Jackson County 1888
THE ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.
And the Town of Central Point.
The following was prepared as a letter by a citizen of Central Point, in reply to many inquiries received there by letter:
LOCATION.Rogue River Valley is situated principally in Jackson County, but a portion lies in Josephine County.
WATERWAYS.Rogue River is the principal stream, having its source in the Cascade Mountains and flowing in a southwesternly direction until passing through Jackson County, when it changes, taking a western course until emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The tributaries are:
First, Big Butte Creek, which has its head in the Cascades east of us, and makes its way through some very rich, fertile land, but principally through rough timbered country. This stream empties into Rogue River about twenty miles northeast of Central Point.
The next stream is Little Butte Creek, which forms a part of Rogue River six miles northeast of Central Point. More will be said concerning this stream and its country farther along.
The next tributary is Bear Creek, which rises in the Siskiyou Mountains near the line between this state and California. Its course is northwest and, passing through the heart of the agricultural land of our valley, it unites itself with Rogue River at the foot of the lower Table Rock.
Next comes Evans Creek, which has its source in the northern part of Jackson County and flows south, passing through a belt of farming and mining country until forming a junction with the river at Woodville, a little town near the line of boundary between Jackson and Josephine counties.
Applegate, a beautiful stream, has its head in the Siskiyou Mountains on the southern boundary of the county and makes its way through a large belt of mineral and vegetable lands for a distance of forty miles, when it flows into Rogue River near Grants Pass, Josephine County.
SOIL.The soil of Rogue River Valley consists chiefly of clay, granite, adobe and loam, all being very productive of grain and fruits of all kinds that the climate of the temperate zone will permit.
FRUITS.Fruits, such as apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, prunes, grapes (of all kinds), strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries, etc., are grown in abundance and of a quality unsurpassed in the Union for size and flavor; and are grown without irrigation. Our fruits shipped to San Francisco, Cal., Montana and Idaho bring fancy prices. The lands along the foothills are the best fruit lands, from the fact that the frost never does injury. The owners of these lands are now preparing to plant thousands of fruit trees of various kinds, and the time is not far distant when large canning establishments will be erected here.
The wines made from the grapes grown here on the clay land is claimed (by those who are wine drinkers) to be superior to the wines of California.
CEREALS.For the production of grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, rye and corn, our lands are not excelled on the Pacific Slope. With proper cultivation, wheat will average from thirty to forty bushels per acre, and for the size of kernel and weight it will take the premium. Our flour is unexcelled. Oats and barley average from forty to fifty bushels per acre. Rye produces from thirty-five to forty-five bushels per acre. Corn of late years has been quite extensively grown, and the yield is from forty to sixty bushels per acre, nearly if not quite equal to the corn grown in the eastern states for size and quality.
CLIMATE.Our climate might almost be termed that of the "golden mean," being neither hot nor cold to extremes. The average temperature during summer ranges from 70 to 75° above zero. It is a very rare thing that we experience to exceed three hot days in succession, and our nights are very pleasant and cool. The winters here as a rule are mild compared with the eastern states, the mean temperature ranging from 30 to 35° above zero. At no time has the thermometer ever registered below zero, and to get that low has only happened two or three times since the settlement of the whites. We have sufficient rains to grow crops without irrigation, but never an overabundance, as the Willamette Valley is subject to. Snow sometimes falls from a quarter of an inch to eight inches in depth; and it is a very rare thing for it to lie on the ground more than two or three days in succession; but in two or three instances it has been known to remain for a period of two weeks or more. Hurricanes are unknown to us and blizzards we never experience.
HEALTH.Rogue River Valley is claimed to be the most healthful place on the Pacific Slope. Malaria and fevers are something rarely experienced, and when found at all it is along water that is stagnant. By a little care, such causes of ill health can be entirely eradicated. It is not an uncommon thing to hear the doctor complain of the exceptional good health which prevails.
CENTRAL POINT.Central Point is situated on the line of the Oregon & California Railroad in the northeastern part of township 37 south, range 2 west. Its position is nearly in the center of the inhabited part of Jackson County, from whence it derives its name. This town has surrounding it a large acreage of country, which is very rich and fertile.
First, I would call your attention to the lands north and northwest, which consists of several thousand acres of rich and fertile soil, very productive in grain and fruits. This country depends entirely upon Central Point for storage or shipment of its products.
On the west Central Point is bounded to a considerable extent by hill land which produces fruits that are unexcelled in flavor and size, and is always free from frost and drought, while in connection with these fruit lands there is quite a large acreage of grain in cultivation.
On the southwest, south and southeast the lands that are in the vicinity of Central Point are chiefly of a black loam, and are not to be excelled within this state for general production. The people holding these lands can't be accommodated in the way of shipping, trading or storing at any other place on the line of the O. & C. Railroad as well as at Central Point.
To the east and northeast Central Point is directly connected with a large mileage of country. The lands on Bear Creek are of a black loam and sediment formation, and are rated with the best for production of grain and vegetables. It is an easy matter to irrigate these lands, but as yet it has not been necessary; all that is required is a proper working of the soil to grow abundant crops.
Just beyond Bear Creek to the east is a scope of country known as the "Big Sticky." The soil is of an adobe nature and very hard to till; but, nevertheless, is a wonderful grain producer. Along the foothills in this belt of adobe soil the growing of fruits proves successful, and there remain thousands of acres of this land which in time will be planted to fruit.
While the hill land produces grain and fruits there lie beneath its surface large and valuable deposits of coal, iron and copper.
The "Big Sticky" country extends to the east and northeast from three to six miles, while many hamlets dot the hills and small valleys beyond.
To the north of the "Big Sticky" country a distance of five miles from Central Point there lies a large scope of country known as the "Desert," on which there is but little settlement, it being used chiefly as a stock range. This land would require irrigation to make it produce crops, which can be done by taking the water out of Rogue River, Little or Big Butte creeks.
Still to the northeast of Central Point a distance of ten miles is the Little Butte Creek country, through which flows Little Butte Creek, and on this stream is situated a thrifty little town called Eagle Point. The soil of this country is of loam and adobe, very rich and productive. This country consists of small valleys and rolling hills and is settled quite extensively. Little Butte Creek for water power facilities is not surpassed in this country, although but little used, there being only one grist mill on its banks. Little Butte Creek from the main valley to its source is diversified with small valleys and rolling hills, while away from the stream are large belts of timber, consisting of yellow pine, sugar pine, cedar and fir, which for lumbering purposes are very valuable. The upper portion of the Little Butte, as well as the entire Big Butte country, is used principally as a stock range.
To view the country north-northeast of Central Point a distance of five miles, Rogue River will be crossed on a free bridge, which cost our county nearly fourteen thousand dollars to construct, and is located directly opposite the upper Table Rock, from which the country in question takes its name. The Table Rock country embraces a large scope of territory, and a good portion of its soil is exceedingly productive in grains and vegetables. Along the north bank of Rogue River are grown the celebrated watermelons raised by G. W. Jackson, from whose farm the Willamette Valley is in a great part supplied. This Table Rock country has many natural advantages which, when fully developed, will cause it to quadruple its present exports.
All along the north bank of Rogue River there is a scattering settlement for a distance of fifty miles, until the wonderful cascade and falls are reached. From this place on eastward the country is noted for its wonderful timber and scenery. The famous Crater Lake, which is on the summit of the Cascade Mountains, can only be reached from Rogue River Valley by this route, and Central Point is the nearest point on the railroad to start from in order to reach the lake.
All the above-mentioned country is tributary to Central Point (and to this town only) for this reason: The county road from Ashland to Grants Pass takes its course through Central Point and the county road leading from the county seat (Jacksonville) to the Big Sticky, Little Butte, Big Butte and Table Rock countries passes through Central Point, and in order for the people living in the last-mentioned places to reach Medford, Phoenix, Ashland or Jacksonville they must pass through Central Point.
CENTRAL POINT.Ashland Tidings, February 17, 1888, page 1
Notes of a Trip to Oregon.From a hurried trip to Southern Oregon not undertaken with any view of pleasure or sightseeing, the writer returns more in love with Wabash County as a place to live where the enjoyments of home life among a settled and civilized people
are at hand.
''The Italian climate of the slope" forms the warp and woof of conversation addressed to everybody who reaches the Pacific Slope, as the "boon" nowhere else to be found. It is true that in the narrow valleys of Southern Oregon the weather is not severe, but it is nevertheless true that climate alone will not suffice to subsist upon. The high-sounding stories of the great agricultural resources of Oregon is
purely the work of real estate agents who hope to induce emigration to that state that sales of the rocky barren soil of the narrow valleys may be effected. Farming as understood here cannot be carried on in that state at all. The crops raised there are wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. The latter can be grown only where irrigation is possible, and in fact outside of the famed Willamette Valley no success with gardens even is expected without irrigation. Outside of its mines and the immense growth of timber which cover the mountains and hillsides Oregon has no real attractions for settlers. On the 18th of March grass was perhaps two inches high, what little there was of it, and people were making gardens, children barefoot, but they acknowledge that mercury reached zero at one time during the last winter. As for the wide stretches of sagebrush and rocks that constitute all that is visible of Western Idaho and Wyoming territories no one not intending to engage in cattle-raising has any business there. What the cattle subsist on is a mystery to a Hoosier, but large herds of starving cattle are to be seen every day and five dead carcasses at one place is no uncommon sight. It is true that losses of cattle during the past winter is perhaps greater than ever before.
The whole country east of the Cascade Range of mountains that divides Eastern from Western Oregon was last week covered with snow, and through the different mountain ranges crossed by the Oregon Short Line R.R., running from Green River in Wyoming to the Columbia River a distance of about 900 miles, the snow was in many places six feet in depth.
Through Nebraska evidence of new arrivals was to be seen at every station, where many men and teams were busy loading household goods on wagons to move to claims on the adjoining prairies. Sod houses are seen occupied, and others soon to be occupied, as homes for families that perhaps had enjoyed the comforts of a more comfortable home in the East. In our way of thinking the pluck and industry that will have to be displayed by the successful ones there if applied here would obtain a home and a good living in this country where they as well as their families could have the benefits of schools, churches and society from the start. Of course all cannot be suited here, but before taking a departure for the West the matter should be given a great deal of thought if you would not regret the move. In short let well enough alone.
The Journal, North Manchester, Indiana, March 29, 1888, page 2
Growth of Jackson Co.--Crop Prospect--Some Enterprising Places.
It is pleasing to note the growth and prosperity of the country at all times, and in our short sojourn in this part of Jackson County, in the vicinity of Gold Hill, we are pleased to speak of the rapid growth that has been made within the period since our first visit three years ago. It is certainly evidence that the elements of solid and lasting worth belong to this part of Jackson County. Of course much of this comes from the mining interests, as is evinced by the Swinden ledge, near here, which three years ago could have been purchased for $500 or $600 and perhaps less, but was last year sold for $6,000, resold for $25,000, and is now bonded for sale at $100,000. But the agricultural advantages of the country are also a leading feature in its rapid growth and prosperity. When Californians come here and pay $50 per acre for real estate for agricultural purposes alone it speaks in its praise.
This season has been [a] remarkably dry one, but in spite of that crops as far as they have come under our observation look fine, and the fruit which is the boast of Rogue River Valley promises a full usual yield. The extreme cold weather of part of the winter did not apparently injure the fruit trees, not even the peaches, though it did scorch in a sorry manner the evergreen madrone, or as it is called in the Willamette Valley, mountain laurel, that is the pride and beauty of the mountain regions of Oregon. Its browned and seared foliage makes one feel lonesome, though undoubtedly a season's growth will remedy all that.
The railroad station of Gold Hill shows growth and advancement. Among its new buildings is a fine new hotel owned by section superintendent Barlow and presided over by his accomplished lady while Andy continues to see that his section maintains its reputation of being the best on the line in Southern Oregon, though on as difficult a grade as any of them. Messrs. Ball and Bashow two Linn County boys, have added another store to the number in the village and seem to be prospering. Jacobi Bros. run their store, the post office, express, telegraph and depot business and are busy.
We had the pleasure of visiting the city of Medford, and found it a stirring, live place, with prospect of being second to none in Southern Oregon. Its growth is remarkable and withal solid. Several brick buildings of fine proportions, among them a neat and tasty church, are among its possessions, and others in course of construction. Among its progressive citizens are the Webb Bros. We met here also Ed. Phelps and family, who are engaged in the newspaper business, and Charles Fronk, depot and telegraph agent, formerly of Albany and Harrisburg. Near here Mr. Curt Price, formerly of Albany, has purchased a fine farm, and we are informed is doing well. Mrs. Price finds the climate has entirely restored her health. We were also informed that Wm. Owens and family, formerly citizens of Linn County, were well situated on a farm a few miles from the place.
Central Point, five miles west of Medford, has a very thrifty appearance, with new buildings and a very fine country to draw supplies from. It is in open rivalry to Medford, backed by Jacksonville's influence, and will undoubtedly make a place of importance, but Medford gives the greater promise and is greatly in the lead.
We were informed that a project was on foot to manufacture sugar pine lumber on Rogue River in the mountains, float the lumber down the river to Tolo, a station three miles west of Central Point, and ship from there by rail to Portland. As sugar pine timber is becoming difficult to reach, if the river part of the voyage proves feasible this will prove a successful and profitable undertaking.
Morning Daily Herald, Albany, May 2, 1888, page 1SOUTHERN OREGON.
Climate Against Grain.
KINGS VALLEY, BENTON COUNTY, OR.,To the Editors of the BEACON:
May 1st, 1888.
That I may briefly answer the many inquiries of my friends and neighbors as to how I am and where I am I have concluded to drop you a few lines. My wife and I are now visiting at the home of her nephew, Daniel Sherwin, at this place. We are 30 miles southwest of Salem, and about 50 miles from the sea coast, and every afternoon get the sea breeze from the Pacific. We expect to visit the coast before long, and this means quite a trip, as we have the Coast Range mountains to climb. We have passed most of the time in Grants Pass.
Now, about Oregon. I have seen considerable of it the past two months. Southern Oregon has the finest climate, the finest fruit and the finest scenery I ever saw. Jackson County has one fine valley about fifteen miles long by about three to eight miles wide; the rest is mountainous. Counties out here are not like yours in size, some of them being 100 miles long or more. Josephine County is not so good for farming as Jackson County but has more timber, while their mining interests are about equal. Considerable gold is mined yearly, and was it not for the fruit and gold you would hear nothing of all Southern Oregon. From my travels I would estimate that not one acre in a thousand was fit for farming; yet much of the mountain land will raise good fruit and vineyards. Fruit needs no irrigation, but all the vegetables must be irrigated. About a month since I thought if there was any good land in the state I would see it. I have traveled through the Umpqua Valley and am now in the middle of the Willamette. The Umpqua Valley is very broken. It was once a great stock country but the feed is now gone. They had cattle but soon had to get sheep, and now only goats can be raised, for they can live mostly on browse. No grass, but very little grain and lots of fruit. Farms are cut up too much like the old country to suit Iowa farmers. They range from 500 to 2,000 acres each, and though they want to sell they won't sell an acre unless they sell it all. The price is very high. In some localities a person can travel all day and not find a school house, owing entirely to this system of large farms. The lack of school houses is a very noticeable feature to Iowa travelers. The Willamette Valley is the place where they raise their grain, and if they could raise corn they would be all right; as it is Iowa beats them. The land here is very foul. Plows must be kept going all summer to have the land ready for the next year's crop. Consequently twice as much land has to be cultivated if we count the labor. It stands, "climate and fruit vs. grain and blizzards." I would advise eastern people to think well and go slow about selling and be careful not. to sacrifice too much for climate and fruit. One more thought: Farm implements cost a third more here than there.
WM. HELMS.Spirit Lake Beacon, Spirit Lake, Iowa, May 18, 1888, page 1
Its Country Described and Progress of Improvement--
How a Prohi Revivalist Rakes the Democrats into His Net.
Ed., Capital Journal:--Here are a few hasty notes of travel. The state central committee having arranged for a tour through Jackson County, (a Democratic stronghold), to wind up with a nominating convention for a county ticket at Medford, I started on the 25th inst., at 6:30 p.m. on the California express, for Gold Hill. The Democrats not having furnished any money for election purposes (no, I mean the Republicans, because now we shall be called "a Republican aid society,'' since our converts are from the Democratic party), I could not afford a sleeper, but took a nap by spells, cramped up on my seat. Passed Oakland and Roseburg by night, and will do so on return, so cannot see that part of the country.
Morning revealed Grants Pass, much grown and improved during the last few years. The busy sugar pine mill has been removed, the timber having been worked out in this neighborhood. For early breakfast arrived at Gold Hill; this is a railroad and mining town, rather dull because the best producing quartz mine, that was paying well, has been temporarily shut down, a game of freeze out, as I understand, between the co-owners. The farming land around here is limited in space but good in quality. A large farm with considerable improvements is under negotiation for $40,000, for a number of New Yorkers to settle on.
Fruit does well here. A large ditch, sixteen feet at the base, is being surveyed to bring water to town for mining and manufacturing purposes. A cannery is also seriously talked of by Lusk, of San Francisco. The spirit of enterprise in this little place, as in all Southern Oregon, is commendable. It should be imitated by Salem, which has so many more advantages, and is surrounded by so large an area of tillable and fertile soil.
I spoke in the school in daytime and to adults at night. Rev. J. R. Roberts, a Southern M. E. preacher, took me on to Sams Valley, a very attractive little strip of country. A Californian has recently bought a farm here of a few hundred acres, for $10,000, and he is raising large fields of alfalfa for his fine stock of cows and horses. Stopped at the school and gave the children half an hour's talk on education and prohibition. (Our party is after the coming voters.) Also gave a political address at night.
Drove next day through a gravelly and chaparral country, with very little grass this dry season. Many settlers have taken up land, who have built rather poor shanties; but occasionally good patches of land are seen, which, under cultivation, look well. Peach trees look thrifty, no curl leaf, and as yet uninjured by frost, except the very early kind of that fruit. But the growers never feel quite safe here till the middle of May. The apples are said to be blooming quite shyly.
Talked thirty minutes to a large and interesting school called Antioch, out in the chaparral. Also addressed a large audience in the evening, who were so slow in getting together that we did not begin till 9 o'clock. My audience so encouraged me by their close attention, that I continued my address till nearly 11. Drove ten miles and reached bed by 2 a.m. Here my excellent friend Mr. Roberts left us, affirming his allegiance to the prohibition party, and severing his lifelong connection with the Democrats. Rev. E. G. Jones, Baptist, a southerner and Democrat, and Rev. N. C. Howlett, ditto, also joined their ranks. They will be delegates to the county convention. Elders Martin, Peterson and Fleming, also old Democrats, took this step some time ago.
I was introduced to a one-day-old Democratic convert to the prohi party, and was congratulating my self that my "burning eloquence" had won him over, when, lo! it turned out that instead of attending my meeting he had been to the Democratic primary, where the sight of so much drinking and inebriety had caused a political divorce right then and there. Of course, he could not reconcile himself to going into the Republican fold, and so he enlisted under the temperance banner. He was nominated by the prohis for county commissioner.
On Saturday evening spoke at Eagle Point to a crowded house, and obtained a number of names for the club. Spent Sunday at Mound school house with Elder Peterson, preaching thrice. Here I visited some newcomers from California who have bought a home. They report very dry weather in Central California, and predict short crops. They say that along the railroad line towards Oregon, beyond Redding and Shasta, land is being taken up rapidly and settled where irrigation is possible. Marion County ought to advertise down there our marvelous cheap lands, considering its excellent quality, never-failing crops, and its many other advantages. An old neighbor of mine, in Santa Barbara, an extensive merchant, has just bought a home here, ten miles from a railroad, on the ragged edge of "the desert," for his wife's health.
Dined at Medford with one of my church members, whom I knew in California, Mr. Fowler, who has come up with his family and expects to stay. For a specimen of a red-hot, ex-Democratic prohi, commend me to him. And if you want to wave a red rag in his face and make him indignant, just intimate that not many Democrats turn prohibitionists, or express a doubt of their sincerity when they do. Whew! A full ticket was nominated today, and an active canvass is to be made.
It is very dry here, and a north wind is blowing. Grass and grain will suffer soon if rain does not come. The signs are not promising. Mr. Walker was lately visiting his brother in Salem, and expressed surprise at the low price of land there. He believes the boom will reach Willamette Valley, and land will advance to $100 an acre.
J. W. WEBBCapital Journal, Salem, May 2, 1888, page 1
Medford, Or., May 1, 1888.
Southern Oregon.EDITORS HERALD:--By your permission, I will add another letter in regard to this part of the far-famed Pacific Coast. Since my last letter, written at Albany, June 4, I have traveled several hundred miles, and seen a good deal of Oregon. I have preached every Lord's day twice, and put in as many nights as was practicable under the circumstances. For almost a month I have been in what is known as "Rogue River Valley," a district which in size and importance is second only to the Willamette Valley. To get from one to the other by the O.&C.R.R. it is necessary to cross a range of mountains called the "Umpqua" range. They are penetrated by ten tunnels, and the intervening canyons are bridged with fearful-looking trestle work. In roughness the country equals anything I had before seen, and the land is entirely worthless for all practical purposes whatever.
The land in this valley is as level as a Kansas prairie, and some of the soil is very productive. The black land is unpleasant to cultivate owing to its extreme stickiness when wet. But a large percent of it is coarse gravel land, entirely unproductive unless thoroughly irrigated. It grows a few worthless bushes, and is called "chaparral land." A more common, and more significant, name however, is "desert"!
Rogue River Valley is said to contain about 400 square miles and is watered by a most beautiful mountain river which gives its name. It is said to afford an abundance of fish; but, owing to a general lack of enterprise the most of them pass along in the sparkling waters unmolested! I have only had the pleasure of sampling a single specimen of the finny tribe since I came here; a well-cooked portion of a fine salmon. The river makes a N.W. course from its source near Klamath Lake in the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.
The country here is noted as a perfect fruit-growing country in the recent accounts of this coast, and this state in particular. Yet a stranger is greatly surprised to find how few persons are engaged in the business, and how many old settlers are living entirely without fruit of any kind! In my travels I seldom find fruit in any shape upon the bill of fare. The climate here is no doubt favorable for fruit growing, but in some localities the frosts are damaging, and much of the soil has to be artificially watered in order to ensure satisfactory results. But the great drawback is the distance this valley is from a good market. The packed fruit has to be carried several hundred miles either north or south before it can start direct for an eastern market. That difficulty will, however, be obviated to some extent, if O.P.R.R. is extended to Boise City.
If the bread and butter question could be adjusted by looking at beautiful scenery, I would advise all my friends to come here to live. The landscapes are picturesque and beautiful in every direction one can look. There is a fringe of mountains reaching entirely around the valley; and the foothills rise in every conceivable size and shape. In the background stand in their majesty the mountain peaks covered with perpetual snow. Some of the mountain slopes afford considerable pasture, and stock is raised on them at little cost to the owners. Others are entirely barren of vegetation, and covered with the most unsightly rock.
I spent two days and nights among the miners at "Gold Hill," and preached to them both nights. They gave a most respectful hearing, and treated me with marked kindness. I felt very sorry for some of them, young in years, inexperienced, and far away from mothers and sisters, and all others who feel a real interest in their welfare. In conversing with the prospectors I was forcibly reminded of Dr. Young's poetical truism: "Man never is, but always to be blessed!" My advice to your readers is to shun the mining regions from almost every consideration. Where one man gains a fortune a thousand miss it; and a large percent are hopelessly ruined in every way. The great enemy of the mining camp is the saloon! It has no mercy on its victims
There is both timber land and prairie here, but the former predominates. The most of it is evergreen, and embraces most of the varieties of the pine family. One of the most valuable varieties is called the sugar pine and it grows very large. The lumber made from it is almost entirely free from knots. Farther back in the mountains cedar is abundant; the most valued variety of which is the yew tree. It is said that posts remain in the ground a quarter of a century perfectly sound. There are vast quantities of beautiful evergreens all over the country on hillside and in the valley; but they have no value whatever in this country because of their abundance and the impossibility of transferring them to other lands.
Finally, my judgment is that Oregon is a poor state to emigrate to. I have not seen a Kansan here who does not ardently desire to get back. They are all trying to sell out, but it is a hard thing to do. People who are footloose had better go slow in reference to buying homes in this country.
JOHN BOGGS.Clyde Herald, Clyde, Kansas, July 25, 1888, page 1
Central Point, Oregon, July 16, 1888.
Jacksonville has an old and decayed appearance, for there is no new building going on to make an era of progress and development. The railroad gave it the "go by," to all intents and purposes. The mines that created the place and made it once a center of extravagant life and unusual prosperity have become exhausted. The creek that brought down gold in rich placers is worked out, and all its golden wealth is exhausted. It was possible, it is said, to have induced the railroad builders to have located their route near enough to Jacksonville to keep its health and prominence undisturbed, but they failed to appreciate the necessity, and nothing now can give animation and vitality to the place beyond the fact that some good country is tributary to it and must bring trade there.
The fruit growers of Rogue River Valley met today in a grove between the two places--Jacksonville and Medford--and the occasion called out the beauty as well as chivalry of this section. Many families came with their lunch baskets, and the scene was enlivened by the presence of old and young inclined to make the most of the opportunity for enjoyment. There is a commendable display of harmony and interest manifest here in the fruit industry that must make the valley in time a center of wealth and prosperity. A year ago they feared prohibition would interfere with their business, but the "third party" did not pan out well last spring. Greatly as one might depreciate the manufacture and use of intoxicating liquors to excess, there is a legitimate use of the grape that has existed for all time.
The extent of country adapted to fruit growing is really very great on Rogue River and its tributaries, even though it does not include the valley lands of this section. There is an immense scope of foothill land lying on the numerous tributaries and much of it facing the south, so as to be favorable for grapes and peaches. This land is so extensive in area that it must require many years to develop it for this purpose. Of course there is an advantage in nearness to transportation that will count in favor of the lands most available on that account, but as development continues roads will be constructed and the outlying fruit lands will be furnished with the necessary facilities.
Speaking of Jacksonville, it was possible to locate the road through a gap on the north, so that it would be four miles shorter through the valley but this cutting would be expensive, though they claim here that the cost would be something in favor of the route by Jacksonville. Some here claim that the present route included a fine body of timber, I suppose in the limits of the land grant and this was as valuable to the company as the $40,000 subsidy asked of Jacksonville. But this is hearsay, the road is built, and Jacksonville is out in the cold with only a tolerably good courthouse to compensate for its other losses. This is their anchor to windward and they pin their hopes to it, thinking it will be many a day before Jackson County will feel able to throw this away and build another.
Saturday morning we drove to Ish's grove, about two miles from Jacksonville and three from Medford, and found there assembled a crowd of moderate proportions, most of them engaged in displaying their fruits. The place was formerly located as a claim by Overbeck, and was bought by Mr. Ish, now deceased. His widow lives there, and the home lot is part of a beautiful, high prairie covered with grand oaks the Druids might have loved, if capable of so common a passion as human sympathy and affection.
Druidical oaks they certainly were, and nowhere else in Southern Oregon did we meet with their equals. One feature that pleased was the presence of the red-barked evergreen laurel. There were grand oaks and laurels fully as grand and graceful too. These mingled their shadows and threw the same over the table spread with nature's prodigal gifts. To sum up the display, there were fruits covering a table one hundred feet long and all things shown there would be a credit to any country on the globe.
After the tables were spread with the product of orchards and gardens the good people present went to their carriages and drew forth the lunch baskets, and bountiful supplies were laid out and everyone was included in the general hospitality. I shared in the hospitality of Mr. Prim and Mr. J. N. T. Miller, and the "jovial" party gathered around their spread had certainly an abundant feast. There is something appetizing in an al fresco feast like this that does not come in the ordinary course of a dinner service. This abundant feast was flavored with sundry bottles of Miller's wine that greatly assisted the digestion and did not hinder the hilarity.
Jackson County, from Andrew Jackson, president, was created January 12, 1852, out of the territory lying south of Douglas, comprising the Rogue River Valley and the territory west of it to the Pacific Ocean. Its boundaries have been several times changed, by adding to it a portion of Wasco and taking from it the county of Josephine, with other recent modifications. Its present area is 4,689 square miles, one-third of which is good agricultural land, about 91,000 acres of which is improved. Corn and grapes are successfully cultivated in Jackson County in addition to the other cereals and fruits. The valuation of its farms and buildings is over $1,600,000, of livestock half a million, and of farm products over half a million annually. The valuation of taxable property is nearly two millions. The population is between eight and nine thousand. Mining is the most important industry, the placers still yielding well to a process of hydraulic mining. Jacksonville, founded in 1852, was established as the county seat January 8, 1853, and incorporated in 1864. It owed its location, on Jackson Creek, a tributary of Rogue River, to the existence of rich placers in the immediate vicinity, yet unlike most mining towns, it occupies a beautiful site in the center of a fertile valley, where it must continue to grow and prosper. It is now, as it always has been, an active business place. The population has not increased in twenty years, but has remained stationary at between eight and nine hundred. This is owing to the isolation of the Rogue River Valley, the ownership of the mines by companies, and the competition of the neighboring town of Ashland. Bowles' New West, 449; Hines' Or., 78-9; Bancroft (A. L.), Journey to Or., 1862, MS., 44. The town of Ashland, founded in 1852 by J. and E. Emery, David Hurley, and J. A. Cardwell, and named after the home of Henry Clay, has a population about equal to Jacksonville. It is the prettiest of the many pretty towns in southern Oregon, being situated on Stuart Creek, where it tumbles down from the foothills of the Cascade Range with a velocity that makes it a valuable power in operating machinery, and overlooking one of the most beautiful reaches of cultivatable country on the Pacific coast. It has the oldest mills in the county, a woolen factory, marble factory, and other manufactories, and is the seat of the state normal school. Cardwell's Emigrant Company, MS., 14; Ashland Tidings, May 3, 1878. The minor towns in this county are Barron, Phoenix, Central Point, Willow Springs, Rock Point, Eagle Point, Big Butte, Brownsboro, Pioneer, Sams Valley, Sterlingville, Thomas' Mill, Uniontown, Woodville, and Wright.
A pioneer of Jackson County is Thomas Fletcher Beall, who was born in Montgomery Co., Md, in 1793, his mother, whose maiden name was Doras Ann Bedow, being born in the same state when it was a colony, and dying in it. In 1836 his father, Thomas Beall, removed to Illinois, and his son accompanied him, remaining there until 1852, when he emigrated to Oregon, settling in Rogue River Valley. In 1859 he married Ann Hall of Champaign Co., Ohio, then living in Douglas Co., Or. They have 12 children--8 boys and 4 girls. Beall was elected to the legislature, and served at the regular session of 1864, and at the called session of 1865 for the purpose of ratifying the 15th amendment of the U. S. Constitution. He was again elected in 1884. He has served as school director in his district for 25 years, less one term.
John Lafayette Rowe was born in Jackson Co., Or., in 1859, his parents being pioneers. He married Martha Ann Smith, Jan. 1, 1883.
Mrs John A. Cardwell, widow first of William Steadman, was born in Ireland in 1832, removed to Australia in 1849, married Steadman in 1850, removed to San Francisco in 1851, and was left a widow in 1855. She married Cardwell, an Englishman, the following year, and they removed to Sams Valley in Jackson Co., Or., where Cardwell died in May 1882. Mrs. Cardwell has had 5 sons and 6 daughters, one of whom died in 1868. Cardwell wrote the Emigrant Company, MS., from which I have quoted.
Andrew S. Moore, born in Susquehanna Co., Ohio, in 1830, emigrated to Oregon in 1859, settling in Sams Valley, Jackson Co., where he has since resided, engaged in farming. In 1864 he married Melissa Jane Cox, of Linn Co., Iowa. They have 7 sons and 4 daughters.
Arad Comstock Stanley, born in Missouri in 1835, was bred a physician, and emigrated to California in 1864, settling near Woodland. He removed to Jackson Co., Or., in 1875, settling in Sams Valley where he has a farm, but practices his profession. He married Susan Martin in 1862. Their only child is Mrs. Sedotha L. Hannah, of Jackson Co.
John B. Wrisley, born in Middlebury, Vt., in 1819, removed to New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where he married Eliza Jane Jacobs of Iowa Co., in 1843. He came to California in 1849, and to Rogue River Valley in 1852. His daughter Alice was the first white girl born in the valley. She married C. Goddard of Medford, Jackson Co. Wrisley voted for the state constitutions of Wisconsin, California, and Oregon; has been active in politics, but always rejected office.
Joshua Patterson was born in Michigan in 1857, immigrated to Oregon in 1862, and settled in Rogue River Valley. He married, in 1880, Ella Jane Fewel, and resides at Ashland. Has 2 children.
Thomas Curry, born near Louisville, Ky., in 1833, removed with his parents to Ill., and came to Or. in 1853, settling in the Rogue River Valley, where he has since resided. In 1863 he married Mary E. Sutton, who came with her parents to Or. in 1854. Of 5 children born to them, 2 are now living.
Jacob Wagner, an immigrant of 1851, was born in Ohio in 1820, and removed with his parents first to Ind. and afterwards to Iowa. Settling in Ashland, he has been engaged in farming and milling during a generation. He married Ellen Hendricks of Iowa, in 1860, by whom he has had 7 children, 2 of whom are dead.
Franklin Wertz, born in Pa. in 1836, married Martha E. V. Beirly of his state, and the couple settled at Medford, where 5 children have been born to them.
The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: History of Oregon, 1848-88, vol. 30, 1888, page 712
Views of Our Traveling Correspondent.
ROSEBURG, Ogn., Sept. 2nd, 1888.EDS. JOURNAL:--My last letter left me at Montague, where I took the stage for Etna Mills via Yreka and Fort Jones. Ground has already been broken for the branch line from Montague to Yreka, and before snow flies they hope to have the iron horse in the genial town of Yreka. On the way to Fort Jones we come to the Forest House, a beautiful resort for travelers.
We leave the once-famous Greenhorn Gulch and Deadwood town to the right and climb a spur of the Siskiyou; then a rapid ride down the mountain into picturesque Scott Valley. We pass the "King of the Portuguese's" house, a few miles from this side of Fort Jones--a house that is generally painted a brilliant yellow. He has an extensive ranch, great herds of stock--nearly all made from his credulous countrymen. Very soon we cross Scott River, a beautiful trout stream, and shortly afterwards Fort Jones comes into sight.
It is a pretty town, ornamented by shade trees, and is in the center of one of the best agricultural countries in Northern California. It supports a bank, a bright newspaper, the Scott Valley News, numerous stores, saloons and hotels. While here I met Siskiyou County's musical genius, Miss Eugenia Kelly, who, while on a visit to Alameda, nearly a year ago, met with a very sad accident in being thrown from a car, making her a cripple for life. She is a most remarkable musician, being able to play almost any instrument, guitar, violin and cornet; she is a divine performer on the piano. Just beyond Fort Jones can be seen the remains of the old fort, where hardly over a score and ten years ago were stationed U.S. troops to keep the savages subdued. Now all that remains is a few crumbling logs--a memento of days long ago.
Passing on to Etna Mills numerous substantial farm houses are seen, showing comfort and contentment. Amid winding lanes, running brooks, and surrounded by waving grain, and the scent of new-mown hay--nearly every turn bringing out new beauties to the panoramic valley--after a 12-mile ride, the old town of Etna Mills is reached.
From Etna I determined to go to Sawyer's Bar, one of the oldest northern mining towns. There is no wagon road into the Bar, only a rough and precipitous trail, 26 miles from Etna. In the crowd going over was a minister and his fair daughter, another young lady, a rough-and-tumble miner, a drummer and a fresh arrival from Portugal, who could speak only two words of English, and they were "Sawyer's Bar." We finally got started, and away we went on our noble steeds--i.e., on the hurricane deck of well trained pack mules. It proved to be a hot and dusty ride, and, when the summit of the Salmon Mountains was reached (being nearly 8000 feet above sea level), a grand view of the surrounding mountains could be seen and, looking back, just a patch of the valley is in view. The descent is slowly made, as in a great many places it is much safer to walk than to ride. Carefully picking our way down the mountainside we finally reach the bottom and follow Salmon River on to Sawyer's Bar. Numerous miners can be seen mining on the river, some of them doing very well. About 7 miles on from Sawyer's Bar is ex-Gov. Daggett's home, the Black Bear mine. He has a 15-stamp mill running, and has only 3 white men in his employ, all the rest being Chinese. Not very creditable to the ex-Governor. They say he has a sign up, at or near his mine, "No white men need apply for work."
Sawyer's Bar was found to be a quaint, crowded-up little town of about 150 inhabitants, the narrow street being just wide enough in one place for a wagon to turn around. There has never been a four-wheeled conveyance in the town; they have a couple of two-wheeled carts, though. Further in the country, there are some people who have never even seen a wagon of any kind. The Bar was first worked by three men, Sawyer, Davis, and the other one's name I did not learn. The first winter they passed there was a rough experience. They existed on 1 mule, a barrel of whiskey and a barrel of sugar the entire winter. Davis is now living at Etna Mills, while Sawyer and the other man are dead.
My first evening in town was enlivened with a lawsuit, preaching in the church and a dance. It is rather a "go-as-you-please" kind of a place, the main ambition of about three-fourths of the male inhabitants being to get drunk once a week regularly. I heard several make their brags that there was more whiskey drunk in the town than in any other of its size in the United States. I did not differ with them at all.
In due time I returned to Etna, thence to Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County. Yreka greatly bemoans the fact of the railroad's leaving them 6 miles off the line. The Yrekans showed their lack of enterprise, though, in not long ago building the branch road to Montague or Julien's. They have delayed building it so long that Montague has got quite a start.
Continuing my journey from Yreka and Montague, Ager is reached, where you take the stage for the (fast coming to be) famous Shovel Creek Mud Springs. They are about 18 or 20 miles from Ager, have delightful surroundings, and the proprietors are just completing a $30,000 hotel. In a short while after leaving Ager we cross the Klamath River, then the ascent of Bailey Hill is commenced. It is made by an average of 116 feet rise to the mile. We soon come to Henley, or Cottonwood as it was formerly called, and in a short time we strike the Siskiyou Mountains. It is simply wonderful--almost a perfect miracle of engineering--the manner in which this portion of road is built. Higher and higher we get, with ever-changing scenery. Where to gain ½ a mile up the mountain the railroad makes a detour of 5 miles. Away off to the north Pilot Rock can be seen--a huge pillar of rock rising high up above its contemporaries. After winding about the immense grade of 175 feet to the mile, making curves of startling crookedness, Colestin is reached, where a fine drink of natural soda water can be had. Just imagine, almost to the summit of the Siskiyous, such a fine spring of soda and sulfur water bubbling forth. It is becoming quite a summer resort for Southern Oregonians.
In a few minutes the long tunnel is reached, taking about five minutes to go through. It is something like 3 miles through, and on coming out on the Oregon side a scene of beauty greets the eye--for, far away, below us lies the magnificent Rogue River Valley, famous for its fine fruits and grain land. From the mouth of the tunnel to Ashland by the stage road it is only 14 miles, but the railroad goes 27 before reaching the town. One can imagine the roundabout way the road takes in reaching the valley. While on one side of the mountain you look across the other side, apparently about 10 miles across, and are told in a few minutes we will be over there. "Impossible!" you exclaim. Then you look down the mountainside and see numberless tracks, dug out of the side of the mountain, and wonder how the train will ever get there. In a few minutes, though, we come to tunnel 14, making a wonderful downgrade and curve during its passage, coming out, comparatively, in a new country, then, turning around a sharp spur of the mountain, you look up, and there, about a mile and a half above us, can be seen the track, thus partly explaining the manner in which we "get there." And so on till Ashland is reached, passing Major Barron's place just at the foot of the mountain.
Of course Rogue River Valley is the Paradise of Oregon. It is the "land of plenty," and "home of the weary." Ashland is a pretty town, nestling up close to the mountains, with a fine stream of water running through the town, whereby the Ashland Woolen Mills and Lander's immense flour mill obtain their motive power. The woolen mills are becoming well-known and employ about 50 girls and nearly 100 men and boys. Ashland is surrounded with orchards, some of the peach orchards having recently been sold at $500 an acre. Large quantities of fruit are shipped daily by express to Portland and intermediate points. A stock company of citizens is building a large 3-story hotel, to cost $25,000. Several other brick buildings have gone up during the past year and the town looks bright and new. About ½ mile from town are to be found Helman's natural sulfur baths, a fine place for bathing. The water is in a fine, large tank, suitable to swim in, temperature of water the year around being 85. Ashland feels proud of its 2500 population and two bright and spicy weekly newspapers. Leaving Ashland, Phoenix is reached, then the enterprising new town of Medford, jumping-off place for Jacksonville, the latter town being the county seat of Jackson County. It is about 6 miles to the west of Medford and is a sad illustration of what a town comes to if left off the railroad. It was once a thriving town, but now all it has is the county seat and some good land around it. Medford sprang up on the arrival of the railroad and between it and Ashland, Jacksonville is badly left.
The railroad follows Rogue River up and on through the canyon by that name till it reaches Grants Pass, Josephine County, being in the midst of an immense timber belt. A large sawmill and sash and door factory, running night and day, help support Grants Pass, while it is also the end of the freight division of the O.&C.R.R., and the railroad has repair shops here also. They raise immense watermelons throughout the county, several carloads being shipped every week. Of course the county has considerable farming land too.
After leaving Grants Pass, with exceptions of patches here and there, the road goes through a wild and rough country till Roseburg, in Umpqua Valley, is reached. It is the county seat of Douglas County and is prettily situated on the Umpqua River. Roseburg is supported by a fine farming country back of it, and its massive two- and three-story brick business buildings speak of its prosperity. From here one can take stage for Coos Bay, a country rich with coal mines and timber. My next will include my journey to Portland, thence to Eastern Oregon, etc. C U later,
W. R. N.Trinity Journal, Weaverville, California, September 15, 1888, page 1
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.
There is no question about the fair prospects in store for the beautiful valley of Rogue River when it shall fulfill its ultimate destiny as a fruit-producing region. The climate partakes of the best qualities that belong to Oregon on the north and California on the south, and its soil is quick and responsive with production where one not well acquainted with its attributes would suppose there was little capacity or fertility. For instance, on the foothills near Ashland, where the foot sinks in granite gravel that seems without fertilizing ingredients, yet it is on such hillsides that peaches reach perfection in the greatest profusion.
Around Jacksonville the hills produce table grapes, and these are easily converted into an excellent dinner wine. At J. N. T. Miller's one can taste wine ten years old of generous quality, resembling much the best clarets of Europe. This wine, too, seems to have generous qualities without being intoxicating. If Oregon is to produce wine it is well to have it as harmless as possible. Then the wonderful growth of alfalfa on the bottoms or lower prairies is a source of wealth of great importance and must render any country prosperous that improves it properly. The value of Rogue River Valley cannot be appreciated by anyone that merely goes through upon the railroad. This route does not nearly show the country in its best light. There is a stretch of gravelly prairie that is probably high enough to grow fruits, but the foothills offer the best sites for successful work. This region is not to be judged by casual observation, for many uninviting localities will be found suitable to grapes and other fruits. The fruit land should be cut up in small farms and support a large population. The greatest profit will lie in every man farming what he can tend with little help and cost. The man who plants largely and hires many people is in constant worry and fear and has far more care and responsibility than the man who does a safe and prudent business that he can easily handle.
The table grapes of this region will find a good market all along the lines of railroad to the eastward and in eastern cities within reach. The peaches grown here will command a good market along the same route, and canners will begin their work as soon as production will justify their enterprise. The apples of Rogue River Valley will go south to fill the growing demand from California. It is conceded by fruit men there that their state cannot grow apples to advantage and must look to Oregon for a supply. The beautiful fruit of Southern Oregon will therefore naturally go that way.
Fruit growers are enthusiastic over their pears and claim to have a climate and soil especially suited to pear culture. Some large pear orchards have been already planted and more of them will be.
The plum and prune are hardly as fine in Southern Oregon as in the Willamette. The soil is of granite origin and though quick and responsive, does not perfect all fruits as well as the basaltic soil of other parts of Oregon. Still there is inducement to grow prunes for curing, and they can produce better fruit of this variety than California does.
As development shall progress the area of fruit growing will be found to widen and include many spots and valleys among the hills that are not now understood. Vineyards will grow on many sunny slopes and orchards be planted far and near. The delightful climate is one of the features that must attract, and the quick growth and rich products of the country ensure its prosperous future.
There will be good towns all through that region, and in time manufacturing will get a foothold, as there is power from many streams. It is strange that while California fills up with people and develops such prosperous communities, that this state makes but slow and quiet advance, while it can offer the highest inducements for the prosecution of the same industries that succeed so well there. This year the yield of fruits in all western Oregon has been prodigious, especially as to peaches and other fruits in Rogue River. Correspondence from that country lately gave the success of Mr. Gove, who lives three miles south of Medford. He planted trees in 1860, and for twenty-five years they have borne fruit. For that quarter of a century apples and pears have borne unfailing crops, and peaches have failed but twice in that time. This year these trees twenty-eight years old have borne so heavily that they had to be propped. The apple and pear are young at that age and have a long life before them.
It is pleasant to recognize the value of any region and show what it is certain to demand of the future. The state of Oregon has so many changes of soil and climate that a study of the producing capacity of each is a constant surprise and source of interest. There is not a region of equal extent on this continent that afford the same variety of resources and has the radical difference in character that mark the different portions of the state of Oregon, over half of which is comparatively unknown and undeveloped.
Morning Oregonian, October 11, 1888, page 6
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.
IN THE HEART OF SOUTHWESTERN OREGON.
Where Apples Weighing Two Pounds Each Are Common--
Mineral Wealth, Never-Failing Crops, Fine Water Privileges,
and a Climate Without Extremes.
Ashland, Ore., Nov. 5, 1888.The heart of Southwestern Oregon is the Rogue River Valley, the isolation of which is now happily ended by the building of two railroads--the Oregon and California from Portland, and the Southern Pacific from San Francisco--the two forming a junction at this place.
This section of Oregon has been settled some thirty years, the first comers being attracted by the finding of gold, the mining of which is still carried on to some extent.
The mineral wealth of this section is not, however, confined to gold, as good indications of coal in paying quantities have been recently discovered, also, copper, iron, lead and cinnabar--all of which only await development to become the source of wealth.
Of late years, however, the growing of stock, cereals, vegetables and, particularly, fruit of all kinds, is proving far more remunerative than mining. Such a thing as a failure in crops of wheat, barley, oats and corn is unknown--wheat often yielding forty bushels per acre, and, while corn does not grow to the proportions attained in Nebraska and Iowa, this is the only portion of Oregon in which it is raised with fair success. The agricultural capabilities of this valley, however, have been recently tested in many ways, and it is proven that sweet potatoes of fine quality, melons of unsurpassed sweetness and size (often weighing fifty pounds), and all the vegetables common to the temperate zone can here be raised to perfection, but the crowning superiority of this valley, as has been fully proven the past three years, is its peculiar adaptation to the profitable growing of fruit. Here, the peach, apple, plum, prune, pear, nectarine, cherry and all small fruits and berries grow to proportions and in quality not excelled, if equaled, on this continent. Apples weighing one and one-half pounds each are very common, and occasionally specimens may be found weighing over two pounds each; peaches weighing one-half pound each are very common, and specimens are often found weighing twelve ounces. Apples will sometimes hang on the trees half the winter, and keep in good condition, and their keeping qualities are remarkable, and San Francisco is already making demands for more than can be supplied. Peach trees have been known to bear fruit one and one-half years from the seed, and the short time in which all fruit trees bear fruit from the seed is remarkable.
The profit to be realized from fruit culture in this valley has been fully demonstrated during the past two years, there having been instances fully substantiated of a gross return from one acre in peaches, four years from the seed, of $250; while the profits from apple orchards fully grown will range from $500 to $1,000 per acre.
Fruit trees and fruit are comparatively free from insect pests of all kinds, and I do believe this valley must certainly attain celebrity as a fruit region. A large area of the Northwest must look to it for a supply; indeed, California is already making demands for apples, and a carload of pears is just now being shipped to Sacramento packed in boxes carrying a California brand. Canneries and evaporators are necessities of the near future from which good profits must be realized.
So far as all grain crops are concerned, irrigation is not at all necessary, the rainfall being sufficient, averaging about 22 inches annually.
The climate of this section is another strong point in its favor. It has neither the wet of the Willamette on the north nor the drought of the Sacramento Valley on the south, but seems to be the happy medium so seldom found, and enjoys the warmth of summer and the frosts of winter without any extreme in either. One characteristic at all seasons is the remarkable evenness of temperature. Often for a month at a time observations taken at the same hour day after day will show scarcely a degree of variation. The absence of wind is notable, and such a thing as a gale or a cyclone is unknown. The mountains cut off the fogs from the ocean, which lies one hundred miles to the west. It certainly has one of the finest "all-the-year" climates to be found on the globe, and as to health this valley has no peer on the continent.
Ashland is 341 miles south of Portland, and 415 miles north of San Francisco. Mountains are nearby on every side--in fact, you can't get away from fine scenery anywhere in this section. Ashland is the chief town in the Rogue River Valley, and has a population of about 2,500, and is 2,000 feet above sea level. It has fine water privileges, a stream rising in the snow-capped peaks furnishing power for a fine woolen mill, a roller flouring mill, two planing mills, and one sawmill, beside one mill site not now used. Well water of good quality is obtained at easy depths, and mineral springs of many varieties abound, principally, however, of iron, soda and sulfur.
The railroad has just completed a fine eating-house and hotel at a cost of about $35,000, besides building a roundhouse. As this town has been made the end of a division, prospects for machine shops in the near future are flattering.
The new year will greet the completion of a fine brick hotel, now in process of construction, of which the accompanying cut will give a fair idea, and it will be one of the finest to be found in any town of its size on this coast. There are two newspapers published in the place, the Tidings and the Record, with schools, churches, and an excellent class of citizens. There are more evidences of growth and activity here at this time than in any other town in Oregon, and we have no doubt the population will double within the next two years.
The True Northerner, Paw Paw, Michigan, November 14, 1888, page 3 See article of November 21, below.
"Eden of America."
Many of our readers were delighted with Mr. Folsom's Oregon letter, in our last issue. All who know of the famous Rogue River Valley, in Southern Oregon, say that one looking for a pleasant home--where health, climate, fruits, freedom from severe cold, cyclones and blizzards, will find no place nearer being perfect. Parties desiring further information can address, with stamp, G. F. BILLINGS, Ashland, Oregon.
The True Northerner, Paw Paw, Michigan, November 21, 1888, page 7
AN OREGON LETTER.EDITOR GAZETTE: As agreed on in your favor of the 17th inst. I shall at times write you or your paper about this country. I am now located where I intend to make my future stamping ground.
A Picturesque, Healthy and Fine Fruit Country.
ASHLAND, Or., Nov. 30, 1888.
Rogue River Valley is situated in Southern Oregon, in the counties of Jackson and Josephine, principally in the former, and between the Siskiyou and Cascade ranges of mountains, its length being about 50 miles, by from 5 to 20 miles in width. Its principal advantages over other parts of the coast is the combination of its fertile soil, its splendid climate, its fine mineral spring and its many beautiful, natural scenic attractions. It is nearly incredible what the soil here will produce in cereals, vegetables and fruits. Corn, wheat, barley and alfalfa hare been raised to a considerable extent, but is gradually giving away to the more profitable business of fruit-raising. Peaches, prunes, apples and pears, of the different varieties, are mostly raised and yield the largest returns, but apricots, quinces, nectarines, cherries and the
DIFFERENT KINDS OF BERRIESare raised to some extent for the market. And of nuts, almonds, walnuts and butternuts, the fruit is superior to the California production in size, beauty and flavor, and the keeping qualities of its apples is remarkable. In demonstration of this assertion is the fact that the Earl Fruit Company of California, packed and shipped from here over forty carloads of pears and apples last fall for the eastern markets, paying higher prices than at any other place. A carload of fruit was shipped from here to Butte City, Mont., and immediately on its arrival there, an order came back covering more fruit than there was raised in the whole valley. Such a thing as a wormy apple ha never yet been found in Rogue River Valley.
Oregon is called the Webfoot State, and people of the East or other places who are not posted on this country, generally suppose that all of the state west of the Cascade Mountains is a very wet country; that is, however, not so, for situated as Rogue River Valley is, it is a most desirable medium between the excessive moisture of the Willamette and the Sound country on the north, and the scorching summer drought of the California valleys on the south,
THE ANNUAL RAINFALL
here being from 18 to 25 inches, always enough to ensure crops, but no extreme humidity nor high winds. In Ashland is established a United States Signal Service Station, and its records show that the thermometer seldom goes above 90° in the summer, and with the exception of that extremely cold snap of last winter, when it at one time fell to 3° below zero, it had not for years before been known to go below 12° above. In fact, the climate can for its healthfulness hardly be beaten in the country. Mineral springs are numerous, including sulfur, hot and cold, soda, magnesia and iron. In Ashland is the celebrated Ganiard's White Sulfur Springs, whose reputation as a sanitarium is already widely known. Ashland, the principal town, is situated in the southern portion of the valley, at the confluence of Bear Creek and Ashland Creek, tributaries of the rushing Rogue River. Ashland
Creek, running directly through town, having its source in the Ashland Butte, a snow-capped mountain only ten miles distant, furnishes a splendid water power for two flouring mills, a woolen mill, sash and door factories, furniture factories,
PLANING MILLS, ETC.also, for domestic uses. The creek, if confined, would suffice for a city of 25,000 inhabitants. The town has a very commanding location on sloping ground, at the base of the stately Siskiyou Mountains, overlooking the valley east and north. The population is about 2,400, but increasing at a rate of at least 100 a month at the present time, and the indications are that it will continue in the same ratio for years to come. Land near Ashland is held at quite respectable figures already, but thousands of acres within a few miles are yet to be had at prices which are not one-quarter or one-tenth of what is asked for similar land and under similar circumstances in California, and I venture to predict that Rogue River Valley will, inside of twenty-five years, have a population of 100,000 people. X.
Reno Evening Gazette, December 4, 1888, page 3
Oregon As It Is.ED. ENTERPRISE:--I promised you when I left Iowa that I would give you a few lines about my trip and the country in general. On our way we visited Wm. Miller at Center City, Nebraska. We were delayed 15 hours on account of the burning of [the] snow shed 8 miles west of Rock Creek in Wyoming. The shed was one-half mile long, and all had to burn before we could leave [before the train could pass through the ruins]. We soon reached Sisson [now Mount Shasta City], 3,000 [feet] above the sea level on Mt. Chasty [Shasta]. This mountain is 14,000 ft. high and covered with snow the year round. The timber belt is about one mile below the top, above this line nothing can grow as the ground there, if there be any, never thaws out. We then passed down into Chasty Valley. Good wheat is raised here and where water can be let on they raise timothy, clover, or anything else, but the good country is very limited. At 4 o'clock we reached the summit of the Ciseque [Siskiyou] Mountain. To get down we had to run down the side of the mountain, turn back, form a loop passing through a tunnel, then threble the track, making three tracks within 200 yards of each other. Now we get down into Rogue River Valley and find Ashland, population 1,500; 8 miles further on we find Phoenix, a small but old town; 4 miles further we come to Medford, the haven of rest. Here we are dumped off at the hind end of the train on the ground, our goods to be carried 100 yards to the depot or anywhere one thought best. The railroad company is done with you now. This is the nice treatment you will receive after traveling over the Great (on paper) Overland Route. It is now 6:15 p.m. We pinched ourselves to see if we were alive, called the roll of workmen, picked up our rags and bedding which we had used to keep our hipbones from hurting the bed slats, and carried them 100 rods to a house selected for us by one who went ahead to prepare a place that we might come. There we found venison for supper. I will not say we ate--you can imagine what you would have done.
The next morning at 9 o'clock we were brought to light, not by removing the mountain, but by the sun rising above it. That night it rained and kept it up until the roads got passable--I mean downwards as far as the wheels could go and bringing up a black gumbo or doby [adobe] soil that had not seen the light of day since last spring. Do not understand that this is all doby land, for there is a greater variety of land here than in any country I ever saw. First, all these towns stand on a strip of gravelly desert land from one-half to a mile and one-half wide, in some places so poor that tickle grass and chaparral brush refuse to grow; with small potholes all over it where water will stand till the sun, if it ever shines, draws it up; for it cannot get down as this is underlaid (I should say top-laid except about 4 in.) with a hardpan, or granite substance, in which, if you should dig a hole 6 feet deep, you would not have to set any sprig or mark the place in any manner so the place might be known, should future occasion ever require it, for it would stay just as you left it. But should you live after digging this hole and conclude to dig a well, you would proceed as before with a pick and shovel to go down gradually to a depth of 18 to 20 feet, where you will find plenty of water. The other hole can be used for burial, should you fall a victim to the typhoid fever which is raging here.
This strip of desert is bounded on the west by a great variety of land, consisting of gravel, knolls of timber and stony land that cannot be farmed. Passing through a strip of timber we came into nice, level farms. Walking through this, which is no small job by reason of the sticky soil, you find an entirely different variety. First a good deep black free soil where wheat, corn, oats, or anything will grow equally as well as in any other country. Here you find yourself getting happy and even start to sing, "The happy land of Canaan!"--but before you get to the Canaan part you look down and find your feet covered with putty or black mud. You stop to clean your feet, but fail. Your first thought is to swear; but on second thought--what is best when all attempts fail? The answer comes, Pray. You then proceed to perform that devotion standing, as you dare not kneel--if you could have held out a few steps farther you would have found a nice gravel bed free from dirt. In Iowa you have someone to pray for you; here you must pray for yourself. This sticky land if you succeed in getting it plowed will generally yield a good crop. The more general way of farming here is to raise one crop in three years. I mean farming one-third--letting one-third come up from the old seed and cutting that for hay; then leaving that part to grow up to a weed that looks like mustard, but no good on earth. The next year this part in wheat and so on.
The crops here last season were the best known for years, fruit not excepted. The fruit sunburns considerably here, as it gets very hot--rising to 118 last season in some localities. Potatoes cook in the ground if not dug early and covered deep. West of this strip of good land at the foot of the mountain stands Jacksonville, an old mining town. In this town Elasha [sic] Hammer of Iowa started the first store in Jackson County and sold goods in a tent. Back of these mountains there are farms and orchards on every patch of roller or side hill that can be worked. Some haul their produce 40 miles to Medford, passing through Jacksonville. The railroad missed Jacksonville 5 miles to the east, so it looks rather dead.
On the east side of Medford runs Bear Creek, passing just at the edge of town. Crossing the creek we find a strip of good land ½ mile in width, then widening as we go. Two miles west it is one mile wide. Then we come to the great desert, which divides the valley and leaves a narrow strip at the foot of the mountain and one along the creek. This desert is the playground of the wild goose. What they can want there I can't see, as there is neither water nor grass. On the east in the mountains there are farms on all that can be worked and on each and every one there are young orchards ranging from ½ acre to 300 acres. The fruit will be immense here in a few years. As it is cheap and plenty now, the future can only say what will become of it when the new orchards increase it ten times.
I have now been here nearly one month and shall start home soon. In conclusion I will say that there are more Iowa people here than of any 3 other states. So when you meet a man it is not necessary to ask what state he is from, just inquire what county. These men have sold all they possessed on earth to come to this foggy, web-footed country, where clouds, mist, and typhoid fever prevail, and invested all they have left after paying the exorbitant freight bill for carrying their scant supplies to their new home. After making the first payment (which is always small) they mortgage themselves, wives and children, and in some cases their dogs for the back payment on a few acres of poor desert land. In behalf of these people, when I cross the river at Omaha, I am authorized to give three whoops for Iowa, the land that will bless, clothe, feed and warm and give you a chance to work in fine weather to carry you through the storm--and not be compelled to plow in the rain to eke out a miserable existence in the fine climate of Rogue River and Willamette valleys, where, should you attempt to buy a farm, you would have to pay $100 per acre. You ask, how can they charge such a big price for such poor land? The man will remark that this is a good fruit country, and we have a most excellent climate. You ask, how is it divided? He will make it something like this: $60 for the climate; $39.75, fruit, and $0.25 for the land. This would be very cheap so far as the land is concerned--if you wished to secure a small plot, say 6 feet east and west, where you could dig a hole 6 feet deep to bury some of your family if they fell a victim to the typhoid fever. You could select a dandy place on a high, dry knoll, where the ground is so hard that no wild animals could penetrate. But the writer, not being of a dying nature, although the temptation was ever so great to secure so cheap an inheritance forever, would most humbly ask to be excused and pass out at the east gate, which I will do now.
JOSEPH MILLERKellogg (Iowa) Enterprise, December 14, 1888, page 3
Last revised October 5, 2023