Jackson County 1888
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Last revised January 31, 2020