The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


    ACCIDENT.--Mr. Merriman, of this valley, received quite a severe wound on Monday last, by falling on a pitchfork while engaged in stacking straw.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 10, 1861, page 3

BUZAN-MERRIMAN.--At the residence of Mr. W. H. Merriman, August 25th, by Rev. Joseph Ritter, John E. Buzan and Miss Anetta L. Merriman, all of Jackson County.
    Hymen seems to be playing the deuce with the boys and girls. Here is our young friend, Buzan, embarked on his matrimonial voyage with a Merri-maid and a "Mer-man" for a companion. May you and your bride, John, have a happy voyage, and may Hymen's chains be lighter on you both than gossamer--yet stronger than triple steel. You have the congratulations of the printers, who acknowledge the usual compliments.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 7, 1867, page 3

    OUT IN THE STORM.--Last Saturday two Ashland boys, Bird Saltmarsh and Ike Merriman, started out with their rifles for a hunt in the mountains west of the valley. They probably expected to return in triumph, with the trophies of their skill in the hunt "dangling at their belts," or words to that effect, but they didn't return that way. Undaunted by the threatening storm clouds, they climbed ridge after ridge till they were just far enough way from home to get lost easily, and then the snow came down so fast that they couldn't see the brims of their hats, and they found that their hunt had begun--the hunt for home. They had not the slightest idea of direction as far as east, west, north and south were concerned, but knew the difference between up and down, and concluded that if they kept going down they would eventually reach the valley somewhere. So down they came, and finally struck the waters of Wagner Creek. Down this they followed, and as the shades of night were "coming down swift," they camped at the comfortable farm house of Mr. Goddard. On Sunday morning a dozen horsemen set out from Ashland to scour the mountains for the lost boys. About the middle of the forenoon the boys came into town, and at different times in the afternoon the searchers returned. W. C. Daley had succeeded in tracking them all the way around, from their start to the Goddard place. Next time they hunt, it will be in July or August.
Ashland Tidings, April 2, 1880, page 3

    Geo. F. Merriman, formerly of this county, has been elected a Trustee of the town of Oakland, Douglas County.
"Brief Reference," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 17, 1880, page 3

    WILLIAM H. MERRIMAN: died in Jackson County, September 16, 1877; was a cabinet maker and joiner; was born in Kentucky; came to state in 1852 and to county in 1856; was married February 10, 1853, to Mrs. A. Chapman.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 505

    MRS. ARTINECIA MERRIMAN: lives near Central Point; is a farmer; post office Jacksonville; was born in Champagne County, Ohio in 1830; came to state 1851, and to county in 1856; Artinecia (Riddle) Merriman was married February 22, 1848, to James Chapman, deceased. Children John W., Lucinda J., George F., Laura A., Maria E., Annie A., Isaac A., Mary B., Isabel, Effie, Josephine and Willie. Mr. Merriman had one daughter, Auletta L.; Mrs. Merriman has buried four children, Chas. H., Walter, Prudence and Winaford.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 505

FRONK-MERRIMAN--At the residence of the bride's parents, in Medford precinct, Dec. 31, 1885, C. K. Fronk and Miss Belle Merriman.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, January 2, 1886, page 2

    MATRIMONIAL.--C. K. Fronk, the clever manager of the railroad office in this place, and Miss Belle Merriman, one of our most amiable and accomplished young ladies, will be united in matrimony at the residence of the bride's mother today. Their many friends wish them much joy and prosperity, says the Medford correspondent of the Jacksonville Times. Charley is well known in this county, having been agent at Aurora for some time.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, January 2, 1886, page 3

    Geo. F. Merriman is having his residence on C Street enclosed with a handsome picket fence.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, May 9, 1889, page 3

    Will Merriman was home from Glendale Sunday and was given a birthday dinner in honor of his 17th summer. Some 41 people sat down to the spread under a tall tree at Mrs. Merriman's place near town.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, July 11, 1889, page 3

About Mr. Merriman and His Gambling Troubles.
    The Tidings of this week contains a card purporting to have been written by Geo. F. Merriman and bearing his signature, that brands as "a malicious falsehood" the statement that Merriman was an informer, or "squealer," in gambling cases. Mr. Merriman's letter writer can rise up in his might and call it 40 "malicious falsehoods," the facts remain as they are.
    Mr. Merriman's letter writer also says:
    "When my crosseyed friend tries to lead the people to believe that he is opposed to me on those grounds he knows it is a falsehood and that he fights me merely because I have concluded that my family and other claims upon me need the money that he would like to have me spend to buy his saloon, and his good will."
    Right here is where Mr. Merriman's letter writer makes a big, life-size jackass out of George.
    The following affidavit, sworn to before D. T. Lawton, of Medford, a notary public for Oregon, explains itself:
    I, J. A. Hanley, being duly sworn, on oath do say that within a week after George Merriman secured the  nomination of the Republican convention of Jackson County, state of Oregon, for sheriff of said county, the said George Merriman came to me and offered to pay me the sum of twenty dollars to "set 'em up for the boys" in his interest to secure his election to the said office of sheriff, and I refused his offer and advised him not to spend his money, as he had a hard man to run against.
    Witness, M. R. HART.
    Sworn and subscribed to before me on this 4th day of June, 1892.
    Notary Public.
    No comment is necessary.
    Merritt Bellinger is also out with a card concerning "the report of Geo. F. Merriman being an informer against his fellow man."
    (Merritt Bellinger and Mr. Merriman are close family relatives.)
    But notwithstanding these cards the fact remains that George F. Merriman has been addicted to the gambling habit for many years. The circuit court record shows
that Mr. Merriman, along with a number of others, was indicted by the grand jury on Saturday, Feb. 21, 1885, for gambling at Deskin's, draw poker being the game, and that he was convicted and fined $50 and costs.
    Mr. Merriman has gambled all along up to and until after the holidays of the past winter and until after he had become spoken of as an available candidate for sheriff. In fact he discussed his prospects for that office over the gaming table and only ceased when the campaign for nominations started in in earnest, which act is now being heralded as a reform.
    (As to whether or not Mr. Merriman is a "squealer" or informer, see article on
editorial page.)

Valley Record, Ashland, June 2, 1892, page 3

    Is Merriman a "squealer?" That is the question agitating the sporting fraternity of Jackson County. The argument is if Merriman is a "squealer" he should be defeated and if not he should be elected. The Merriman side of the debate is being conducted by two of his trusted lieutenants, trusted not only at the gaming table but trusted also in the science of politics. They are "Shorty" Hamilton and John Redfield, both talking from experience and calling on high heaven to prove that Merriman is not a "squealer," but that he is an honorable gambler who within the last few months has reformed. There is no use in mincing matters in debate like this. The debate can be settled by Mr. Merriman and his lieutenants in his own town, as John A. Hanley, one of the victims of Merriman's "squealing," offers to vote and work for Merriman, besides giving him $50 for the expenses of his campaign, if Mr. Merriman will prove that neither he (Merriman) nor his relatives caused the indictment and conviction of the Medford boys for gambling at the games in which Merriman was a heavy loser and by reason of being a state witness saved himself from the fine. This is an opportunity for the lieutenants to get in and prove whether Mr. Merriman is a squealer or a straight sporting man and thus settle the question so far as the sporting world is concerned.
    But the balance of the people of the county will settle the question as to whether it is good public policy to place the sheriff and tax-collecting authority in those kinds of hands or to place it in the hands of someone who is not addicted to those vices at all.
Valley Record, Ashland, June 2, 1892, page 2

George Speaks His Mind.
    My attention has been called a second time to an item in the alleged Medford items published in the Jacksonville Times of May 18th. Here is the item:
    "Geo. W. Barron is not acceptable to the Republicans of Medford at least. He voted for Pelton two years ago, and did his best to defeat Geo. Merriman, who was the regular Republican candidate then."
    As secretary of the Jackson County central committee, I want to say that I am in a position to know something of the sentiment of the people of this city regarding the political possibilities, and I am positive that George W. Barron is most acceptable to the Republicans here. I want to state further that I don't believe the item above, credited to the Medford correspondent, was written in this city, but I do believe it was written in the Jacksonville Times office by either Nickell or some of his hirelings who are steeped in the same unprincipled dregs of lost manhood and honor as himself. George Barron did nothing to defeat me two years ago. As I stated last week, Mr. Barron was in Klamath County at the time of, and several weeks before, [the] election in 1892. As secretary of the Republican central committee I advise every Republican to vote for Geo. Barron and work for his election. He is an honest, square man.
Medford Mail, May 25, 1894, page 2

    At the residence of the bride's parents in Jacksonville, last Sunday, occurred the wedding of Mr. Wm. Merriman and Miss Rose Luy, Rev. Ennis officiating clergyman.
    After the ceremony had been said the couple drove to Medford, where an elaborate reception was given at the residence of Mrs. A. Merriman, the groom's mother. Nearly all the relatives of both bride and groom were present and a very pleasant afternoon was spent and congratulations profusely showered upon the happy twain. Monday afternoon the couple, by marriage vows made supremely happy, took the train for Gervais, their future home.
    The groom is a very bright and most affable young man, with friends hereabouts--his old home--too numerous to count. He is at present station agent for the S.P. company at Gervais, a position he has held, with credit to himself and profit to the company, for some time.
    The bride is one of Jackson County's fair daughters, a reigning belle everywhere and 'tis little wonder Cupid's arrow pierced the heart of so good a fellow as is Mr. Merriman. She is a highly cultured young lady and with all other good traits has served an apprenticeship in a print shop. This acquisition will come in very nicely in domestic affairs. Should her poor husband became derelict in providing suitable "plate matter" she can at once proceed to "pi his form" and he will not dare to resort to the "shooting stick" because that she is more proficient in the use of that article than is he. Should either get out of "sorts" or the husband "off his feet" the wife will communicate with a type foundry in the former case and will provide "Oregon spaces" in the latter.
    The Mail wants to be counted in with all their friends in the valley in wishing them a life of supreme happiness, and a home where a world of life is shut out and a world of love shut in.
Medford Mail, August 3, 1894, page 3

    George F. Merriman, the blacksmith, has purchased the shop formerly owned by Merriman & Purdin.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, August 29, 1895, page 3

    MERRIMAN, GEORGE F., of Medford, was born in Douglas County, Oregon, September 16, 1853. He is a blacksmith by occupation, having pursued it for twelve years in Medford. He was a member of the Douglas County convention in 1886 and 1882, and the Jackson County convention in 1886, 1890 and 1894, and of the state convention in 1894. In 1892 he received the nomination for Sheriff. In 1894 he was secretary of the McKinley Club, and a member and secretary of the county central committee.
Republican League Register, Portland, 1896, page 245

Tells of a Cure Effected in His Family by Dr. Darrin.
    The following testimonial from Postmaster Merriman is one of the many hundreds, similar in character, which Dr. Darrin has in his possession. Nearly everyone in Southern Oregon knows Geo. Merriman, for years engaged in blacksmithing in Medford, now our efficient postmaster. It was George who shod horses for the stage company between Roseburg and Yreka in the days prior to the laying of steel rails by the Southern Pacific Company, and that's how all the early-day settlers happen to know him. Here is his testimonial:
    "Noticing Dr. Darrin's advent in Medford, I think it no more than right to tell the public what he did for my wife two years ago. For about six years my wife had a troublesome catarrh of the head, which resulted in bronchitis and asthma. All previous attempts at cure proved futile. Dr. Darrin cured her of the above-mentioned troubles in about three months. I am glad to give this card in justice to Dr. Darrin as well as the good it may do the public. Refer anyone to me or my wife."
Medford Mail, May 31, 1901, page 2

Notice to the Public.
    Notice is hereby given that I will not be responsible for any debts contracted by my son, George Merriman, after date printed below.
Dated this 30th day of May, 1902.
Medford Mail, June 13, 1902, page 6

    GEORGE FRANCIS MERRIMAN. In tracing the source of the importance of Medford, mention is due George Francis Merriman, who, from obscurity and financial limitations, has risen to business, educational, and political prominence. Mr. Merriman's ladder of success has been made up of a useful blacksmith trade, fine personal honor, and exceptional executive and general ability, all of which may be acquired by persistent effort, a truth which furnishes vast encouragement to the industrious and ambitious. His family is one of the well-known ones of the state, for his parents, William H. and Artinecia (Riddle) Merriman, reared a family of fifteen children, five sons and ten daughters, of whom three sons and eight daughters respond to the roll call of residents of this prosperous state, and are established in homes of their own. Mr. Merriman is the second of these children, and was born in Douglas County, Ore., September 16, 1855, his father and grandfather, both named William H., being natives of the state of Illinois, born near Springfield. The younger William H. was a farmer, blacksmith and wagon-maker, and in 1852 crossed the plains to Oregon, locating near Riddle, Douglas County. In 1856 he removed to Jackson County and located two miles north of Medford, purchasing one hundred and twenty acres of land from Jesse Robinson, upon which he farmed until his death in 1877, at the age of fifty-two years. He was an active Republican, and in religion was a member of the Baptist Church. His wife's family is perpetuated in Oregon in the town of Riddle, and her brothers, J. B., George W. and Stilley Riddle, are honored residents of this vicinity. Mrs. Merriman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Illinois married John W. Chapman, who died in Illinois, after which his wife crossed the plains in the same train with her future husband, Mr. Merriman.
    George Francis Merriman's zeal in promoting the cause of education is quite remarkable, considering the difficulties which hedged in his own opportunities in this direction. From earliest youth his ears became accustomed to the sound of industry emanating from his father's busy blacksmith shop, and he was put to work at an age when most boys are considering ways and means by which to keep away from school. Not so this youth, however, for while his days were filled with serving an apprenticeship, begun in his fourteenth year, his evenings were spent in poring over books, and acquiring the knowledge denied him in the schools. After completing his three years of compulsory service he continued a year more with his employer, and in 1874 went to Eastern Oregon, and for two years worked in a blacksmith shop at Canyon City. For the following two years he ran a shop at Central Point, in the Rogue River Valley, and in 1878 was employed as blacksmith by the Oregon & California Stage Company. In 1880 he began a four-years' business in Oakland, and in 1884 located in Medford, where he has since continuously worked at his trade, with the exception of two and a half years. He does many kinds of wood work, wagon manufacturing and horse-shoeing, and so large is his trade that four men are required in the shop.
    Mr. Merriman's services as a staunch Republican official have been of a high order, and demonstrate his breadth of mind and knowledge of municipal affairs. While not seeking recognition himself he has earnestly helped his deserving friends, and by no means confined himself to any one party in offering help. He has been a member of the city council one term, and was nominated for county sheriff in 1892, escaping election by only one hundred and eighty-seven votes in a county claiming five hundred Democratic majority. He was appointed postmaster of Medford January 17, 1900, and still holds the office, which is of the third class. Mr. Merriman finds recreation and friends in various fraternal organizations, among them Medford Lodge No. 103, A.F.&A.M.; Oregon Chapter No. 4, R.A.M., of Jacksonville; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; Ancient Order United Workmen; and Woodmen of the World. He is also identified with P. P. Prim Cabin Native Sons of Oregon, and Roseburg Lodge No. 326, B.P.O.E. In all possible ways he has forwarded the best interests of education, has been a member of the school board for many years, and is one of the promoters and directors of the Medford Business College, having succeeded in raising a large fund for its erection. Two miles east of Medford Mr. Merriman married Mary Murry, who was born in Illinois, and whose father, William Murry, emigrated from Scotland to Illinois, and from there to Oregon in 1874, locating on a farm near Medford. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Merriman, of whom William H. is deceased; Thomas is working in his father's shop; May is the assistant postmistress of Medford; George also is in his father's shop; and Blanch, Mollie, Vera, and Sherron C. are living at home.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, pages 887-888

    Thursday afternoon Mr. Robert Telfer and Miss Mae Merriman were married at Jacksonville, by Hon. G. W. Dunn.
    The bride is the eldest daughter of Geo. F. Merriman, our well-known and esteemed fellow townsman, and has grown to womanhood in this city. She is one of our brightest and most popular young ladies, and has the best wishes of a host of friends throughout Southern Oregon for her future happiness.
    The groom has been a resident of Medford for the past several months and is employed as timekeeper by the Iowa Lumber and Box Co.
    The young couple have gone to housekeeping in East Medford.
Medford Mail, December 16, 1904, page 4

Girls Give a China Shower.
    Miss May Merriman was given a china shower by her many girl friends Tuesday evening of this week at the home of Mrs. Chas. Talent.
    During the evening various forms of amusements were enjoyed, one of them being that of each writing a cooking recipe for Miss Merriman. Most of these will need to be used with discretion, as some of the writers were not very explicit in their directions or complete in regard to ingredients. Storytelling was then introduced. Miss Lulu Porter won first prize for telling a funny story in the shortest time. Cake and other delicacies were served. Miss Merriman was the recipient of many pretty and useful pieces of china and other gifts.
Medford Mail, December 16, 1904, page 8

    Geo. F. Merriman:--"Are we pretty busy? Well, I guess yes. Us blacksmiths in this man's town are so busy we haven't time to look across the street to see whether the other fellow is doing anything or not, and when six o'clock comes there isn't any of us sorry to hear the whistle blow. One day last week we put on ninety-six shoes in this shop, besides other work, and whenever I got time to look I didn't see any of the fellows on the other side of the street playing marbles or enjoying a siesta. This is about the busiest end of town, when we get busy, and we are busy pretty much all the time."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, June 2, 1905, page 1

    George F. Merriman:--"The blacksmith's association simply met and adjourned until April, at which time the regular annual meeting will be held from now on. The change was made partially through my suggestion, on account of convenience to the members of the association, and also for the benefit of the organization. It is easier to get men interested at the beginning of the season for work than it is at the end. One reason why we adjourned was that everybody wanted to see the fair Portland day. Did they have the 100,000 admissions? I couldn't swear to that, but there was over 65,000 at 2 o'clock and they kept coming all the time. I know one thing and that is that there were more people in one bunch than I ever saw before. There were enough of them for all practical purposes, I should judge."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, October 6, 1905, page 1

    I. A. Merriman:--"Hurry up here and give me a receipt. I want the Mail and the Portland Oregonian for another year, and I came pretty nearly forgetting it. Can't keep house very well without both of them. I figure the two papers about as good a combination as you could pick out in this country, and everybody on the ranch wants to read them first when they come from the office."

"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, November 10, 1905, page 1

    George F. Merriman:--"I believe the Merriman shop is the 'heavyweight shop' of Southern Oregon. We are none of us very small. I pull down the scales at 234 myself, then there's Joe Caskey is no featherweight with his 225 pounds. Young George, there, while not as big as he feels, weighs 198 and Tom Tonning, while he isn't very 'tall up,' is pretty 'wide out,' and balances the steelyard at 191. That's a total of 848, and I don't believe it can be beaten at any shop in Southern Oregon with the same number of men. Besides that we work just like we weigh, and will stack up against any of them of any weight for capacity to do good work and lots of it."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, December 8, 1905, page 1

    Mr. I. A. Merriman, living a couple of miles north from Medford, has given us a few figures which very plainly prove that there is good money to be made from raising poultry, but as Mr. Merriman makes a business only of raising poultry for the egg revenue, of course the profits in the business can only calculated from that viewpoint.
    Mr. Merriman has 400 hens, and from June 1, 1905 to March 1, 1906, he sold $389.90 worth of eggs, besides using at least a dozen each day in his own family. In the same length of time be sold $135 worth of young roosters for "fryers." He keeps only the Brown Leghorn and, as is well known, these are not a meat fowl, hence he raises chickens only for the egg product. In February, last past, he sold $68 worth of eggs, and besides these used thirty dozens in his family and thirty dozen were placed in incubators for his first hatch. He expects to double the number of fowls he now has and give the business his undivided attention. He has, in former years, kept account of the actual expense and income from his chickens and he relates that every hen on his place nets him just an even $1.50 per year--over and above all expense.
Medford Mail, March 9, 1906, page 15

    George F. Merriman:--"I am going to take a layoff and a good one next month. From the first of September until the first of October I don't intend to do a lick of work. I intend forgetting all about the blacksmithing business for that length of time, and won't even look at a shop. How will I pass the time? That's easy. I am going to take Mrs. Merriman and hit the road for Montana and when we get there we are just going to rest and visit, and visit and rest, maybe travel some, have a good time and get acquainted with each other again. We haven't had a vacation together for so long that we may not know how to act, but we'll catch on pretty quick I think."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, August 17, 1906, page 1

    Geo. F. Merriman:--"Did I have a good time on that month's vacation of mine? I should say that I did. I enjoyed every minute of it, but still I wasn't sorry to get back. Mrs. Merriman and I visited Billings, Butte, Big Timber and Red Lodge, Montana, and saw a number of our people whom we hadn't seen for years. That's a great country. There's more money there in one day than there is here in several. Mining is the explanation. The payroll at Butte is $1,500,000 per month, and those miners surely know how to get rid of the coin. But I wouldn't live in Butte under any consideration. I couldn't stand the fumes from the smelters. Yes, it's a great, rich country, but you don't know how good the Rogue River Valley looked when we got back. There may be more money in Montana, but home isn't there, it's here."

"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, October 12, 1906, page 1

    I. A. Merriman:--"About the fifteenth of next month you may change my address from Medford to Central Point. Upon that date another rural route will be started from Central Point, and my place will be supplied with mail from that way. I understand the post offices of Tolo, Table Rock and Agate will be discontinued by the establishment of this route."

"Things Heard on the Street," Medford Mail, October 26, 1906, page 1

    Mrs. Ike Merriman, living two miles north of Medford, on the Central Point road, was very pleasantly surprised by a number of her friends last night, the occasion being her 41st birthday. The lady had retired for the evening when her friends arrived and reminded her of the fact that birthday parties were still in vogue.
    The evening was very pleasantly spent in various games and listening to several selections on the phonograph. As mementos of the occasion, Mrs. Merriman was the recipient of many valuable presents.
    Among those present were: Mr. and Mrs. Frank Benson, Mr. and Mrs. William Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. J. Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Smith, Mr. and Mrs. L. Bennett, Miss Ruth Pettitt, Miss Bertha Martin, Miss Eulah Benson, Mrs. M. E. Harding, Miss Caroline Pettitt, Mr. Douglass Janney.
    It was certainly a jolly crowd that made up the party that bade Mrs. Merriman good night and wished her many more pleasant birthdays.
Medford Mail, May 14, 1909, page 8

    Councilman V. J. Emerick will erect a brick building on the south side of Riverside Avenue, in the rear of Merriman's blacksmith shop. It will be 70x70 and will contain a blacksmith shop and a steam laundry. Mr. Merriman will probably move his blacksmith shop into the new structure, which will be equipped with every modern convenience.
Medford Daily Tribune, June 11, 1909, page 1

    On the farm of I. A. Merriman, three miles north of Medford, are two Winter Nelis pear trees that demonstrate that there is a difference in the constitutional qualities of trees just the same as there is in animals and that trees that have exactly the same conditions of soil and care will differ in the production of fruit as cows in the same herd will differ in quantity of milk and in butter fat.
    These two pear trees are the same age, being planted 30 years ago by Mr. Merriman's father, and are growing adjoining each other in the family orchard where they have had exactly the same amount of plant food and the same cultivation and care, and both are big, fine trees and perfectly healthy, yet one tree is a regular bearer of big crops while the other tree is a light bearer with seasons of no fruit at all.
    This season Mr. Merriman picked from the productive tree 31 boxes of pears, of which 30½ boxes were fancy and were shipped to New York. From the scant bearer he got but 5 boxes of pears and only a little over four boxes were fancy shippers. The crop of these two trees this season is about their relative yield each year. As tree traits are transmitted as are animal traits, to graft from this prolific tree would be to get a high percent of productive trees, while to graft from the shy bearer would be to get a large percent of worthless trees, yet the average nurseryman gives no heed to tree breeding.
Rogue River Fruit Grower, October 1909

Popular Firm of Merriman and Elliott Move into New Shop on Riverside Avenue in Rear of the Old.

    Merriman & Elliott, the popular and well-known blacksmiths and horseshoers, have moved into their new building on Riverside Avenue in the rear of their former establishment, and in a modern and complete shop, with all the latest blacksmithing machinery and inventions, [and] are prepared to cater to the wants of their large clientele.
    The new shop is about 35 by 70 feet in dimensions, has three modern forges and all the paraphernalia a smithy is supposed to have. In the rear is the wagon shop.
    The firm of Merriman & Elliott is one of the oldest, best-known and most reliable in the county. Their improved facilities will aid them in keeping in the lead.
Medford Daily Tribune, October 15, 1909, page 1

A Successful Corn Breeder
    I. A. Merriman is one of the many farmers of Rogue River Valley who are taking up corn breeding, and the favorable results in this line is apparent in the large yields he is securing, even this season, one of driest ever known in Southern Oregon, his yield would do credit to any of the great corn-growing states, for it is much above the average for the United States. From 15 acres of corn Mr. Merriman obtained an average of 41 bushels per acre with the best acre making a yield of 47½ bushels. As the average yield in the United States for the past 10 years is but 25.8 bushels per acre, it will be seen that Mr. Merriman's crop was a very creditable one.
    Mr. Merriman's farm is one mile southeast of Central Point, and the land on which he grew the corn is a second bottom of only average fertility. No irrigation nor fertilizers were used. In favorable climatic seasons Mr. Merriman has had average yields of over 60 bushels to the acre. To carefully selecting the seed ears each year and to deep plowing and thorough cultivation is due Mr. Merriman's success as a corn grower. For a number of years Mr. Merriman has early each fall selected his seed corn, he choosing only ears that are perfect in shape and kernel and that are thoroughly matured. And he takes the further precaution to keep this seed corn in a dry place during the winter, thus ensuring the vitality of the germ and a perfect stand.
    By his method of selecting the seed Mr. Merriman has bred up a type of corn that has adapted itself to the growing season of this valley and is able to withstand the cool nights and with the aid of the long growing period to fully mature the ears. That corn from Eastern seed will not do well here is due to [the] fact that in most of the corn-growing states the seasons are short with hot nights and hotter days that forces a hothouse growth to the corn. Here in Rogue River Valley the weather condition is just the reverse and a corn must be developed that can mature itself by reason of the long growing season compensating for the retarding influence of the cool weather. The corn breeding that is being carried on by many of the farmers in the valley is developing a strain of corn that in quality and in yield will fully equal the best production of the Eastern corn-growing states.
Rogue River Fruit Grower, November 1910

    George F. Merriman and wife, who for the past several days have been visiting with Mr. and Mrs. George W. Murray near Hanford, left this morning for their home in Medford, Oregon. They will stop in San Francisco and complete their California trip of several weeks' duration.
"Local Briefs," Hanford Daily Journal, Hanford, California, February 6, 1911, page 5

An Egg Record That's Very Hard To Beat
    To Merritt Merriman, a Central Point High School boy, and a son of Mr. and Mrs. I. A. Merriman, who own and live on one of the finest farms along the Medford-Central Point highway, is due the honor of having a flock of hens that are certainly entitled to rank with the record egg layers of the United States. There are five of these hens, or rather pullets, for they were hatched in April of last year. On November 27 the first egg was laid and not a single day to April 30, the date when these figures were taken, did they fail to lay at least one egg. For the four days in November they laid four eggs, and for December 74 eggs, January 86, February 91, March 114 and April 113 eggs. The total for the five months and four days being 482, an average of 96.4 eggs per pullet. During this period 30 eggs were laid during three different weeks and for a number of other weeks the number of eggs runs above 25. And for several days at a time the egg production was cut down by hens trying to set.
    This splendid egg record is correct to an egg, for these pullets are kept in a yard at some distance from the yards of the other poultry on the farm. The account was posted daily in a book, and that it is a truthful statement will be vouched for by all who have had the pleasure of the acquaintance of the Merriman family. These pullets are Barred Plymouth Rocks and of eggs from a noted strain of egg producers, as is the cock that is with them.
    The young man gives his flock of poultry the same care and feed that is given the 100 hens kept by his father. He has a comfortable house for them that has never had a louse or mite in it. A large yard affords them exercise during the day, but at 4 o'clock they are given the run of the orchard until evening. Fresh water, oyster shells and grit are in plenty for them. The grit is made of crushed quartz from the gold mines near Jacksonville. The feed consists of whole wheat, bran, cracked corn and ground wheat, this latter being wet with milk when fed. No mush, hot food nor meat or ground bones are fed them. They are given plenty of green feed of various kinds.
Rogue River Fruit Grower, May 1912, page 29

    Ed Wilkinson, Shorty Miles, Court Hall, George Merriman, and Charles Young are among the Medford men who will be at the ringside when Bud Anderson fights Sammy Trott next Saturday afternoon. Horace Dudley of Los Angeles will join the local contingent at Vernon.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, January 20, 1913, page 2

    Among the pioneers at the annual meeting at Jacksonville Thursday was Mrs. Merriman, mother of George Merriman, now in her ninetieth year, who acted as interpreter for the Rogue River Indians when they made the last treaty with the whites in the early '50s.
"Local and Personal,"
Medford Mail Tribune, October 2, 1914, page 2   Family history asserts that Mrs. Merriman served as interpreter, but it must have been for the Umpqua Indians in Douglas County.

    I have the best-equipped blacksmith shop in Southern Oregon, carry the largest and best stock of any shop, keep the best mechanics that money will secure, guarantee all work done in my shop. Horseshoeing done in my shop cannot be improved on in the state. I keep for sale the Corona Wool Fat, the best specific for horse's feet in the world. I forge anything that can be forged for automobiles. New springs a specialty. I have a machine to ventilate the hood on your auto that will keep your engine cool. I also have the only gas tire heater in Southern Oregon for setting your auto or wagon tire. Give me a call.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 28, 1915, page 5

    Mrs. A. Merriman, one of the most interesting and vigorous of Oregon's pioneers, whose home is in Medford, has been spending the past 10 days in this city, a guest of her daughter, Mrs. J. G. Houston, 958 East Sixth Street North. Mrs. Merriman will celebrate her eighty-fifth birthday anniversary next month, yet she recalls with much vividness her experience in crossing the plains with her parents when she was but 21 years of age.
    "I was married when I was only 18. Five days before my parents were ready to start on their long journey west from our home in Springfield, Ill., my husband died, leaving me with a little year-old baby boy. There was nothing left for me to do but come along with my folks, so we started; that was May 22, 1851. We came across the Missouri River and made the trip through the south, traveling many miles where there was not a suggestion of a trail, through woods and over prairie, not seeing a single house in days.
Attacked by Indians.
    "In some places it took us a day and a half to go nine miles. Our party was largely made up of men, there being 40 in all, while there were only a few women.
    "The first night this side of the Missouri River we were attacked by a band of Indians, who came down over a hill before we realized it. They shot one of our men through his arm, and finally got away with one of our biggest oxen. We had other little skirmishes from time to time, but that is the only time any of our party were shot. We were heavily armed, but the Indians' quickness of attack kept us constantly on the lookout. By coming the southern way we had good pasture for our stock. The old immigrant trail used by so many did not always supply this; that was the reason so many people and animals died in making the trip.
    "We arrived in Southern Oregon September 16, and settled in what is now Douglas County. The town of Riddles is named for my father. In 1854 I was married to William Merriman. We went through some terrible Indian wars, but none of my immediate family were killed. Many homes were burned, but some of the people built forts about their homes."
    Soldiers were sent down from Vancouver, which even in those days was a government fort, and there were many volunteers to help protect the white people's interests.
    The famous mines in the Jacksonville district were located by prospectors in 1857 and 1858 [sic]. In 1857 we moved to the Rogue River Valley. In those early days I acted as an interpreter between the government and the Indians, as I spoke the Chinook language. My sewing machine was the first one to be brought into the Rogue River Valley, and was the center of much interest among the people there.
    "My first visit to Portland was made in about 1870. I remember we rode about in street cars, and everything was of course very provincial--quite different from what it is now. I have three brothers living, Abner and G. W. Riddle of Medford, and S. Riddle of Montana. I make my home in Medford, although I travel around a good deal among my children, of whom I have had 16, but four of these are dead. I usually go to Montana in the summer, but this year I went only as far as Seattle, where I visited my daughters. I like to go there, because in the summer it is always cool. I would like to have gone to San Francisco, but my children who have been there tell me it is very tiresome, so I decided not to go. My friends have told me about seeing my picture in the Oregon building.
Picture Flashed on Screen.
    "My granddaughter told me that almost the first picture flashed upon the screen after she went into the building was mine, and how surprised she was. It was taken along with other Oregon pioneers to be shown at the exposition."
    Mrs. Merriman is a sweet and winsome old lady of the old-school type. Her mind is bright and active, she has a keen sense of humor, possesses twinkling brown eyes and a mass of wavy silver hair. Her living children are: J. W. Chapman, Red Lodge, Mont.; Mrs. Lucinda Prather, Big Timber, Mont.; G. F. Merriman, Mrs. Marie Bennett, Mrs. Anna Clark and Isaac Merriman of Medford; Mrs. Laura Bradley, Chicago; Mrs. Mollie Houston, Portland; Mrs. Isabel Frank, Spokane; Mrs. Effie Hill and Mrs. Joseph Beek, Seattle; William Merriman of Oakland. The latter was for six years freight agent for the Southern Pacific in this city, having only recently been transferred to a similar position in California.
Oregon Journal, September 19, 1915, page 10

Valley Pioneer Died at Medford
    George F. Merriman, pioneer of the Rogue River Valley, long a leader in Republican politics, formerly postmaster of Medford, and one of the most widely known, popular and prominent of its citizens, died at his home in Medford after an illness of an hour, Saturday evening, November 6. He had spent the evening attending to business matters downtown, and his sudden death came as a shock to the community. The deceased is a brother of Mrs. L. A. Harvey of Ashland and well known locally.
    Mr. Merriman was 60 years of age, being born September 16, 1855, in Douglas County, coming to the Rogue River Valley when a child two years of age. He resided here continuously since, with the exception of three years spent in Oakland, Ore.
    In 1877 Mr. Merriman married Miss Mary E. Murray, who survives him, with seven children, Thos. T., George J. Jr., Sharon C., Mrs. Robert W. Telfer, Mrs. Claude Miles, Miss Mollie and Miss Vera Merriman.
    Mr. Merriman was the son of William H. and Mrs. Artie Merriman, who left the East for Oregon in 1851, first settling in Douglas County and coming to the Rogue River Valley in 1857. His mother, who celebrated her 85th birthday last month, survives him, residing with her daughter, Mrs. S. L. Bennett. Twelve brothers and sisters survive him.
    The funeral was held Tuesday in Medford under the auspices of the Medford lodge B.P.O.E., of which he was a member.
Ashland Tidings, November 11, 1915, page 6

Filed for record this 26th day of November, 1915, at 8 o'clock A.M., Chauncey Florey, Recorder.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, Thomas T. Merriman, of the city of Medford, Oregon, party of the first part, in consideration of the sum of seventeen hundred and fifty ($1750.00) Dollars, to me in hand paid by H. W. Bingham, of Jackson County, Oregon, party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, hereby grant, bargain, sell, assign and convey unto the said H. W. Bingham, and to his personal representatives and assigns, certain goods and chattels now being situate in that certain building known as No. 20 South Riverside Avenue, in said city of Medford, that is to say:
    The following described blacksmith tools:
    1 forge equipped and in use; 3 tuyer irons; 2 pair of bolt clippers; 60 pairs of tongs; 80 anvil tools; 2 swage blocks; 14 hammers of various sizes and kinds; 1 tire bender; 1 Champion scale; 1 drill press; 1 old punch and shear machine, out of order; 4 anvils of various sizes; 4 vises; 1 trip hammer; 1 motor (electric) emery wheels, table and shafting; 1 tire upsetter or shrinker; 1 gas tire heater; 2 sledge hammers; 1 screw plate with taps and dies; 1 lot of bench tools; 6 horse shoeing rasps; 1 spring set; 1 mandrel; and all other tools in said shop.
    The following described lot of blacksmith stock:
    31 kegs of horse shoes; 53 pairs cut foot horse shoes; 9 pairs of cat foot bar shoes; 8 pairs cat foot rubber shoes; 116 lbs. horse shoe nails; 300 lbs. horse shoe calks; 135 lbs. chain; 17 two-lb. cans of wool fat; 60 12-oz. cans of wool fat; 26 pairs leather and 21 pairs rubber shoeing pads; 8 boxes welding compound; 1 lot of bolts, rivets and washers; 24 stake irons; 13 fifth wheels; 16 turnbuckles; 1 lot of spring clips; 1 lot of singletree and neck yoke irons; 4 seat springs; 10½ sets of buggy axle stubs; 50 lbs. of elliptic springs; 1 lot of old bridge irons; 1753 lbs. of steel stock of various sizes; 8958 lbs. of iron stock of various sizes; together with the business and good will of the blacksmith shop at 20 South Riverside Avenue, in the said city of Medford, formerly operated and conducted by George F. Merriman, now deceased, and all stock hereafter acquired to be used in the blacksmith shop to be conducted by the said Thomas T. Merriman.
    TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said goods, chattels and business unto the said party of the second part, his personal representatives and assigns.
    PROVIDED, NEVERTHELESS, that these presents are on the express condition that if the said party of the first part, his executors, administrators or assigns, shall well and truly pay unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators or assigns, the sum of Seventeen Hundred and Fifty ($1750.00) Dollars, with interest thereon at the rate of ten percent per annum, in the following manner; seventy-five ($75.00) dollars in cash on the first day of March, 1916, and seventy-five ($75.00) dollars in cash on the first day of each and every month thereafter until the first day of December, 1917, and on [the] said last mentioned day the balance of said sum of $1750.00, together with interest thereon at the rate of ten percent per annum, said interest to be paid semi-annually on the first day of every June and December in each year, but in case default shall be made in the payment of the principal sum or interest of any one of the said installments of the principal or interest; or if any claims, charges or demands which can be made prior liens to this mortgage upon said property are not paid or discharged at maturity, or if said property is attached or levied upon, taken possession of, or detained by any person other than the party of the second part, his personal representatives or assigns for any cause, or is removed or attempted to be removed by anyone from the aforesaid premises, or to be sold, transferred or assigned, or attempted to be sold, transferred or assigned, or if the party of the first part shall neglect or refuse to perform any of the covenants or agreements herein contained, to be performed by him, then the whole of said sum shall at once become due and payable, and it shall and may be lawful for, and the said party of the first part does hereby authorize and empower the party of the second part, his personal representatives or assigns to foreclose this mortgage by entering the aforesaid premises, and such other place or places where the said goods and chattels may be, with the aid and assistance of any person or persons, and taking or carrying away the said goods and chattels, and selling or disposing of the same at private sale, with or without notice to the mortgagor, or selling the same at public auction, upon giving one week's notice of the said sale in a newspaper of general circulation published in said county and state, and out of the money arising therefrom, retaining and paying the said sum above mentioned and interest as aforesaid, and all charges touching the same, or incurred in the sale thereof, and reasonable counsel fees, and rendering the surplus, if any, unto the said party of the first part, his personal representatives and assigns.
    It is also agreed that if foreclosure proceedings are commenced on this mortgage, the mortgagee or his assigns shall be entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee, whether the foreclosure is completed or not.
    It is further agreed that if the said mortgagee, his executors, administrators or assigns, at any time before this mortgage is paid, shall have cause to believe that the mortgaged property will be lost, destroyed, removed or secreted, or may deem himself insecure, he shall have the right to declare the whole sum then unpaid on said mortgage, due and payable at once, and may immediately foreclose this mortgage in the manner herewith provided as in case of default in the payment of any sums hereby secured.
    The said party of the first part may retain and continue in the quiet and peaceful possession of said goods and chattels, and in the full and free use and enjoyment of the same except as hereinbefore provided, and it is further understood and agreed that the said party of the first part may use the stock above mentioned in the conduct of the business of a blacksmith shop, but that he will replace any stock so used, with stock of at least an equal value, and immediately when the same is purchased by the party of the first part the lien of this mortgage will attach to the said newly acquired stock, with the same force and effect as if the same were now owned by the party of the first part and mentioned and described in this mortgage.
    And the said party of the first part does hereby further promise and agreed to pay immediately when due all taxes hereafter to be levied or imposed upon said goods and chattels, and to keep the said property fully insured for a sum not less than $1500.00, as long as this mortgage remains unsatisfied, in a fire insurance company to be selected by the party of the second part, against all loss or damage by fire, the same to be made payable to the said party of the second part as mortgagee.
    And in case the said party of the first part shall fail or refuse to obtain insurance, or to pay all taxes aforesaid, within ten days after the same become due, that the said party of the second part may at his option obtain such insurance and pay the premium therefor, and he may pay all such taxes, and all sums of money thus expended are hereby secured by these presents, and shall be payable on demand from the said party of the first part to the said party of the second part, and the party of the second part may retain the same out of the proceeds of the sale of the said goods and chattels above authorized.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.
Thomas T. Merriman
In the Presence of:
Lincoln McCormack,
W. Grant
Jackson County Chattel Mortgage Records, volume 7, pages 323-325.  Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library

    One of the most loved women of Southern Oregon, and a noted pioneer, Mrs. Artinecia ("Grandma") Merriman died Wednesday morning, January 10, 1917, at the house of her daughter in Medford, Mrs. S. L. Bennett. She was born at West Liberty, O., October 11, 1830. At the age of 18 she was married to John Chapman, and for a few years made her home at Springfield, Ill. In 1851 her parents made preparations to leave Illinois for Oregon, and but a few days before their departure John Chapman died, leaving his widow with a child, John Chapman, and the young woman accompanied her parents to Oregon, coming by the southern trail, where they suffered from the usual Indian attacks, and settled finally at their future home on the Umpqua River, the town of Riddle being named for Mrs. Merriman's father. February 10, 1853, she married William H. Merriman, who was a member of the party crossing the plains with her, and in 1857 the family removed to Jackson County, where the Merriman farm on the Pacific Highway, southeast of Central Point, is still in possession of the family.
Mother of Sixteen.
    Mrs. Merriman was the mother of sixteen children, of whom eleven are still living. A daughter of her husband by a prior marriage, Mrs. Lettie Harvey, of Ashland, also survives. John Chapman, the eldest son, lives at Red Lodge, Mont., and with his wife had the privilege of being with his mother at the end. Mrs. Lucinda J. Prather, the next in age, lives at Big Timber, Mont.; Laura A. Bradley at Washington, D.C.; Mrs. Marie Bennett, Mrs. Annie Clark, and I. A. Merriman, in Medford; Mrs. Mollie Houston in Portland, Or.; Mrs. Isabel Fronk in Minneapolis, Minn.; Mrs. Effie Hill and Mrs. Josephine Beek in Seattle; Will Merriman in Oakland, Cal. Five children are now deceased: George Merriman, Charles, Walter, Prudence and Winnifred. Mrs. R. V. Beall of Central Point is a sister. George and Abner Riddle of Riddle, in Douglas County, and also Stilly Riddle of Hardin, Mont., brothers, are also living.
    Thirty seven grandchildren and a number of the fourth generation do her honor.
A Wonderful Woman.
    Grandma Merriman was one of the most wonderful women who participated in the wrestling of Oregon from the wilds, and the impress of her achievements will be marked for a generation to come. Her efficiency in her work in life was a sermon in what the real American pioneer woman can accomplish. She was thoroughly versed in the Chinook dialect, and with all her household duties found time to act as interpreter between the government and the Indians in the strife of Indian wars.
    Flashed upon the screen at the San Francisco exposition was a picture of Mrs. Merriman engaged in an animated description of pioneer days, and those who were fortunate to see this delineation of an octogenarian in the full possession of her faculties bear in memory this as one of the real treats of the exposition. Would that an endless screen of her whole life could be preserved for posterity, to show of what superb quality were the mothers of the republic.
Enjoyed Development.
    It is not given to many of the human race to be a part of and to enjoy the fruits of such a development as has taken place in Oregon since the day when, with her little son, a forlorn widow, she came with her parents to begin the work of redeeming from the red men the golden West. All the privations of the pioneer were endured in the firm conviction that the better life ahead would be attained by virtue of these privations for the generations yet to come, if not to be enjoyed by the pioneers themselves. It was a source of gratulation to the deceased as well as to her devoted children that she herself was permitted to enjoy all the benefits resulting from those days which tried men's souls and tested almost beyond endurance the fortitude of thousands of women. Adapting herself to the changed conditions as easily and gracefully as she assumed the duties of motherhood and her household duties in early days, in her later years she traveled from from home to home of her children, with quiet dignity enjoying the amenities of life as we live today, so lovingly tendered by the younger generation.
    Paved highways and modern means of transportation put within her reach in towns forty miles away, by the expenditure of one-tenth the energy required in pioneer days, the meeting-house privileges then so highly prized. The half-mile muddy lane of then was a greater barrier to movement than the mountain range of today. The fruits of the earth were at her call, as compared with the scanty provision of dried salmon, game and potatoes and beans of her youth. With the touch of a finger she commanded the gas jet, the electric light and the thousand and one additions to comfort and convenience which science has given us, as compared with the tallow dip, the pine knot, the swinging crane in the open fireplace and the Dutch oven with which she so thoroughly satisfied the wants of her family as they grew to manhood.
    And yet her heart lived in the past, and before consciousness failed her, as dissolution approached, she gave her final word, the wish that she be laid quietly away beside her husband in the village churchyard, not far remote from the old homestead, without ostentation of parade, content to rest there in the happy reflection consequent on a well-spent life.
    The funeral will be held at the Bennett residence Friday afternoon at 1 o'clock, Rev. Carstens officiating. Interment will be in Jacksonville Cemetery.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 10, 1917, page 6

    Thomas Merriman, the well-known blacksmith who enlisted in the naval reserve some weeks ago and a week later was summoned to the colors, returned to Medford Thursday with his family after a month's absence at Bremerton, with an honorable discharge from the service. Mr. Merriman enlisted for industrial duty as a blacksmith, in class four of the naval reserves, but found on his arrival at Bremerton that there was no blacksmithing to be done, what there was was under civil service, and that instead of being assigned to shore duty, he was to be transferred to class 2 of the reserves and sent aboard a warship. A protest to the commandant brought his release.
    "There have been wild tales in circulation about me," stated Mr. Merriman. "I never was in the guard house, as reported, never had any trouble with anyone in the service, and never was sent to McNeil Island. As far as I know the Medford contingent has been in no trouble, though those of us who were wantonly deceived by the enlisting officer are out considerable money, as a reward for our patriotism. We were given honorable discharges from the service because the employment for which we volunteered did not exist.
    "I signed up for industrial duty, to work in the navy yards, to relieve the enlisted men. I was to receive a salary of $60.50 a month, $12 a year retainer to keep the commandant informed of my address, and to serve in wartime at my trade, the service to be industrial instead of military. The government was to furnish a four-room cottage for my family and I was to have the privilege of buying my groceries and supplies at cost at the commissary, and that the government would make provision for dependents. I found on arrival at Bremerton that there was no blacksmithing to be done, except that under the civil service rules, no cottages for use of families of recruits, and that no one in the reserve could buy at the commissary. I found that instead of $60.50 a month my pay was to be $55 and no support for dependents.
    "I had been told by the recruiting officers that being on industrial duty, I would not have to wear a uniform--but they wanted to put a uniform on me, put me aboard ship and use me in military service, instead of industrial. When I explained matters to the commandant, he recommended my discharge--and here I am."
    Mr. Merriman was not the only naval reserve recruit who signed under misrepresentation by Dr. Davis and Lieut. Frazier, the recruiting officers. Several other Medford as well as Eugene recruits have been discharged.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 17, 1917, page 2

    George W. Riddle of Riddle, in Douglas County, newly appointed commandant of the soldiers' home at Roseburg, will take charge November 1. Judge Riddle saw service in the Rogue River war and also in the First Oregon Cavalry during the Civil War. He was born on a farm on the Sangamon River, 10 miles from Springfield, Ill., December 14, 1839. His father, William E. Riddle, was a native of Kentucky, and divided his time between his farm and working at the forge. In 1848 a neighbor, Isaac Constant, crossed the plains to Oregon. In 1850, with a saddle horse and a pack horse, he returned to dispose of his farm on the Sangamon bottom. His stories of the fertility and beauty of the Willamette Valley fired the imaginations of his neighbors, many of whom determined to go to the land of promise beyond the Rockies.
    Selling their farm that winter and securing oxen and other equipment, the Riddle family started in April, 1851, for Oregon. The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Riddle, their eldest daughter, a widow, Artinecia Chapman, with her baby son John; Isabella, who was 18; William H., 13; George, 11; Abner, 9; John B., 7; Anna, 4, and Stilley, the baby, who was 2. Lucinda McGill, Mrs. Riddle's half-sister, and Anna Hall, an 11-year-old cousin of the Riddle children, also came with them. Three young men, Newt and George Bramson and Jack Middleton, came along to help drive the wagons, for their board. The Riddles started with three wagons drawn by oxen and a large omnibus drawn by four horses, and in addition they brought along 40 head of loose cattle. Stephen Hussy and his family, Sam Yokum and family and "Sandy" Yokum, all neighbors, were also of the party.
    Driving to Kanesville, now called Council Bluffs, they waited to be joined by other emigrants, so as to form a large party for protection from the Indians. The first night out a party of white men dressed as Indians stole some of the cattle. A day or two later a party of Indians tried to make them pay for using an Indian bridge of poles and willows across a stream. The Indian chief presented a testimonial of character to impress them with his importance, which read: "The bearer claims to be an Omaha chief. He is a rascal and a bluffer. Don't give him anything. Go ahead." The party waved the chief and his followers out of the way and went ahead, the chief wondering meanwhile what was wrong with his "big medicine writing," which was supposed to impress the white men with his importance.
    Stampeding buffalo, high water, violent rainstorms, muddy roads, mosquitoes, buffalo gnats, bad water, stampeding ox teams, dry camps and other annoyances kept the trip from being one of shallow pleasure, though pleasures there were and experiences that made lifelong friendships. They reached Independence Rock, the halfway point of their journey across the plains, on July 4. At Soda Springs, on Bear River, the Hussys, Yokums and Bransoms kept to the northern trail by way of the Snake and Columbia rivers, while the Riddles, with Cornelius Hill, took the southern route, by way of Winnemucca, the Humboldt River and across the "desert" to Surprise Valley, Goose Lake and from where the city of Klamath Falls now is, across the mountains by the Green Spring Mountain road to where the city of Ashland was later located. They passed through the Rogue River Valley shortly before gold was discovered on Rich [Gulch], near where the town of Jacksonville now stands. They arrived at Canyonville September 30. At that time it had but one house, the home of Joseph Knott, who had taken up the site of Canyonville that summer. He sold his claim the next year, moving to what is now Sutherlin. Not long thereafter he moved to Portland and started Knott's steam ferry, across the Willamette. The Riddles took up a claim on Cow Creek, known as the Glenbrook farm, the first donation land claim to be taken in the Cow Creek Valley.

Fred Lockley, "
Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man,"
Oregon Journal, Portland, October 21, 1921, page 10

    Sharon C. Merriman of this city, a junior at the University of California, has been elected to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity--the highest academic honor that can be conferred a collegian. It is generally bestowed in the senior year, and given for industriousness, thrift, studiousness, good fellowship and exceptional talents.
    Mr. Merriman was recommended for the honor by one of his law professors, and his election to the society came as a happy surprise. He was initiated at a dinner given by the Town and Gown Club, March 22nd.
    Merriman is a graduate of the Medford High School, and was valedictorian of his class. He is an orator of no mean ability, and a law student at Berkeley, where he has won high marks in his courses.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 31, 1922, page 5

    Isaac Merriman, a native son of this county, died today on Bear Creek, where he and his sons, Lester and Chester, had gone to cut wood, and expired a short time after starting to cut down a tree. Mr. Merriman was born on the farm where he resided all his life. Born September 11, 1861, and was aged 61 years, 3 months, 7 days. He had been a member of Medford Lodge I.O.O.F. for 33 years and also a member of Medford Camp W.O.W. He leaves his wife, Emma, and four sons, Harry Merriman, Clark, Wyoming; Merritt Merriman, Gold Hill, Ore.; Chester and Lester of Medford, Ore. Funeral arrangements announced later. Remains are at the Perl Funeral Home.
"2 Well-Known Jackson Co. Men Called Suddenly,"
Medford Mail Tribune, December 19, 1922, page 6

    Mrs. Mary E. Merriman, wife of the late George F. Merriman, passed away at her home, 520 South Central Avenue, at 7:30 Sunday morning, October 7. Death came after a lingering illness of several years' duration. Mrs. Merriman was born near Freeport, Ill., May 6, 1857, and passed away at the age of 66 years, 5 months, 1 day.
    [Since] 1871, when at the age of 14 years she came with her parents to Jackson County, Oregon, she has been a continuous resident in and near Medford since that time, and although she had been confined to her home for a considerable time, there are perhaps few who have a wider acquaintance than Mrs. Merriman, and her many warm friends will regret to learn of her passing.
    She was the mother of 10 children, three of whom died in infancy. The surviving children are: Thomas Merriman of Medford, May Telfer of San Francisco, George Merriman of Orange, Cal., Blanche Miles, Mollie Merriman and Vera Plymale and Medford and Sharon Merriman of the university at Berkeley, Cal. Also one brother and one sister, Mrs. Eleanor Maule and George Murray of Hanford, Calif.
    Funeral services, in charge of the Church of Christ Scientist, will be held at the Conger chapel at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Interment in I.O.O.F. cemetery.

Medford Mail Tribune, October 8, 1923, page 5  This obit was reprinted verbatim in the Medford Clarion of October 12.

    An important transaction of Rogue River Valley land has been announced. William Olson of this city, associated with Chauncey Florey in the real estate business with offices in the First National Bank building, has purchased from the I. A. Merriman estate a tract of land containing between 40 and 50 acres, with about 3000 feet of frontage on the Pacific Highway, about halfway between this city and Central Point. The soil on this land is rated with the best in the county, and on account of its fine location is considered a very excellent piece of property.
    The exact amount paid for the same has not been announced, but it is understood the figure was a very attractive one and a cash deal. The new owner did not say just what he is going to do with this land, but it is well located for splitting up into smaller tracts. There will probably be some homes built for people who are coming to the valley and wish to settle on small tracts of land. There is also a first-class location on this property for a store and service station, the purchaser declares.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 14, 1925, page 2

    "When I was 20 years old my people moved to Jacksonville and I went to work as a helper for George Merriman, a blacksmith. Wielding a blacksmith's hammer and shoeing obstreperous broncos gave me lots of muscle, so I began my career as a boxer, and soon became local champion. Sometime when you are in Medford or Jacksonville ask some of the old-timers about me, or you might get a line on me at Bandon, for I owned and operated a blacksmith shop there for eight years. If I do say it myself, it was one of the best-equipped shops between Portland and San Francisco."
Perry Lee Randles, quoted by Fred Lockley, "Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man," Oregon Journal, Portland, February 5, 1927, page 4

    Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Merriman of Alhambra, California, near Los Angeles, have been spending the week in Medford visiting their many relatives in the valley and noting the many changes that have taken place since Mr. Merriman's former visit here in 1884. Mr. Merriman's father and the father of the late George Merriman, who was an active figure in Medford's development, were brothers. Other cousins, who have been active in local affairs since early days, are Mrs. A. L. Hanby of Ashland and Mrs. S. L. Bennett, the late Isaac Merriman and Thomas T. Merriman of Medford and members of the family throughout the valley. Mr. Merriman has been identified with the Pullman and the Southern Pacific companies all his life and is retired on a pension. While in Medford they are guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Wilson.
    Mr. Merriman knows "Shorty" Garnett very well and says he is getting along fine.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 29, 1927, page 2

    By the time that the new city hall and temporary court house is ready for occupancy this month, the county jail will be ready to receive prisoners in its new quarters here, following weeks of removing cells from Jacksonville to this city. The entire job of moving the bastille is in charge of Merle Merriman of the Merriman blacksmith shop, who is being assisted by a crew of men, a number of whom are serving jail sentences and welcome the work as something by which the monotony of jail life can be avoided.
    The new jail is built in the northwest corner of the temporary court house, and its walls are constructed so strong that no ordinary man is expected to make a jail break. Especial care is being taken by Mr. Merriman to see that all cells are installed in the new jail even better than they were installed at Jacksonville.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 6, 1927, page 3

Merriman Family Reunion Brings Out Interesting Local History
    The following is a short history of the Merriman family, pioneers of Rogue River Valley, and an account of the family reunion held at Lithia Springs park, Ashland, Sunday, August 12:
    In 1851 there came to Oregon from Illinois a widow whose father, W. H. Riddle, was the pioneer after whom the town of Riddle in Douglas County was named. With her came a son less than two years of age. This son, John Chapman, is now one of the prominent bankers and business men of Red Lodge, Mont.
    In 1852 there also came to Oregon from Illinois, locating first in Douglas County and a little later in Jackson County, W. H. Merriman, a widower. With him came a four-year-old daughter, now Mrs. A. L. Harvey of Ashland, Ore.
    Mr. Merriman courted Mrs. Chapman, They were married in those early days and 15 sons and daughters were born to them. This large family was reared in the Rogue River Valley, where many still reside and are actively identified with the social and business affairs of Medford and the community.
    In the early '80s, more than 40 years ago, E. F. Merriman, then of Goshen, Ind., and a nephew of the late W. H. Merriman, visited here. Ed, as he is familiarly known, is now a retired railroad man of Alhambra, Cal. To him and through his desire to get the Merrimans together once more, may be attributed the reunion of the Merriman clan in Ashland park Sunday, August 12. The family and relatives have been widely separated. Some could not attend and some have long been dead. The gathering was an occasion long to be remembered. Of the 60, and more, present many met for the first time. Those of the first family deserving special mention include:
    John Chapman of Red Lodge, Mont., who spent many years in the Klamath country and was located in Fort Klamath during the Modoc War of 1872-73. Mr. Chapman was heavily engaged in cattle and farming in Harney County, Oregon, and in Montana until he retired and is now giving attention to banking and other business matters. Mrs. Chapman is with him.
    Wm. Merriman, the youngest member of the family, of Oakland, Cal., has been in the employ of the Southern Pacific railroad company since he was a young man and is now in charge of a department with 800 men under his supervision. He arrived on Sunday morning just in time for the reunion and returned to Oakland that evening, making the trip especially to visit the "folks." His wife, Rose Merriman, remained for a few days' visit with her people, who are also pioneers of the valley.
    Maria Merriman Bennett, one of the oldest of the family, has resided in the valley almost all her life and has her home on South Riverside.
    Anna Merriman Clark, also one of the elder sisters, has always resided here and now makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. F. K. Jerome.
    Joseph Merriman Beek, the youngest daughter, now resides in Seattle and is remaining here for a few days' visit.
    E. F. Merriman of Alhambra, a cousin, has enjoyed a week's visit with the many whom he had never met before. He and Mrs. Merriman left Medford Tuesday morning for an extended visit to their old home in Goshen, Ind.
    A list of relatives and friends attending the reunion is as follows: Auletta Merriman Buzan Harvey, Margery Buzan Hoagland Otterbein, Nate Otterbein, Birdie Hoagland McDonald, Georgia Hoagland Sloan, Robert Sloan Jr., Louis G. Hoagland, Ethel Nelson Hoagland, Marjorie Lou Hoagland, Roderick Smith, Grace Hoagland Hijick, Stanley Hijick, Addie Buzan Rippey Wilson, E. M. Wilson, Maude Rippey Goeller, Harry E. Goeller Sr., Harry E. Goeller Jr., Geanne Goeller, Nannette Goeller, Adra Goeller, Leda Harvey Parker, Lee L. Parker, Opal Harvey Wright, Frank E. Wright, Maria Merriman Bennett, Laura Bennett Loder, Marie Bennett Swingle, Hollie Swingle, Hollis Swingle, Louis Bennett, Mamie Bennett, Robera Bennett, Anna Merriman Clark, Josephine Clark Jerome, F. Kenneth Jerome, Jeraldine Jerome, Thomas T. Merriman, Nellie Merriman, Myrle Merriman, Irene Merriman, Francis Merriman, Vera Merriman Plymale, Ben Telfer Plymale, Emma Bellinger Merriman, Chester Merriman, Beatrice Merriman, Margaret Merriman, Hubert Merriman, Josephine Merriman Beek (Seattle), Wm. Merriman (Oakland, Cal.), Rose Luy Merriman (Oakland, Cal.), John Chapman (Red Lodge, Mont.), Alfia Chapman (Red Lodge, Mont.), Mabel Owen Hall, Mary Magruder Coker, Lettie Magruder Gregory, Eddy Francis Merriman (Alhambra, Cal.), and Caroline Brown Merriman (Alhambra, Ca.).
    Visitors: Mary Beall Strang, Chas. Strang, Fred L. Strang, Edith Wilson Gifford, Thos. J. Gifford, Herbert Gifford, Randall Gifford, Betty Beall, Mrs. Asbury Beall, Mrs. Mollie Rippey (Portland, Ore.), Miss Roberta Rippey (Portland, Ore.), Miss Irene Rippey, (Portland, Ore.), Clary  Rippey (Baker, Ore.), Lottie Rippey (Baker, Ore.), Ruth Rippey (Baker, Ore.), Irma Johnson (La Grande, Ore.).
Medford Mail Tribune, August 17, 1928, page 7

"Equipodiatry" Is Vanishing Art As Auto and Tractor Eliminate Horse; Few Smiths Now Ply Trade in County
(By Ernest Rostel)
    When the top-hatted, black-clad undertaker in his old horse-drawn hearse graduated to the motor-driven vehicle and became a mortician, when dealers in land moved from the corner where they used to trade property into regal suites and became realtors and when barbers became beauty experts, the world paused to wonder what would happen next.
    But through all the years, the skillful art of the blacksmith has remained the same, though it has continued to dwindle with the passage of every year. Though once the shops were as popular as garages are today in Medford, only three are now doing business--Nick Young on South Holly, J. O. Frazier on South Fir and P. A. Dooms on 10th Street--the only three where horses may be shod.
    In keeping with the advance of the times, blacksmithing by the mere crudite has been given the title of "equipodiatry," whatever that may mean, and blacksmiths are "equipodestrians," but their work remains unchanged. The anvils still ring merrily with fhe blows of husky leather-aproned sons of the forge, but they don't ring as often as they did when there were 400 livery horses in Medford and competition was keen among livery stables. Those were the days when horses were shod with better schedule, when every six weeks would usually find a well-provided horse in for his shoeing.
Only Work Now.
    Today horses don't fare so well as their elders, who were more familiar to the people as proud, strutting teams, carefully curried and the pride of their owners, who always had the latest model buggies in keeping with the sleek appearance of their steeds. Horses in the motor age are figured more for the work they can do and appearance is not so important, outside of a few members of the equine family kept for riding purposes and for show.
    Horses should still be shod every six weeks, according to Nick Young, for 15 years a Medford "smithy," but many of them are fortunate to be shod every six months, says he. When he came to Medford, livery stables were still doing business and auto cars were something new to those who had known the reliability of horseflesh for so long. But as the years passed by, he witnessed the decline of one of mankind's most faithful servants, giving way to the advent of cold, expressionless mechanisms.
    In the opinion of Mr. Young, it may be only a period of a few years before horseshoeing will be a lost art, and a blacksmith who devotes his time to shoeing will be regarded as a curiosity. When automobiles began to become popular, horseflesh was assured of a safe place on the farm, but since then motor-driven units of power and transportation, known generally as tractors, have invaded the farm and are slowly but surely crowding horses from their last stand.
    In other days, horses would wait in line to be shod, but they don't come in so often now, and it is not uncommon for the blacksmith to go to the horses instead of them coming to him. He takes his portable forge and his kit of tools and shoes and spends a day at the larger orchards and farms, providing work horses with shoes with which they can do better work with as little damage to their hoofs as possible. 'Tis a far cry from the day when a man could fit 100 shoes in a day and sometimes look for more.
    But blacksmithing is a good trade, and one, regardless of what some might say, with prospects of becoming better. Young men do not take to the trade so readily, leaving only the oldtimers to follow the anvil, but as long as machinery is made, there will be need of blacksmiths. Farmers have always found them necessary in the general scheme of things and probably always will, not for horseshoeing, but for so many other bits of work only a blacksmith can do.
Merriman Shop Old.
    The Merriman blacksmith shop on South Riverside felt the inroads of the auto long ago, and for 10 years has discontinued horseshoeing,  but several men are kept busy there daily, giving a large share of their time to farm work. This shop is the oldest in all Jackson County, and in 1852 [sic] was established at the present site of Hubbard Brothers implement store. [George Merriman started his shop in 1890. Medford did not exist in 1852.] For years it did business there, until moved across the street to the site of the Associated Oil Company service station. In 1906 it was moved to its present quarters.
    This shop has particularly interesting doors, decorated with a surprising variety of brands used by cattlemen in Southern Oregon, having large herds on the ranges. Though there are more than five score, no two brands have any striking similarity. Some are the result of 15 or 20 minutes' work, while others are the result of a day's labor spent in careful forging of letters. Over 60 percent of the brands made in the county were made here, according to Myrle Merriman, one of the few present-day sons following the same profession as his father, well known to all as just plain "Tom."
    While brands may not be made as often as they were, the Merriman shop still turns out a goodly number--old brands have a habit of wearing out, and now and then some cattle owner evolves a new one. One door inside the shop is covered with burned impressions, a replica of which probably is worn by many hundreds of cattle. A front door of the shop is also well covered.
    In the county as a whole, blacksmith shops are rare. In Central Point, Ben F. Peart runs the only one, which he has been operating ever since the same children, who once watched him pound on the ringing anvil and make sparks fly hither and yon, have grown into men and women, and themselves have children who now do what their elders did in "watching the village smithy." There used to be three shops in that thriving little city.
    Jacksonville also boasted a shop, but it was torn down a short time ago. There were shops at Talent and Phoenix, but none could be seen on recent trips through these places. The art of blacksmithing is still earnestly followed in Ashland.
    It apparently will be a curiosity within a few short years to see the art of "equipodiatry" have a following of any kind, but whatever may happen, blacksmithing bids fair to live on and on.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 18, 1929, page 8

    Death of Edward F. Merriman, aged 70 years, at Alhambra, Cal., Wednesday afternoon, January 22, is announced in a telegram received by Mrs. E. M. Wilson.
    Mr. Merriman resided in Rogue River Valley 45 years ago and was one of the early Merriman pioneers of the valley. He visited relatives and old-time friends here during the summer of 1928, becoming ill soon after his return home, and for six months prior to his death was bedfast.
    Most of his life was given to railroad work in the employ of the Pullman and Southern Pacific companies, being retired on pension by the Southern Pacific Company a few years ago. He leaves his wife, a sister and numerous relatives in Medford and vicinity and in Goshen, Ind. Funeral services will be held Friday at Alhambra.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 23, 1930, page 3

    Not since 1910, when they shoed 50 horses a day, has there been so much activity at the Merriman blacksmith shop as there is now during a general enlargement of the quarters in order to take care of the increased business.
    All of the iron and steel stock will be placed in an annex located at the rear of the blacksmith shop on South Riverside, and the present location will be devoted to working space. Considerable of new equipment will be installed within the next 30 days, when the moving is expected to be finished.
    In 1852 the great-grandfather of Merl and Francis Merriman established the Merriman blacksmith shop on a tract of government land between Central Point and Medford. The shop was moved to Medford in [1885] under the management of George F. Merriman, whose son, T. F. Merriman, now operates the business with his two sons, Merl and Francis.
    Not a horse has darkened the entrance of the blacksmith shop since 1920. In 1917 an average of one horse a day was shod, and previous to that time more than 50 daily.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 9, 1930, page 8

    A transaction of interest in the local dairy industry was announced today with the sale of the Merriman dairy on the North Pacific Highway, between Medford and Central Point, to Lester Gilman, son of George Gilman, well-known dairyman. The dairy has been operated during the past year as a part of the Swiss creamery. The new owner took possession yesterday.
    The purchase includes 50 dairy cows, tested for tuberculosis and contagious abortion, and modern equipment, complying with the Medford milk ordinance, making it possible to sell grade "A" milk only. The new owner is familiar with the latest and most approved methods of producing high-grade and sanitary dairy products through close association with his father, a dairyman of long standing. The plant includes a steam sterilizer, ice machine, milking machines and other modern apparatus.
    Mr. Gilman stated today that quality and service will be the basis of his business and stated he will strictly observe requirements of the milk ordinance, cooperating with city officials to the fullest extent to guarantee the distribution of milk produced under the most sanitary conditions. His phone number is 498-M.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 2, 1930, page 6

    The Merriman blacksmith shop, located on South Riverside, which has been located in the same place for 21 years, is now being moved to 808 South Riverside in the Brewer building, formerly occupied by the Fageol Motor Sales Company, according to T. T. Merriman, who owns and operates the shop.
    "It will probably take several days to get the new shop arranged," Mr. Merriman said today, "because of 21 years' accumulations." The shop will be closed while the equipment is being moved.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 17, 1931, page 3

    Walter M. Bergman, who has been associated with the Merriman blacksmith shop on South Riverside Avenue for the past 13 years, has purchased Nick Young's shop at 109 South Holly Street, and will take possession the first of the month, he has announced.
    Mr. Young has operated his shop for about 11 years, and according to present plans will retire. Mr. Bergman is to continue the present lines of general blacksmithing when he takes over the establishment, he stated today.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 22, 1931, page 5

Merriman Sons Reopening Shop
    The Merriman Shop, located on South Riverside, opened today under the management of Myrle and Francis Merriman. The two brothers have been running the business during the illness of the father, T. T. Merriman, the past four years. According to Myrle they have the most complete shop in this part of the state. He says they have the blacksmith, welding and factory spring department for making and repairing springs, as well as a full line of new springs.
    Mr. Merriman says: "We will endeavor to maintain competitive prices in all lines of our work."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 29, 1933, page 2

Last revised February 11, 2024