County Never Has Been Prosperous as It Is Now.
There has never been a time in the history of Jackson County when all classes have been so prosperous as at the present. The mortgage indebtedness is less than at any time in the past 35 years, and a greater percentage of it was paid off last year than during any preceding years.JACKSON COUNTY.
There was great activity in the mines last year than at any time in the past 30 years. Many hydraulic enterprises were started, and many more are in contemplation for this year. The demand for mining property was never so great, and there were never so many large cash sales made in any one year as in 1900. The lighter placers have been almost wholly worked out, and those engaged in this branch of the industry have turned their attention to deep hydraulic mining. Unusual interest has been manifested in quartz the past year, and many promising veins have been discovered. More or less preliminary work was done on 300 or 400 ledges during the summer, and a number give promise of developing into permanent and valuable properties. There are now about 25 stamp mills in operation in the district, and a number more projected for the present year. The time is near at hand when the quartz branch of mining will surpass the placer. The output of 1900 is estimated at $400,000, and exceeds that of 1899 by $150,000.
A number of important enterprises in connection with quartz are in progress. Among them may be mentioned the 20-stamp mill and cyanide plant of Opp Brothers, on Jackson Creek. Dr. C. R. Ray, of the old Swinden ledge, near Gold Hill, is installing a cyanide plant, and will soon have it completed and ready for operation. He is adding to his machinery with a view to operations on a larger scale. Dr. Ray and the Opp Brothers will employ a force of 50 men each. The Ashland mine, under the new ownership of the Montreal & Oregon Company, is undergoing steady development, with a force of 40 men. The company will add five stamps to its mill in Ashland. The new Humason custom mill, at Gold Hill, is regarded as one of the most perfect and complete in the district. Two new discoveries in quartz are creating considerable interest. One is near the base of old Gold Hill, the famous strike of 1860, and the other on the divide between Forest Creek and Applegate. Both give promise of large value. The recent quartz discoveries at Elk Creek bid fair to make this the most permanent and valuable quartz section of the district. The veins, like those at Bohemia, are large and base and the country volcanic as at Bohemia. The idea, originated in an early day, that this was only a pocket country, has been exploded by the deep levels of 300 to 900 feet, the ore maintaining its value to the greatest depth yet attained.
The increasing demand and ready sale for good fruit for shipment have had a stimulating effect on this industry, and a number of new orchards have been put out and the older ones better pruned and cultivated, with more attention given to spraying. Leading fruit dealers estimate the export apple crop of 1900 at 225 carloads, an excess of 100 cars over any previous year. This represents a value, at the present price of 80 cents a box, of $108,000.
The projected enterprises of greatest magnitude are the Gold Hill High Line and Medford ditches. The former will be 94 miles long, 1 feet [sic] wide on top, eight on the bottom and six deep. Its capacity will be 15,000 miner's inches. The estimated cost of construction is $700,000. Eleven thousand dollars has been expended in completing the surveys and clearing part of the right of way. The ditch will cover 20,000 acres of fertile foothill and light bottom lands specially adapted to fruit-growing, and which, without the ditch, are practically worthless except for timber and grazing. In addition, there will be available for mining about 6000 acres of mineral land which cannot be utilized without artificial water supply. With 400 feet fall at Gold Hill, the ditch may be continued down Rogue River indefinitely.
The Medford ditch will be 53 miles long and have a capacity of 10,000 inches. The estimated cost of construction is $200,000. It will cover, approximately, 50,000 acres of valuable farming land and furnish water for domestic and power purposes at Medford and other points in the valley. Three thousand five hundred dollars has been expended in surveys. It is expected that work on both enterprises will be commenced in the spring.
Improvements in the towns and valley during 1900 have been in keeping with the general prosperity. Several brick business houses and something like 75 dwellings were built in Ashland and vicinity during the year at a cost of $100,000. A number of brick houses and, perhaps, 60 dwellings were built in Medford, at a cost of nearly $100,000. Gold Hill, Talent and Eagle Point show many new buildings and improvements, and evidences of prosperity are observable all over the county.
At least 300 families moved into the county in 1900--most of them people of means for investment. Of these, 100 should be credited to Ashland, 80 to Medford, and the remainder to other towns and sections of the county.
Sales of livestock, horses, cattle, sheep, hogs and goats for the year aggregate $140,000. Fruit, hops, wool, lumber, pelts, poultry and manufactured articles, $180,000. Output of gold, $400,000.
The income of the county for the year, aside from grain, hay, vegetable and general products of home consumption, may be set down, approximately, at $720,000.
W. J. PLYMALE.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1901, page 15
Noted for Its Mines and Great Abundance and Variety of Fruit.
Jackson County is bounded on the north by Douglas, east by Klamath, south by [the] California line, and west by Josephine County. It is practically 65x48 miles, and contains something over 3000 square miles. The northwest boundary of the county lies along the range that separates the waters of Rogue River from those of the Umpqua. This mountain is high, in many places rugged and almost everywhere heavily timbered.
The east boundary lies practically along the axis of the Cascade Range, and is marked by the range lines between ranges 4 and 5. The south boundary is latitude 42 north, and lies parallel with and in large part just south of the summits of the Siskiyou Range, which in places rises to an altitude of between 7000 and 8000 feet above sea level. These mountains are also heavily timbered. The west boundary crosses numerous mountain spurs that converge toward Rogue River from the north and south.
A little west of the center of the county lies its principal agricultural area--the Rogue River Valley. Mount McLoughlin, sometimes called Mount Pitt, stands near the eastern boundary of the county, and is a beautiful, snowy peak 9700 feet high. Ashland Butte stands just within the county, near its southern boundary, and has an altitude of nearly 8000 feet. Other peaks of these two ranges rise to a great height and furnish innumerable streams of never-failing water supply, as pure and clear as the dew drops of the morning.
It will be seen that the summits of these three great mountain ranges furnish three of the boundary lines of Jackson County; to wit, the north, the east, and the south, whose streams rush, converging, toward the central portion of the county, where the waters gather to form Rogue River, flowing thence westerly to the ocean. Each of these numerous tributaries has margins of greater or less extent of agricultural lands which are also tributary to the main valley.
The lowest level of the valley is where Rogue River crosses the west boundary of the county, and is about 1000 feet above the sea level. The greatest altitude at which agriculture or horticulture is made profitable in this county is perhaps about 3500 feet above sea level. Between these two levels great variety of products is obtained, not dependent on altitude alone, which is only climatic in its differences, but also on the soils, slopes and opportunities for irrigation.
The mountains occupying the southern and westerly parts of the county, westerly from the head of Rogue River Valley, are of a granite formation, while those to the north and east are volcanic and of more recent formation. The great height of these mountains induce a heavy snowfall at and near their summits, while snow seldom falls on any account in the lower valleys.
The streams leaping from such heights transport immense quantities of detritus to the valley; from the one region decomposed granite, and from the other the product of disintegrated volcanic matter, building up at one side of the valley a granite soil and at the other side, largely of adobe and volcanic ash, while toward the center or lower portions of the valley the two soils are mixed. Those who are familiar with these soils know the difference of production, under similar conditions of climate, to be found in the two.
The granite seems best adapted to peaches and well adapted to horticultural pursuits generally, and is known as the home of the peach. The lower portions of the valley, possessing a mixture of the two soils, are well adapted to horticultural pursuits, and where the granite docs not predominate and in the sections containing a loam produce in large quantities of splendid quality all of the cereals adapted to the climate. The soil that is chiefly known as adobe produces the strongest fruit trees and the longest lived, and is the best adapted to the growth of cereals. The Rogue River Valley has an area perhaps, including the streams with agricultural margins flowing into it, of 600 or 700 square miles, and is frequently designated as the Italy of Oregon. Its climate is the most equable to be found on the Pacific Coast; the average rainfall, as shown by many years' record. is about 20 to 24 inches. The weather is seldom colder than 10 degrees above, or hotter than 90 degrees above. Severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, or blizzards, are unknown. The productiveness of the valley and of the county is conceded by all who know it to be easily equal to anything on the Pacific Coast. The great numbers of streams furnish a never-falling supply of water, where needed for irrigation; we never have the extremes of heat or cold, drought nor extreme humidity that furnish the objectionable features in so many other regions.
Jackson County is especially noted for the abundance, great variety and excellent quality of its fruit. The peaches from this region have taken the premium at some of the great expositions of the country within the past few years, and particularly the Columbian Exposition at Chicago. The variety of fruits consists of apples, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, apricots, nectarines; and of berries are the blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, and other varieties. Blackberries and strawberries, like peaches, seem to reach perfection here, and also on the hillside slopes where the soil is of a clay grapes not excelled in the world are produced in great abundance. In fact, the peculiar variety of soils which we have, the warmth, the sunshine and the pure water have made of Rogue River Valley and the Applegate Valley, and other valleys in Josephine County, a section not excelled in the world for a great variety of fruits such as are at all adapted to this latitude.
Being surrounded as we are by high mountain ranges, the atmosphere of this section is to a very high degree pure and healthful, therefore, no region in the world excels it in this respect. The many attractions which nature has so lavishly spread here are producing a natural result in a rapidly growing population. The immigration for some years past has been very rapid, and of a class most conducive to the highest social and moral conditions of a community. No portion of Oregon is better supplied with schools, and all of the church organizations seem to be represented. The mountains surrounding the valley are high and picturesque, and nearly everywhere heavily timbered, with the finest quality of sugar pine, yellow pine, various varieties of fir and other woods and timber of great commercial value. Manufacturing establishments will find here in the future an excellent place for investment, the streams furnishing the cheapest quality of power. These mountain fastnesses, also, afford the most picturesque haunts for summer outings and places for recuperating health, or avoiding the heat of lower regions. The streams are filled with trout, which, living in water directly from the snow, are of the best varieties, finest quality. Game abounds in the mountains, but not in quantities that prevailed a few years ago.
Mining a Chief Source of Wealth.The mining industry of this country is one of the chief sources of the wealth of Southern Oregon. From the earliest days of Pacific Coast settlement, the gold fields of Southern Oregon have been noted and Jackson and Josephine counties have furnished from their placer mines millions of dollars in the yellow metal. The placer mines are not worked to the extent now that they used to be, yet there are many hydraulic propositions that during the winter season when water is plentiful yield large returns. Within the past few years the development of quartz mining has been rapidly pushed, and today there are a large number of quartz propositions that are paying. In the neighborhood of Gold Hill there are a great many quartz ledges being developed, some running very high, and from which quite a large return has already been made. The Ashland mine, near Ashland, is being worked at a depth greater than any other mine in Southern Oregon, the depth already obtained being something over 700 feet. The ledge has been fully demonstrated to have an extent, permanency and a richness fully justifying the hope and aspirations of its progressive and energetic owners. The Shorty-Hope Mining & Milling Company have large mining properties within a mile of the Ashland mine, upon which extensive work has been done, and from which large returns have been realized. This mine is owned chiefly by New York capitalists, while the Ashland mine is owned chiefly by Montreal capitalists. Each of these claims has a 10-stamp mill; both are well equipped, and have everything that is needful for successful operation. In the neighborhood of Jacksonville there are other quartz propositions now being operated, and still others being prospected. Enough has already been done and developed to demonstrate that the quartz mining for gold in Southern Oregon is as yet only in its infancy. The Klamath group of mountains, of which the Siskiyous form an important part, consist of a formation contemporaneous in age with the high Sierras of California, and the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. The formation and peculiar characteristics of each are the same. Each has furnished a field, in its own special locality, for the mines of the Pacific Coast, and the great propositions in a mining way, so far as developed, point to the assurance that these three are among the great mining regions of the United States. The mines of Jackson County are chiefly in the Siskiyous, which are seamed and broken by ledges containing gold, silver and copper. Many of these ledges are of a free-milling character, and are made eminently profitable by the present method of working ores, by the process of stamp mills, while many others are known as base ores, and will require smelting or chemical process to extract the values. Tests, however, are being made from hundreds of ledges of various kinds, and doubtless in the near future proper method of securing the values of each will be discovered. As a mining region Southern Oregon and Northern California present inducements not to be found in any other mining region perhaps in the world. Alaska, with its newly developed, or partially developed fields, presents a phase in its rigorous climate and distance from commercial marts which makes the working of its mines tedious, dangerous and expensive. Siberia presents the same difficulties. Australia, removed by thousands of miles of ocean, cannot possibly be reached by the man of modest means. Southern Oregon, with a climate that has entitled it to the appellation of the Italy of America, with valleys that produce everything that a miner could wish, to which easy access from all the mines is had, has eliminated from the miner's tribulations those things that have been difficulties in nearly all other mining regions in the world. Copper is being found now in many sections of Southern Oregon, and being prospected with excellent assurances of reasonable return. The present requirements, brought about by electrical developments, has pushed copper into the front as one of the most valuable metals, and the region under discussion presents many assurances that here will be found in large quantities the metal desired.
Other Mineral Resources.There are many other mineral products to be found in Jackson County; coal has been found in many places, but as yet, considering the facilities for transportation and the quality of the coal found, has not presented inducement for the investment of capital. Near Ashland, large beds of kaolin exist, and recently have been located in part by men interested in that line of product with a view of early development. This kaolin has been tested at Akron, O., and at other places where such clay is worked, and is pronounced to be of an excellent quality, while the quantity seems to be almost inexhaustible. Fire clay and mineral paints abound in many places. Graphite of a quality suited for lubricants is also found in large quantities. Asbestos is found in small quantities and of reasonably good qualities, which, by proper efforts, might be developed into paying quantities and of commercial quality. Seams and veins carrying large quantities of cinnabar are found in almost every direction, and in some places in the county small quantities of quicksilver have been extracted. The mountains surrounding these valleys furnish an excellent range for stock, which, owing to the exceeding mildness of the winters, have an attraction for stockmen not to be found in other sections.
The Southern Pacific Railroad traverses the county from the southeast to the northwest, passing through almost the extreme length of the county, and affords the only line of transportation which the people of Southern Oregon have, except those counties lying directly on the coast. Perhaps the only drawback which Southern Oregon at the present time experiences is the fact that we have but one railroad and that this company is not especially anxious to concede that which should be conceded to a region tributary to so important a degree as this region is. While the said company have certainly made, or apparently have made, concessions in the way of freights in some directions, it is a noticeable fact that it costs almost as much to ship a carload from any point on the railroad south of Portland or north of San Francisco to Ashland as it does from either of those cities to Chicago. It seems to the people of this region very reasonable that advantage should not be taken by a railroad company of an isolated position which to the extent above stated Southern Oregon has, but that said company should be as anxious for a complete development of the resources of all regions lying along its line as they are to secure the traffic from other sections to which they have some competition.
Several Prosperous Towns.Ashland is the chief town of Southern Oregon, having a population of 3000 or perhaps something more than that. It is notable for the beauty of its surroundings, for its rapid growth, its pure water, its healthful climate, its school advantages, and for the mines that are tributary to it. It occupies the heart of the peach region, and has been termed "Peach-Blow Paradise." The growth of this little city for the past two or three years has not been due to any boom, but has been remarkable. It is the site of a state normal school, of an important Chautauqua association, with beautiful and extensive grounds, and capacious auditorium; it has splendid school buildings, and has on its enrollment over 1100 school children. It occupies the position as central division station on the Southern Pacific Railroad, between Portland and San Francisco, and its payroll from said company reaches well up to $20,000 a month. It has many beautiful homes, public buildings, and much public spirit.
Medford is the second town in size in Jackson County, occupies a central position to the agricultural region, is a place of much enterprise, is rapidly growing, does an extensive business, and is well equipped with schools and other things required to make a prosperous and lively town. Medford's position will always give it an importance in Southern Oregon. A large ditch is now in course of construction which is intended ultimately to carry the waters of Butte Creek around the foothills of the valley for irrigation purposes, and to supply Medford with the necessary quantity of excellent water for all purposes, domestic and irrigation.
Jacksonville is the county seat of Jackson County. For many years it was the metropolis of Southern Oregon. It is beautifully situated five miles west from Medford, with which it is connected by a short line of railroad owned by private parties. Jacksonville was the old mining center of this portion of the state, and, like Kerbyville, once had a glory which has since largely departed; notwithstanding this. Jacksonville is one of the most pleasant, healthful and beautiful locations that can be found on the Coast. Its vineyards and those in the immediate vicinity give to Oregon very largely the credit which is her due in the culture of grapes and the possibilities which will be attendant upon a complete exploitation of that industry, when there shall have been a much-needed competing method of transportation from this valley to some point on the coast, which doubtless in the future will be accomplished.
Gold Hill is in size and probable possibilities the third place in the county. Its people believe that it will in time grow to be a metropolis. There is no doubt but that Gold Hill is at the present time and with proper spirit may continue to be the principal gold mining center of Jackson County. It is beautifully situated on the banks of Rogue River, has all the advantages of climate accorded to Rogue River Valley, excellent water, good health, and a large agricultural region tributary to it. There is a large ditch in progress of construction, which, when completed from its initial point on Rogue River to Gold Hill, will have a length of nearly 90 miles, and if completed on the plans and specifications started will not only furnish that region and the country lying along it with excellent water and with quantities sufficient for mining and irrigation, but will also furnish an avenue for the transportation of the immense quantities of lumber that must in the future be cut along the line traversed by it. The timber resources of upper Rogue River are practically inexhaustible and the quality of the timber for commercial purposes unexcelled. From this source Gold Hill hopes much.
The other towns in the county are: Talent, five miles west of Ashland: Phoenix, three miles further on; Central Point, four miles north of Medford; Woodville, nine miles northwest from Gold Hill, and Eagle Point, lying nine miles east of the railroad and situated in the beautiful Butte Creek Valley, a portion of the Rogue River Valley.
Each of these towns exhibits the thrift and growth so plainly noticeable throughout the whole valley.
It would be impossible in the space allotted to this article to go further into detail in pointing out the advantages and attractive features of Jackson County. Strangers who have visited it and remained any length of time are always loud in its praise, and the people who live here are sufficiently appreciative of the advantages we have to believe that the praise given to the county is justly its due. In fact, a thorough knowledge of its mountains and valleys tends to induce a poetic sentiment, which can not be avoided by one who becomes familiar with it, and for fear that I might wind this article up with a stanza or two or poetry, I will close it now abruptly.
Ashland. C. B. WATSON.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1902, page 22
Medford, Oregon, is located in the Rogue River Valley, which is covered with great prune, pear, apple, peach and almond bearing orchards, some of which have two hundred acres of trees, the limbs of which are breaking with fruit. It is a land of roses and beautiful flowers, and of cultivated and educated people, refined and social, and keeping abreast of the times. She has many gold-producing mines surrounding her, and her fields produce an abundance of wheat, hay, corn, oats and garden products. The climate is a happy mean between the hot weather of Southern California and the cold winters of Washington. The currents which sweep the coast of Japan modifying and tempering her temperature, and beautiful mountains, some of which are snow-capped, sit round the valley, producing a magnificent panorama of scenery.
Medford is the home of many old "Miami" [Indiana] people, among whom I met Frank Hutchison, Joseph Merley, my son-in-law, Clarence Hutchison, and my children, Harry and Mattie [Myers Hutchison]. Clarence has a large dry goods and general store, and Harry [Myers] has a jewelry store, both of whom are doing a nice business. Mr. Merley has a nice fruit farm, and with looking after that and preaching the gospel, his time is actively taken up.
Ira B. Myers, "Across the Continent," Peru Republican, Peru, Indiana, July 5, 1901, page 6
GOOD WORDS FOR SOUTHERN OREGON
Bloomfield, Iowa, Aug. 2, '01.
Editor Mail:--I thought it good to write you a brief letter, giving some of my impressions and observations on a recent visit to that vicinity. We arrived at Medford on May 4th. We were greatly surprised to find it a beautiful town of two or three thousand inhabitants, and all grown up in the last seventeen years. Its situation and surroundings are beautiful and picturesque beyond any conception we had formed of it, being situated in the midst of a beautiful and fertile valley, with gently rounded knolls, foothills and abrupt, wooded mountains forming pleasing features of the landscape in various directions.
The climate seems to be salubrious. According to the testimony of the inhabitants, the country is exceedingly healthful. If its merits in these respects were fully understood abroad, it would deserve attention as a health and pleasure resort equally with many places which have become famous as such.
This seems to be an era of coal [and] oil discovery. Many new regions are attracting attention on account of these discoveries, and this region of Southern Oregon among the rest. On the farm which was the chief scene of our visit, the farm belonging to Mrs. Priscilla Evans and heirs, about five miles northeast of Medford, are strong indications of oil. On either side of a large knoll near Mrs. Evans' residence rise two springs, and we were told that the water flowing from these springs was often covered with oil to the thickness of a pane of window glass. Other places in the neighborhood showed indications of oil. Men were there while we were there, seeking to bond the land to prospect for oil.
We greatly enjoyed our five weeks' visit in the vicinity of Medford. If we should be permitted to return there in two or three years, we may find the beauty and picturesqueness of the scene marred by oil wells scattered through this once-beautiful valley, and the neat and thriving town of Medford transformed into a great, bustling oil metropolis.
MRS. CATHERINE ETHELL.Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 2
Bouquets for Southern Oregon.
From the Sherburn (Minn.) Advance.
M. M. Jenkins is in receipt of a letter from his daughter, Miss Hope, who is visiting in the state of Oregon. We are permitted to publish a portion of the letter regarding her observations, along the line of fruit raising and other lines of interest to people in Minnesota. Under date of Oct. 12th, she writes from Medford (Oregon):
"I have been here just a week, and the more I see of the country the better I like it, and if half they tell me is true, it certainly is a very delightful country. Thursday we drove to Jacksonville, the county seat. Coming back we came by what is known as the mountain road, but I would never have known it had I not been told. Both going and coming we passed such prosperous-looking places, and so many of them have large apple, peach, pear and prune orchards. The valley has gone quite extensively into the prune raising, and they say hundreds of bushels are going to waste for the want of dryers. Land is rising in value quite rapidly around here. Alfalfa seems to be the most profitable crop. After getting the land once seeded down it does not have to be seeded again for ten years. Three crops can be cut from it during the season, and average from four to six tons to the acre and brings from $8 to $10 per ton. As near as I can figure it, this will be the home of farmer millionaires in a very few years. The greatest drawback to the valley is the Southern Pacific railway. The freight rates are simply outrageous. There is a railroad here that has never experienced any trouble with strikes. It runs from here to Jacksonville, a distance of five miles, and is owned and operated by a man and his son. The rolling stock consists of an engine, a passenger and baggage car combined and one freight car. They make two trips a day and the road is well patronized. One thing which I cannot understand out here is that you can see anything off fifteen miles and it won't look more than half a mile distant."
Medford Mail, November 8, 1901, page 2
All Kinds of Questions Are Asked.
People in the East and South are always asking all sorts of questions regarding Oregon. These questions are ofttimes too ridiculous to be taken seriously or answered intelligently. Below is a list received this week by one of our citizens, which we print because of the fact that there are several new ones, and someone who may receive this paper in the East may want to add them to their list of foolish inquiry. There are some of the questions, however, which are such as any prospective locator would want to know, and these we will endeavor to answer. Here is the list:
"Is the climate mild?" Answer:--Yes. There is probably not a country anywhere with a more even temperature than here. The climate in Southern Oregon is a very agreeable medium between the extreme wet and fog of northern Oregon and Washington and the warm, dry climate of California. Here the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, or neither too dry nor too wet--just right for all purposes.
"What about the winter; is it long or short?" Answer:--We in reality have no winter, as the term is understood in the East. From the middle of November to April we have frequent showers of rain--from one to two days each week, with warm sunshine between and some frost at night. Rarely ever any snow in the valley. Unprotected water pipes are rarely ever frozen.
"Are the summers very warm?" Answer:--Yes. Ofttimes the temperature reaches 100 in the shade, but there are never any prostrations from heat. The atmosphere is so dry--never humid during warm weather as it is in the East--that no inconvenience is experienced and all work progresses at the same pace it does with the thermometer at 70. The nights are always cool.
"What would it cost to build a small, comfortable house?" Answer:--A five- or six-room cottage can be built for from $400 to $700. Price would depend largely upon a person's idea of comfort. A dwelling which will serve all purposes and be comfortable so far as ample protection from the weather is concerned can be built for much less than figures given above.
"What are the wages for a Chinaman servant, a cowboy, a shepherd, a cook, servants and workmen?" Answer:--Few people here employ Chinamen. Servants are an unknown quantity in most Southern Oregon families. The wages of a good farm hand range from $18 to $26 per month, and he don't usually care very much whether he herds cattle, stacks alfalfa or sprays fruit trees. The wages of a hired girl are from $2.50 to $4 per week. In most Southern Oregon homes the hired girl is the whole thing--cook, general housekeeper, washerwoman, servant (?) and companion--sometimes. In fact she is it from cellar to garret.
"What is the price of a cow, horse, sheep, mule (this isn't what he called it), pig, poultry?" Answer:--Cows are worth from $20 to $70; horses, from $35 to $125; sheep, from $2.50 to $3.50 per head; mules, about the same as horses; hogs, from $4 to $5 per hundredweight; chickens, from $2.50 to $3.50 per dozen; turkeys, 9 cents per pound; ducks, $3 per dozen; geese, $5 per dozen.
"What is the price of meat, a bag of flour, a bag of potatoes, of bread?" Answer:--Meat retails at any of Medford's three markets at from 8 to 15 cents a pound; a 50-pound "bag" of flour is worth 85 cents, a "bag" of potatoes--100 pounds--is worth from a cent to a cent and a half a pound; a loaf of bread will cost a five-cent nickel. You can buy six loaves for five nickels.
"How are sold the cattle? Do the people buy on the farm?" Answer:--Cattle are sold almost any old way at from $3.50 to $4.50 per hundredweight. People do not buy ON the farm, but city buyers buy FROM the farmers who have raised cattle ON the farm.
"Do the grazing cattle sell easily?" Answer:--Yes. Ofttimes the buyers are sold, but this is not general, as Southern Oregon beef is a prime article always. The buyer with the longest sack always ships the longest trainloads of cattle.
"How many sheep can a shepherd keep?" Answer:--On the range two herders usually handle from 3000 to 4000.
"How many cows will a cowboy keep?" Answer:--Depends altogether on what he is doing with the cows. Ofttimes four cowboys can keep one cow very satisfactorily, then again and under different conditions 100 cows can be kept headed for the home ranch by one cowboy. Then again the number of cows a cowboy can "keep" depends upon the distinctness of the brands. As a usual thing he will keep all he can and keep himself out of the penitentiary.
"Is Medford a consequent town, and can I find the necessaries for my living and nothing too expensive?" Answer:--Yes, sir. Medford is of more consequence than a bunch lot of all the other towns of the valley--with an apology to Tolo. Medford is a town of 2500 people. Every line of business is represented here. You can buy anything you will need to live on--from a cambric needle to a threshing machine. All household necessities are very reasonable in price in Medford--cheaper in fact than in most coast towns. Prices do not vary much from those of eastern towns, except in cases of local production, where we are undoubtedly cheaper.
"Are the sheep subject to disease; do they all die off at once?" Answer:--No. There is no disease here peculiar to sheep except scab, and this succumbs very readily to treatment. They die off at once when the butcher decides he needs one for the block, or they get caught in a barbed wire fence--and these are sometimes for the block.
"Can I find in Medford the agricultural instruments necessary on a farm, and are they expensive?" Answer:--About the only agricultural "instrument" necessary on a farm is a piano, although many farmers seem happy and prosperous who have only the music of a buck saw, the crow of the family rooster and a threshing machine with which to amuse themselves. Agricultural implements, however, can be bought in Medford from one or all of three dealers and at prices as low as they can be bought for elsewhere.
Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 2
A FEW THINGS ABOUT ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.
The editor has received many letters recently from eastern people, inquiring about the country, climate, soil and the price of land. Many of these people inquire if there are any real estate agents, making the remark, "You must not have them or they would advertise?" Well, we do have some here, but they are not rustling much for business.
Rogue River Valley contains several hundred thousand acres of land of every known soil, which in the main is very productive, being especially adapted to the raising of fine fruit and grains, and no doubt someday will be a veritable garden and great resort, as the climate is particularly its own, being entirely different from any other section of Oregon and California. Land varies in price and can be bought from $2.50 to $200 per acre, owing to kind, improvements and location. There is considerable good land for sale. The valley is traversed by the Southern Pacific R.R. some 50 miles.
In speaking of this country let us say that eleven years ago we caught our first view of the valley coming over the Siskiyou Mountains from California. We had viewed in our youth the boundless prairies of the Middle West; in later years, the country round about the Great Lakes; had crossed and recrossed many times in different parts the Appalachian Range of mountains; had coasted along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; had seen the mountains of San Domingo and Cuba rise from out the sea in all the glory of their crimson glow. We were at this time finishing a long journey across the continent from the far southland, with a lingering memory still of the old Spanish ruins along the Halifax River, and the old city of St. Augustine, by the sea, around which is thrown the halo of romance and history of the early settlement of this country. With still the memory of the sylvan beauty of the red clay hills of western Florida, the quixotic airs of the old creole city of New Orleans; viewed the great plains and prairies of the Lone Star State; had stopped at San Antonio and paid a pilgrimage to the immortal Alamo, and after crossing the cactus plains of New Mexico and Arizona, had roasted and frozen in the sunny clime of Southern California; viewed many pretty scenes throughout the "Golden State," but never had our eyes rested upon a view which so charmed and dazzled as did our first view of Rogue River Valley. Here nature seemed to have been, when building, in fairest mood; for here she had thrown down, not in chaotic confusion, but in such happy blend as surely would appeal to [the] artist's eye. Here were the fairest of fields and wooded hills, and for a background, in any direction you might look, were lofty mountains crowned with eternal snow, and wrapped about and clothed with verdure to the snow line--for this is spring time--the sun low down in the west, casts a shadow from every mountain peak and with every changing shadow the prismatic colors come and go, now crimson, now gold, now blue, now green; with the last faint rosy tints of the fading day, the perfume of the blossoming fruit and green fields, so intermingling the simple with the grand that the charm is irresistible, making an impression that can never be effaced and one which is just as true today--and even more so--than our vision of years ago. Fair favored land! where grows to perfection the fruits and grains of the temperate zone. A land of clear-running brooks and crystal rivers; a land of gold, from whose fair mountains millions have been taken of the precious metal, and where countless millions still remain, only waiting for the patient miner to bring them forth. And here to this valley let us say there comes no burning sirocco to blast and shrivel with one scorching breath, nor do we ever have the dread tornado which leaves destruction in its wake; nor hither comes the mighty "Ice King" to lock the land within its mighty grasp. Here in this favored clime at small expense life can be maintained in comfort throughout the year. Canaan was noted in ancient times as a land of promise and was the prize sought and gained by many kings. Perhaps this valley, for who can tell, will be as world-famous as was the land of Canaan, and fair legends will be told in times to come, making it more renowned than the old Greek legends tell us of Thessaly's famous vale of Tempe.
Horace Mann, editor, Medford Enquirer, April 20, 1901, page 4
Last revised November 9, 2019