SOUTHERN OREGON.(Special Correspondence of the Leader.)
The Majestic Mountains, Rushing Rivers, and Impenetrable Forests of That Region.
Some of the Impressive Scenery of the Cascade Range and its Canyons.
The Mineral and Timber Resources--The Gold Coast--Possibilities of Development.
ROSEBURG, SOUTHERN OREGON, February 11.--Several of my communications to the Leader last summer were from the great state of Oregon, but they were wholly restricted to its northern parts, none of them touching interests external to the valleys of the Columbia and Willamette. Finding myself now in the important section technically called "Southern Oregon," I purpose to furnish its columns such accounts of the splendid region as I may gain from personal observation and credible hearsay. I shall endeavor to be correct in the work, yet doubtless some errors will intrude, [in] spite of all caution.
To most readers the title "Southern Oregon" will be quite misleading, since it applies to but a fraction of the nether portion of the state. On this coast the term embraces only the five counties lying in the southwestern corner of Oregon. These are Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties. The Cascade Mountains bound the district on the east. California adjoins it on the south. On the west it is washed by the waters of the Pacific. On the north it is barred from the cultivated valley of the Willamette by the rugged Calapooia Range. The estimated area of Southern Oregon is about 12,000 square miles. Its coastline approaches one hundred and fifty miles in length and includes one of the best harbors between San Francisco and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This haven, commodious and safe, is Coos Bay, whose tributary creeks and river well nigh drain the county of that name. The water is of sufficient depth
TO FLOAT THE LARGEST SHIPS.The chief exports from the port are coal and lumber, both articles being abundant in the vicinity.
Like certain portions of the Golden State, this quarter of Oregon is distinguished for remarkable diversity of scenery. Lines of high hills, or ranges of majestic mountains, with rich arable vales intervening, ramify it in all directions. Within it, also, lie the renowned valleys of the Umpqua and Rogue rivers, localities conspicuous in the history of the coast. In my hearing yesterday a prominent citizen of Roseburg styled the district "the Switzerland of America." To the writer Switzerland is an unknown land, but if in the sublimity of its mountains, the wonderfulness of its lakes, and the delightful beauty of its gentler landscapes it surpasses Southern Oregon, then all the admiration lavished upon it by hundreds of visitors annually is well deserved.
Few parts of our land are so bountifully and so serviceably watered as are these five counties. Multitudes of streams distribute their blessings on every hand as they march toward the great sea. Springs of pure cold water swell up from the earth, or leap forth from the hillside, until, as said an old resident this afternoon, you can hardly go a half mile in any of these counties without finding springs perennial, clear and palatable. During the rainy season, now at its height in this part of the coast, the thousand minor streams of the mountains are, of course, vastly increased in speed and volume. As our train came spinning down the southern side of the Calapooia Range yesterday afternoon there foamed and tumbled in the gorges on either hand a score of noisy tributaries to the Umpqua River, one of the chief watercourses of Southern Oregon. Rain was falling rapidly, and had been most of the time for a month. Thus these effluents found their task of bearing it away not a trivial one, and in the discharge of their duty were
AS GARRULOUS AS THEY WERE BUSY.Now a word descriptive of the Umpqua itself, which is really an impetuous mountain torrent. Its main, or north, fork heads virtually in the Cascades, or, definitely, in Diamond Lake. After flowing westwardly for a distance of eighty miles it receives the South Umpqua at a point nearly one hundred miles from the sea. Thence striking off toward the northwest it enters the ocean "one hundred and seventy-five miles south of the mouth of the Columbia," draining in its journey something over 4,000 square miles of territory. The Umpqua is navigable only twenty-six miles above its mouth. At points in this distance the stream acquires a great depth and [flows] between precipitous, rocky banks, which present some imposing scenery. Within this space also its breadth increases to thousands of feet, and at intervals small areas of grazing and cultivable land stretch away from the brink. Other principal streams of the five counties are the wonderful Rogue River, the Illinois and the Coquille, all of which ultimately lose themselves in the mighty ocean.
In historical dignity, as well as in physical characteristics, Rogue River transcends all the others. It is to Jackson County what the Umpqua is to Douglas County, draining and enriching, by its many confluents, a tract of country nearly three thousand square miles in extent--a surface slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Four mountain ranges enclose this territory with bulwarks of rock. These are the Coast, Canyon, Cascade and Siskiyou chains. At one point in the Cascade Range this defense rises to a height of nearly 9,000 feet. The entire space enclosed "is broken up into valleys, hills and mountain ridges," all the valleys trending toward one central depression, as all the inferior streams flow toward the Rogue River. This turbulent watercourse has its birth near the base of Mount Thielsen, one of
THE STUPENDOUS SNOW CONESof the Cascades, at an altitude of six thousand feet above the sea. [The Rogue River's source is on the flanks of Mount Mazama--Crater Lake.] Within the limits of Jackson County, or a distance of one hundred miles, it makes the descent of five thousand feet, having a mighty canyon for its pathway, until the lofty mountains fade into gentle hills in the valley proper. Rogue River Valley, specifically, is about forty miles long by twenty wide. Although these twin rivers spring out of the heart of the Cascades, "almost within a stone's throw of each other," they flow farther and farther apart until they enter the Pacific ninety miles asunder, both plowing a steep gorge through the Coast Range on their way.
Heavy forests cover the major part of "Southern Oregon," and are one of its important sources of wealth. Only the lower hills, the chief valleys, and bottom lands are free for the plow. The sides of all the principal mountain ranges are thickly clothed with giant trees, which were hoary when first the voices of white men echoed among the dark canyons. Here and there, indeed, a saw mill sends out its stimulating voice, but it is only one where many might be, and makes but faint encroachment upon these miles of dense growths. One more great railroad from the Pacific to the East, cutting the Cascade Range at its notable pass about due east of Roseburg, would bring an immediate change to these silent, primitive timber lands. Thousands of acres are absolutely unapproachable for want of proper transportation. Southern Oregon needs, and someday will have, its "transcontinental railway," with its Pacific terminus at Coos Bay, about midway between the exits of the Northwestern and Central Pacific roads. Such an enterprise would convert Coos Bay, with its fine harbor, its salmon industry, and its coal, lumber and agricultural resources, into
AN ATTRACTIVE WATERING PLACEas well. In that event Roseburg would have the advantage of being about midway between the pass and the port.
It has been said that in Douglas County, the largest and northernmost of the five, there are not less than thirty townships which are densely mantled with pine, fir, yew and cedar trees of gigantic size and height, and all capable of producing the finest grades of lumber. In one section, thirty or more miles in length, the western slope of the Cascade Range is studded with stately trees from the line of eternal snow down to the border of perpetual green. The sugar pine and the yew furnish woods of rare beauty. The durability of the latter places it beside the red cedar for some purposes. It is also a favorite with the cabinetmaker. The forests of the Coast Range in this county, particularly on its seaward slopes, include some growths seldom seen on the river sides of the Cascades. Here the white cedar flourishes with the family of firs, while the bays and maples thrive together in beautiful groves.
In short, it may be said that the supply of timber throughout the district is as inexhaustible as it is valuable. The great wonder is that the earth anywhere can nourish so vast an army of trees of such magnitude.
But "Southern Oregon" has sources of wealth beneath her soil, as well as above it. Besides her coal, gold and silver, tellurium, quicksilver, marble and other minerals exist. Gold has been found in all the counties. In each, I believe, mining has been conducted by the usual methods, and with the common mutations as to fortune. Josephine County has perhaps yielded the richest returns for the effort expended. In it, during the year 1851, occurred the first gold mining done in Oregon. The work still proceeds, and the sanguine anticipate for the industry even a brighter future. At many points in the other counties operations have languished, or died out altogether.
THE ROADS TO THE MINES,with other accessories to the pursuit, have fallen to decay, leaving to the future the option of restoring them and renewing an unsuccessful experiment.
In the vicinity of the mouth of Rogue River, in Curry County, the sands of the seashore have for over thirty years yielded gold in paying quantities. "Beach mining" has continued there during all this period, notwithstanding old Ocean has often amused himself by covering the gold seeker's work with mighty waves of worthless sand. The distance mined is "about twenty-five miles," and has from the first discovery of the precious sands borne the name of Gold Beach.
Profitable quicksilver mining has been conducted in Douglas County for several years. There are at least three mines. It is presumed none of them are very extensive. A tellurium mining company has been operating for some time and "has made the pursuit a success." Copper, nickel and iron are also minerals of Southern Oregon. Its as yet practically unmolested coal beds underlie a vast surface and could long furnish fuel for a denser population than will ever occupy the district.
Leaving the subjects of the climate and productions of this remarkable region for another communication, I here mention that the Oregon & California Railway extends entirely through it from north to south. Its termini are the handsome and growing--[in] spite of the hard times--city of Portland on the north, and the village of Ashland, at the base of the majestic Siskiyou Mountains, on the south. The distance between the points is 344 miles. The existence of this thoroughly built highway in Western Oregon is a feature in the material development of the country, whose importance cannot be overestimated. The company operates two lines of road, one on each side of the Willamette River, thus reaching all the varied and bountiful products of the great valley of that stream. The west side track extends from Portland to the city of Corvallis and binds together a large number of enterprising towns.
The eastern line bisects Southern Oregon about midway between the Cascade and the Coast ranges of mountains, thus becoming the common carrier for the teeming productions of its myriad interlacing valleys, and also conveying the traveler for nearly two hundred miles through one of nature's masterpieces in the way of scenery. In the later spring months its union of the beautiful with features august and awful is not often paralleled.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, March 1, 1886, page 5
SOUTHERN OREGON.Special Correspondence to the Leader.
Coos Bay and the Rich Mineral Deposits Found in its Vicinity.
Coal Fields Which Will Produce Millions of Tons of Excellent Fuel.
The Great Timber Resources--Fortunes in Store for Enterprising Capitalists.
ROSEBURG, SOUTHERN OREGON, March 8.--Among the many interesting localities in Southern Oregon, as viewed from a business standpoint, few are more worthy of notice than Coos County and its ocean port, Coos Bay. For thirty years or more the vicinity has been known as one remarkably rich in resources. But owing to inadequate connections with other parts of the state its wealth has hitherto been but slightly developed. Both its inhabitants and its material possessions have all this time waited for a railroad, that prime factor in the opening up of a country.
The people have indeed once moved energetically toward securing such communication with the interior of the state and the East. A company was organized to construct the road, a considerable grant of land was obtained from the farmers through which it would pass, and I believe the route was surveyed. Then, a trusted party being dispatched to the East to interest capitalists in the work, he succeeded so well that he sold the whole thing completely out of the hands of the company, leaving it powerless to proceed. And to this day the much-desired railroad has failed to appear. But as the time of the land grant expires in five years, the citizens are hopeful that they will yet hear the echoes wakened among the thousand hills of Coos and Douglas counties by the locomotive as it marches from the oceanside eastward through Roseburg, through the Mount Thielsen Pass in the Cascades, and onward over the vast plains of Southeastern Oregon to a connection with a through eastern line at Baker or Boise cities.
"But where is Coos Bay?" someone asks, "and what has the neighborhood that the country so much wants?"
A good map will show you that some two hundred miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River
THE GREAT OCEAN INVADES THE LANDin a most capricious manner, flowing eastward through a deep and irregular channel many miles in extent and sending out wide arms in several directions. This invasion is Coos Bay. The name is reported to have emigrated from New Hampshire. That little state, you notice has a Coos County. The word, however, has changed its orthography several times, and at this date is not at all sure that it sprung from the White Mountain State. [It's an Oregon Indian name.] By reason of improvements already made by the government this bay affords the most capacious and easily accessible harbor between the Columbia River and the Golden Gate. The depth of water is sufficient to float the largest coastwise steamers. Even its arms, or sloughs, as they are here called, are navigable each some distance, by boats of light draft. Its area is estimated to be fifty square miles. This bay is the natural outlet to the area for all the marvelously rich district known as Southern Oregon.
Its existence was first made known to the American settlers in the Umpqua Valley in 1852. The next year it was explored, and desirable town sites located by parties hoping to control the advantageous port and its vicinity. They were also stimulated to these steps by the discovery on the beach a few miles to the south of an abundance of gold in the black sand, at the mouth of a small creek.
For some six months placer mining was here carried on with gratifying success. A few men made fortunes. But after a time the good luck flagged, and for a period the black sand quite lost its attractions, though at no time entirely failing to reward the labors of the gold seeker. At present the "diggings" are known as the Randolph mines, having been named in compliment to John Randolph. A son of Joseph Lane is, I believe, a very successful operator in them. Meanwhile mining of another character had opened on the southern tributaries of Coos Bay. Coal had been discovered.
Some miles inland this body of water
SENDS OUT A LONG ARMtoward the south, somewhat as does the bay of San Francisco, thus forming a broad peninsula between itself and the sea. On the northern and eastern borders of this tongue of land were the first disclosures of coal observed. Immediately extravagant investments, preparatory to the real work of mining, were made, and at unfavorable points. Thus, as has so frequently been the case in gold and silver mining, large sums of money were thrown away, causing no little discouragement. Still the country, far and near, was full of coal, the quality of which was excelled by that of no other section of the Pacific Coast. Some veins contained steam and gas coals of decided merit.
In 1855 shipments to San Francisco, the market, began. Capitalists in that city soon discovered that coal property in Coos County, Oregon, was worth the purchasing. Geologists of repute visited the district, made estimates of the deposits, and pronounced the store practically inexhaustible. The Bank of California invested a large sum in this mineral land, as did also other San Francisco parties. And some time after a Massachusetts company purchased 7,000 acres, including the total town site of Marshfield, the largest village on the peninsula, besides much other valuable territory in the county.
The veins carry from two to five seams, which vary in thickness from two to seven feet. Some of the seams are separated by but a few inches of sandstone, and others by a layer of slate, or a stratum of clay. One writer on the extent of the Coos Bay measure says: "The amount of the mineral obtainable is so large that estimate is superfluous in considering it as a resource. There are no faults or breaks in the vein of any magnitude. The coal is distributed over two hundred square miles. The first vein alone, if extending over but one-fourth the field, would yield fully 132,000,000 tons of coal, if worked by the long-wall system."
Another excellent authority asserts that: "Within an area of ten miles of the bay exist not less than 75,000 acres of fine coal land, which will produce, from the one vein usually worked, 45,000,000
TONS OF GOOD FUEL,and in some parts of the field there are as many as six workable veins. Still farther east of the bay stretches a vein claimed to be eleven feet in thickness, and adapted to foundry uses, the making of gas, etc."
In addition to this enormous wealth in coal, little Coos County--the smallest in the state except Multnomah, but every inch of which is rich--has a second vast resource in its timber lands. No accurate estimate of their real extent and value has ever been made. But it is safe to say that the county is mantled with stately forest, from the seaside to the summit of the mountains, forty miles back. The trees embrace the usual variety found on the coast, such as fir, cedar, spruce, hemlock, myrtle, shittim, maple and other less valuable species. There is little pine. Spruce is not abundant. Fir and cedar predominate largely, and "yield the finest timber of the kind in the world." Coos County is the home of the Port Orford cedar, of which I hear so much in all conversations on the lumber industry of Oregon. It is of the white variety, and as a finishing wood is the most valuable grown in the state. Its peculiar qualities are strength, hardness and durability. It takes an elegant finish, and is in great demand for ship-building. The quantity is limited, and such has been the waste attending its handling by lumbermen that the species will probably disappear in a few years.
Of the red cedar, remarkable for its size and height, so much has already been said in these letters that it may now be passed without remark. On the contrary the lovely myrtle deserves generous mention. A lady reared in Coos County considers it the most beautiful tree of their forests, and of the North Pacific Coast. Its natural habitat is the loose, sandy soil of the streams of Coos, Curry and Douglas counties. It thrives well, however, in their bottom lands. The trees attain a uniform height of about seventy feet, the limbs all being thrown out within twenty feet of the top, thus leaving a long, clean trunk. When growing close together in groves, as they often do, the effect is very charming, reminding one of the eucalyptus groves of Southern California. The foliage is dense, and the limbs intermingling form a perfect shade, beneath which one may wander, on a warm day, in supreme enjoyment. The leaves of the myrtle are oval, stiff, about three inches in length, pointed at the end, with a yellowish-green tint and
A SHINING UPPER SURFACE.Both the wood and the leaves are fragrant. The latter are filled with a pungent, aromatic oil, and when tasted affect the tongue quite as powerfully as do cloves or cinnamon.
But the myrtle is esteemed not alone for its beauty in the landscape. It is one [of the] most valuable woods for cabinetmaking that the forests of America produce. It rivals the mahogany in susceptibility to finish, and the handsomest of young chestnuts in richness of graining. As an ornamental wood it commands a high price. As has been the case with the Port Orford cedar, acres of it have been wantonly destroyed in order to clear the land for agricultural purposes, thus removing a product manyfold more remunerative than would be successive crops of grain, or indeed the land itself.
Next to the myrtle, in Coos County, come maple and ash, both of great utility in various kinds of handicraft, and abundant enough unless swept away by man's shortsightedness.
The lumbering interests of the county center chiefly about Coos Bay, where [there] are several mills. That of the Southern Oregon Improvement Company has the largest capability, and cuts 100,000 feet of lumber daily. The total daily output of all the mills upon the bay is said to be 200,000 feet. The whole finds market in San Francisco. An indefinite estimate makes at least one half of the county heavily timbered. Then, taking but one half the quantity the forests have so far yielded, per acre, it contains ten billion feet of prime lumber.
Another considerable industry of Coos Bay is shipbuilding, the port being the only one between Puget Sound and the Golden Gate where marine architecture has attained the rank of a regular pursuit. The largest boat ever constructed at the yards was a ship of 2,000 tons burden. It was built entirely of red fir, and was celebrated for its strength and speed, having, it is said, made the quickest voyage to Liverpool on record. Many vessels and steamers of smaller capacity have been launched from the ways at Coos Bay.
Still another pursuit is salmon canning. The streams of the little county are alive with the beautiful fish, as are nearly all the rivers
EMPTYING INTO THE NORTHERN PACIFIC.Indeed, salmon packing in the western waters is limited only by the world's demand for the food. Millions upon millions of the fish are never taken. The Coos Bay salmon are reputed to be of unusually fine flavor. Among the parties early engaged in the calling in this county may be mentioned Mr. David Hume, the pioneer of the industry, both on the Sacramento and Columbia River. Mr. Hume's cannery is located on the Coquille River, and employs a hundred men. The Coquille is a tortuous watercourse emptying into the ocean route miles south of the bay. Although taking its rise only thirty miles inland, its entire length is eighty miles. Coquille City, on its banks, was long the home of Hon. Binger Hermann, present member of Congress from this district, and now a resident of Roseburg.
Salmon canning has its resources as well as most other industries, and the wife of David Hume, when a young girl eighteen years of age, was called upon to act a prominent part in one of them, as appears from the following account. I have the story from a lady, then [a] resident of Coos Bay, but quite distant from the young girl's theater of action. At an early period a Mr. Duncan, living in New Zealand, concluded to remove his family from that far-off quarter of the globe to Oregon. He made choice of Coos Bay as a location, and engaged extensively in salmon canning. One season, in the midst of the "run," he was prostrated by an accident, or a sudden illness, which caused his immediate removal to San Francisco, accompanied by his wife. This left the daughter sole superintendent of the business, aided by a brother in his early teens. She proved herself equal to the emergency and regularly had the daily "catch" of fish properly cooked and prepared for the market. But how unfortunate that troubles never come singly! In a short time the brother was stricken down with typhoid fever, not only depriving her of his help, but requiring her most skillful services as a nurse. Did she now falter and let the business go to ruin? No. Nothing daunted, she assumed this duty also and performed it nobly, still managing the details of the packing establishment to the close of the season. Then snugly winding up affairs with the men, she closed the cannery and taking her brother joined her parents in California. There, I believe, she met Mr. Hume, not long before from the Pine Tree State,
AND IN THE SAME BUSINESSas her father--or rather herself. In time they were married. And last July when the writer was busy taking notes on the salmon industry in Mr. Hume's packing house at Astoria, an invitation was extended her to visit this lady at Eagle Cliff, Mr. Hume's home far up the Columbia. The invitation could not be accepted. But the praises of Mrs. Hume, heard from many lips, were an evidence that no small pleasure was lost in consequence.
It remains to make mention of the soil and climate [of] Coos County. Like that of all Southern Oregon, the surface is extremely diversified, hill and valley intermingling. Along all the lower stretches of the streams lie bottom lands of great fertility. The soil is a combination of sandstone rock and decayed vegetation. It drains easily, and when cleared yields productions in any quantity and variety. Unfortunately, the land is held at too high a figure, is too difficult to clear, and too restricted in amount to invite immigration. Besides, at present, the spot can be reached only by sea.
The climate, like that of all this upper coast, is damp through the greater part of the year. And though the temperature seldom falls below 30º Fahrenheit, yet to one accustomed to a cold, dry atmosphere, is exceedingly uncomfortable. Between the rainy seasons there are many delightful days.
As has been said, Coos Bay is the natural outlet and inlet for all manner of traffic for Southern Oregon. And the present transcendent need of these five richly endowed counties is a railway from this port to Roseburg. A brief study of the resources of the intervening territory enforces conviction of that. The interior needs connection with the bay, and the bay with the interior. Such a thoroughfare would instantly stimulate agriculture, multiply the sawmills, intensify the development of the coal mines, and infuse new life into every artery of business. Today, with the country lined with coal and robed with forests, fuel is both scarce and expensive. The former is not to be had at any price.
Moreover, all travel from this section to California, whether
FOR HEALTH, PLEASURE OR BUSINESS,is forced to take one or the other of two tedious and costly routes, namely, northward by railway to Portland, 200 miles, and thence by steamer 600 miles to San Francisco. Or, southward by rail 150 miles to Ashland, at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, and over that chain by stage, 125 miles, to Delta, Cal., and thence via the Central Pacific to Sacramento and on to the metropolis. In the rainy season many persons, ladies especially, choose the northern and longer route rather than encounter the ride by coach, which, though grand and delightful at other periods, is in winter formidable if not dangerous.
The trip via Portland requires five days at least, and often more; that over the mountains about the same number. Both carry the traveler through miles of magnificent scenery. On the other hand, a railroad from Roseburg to Coos Bay, by the very feasible route which nature seems to have long ago provided for the work, would bring the traveler to the sea in a half day, distance eighty miles. Thence the time to San Francisco by steam is frequently less than forty-eight hours. Very apparent is the vast economy of time and fare.
Now all kinds of merchandise and fruits from the Golden State destined for Southern Oregon are conveyed by ship to Portland, and thence brought by rail to this quarter of the state, actually traversing an unnecessary distance of 400 miles, and of course arriving with an excessive freight bill to be added to the first cost of the goods. Similarly all products of the soil find a distributing market only at Portland and must be set down in that city, I have been told, subject to a deduction of about one third their values for transportation. This, with the general low prices which prevail for such products, causes a widespread stagnation in agricultural labors here, and consequently in most other lines of business. The crying want of Southern Oregon is a railroad to the sea, and after that an immigration full of vim.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, March 28, 1886, page 5
OREGON GOLD MINES.
Some of the Rich Mineral Deposits of the Faraway States.
The Wonderful Machine with Which the Precious Metal Is Extracted from Quartz.
An Interesting Account of Hydraulic and Other Processes of Mining.
Special Correspondence of the Leader.
JACKSONVILLE, SOUTHERN OREGON, March 24.--"Southern Oregon" contains three important civil centers. These are Roseburg, near the northern boundary of the region embraced in the above technical term; Ashland, about twelve miles north of the California line; and Jacksonville, the oldest, and, in a historical sense, the most important settlement of the section. Both Roseburg and Ashland have direct railway connection with other parts of the country by means of the Oregon & California Railway. Jacksonville lies to the west of this important thoroughfare a distance of five miles. Ashland is its present southern terminus. There remains to be built of the road, to complete a through line from Portland to Sacramento and San Francisco, one hundred and twenty-five miles. But this portion, being that crossing the Siskiyou Mountains, presents formidable difficulties in the way of construction. A large force is, however, at work upon the track south of this great chain, and in reasonable time it will be completed. It is not difficult to foresee that when done the flood of a new life will be propelled through every artery of business in this wonderful part of Oregon. At present a daily stage, bearing the traveler along a road from which he never loses sight of noble scenery, connects Jacksonville with the railway at the growing town of Medford.
Similar to Roseburg and Ashland, Jacksonville is walled around by an amphitheater of stately hills. Shapely buttes pierce the air in every direction. Mount Pitt, a magnificent snow cone of the Cascade Range, looms up fifty miles or so to the east, and yet appears as though rising just beyond the outskirts of the city. Far away northward, peeping over the shoulder of a massive brown mountain, can be discovered a diamond-shaped snow point of exquisite beauty. This is "Diamond Peak," one hundred and forty miles distant. From these kingly summits the snow never parts. For ages it has clothed them and will for ages more.
THE SWIFT ROGUE RIVER,tortuous, historical, and in some localities awful in its flow and force, is the great stream of Jackson County. From its chief tributaries minor creeks and rivers wander off among the hills and valleys in all directions.
Much of the soil of the county, like that of a large portion of the state, is a rich, black alluvium, formed by the continual wearing away of the various kinds of rock and the admixture of vegetable mold.
The slopes of the hills and lower mountains, though of a gravelly character, contain nearly every element of fertility. "There exist some extensive tracts wherein deep deposits of warm loam overtop a bed of deep clay." As a whole, the cultivable parts of Jackson County are considered unrivaled for all agricultural purposes. The county embraces about four hundred thousand acres of such land. Crops are a certainty annually. "The cereals have not missed a harvest in thirty-five years," says a gentleman who has resided here longer than that.
To fruit culture in the neighborhood of Jacksonville I need not allude, so much have I heretofore written on this and kindred other topics as pertaining to Oregon, but may pass it by, devoting the remainder of this communication to an entirely different subject, namely, that of gold mining, of which industry Jacksonville is the center for Southern Oregon.
Viewed in any light we please the subject of gold mining is a most interesting one, on account of the facts and lessons it teaches. For the knowledge I have gained of the industry, as conducted both in Oregon and California, I am greatly indebted to a citizen of Jacksonville, whose familiarity with every phase of mining dates from early boyhood, and also to a gentleman of Ashland possessed of extensive mining intelligence. I have been very grateful to both, for and in preparing this article.
That portion of Southern Oregon which is known as the "Mineral Belt" is from sixty to seventy miles long and from twenty-five to fifty miles wide. Its resources are extremely rich and varied, embracing gold, silver, lead, iron, copper, iridium, platinum, cinnabar and several other metals of greater or less value. Numerous new discoveries of gold deposits have been made the past year, more than for some time preceding, and most of them are believed to be rich and worth the working.
GOLD WAS FIRST DISCOVEREDon the present site of Jacksonville in 1851 by parties passing through from California to the valley of the Willamette. At that date there was not a white man living in the territory now known as Southern Oregon. [A few settlers had located land claims by then, as well as Indian agent A. A. Skinner.] No sooner, however, was the discovery noised abroad than miners in large numbers began flocking in from California and elsewhere. And in an incredibly short time there were scattered among its hills and gulches between six and seven thousand men, all intently engaged in prospecting for the precious metal.
From time to time men brought their families on the scene and put up rough frame tents for their shelter. Presently other temporary structures followed for the protection of supplies and stores. Thus Jacksonville sprang into being. In most instances its settlers were a fearless, energetic class of people, possessing very marked characteristics. These, as the production of light placer mines declined, finding themselves surrounded by a country whose soil was as marvelously rich as were its hills and gulches, gradually settled down to other pursuits.
To even approximate the amount of gold taken from the mines of Southern Oregon, between the years 1851 and 1865, is said to be an impossibility, for during that period the metal was carried out of the country, not only on mules, in stagecoaches, on pack trains and by express companies, but in large quantities by private individuals. Nothing like an accurate record of the quantity was attempted, nor indeed could be, for the large force of men were not only scattered over a vast extent of country, but surged from point to point as new and fabulous discoveries were reported, or visions of instant fortune rose up before them. It is, however, admitted by all that the amount was very great.
Not so was it during the next ten years. After the light placer mines had been worked out and the body of the mining population had drifted to other more tempting gold fields, the steady annual production is estimated to have been not far from half a million dollars. From the close of that period, 1875, down to the present winter, the yield per annum has perhaps not exceeded $100,000. This is due to the light yearly rainfall which has rendered placer mining less practicable. The present winter turns the current again. The supply of water having been abundant, it is believed the production will not fall below $500,000.
Just now "quartz mining," encouraged by the aid of greatly improved machinery, is for the first time
UNDERGOING A PRACTICAL TESTin Southern Oregon, and gives promise of becoming one of the valuable industries of the region. The entire mineral belt is almost one continuous and compact network of quartz leads, and it is well known that a large percentage of these carry sufficient gold to pay for crushing.
Many years ago a few of these ledges were prospected with crude machinery, but the trials were made when the gold excitement was at its height, when to secure less than half an ounce daily was considered to be putting forth efforts unworthy [of] a man's thought. Men looked with contempt upon a quartz lead in which they could not discern an abundance of face gold. But today, with marked and welcome improvements in machinery, and increased practical knowledge of quartz mining, it is thought by men who consider themselves good judges that a new and important era in the pursuit is about to dawn upon Southern Oregon, an era rivaling all the past in value to the country generally.
A quartz mill, combining all the late improvements, has recently been set up, and is now in successful operation in Jacksonville. It is expected this mill will be a prime factor in introducing the promised new order of things. Among mining men the machine is known as the "Jones' Combined Crusher and Concentrator." Its chief inventor is Mr. E. W. Jones, of Cincinnati, O. The important principle involved in it is this: The handling [of] the ore with the least possible amount of labor, and the bringing [of] every particle of the pulp in contact with the quicksilver, so that not a grain of the gold is lost. Another feature of importance is the small amount of power required to run the very complex and beautiful piece of mechanism, which is that of six horses.
The mills with which this class of mining has heretofore been attempted have failed to effect a thorough separation of the treasure from the baser minerals with which it is associated in the leads. In this respect the new invention is a complete success. It execution, also, in crushing the ore is something amazing. Mr. Jones himself is on the ground personally superintending its working. He is a gentleman of pleasing address, and possibly is thirty years of age.
Altogether, a quartz mill in operation is a sight well worth seeing, and should the visitor be so fortunate as to be presented with a small gift of the renovated gold, the sight will prove still more interesting.
In addition to the placer and quartz mining of Southern Oregon,
HYDRAULIC MININGis at present claiming much attention. A number of such mines are in working order, giving employment to a large force of men, and adding very materially to the revenue from the gold industry. Very possibly not all the readers of the Leader have had an opportunity of witnessing this impressive method of taking gold from the earth. For the benefit of such a brief description of the manner of doing it will be appended, after some preliminary paragraphs.
It may be stated in a general way that all mining countries are for the greatest part mountainous, and also that the presence here and there of scoria, trap, basalt, pumice and lava strongly indicates, if it does not conclusively prove, that intense volcanic action has taken place at some time in the past, by which the mountains were heaved up, and the deep, dark canyons were formed. In countries of this character, where the surface has undergone striking changes, new watercourses have made their appearance, flowing their way between mountains and through fair valleys.
At the same time there exist ancient or "dead river" channels, which have their way through the mountains without any reference to the present streams. "Indeed," says one of the authorities above referred to, "they generally cut existing rivers at right angles, and as a rule are situated far above them, in some instances thousands of feet." Most of the dead and of the living streams of Southern Oregon contain gold. As the ancient rivers obtained their treasure from the country through which they passed, so, in many cases, have the streams of today obtained their gold by crosscutting these old channels, and they are found to be rich in the precious metals just in proportion to the wealth of the old waterways they have intersected.
Into these old-time watercourses the prospector cuts his way with pick and shovel, and with a pan "prospects the dirt" as he proceeds, until satisfied of its richness. These channels and gravel deposits are frequently found high up on the sides of mountains, or on elevated benches of land. They often contain gold from the top down, which increases in amount until the bedrock is reached, and there the best pay is always expected. These deposits vary in depth from ten to one hundred feet, and many of them are much deeper.
It was expressly to secure the treasure
BURIED IN THESE DEAD RIVER COURSESand gravel bars that the modern hydraulic was intended. In working them a large amount of earth must necessarily be removed, and to do this profitably by other than the most improved hydraulic machinery would perhaps be impossible, since sometimes considerable mountains must be washed away.
We now come to the modus operandi of obtaining the gold. Suppose it is desired to work a bar, or ancient watercourse, fifty or one hundred feet above some river. The instrument by which it must be done is that powerful contrivance known among mining men as the "giant" or hydraulic. Two things then become indispensably necessary. These are an ample supply of water and a sufficient amount of pressure. How are these secured? Sometimes the water is brought from the stream near which the prospector proposes to work. When that is the case, he ascends the stream such a distance as, taking into calculation the fall of the water and the circuitous route it must traverse, will afford him the required pressure. From that point he proceeds to construct a ditch of the capacity necessary for its operations along the mountainside down to opposite the bar or gravel deposit. There he erects a watertight crib, reservoir or receptacle, called a "bulkhead," which is to receive the water from the ditch. At other times, or rather in some instances, the water is brought from a stream thirty or perhaps fifty miles distant.
Into the bulkhead the prospector inserts and securely fastens a large sheet-iron pipe two feet or more in diameter, which gradually tapers to a diameter of about fifteen inches, and is of a length sufficient to convey the water from the bulkhead down the mountainside to the giant. Through this it is forced and thrown against the gravel bank from the pressure above almost with the power and speed of a cannonball, but with this decided advantage, that the blow is constant, and therefore resistless.
It is now proper to describe the giant, the most powerful of any known mining invention, and yet
A SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE DEVICE.It consists of a heavy sheet-iron pipe about ten feet in length, strongly banded, and tapering gradually from its coupling with the main pipe bringing the water from the bulkhead down to the nozzle. The size of the nozzle depends upon the amount of water controlled and the height of the supply ditch above the mine. The greater the fall of the water the greater is its power to force a given quantity through a nozzle of given size. Perhaps the most effective size is one six inches in diameter.
The coupling is a very important part of the giant, or hydraulic, and consists of a combined oval and circular knuckle or joint, having a complete pivotal and circular center, so adjusted as not to leak, and yet so perfect in its action as to be entirely under the control of the piper, who may raise or depress it, or turn it to either side at will.
Sometimes there is attached to the nozzle an ingenious little contrivance termed a "deflector." Its purpose is to give direction to the flow of the water without moving the hydraulic. But many miners consider it unsafe, because it turns the powerful stream of water at so short an angle that the piper, unless constantly on his guard, is in danger of letting the instrument get the advantage of him, in which case he is liable to be seriously hurt.
The stream of water from the giant is applied at the base of the bank, next [to] the bedrock, thus undermining it and causing it to fall by its own weight. At the same time water is kept flowing upon the top of the bank, whence it percolates downward, softening and adding to the weight of the mass, until finally down it comes, "thousands of tons in amount, and attended with a roar like that of some demon issuing from the realms of Pluto," and dashing a confused mass of earth, rock and trees at the feet of the operator, whose life is thus oftentimes placed at great peril, and is saved only by the closest vigilance, and sometimes by hasty flight.
The mass thus laid low is now ready for the ax, sledge and nozzle. Staunch and well-aimed blows from the two former soon dislodge the rocks and trees, while
THE MIGHTY STREAM OF WATERspeedily dissolves and drives away, through a conduit or canal, styled a "tailrace," the mass of mingled earth, sand and gravel, with their accompanying wealth of gold.
The "tailrace" is either cut in the solid rock or is made of heavy timber.In the latter case it is called a "flume." It may vary in width from two to eight feet, but must be of ample depth to allow the coarse debris to float away. If built of timber there are placed crosswise in the bottom one, or several, series of iron bars securely fastened. These bars are termed "riffles." Their purpose is to catch the gold, which otherwise would be borne away by the strong current of water now kept flowing through the race. When the race is cut in the bedrock the natural unevenness of the stone secures the same result as the riffles.
Furthermore, at convenient points along the conduit, "undercurrents" are constructed to further aid in securing the gold. These are located wherever the descent will admit of their introduction beneath the flume. Here an aperture is cut in the flume over the "undercurrent," and spanned by strong iron bars. "Over these bars the water conducts all the coarser matter, while the finer material, with any gold that may have escaped the upper riffles," drops into the secondary race. Thus but a very small percentage of the treasure eludes the alert miner. Of course great skill is needful in manipulating the water that the baser matter may be carried off not too hastily to give the treasure ample time to find the bottom of the race. This it is not tardy in doing, their own weight soon bearing the particles down unless too small to resist the force of the water.
Sometimes, however, the gold is not in "nuggets," but in the form of precious sand. In such case quicksilver comes to the rescue, as it always does in the quartz mill. To this end, a quantity of the cinnabar is placed in a buckskin bag and sifted to and fro in the flume. The metal breaks through the skin in tiny globules, falls down among the worthless gravel and sand, seeks out the gold, forms an amalgam with it, holds it secure until "cleaning up time," when the weeded-out particles are collected and the metals disunited by a process we have not space to describe.
After the hydraulic has been at work, say, from three weeks to six months, throwing against the bank of gravel a powerful stream of one thousand or fifteen hundred inches of water,
THE SUPPLY OF THE FLUIDprobably fails. The "dry season" has arrived. Then this branch of the business ceases until the next "rainy season," and the process known as "cleaning up" begins. All hands set to work to collect the gold. Some carefully wash and search the bedrock uncovered. Others cautiously remove from the race the accumulated rock and gravel. The task may be accomplished in a few days. It may consume the remainder of the year. It depends upon the amount of bank washed away. Until the foreign matter is cleared from the race the water is kept flowing gently through it from the giant, minus the nozzle. But that done, the water is partially turned off, the riffles are removed, and the common sand lightly washed away. The gold is now disclosed to view, is gathered up with knives and spoons, carefully rinsed, weighed and sent to the mint, where the government places upon it the "stars and eagle," and sends it forth to swell the circulating medium of the country.
It would be well if the making of gold eagles plentiful were the only result of hydraulic pressure. A more bitter fruit is the overspreading of fertile plains, valleys and hillsides with the destructive debris which the giant produces in vast quantities. In Southern Oregon the devastation has as yet proceeded to no great extent. But in California, where hydraulic mining continued for years, some of the fairest portions of the state were actually desolated by thick deposits of broken rock and gravel that were conveyed to them from the mines.
So long as the mining interests of the state were regarded as paramount to those of agriculture the havoc went on. But when mining suffered some decline, and as a consequence agriculture assumed more importance, it was discovered that the covering up of land so valuable would prove an irreparable loss. The farming community, therefore, became aroused, and exercising superior wisdom, pluck and forethought, went to work and secured a perpetual injunction against that class of mining, in any locality where waste of productive lands could follow.
Wholly aside from its mineral resources a mining country contains valuable sources of information. Its topographical and geographical features embrace topics of unusual interest. A chapter on facts and theories connected with these subjects may someday follow this article.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, April 12, 1886, page 3
SOUTHERN OREGON.JACKSON COUNTY.
The Wonderful Sulphur Springs in and About Ashland.
Their Medicinal Properties--Peach Raising--How Other Crops Flourish.
Special Correspondence of the Leader.
ASHLAND, SOUTHERN OREGON, April 6.--Besides being more or less noted for its inspiring scenery, its extremely fertile soil, its almost faultless climate, its splendid water power, and for the renown of some of its citizens. this ultimate town of Southern Oregon is famed throughout this region for its white sulphur springs, and throughout the country for its current activity in peach culture. A few paragraphs on the two last topics may not be without interest to readers 2,500 miles away.
Within the past week I have visited, and of course drunk from, something less than a dozen white sulphur springs--cold, warm, sparkling with gas, and curative in their properties. The consequence is--of the drinking--that I now have lingering in my system no such formidable hindrance to happiness, no neuralgia, rheumatism, dyspepsia, salt rheum, scald-head, nor love of money.
These fountains for thinning the blood of the Oregonians are scattered all about the town and its vicinity. They differ not only in temperature, but to some extent in healing power. Still, all are the friends of man, and do their best to give the race pure blood, a clean skin, and flexible hair.
Two of them, one warm, the other cold, well up on the five-hundred-acre farm of General J. C. Tolman, some four miles from town, and much enhance its value, since they are perennial, and as wholesome for stock as for persons. It is said the animals will every time
PASS BY COMMON WATERto quench their thirst at the mineral spring, and always seek the tepid water in preference to the cold. Some years ago the General had the clear, fragrant fluid from the warm spring conveyed into his residence from the distant field, that it might be always at hand for drinking or bathing.
In my recent description of the long wedding tour of General and Mrs. Tolman, I omitted to mention that the former is a native of Washington County, O., and also that for some years prior to his majority, he was a resident of Urbana, Champaign County. Previous to their emigration to Iowa, the parents of Mrs. Tolman were likewise Buckeyes. So she is not without her interest in the land of frost and famous people.
In connection with one of the sulphur fountains in the village, a commodious hotel has been erected, wherein the water, at all temperatures, from refreshing cold to scalding hot, is furnished to visitors, diseased or sound. By confining themselves to it as beverage, and as a medium for afflictions, the ill may in time get well, and the well do far better--[and] keep so.
As a remedy for skin diseases, these waters are reputed to possess great virtues. In case of scald-head they have been known to prove particularly efficacious. I mention this fact, so that, since sulphur springs are scattered over the country quite generally, persons so afflicted may avail themselves of the remedy, when near them. The Sulphur Spring Hotel of Ashland is in summer quite a resort for invalids living at a distance. Guests from Portland, 350 miles north, are frequently chronicled on its books.
The Mr. Helman, an Ohioan, mentioned in a previous letter, also has on his farm, which skirts the river in the very foreground of the village, a warm spring highly impregnated with the mineral. Beside it stands
A NEAT LITTLE BATH HOUSEfitted up with every appliance for taking the waters, and open to citizens and strangers on two days of the week. The present facilities for reaching the resort are not very recommendatory, but once there, and a bath takes in the exhilarating fluid, the patron comes away in perfect good humor. There are in the village various other springs which are little utilized, and waste their fragrance on the mountain air. Considered in connection with the climate, these many cleansing waters must in the future invite much company to the little town "under the shadows of the Siskiyous."
Coming to the subject of peach culture, it may be remarked, first, that probably no locality on the continent is better adapted to this special industry than the foothills of the Bear Creek Valley. I say foothills, because, planted on these elevations, the danger from frosts after the trees bloom in the spring is reduced to almost a minimum. The fruit is not finer than when grown in the valley, in either size, color or flavor, but the crop is nearly a certainty. This element of safety, together with that of a soil highly suited to the production of the fruit, marks the spot as one peculiarly favorable to the culture.
But utterly futile is the growing of vast crops of fruit unless somewhere there is in prospect a market for it. "Has Ashland such a prospect?" I inquired an hour ago of a prosperous nurseryman of the place, a man who said he came from Maine, where the people pry the sun out of bed every morning. He replied:
"We have practically all Northern Oregon, but few peaches are grown in the Willamette Valley, and that is about all there is of that part of the state that will produce fruit. Then we have all Eastern Oregon, now devoted to flocks and herds, higher and colder than we are, and shut off by the Cascade Range from the blessings of the warm stream in the Pacific. The people there must have fruit. Besides, Montana and Dakota look to this coast for their supplies. California sends her peaches to St. Paul and Minneapolis, and
WE CAN DO THATeasier than she can. There will be no trouble about a market. The great question is whether we can secure terms for transportation cheap enough to pay for raising and marketing the fruit. And the men pushing the industry are sanguine as to that."
"Great impetus has lately been given to the pursuit in your midst, I understand?"
"Yes; this year and last thousands upon thousands more peach trees have been planted than in all the previous history of Southern Oregon. There are one or two orchards just below here which alone contain thousands of trees, and there are scores of smaller tracts set out."
"What varieties do best?"
"Every variety does well. A man may raise the kinds he chooses--some to eat out of hand, rich, juicy and high-flavored; others that are more delicious covered with cream and sugar, and the long-keepers, firm of pulp, for the more distant markets, with good sorts for canning."
It remains to be said that south and west of the town many of the hillsides are today fairly pink with the blooms of the young peach trees. Some of them, only the second year from the bud, are bearing lightly, but next year they will yield a bountiful crop. There are some seedlings which bear fruit scarcely inferior to that of the budded varieties. A fine-flavored peach called "the Willow" is a universal favorite here, and is to be seen in every garden. It is a freestone, often of large size, and externally is almost a pure white.
Occasionally the eye is relieved by a cluster of prune trees heavily laden with snowy flowers. The prune is a redundant bloomer and an object of great beauty, whether freighted with flowers or fruit. Thousands of them have been planted in Jackson County this season.
Today, also, there are blooming luxuriantly, out of doors, hyacinths of every conceivable hue. They are rich and beautiful beyond power of pen to describe.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, April 19, 1886, page 6
Something More About its Many Mineral Springs with Medicinal Virtues.
The Healing Waters Which Bubble Upon the Brink of Emigrant Creek.
Wonderful Physical Contortions of Nature and How They Are Accounted For.
Special Correspondence of the Leader.
ASHLAND, S. ORE., April 14.--It may seem, from my last letter, that brimstone is about the only mineral which nature stirs into the waters of Southern Oregon for her sons and daughters to drink. But that is just the truth. True, she has used this ingredient freely, and it seems to be one of her favorites, probably on account of its cleansing properties. Nevertheless she remembers that there are complaints which it will not cure, and for some of these, at least, she has provided very different remedies, as a part of the following lines will show.
Just after breakfast last Wednesday morning a bright little woman from Ottumwa, Ohio, Mrs. Tolman, with whom the reader is already acquainted, her daughter, a sensible [illegible] of mortality, and the writer took seats in an open carriage, drawn by two mismated horses--Mrs. Tolman being the driver--and set out for the angle of country formed by an intersection of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains, some ten miles distant. There, as almost all over the five counties of Southern Oregon, most of the land stands on ends, and winding back and forth around these hills flows Emigrant Creek, one of the chattiest streams that ever rippled over stones.
The object of the jaunt--on the driver's part--was to show the two Eastern women a wonder in the form of a medicinal spring welling up on the very brink of the above peak, yet with waters totally unlike its own, and another marvel in the shape of a group of huge, dark red sandstone rocks, which no other people than the Cyclops could have raised up in positions so precarious, and none other than the fingers of the waves could have
CHISELED INTO FIGURESso whimsical, and which yet are far removed from any body of water whose talent for sculpture could there have found exercise.
For at least half the distance our way lay in the narrow valley of Bear Creek, with its numerous cultivated farms, its peach and cherry trees all abloom, and its frequent wheat fields smiling under the glowing sun. Some of these farms are very large, embracing hundreds of acres, but they consist largely of foothills, of greater or less altitude, on which herds may graze and fruit orchards may flourish, but the quantity of grain and vegetables raised little exceeds the home demand, simply from the fact that until very recently there has been no practicable market for any excess. In Southern Oregon the most indifferent husbandry ensures crops sufficient to sustain the farmer's family. So he has tilled the soil negligently, unconcernedly. For thirty years he has had no inducement to do otherwise. Mighty mountain barriers have actually corralled him in on four sides, and until the Oregon & California Railway came thundering through these valleys, about two years ago, if he had anything to sell he must dispose of it near home. Thus with no great incentive to toil, the agricultural class lapsed into chronic indolence, and in time gained a reputation for being the laziest people alive, and not because they were placed in a peculiar spot, and lived under peculiar limitations. Nature was most kind to them, and they had allowed her to be so, sometimes hardly saying "thank you" for her choice gifts of soil and climate. But now that railroads are come in fashion out here, all their dreaming will be over, and scores of these tiny, fertile valleys will teem with products which the world will want.
After awhile, turning eastward from Bear Creek we crossed an august spur, or foothill, and lo! great mountains stood up all around us, and at our feet swept Emigrant Creek, so called from the circumstance that in an early day a noted Oregon pioneer, named Lindsay Applegate, piloted parties of emigrants over these elevations into Rogue River Valley, along the course of this garrulous stream. Mr. Applegate had great influence over the Indians, was their true friend, and had no fear of them; therefore a body guided by him was nearly certain to reach its destination safely. [Lindsay Applegate wasn't known as a guide; he guided only one train over the Southern Route--the first one, in 1846.]
But now here, clinging to an elevation on our left, are the rocks above mentioned. Gigantic stones are set upon lilliputian ones, exactly as if by design. What power could have shaped that enormous hat, of perfect Shaker pattern, crown large, brim broad, and placed it, top down, on that tall column of sandstone? And what hater of reptiles fashioned that colossal toad, and cruelly stationed it where, to the end of all time, it must be denied
THE PLEASURE OF ROBBING BEE HIVESof their inmates, and of clearing gardens of destructive insects? Geological speculation answers on this wise.
In the long bygone of time almost all of what is now termed "the Pacific Coast" was covered with the waters of the great sea, which extended as far eastward as the Blue Mountains in Eastern Washington and Oregon. As the years rolled on there took place three successive recessions of this vast ocean, volcanic or other agencies lifting up the bold mountain chains and forming corresponding depressions at the bottom of the sea. As the upheavals occurred the waters withdrew until there existed the Pacific Coast of today; the Rocky, Cascade and Coast ranges marking the limits of the three vast abatements of the deep. It is claimed that this hypothesis is susceptible of full proof. If so, it gives us the agencies by which most, if not all, of the physical miracles of the Pacific Coast have been performed.
Two or three miles more travel, with more crossings of the creek, bring to view an inviting hotel, facing the east, built of wood, two stories in height, painted neatly, with a veranda across the main front, rooms for about thirty guests, and kept and owned by Jacob Wagner, born about two miles from Dayton, O. Surrounding the house are fifty acres of land. Some of it was not made to lie down. Standing around are big trees and little trees, all intending to grow more. A small wilderness of rose bushes, suggestive of June at home, forms a tangle in one corner of the premises, and daisies, double, smiling, rimmed with pink, dot the grass, making you careful where you tread, and reminding you that "the flower crushed to earth" may not rise again.
In front, behind, to the right, to the left, giant mountains show their respect for you by standing. They are green to the top. Cattle range on them. Trees clothe them. Numberless swift little streams leap forth from them. They crowd close around you, narrowing your horizons, and after the best is said, are at heart but solid rocks of the ages.
A few feet from the road which passes in front of the hotel, down in a shallow ravine, flows the noisy creek, with water clear and cold, and banks fringed with alder, willow, wild cherry and a beautiful evergreen shrub, called Oregon grape. A narrow bridge laid over the current, just opposite the house, leads to the spring which we four women had traveled ten miles to taste, and is but one of several scattered along this creek, all differing slightly in the composition of the water, as do oftentimes
THE FEATURES OF CHILDRENin the same family. Over the fountain stands a summer house of latticework, and from it, through the conduit of masonry provided, steadily flows a little current which dyes the stones the color of iron rust, showing that iron is a chief mineral in the water. Other constituents are sodium and magnesia, both present in large quantities, besides several more, all curative.
The spring appears to be one of nature's chosen centers for the relief of the people suffering from kidney troubles and the horrors of dyspepsia, and for breaking up fevers, typhoid, bilious and others. For those diseases physicians of the region advise taking the water, not forgetting to recommend the resort for its perfect quiet, its pure mountain air, and freedom from the everlasting fog of some localities. Usually the house is full of guests three months in summer only. Still, it affordS a good home for invalids the year round, provided they can make up their minds to live apart from the world, during the rainy season, for then the mud is often so deep that exit from the place is nearly impossible.
The table is excellent, and there is always provided an abundance of good milk, cream and fruit, and Mr. and Mrs. Wagner personally supervise all details, besides being intelligent and companionable people. Mr. Wagner is an old pioneer of Oregon, and was the first white man to enter Emigrant Creek Valley. Three times since coming West, he says, he has paid a visit to the good old state of Ohio. He has numerous relatives living in the vicinity of Dayton. In this town of Ashland he has a son-in-law who is the editor of a newspaper. That fact, of course, entitles him to appreciative notice.
A remarkable feature attaching to the medicinal springs of Emigrant Creek is this: They all come to the surface on the very brink of the stream, which itself possesses no healing virtues, while each of the spring contains striking curative properties. They are situated several miles apart. One of them bursts forth from a small basin of rock, in the very bank of the creek, and during high water is overflowed. Its water differs from that of the Wagner spring in that it is strongly impregnated with salt, soda and iron being liberally mixed therewith. Its properties are so highly esteemed by the inhabitants of the region that in passing they frequently leave their vehicles to take a drink from it.
These health-giving fountains all lie on the old stage route from Jacksonville, the county seat of this county, to Fort Klamath, in the famous Klamath Lake country, and on the Indian reservation of that name, east of the Cascades, and are known all along the way. In short, and finally on this subject, Southern Oregon is as rich in such sources of health as it is in deposits of gold and silver.
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, April 25, 1886, page 13
THE COLUMBIA VALLEY.Special Correspondence of the Leader.
The Grandeur of the Wonderful Mountain Scenery of Southern Oregon.
A Stage Ride Over the Siskiyou Range--Its Pleasures and Discomforts.
What it Costs to Run a Stage Line--Stories About Road Agents.
BERRYVALE, AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT SHASTA, CAL., April 30.--The tourist whose sightseeing in Oregon includes only the far-famed valley of the Willamette and the trip up the Columbia River departs from the state with very little knowledge of the wonders, in the way of scenery, which it contains. True, in their way, both these sections are deserving of the traveler's attention. Aside from the fact that the Columbia is one of the grand waterways of the continent, and that along its banks, for the distance of a hundred miles, where it flows through the Cascade Range, there is presented some of the finest scenery imaginable, the great stream is interesting for its historical associations also.
In the stirring events which have taken place on its shores Americans, Englishmen and Indians have all acted conspicuous parts. The little towns of Astoria and Vancouver perpetuate the names of two men still famous, though both have long slept in the dust. The one made his reputation in the walks of business, the other in the field of discovery. Both villages are the outcome of the spirit of enterprise and of daring in man. Both owe their existence to the fur trade on this continent, yet today neither is a rendezvous for the trapper. Astoria catches salmon instead of beaver. Salmon clothe her citizens, teach her children, preach the gospel in her midst, build her homes and execute her laws. Vancouver houses a small detachment of
OUR GREAT STANDING ARMY.She delights in uniforms, titles, military parades and the beauty of her location, and, reports being true, in misdoings manifold and serious.
On the other hand, in the valley of the Willamette quite different pursuits obtain. Its wheat is known the world around. All the coast and the distant isles of the sea are acquainted with its red apples. Its prunes are winning a name and making a market in our great Eastern cities. Neither is it devoid of its chapters of exciting history. Early in the century the valley was the center of missionary labor among the Indians of Northwestern Oregon, the great Calapooia nation, which numbered, it is said, not less than fifty tribes, some of whom were noted for their intelligence, influence and singular traditions. In that day also the valley was a point for schools as well as the seat of legislative power. And there education still flourishes, and Salem is yet the capital. But in its broad level acres the ordinary traveler will probably feel no special concern. They interest the farmer, the miller, the fruit-grower, the local tradesmen.
It is rather "Southern Oregon," and, as being closely connected with it, extreme Northern California, which the men and women who journey simply to behold the grand and wonderful in nature should see. Almost from the moment one touches the Calapooia Mountains, which separate the Willamette from the Umpqua Valley, until he emerges into the vast valley of the Sacramento, at Redding, he rides among works stupendous or beautiful. The distance is three hundred miles more or less, and
NOWHERE IS THE LANDSCAPE TAMEfor a half hour. Almost every mile of it is cut after striking patterns, and is infinite in variety. One is ever hungering as he climbs this majestic mountain or winds through that deep gorge to know what were the thoughts of God during the long ages he was at work over these heights and depths. Countless are the cones and pinnacles and ridges into which he pulled the earth up. Some he painted white to the end of time. Some he garnished with trees forever green. Many he filled inside with gold and silver and iron and coal. Down the sides of hundreds he laid narrow streams, foaming, tumbling, full of glee, and the delight of every lover of running brooks. Between scores he sunk canyons and gorges, deep, dark and dangerous. Multitudes of them he carpets in the spring with bright flowers, some very small, others very fragrant, all beautiful and millions in number. Here he piled up a castle of rocks, massive, mighty, a marvel of towers, turrets and gables, and capable, one would think, of resisting the "fervent heat" which St. Peter says shall meet the elements in the last days. Here he set a world of slabs and blocks of stone up on end, and then allowed chemical action or subterranean fire to tip them all aside from the perpendicular, making them strongly suggestive of mankind bent out of moral perpendicularity, by the force of original sin and unresisted temptation.
About one fifth of this "overland route" from Portland and Sacramento is at present made in stage coaches, and though, with the exception of the Cow Creek Canyon, in the Umpqua Valley, which is traversed in the cars, they bear the tourist through by far
THE GRANDER PORTION OF IT,yet comparatively few persons make the journey solely for sightseeing. Business and the desire to see relatives living in the lovely vales which ramify the whole region bring most of the visitors, especially from the East, who penetrate the spot. In summer, however, numbers of Pacific Coast people hide away here for the sake of the hunting, fishing, rest and tonic air which they find. Thus the coaches are usually filled, and often crowded, each way. And "meeting the stage," generally a six-in-hand, several times a day is not the least interesting feature of the journey.
On these occasions the drivers make it a point to stop their teams for a moment, and exchange a few friendly words, while the passengers thrust their heads out the coaches and inquire about distances, the state of the roads, and so on. It is quite diverting to sweep around the sharp shoulder of a precipitous mountain, and find yourself brought up face to face with six or eight strangers, possibly all men, and just as curious to know who you are as you may be to learn how they chanced to climb so high up in the world. And if you happen to occupy a seat outside, where you can make all the masterpieces of the scenery your own forever, how envious they all look. You do not speak. Neither do they. But you imagine that they set you down as either a woman's rights lecturer from Washington Territory or as some Bridget [i.e., a hired girl]--that depends upon your features--going to the next hotel to engage in cooking, and you are willing they should.
Some features of the public service, known as the California & Oregon stage line, render it deserving of more than passing notice. Few strangers who pass over the route have any idea of its importance, or of the extent of its equipments. For many years it has been the great means of communication between the miners and settlers in these mountains and the outside world. Thousands of men and women and millions of treasure have its coaches carried safely up and down
THESE GIGANTIC HILLS.Minerals have long been the chief resource of the district, and mining its chief pursuit, and every Friday morning an express messenger comes up "from below"--an expression sometimes meaning California in general, but often San Francisco in particular--on the stage to take charge of the treasure boxes, waiting for him at different points, in which the crude gold is conveyed to the mint in San Francisco. This has been done for years, the express companies being responsible for its safe delivery. Notwithstanding, scarcely a day passes when there are not treasure boxes on board the stage, simply in the care of the driver, backed by the stage company. Sometimes a large amount is thus brought down. Usually the passengers are unaware of its presence. A heavy sum, the agent at this point informs me, made a part of our freight to Berryvale last night.
Formerly, before the existence of the railroad, this stage line extended from Sacramento to Portland, a distance of about 600 miles. But step by step the locomotive has pushed the coaches off the route until now it embraces but 125 miles. From time to time, in the earlier years, the coast was startled by the report that a great stage robbery had been committed. Such events are now more rare. It is not so easy to stop the flying iron horse as a stage team at a walk on an up grade. But many are the stories afloat among these hills and gorges of the exploits of daring "road agents." They are a part of the stock on hand of veteran miners and old pioneers, for conversation on idle evenings, or, in wet weather, especially if an "Easterner" be present. usually the robbers were "too gentlemanly to plunder the lady passengers," and often were content with
SECURING THE TREASURE BOXESand rich mail bags, leaving all the occupants of the coach unmolested. The experienced thief seldom stopped a stage on a down grade.
The company provides relays of horses every twelve miles, and ordinarily changes drivers every ten hours. The kindness and civility of these men are remarked [upon] by all passengers. They are well informed on matters pertaining to the regions, and are patient and courteous, and thoughtful of the traveler's comfort. A wearisome night ride helps one to appreciate these characteristics. The line carries a heavy equipment in men, animals and vehicles. The annual cost of operating it last year was something like $50,000. Other lines of various length diverge from Yreka to many points in rugged Siskiyou County. One reaches out even to the Klamath Lake country.
Having made the passage from San Francisco to Portland by sea last June, and being not very well pleased with the treatment I received from the ocean, I resolved to turn a cold shoulder to the great water and return to the Golden State "overland." So crossing Oregon from north to south by rail during the winter, I found myself at Ashland, the northern terminus of the stage line, of which I have been speaking, early in March. And after a sojourn of five weeks among its kindly and genial people, its splendid hills and lovely valleys, where I several times witnessed such curiosities among nature's phenomena as perpendicular and triangular rainbows, resting on the grass instead of appearing in the atmosphere, I seated myself in the southbound coach early one crisp morning and began climbing the rugged Siskiyou Mountains. The road over the ranges, which winds up and up, along dizzy heights and beside deep gorges, is a toll road, and commonly is in good repair, but heavy rain had fallen for over a week, and that morning it was simply execrable. The ponderous wheels of the coach sunk to their hubs in the thick, adhesive mud. The six strong horses strained and pulled, and had to stop frequently to take breath. At a quarter to 11 we had gained the sharp summit, then but a single turn of the wheels, and
DOWNWARD WE ROLLEDtoward the California line, which runs a little south of the crew. Henceforth we were tossed, shaken, thrown from side to side, until, [in] spite of the driver's care to avoid ruts and stones, every inch of our flesh was bruised and aching. Yet, for all that, the ride well repaid the cost. I would take it again tomorrow, just for the pleasure of seeing the grand scenery once more.
Toward 2 o'clock we were coursing along through a fine rolling valley, with bold mountains not far distant on both sides, when the vehicles suddenly drew up at a neat stage station, and several voices exclaimed: "Dinner." Upon setting out again we were considerably behind time, but with fresh teams we dashed away through Cottonwood, Klamath and Shasta valleys toward Yreka, the great center for all the stage lines of this upper world. All the afternoon we traveled with famous Mount Shasta in sight, now on one hand, now on the other, according as we turned in our devious way. As the sun went down its snowy head was flooded with rose color soft and lovely. The grown-up passengers kept silent a time and watched the scene. On we sped, occasionally passing a farmhouse far from neighbors, until sunset merged into dark night. Finally the frequency of lights and the sound of many footsteps and voices told us we were in the metropolis of Northern California. A moment later and a pleasant voice said at the door of the coach:
"You unload here." It was the voice of Mr. A. H. Burrows, the general agent of the line and a resident of Yreka. The gentleman soon had the contents of the coach, men, women, boys, cloaks, umbrellas and lunch baskets, out on the sidewalk, and quickly learned our names and destinations. Alert, courteous and ready to attend to the wants of each passenger, at the end of twenty minutes he had placed us in a more comfortable vehicle, consigned us to the care of one of the most attentive drivers in the world, and with a "good night" had sent us out into the darkness again. As we rattled away we all thought and said:
"Mr. Barrows is just the man to manage a great stage line."
Emma H. Adams.Cleveland Leader, May 16, 1886, page 12
The California and Oregon.
(San Francisco Post.)
A correspondent of the Indianapolis Journal has called renewed attention to the need for the completion of the California and Oregon Railroad. It is both a commercial and a military necessity. This coast should be one, but at present it is separated by the gap between our railroad system and that of our northern neighbor. People on this side of the state line come to San Francisco; on the other side they go to Portland. Instead of the healthy, unrestrained circulation that should be going on throughout the slope, there are two cramped local circulations, and a ligature in the middle.
The correspondent recently examined the territory through which the road is to run, and he expresses the opinion that if it had transportation facilities it would support three million people. At present there are not 200 inhabitants in the whole region. It is practically inaccessible, and nobody cares to settle there. The land is occupied by cattle kings, who would have to give way to small farmers if the country was once connected with the outside world. The objection of land monopoly in connection with the railroad grant is thus still more valid against the present state of affairs.
San Francisco is vitally interested in the completion of this road. The eastern immigrants who have poured in here of late are used to cheap land. Many of them are frightened off by the high prices which are justly asked for farms in Southern California. The thirty million acres which the completion of the California and Oregon would make available for settlement would furnish homes for all such people, and every family settled there would be tributary to San Francisco. And when such an opportunity is furnished, perhaps our merchants will make some effort to recover their lost Oregon trade. Portland ought to be tributary to us, instead of to St. Paul or Chicago. The railroad may make it so. The California Legislature, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Board of Trade and citizens generally throughout the state have petitioned Congress for the confirmation of the land grant, without which the road will not be built. A report favoring the forfeiture of the grant has been made by a House committee. The sentiment of California is practically unanimous against such a course, and our delegation should make renewed efforts to prevent it.
Sacramento Daily Record Union, May 7, 1886, page 2
Central Point--Jacksonville and the Bountiful Surrounding Country.
Perhaps there is no place in Southern Oregon more prominent in variegated beauty of hills, mountains and plain than the view from Central Point, Jackson County. To the east can be seen Mt. McLoughlin, half covered with snow, and following down from its loftiest peak, the lesser spurs of the Rogue River mountains are seen jetting down, down to the beautiful and fertile plains which constitute the Rogue River Valley, while to the northwest looms up the Siskiyous, which are now also partly clothed in snow. This, in contrast with the valley teeming with thousands of grain fields almost ready to don the harvest hue, is a scene not only beautiful but one which leaves the impression that the sturdy hand of the husbandman has not been derelict in bringing into fruitful requisition the natural advantages so hospitably provided by a generous Providence.
We are glad to know the people of Central Point are putting forth an effort to make their town correspond with the surrounding country (which is a vast one) contiguous to it. In an article in this paper heretofore we have taken occasion to contemplate its future, and give to the outside world an idea of what people can and will do under adverse circumstances. It must be admitted that no town ever started under such a pressure of opposition as Central Point--opposed by the railroad company, who have from the start refused to give them the advantages of a depot and convenient sidetrack; opposed by all her sister towns and denied the privilege of favorable argument in behalf of public facilities looking to its future benefit by its own county press; yet in the fact of all this the people are going right along and the town is building up, backed by the people of the largest and wealthiest portion of Jackson County--an area of country extending from near Willow Springs on one side of the railroad to Big Butte Creek on the other, a distance of probably over thirty miles, covering the most productive agricultural portion of the county.
What will make Central Point a town? some ask. We will endeavor to answer by saying that it will become the greatest shipping point of agricultural products on the line of the O.&C. road in Jackson County. The productions of Big and Little Butte creeks and a large portion of Sams Valley must come to it, besides those in its immediate vicinity and from towards Jacksonville. The large warehouse and cleaner already provided substantiate our predictions in this direction. There is also every reason to believe that a large flouring mill will soon be another addition to the enterprises of Rogue River Valley, and that it will be located at Central Point. With the above enumeration of facts, the ones upon which the people who are already there have considered sufficient to invest their capital on in the erection of business houses, stocks of goods and other enterprises, we see no reason to doubt the future importance of the place as one of the leading towns in Southern Oregon.
JACKSONVILLEIn consideration of the many kind friends the Courier enjoys at the county seat, it is not flattery when we say it gives us great pleasure to visit this beautiful town with its nicely shaded streets, fine dwellings and business houses, an evidence of wealth, good taste and enterprise. Away back in the past, when excitement enlivened the populace in the discovery of rich "diggings," the town was more noted than now. In those days, when an ounce of gold dust was not worth more than a sack of flour, and a pick, pan and shovel were the principal, in fact the only, implements used in the development of the county, it was then that Jacksonville seen its palmiest days and became one of the wealthiest towns in Oregon; in fact the town is built on an immense deposit of the "precious." Mining has been its chief support and is yet to a great extent one of the principal sources of its revenue.
The ride from Central Point to Jacksonville at this time is extremely pleasant, passing by some of the finest farms in the county, all giving evidence of thrift and prosperity, judging from the fine residences, stock and other substantial improvements. Especially attractive are the farms of Hon. T. F. Beall, now deceased, R. V. Beall, George M. Love, Col. J. E. Ross, M. Hanley, the Ish farm, and the property of Wm. Bybee and others.
At Jacksonville we find a whole lot of wide-awake, liberal business and professional men, a large number of whom are our patrons, and gentlemen who merit the most favorable mention in their different occupations. The legal profession is ably represented in the persons of Hon. J. R. Webster, who on Monday last was chosen his own successor, after serving a term by appointment and one by election--a compliment liberally bestowed by his constituents. Hon. P. P. Prim and Hon. H. K. Hanna are both ex-judges and excellent men, as are also Messrs. Kahler, Kelly, Neal and Kent, the latter gentleman having been twice elected district attorney. Mr. William Colvig, the prosecuting attorney-elect, will also, we believe, add brilliancy to Jackson County's excellent bar.
The schools of Jacksonville are among the best in the state. For several terms they were under the principalship of Prof. J. W. Merritt, now one of the leading mercantile men of the place. The high school is now under an able management and is progressing finely.
The churches of the different denominations are equally creditable with the institutions of learning--their respective pulpits being filled with able advocates of the different faiths.
Mr. William Kahler, father of our friend C. W. Kahler, Esq., who has been sick for some time, is improving.
Dr. C. Lempert makes a specialty of eye and ear diseases. Persons afflicted in this direction should consult him.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, June 11, 1886, page 2
AS OTHERS SEE US.
W. J. Wimer, one of the publishers of the Rogue River Courier, made a trip up the valley from Grants Pass to Ashland last week, and thus tells his readers about what he saw of our town:
It was broad daylight when the train arrived at Ashland. Stepping out from the platform, several hotel runners sang out "free hacks" for their respective houses, etc. When it came to loading us on, we noticed there was but one hack for all the houses, which went around all over town, unloading in a manner that reminded one that Ashland was always one of the fraternal spots of this green earth. Ashland is truly a metropolitan city in that portion of Oregon south of Roseburg, and for beauty of improvements and scenery presents a very flattering picture. In the distance, and at the head of Ashland Creek, Ashland Peak leans its head against the skies in majestic silence. A fresh coating of snow all over it, which fell on Friday night, "told the tale." From this peak the water that supplies Ashland flows, and better water could not be found. Water jets, fountains, ditches, lawns, vines and fruits bedeck every enclosure in the town, giving it the most of its real soul.
Among the trees noticed are the following varieties: Ailanthus, sugar tree, walnut, butternut, hickory, white thorn, prickly ash, persimmon, wahoo, basswood, beech, Iowa maple, elm, Monterey cypress, poplar, box elder, cedar, weeping willow, and many other varieties too numerous to mention. Ashland has the following brick buildings: Bank building, with offices on second floor; Masonic block; three stores, hall and offices; McCall's block, 2 stores; Johnson's block, four stores; I.O.O.F. block, three stores, hall and offices; Butler & Billings block, four stores. Besides these Mrs. Houck has in contemplation a large brick on Main Street, for stores also. Of church buildings, she has four--the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, and Dunkard or German Baptist. Of schools she has two fine large buildings, besides the college. She has five hotels, and eight restaurants, woolen factory, and flouring mill, the latter built in 1854, marble works, cabinet shops and other industries and business houses too numerous to mention. Among the most noted attractions is the White Sulfur Springs house, kept near the depot by Mr. T. W. Price. We would respectfully refer the invalid to this house, where they will find a most pleasant place, very reasonable charges and no doubt benefit to their health.
The Tidings office upstairs over the bank is a complete outfit for the dissemination of the news of its section. Mr. Leeds has taken "time by the forelock" by attaching a pulley to a flutter wheel in the factory race, running all his machinery by water--good plan and cheap. The paper is a lever the town could not afford to dispense with. While in Ashland we met many old friends, among whom we might name Capt. J. M. McCall, James Thornton, R. M. Garrett, Henry Judge, A. P. Hammond, Capt. Thos. Smith, Geo. Stephenson, J. O. C. Wimer, A. S. Jacobs, Dave Hopkins, O. Coolidge, Jas. Bowditch and others.
The growth of Ashland is truly wonderful, and it is owing in most part to the harmony and unity of its citizens. They always pull together; by so doing they have kept vice, laziness and misery from their midst. Taking the train at 3:30 p.m., we were soon meandering the banks of the Bear Creek. Passing Phoenix and Medford, where we intended to stop, but were prevented, we were soon on the banks of the great Rogue River, the many rapids of which were plainly visible to our optical sense. We are now in the shades of the overhanging Table Rock. Looking up its perpendicular sides, the faces of the old chiefs, Joe, John and Sam loomed up in our imagination. Turning to Col. Ross, who occupied a seat in the car, we queried; "Can you tell us, Col., what chief it was who fought the battle on Table Rock?" The Col. laughed heartily, saying: "There was never a battle fought on Table Rock. That's all in the eye."
Ashland Tidings, June 25, 1886, page 1
The counties of Jackson, Josephine, Coos, Curry, Lake and Klamath form what is commonly known as Southern Oregon. It comprises the lake region to the east of Jackson,the valley of Rogue River, the Umpqua and the Coquille rivers, and a vast domain lying south of the Calapooia spur and north of the California line. Whether we speak of Southern Oregon as a stock, fruit, grain, timber or mineral region, it is equal to any other part of the state. In many respects--fruit and corn for instance--this section is unmatched in the state or on the Pacific Coast. The whole domain will stand the closest examination of the immigrant who comes to find opportunity for building up a profitable business and permanent home.
The climate of Southern Oregon is its strong point; the healthfulness of the section in comparison with other parts of the state or with other states presents it in a most favorable light. The soil is fertile and prolific. Anything that will thrive in a semi-tropical climate will grow here and attain a degree of perfection unknown elsewhere. Southern Oregon is a very empire, the pride of every citizen there, and containing within itself all the elements of prosperity; the very place for new homes, new energy, new industries.
JACKSON COUNTY.It is not easy for a person to form a correct idea of Jackson County without visiting it, and even then a hasty tour, although instructive, is apt to be misleading in many particulars, unless accompanied by the closest observations and the most diligent inquiry. It is a land of novelties. In topography, climate, water, soil and products, it has its own peculiar character. There is a strange commingling of mountains and plains, hills and valleys, gardens and deserts; and their unusual and unexpected combinations are ever ready to interest the intelligent observer and confuse the careless sightseer. Climate and seasons are unlike anything known in the states east of the Rocky Mountains. The great differences of soil in the same neighborhood, and often on the same farm, render any description made, otherwise than in detail, vague and unsatisfactory.
Bounded north by Douglas, east by Lake, and south by California, it contains an area of about 4,100 square miles, and fully one-half of its surface is comprised within the Rogue River Valley and the valleys tributary to it. Jackson is, by many, termed the garden spot of the Pacific Coast, because of its excellent climate, its beautiful scenery, and the richness and great variety of its productions. It is eight townships or forty-eight miles wide, east and west, with an average of nine townships, or fifty-four miles, north and south. This area contains 2,592 square miles or, in other words, 1,658,880 acres. Of this amount, 278,000 acres are in cultivation, which can be enlarged to a total of 500,000 acres or more. Dividing the 1,658,880 acres into three parts, one-third is arable land, one-third grazing, and one-third timber land. The arable land comprises the valley, table and rolling hill lands.
It has neither the humidity of the Willamette nor the excessive heat or drought of the Sacramento Valley, but maintains an equable temperature, a kind of happy medium between the two. Besides its mines, fruit, vegetables and grain, it is particularly famous for its fine stock, especially horses. From the first there seems to have been a rivalry among the stock raisers of Rogue River Valley for the improvement of all breeds.
Rogue River Valley is a most beautiful one, dotted here and there with groves of oak, intermingled with evergreen, covered all over with well-cultivated farms and excellent improvements. The summits of the highest mountains to the east and south are covered with everlasting snow, while in the valley snow seldom falls at all. Thousands of streams come tumbling down the mountainsides to beautify and enrich the valley below.
The great diversity of soils and the admixture of the elements composing one class of soil with those of another grade render it exceedingly difficult, in the space at our command, to describe it so that one not acquainted with its peculiarities and the climatic influences can form a rational conclusion concerning its merits. The soil of all sections of country seems to be adapted to the climate, or the climate to the soil. These conditions seem to be admirably adjusted here. There is no frost to loosen up or pulverize the mineral elements, but this work is done by chemical action caused by the admixture found in nearly every grade of soil. Nothing more astonishes the novice than the crops found growing on lands which appear to him as worthless.
The same widespread variety of soils manifests itself in the products. Take, for instance, any of the valley farms, and on all of them you may grow, with a reasonable amount of industry, all that is necessary for the support of man or beast, including fruits from the semi-tropical to the most hardy varieties. Couple to this the fact that crops never fail, that houses or other improvements are never molested by wind or storms, that the climate is mild, invigorating and healthy, and you will have a fair conception of nature's works to the wants of man who makes his home in this valley.
The mildness of the climate and the absence of any prevailing disease among stock makes this an inviting field for stock growers. Very few persons furnish shelter for their stock in winter. In the valley, where it is more densely settled and the native grass more exhausted, more hay for winter feeding or more tame pasturage is required. Some of the best horses ever grown on the Pacific Coast were the product of this country. Stock of all kinds have always commanded good prices.
The county seat is Jacksonville, a delightful town of considerable importance, about five miles to the west of the railroad. It has two newspapers, a large number of mercantile establishments, excellent schools, churches, a $40,000 courthouse and other attractions. The other principal towns are Medford, a new town on the railroad near the center of the valley, of rapid growth and great promise. Phoenix, also on the railroad, and Ashland, the present terminus of the Oregon and California road, and the most considerable town in Southern Oregon. It has a college, woolen factory, marble factory, two cabinet factories, a large flouring mill, newspaper, two excellent public schools, a bank does a large commercial business with the surrounding country, and with the Lake County across the mountains. Ashland Creek flows through the town and furnishes an excellent water power and an abundance of water for irrigation and domestic purposes.
Oregon As It Is, State Board of Immigration, Portland, October 1886, pages 52-54
LIII.From Victoria, British Columbia, to Roseburg, in Southern Oregon, is a step of about five hundred miles. Since writing the last chapter I have taken this step, and now invite the reader into the "Valley of the Umpqua," one of the most diversified and beautiful portions of the Pacific Slope, and a famous section of the great northwestern state. It will be remembered that, in planning our journeying, Washington Territory was to intervene between Northern and Southern Oregon. We have taken the liberty to introduce the Canadian Dominion also, feeling well assured our British friends will not object. It is in further pursuance of our arrangement that we come at the close of winter into this most picturesque region for some months' sojourn.
THE SWITZERLAND OF AMERICA.
Unless defined, the term "Southern Oregon" will be quite misleading. As used on this part of the coast, the words embrace simply the five counties lying in the southwestern corner of the commonwealth. The charming district is bounded on the east by the Cascade Mountains, on the south by the Siskiyou Range, which separates it from California, on the west by the sea, on the north by the rugged Calapooia Chain, which bars it from the cultivated valley of the Willamette.
The estimated area of the region is twelve thousand square miles. Its coastline extends northward from the California border nearly one hundred and fifty miles, and includes one of the safest and most commodious harbors between San Francisco and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This admirable haven is Coos Bay. Its waters admit ocean ships of heaviest draft, while its tributary creeks and rivers drain a large surface of the surrounding country. The principal exports from the port are coal, lumber, and salmon, all abundant in the vicinity.
Southern Oregon is ramified in all directions by lines of high hills, or ranges of mountains, with extremely fertile valleys intervening, and well deserves to be called the "Switzerland of America." The true Switzerland is to the writer a terra incognita; but if, in the sublimity of its mountain scenery, the charms of its climate and the loveliness of its gentler landscapes, it surpasses those of Southern Oregon, then does it richly merit all the praise and admiration which poets and travelers have lavished upon it.
Special paragraphs must be devoted to the streams. Tumbling creeks and other affluents of the two main rivers we have named distribute blessings on every hand. During the rainy season, now at its height, these are vastly augmented in speed and volume. As our train came spinning down the southern side of the Calapooias, yesterday, on the way from Portland, a multitude of noisy tributaries of the crooked Umpqua foamed and rushed down the gorges on either side. The rain fell in no slothful fashion, and not at all trivial did the tiny torrents find the task of bearing it away.
Mainly, the Umpqua is a turbulent mountain stream. Its principal, or "north fork," has its origin in the Cascades, or, definitely, in Diamond Lake. Flowing westwardly a distance of eighty miles, it receives the South Umpqua, nearly one hundred miles from the sea. Thence turning to the northwest, it enters the ocean one hundred and seventy miles south of the mouth of the Columbia, draining, in its journey, something like four thousand square miles of territory. In places, the Umpqua acquires a great depth, and where it flows between high, precipitous banks, presents some imposing scenery. At other points its breadth increases to many feet, with small areas of farming and grazing land stretching back from its brink.
But it is the Rogue River which transcends all other streams in Southern Oregon, both in physical features and historical dignity. It is to Jackson what the Umpqua is to Douglas County, enriching and gracing, by its many swift branches, three thousand square miles of lovely country. Four mountain chains--the Coast, Cañon, Cascade, and Siskiyou--"enclose the Rogue River Valley as with bulwarks of massive rock." The total surface thus fortified "is broken into hills, valleys, and mountain ridges, all the valleys trending toward the central depression, and all the minor watercourses toward the Rogue River." On the Cascade side, the wall of rock rises, at some points, to nine thousand feet.
Full of power, the Rogue River springs into being near the foot of Mount Thielsen, one of the tremendous snow cones of the Cascades, at au elevation six thousand feet above the sea. Within the limits of Jackson County the torrent makes a descent of five thousand feet, having a precipitous cañon for its pathway, until the lofty mountains dwindle into mere hills in the valley proper, which is only about forty miles long by twenty miles wide. Thus both the Umpqua and the Rogue River leap out of the heart of the Cascades, "almost within a stone's throw of each other," but diverge as they flow, until they enter the Pacific, ninety miles asunder, both plowing a deep gorge through the Coast Range on their way.
Heavy forests cover a large part of Southern Oregon, and form one of its chief sources of revenue. All the principal mountainsides are studded with trees, which were hoary when first the voice of white man echoed among its dark cañons. Here and there only, on the streams, a sawmill sends out its stimulating music, where many ought to be. Some exact soul has said that "in Douglas County--the largest of the five--there are thirty townships densely mantled with pine, fir, yew, and cedar trees, of immense size and height, and all convertible into the finest grades of lumber." This section includes the western slope of the Cascades, itself crowded with stately growths from the line of eternal snow down to the border of perpetual green. The sugar pine and the yew make choice finishing woods, and for durability the latter is the peer of the red cedar.
Sections of the Coast Range also furnish woods of great value. There the white cedar flourishes, and the whole family of firs. The bays and maples thrive together with charming effect. In short, in this New Switzerland the supply of desirable timber seems to be inexhaustible. The marvel is, that the earth can anywhere nourish such a countless brood of prodigious trees.
"Has Southern Oregon no mineral resources except coal?" Ah, we are coming to that. She has as rich treasures beneath the soil as above it. To coal we may add gold, silver, tellurium, quicksilver, marble, and several others. In all these counties gold exists, and in each more or less mining for the metal has been done, with the usual results probably, as to individual fortunes, but forming a vast total, which has passed into the arts, or swelled the circulating medium of the country. The pursuit began in 1851, and is still conducted on a generous scale. In certain localities operations have languished. At some points they have ceased altogether, and even "the roads to the mines have fallen into ruin."
In Curry County, near the mouth of Rogue River, the sands of the seashore have yielded gold in remunerative quantities for over thirty years. The distance of shore enriched is about twenty-five miles, I believe. Ever since its discovery, the spot has been known as "the gold beach." Old Ocean sometimes amuses himself by spreading a covering of worthless sand over the precious deposit. But the trick avails but for a brief time. Man soon outwits him and is soon harvesting the treasure again. In Douglas County there are at least three centers of quicksilver mining, where considerable interest is taken in the work. Iron, copper, and nickel are stored away in the mountains, but the deposits have been little developed. On the other hand, a degree of success has been reached in mining tellurium. Coal measures of vast extent, and almost unmolested as yet, underlie the surface, in the neighborhood of Coos Bay, and elsewhere. At the bay several parties are heavily engaged in mining the fuel, its chief market being San Francisco.
Southern Oregon needs, and someday will possess, a railway which shall traverse the region from Coos Bay eastward to, and through, the Cascade Mountains, at a practicable pass almost due east from Roseburg. Thence it will stretch across the wide plains of Southeastern Oregon to a point connecting with one of the transcontinental lines. This would set a hundred sawmills to buzzing in these miles of now-silent timber, and start a thousand new picks to ringing in the coal mines, besides converting Coos Bay and its environs into a summer resort for scores of people. In that event, Roseburg, the little town in which I write, would have the advantage of being about halfway between the pass and the Port.
The Oregon and California Railway, a most important line, now passes through Southern Oregon. Its termini are Portland and Ashland, at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains. Its length is three hundred and forty-two miles. A controlling spirit in the construction of a part of this road, and for some time the president of its board of directors, was Mr. Ben Holladay, a man famous throughout the country, years ago, on account of his frontier enterprises in the way of stage and pony expresses. Mr. Holladay appeared in Oregon in 1868, and for eight years pushed forward this great internal improvement. .He was then at the height of his phenomenal career. In the Centennial year he surrendered control of the road, the line being then completed from Portland to Roseburg--one hundred and ninety-seven miles. The remainder, one hundred and forty-five miles, reached its finis, May 5, 1884, partly under the presidency of Henry Villard, the representative of the German bondholders of the road, and the successor of Mr. Holladay.
Besides this line, the Oregon and California Company operates a track, ninety-six miles long, connecting Portland with Corvallis, on the west side of the Willamette River, thus binding together a number of thriving towns, and touching the varied products of the rich valley of the Willamette. The former line bisects Southern Oregon about midway between the Coast and Cascade ranges, becoming the common carrier for the fruits and grains of its myriad interlacing valleys, and conveying the traveler through some two hundred miles of superb scenery. Seen at any time of the year, the region is almost unrivaled for both grandeur and beauty.
Roseburg, with the exception of Jacksonville, the oldest and most interesting town in Southern Oregon, is situated in a tiny valley, begirt on all sides with lofty hills, some of which sweep up into the air six or seven hundred feet. Overhead appears a fraction of blue sky, but nowhere is there an outlook to the distant horizon. Although but the middle of February, the elevations are carpeted with thick, fresh grass, making them a very Eden for grazing stock. Here and there they part asunder, opening doors to other fair valleys, so that one may wander on and on, the scenery ever taking on new charms. Climb to the top of one of the highest, as did the writer the other day, and instead of a broad outlook to distant points, you will find the earth heaved up into cones and ridges for miles around you. Literally, the country stands on end. Through a rift in the hills westward, you can discern the blue outlines of the Coast Range, forty miles away, perhaps. At my feet lay Roseburg. From my aerie I could look down upon nearly every abode in the place. My companion during the walk, Mrs. Colonel Shields, of Terre Haute, Indiana, pointed out to me the homes of several notable men, living, or fallen asleep, whom the place has furnished to the state and the country.
Roseburg takes its name from Aaron Rose, the original owner of the pretty valley. The man is still living, hale, and surprisingly young-looking for a person past threescore and ten. His residence occupies an elevated plateau on the southern verge of the town, where he can keep an eye upon the whole community. Sun, dew, and rain fall freely all around him, and his neighbors are conveniently remote. Calling upon him soon after my arrival in the village, I learned that in September, 1851, he first saw this gem among the Douglas County vales. He had just accomplished the long overland journey from the splendid Wolverine State. On the way he had traversed dreary plains, forded dangerous streams, toiled over rugged mountains, and eluded watchful Indians--all that he might make for himself and his family a home in a climate more beneficent than that of storm-swept Michigan. The moment his foot touched this hill-girded spot, it seemed, of all places he had seen, the best adapted to Roses. So here he pitched his tent for life.
The valley of the Umpqua was then the home of the Indian tribe of that name, and all about him dwelt its members; but he settled down among them, and with them maintained friendly relations until they were removed to their reservation, after the bloody Indian wars in this region. "The Umpquas," said Mr. Rose, "were far from being a noble type of the Indian race. They were really in a state of savagery, living upon roots, seeds, fruits, or other supplies furnished them by the hand of nature. They made little exertion toward self-support."
Accepting the offer of Congress, Mr. Rose "took up a claim" on this site, erected a shelter for his family and turned his attention to farming with all the thoroughness of the Michigan husbandman. Now, so prolific is the soil of Southern Oregon that mere half-efforts at tillage secure lavish returns to the farmer. And what is the result? Simply this: Unless a man labors intelligently, and from principle, he soon lapses into slothfulness, and in time, like the Indian, actually becomes incapacitated for work. Toil of a certain amount is a potent factor in civilizing the human race, and that amount is by no means homeopathic. More could hardly have been expected of the Indian tribes of this region than that they should scorn systematic labor. Given: Communities of white men, settled upon land highly productive, like that of the Umpqua and Rogue River valleys, its streams filled with fish, and its forests with game; then isolate them, for long years, from railways, and telegraphs, and competing markets; afford them but slight contact with a stirring world outside; and, finally, let the climate be continually hospitable--and how long would such communities drive and thrive? Nothing but the being thoroughly imbued with a spirit of obedience to the Almighty One could preserve them in intelligence, in habits of thrift, and industry. "Nature's bounty and our gentle winters," said Mr. Rose, "have made the farmers of this section indolent, as a class. Those in the Willamette Valley are far ahead of us."
The meteorological conditions of Southern Oregon ought to satisfy the most inveterate grumbler about the weather. The seasons vary, indeed, in the amount of cold, fog, snow, rainfall, sunshine, and number of cloudy days. Less rain falls in the Umpqua than in the Willamette Valley; less than in the Puget Sound Basin, usually. But there are showers and all-day rains, even, from first of December to last of March, and sometimes later.
Three times in thirty-four years have snowfalls remained on the ground ten or twelve days. The winter of 1885, one of the coldest known here in many years, furnished one of these exceptions. Up to date--February 19th --the present season, not a flake has fluttered down, and wildflowers are blooming on the hills. Animals, except those intended for domestic uses, are never sheltered, and rarely fed. Garden products may be left in the earth the winter through, the ground never freezing to any noticeable depth. Often the farmer digs his vegetables as they are wanted for the table.
The benignity of the climate is evinced, also, in the class of dwellings almost universally erected, except for the wealthier families. They are frame structures, "sided up" in the usual manner, and inside carefully lined with a thickness of rough boards; over the boards is tacked smoothly an unbleached muslin, and upon this is hung a layer of wallpaper, expensive, or otherwise, according to the bank account of the owner. This gives them the name of "paper houses," a term which sounds rather chilling to an Eastern person in midwinter. Walls and ceilings alike are so constructed; thus lathing and plaster are entirely dispensed with. Frequently blocks of timber are the only foundation for the edifice. These are concealed, and greater warmth secured, by extending the siding to the ground. "Are such dwellings comfortable in the rainy season?" Not unless brisk fires are burning in the living rooms. Although not in the slightest danger of freezing, one feels the raw, damp air at his very bones.
"What induced you to lay out a town here?" I asked of Mr. Rose.
"In the first place," he replied, "I saw that it was a natural center for important wagon and rail roads. It was a chief point on the old through stage route from Fort Vancouver to California, and also a notable rendezvous on a lengthy pack trail of that day. Packers and traders passed here constantly. Then, Deer Creek and the Umpqua River offered splendid water power for manufactures. It was the proper starting point for a railroad to Coos Bay, sixty miles distant, and for a fine wagon road to that marvel of the Cascades, Crater Lake, and to the Klamath Lakes beyond. Finally, the country around was exceptionally fertile, and the location itself was very beautiful."
The man's reasons were sufficient, and subsequent events endorsed his foresight. Roseburg was soon made the county seat. In 1855 the great Indian war broke out in Southern Oregon, and the place became a base of supplies for the troops sent to quell the emeute. Later came the Oregon and California Railway, by far the most important factor in the development of the town. An excellent wagon road has been constructed to Coos Bay. The railroad thither is sure to come. The little village has a model system of public schools, a faithful ministry in its churches, and a strong lodge of Good Templars, among whom, just now, temperance interest is fanned to a white heat.
LIV."Southern Oregon" contains three prominent civil centers. These are Roseburg, just mentioned, Jacksonville, the oldest and, historically, the most important town in the five counties, and Ashland, at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, twelve miles north of the California line. As has already been remarked, the Oregon and California Railway unites the first and last of these communities. But Jacksonville lies off the thoroughfare, five miles to the west. Its railway station is the active, growing little village of Medford. Conveyance to Jacksonville from this point is by stage, over a road decorated in springtime with frequent capacious depressions filled with water, and usually called mud holes. The writer, with three other passengers, made the distance, one cold starlight morning in March, and distinctly remembers every rod of the comfortable way. They were the longest five miles I ever traversed.
JACKSONVILLE, AND GOLD MINING IN SOUTHERN OREGON.
Our party set out at four o'clock. So arctic was the air, that to a heavy Newmarket, as an outer garment, I soon added a fur-lined cloak, and still suffered from the rigor. The driver, an obliging young man, full of vitality, seemed to be utterly unaware of the sudden descent of the vehicle into the pits. But its occupants, despite their resolute bracing of themselves, and their clinging to the straps, were all frequently in the center of the coach at the same time. We arrived in the place just at break of day, and at the hotel happily found the landlord, a shrewd Teuton, on the watch for us, with a glowing fire throwing out comfort from an old-fashioned fireplace in the office. As was quite sure to be the case, the day proved to be lovely, and I passed its hours in walks and talks about the interesting locality, at sunset retracing my way to Medford.
Like Roseburg, Jacksonville is encircled by stately hills. Shapely buttes pierce the air in all directions. In the east, fully fifty miles away, appears Mount Pitt, a splendid snow cone of the Cascade Range, apparently little beyond the outskirts of the village. Far to the north, peering over the shoulder of a massive brown mountain, is discernible a snow point of exquisite beauty. This is "Diamond Peak," one hundred and forty miles distant. Both these are kingly summits, from which the robe of white is never laid aside. For ages it has been worn. It will be for ages still.
Jacksonville owes its origin to gold discovery, as does many another town of the coast. The metal was first found on its present site, in 1851, by parties passing from California to the Willamette Valley. "At that date there was not a white man living in the district now known as Southern Oregon." No sooner, however, was the discovery heralded abroad, than in flocked miners in large numbers, from California and elsewhere; and in an incredibly short time there were scattered among its hills and gulches between six and seven thousand men, all intently occupied in prospecting for the precious mineral.
From time to time, one miner after another brought his family to the scene, and put up a rough frame tent for their shelter. Presently, other temporary structures followed, for the protection of stores and supplies. Thus Jacksonville sprang into being. In most instances its settlers were a fearless, energetic class of people, possessing marked characteristics. These same traits distinguish them today, as they do indeed many of the citizens of Southern Oregon. These persons, as the light placer mines declined, finding themselves in a country whose soil was as marvelously rich in productive qualities as were its hills and gulches in gold, gradually settled down to other pursuits, and thus resulted its present stable condition of society. Jacksonville contains less than two thousand inhabitants. It is the legal center of Jackson County, and is still the chief gold mining point in Southern Oregon.
As has been remarked, that wonderful stream, the Rogue River, is the main watercourse of the county. From the hills everywhere tributaries flow into it. Much of the soil of the region, like that of a large portion of the state, is a rich, black alluvium, formed by the admixture of disintegrated rock and vegetable mold for centuries past. The slopes of the hills and lower mountains, though of a gravelly character, contain almost every element of fertility. There are also extensive tracts where deep deposits of warm loam overlie a bed of thick clay. The county embraces many thousand acres of these varieties of valuable land, and as a whole is considered unrivaled for fruit-growing and agricultural purposes. Crops are a certainty, annually. "The cereals have not missed a harvest in thirty-five years," said a gentleman, in reply to my questions, who had resided in the county that length of time.
But it is not of horticulture, nor of agriculture, important as those topics are, that I wish to speak in connection with Jacksonville, since much space has already been given to those interests as pertaining to Oregon, but of gold culture, if I may be allowed the term.
Viewed in any light, the subject of gold mining is interesting. For the facts I have gained of the industry, as conducted both in Oregon and California, I am greatly indebted to a citizen of Jacksonville, who has been familiar with every phase of mining from boyhood, and to a gentleman of Ashland, possessing an extensive practical mining experience. I here take pleasure in expressing my obligations to both for aid in preparing this chapter.
That portion of Southern Oregon known as the mineral belt is from sixty to seventy miles long, and from twenty-five to fifty miles wide. Its deposits are extremely rich and varied, embracing gold, silver, lead, iron, copper, iridium, platinum, cinnabar, and other metals of less value. More discoveries of gold were made in 1885 than for some years preceding, and most of them are supposed to be valuable.
To even approximate the amount of gold taken from the mines of Southern Oregon, between the years 1851 and 1885, is an impossibility, for the precious metal was carried out of the region by every conceivable mode--on mules, on stages, on pack trains, by individuals, and by express companies, in large quantities. Nothing like an accurate record of the sum was attempted, nor could be, for the large force of men at work were not only scattered over a large extent of country, but continually surged from point to point, as fabulous new discoveries were reported, or as visions of sudden fortune rose up before their minds. However, the amount was by everyone conceded to be very great. This was while the system of light placer mining prevailed, and included the time down to 1865. Then the great body of the mining population drifted to more tempting gold fields, leaving those more permanently settled, possessors of the ground. For the next ten years the steady annual production is estimated to have been at least half a million of dollars. From that date to 1885, another period of ten years, the yield per annum declined to not more than one hundred thousand dollars. This decrease was attributable to the light yearly rainfalls, upon the plentifulness of which the success of placer mining so much depends. The winter of 1885 turned the tide again, the supply of water being abundant, and the amount mined footed up to about five hundred thousand dollars.
At this juncture quartz mining, encouraged by the aid of greatly improved machinery, began to be put to a practical test in Southern Oregon, and promised to become one of the most valuable industries of the region, since the entire mineral belt is almost one continuous and compact network of quartz leads, a large percentage of which are known to carry sufficient gold to pay for crushing. Early that year several quartz mills were in operation in the district, one of them at Jacksonville, where the writer saw it at work, and really accomplishing wonders in the way of reducing the ore to fine dust. This mill, known among mining men as the "Jones' Combined Crusher and Concentrator," included all the late improvements, and excited universal interest. The chief inventor, Mr. E. W. Jones, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was on the ground superintending its working. The important principle it involved was the handling [of] the ore with the least possible labor, and the bringing [of] every particle of the pulp in contact with the quicksilver, in order that not a grain of the gold be lost. Another matter of importance was the small amount of power required to run the very complex and beautiful piece of mechanism.
Many years ago some of the quartz ledges in Southern Oregon were prospected with crude machinery. But the trials were made when the gold excitement was at its height; when to secure less than half an ounce of the mineral daily was considered to be putting forth efforts unworthy a man's time or thought. Miners looked with contempt upon a quartz lead in which they could not readily discern an abundance of "face gold." But with the marked improvements in machinery, and the increased practical knowledge of quartz mining, a new era in the pursuit, one rivaling all the past in value, seems to have been inaugurated in Southern Oregon. A fault of the mills with which these earlier efforts were made, and, indeed, all efforts until recently, was that they failed to perfectly separate the gold from the baser minerals with which it is associated in the ledges. In this respect the mill the writer visited appeared to be a complete success, while its execution in crushing the ore was something marvelous. Indeed, a modern quartz mill in operation is an object well worthy a long ride in the cold and through deep mud to see. And should the visitor happen to be presented with a small parcel of the liberated gold, the sight is all the more interesting.
Hydraulic mining, also, is at present claiming much attention in Southern Oregon. The work is proceeding in several localities, giving employment to large numbers of men. Possibly the reader has not witnessed this forcible method of taking gold from the earth. If not, the description of the process, which follows the few preliminary paragraphs here appended, may be of some interest.
It may be stated, in a general way, that all mining countries are, for the greater part, mountainous, and also that the presence, here and there, of scoria, trap, basalt, pumice, and lava, strongly indicates, if it does not conclusively prove, that, at some time in the past, intense volcanic action has taken place, by which the mountains were heaved up and the deep cañons among them were formed. In countries of this character, where the surface has undergone striking changes, new watercourses have made their appearance, plowing their way between the mountains and through the valleys. At the same time the ancient, or "dead river channels" still exist, having their course through the elevations without any reference to the present streams. "Indeed," says Mr. Garfield, the Ashland authority referred to, "they generally cut existing rivers at right angles, and, as a rule, are situated far above them, in some instances, thousands of feet." Most of these dead streams as well as the living watercourses of Southern Oregon contain gold. As the ancient rivers obtained their treasure from the land through which they passed, so do the modern currents get their gold by crosscutting these old-time beds. And they are found to be rich in the precious metals just in proportion to the wealth of the passages they have intersected.
Into these dead waterways the prospector for gold cuts his way with pick and shovel, and with a pan "prospects the dirt" as he proceeds, until satisfied of its richness. He frequently finds these channels and gravel deposits far up on the sides of mountains, or on elevated benches of land. They often contain gold from the top down, and in constantly increasing amount until the bedrock is reached, and there the best reward is always expected. These strata vary in depth from ten to one hundred feet, and many of them are much deeper.
It was expressly to secure the treasure buried in these dead river beds and gravel bars that the system of hydraulic mining was invented. In working them a large amount of earth must necessarily be removed, considerable mountains being sometimes washed away. To do this profitably, by other than the most approved hydraulic apparatus, would be impossible.
Suppose, now, it is desired to work an ancient watercourse fifty or one hundred feet above some river of today, the instrument by which it must be done is that powerful contrivance known among mining men as the "giant," or hydraulic. Two things now become indispensably necessary: these are an ample supply of water and sufficient pressure. How does he get them? Sometimes the water can be brought from the stream near which the prospector proposes to operate. In that case he ascends the stream such a distance, as, taking into account the fall of the water and the route it must traverse, will give him the required pressure. From that point he constructs a ditch of the necessary capacity along the mountainside to opposite the dead channel, or gravel deposit. There he erects a watertight reservoir, called a bulkhead, to receive the water from the ditch. In some instances the fluid must be conveyed from a river thirty or fifty miles distant.
Into the bulkhead the miner now inserts and securely fastens a large sheet-iron pipe, about two feet in diameter, which gradually tapers to a diameter of fifteen inches, and which is of a length sufficient to bring the water from the bulkhead down the mountainside to the giant, by which it is thrown against the gravel bank with the speed and force of a cannonball, but with the decided advantage that the blow is constant, and, therefore, resistless.
It is now apropos to describe the giant, the most powerful of all known mining inventions, and yet a surprisingly simple device. It consists of a heavy sheet-iron pipe, about ten feet in length, strongly banded, and tapering gradually from its coupling with the pipe bringing the water from the bulkhead to the nozzle. The size of the nozzle depends upon the amount of the fluid controlled and the height of the ditch above the mine; for the greater the fall of the water, the greater is its power to force a given quantity through a nozzle of a given size. The most effective size, probably, is one six inches in diameter. Sometimes there is attached to the nozzle an ingenious little contrivance, termed a "deflector." Its purpose is to direct the flow of the water without moving the hydraulic. But some miners consider this an unsafe appliance, because it turns the stream at so short an angle that the instrument is liable to get the advantage of the piper, unless constantly on his guard. In that case he may get seriously hurt.
The coupling is an important part of the hydraulic. It consists of a combined oval and circular "knuckle," or joint, having a perfect pivotal and circular center, so adjusted as not to leak, and yet so complete in its action as to be entirely under control of the piper, who may elevate, depress, or turn it at will.
The stream from the giant is applied at the base of the gravel bank, next the bedrock, thus undermining it and causing it to fall by its own weight. At the same time the fluid is kept flowing upon the top of the bank, whence it percolates downward, softening and adding to the weight of the mass, until, finally, down it falls, "thousands of tons in amount, and attended with a roar like that of some demon issuing from the realm of Pluto," and dashing a mighty mass of rocks, earth, and trees at the feet of the piper, whose life is thus often placed in great jeopardy, and is, perhaps, saved by instant flight.
The matter thus laid low is now ready for the ax, sledge and nozzle. Well-aimed blows from the two former speedily dislodge the stones and trees, while the stream of water quickly reduces and bears away, in a conduit prepared for the purpose, the mingled earth, sand, gravel, and their attendant wealth of gold. This conduit is styled a "tailrace," and is either cut in the solid rock, or is constructed of heavy timber. In the latter case it is called a flume. In breadth it may vary from two to eight feet, but in depth must be ample to allow the coarse débris to float away. If made of timber, there are fastened crosswise in the bottom several series of iron bars, termed "riffles." Their purpose is to catch the gold, which otherwise would be borne away by the water kept pouring through the race. If the race be cut in the solid rock, the natural unevenness of the stone secures the same result as the riffles.
Moreover, at convenient points along the canal, "undercurrents" are constructed, to facilitate the securing [of] the gold. These are located wherever the descent will admit their introduction beneath the flume. An aperture is cut in the flume, above the head of the undercurrent, which is spanned by strong iron bars. Over these bars the swift upper current readily carries the coarser matter, while the finer material, with any gold that may have escaped the riffles, drops into the secondary races. By this means but a slight percentage of the mineral eludes the watchful miner. Of course great skill is needful in manipulating the water. The baser substances must not be carried off too hastily to allow the gold ample time to settle to the bottom of the conduit. This it is not tardy in doing. Their own weight soon causes the particles to sink, unless too small to resist the force of the liquid.
In many instances the mineral is not in "nuggets," however small, but in the form of precious sand. In such cases quicksilver comes to the rescue, as it does in the quartz mill. To this end a quantity of the cinnabar is placed in a buckskin bag and sifted to and fro in the flume. The metal breaks through the bag in tiny globules, drops down among the worthless gravel and sand, seeks out the gold, forms an amalgam with it, holds it securely until "cleaning-up time," when the particles of married metal are collected, and divorced, by a process we have not space to describe, and the free gold enters the treasure box of the prospector.
Probably, after the giant has been at work from six weeks to six months, throwing against the bank of gravel a powerful stream of one thousand or fifteen hundred inches of water, the supply fails, the "dry season" having arrived. Then the mighty worker takes a rest until the next rainy period, and there begins at once the operation known in mining language as "cleaning up." Some of the men carefully wash and search the bedrock. Others cautiously remove the accumulated rock and gravel from the race. These tasks may be accomplished in a few days. They may consume the remainder of the year. All depends upon the quantity of bank washed away. Until this is done, water is kept flowing gently through the canal. But when accomplished, the fluid is partially turned off; the riffles are removed, and the surface of sand is lightly rinsed away. Now appears the long-sought gold. It is carefully gathered up with spoons and knives, then washed, and weighed, and perhaps immediately dispatched to the United States Mint, where the government stamps it with the "stars and eagle" and sends it forth to swell the circulating medium of the country.
It would be well if the only fruit of hydraulic mining were the making of gold eagles plentiful. A far less desirable result is the overspreading fertile plains and valleys with the vast quantities of destructive débris which the giant produces. In Southern Oregon the devastation has proceeded to no great extent. But in California, where hydraulic mining was conducted for years, many of the fairest acres of the state were desolated by the immense deposits of rock, sand, and gravel washed from the hills and mountains. The havoc continued so long as the mining interests of the state were considered paramount to those of agriculture. But when mining waned some, and farming came into prominence, it was discovered that burying fertile land in that manner was an irreparable loss to the state. Whereupon the husbandmen went to work and secured from the Legislature a perpetual injunction against that class of mining wherever waste of productive territory would follow.
LV.At an early period of Oregon history, probably in the spring of 1852, quite a company of persons might have been seen making the toilsome passage of the Siskiyous, on their way to the even then famous Rogue River Valley. The party all located, if I mistake not, in the vicinity of this place. One of the number, who still survives to relate to history writers and inquisitive journalists the harsh experiences of pioneer life, is Mr. A. D. Helman, the founder of the town. Being an ardent Whig, the man shared in the almost romantic attachment of his party for Henry Clay. This feeling, as he informed me, induced him to give to the Oregon town the name of Mr. Clay's Kentucky home, and also that of his own native village, Ashland, Ohio.
ASHLAND, AT THE BASE OF THE SISKIYOUS.
The place is beautifully located at the junction of Bear and Ashland creeks, both swift, narrow streams, springing from the heart of snow-clad hills, and affording water power sufficient to drive a multitude of mills and factories. The latter bisects the town, and is ten miles long. The former flows by on one side, and after a journey of thirty miles contributes its waters to the marvelous Rogue River. Ashland lies partly in the arena and partly on the western side of an amphitheater of majestic hills, shaped into graceful cones and sugar loaves. Often are these hills the scene of striking atmospheric displays. Yesterday, from my room in the hospitable home of Judge J. C. Tolman, the present surveyor general of Oregon, I witnessed a snowstorm draping in white several bold hilltops nearby, and a few hours later there was thrown upon the grass halfway up these very elevations a broad rainbow of dazzling colors, not arched as we are accustomed to see them, but straight as lines of color could be drawn. On several other occasions short, perpendicular rainbows were seen standing on end upon the eastern hillsides. At another time one-half of one of these gay objects lay penciled upon the green turf, while the remainder turned straight up toward the sky, forming a right-angled triangle. When the snow descended in the morning, almond trees, hyacinths, jonquils, and dainty grass lilies were blooming unconcernedly in the valleys but a short distance below. Grandeur and altitude surround Ashland on all sides.
Soon after his arrival Mr. Helman laid out the town on his own estate, and immediately began making improvements for the benefit of the scattered settlers, other parties joining him in the work. Soon a sawmill and a flour mill were adding their cheerful whirr and hum to the music of the streams. The next year a post office was added, and thereafter for twenty-eight years Mr. Helman served the people of Ashland as their postmaster. The gentleman retains vivid recollections of certain periods of great scarcity and want in the valley. One of these occurred in the winter of 1853, that following the entree of his party into the region, and was occasioned by a snowstorm of unprecedented duration.
This storm raged for eighteen days throughout the district. At that time flour for the settlers was obtained by pack trains from Portland, a distance of over three hundred miles; and meats, except wild game, came over the lofty Siskiyous from Yreka, California. Naturally, therefore, when the storm began, the supply of provisions among the Ashland families was limited. Rapidly fell the fleecy crystals, and soon the trails were impassable. "Neither men nor animals," said Mrs. Tolman, who also recalled the ordeal, "could leave the valley. Each night, and often during the day, fresh snow fell. Nearly every day, also, the sun shone warmly for a time, partially melting the latest installment, which in turn froze hard the next night. And when the storm really abated, the region was covered with a blanket of pretty solid ice, eighteen inches thick." Almost immediately, then, a warm rain set in, and, together with the melting ice, threatened to inundate the country. Presently the lower part of the valley was a wide sea. But happily no serious results followed, and as quickly as possible in came the trains of little mules, bringing the necessaries of life, and relief to all hearts.
The simple relation of such an experience, at this distant day, with plenty smiling in nearly every home in the valley, is an act far from painful ; but to live three weeks with scanty stores daily diminishing, with hunger waiting to take seat at the naked board, is trial most unwelcome. Flour became excited at the prospect, and went up to one dollar the pound. Potatoes caught the fever, and sold at twenty-five cents and more per pound. Some families lived for days without bread. Wheat, if obtained at all, was cooked in the berry. In some homes wild meat constituted the bill of fare for three weeks. It is thirty-six years since that day, yet has no such fall of snow been witnessed in the Rogue River Valley. And in not more than two seasons, it is said, have herdsmen been obliged to drive in and feed their stock on account of the severity of the climate. Feeding, however, is now quite extensively practiced, because, the land having been "taken up," the ranges are limited.
"What will the Rogue River Valley and its tributaries produce?" I inquired yesterday of a citizen.
"Ask me what they will not produce," he replied, "and I can say that oranges will not grow here. But every fruit grown in the north temperate zone attains perfection in this soil. The region teems with all kinds of berries, and their flavor is delicious. Figs of good quality have been raised in the open air, and probably no spot on the continent is better adapted to peach culture than are these foothills. The danger from frost after the trees are in bloom is reduced to a minimum. The fruit excels in size, flavor, and color. Many thousand peach trees have been planted this spring, more than in all the previous history of Southern Oregon. Every variety does well--the rich, juicy peach to be eaten out of the hand, and the long-keepers fitted to be sent to distant markets. Thousands of prune trees, also, have been set this spring."
"Indian bands roamed all around you in the early days. Did you find them friendly?"
"Yes, practically so. The Indians of this valley were a band of the famous Rogue River tribe, whose hot uprising in 1853-54 sent such widespread terror among the scattered white settlers; but toward the people of Ashland they evinced little, if any, hostility. Volunteer companies were raised here to suppress outbreaks elsewhere."
In addition to its grand scenery, fertile soil, and almost faultless climate, Ashland is noted on the coast for its mineral springs. They are scattered all about in the vicinity, sulfur springs particularly, and are doing their utmost toward giving the Oregonians pure blood, a clean skin, and flexible hair. Some of the latter are cold, others are warm, and all vary in medicinal properties. One of these fragrant fountains on any man's estate is said to considerably enhance its value. Two, one tepid, the other frigid, bubble up on the large farm of Judge Tolman, four miles outside the village. One, highly impregnated with the mineral, graces the property of Mr. Helman in the foreground of the place. Beside it is a trim little bath house, fitted up with every appliance for taking the waters. All are perennial and as wholesome and palatable for animals as for men. It is claimed, indeed, that stock will pass by ordinary water to drink from a sulfur stream, and that they always choose the warm instead of the cold fluid. These cleansing fountains are inviting much company to the pretty town under the shadows of the Siskiyous. But numbers of them are wasting their odors on the much sweeter mountain air.
It may be supposed from all I have said that brimstone is the only mineral which Nature stirs into the waters of Southern Oregon for her sons and daughters, and creatures, to drink. But the facts assert the contrary. She well knows there are ailments which sulfur will not cure. In certain springs, therefore, she has skillfully mingled a variety of ingredients, with the purpose of eradicating a half-dozen diseases from a single mortal. Allow me to describe a visit I paid to one of these sources of health.
Just after breakfast one Wednesday morning, toward the last of April, a bright little woman from Ottumwa, Iowa, Mrs. Tolman, her daughter, a sensible bit of humanity, and myself, took seats in an open carriage, drawn by two mismatched horses, and set out for the angle of country enclosed by the intersection of the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains, ten miles distant, Mrs. Tolman acting as driver. Far up in this angle, on the very brink of a narrow stream, called Emigrant Creek, there wells up a fountain possessing manifold curative qualities, and, what is a little singular, its waters are totally unlike those of the current beside which it breaks forth, the latter having no medicinal virtues whatever. Nor is this a solitary instance of the kind. Along the margin of this creek, some miles apart, gush up other notable healing springs, their waters diverse from that of the stream.
For half the distance, probably, our way led up the valley of Bear Creek, with its green wheat fields, its peach and cherry trees in bloom. Then, turning more to the eastward, we soon climbed a lofty spur, and, lo! the earth stood up in points, ridges, and summits, far as we could see. At its base swept Emigrant Creek, so named, said Mrs. Tolman, because, in an early day, Lindsay Applegate, a distinguished pioneer of Oregon, conducted several parties of emigrants into the Rogue River Valley over these sightly elevations and down the bank of this chatty stream. Mr. Applegate, now far advanced in years, is a resident of Ashland. Like his son, Hon. Elisha Applegate, also a citizen of the place, he was by nature a friend to the red man; was inherently just toward him, and never knew the slightest fear of him. His influence over the bands in these valleys was potent, and parties of white people guided by him were quite sure to reach their destination.
The Applegates were a Missouri people, from about where St. Louis now stands, I think. They came into Oregon with the earliest emigrants--two or three families of them--encountering almost endless hardships and perils; some meeting with death on the way, and others with hairbreadth escapes therefrom. They were a brave, intelligent, peculiar people, fond of books, possessed of strong personality, were naturally kind and sympathetic. Lindsay Applegate, a brother, Jesse Applegate, known all over Oregon by the sobriquet of "the Sage of Yoncalla," and Elisha Applegate, have all stamped their impress, more or less, upon Oregon life and affairs. The latter, the most unique of men, chose to become a lawyer. His strong point is story-telling. Gifted with a marvelous memory, and apparently born to encounter the incredible in life, he has laid away a fund of extraordinary tales, with which he enchants of evenings nearly every fireside in the neighborhood.
Now, take a look at that elevation on our left. Clinging to its side is a marvel in the shape of huge, dark-red sandstone rocks, piled up in positions so precarious that none other than Cyclopean hands could have performed the feat; and chiseled into figures so whimsical that the waves must have exercised their talent for sculpture in shaping them. Those enormous stones are placed upon lilliputian ones, exactly as if by design. What a singular conceit was it to form that prodigious hat, of perfect Quaker pattern--crown large, brim broad--and place it top down upon that tall column of red sandstone! And what hater of reptiles fashioned that colossal toad, and then cruelly stationed it where, to the end of time, it must forgo the pleasure of robbing beehives, or of clearing gardens of destructive insects? Geological speculation replies as follows:
In the long bygone of time almost all the territory now termed "the Pacific Coast" was covered by the waters of the great ocean, which extended as far eastward as the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon and Washington. As the ages rolled on there occurred three successive recessions of this vast sea, volcanic, or other agencies lifting up the bold mountain ranges, and forming corresponding depressions at the bottom of the deep. As the upheavals took place the waters withdrew, until there existed the Pacific Coast of today, the Rocky, Cascade, and Coast ranges marking the three vast abatements of the water. If this hypothesis be susceptible of proof, it gives as the agencies by which most, if not all, the physical miracles of the Pacific Coast have been performed.
But we have come several miles during this talk, and are now in front of an inviting hotel, with rooms for thirty guests, and conducted by Jacob Wagner, from Dayton, Ohio. Surrounding the house are fifty acres of land, very little of which was made to lie down. In front, behind us, to the right, to the left of us, massive mountains show their respect for mortals by standing. They are green to the top. Cattle range upon them; trees clothe them; swift streams leap from their heart. They crowd around us, narrow our horizon, but kindle our awe. A wilderness of rosebushes forms a tangle in one corner of the yard. Daisies, double, rimmed with pink, are scattered among the grass, making us careful where we tread, and mindful that flowers "crushed to earth" may not "rise again."
But a few feet from the road, on the other side, comes to view again our friend, Emigrant Creek. Willow, elder, wild cherry, and a beautiful shrub called Oregon grape fringe its banks. On its verge, under a sort of summer house, bubbles the spring we have come miles to taste. A rivulet issuing from it dyes the stone rust color, disclosing the presence of iron in the water. Other constituents are soda and magnesia in plentiful amount, with still others, all highly curative! To this fountain Nature invites such of her children as suffer from kidney troubles, the horrors of dyspepsia, typhoid, bilious, and some other direful fevers. And, wisely, the physicians of the region almost unanimously second her invitation.
It may be added of Ashland that, blest with abundant water power, the place is giving attention to manufactures. A woolen mill, running four hundred and eighty spindles and several knitting machines, was established in 1868. It works up from sixteen to twenty thousand pounds of wool per month, day and night sending its music abroad through the village. Its products are shawls, cloths, fine blankets, underwear, hosiery. There are also planing mills, sawmills, a flour mill, and cabinet shops in the place.
LVII.Being not at all pleased with the treatment I received from the ocean during my voyage from San Francisco to Portland last June, I determined to return to the Gold State "overland," as they say on this upper coast. This decision, in part, had brought me into Southern Oregon. And now having spent ten weeks among its inspiring scenes and kindly people, I took seat, early one crisp morning the middle of April, in a coach of the California and Oregon Stage Line, eight miles out from Ashland, and soon after began the ascent of the Siskiyou Mountains. The thoroughfare over the range, which winds up and up among the magnificent scenery, is a toll road, and is usually in good repair. But heavy rains having fallen for days previously, the wheels of the vehicle often sank nearly to the hub in the thick, adhesive mud. The six strong horses strained and pulled, and were halted occasionally to take breath. At a quarter before eleven the summit had been gained. Then a single turn of the wheels, and we were descending toward the California line, which runs a little south of the crest. Thereafter, until we reached the fine rolling valley below, notwithstanding the skillful driving, we were tossed, shaken, and thrown about in exceedingly amusing fashion. Nevertheless the ride was a delightful one. I should enjoy repeating it tomorrow.
OVER THE SISKIYOUS--DOWN THE CANYON OF THE SACRAMENTO.
Of the five passengers inside, one was a pretty little woman of Ashland, attended by two young sons, all bound to San Diego, where she had property she proposed to sell while the present remarkable "boom in that city was at its height," as she expressed it. At two o'clock we dashed up to a neat stage station, quite from under the Siskiyous, for dinner. Leaving there with fresh teams, we wheeled along through Cottonwood, Klamath, and Shasta valleys toward Yreka, the great stage center of all the Northern California world, with noble Mount Shasta often in view, now on this side, now on that, according as we turned in our devious way. At the sun setting, its head flooded with rich rose color, it made a glorious appearance, and, as the twilight faded into night, all its tints softened into a flesh-like pink glow. Finally, the frequency of lights, and the sounds of many footsteps and voices announced our arrival in Yreka. And, shortly, a pleasant voice at the door of the coach said: "You unload here."
They were the words of Mr. A. H. Burrows, the general agent of the line, and a resident of the place. The gentleman soon had the contents of the vehicle, men, women, boys, cloaks, umbrellas, and lunch baskets out upon the sidewalk, and in a moment or two had learned the names and destination of all. Courteous, attentive to the wish of every passenger, and wonderfully executive, at the end of twenty minutes he had replaced all in a larger and more comfortable coach; had consigned us to the care of one of the line's most competent drivers, and, with a kindly "Good night," had started us out into the cold and starlight again. As we rattled away, gratified with his thoughtfulness, all felt and said: "Mr. Burrows is just the man to manage a great stage line."
Some years ago the California and Oregon Stage Line extended from Sacramento to Portland, a distance of about six hundred miles. At the time of my journey the locomotives of the California and Oregon Railway had pushed the coaches off the route, until there remained but one hundred and twenty-five miles of stage travel. Today San Francisco and Portland are united by railway. Certain considerations render this notable stage line deserving of notice. For many years it was the chief means of communication between the outside world and the miners and settlers in mountainous Northern California. Thousands of persons and millions of treasure have its vehicles carried safely up and down the rugged region. Mining has long been a leading pursuit in that part of the state, and every Friday morning, an express messenger "comes up from below"--a phrase usually denoting San Francisco, but applicable to any portion of the state south of the wonderful hill country--on the stage to take charge of the treasure boxes awaiting him at different points. In these boxes the crude gold is conveyed from the mines to the mint in San Francisco, the express companies being responsible for their safe delivery. These messengers have been going to and fro for years. Nevertheless, scarcely a day passes in which one or more treasure boxes are not borne southward on the stage, entrusted to the driver. The passengers are never aware of the fact. Frequently the contents of a box are of great value. A heavy amount of gold, as I learned next day, came down with ourselves from Yreka.
From time to time, in the earlier days, the coast was startled by reports that a great stage robbery had been committed in this region. Such events have become more rare of late. But numerous are the tales afloat among the Siskiyou hills and gorges of exploits performed by daring "road agents." The experienced robber seldom stopped a coach on a down grade. And, usually, he was "too gentlemanly to plunder the lady passengers." Sometimes he left all the occupants unmolested, contenting himself with securing the rich treasure boxes only. The stage company provides relays of horses every twelve miles, and, ordinarily, changes drivers every ten hours. But on important occasions a trusty man is kept longer at the lines. The kindness, intelligence, and civility of the men serving in this capacity are remarkable. Well acquainted with the country, they are ready to answer all questions, and are thoughtful of the traveler's comfort. A wearisome night ride under the care of one of them sets forth his characteristics in good light. The line carries a heavy equipment in men, horses, and coaches. Fifty thousand dollars, it is said, maintains the service one year.
Emma H. Adams, To and Fro, Up and Down in Southern California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, Cincinnati 1888, pages 538-598
CORVALLIS, BENTON CO., ONT., Dec. 30th, 1886.J. A. ELLIS, ESQ.: So you took the liberty did you, to let friend Nicol publish my letter in the Mail. All right, I don't know as I have any objection to make to the proceedings, only so that the Mail saw to it, that it appeared in good shape. But suppose you send me the issue of the paper in which the letter appeared, that I may see what I really did write. So you have noticed in my communications that I have not anywhere said I like the country. Let me say the reason you have not noticed any such expression is because I have not made any such, and the reason I have not explicitly said I like the country is because I did not wish to mislead any of my friends whom I have left behind in the old home county of Dickinson. I have been in Oregon yet but about three months and that is too short an experience here to justify me in making the unqualified expression that I like the country. I have seen a great deal of the country in Western Oregon, having passed up and down its entire length from north to south, and have crossed over the Coast Range of mountains at two points to the Pacific Coast. I have found the surface of the country very different at different points; some very flat, level country and some very mountainous, some heavily timbered, some totally devoid of timber, some very rich land, some very poor, some where the ground is never frozen and snow scarcely ever falls and some where the ground is always frozen and clad in a mantle of snow. The vegetation, too, is constantly changing, varieties of timber that grow in one part are not found in another; some kinds of fruit that do well in one place may not succeed very well in another; very copious rains may fall at a certain season of the year in one place, when at other places, at the same season, it may be very dry. In the Rogue River Valley I saw great cribs of good corn, nearly as good as Iowa corn; in some other parts the corn that I have seen would make an Iowa hog squeal with contempt, such was its worthless character. From my observation I have learned this: Oregon is not to be read like an open book and learned in an hour, a day, or a year, but to know the country and to be able to pass an equable judgment upon its merits requires a residence of some length of time.
Now let me tell you how I am situated today. We are in our tent, I am writing, my wife is knitting some kind of lacework, we have a small sheet iron stove with a little fire burning therein, the door of the tent is wide open, it is raining a little by spells and has been for two weeks or more, my thermometer hangs on a tree a few feet from the tent and marks 50º above zero. The grass is green in the field and growing now, the meadowlarks are singing, the ground is not frozen and has not been this winter with the exception of two mornings in November, it was frozen a little, we are not cold, not chilly in the least, are comfortable, and dry in the tent, as far as cold is concerned, as we ever were in a house. I have not had a glove, mitten or overcoat on since I left Iowa. How is it today with you in Dickinson, the 30th day of December, and how has it been since winter set in? Honestly, the question with me is not longer how do I like Oregon, but when shall I locate in Oregon. That is a serious question with me, and I am greatly perplexed thereby. Every feature of the country and the climate is so new to me that I find it very difficult to decide what is best to do; if I should come back to Iowa to live, it will be with great regret. If I only had my old Dickinson County friends here, I think I should be perfectly content. Please write, as we are lonesome and homesick. I like to get letters from home.
Truly Yours, W. B. BROWN.Milford Mail, Milford, Iowa, January 13, 1887, page 5
IMPROVEMENTS IN JACKSON CO. IN 1886.Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 7, 1887, page 1
According to a review in the Ashland Tidings the past year has been one of solid improvement and encouraging progress in Ashland. A glance over the town from an elevated point of view reveals new roofs and newly painted buildings on every side. The business part of town has been wonderfully improved by the two large brick blocks erected during the year, and a number of handsome new dwellings, new sidewalks and street crossings, new fences and new dressings of paint upon the houses have made the residence streets much neater and more attractive than ever. With the new residence houses of the year has come a more artistic and ornamental style of architecture than that heretofore in vogue, giving our little city a more ambitious and pretentious appearance. In the six brick blocks in town [a "block" is a building] there are now seventeen stores and other business rooms on the first floor, and a number of offices and halls on the second floor. A large new hall for public meetings and amusements is one of the prominent improvements. The flouring and woolen mills have made important changes in their machinery, adding greatly to their capacity and value, and widening the field of manufacture and exportation. Following is an itemized list of the building improvements and their value as nearly as can be ascertained:
CENTRAL POINT.Next to Ashland, Central Point has expended more money for building improvements during the past year than any other town in the valley. It has an air of progress and stir, and its people are hopeful and confident of keeping things moving and securing their full share of the trade and backing which the lower part of the valley has to give to the several towns which are asking its support. Following is a list of the improvements as furnished by our correspondent:
PHOENIX.Phoenix has made no pretensions of booming along with another ambitious places, but has been very noticeably improved in general appearance during the past year by new fences, new paint, etc. Among her building improvements are the following: New dwelling of L. A. Rose, costing at least $1000; new dwelling of James Collins, $500; improvement of buildings by Engel Bros., $700; addition to residence of John Edsall, $150; Samuel Robbins has in process of erection a new dwelling, $500; and other improvements are contemplated.
TALENT.Talent, the metropolis of Wagner Creek, has made a good showing during the year, and begins to look decidedly townlike. Following are the new buildings reported: Two dwelling houses built by A. P. Talent, $900; dwelling by Mr. Carey, $500; dwelling and barn by Elmer Oatman, $800; improvement of dwelling by W. H. Breese, $400; new blacksmith shop by A. P. Talent, $200.
Other correspondents at Medford, Jacksonville and Eagle Point have failed to respond in time for this issue, but we shall give the record of those places hereafter.