The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County News: 1877

To the Editor of the New Northwest:
    In accordance with your expressed wish for correspondence from various parts of the state, I beg leave to submit a few items concerning this mining region.
    The stream known as Galice Creek is a mountain stream heading in the Coast Range and emptying into Rogue River about twenty miles west of the regular stage road and fifty-five miles northwest of Jacksonville. Although seemingly quiet and peaceful, it has the history of tumult and bloodshed as well as other places of greeter notoriety.
    Twenty-five years ago, when this country was deeply inhabited by Indians, and a few adventurous bands of white men were roaming these craggy mountains in search of the precious metal, Galice Creek was discovered. Investigation proved it to be one of the richest mining ledges in Southern Oregon, if not on the coast. Great fortunes were unearthed, and many have possessed themselves of them, returned to their homes to enjoy the fruits of their toil. Others less fortunate remained and toiled and hoped on. Some of these were subsequently driven out by hostile Indians, and not a few brave fortune-seekers met their doom at the hands of blood-thirsty savages.
    Traveling through this country, now so peaceful and quiet, it seems like a strange, weird dream to recall the scenes of bloodshed and dire cruelty to which these mountains were witnesses, and standing in their mute presence, we feel almost thankful that they hold in everlasting silence many of the tragic tales that garrulous witnesses might rehearse. The conflict between the red man and the white is here, as elsewhere, finished by the complete supremacy of the latter. The triumph is so complete that scarcely an Indian remains as a reminder of a bygone era.
    Two years ago, when your humble correspondent first came to this camp, but two Indian men remained here--one a native Indian, the other an old Mexican Indian who had located on a farm on Rogue River before the war. This last was a firm friend to the miners throughout the war. and had they heeded his warnings, a great many who suffered death might have escaped. This dreadful war--how dreadful only shuddering frontier settlers can tell--began, I think, in '52, and lasted, with short intervals of peace, till '56. The Indians who remained at this time were by treaty removed to Grand Ronde Reservation in Yamhill County, where, with the exception of a few families, they still remain.
    During the period of which I have spoken the mines were deserted, most of the richest claims having been worked out, and the rich gold deposits of Eastern Oregon, Washington and Idaho having been discovered, the poorer diggings were abandoned. The mines in this section are at present confined to the gravel and placer mines. The company known as the "English Hydraulic Mining Company" worked their mines last winter to great advantage. They are well provided with all the modern improvements for mining, including a twenty-two-inch pipe and two "giants" ready for use as soon as the water comes. Last year was a much more favorable year for mining operations than the present one has been thus far, owing to the scarcity of rain this season. Another claim known as the "Reed claim" has also two fifteen-inch pipes and two "giants" waiting for water to commence operations. These mines are situated on the south side of Galice Creek, on the mountain from 600 to 800 feet above the level of the creek, and as the miners express it, "have plenty of dump." Their depth is from 60 to 100 feet, and they appear to have been at some remote period the channel of a large river. The water by which they are supplied is taken by a ditch from a fork of Galice Creek. This ditch is six miles in length and was constructed at great expense and affords water for mining purposes from six to eight [months] in the year. The claim of Capt. A. P. Ankeny & Co. is similarly situated and similarly rigged for work. Their ditch is four miles long and traverses about 250 acres of mining ground. There is also a claim being opened on the north side of Rogue River by Wm. Bybee & Co. that prospects well and will no doubt yield ample returns to the enterprising owners. There are also other claims of minor importance that are being worked with satisfactory results. The numerous quartz ledges in this county are receiving but little attention at the present time, although some are going on quietly prospecting with full confidence that they have a good thing. The famous "Yank Ledge," situated on the north aide of Rogue River, and which has been thoroughly tested and found to be rich both in gold and silver, has suspended operations, owing to the designing intrigue of the superintendent, but I believe it is the intention of the company to resume work again at an early day.
    This county is vastly rich in mineral resources, and only wants men and capital to cause it to add its golden dower to the wealth of the world. That it is destined to be one of the richest mining fields in the world, I believe to be a fact.
    There can be but little said in regard to the social privileges of the camp. This is not so much because of the lack of material to form good society as because of the almost impassable condition of the country. Deep cañons and steep mountains do not tend to make travel easy.
    The weather at this time is delightful, and but for the fact that the mines cannot be worked without rain, would be much enjoyed by all.
    I shall continue, as I have for some time been doing, to use my best endeavors to get subscribers for the New Northwest. I find but few friends to the cause of equal rights in our midst. We are sadly in need of some able exponent of freedom to come and work among us. I hope Mrs. Duniway, or Mrs. Loughary, or some other person with active brain and ready tongue, will find it convenient to visit us during the spring months, for, indeed, the need is great and the laborers are few.
    If you find the foregoing acceptable, you may expect in the near future to hear something further from this part of Oregon. In the meantime, be assured of my best wishes for the success of the New Northwest, its editors, and all other workers in the cause of right.
Galice Creek, January 5, 1877.
The New Northwest, Portland, January 19, 1877, page 2

To the Editor of the New Northwest:
     I see by your paper the annual meeting of the Woman Suffrage Association will be held on the 13th of February. Wishing to become a member of the Association, I should like to know what steps are necessary, what the expense would be, and who to address. As there may be others desiring to become members, it would probably be to the interest of your readers that you answer through your valuable paper.
    I should like so much to be present at a meeting of the Association, but family cares prevent, and besides, I would not attend without my better half, as he is not addicted to going on excursions without me, and you know we should be just in all things.
    I am much gratified to notice a decided improvement in the sentiments of the women of our country, indicating a desire to be considered equals and coworkers with husbands and brothers.
    I am also pleased to note a growing disposition on the part of men to recognize ability and intelligence in women, and their right to social equality. The avidity with which women grasp every opportunity offered them, shows that it is appreciated. I have a confident hope we may yet live to see the triumph of justice to woman, notwithstanding such sheets as the Jacksonville Times still make sport of Woman Suffrage, even to the extent of being personal. (See Times of 30th of December.) The time will come when that "Sail-trimmer" will deem it expedient to court popularity by a change of tactics.
    Should you find anyone wishing to subscribe for a Southern Oregon paper, you can safely recommend the Ashland Tidings.
    Wishing you abundant success, I remain sincerely yours,
Jackson County, Or., Jan. 14, 1877.
The New Northwest, Portland, January 26, 1877, page 2

    We are sorry to learn of the serious illness of J. M. Sutton, editor of the Ashland Tidings, and hope soon to be able to chronicle his complete restoration to health.
The New Northwest, Portland, February 16, 1877, page 2

To the Editor of the New Northwest:
    Although I have nothing new under the sun to write today, yet I feel like scribbling a little. Situated as we are, away off in one corner of the earth, if we do not make a little noise for ourselves no one will make it for us.
    We were blessed a short time ago with sufficient rain to start the pipes on the hydraulic diggings. The miners were in great glee, but their spirits fell below zero when in about three days the rain ceased, and ever since we have had cold nights and sunny days. The miners have almost despaired of having a run this season. It is best to live in hopes, however, if we land in despair, but the consequence is that when rain is scarce, times are hard.
    Captain Ankeny paid a hasty visit to the county, on business associated with his mining claims, recently, but has returned to Portland.
    We have a debating society at Galice City. The all-important question, "Resolved, That women are entitled to all the civil rights that men enjoy," was recently debated. The question had been debated before by the same persons and decided against women, but this time [with] Captain Ankeny, acting as president, and a woman to vindicate the cause of women, the question was easily won.
    Perhaps Galice City sounds nice away off at Portland, but don't flatter yourselves that it is a large flourishing city. It has one hotel, two stores, and one mantrap (saloon). The said city covers about a half mile of ground. It is located on Rogue River, about twelve miles from the wagon road, at the nearest point. Transportation is made with pack animals that distance.
    I notice in my last article in the New Northwest, speaking of the water privileges belonging to Ankeny & Co. and the English Hydraulic Mining Company, the word "weeks" occurs where it should have been months.
    We have one great blessing to brag of here. That is good health, but while we labor under so many disadvantages, I suppose we are entitled to at least one, and that is the greatest blessing after all that a person can enjoy.
    How I long to be present at the Women Suffrage Convention now in session at Albany. But we can only wait and work with patience, knowing that the time is not far distant when the great, grand and glorious victory for which noble men and women are working so faithfully will soon be achieved.
    With sincere good wishes for the future prosperity of the paper, the editors, and all friends to the cause, I remain most respectfully,
Galice Creek, February 15, 1877.
The New Northwest, Portland, February 23, 1877, page 2

    Mr. Sutton has, on account of ill health, been compelled to give up his newspaper enterprise, and as a consequence the Ashland Tidings appears under a new management, J. M. McCall & Co. taking charge.
The New Northwest, Portland, April 13, 1877, page 2

To the Editor of the New Northwest:
    Allow an earnest co-worker in the cause of human rights, who has followed you in your peregrinations across the continent, and rather impatiently awaited your return, to extend you a most cordial welcome to your home, and to the fields that are ripening for the harvest that was planted mainly by your own hands, with the seeds of truth that are already yielding such golden fruits for our common cause.
    I cannot forbear to assure you of my gratification at the excellent conduct of our paper during your prolonged absence. It never failed in interest, and your friends in this section indulge the hope that "ye associate" will be allowed to continue to engineer it while you turn your attention to the lecture-field, as such work is much needed in this section.
    Our cause is gaining ground every day, and it is forcing itself with steps almost noiseless into every home, no matter how humble, in the land. Especially is the injustice engendered by the selfish arrogance of masculine government felt in the homes of the more wealthy class. Among laboring people the masculine element generously (?) accords to the gentler sex the right to labor, not alone for their daily bread, but in many instances for the family sustenance, while the fortunate possessor of a few thousands, with an egotism born of a pestilential power, regards his unpretending helpmeet as an object of charity, who can alone subsist by the grace of his generous condescension, and one that the Supreme Ruler has launched upon the great sea of active life as an insignificant satellite to a gorgeous luminary.
    Your "associate" has kept the lamps of truth trimmed and burning during your absence, and we accord to her a generous meed of well-earned praise for her active labors and untiring zeal, while we feel assured that your labors East shall be as bread cast upon the waters, to return to our benefit in the near future.
    Please notify me of the date that my subscription expires, as I do not wish to miss one number of your valuable paper.
    I feel particularly gratified at your complimentary notice of Mrs. B. A. Owens, whom I have known from childhood, and who has surmounted many obstacles to reach the position she occupies today. Complimentary mention of the honorable endeavor and success of those women who have dared ridicule and braved contumely to elevate not only themselves, but their sex, is sanctioned by right and approved by justice, and women owe this recompense of praise to their sister women who have bravely battled and bravely won a name and place in the world's broad fields. I hope and believe that such at example may inspire others to rise superior to adverse circumstances, and, notwithstanding their sex and previous condition of servitude, climb the steeps to where "fame and competence and honor await them."
    With my most earnest wishes that both Mrs. C. and yourself may long continue to hold the lamp of truth that will safely guide benighted humanity in the ways of wisdom and happiness, I remain yours for the right,
Jacksonville, April 18, 1877.
The New Northwest, Portland, April 27, 1877, page 2

    The amount of direct lying to which professedly orthodox wives are sometimes compelled to resort in trying to screen their husbands from the world's observation of the masculine tyranny under which they groan is perfectly appalling to a woman who is so far free from superstitious religious thralldom as to believe in and dare to assert what she knows to be the truth, regardless of the persecution of the priest-ridden or the fanaticism of the purblind votaries of any and every species of hypocritical training and tyrannical humbug.
    We know that a woman who is in matrimonial bondage with a boiled-down bigot, whom her own God-given intellect has long ago outgrown, but whom she is in subjection to under human law, despite her own soul's longings for liberty, is at best occupying a very equivocal position. Her orthodox fears of eternal punishment compel her to endure self-stultification, and the mighty Mr. Grundy constantly applies his whip to aggravate her diseased theology till she really believes it right to lie, as Eve did, to screen the husband who has the same power to compel her to lie that the owner of a negro once exerted who compelled her slave to go to the house of her friend and declare himself the author of a breach of etiquette that she had committed the night before. When she and her husband have their quarrels understood in private, their public statements generally agree, but when the pygmy husband writes a letter to the New Northwest, without his wife's knowledge or consent, ordering the paper stopped, and declaring the wife opposed to its teachings, and the wife, who is a known worker in the woman movement, writes a letter for publication fully endorsing the paper and its course, the husband gets caught in his trickery. Then the woman, like the former slave, must step to the front and shoulder the blame, though by so doing she only the more plainly exposes all that she would lie to conceal.
    Sometime last winter, during our absence in the East, Mrs. Coburn received a letter from a man in Jacksonville, Oregon, ordering his wife's paper discontinued, because, as he alleged, she was much displeased with its teachings. Mrs. C. addressed the lady privately, using her husband's initials because not knowing her own, saying, in substance, that if she was displeased with anything the paper contained, a far better way than stopping it would be to combat its errors by writing articles for its columns stating her own views. This letter the husband took from the office and read, and, as the sequel proves, did not deliver to his wife till after the publication of her letter signed "Fiat Justitia," which our readers will remember as a very complete and thorough endorsement of ourself in particular and Mrs. Coburn in general.
    Our readers will excuse the following quotation from our issue of April 27th, as it is true enough to hear repeating frequently:
    "Allow an earnest coworker in the cause of human rights, who has followed you in your peregrinations across the continent, and rather impatiently awaited your return, to extend you a most cordial welcome to your home, and to the fields that are ripening for the harvest that was planted mainly by your own hands, with the seeds of truth that are already yielding such golden fruits for our common cause. I cannot forbear to assure you of my gratification at the excellent conduct of our paper during your prolonged absence. It never failed in interest, and your friends in this section indulge the hope that 'ye associate' will be allowed to continue to engineer it while you turn your attention to the lecture field, as such work is much needed in this section. * * * Please notify me of the date that my subscription expires, as I do not wish to miss one number of your valuable paper. With my most earnest wishes that both Mrs. C. and yourself may long continue to hold the lamp of truth that will safely guide benighted humanity in the ways of wisdom and happiness, I remain yours for the right."
    The letters from the husband and wife did not tally, as the reader sees, but the editors took in the situation with a quiet chuckle and "let things work."
    Here follows how they worked: The husband was caught in working cross purposes, and the wife, being in subjection, according to her interpretation of "orthodoxy," sends the following letter to "ye associate," which she turns over to us to answer:
    "MRS. C. A. COBURN--DEAR MADAM:--Your favor of recent date has just been received; also, your first in reply to one written you by my husband. At the time of that writing I did take issue with Mrs. D. in the general tone of the paper, and more especially in her delineation of character in her serials, which I, being a pioneer Oregonian, regard as of too low a type to be just to our whole-souled and liberal-minded people. Also, at that date I was not favorably impressed with her criticism of the Moody and Sankey revival meetings in Chicago during her sojourn in that city. I am orthodox, very, and would gladly aid every movement that would tend to Christianize and evangelize our too surely degenerate people, and, per consequence, was watching with great interest their labors East, and I regretted exceedingly that she should take the position she did, for there are many excellent qualities belonging to the New Northwest which deserve the encouragement of women everywhere. I read your article on the trying position of editors and how hard it was to please everybody, and thought it most applicable to myself. Without any desire to overrate you, or underrate Mrs. D., I must say that your writings are to my taste the more pleasing, and I have no doubt that Mrs. D. is especially gifted as a lecturer and authoress. My husband, who has had the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with her, has always respected her as an intelligent and pleasant lady, although he is, I might say, violently opposed to her teachings. Should she visit this place I shall be pleased to make her acquaintance, and hope she will, at an early date, favor us with a visit. Of course I intend her no disrespect. Everyone has a preference, but I cannot think it right for anyone to be the least bit lax in their theology, for our future destiny must rest upon the morality of the people and the perpetuation of monogamic marriage, and to that end I shall direct my most earnest efforts, for dynasties crumble with the departure of the people from those essential measures. Having written especially to explain the seeming incompatibility of mine and my husband's letters, I remain yours respectfully,"
    We omit the writer's name for the present, hoping to convert both her and her husband to the very orthodox idea to which we hold, that honesty is of more value than aught else on earth or in heaven. We want them to learn that the blood of Jesus will not atone for double dealing, and that the "monogamic relation," important as it is, sinks into insignificance beside the truth.
    Later she sends us this message on a card, by which we are to understand that her husband's style of "orthodoxy" has triumphed:
    "Please discontinue the New Northwest, as I shall not renew my subscription."
    Now this, by way of reply: The lady's encomiums upon Mrs. Coburn are not new. We have reiterated them a thousand times ourself, and feel much obliged to her for so frankly expressing our opinion.
    The serials to which she objects are true in substance, more's the pity, and the only object we have in writing them is to show the world their enormity, that the evils they depict may be corrected. If she calls the noble women we portray, who have battled against adversity and bad husbands till they have reached prosperity of "a low type," we would not crave her kind of orthodoxy, because it might make us as uncharitable as herself.
    What we said about the Moody and Sankey meetings is as true as heaven. Would to God it were otherwise. We are not the first person, however, who has been crucified in some way for the truth's sake, and we have no objection to the illustrious company her strictures place us in. Now, a word about our own religious belief. We believe in the divine mission of the good, the true, the pure, the free, wherever found and with whomsoever they may come to stay. We believe in the divine mission of Jesus and the heavenly precepts of the Golden Rule. We know it is as great a sin in God's eyes to lie by word or deed, as to commit any other crime. We know that the blood of Jesus will not cover up pious shams, and we sympathize with our friend in her equivocal position. We know her lot is a trying one, for the might and the law are all on the side of the narrow bigot whom she labors to screen, whose power our serials are breaking. But, as the ostrich vainly imagines himself hidden when he covers his head, so does a woman vainly imagine her real status concealed when she endeavors to cover her husband's peccadilloes by lengthy "explanations."
The New Northwest, Portland, May 25, 1877, page 2

To the Editor of the New Northwest:
    As I feel deeply interested in the great cause for which you are battling so hard, I feel it my duty as well as a great pleasure to offer something to encourage you on your way.
    When reading sketches of the letter from Jacksonville, and the low, cowardly advantage the man (if man he might be called) took of his loving wife in taking out her letters, reading them, and answering to suit himself without her knowledge, and then putting her in front to stem the current and explain the dilemma in which they had fallen, my cheek tinged with shame to think that one of my sex, born of a mother, nurtured, loved and cherished by a mother, should allow his narrow-gauge, pent-up orthodox ideas to be pinched in by the casings of such blind prejudice. But until women stand on an equal footing, free and independent beside their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, then, and not till then, will they assert their liberty and not be made to crouch beneath the tyranny of those they well know to be their inferiors.
    As I write I call to my mind an instance of a man that has long been in this section, with no ambition or aspirations beyond sufficient food and limited clothing. But as fortune favored him, and accidental circumstances drifted him into the society of women, he made the acquaintance, courted and wedded a lady of some business talent. His married life has been but short, but how marked the change; he now comes to the front and is looked upon as a man of business, and a useful and good citizen. And yet the main drive wheel that has brought about this great change and keeps the machinery of business in motion stands in the background, and is only known to the outside world as Mrs. ------.
    And so it is in many cases that husbands are buoyed up by their wives, and held to an honorable position in society and among their fellow men. But when they lose that loved companion and her kind counsel, they gradually sink to the lower grade of society as naturally as water will seek its level. We often, if not always, find these same individuals opposed to Woman Suffrage.
    When Napoleon forsook the Empress Josephine, from that time his decline appears to have commenced, and yet history tells us that after he had forsaken her and thereby outraged her feelings, he often went to her for counsel, which she freely gave.
    But the time is approaching and people are beginning to think for themselves, consequently more liberal views are taken, and we are gradually gaining ground.
And now may God help on the cause
    And sound the gladdening note,
When legislatures change the laws
    And let the women vote.
Galice Creek, June 1, 1877.
The New Northwest, Portland, June 8, 1877, page 2

    William M. Turner, of Jacksonville, Oregon, has been appointed Special Indian Agent to gather in straggling bands of Indians along the Malheur Reservation, in conjunction with Rhinehard, agent at that reservation.
"Ticks of the Telegraph," San Francisco Examiner, July 12, 1877, page 1

    D. P. Thompson has 350 Chinese at work digging a ditch near Jacksonville.
"News Items," New Northwest, Portland, August 17, 1877, page 2

    A predatory cow made a raid on a clothesline in the upper part of town last evening, and before she was detected had succeeded in eating two frilled skirts, three lace-trimmed demiwhatyoucallems and several striped stockings.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 21, 1877, page 3

    The people of Southern Oregon are agitating for a new state, to extend
from the Calapooia to the Scott Mountains, to include the Umpqua, Rogue and Klamath Valleys. The region is larger than most of the Atlantic States, and distinct in its industries and interests from either the Willamette or Sacramento valleys.
"Editorial Notes," Washington Gazette, Washington, Indiana, October 13, 1877, page 1

    INDIANS IN TOWN.--The Klamath Indians are now here on their annual trading expedition, arriving Sunday. They brought with them nearly a hundred head of ponies, which they have been selling for old clothing, supplies, etc. They make night hideous with their fantastic singing and dancing, and the average hoodlum is now in his glory thereat. Lo is becoming civilized, as we learn that he closes down exercises if the boys fail to contribute to the hat which is passed around.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 19, 1877, page 3

Last revised March 28, 2022