue to grow and blossom in that sunny clime, far, far away, where it is one perpetual summer, and where pain and death entereth not.
Nor all of death to die."
"He was in thoughts as pure as angels are;Let his little, sweet form rest on the hill in the beautiful city of the dead in purity and peace, amid the cedar, the laurel and the pine, and may they shield his little form from the sun's bright rays and wintry storms, and when He who sways the destinies of us all shall call father and mother to join that heavenly host he will meet them upon the shores beyond the river with his smiles and outstretched arms to welcome them, when he will be restored to them and be with them forever.
To know him was to love him."
"Hark, hear the angels say,So far as I have seen, I have formed a splendid opinion of Southern Oregon. Since I wrote to you I have been over quite a large portion of Southern Oregon. I visited the Sterling gold mine, situated some ten miles south of Jacksonville. It is considered one of the richest mines in the state. Frank Ennis is the superintendent and joint owner, and by invitation, Prof. J. M. Merritt and myself spent several days there prospecting and hunting. The mine is considered worth $400,000, and yields about $50,000 clear profit per year. We have several very fine specimens of gold, which were presented to us by the gentlemanly superintendent. The mine is run wholly by Chinese labor. The water which runs the same is conveyed through a ditch twenty-five miles in length.
Life's far beyond the fading day,
Far beyond the sable night,
There in a land of peace and light."
In company with some ten others we made a pilgrimage of some eighty miles northeast to the historic Crater Lake. This is a wonderful phenomenon of nature. It is situated some eighty miles from Jacksonville, in Oregon. It took a company of ten of us three days to reach it. It is one of the wonders of this section of the world. It is the summit of the Cascade Mountains. For one-third of the distance that we traveled before we reached the lake we went up an inclined plane. Its summit is 8,000 feet above the level of the ocean. Its crater or opening is from ten to twelve miles in length and from seven to eight miles in width. It seems to have been the summit of the mountain, and from volcanic eruptions its mouth has been formed. The mouth or opening of the same is now a lake. On the south side the edges are 800 feet from the water below. This is one of the wonders of the Pacific Coast, and many a pilgrim trudges his weary way to see this, one of the most wonderful freaks of nature. Many a camp fire has been built upon the margin of its mouth, and many a fire has been kindled by all nations to witness its wonder and grandeur. It is said that its depth has never been fathomed.
The falls of Rogue River is also very handsome. There is a perpendicular fall of 190 feet of water.
I remained from the 12th day of July till the 29th day of August in Oregon, and I never saw a single drop of rain. Not a drop of dew fell all of this time. Notwithstanding this, the soil is so formed that all kinds of vegetation develops splendidly. I measured some prunes that measured six by seven inches. One lot of peaches measured ten and one-eighth inches in circumference, and another lot measured fourteen inches in circumference. I am impressed that Southern Oregon is one of the best fruit-growing countries in the world. Every kind of fruit seems to come to perfection. I am of the opinion that the whole Rogue River Valley will be planted in fruit, and when the railroad is completed, this section of country will supply Washington Territory and the whole northern country with fruit.
People live here comparatively with much more ease than they do in the States. The climate is very mild and pleasant in the winter season. Sometimes the snow falls at night, but the sun melts it away by noon of the same day. Ice is never thicker than about one inch. Stock men and farmers only have to feed for about two months, and many of them do not feed any part of the year.
Although Jacksonville has only a population of 2,000, and has only been laid out about thirty years, the people have grown comparatively wealthy. There is no one hungry, starved or naked in Oregon. I never met a more noble-hearted and generous people. The wants of the poor and unfortunate are cheerfully supplied.
Some twenty persons who did business in Jacksonville have become wealthy and have moved to Portland, San Francisco and elsewhere, who have made from $150,000 to $200,000. I think Oregon is the best country for the man in limited circumstances I have ever seen. Health opens her portals wide to all who wish to enter.
As I had never seen an ocean, I thought that I could get a better view of the Pacific by coming to this place by way of Crescent City by the stagecoach. Crescent City is about 120 miles southwest of Jacksonville, and in the northwestern part of California, and is situated immediately on the ocean's beach. It contains a population of some 1,200. In company with John W. Kaylor, a Mr. Coleman, and Leonidas Leonard I took the stagecoach at 3 o'clock a.m. on Wednesday morning and traveled over the mountains, up and down, around and about, until we reached the ocean, which was Thursday evening at 4 o'clock. Here we met quite a number of persons who reside at Jacksonville, whose acquaintance I had formed, and who were returning home from the triennial [of the Knights Templar].
In my last letter I spoke about the large forest trees I had seen, but I must confess they were small and insignificant compared with the timber I saw along the stage line for some twenty-five miles before we reached Crescent City. The largest of which I speak are white pine, sugar pine, and redwood. These trees are just as thick as they can grow upon the ground. Quite the larger portion range from twenty-five to thirty feet in diameter, and tall in proportion. You can turn a two-horse wagon on the stumps of many of the trees in that locality. This section is what is known as timber claims, and the United States has reserved them and sells them for $2.50 per acre. These claims have nearly all been taken up, but can be purchased at from $8 to $12 per acre. I feel sure in saying that whoever purchases this land, and holds the same, will make fortunes. Already lumber men and sawmill men all along the coast are purchasing this land, looking to the future. I traveled in company with a gentleman who had been up in these lumber regions and purchased some 1,200 acres of these lands at about $12.50 per acre. He stated that at the rate lumber was selling he could make one million of dollars out of this land for lumber.
When we reached the ocean's edge and gazed westward as far as the eye could see over the placid and blue waves of the Pacific, we were struck with awe and amazement. The flow of the ocean had just commenced when when we arrived at Crescent City. It was truly a grand sight to behold, full of wonder and astonishment. We did not leave for San Francisco until 11 o'clock a.m. Friday, the 31st. As I have stated, Crescent City has a population of some 1,200. It has been laid out about thirty years. It is mostly a shipping town for lumber and passenger travel.
At the appointed time, in company with our traveling companions, we took passage for San Francisco on the steamer Crescent City. Quite a number of us had never been upon the ocean before, and as we distanced our course westward from the shore so as to avoid breakers in passing south, we felt many and strange emotions of the human heart. During Friday the waves rolled high and lashed frightfully against the sides of the vessel. The rocking of the steamer soon had its effect on its crew. We commenced becoming seasick. With a brave and stout heart we thought that we would eat dinner. We ate with slow and measured mouthfuls for awhile, but we soon found out that there was no use of fighting against seasickness. We were compelled to retire to our room, and as we retired our hosts seemed to rise at every step. Most of us were down with seasickness during Friday and Friday night. Saturday morning most of us had recovered. We were about thirty-four hours on the ocean before we reached San Francisco. We experienced a grand voyage. The first day the ocean waves beat so high that it was almost impossible to stand on the deck, but the angry waves commenced to become calmer by Saturday morning, and during the day on Saturday they were calm and peaceful and the sky serene and bright. After we had wandered out into the ocean we could not see land in any direction; the sky was beautiful and cloudless above us and around us, and when it met the ocean, had very much the appearance of the rainbow. I presume this was caused from the light of the sun shining through the heavy mist that rose from the ocean at a distance. We saw all kinds of sea birds, innumerable in color and size. They sat in thousands upon the rocks which projected out of the water. Upon these rocks is where they lay their eggs and hatch their young. We saw eleven whales, and as they spouted up the water they seemed like large vessels sunk in the midst of the ocean. We also saw quite a number of porpoise and sea lions.
We reached San Francisco Saturday evening at 9 o'clock. It was quite foggy by that time, and it was with some difficulty we got to land. Before we reached the shore we heard the coarse roar of the fog horn admonishing us of danger. It roared like distant thunder. But we landed safely, and each of the crew sought their respective stopping place. Our crowd stopped at the Occidental Hotel, where we have splendid accommodations.
Since I left Jacksonville I have traveled four hundred and five miles. The stage travel of one hundred and twenty miles over the mountains was very tiresome. It took us from 3 o'clock on Wednesday morning until Thursday 4 o'clock in the evening, traveling night and day, to reach Crescent City, a distance of 120 miles. The real distance upon a straight line is only eighty miles, but we traveled forty miles in curves and up and down the mountains. These ranges of mountains are high and rugged, and during Wednesday night, unless we had prepared ourself with a good wrap, we could not have stood the cold.
Since my arrival in San Francisco, the city upon a thousand hills, I have had a very pleasant time. All are strangers to me with the exception of those who are here from Jacksonville, Oregon, and with whom I became acquainted when visiting my sister. Gen. Thomas Reames and lady came here to attend the triennial, and will not return home until Thursday. Ex-Governor [sic] C. C. Beekman, wife and daughter came down at the same time our crowd came, but came by the way of Redding and from there by rail. So you see we have quite a party of friends from Jacksonville. The people in Oregon are noble and generous, and it was said during the triennial here by the people from the States "that their hearts are in their hands," and of this I can cheerfully bear testimony.
On Sunday morning when the church bells commenced to chime so beautifully, and when upon the streets I saw each family wending their way to worship God, in accordance with their respective beliefs, I sought out the Second Presbyterian Church, and wound my way to her beautiful temple of worship. This is a splendid church, and everything in its place. I was kindly, friendly and politely treated by the usher and shown to a prominent seat. The minister's name is Rev. George Sprecher. At the close of the mourning services their Sunday school exercises commence, Which, as you see, differs from the time of holding Sunday schools in the States. The sermon was able and eloquent. He announced that in the evening he would lecture on "Nineveh and Babylon." By this time I became interested in the minister, and from my glowing description of his sermon in the morning I succeeded in getting all our Oregon crowd to attend the lecture. It was splendid, and we were all pleased that we attended.
J.L.M. [James L. Mason]Hancock Democrat, Greenfield, Indiana, September 13, 1883, page 3
The New History.The importance of this work, now in progress, cannot be overestimated, and the time in which to develop such an enterprise could never be more favorable than the present. Southern Oregon has heretofore, and even yet, to a large degree been undeveloped and unknown, though its resources are abundant, its climate fine, and its location, geographically speaking, unexcelled. The experience of our farmer, our stock-grower, our nursery man, and in short, every producer, has universally gone to prove the superior merit of the country. Yet in the face of such experience people are not generally informed as to the natural advantages we possess. The time is just coming when the veil of obscurity is to be removed and when Southern Oregon will, for the first time in her existence, be thoroughly represented beyond the limits of her own dominion. The illustrated history of Southern Oregon, compiled and collated by H. O. Lang, with a corps of assistants, is the medium through which this knowledge is to be diffused.
One immediate necessity for collecting the data for and compiling this work now is because the sources of information are purer and more available than will ever be in the future. The ranks of the pioneers is diminishing yearly. Thus every year lessens the testimony as to the early history of this country; and every year dims the memory of those who preserve the unwritten detail concerning it. There still remains, however, enough living witnesses to give such testimony as is necessary to be preserved in the country's record.
The object of the history is a sufficient voucher for its success. The conditions are ripe and the people are glad to hail its advent. Every family needs a record of its own country. No library will be complete without it.
THE NEW NORTHWEST.
Views of a Sonomian in Washington Territory and Oregon--
Puget Sound--Railroad Movements--the Willamette and
Rogue River Valleys--Notes, Etc.
PORTLAND, Oregon, Nov. 29, 1883.MY DEAR SIR: I have been waiting for an opportunity to send you a few lines that will express my opinion of this northern country. I went up on Puget Sound in July, at a time when all was so covered with smoke that a mile was as far as the eye could penetrate the cloudlike veil, that made traveling at that time much like traveling by moonlight. There is a decided boom along the shores of the Sound, and Seattle is the liveliest town there. It numbers about 10,000 people and seems to be a distributing point for that locality. East of Seattle lie extensive coal beds and rich iron deposits which with the large tracts of timber that grow there ensure the future of that town as a manufacturing and ship-building center. But perhaps the future is very distant. There is but little agricultural land about the Sound, and what level land there is is so covered by timber that it costs to clear it, when contracting with Chinese labor, at least $75 per acre. The amount of this land is limited to the watercourses that discharge into the Sound. As to the future of the Sound towns as shipping points, they are a long distance from the agricultural districts of Eastern Oregon and Washington Territory, and when a road is built directly from the east country to Puget Sound, which I understand to be the intention of the N.P.R.R., even then the cost of getting merchandise to deep water is about the same as when shipped from here. The north coast from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Straits of Juan de Fuca is the most dangerous part of the coast, and as far as I am able to judge it seems that Portland is as well located as any town in the Northwest. Portland is very like San Francisco, and it seems to me that a majority of the enterprise and energy of the place is San Franciscan. This is a great place for energetic Californians that have been unfortunate down there to recuperate. There are many opportunities here for a man without money but with ability, and the new enterprises that spring up here each week are usually engineered by California brains and backed by Oregon wealth. There is much wealth here for a town of 30,000 people, the bulk of it being due probably to rise in real estate values. Real estate is high here, higher in proportion than what it is in San Francisco. So are rents, but this state of things can't last long, for buildings both for business and for residences are springing up in every street. You would be surprised to see what substantial brick buildings are being erected along the main streets here, and they are finished in a very elaborate style, even surpassing San Francisco buildings. Located as Portland is, near the junction of the Willamette with the Columbia, it commands the trade of both rivers--the most extensive trade of the Northwest. San Francisco houses are all well represented here, the larger houses having flourishing branches that do a big business in this section. The climate of this town and of the Willamette Valley is not calculated to attract a Californian--not from the first of October to the first of March anyway. But from the first of July until the first of October I never knew a more delightful climate than this. The thermometer rarely rose above eighty degrees in the shade, and the nights were soft and balmy until 10 p.m., so that to sit outdoors was very pleasant; after that hour the air grew cold so that a pair of blankets was not too much to sleep under. Since the first of October it has rained about five days in each week. It does not rain hard--generally a drizzling mist that the people do not mind much; but they clothe themselves in rubber and stick to their business as if there were no rain. But the ground is muddy and the atmosphere is cloudy all the time. On but three days since Oct. 1st has it been clear enough to see Mount Hood. Last Sunday and Monday nights we had a severe storm, reported by the papers to be the severest since 1880. It poured down rain, and on Saturday night snow fell so that Sunday morning at nine o'clock there were three inches of it lying on the street. The temperature has been very much like that of San Francisco, as the thermometer has seldom been lower than 45 degrees so far.
I took a trip down to Southern Oregon last September and found that to be a charming country. It grew warmer there than here, but not more than 90 degrees in the shade, and the nights were always cool enough for blankets. I was especially pleased with Jackson County and the Rogue River Valley. I think that to be the garden spot of Oregon, and it is the only place I would think of living in this state. The country is well watered and well timbered and the soil of the valleys is rich. All the fruits grow there, including the peach and the grape, and the grasses are abundant. The average rainfall at Roseburg is 36 inches; and at Portland, 52 inches; at Red Bluff it is 30 inches, and at San Francisco it is 26 inches. The Rogue River is 150 [sic] miles south of Roseburg, and I judge the rainfall there to be between 30 and 36 inches. The Oregon and California railroad will be built into that valley sometime next spring, and the trains are likely to begin to run there by next May. Then Ashland will be 20 hours from Portland, and say 25, from San Francisco when the road is completed from the California side. I think that land in Jackson County is some cheaper than in California, but I consider that now is a bad time to buy Oregon real estate. Two years from now will find real estate values from 25 to 50 percent less than they are now, in my opinion. I believe that Oregon is going through the experience of California during the years 1869-70-71. Oregon thinks that the N.P.R.R. will be the means of flooding the country with immigrants. We shall see. I find living to be cheaper here than in California as far as meals go--room and house rent are higher. There are several good restaurants in town, and last Sunday I dined at a thirty-cent restaurant where the bill of fare was: Chicken and oyster soup; lamb pot pie; lamb and green peas; pigs' feet soused; roast chicken, beef, pork and mutton; potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes; mince, cream and apricot pie; cornstarch pudding; tea, coffee or milk; and bread and butter. Wages are not so high here by from ten to twenty-live percent as in California, especially is this so of clerks. Many a married man here is earning less than $1,000 a year. The average salary paid to clerks in the railroad office is $125 per month in the most responsible places.
CHARLES D. STUART.Sonoma Democrat, Santa Rosa, California, December 22, 1883, page 3