The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Bill Lydiard

William Lydiard

After Looking the Country Over Very Carefully,
Selects 80 Acres Near Washburn Orchards.
    J. J. Lydiard, lately of Minnesota, has purchased 80 acres of land in the Table Rock section from D. D. Sage, the consideration being $20,000.
    This land is partially in fruit and adjoins the well-known Washburn orchards on the west.
    The land lying west from the Bybee Bridge to Table Rock is some of the richest bottom land in the valley and has long been noted for the quality and quantity of its crops.
    The sale was made through the agency of W. E. Whiteside of Central Point, who also reports the sale of the E. G. Whiteside brick in that town to A. C. Walker for $4000.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 25, 1910, page 2

    To the Editor: Although the people are now demanding better results from highway work the construction of some roads through our county does not seem to have altered much from the old way which was something after this fashion:
    First--If there was any pretense of elevating the roadbed, the whole width of the right of way would be plowed up and the top soil, the easiest plowed and handled, and the most porous and poorest material for roadbed would be removed toward the center which when elevated 12 to 20 inches was deemed high enough, sometimes gravel would be added--a costly material--only to sink and be lost in a sea of mud the next winter. The idea of all this seemed to be that when the main track became impassable, a parallel trail equally as good could be started anywhere on the right of way. Of course side drains could not be allowed as they would prevent the track from winding from side to side of the right of way. I would
submit that 25 to 28 feet base is wide enough for ordinary country roads, that the roadbed be not less than three feet higher than the side drains; add gravel if you can get it on that. The drains should be as close to the roadbed as possible; use a ring road drag on it in the winter at the right time to keep the wheel ruts filled in and the surface firm so that the water can run off the road, instead of soaking into it as it does at present in most cases, for the one great necessary condition for good roads is a dry roadbed. As to stone, I would interdict everything bigger than a hen's
egg on or within a foot of the surface. I think it important in the interests of good roads that the ring or split log road drag should have a thorough tryout on our roads in the coming winter. The cost of the operation is light and in most instances gives very good results.
Table Rock, May 3, 1911.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 7, 1911, page 4

    Miss Lydiard returned to her home Sunday for a much-needed rest, she being the last of Table Rock's teachers to complete her work.
    Miss Sue Lydiard closed a nine months' term of school in the Persist district last Friday and gave an entertainment Saturday night that was enjoyed by a large crowd from that and surrounding district.
"Table Rock Tablets," Medford Mail Tribune, June 5, 1915, page 7

Dr. C. R. Ray Sells 428-Acre Tract Near Table Rock.
    Table Rock, July 14.--One of the largest real estate deals to be made in our district in many years was concluded last week when Stanley Lydiard, of this place, and his uncle, Charles Dunlay, of Lakeview, became owners of the property commonly known as the Jennings ranch belonging to C. R. Ray. This property contains 428 acres, there being more than 300 acres in cultivation, all of which can be irrigated. The new owners will make many improvements, including new buildings, and expect to make a model stock and dairy farm of their new holdings. Of the two purchasers, we know Stanley Lydiard the best, who during his residence here has proved himself a far-sighted practical farmer who is not afraid of work and is always on the job, and we know of no one that we had rather see succeed or would chance a bet as to making good.
Jacksonville Post, July 19, 1919, page 1

    Mr. W. H. (Bill) Lydiard, whose local fame was accentuated when he became a partner of Mr. W. A. (Bill) Gates in the establishment here of a newfangled grocery establishment, the idea for which the latter Bill picked up on a visit in the East, is still on an extended auto trip with his mother, Mrs. J. H. Lydiard, with whom he started out a month ago to give her "the vacation of her life."
    After touring through the Pacific coast section and other far west states, Yellowstone Park, etc., they are now in Minneapolis, where he was born, and a letter just received from him states that they will tour from there to Nova Scotia, his mother's native place, for a visit with her brother, whom she has not seen for 35 years, and to enable him to make a close-up study of the Canadian liquid imports which other thirsty Medfordites read about in the papers from time to time.
    While the distinguished Medford grocer did not so write, news has also reached the Economy Groceteria that since they left on this trip his hair as turned white through shuddering with horror every time a hotel or gasoline bill is presented to him. While his careful-living Scotch ancestors lived to a good old age, Bill Lydiard, who is equally careful in his living, will probably not reach such an age. Times are different now, and living, especially en tour on vacation, is very expensive.
    It seems that before he left Mr. Lydiard bought a big sedan car for the trip of himself and mother, to replace his smaller car. This larger car eats up much more gas than the smaller one he used to have--in fact so much faster that it started the graying of his hair and also affected his memory before 600 miles had been passed.
    While touring through one of the Dakotas recently, due to the car running out of gas four miles from the nearest place where any could be gotten, he had to walk that distance and back before they could ride again.
    While publicly the Nova Scotia trip is primarily for the purpose of Mrs. Lydiard visiting the home of her youth, it is privately learned that the son eagerly looks forward to this visit for a more important reason, as he has had it in mind day and night for several years, ever since in perusing some old family papers he ran across the fact that his great-grandfather or grandfather lent a Nova Scotia man a dime on arriving there from Scotland many years ago, which has never been repaid.
    Hence the Medford man will now do his best to compel the ancestors [sic] of the Nova Scotia man to fork over and settle the debt.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 28, 1926, page 6

    William J. Lydiard, local business man, and Bob Crooks, the Mt. Shasta, Calif., fruit and produce dealer, pale of face, and with trembling hands and knees, were passengers on the air mail plane leaving here for the south this morning, the former to spend a week in visiting in Los Angeles and vicinity, and the latter for a business visit in San Francisco, because of the unkindly offices of a group of business men in the Sixth Street-Central Avenue corner neighborhood [location of the Groceteria] and other friends gathering at the air field to see that they got away properly.
    These big-hearted fellows, with downcast faces and bogus tears streaming down their cheeks, shook hands with them repeatedly as they repeated farewells over and over, and told them they wished they could live to see the further growth and advancement of Medford. Prior to this, Bill Gates had taken Mr. Lydiard to one side, asked him if he knew that if he were killed in an airplane accident all his insurance policies were void, and said he also hoped that his partner had made his will carefully, for he (Gates) did not want his relatives and heirs balling up the store management if anything serious happened.
    Soon Bill Lydiard showed by his nervousness and white face that he was fully cognizant of the dangerous journey ahead, as did Crooks. Then Fred McPherson pinned a piece of black crepe on Lydiard's coat lapel, while M. N. Hogan, lest Lydiard and Crooks should not have money enough with them, presented them with a large roll, while Bill Gates gave Lydiard some other utensils which come in handy in great stages of fright.
    Just as the big plane was about ready to start, the crowd began to march slowly around and sing dirges.
    On hearing this, Lydiard and Crooks decided that they would rather take their chances in the air than remain to be tortured to death by such slovenly singing, jumped into the plane, shouted "Let 'er go," and were soon speeding southward.
    Just before they boarded the plane, Crooks staggered over to Lydiard and jerked the black crepe from his coat and threw it to the ground, saying, "We're hoodooed enough now, without that."
Medford Mail Tribune, June 14, 1928, page 8

William Lydiard 1st Groceryman
    Coming 20 years ago to Southern Oregon from Minnesota, W. H. Lydiard established himself in business by purchasing the Jackson Street grocery a short time after it was opened. He operated the store until a year before he associated himself with W. A. Gates to establish the Economy Groceteria. Mr. Lydiard is regarded as one of Medford's pioneer grocerymen in business today.
    Before coming to Southern Oregon, he was engaged in the grain business in Minnesota and carried on extensive operations. In addition to being a progressive merchant, Mr. Lydiard is active in civic affairs and takes a great interest in assisting with the promotion of local infant industries, giving financial as well as moral support. A number of thriving Rogue River Valley enterprises owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Lydiard for his sympathetic support. Lydiard is also active in fraternal circles of this city.
    He weathered the rigors of Medford's boom, the aftereffects of which were felt for years, and predicts a bright future for Medford, encouraged by the progressive spirit that has brought the city out of a sleeping stage into one of the busiest and best in the state.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 18, 1930, page E1

    William H. Lydiard, prominent Medford merchant, civic leader and charity worker, died in his home at 16 Geneva Street at 8:30 Friday night after an illness of several weeks. He was 53 years old.
    Mr. Lydiard went to Portland about nine weeks ago for a major operation. He returned home last Sunday to recuperate and seemed at the time to be well on the way to recovery. Early in the week, however, his health began to ebb, and the end came peacefully Friday night.
    The city mourned his death yesterday, and many expressions of sympathy were voiced. Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, of which he was an active member, passed a resolution of condolence.
    Mr. Lydiard was one of the founders of First Federal Savings and Loan Association and a pioneer in the food business in Medford. He operated a grocery store for a number of years on West Jackson Street before entering business downtown.
    He entered into a partnership with William A. Gates 17 years ago. The two operated the Groceteria Super Food markets. They opened their first store in the Medford Center building in 1920. They moved to the present Groceteria at Central Avenue and Sixth Street in 1923 and opened the west side store at Sixth and Grape streets in 1930.
    Mr. Lydiard was born at Long Lake, Minn., on May 28, 1884. He came to Medford in 1909. He was united in marriage to Jane McQuat on May 1, 1938 at Grants Pass.
    He was a member of the Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, Commandery, Shrine, Medford Elks, Chamber of Commerce and state mining board.
    Mr. Lydiard is survived by his wife, a daughter, Patricia Ann, four sisters, Mrs. Evan Ringo of Minot, N.D., Mrs. Sue Marsh of Los Angeles, Mrs. Helen Barnum of Phoenix and Miss Grace Lydiard of Table Rock and an aunt, Mrs. Minnie Dunlap of Central Point.
    Funeral services were held at 2 o'clock Monday afternoon in the Perl chapel. The Rev. E. S. Bartlam, rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, will officiate [sic]. A Masonic ritual was  held in the chapel. The body was taken Monday evening to Portland for cremation.
    Active pallbearers were Melvin Hall, Asa Boyd, Al Wilson, Allan McGee, Walter Steele and Vilas Pope, all Groceteria employees.
    Honorary pallbearers were Gilbert Stuart, William Hammett, Charles Butterfield, Glenn Jackson, Max Pierce and Fred Wahl.
Central Point American, November 25, 1937, page 1

Last revised January 31, 2023