The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1907

F. H. Hopkins Talks to Reporter--Large Yield of Fruit--
Road to Coal Mine--Real Estate on the Raise--
Medford's Bright Prospects for the Future.

    F. H. Hopkins of the Snowy Butte orchard was in Portland last week, and as the result of an interview with a representative of the Portland Oregonian that paper has published a lengthy article, from which we glean the following:
    Mr. Hopkins says that the fruit season has been highly satisfactory, both in matter of yield and in prices obtained, the pear growers, in which guild he is enrolled, having obtained as high prices as ever, and large yield in most localities in the valley. He himself realized more than $9000 from 18 acres of Winter Nelis pears, which yield was surpassed by an orchardman south of Medford, who, from 12 acres of Bartlett pears and Yellow Newtown apples, sold something more than $9000 worth of fruit. His success resulted from irrigating his little orchard with a pumping plant, taking the water from a well in Bear Creek bottom with a gasoline engine and centrifugal pump. This system of irrigating is becoming quite the vogue where the acreage is small and the underflow of water is sufficient.
    Mr. Hopkins asserts that in his opinion the strongest feature of the Rogue River Valley is its wonderful diversity of productions, the great market afforded for everything produced in any line by the proximity of the mines and lumber camps of Northern California and the district west and north of the valley in Oregon, all of which districts look to this fertile valley as their base of supplies. This great market is of considerable importance in developing any orchard, as anything in the food line from the soil, or as a byproduct of the business, finds a ready market at good figures.
    Alfalfa seed growing is sure to be one of the chief industries of the valley, for from the second crop from the fields a yield of not less than $30 an acre was obtained from about 400 acres harvested during the past season. As two months' good pasturage is obtained after the removal of the seed crop, and a fine hay crop secured from the first cutting, the alfalfa men feel encouraged. It will add somewhat to the price of hay in the future, which is important, as it looked at one time as if there would be a chronic surplus of hay in this valley. It is all finding a ready market at prices ranging from $10 to $13 a ton, freight on board cars at this time, however.
    The thing which looks best at this tine in the southern part of the state is the development of the coal mine east of Medford by Medford men, the vein now showing fully nine feet in thickness, and the quality of the coal rapidly improving as the mountain is
penetrated, the pressure of course being much greater on the coal under the mountain. Medford has been supplying more or less of the coal to residents of Ashland for some time past.
    The Southern Pacific Company has been sitting up and taking notice for months past, whenever Medford coal is mentioned, and the company is considering the advisability of throwing a spur from Medford to the mine to supply its own needs. It is thought that action will be taken within the next 30 days, as the coal is of sufficient extent and the quality is good enough for railroad men. The extent of the coal is much greater than at first thought, the indications being equally good all the way around the mountain known as "Roxy Ann," east of Medford, and the continuation of the coal measures showing up equally well at the head of Antelope Creek and north of the river at the head of Evans Creek.
    Land which has indisputable evidences of coal measures underlying, usually afforded from the dirt thrown out of the ground squirrel burrows, to illustrate the degree of prospecting so far done, has had quite an advance in value recently. A widow who owned a bleak hillside on the north spur of "Roxy Ann" and had the tract listed for sale less than a year ago for $650 sold it last week to local buyers for $3000. Almost every hole showed the black diamonds.
    Referring to land prices, Mr. Hopkins feels assured of a great advance in realty value in the valley soon, as the recent blizzards in the Dakotas and Montana have directed hundreds of inquiries to the Rogue River Valley from men with plenty of means who are tired of the inclement weather [elsewhere]. It is known already that more property will change hands in the valley within the next three months than in the last three years.
    Without boasting, Mr. Hopkins says he is assured from his own observations that where other fruit sections are confined to one or two specialties, the Rogue River Valley has a dozen from which as good yields are annually being obtained as from the best of other districts, and yet land values in the Rogue River Valley are less than half those in other districts, which have been undoubtedly boomed. Yet the Rogue River Valley has the most perfect climate in the Northwest, and is attracting more attention than any other section. This valuation condition cannot continue long, for the productive capacity is what regulates the values of land everywhere, and he looks for a material advance, especially in the case of young orchards approaching the bearing stage.
Medford Mail, February 1, 1907, page 1

By C. B. Watson
    The Siskiyou Mountains cover a large area in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California, and constitute a part of a cluster of mountains, designated in the records as the "Klamath Group." This group is bounded on the south by the Sacramento Valley, and Coast Range of mountains, in California, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by the Coast Range and Rogue River Valley, in Oregon, and on the east by the Cascade Mountains, in Oregon, and Shasta Valley and the Shasta breaks, in California.
    The group embraces the Wooly Bully and Scotts mountains, in northern California, and the Siskiyou Mountains, partly in Oregon, and partly in California. This group is designated as an "old Cretaceous island," having been an island when the waters of the ocean washed the foot of the Rocky Mountains. At this period the Cascade Mountains had not appeared above the surface and the ocean billows rolled undisturbed over the spot where Shasta now stands. At that period the Blue Mountains, now a part of northeastern Oregon, was also an island, and the present high Sierra was a contemporaneous island, or continent, and terminated at a point--at its northernmost end--between the Pit and Feather rivers.
    It would be interesting, but not expedient at this time, to give all the facts upon which this assumption is based. Suffice it to say that the old shoreline is easily traced by the sandstone that was laid along it, and is rich in its fossil records. The ammonite, trilobite, trigonia and other shells belonging to that period, known as the Cretaceous, not only determines the age, but being marine fossils makes it unquestionable that at the time they were deposited the ocean covered the spots where they are found. Many of these shells are found embedded in sandstone near the point where the Southern Pacific railroad crosses the Siskiyou Mountains at an altitude of four thousand feet. All that portion of Rogue River Valley which borders upon the old island has the shoreline well marked with these fossiliferous sandstones.
    The purpose of this article being to deal only with the Siskiyou Mountains and Rogue River Valley, I shall not treat of the geological records of other sections, only to say that the records and the history here will apply largely to those sections mentioned as being contemporaneous. The Siskiyous have a direction from east to west, the summit of the range marking the vicinity of the dividing line between California and Oregon, the line being sometimes north and in other places south of the summit of the range. Many of its peaks rise to an altitude of eight thousand feet and several above that. The formation is largely granite, and the great gold fields of the early mining days of southwestern Oregon and northwestern California were in the Siskiyous. Yreka, Cottonwood, Humbug, Klamath River, Jacksonville, Applegate, Willow Springs, Gold Hill, and many other names will sound familiar to the old miners as the mining camps of the days of the '50s. Millions of dollars have been taken from the rich placers of these mountains, and we are today in the era of the development of the many rich ore bodies that are discovered to have been the feeders of the placers of the earlier days.
    The gold mines of the Siskiyous have already added much to the world's supply of the yellow metal, and the prospect promises that here will be opened up indefinite riches in gold and copper. Immense copper deposits are being developed at the Blue Ledge, thirty miles south of Jacksonville, the county seat of Jackson County, and in the vicinity of Waldo, near the head of the Illinois River, in Josephine County, Oregon. These properties are in the hands of capitalists, who have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing them and in constructing roads into these rugged mountain fastnesses. These copper deposits are found near the summit of the Siskiyou, partly in Oregon, and partly in California, but the outlets are in Oregon.
    The scenic attractions of these mountains are great. Massive piles of granite rise into regions of perpetual snow, from which streams go plunging down the deep, dark cañons, and through magnificent forests of pine and fir, to make glad and rich some of the most beautiful valleys in the world.
    The Rogue River Valley is one of the most beautiful and favored spots on the Pacific Coast. It is rich in soil, greatly diversified in its products, and blessed with a climate as equable as can be found anywhere, consistent with health, comfort and diversified productions. It is a choice spot among the many delightful locations to be found on the coast. The mean annual temperature, for twenty-four years, is fifty-two and one-hundredth degrees. The average rainfall for twenty-four years last past is nineteen and sixty-nine one-hundredths inches annually. These conditions and the character of the soil make the valley especially adapted to horticulture. Peaches, apples, pears, apricots, and a great variety of berries and grapes are produced in great abundance. A great variety of farm products are produced, which together with extensive mining, lumbering and stock raising give a variety of resources not excelled. Unlike Alaska, mining may be continued the year around, and abundant supplies may be had at any mine within one or two days' travel with wagon or pack animals.
    The valley is a gem, as seen from the lofty mountains that surround it like a rich frame about a magnificent painting.
    Coming into the valley by the Southern Pacific from California, a run of fifty minutes brings the traveler from the summit of the Siskiyous to the city of Ashland, known for the scenic beauty of its environment. The trip from the summit is one never to be forgotten. The construction of the road over this mountain is one of the wonders of the route. The views never fail to delight the traveler and astonish the stranger. The first view of the valley, as the train moves slowly down its zigzag course, is one not easily forgotten by anyone, world traveler though he may be.
    Just before entering the tunnel, at its southern portal on the summit of the Siskiyous, you will have a wonderful view of Northern California, and your last view of grand old Shasta. Just to the east, one will see Pilot Rock about four miles away, and towering one thousand, five hundred feet higher than the roadbed at the tunnel. This massive pile of basalt has a historic interest. It is claimed that Fremont, in his early explorations, and while on his way from Oregon into California, had seen the Siskiyou Mountains from high points between the Umpqua and Rogue rivers. They appeared so massive and unbroken that he inquired of the Indians for a trail, or directions by which he might cross them. The Indians pointed to a prominent rock, perhaps a hundred miles away, standing just to the left of the Siskiyous and told him to keep just to the right of this and he would find "heap good trail." He kept this rock in view, crossed Rogue River Valley, and found the pass. He called the rock Pilot Rock, and it has held that name. Later the overland stage line, from Sacramento to Portland, crossed in the same pass, and when the railroad came to be built, no better pass could be found.
    Ashland Butte, ten miles on a direct line south from Ashland, is one of the highest peaks of the Siskiyou Range. Snow usually lies upon this mountain the year around and furnishes Ashland its water. The quantity and quality of this water has been an important factor in making Ashland a famous little city of schools, churches and homes, of five thousand people. The butte is one of the objective points for summer pilgrimages. A wagon road for six miles, and a good trail the remainder of the way, takes one to the top. The first six miles is along Ashland Creek Cañon, a route romantic, scenic and delightful. The road to the summit leads to the heart of the mountains, eight thousand feet above the sea, the apex of an old island which once stood in volcanic glory, a beacon light to a shipless sea, when the leviathan, mammoth and hairy elephant were rivals for favored sports along its old shoreline.
    Following Ashland Creek Cañon for a distance of four miles, we enter Ashland Park, a national reserve set apart by the government as a water and timber preserve. During the hot summer days a more delightful retreat cannot be found. This park abounds in cascades, waterfalls, beautiful groves and towering peaks, grass-covered glades and flower-bedecked nooks. The mountains are heavily timbered with pine, fir, hemlock and cedar, while the streams are bordered with a great variety of growths.
    When we have reached the top of the range, a glorious view spreads out in every direction. Mountain billow upon mountain billow succeeds one another until the gaze is dimmed with the magnitude of the scene. Mount Shasta, fourteen thousand, four hundred and forty feet high, though sixty miles away, seems near, and with a good glass its glaciers can be plainly seen. To the south and stretching away to the west, Scotts Mountains rise grandly, serrated and snow-decked. Between Scotts Mountains and Shasta, the course of the Sacramento River is easily traced. Nearer at hand, Shasta Valley shines like a garden of beauty. To the west the rugged Siskiyous stretch away to the horizon. To the northwest the Coast Range, dark and somber in its forest garb, stretches away until it blends with the skyline. Everywhere are densely wooded mountains. To the northwest and near at hand, six thousand feet below us, lies Rogue River Valley, so close that barns, houses, orchards and fences can be seen, and more than half a dozen towns and villages enliven the picture. To the east and extending northerly in an unbroken line extends the Cascade Range, from Shasta to British Columbia. We can trace it for a hundred miles, and if the weather is very clear we can see the Three Sisters, more than one hundred and fifty miles away. Mount McLoughlin, Union Peak, the crags about Crater Lake, Mount Thielsen and the Three Sisters are among the snow peaks.
    Twenty miles west of Ashland Butte are Squaw Lakes, two little lakes of great depth and romantic surroundings. Game is plentiful, and for a summer's outing no place more delightfully situated could be found. About fifty miles west of Ashland, still in the Siskiyous, are the great Josephine County caves that have been explored for a distance of two and a half miles, but the magnitude of which is beyond knowledge. These mountains also contain extensive bodies of marble in which are caverns of unknown extent. These marble deposits are found both in Jackson and Josephine counties, and suggest a still older geological history. Old as these mountains are, these marbles are older and were laid down in the ocean before this old island came to the surface. The bedding of this marble is slate that was deposited as a sedimentary slime on the ocean floor before the lime was deposited from which this marble resulted. In places this marble is two thousand feet thick and occupies the summits of high ridges. These bodies are but fragments of what once was a large and continuous area of marble. Erosion through eons of ages has cut great cañons through it and through the slate on which it rests, leaving the strata exposed along the sides of the remaining fragments.
    The Applegate River rises in the heart of the Siskiyous and flows by a sinuous course northerly into Rogue River. This stream is one of great beauty, and the mines along it have been among the richest in all this region. The lower course of the stream is through a fertile valley having climate, soil and resources identical with Rogue River Valley, though in area it is smaller. Williams Creek Valley is one of the most beautiful in all the Siskiyou Mountains. Here, in addition to a great wealth of orchard, garden and dairy products, are extensive mining enterprises. The mountains everywhere send down copious supplies of pure mountain water, and trout fishing is the delight of the mountaineer and tourist. Everywhere visions of beauty--in the bright sunlight eight thousand feet above the sea, or groping with torch in hand through the eternal stillness of dark caverns, clambering among its rugged peaks above the clouds, or breathing in the fragrance and incense of mighty forests, these regions seem always enchanted and the hand of God ever present:
For the dark, resounding caverns,
  Where Thy small still voice is heard;
For the strong pines of the forest
  That by Thy breath is stirred;
For the storm on whose free pinions
  Thy spirit walks abroad--
For the strength of the hills, we bless Thee,
  Our God, our father's God!
Sunset magazine, April 1907, pages 566-571

    Jacksonville is the county seat of Jackson County, and in it are located all of the county institutions. It is one of the oldest towns in the state, and a history of Oregon would be far from complete without a resume of the lives of its inhabitants and a recital of the many incidents that have added so much to the story of the settling up of the state of Oregon.
    It has never enjoyed the distinction of having a boom; a hot air artist, with a paper map marked off into imaginary town lots and streets, would starve to death in it; nevertheless it is the home of more capital, has more varied natural resources and more money-paying investments within its corporate limits and adjacent and tributary to it, and only it, than any other town of three times its size in the state.
    It is more patriotic, more ready to join in and help along a good cause, and prouder of its fair name and civic pride than any other town in the state, bar none. Should a public celebration be planned, a fund of a thousand dollars or more is easily raised in a day. First, by good substantial contributions from its ever wide-awake and progressive business men, and second, from subscriptions varying from fifty cents each to five dollars, donated by the boys and girls. For years the children from its schools have been admitted without examination into the foremost and best colleges of the country. The statement, "Graduated from the Jacksonville Public School," is a guarantee of work well done and the password without test.
    It is here that the Sisters of the Holy Names have so long maintained their seminary for young ladies; here they have a beautiful home, consisting of two large, commodious and handsome school buildings, and a large and well-equipped dormitory.
    It is seldom here that you hear the remark "How much does it cost?" But on the contrary, it is "What is the best?"
    Just three years ago our school house burned, but school didn't stop. We built another one that cost $15,000, that was conceded by everyone, critics included, to be the very best public school house that money could buy or honest and intelligent labor and construction erect. Now it has just burned down and we are going to build another one that is going to cost more than that and be a better one in the bargain. That's the kind of people we have here--they never say "Quit."
    It is from Jacksonville and the adjoining vicinity that all of the principal products of the county come. Within its limits and near the southern and western suburbs are the finest vineyards in the United States. From them grapes are shipped to points scattered all over the United States and Canada. This is the only town in the state where native wine is made, bottled and sold, from grapes grown, cultivated, and picked at the very door of the winery. Very few visitors visit Jackson County without taking back to their homes, as a pleasant memento of the trip, a case of this splendid beverage.
    When it comes to mines and mining, Jacksonville certainly leads in numbers--number of men employed, output and in everything except promoting and watered stock. Just a mile from it is the celebrated Opp mine, now owned by a New York syndicate and employing a large force of men. Stock in it is not for sale--why? Because the owners are making money out of it by taking out gold at a low rate of cost for production. On this mine are 18 tunnels and a twenty-stamp quartz mill of the latest pattern, including a new and successful roasting plant for the better treatment of the ore. A force of about one hundred men are employed in this mine. Three miles to the south and west is located the placer mine known as the "Sturgis" property, now owned and operated by the Sterling Mining Company. This mine, while not so large as the Sterling, employs a large force of men and yields handsome profits to its owners.
    The Sterling mine, situated 8 miles south of Jacksonville, is the largest placer in the state. From it has been taken more gold than from any other placer mine in Oregon. It is a well-equipped, extensive property. Its water is conveyed through ditches twenty miles long around precipitous mountainsides that cause people to wonder how it was done. The water is taken from Little Applegat,e and it is only for the fact that the rights were initiated at an early date that the mine has so much water for its use.
    The Blue Ledge is tributary to Jacksonville and located about 25 miles to the south. It is from here that supplies are shipped, the men paid, and the business of the mine transacted. This mine has a payroll of over 125 men and bids fair to be the most extensive copper mine in the West.
    Taken all together, nearly every foot of land tributary to the old town is money-producing soil. Every gulch has its quartz mine and its placers; every little glade is a farm where thrift and enterprise combine to make it a home.
    Altogether we are proud of it. Why shouldn't we be?
    Jacksonville boasts, and deservedly so, of the neatest, best arranged and most tastefully fitted up post office in the state of Oregon. Not only do its patrons and visitors to this historic old town unite in words of praise for it, but it is the recipient of favorable treatment by every post office inspector, and the work done by its official has time time and again commanded approval from the Department. its postmaster, John F. Miller, is a native son of the old town, and has done much toward making it what it is--one of the neatest towns in the state, with its beautiful flower gardens and cool green lawns. He was first appointed as postmaster in 1897 during William McKinley's first administration, and since that time, although the office is a presidential office and remunerative and enjoys a large patronage, there has never been a single kick registered concerning the affairs of the office and, through the successive administrations and the consequent change in the personnel of postmasters elsewhere, no one has ever made application for the place which has descended. to Mr. Miller each time, solely in consideration of work splendidly done.

Gold Hill
    Gold Hill is located in the world-famous Rogue River Valley, in Southern Oregon, on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railway, 313 miles south of Portland and 459 miles north of San Francisco, and is 1109 feet above sea level.
    The delightful climate of this locality is unsurpassed; here is found the golden mean between the excessive moisture of the Willamette Valley and the scorching droughts of California. We seldom ever have colder weather than 10 degrees above zero, nor hotter than 90 degrees above, while the night temperature, in summer, as a rule, is below 65 degrees.
    Severe storms such as cyclones and tornadoes are unknown.
    Mining for gold is the pioneer industry of this section, and for years we held first rank in the state as a producer of the precious metal. There are more than 100 gold mines within a radius of 4 miles of Gold Hill, but gold is not, however, the only metal found here, there being fine deposits of lead ores, iron, lime, coal, asbestos, mica, marble, cinnabar and copper. Our coal is said to be the finest coking coal on the coast.
    The soil in the valleys is a rich sandy loam, verging into a black vegetable mold, and seems absolutely inexhaustible and will produce an abundance of anything that will grow in the temperate zone. The world does not produce the equal of the Rogue River Valley apple, and this is particularly true of the Spitzenberg and the Yellow Newtown Pippin. The yield is prolific and failure in crop is unknown. The receipts from a 9-acre orchard of Newtowns for four years amounted to $16,620. Pears do equally well and a carload, shipped to Boston, yielded the grower more than $7.00 per box. It is not uncommon to get a box of peaches which will average 10 inches in circumference. Prunes, plums, and cherries grow to perfection, and the trees are very prolific. Berries of all kinds attain a size and excellence not surpassed in any country, and our melons beat the world, while nuts, such a almonds and walnuts, do well.
    Gardening and truck farming under high cultivation returns surprisingly large products, for which there is always a demand at good prices. Wheat, oats, barley and rye are
largely grown, and and corn develops better here than elsewhere in Oregon.
    Dairying is in its infancy, but is rapidly expanding. At present we do not supply one half of the local demand.
    There are extensive timber areas near Gold Hill and much of it will cut 25,000 feet per acre,and some as much as 40,000 feet per acre.
    The electric power plant at Gold Ray, 4 miles from Gold Hill, is now developing 4,800 horsepower, and the power plant at Gold Hill is about to increase its capacity to 4,000 horsepower. These plants furnish cheap power for mines and manufacturing purposes and are economical power for farmers for pumping water for irrigation and other purposes, while most of the towns in the valley are supplied with cheap electric lights by these companies.
    Gold Hill has a good water and sewer system, the waiter being as low as $1 per month for an ordinary dwelling.
    While our population is only about 500, our schools are very efficient, employing three teachers for nine months. Taxes are low and the bonded indebtedness is only $2,500.
    Cleared land for general agricultural purposes can be bought for $20 per acre and upwards, while the best orchard and alfalfa lands sell from $75 to $150 per acre.
    A letter addressed to the Gold Hill Commercial Club, Gold Hill, Oregon, will bring full particulars.
    A writeup of Gold Hill would not be complete without a few lines complimentary to Mrs. M. A. Pryce. Mrs. Pryce is a daughter of Thomas Chavner, who settled in Rogue River Valley in the year 1859 and is one of the largest land owners in the valley. He has done more for Gold Hill than any one person in the valley, and always the first to do anything that will help Gold Hill.
    Gold Hill can boast of having some of the most enterprising men in the Rogue River Valley. Among the leading men of that thriving town will be found C. F. Young, J. H. Beeman, A. J. Oleson, Riley Hammersley and Deck McKay. These men have done more for Gold Hill than they have been given credit. The generation to come will look back with pride on the work done by these men.

Central Point
    Central Point has a population of some 1000 people, who generally refer to their town as "The Hub of the Rogue River Valley," because of its central location in the richest portion of that beautiful spot of nature's treasure house. The town has enjoyed a rapid growth during the past year, with a most promising outlook for the future. During the past year a fine brick school costing $15,000 has been erected, a modern creamery plant with capacity of 700 pounds of butter a day has been installed, a substantial banking institution has been established and the Central Point Herald newspaper and job printing house has been launched and firmly established. Besides these a number of business enterprises have been established, chief of which is the large general store of L. Hatfield, which opened its doors just one year ago.
    W. C. Leever, the leading hardware merchant, is chairman of the board of town trustees, the new board having been recently elected on the issue of installing a first-class water system for the town during the present year. W. J. Freeman, of the firm of Freeman & Wiley, prominent implement and vehicle dealers, is also a member of the new board and is chairman of the ordinance committee, to which has been entrusted the important duty of drafting a new charter for the town to more fully meet the requirements of the rapidly changing municipal conditions.
    Machinery is now being installed in a big flouring mill, the most modern in design in Southern Oregon, which will be ready for operation by September 1st , and arrangements are also being made by California people to install one of the largest fruit evaporating plants on the Pacific Coast. It is fully expected this plant will be ready to handle the second-class fruit of the present season's crop. Besides the many new modern residences and business buildings will be erected.
    The Odd Fellows lodge is planning for a business block, of brick or concrete blocks, 50x80 feet, with commodious lodge, club and office rooms on the second floor.
    The Central Point Townsite Company reports a greater demand for town lots than ever before. Realty prices have more than doubled during the past year, but the demand more than keeps pace with the advancing prices. L. W. Flansher has taken charge of the Hotel Jackson and at a great cost has completely and newly furnished the hotel throughout. There are large sample rooms in connection and a first-class dining room, where a special table is set for the traveling public.
Medford Mail, April 26, 1907, page 2

    C. C. Beekman, who has lived in Jacksonville 50 years, says saloons were never closed there Sunday till now.
"Oregon Sidelights," Oregon Journal, Portland, October 1, 1907, page 6

    It has been three weeks since the Campbell and Nye families landed in Medford, and we are beginning to find that this job of moving is not what it is cracked up to be. Mr. Campbell's [railroad] car, with five head of horses and John Benson in charge, came through in good shape in about two weeks from the time of shipment. It took my car a week longer to get here. We are getting fairly well settled by this time, and from now on will have more time to look around and get acquainted with our new neighbors.
    This country looks just as good to us now as it did when we were here in August, and the indications are that the longer we are here the better we are going to like it. We have done more or less visiting with the natives and have been rather expecting that sooner or later we would find someone who was inclined to knock the country or the people or conditions in general, but so far everyone we have met is boosting for the Rogue River Valley in general, and Medford in particular. * *  * The first settlers came into this valley nearly sixty years ago. Gold was discovered here in [1852] by men coming in from the north who had been attracted by the news of the discovery of gold in California, and mining has been carried on extensively and continuously in this vicinity ever since. It is claimed that $25,000,000 has been taken out of the gulch in which Jacksonville, the county seat, five miles away, is located. For many years it was practically all placer mining, but of late they are beginning to pay attention to the quartz mining and a good many mines of this character are in process of development. Thirty-five miles away, but tributary to this town, is what is known as the Blue [Ledge] mining district, an immense copper proposition, which mining men tell me is going to be a bigger producer of copper someday than Butte. The people here say the hills are full of gold and copper and that development along these lines has only commenced.
    Five miles east of town a Los Angeles company is opening up a coal mine. Shafts several hundred feet in length have been driven into the side of the hill, and the company has a big drill at work demonstrating the extent of the field. There seems to be no question about the fact that they have a very considerable coal field here. It is a semi-bituminous. With coal on one side and copper and gold on the other, there are a good many people here who figure that Medford is going to be a big city one of these days.
    A few miles further on, and still tributary to Medford, is one of the largest bodies of untouched sugar pine in the United States. Lack of railroad facilities is the reason the sawmill men have not got to work with the pine, but this will probably be remedied in the near future. A railroad has already been started in the direction of the forests. The right of way has been secured, and about fourteen miles of the line is now in operation. There has been some legal complications, and about $80,000 of the company's money is tied up in one of Portland's busted banks, but in all probability the line will be completed either next summer or the year following, and then there will be big lumbering operations.
    There is more talk locally, however, about fruit growing and the orchard industry than about mining or coal or lumber. The town is surrounded with orchards, and several thousand acres of young orchard will be planted this winter.
    Since our arrival the weather has been mostly clear, with slight frosts at night. For several days, however, it has been raining, and the natives say that for the coming two months there will be more or less rain. The farmers have been waiting for the rains in order to begin plowing. They will plow all winter between showers.
Stephen A. Nye, "Nye Writes Letter of Interest Locally," Evening Times, Grand Forks, North Dakota, December 6, 1907, page 6

It is a Land Flowing with Milk and Honey,
and if its Streets are not Paved with Jasper
They Should Be.
    The Call is in receipt of a letter from Matthew Thomson, who formerly owned the farm southeast of town now owned and occupied by J. C. Solbach. As will be noticed, our old friend grows eloquent in his description of the country of which he is now an honored resident, and speaks with seductive praise of its many virtues. But Mr. Thomson is a Scotsman endowed with all the rich imagination of that hardy northern race of industrious and thrifty mortals who are never so happy as when extolling the glories of nature, and soar to the highest altitudes when singing the praises of their own bleak little nation and with such entrancing effect that the average man feels as though he would like to find a home forever among its romantic glens and misty mountains. But we  will let Mr. Thomson talk for himself in his letter, which is as follows:
Corvallis, Oregon,
    December 14, 1907.
Editor Call:
    Seeing by the Call that some Mitchell County folks were looking for a new location, I would advise them to see Oregon. Oregon has several kinds of climate, but none so vile as that which prevails east of the Rockies. The rainfall here is about 38 inches, the greater part of which falls between October and April. Since last April till November 20 we have had a succession of delightful days and cool, pleasant nights. The heat seldom gets up to 100, and the nights are always cool. No jumping up here in the middle of the night to barricade doors and windows, wishing you had tarried in the cyclone cave. There are no cyclones, blizzards, hailstorms or hot winds here, in fact no weather worry of any kind. I have seen more lightning and heard more thunder in Kansas in ten minutes than I have heard here in three years. There is really no winter here. The boys have not had a week's skating all told since we have been here. Roses bloom nearly the year round. The lawns are yet bright with roses, chrysanthemums and geraniums. Wheat averages 30 bushels. When LeRoy Wallis was out here two years ago, we went to the experimental station, where we saw a field of wheat six feet tall; it yielded 57½ bushels per acre, while adjoining fields yielded 30. Better farming made the difference. John Lennox raised 116 bushels of wheat (machine measure) from 2½ acres, which weighed out 50 bushels to the acre. He bought the seed in Canada, and it is called New Abundance. His place is six miles east of Albany. Clover does well; besides a crop of bay, it yields from 5 to 10 bushels of seed per acre. A Wisconsin firm has bought $120,000 worth of seed from the valley this fall. One carload from Albany to Montana brought $12,000. Root crops of all kinds and vegetables grow to immense size. The record here this fall is a 30-pound turnip, a 50-pound cabbage, an onion 17 inches around and a potato 6½ pounds in weight. Two years ago Clyde Beach bought a farm of 160 acres for $3,500. From 17 acres he has just gathered 4,000 bushels of potatoes, 12 of the tubers weighing 60 pounds, one specimen 6½ pounds. I believe this is the best dairy state in America. Last year the average price for butterfat was 42 cents. Cows yield from $60 to $100 a head per year. Farmers are turning their wheat fields into clover fields. Hogs and hens do well and there is no cholera here. Eggs are now 40 cents a dozen, and they seldom go below 20 cents. The long wool and mutton sheep do as well here as in England. I have seen some bucks over 300 pounds in weight. The wool clip this year is 18,000,000 pounds, only one-sixth of which is manufactured in the state. This is the banner hop state. Last year the hops  sold for $3,500,000. The prune crop this year is $2,500,000, or 625 carloads. The prices are high this year, from 5 to 7 cents per pound. Berries of all kinds grow as freely here as sunflowers in Kansas. Growers net from $150 to $300 per acre. Cherries grow very large. I have seen nine cover a 12-inch space. The yield is 6 to 7 tons per acre, and they sell for 5 cents per pound at the cannery. So excellent are the cherries that California comes here after them. A San Francisco firm bought 600 barrels of them last summer from Salem, and the highest priced cherries on the Los Angeles market are raised in Oregon. Thomas Prince of Dundee raised 124 tons of walnuts which he sold in New York for 19 cents per pound. Hundreds of acres were planted in walnuts here last spring. The apple and pear industry is rapidly growing. Medford is about the size of Beloit, and last year its shipment of green fruit was 3,500,000 pounds, while this year up to November 1 it was 6,503,781. A. D. Helms of Medford owns an 8-acre apple orchard of Newtown pippins. His crop this fall was over 6,000 boxes. They sold from $2.45 to $2.75 per box for the London market, $2,000 gross per acre. A box holds a bushel.  He refused an offer of $5,000 per acre for his orchard. His profit in seven years from it has been $791 per acre. Hood River has shipped over 450 cars of apples. If I should mention the prices you would think I had gone bughouse. East of the Cascades the soil and climate are different. The rainfall is from 12 to 24 inches. Wheat yield from 40 to 60 bushels per acre. Here is the best wheat land in the world. Umatilla County raised 6,000,000 bushels this year, almost one percent of the entire yield of the United States. A. B. Conley of La Grande, Union County, is known as the wheat king. He raises 100,000 bushels per year. Back from the railway the country is very thinly settled. It is the stockman's paradise, as the soil is equally productive clear to the California line. There is lots of government land there yet, but no railroads, though several surveys have been made. Statistics prove Oregon to be one of the healthiest places in the world, and there are a great many old people here. Mrs. Mary L. Wood of Hillsboro is past 120 years. Wm. Ferren of Grants Pass is 102, and packs supplies from Grants Pass to Crescent City, and is as active as a man of 50. Reuben Gant of Philomath is 89. He told me he was the first man to drive a team over the Cascades. A year ago he walked seven miles to the county seat to get a hunting license. John Woods of Iowa came here 14 years ago, and he says he feels 15 years younger now. He was in the 36th Iowa with Billy Caldwell, and is 75 years of age and a spry old man. There are a great many Kansans out here, and they are all doing well. Bob Bettner owns a hack line at Baker City. George Cone has a sawmill at Falls City. W. H. H. Dodge has 4 acres 2 miles east of Salem. He sells $2,000 worth of celery each year. Will Metcalf told me that he had sold $2,100 worth of celery from his farm this year. This is a fine place for an outing. You can hike to the mountains or seek the seashore. I met Henry McGrath here last fall, and he had been in the hills two weeks. He brought out 200 pounds of trout and three deer. He caught a 50-pound salmon with hook and line. He is clerk of Oregon Fir Camp No. 5085, M.W.A., of Portland. Portland is the great commercial city of the state. It is going to hold a rose fiesta next June from the 2nd to 8th. It will be well worth crossing a continent to see. In the grand parade will be 1,000 autos decorated with millions of roses. Portland is called the rose city, and it well deserves the name. It has blown itself for $100,000 to make the festival a success. Hoping to see lots of Mitchell County folks next June, and hoping that it won't make them as tired to read this as it has me to write it, I remain
Yours truly,
    Matthew Thomson.
Western Call, Beloit, Kansas, December 27, 1907, page 3

Last revised July 14, 2021