The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County News: 1880

BIG BUTTE, Jan. 2nd, 1880.
To the Editor of the Times:
    With your permission I wish to make a suggestion to the taxpayers of Jackson County. The question with business men is not what will bring the greatest return from the investment tomorrow, but what will bring the greatest return from the investment in the course of a year or a series of years. And, as the suggestion is one that will necessarily involve the outlay of some capital, it will not be out of place to give the subject a careful investigation.
    Every man in the county is interested, more or less, in the general welfare of the whole community, and it is an admitted fact that it would be for the benefit of all parties, the farmer, mechanic, merchant, as well as the stock-raiser, for the county to be rid of the "varmints" that destroy our grain and young stock. The suggestion I have to make is this: Let the people in the different parts of the county, while they are talking about the wagon road to the coast, and other public enterprises, appoint in each neighborhood a prominent person who is interested in the movement, to circulate a petition to the Hon. Count Court of Jackson County praying that it offer a reasonable bounty for the scalps of panthers, bears, wolves, coyotes, wildcats, rabbits, squirrels, etc.
    I know that some will say at once that the taxes are so high now that we cannot afford to offer a bounty at present. But while we admit that the taxes are high and that the bounty would be a drain on the county funds for a year or two, still I hold that it will be a good investment for the taxpayers in the end.
    Now let us see. We have annually destroyed, by the rabbits and squirrels, hundreds of bushels of grain that might become taxable property, and by offering a small bounty as an inducement, the boys, with their traps, deadfalls, etc., would soon destroy the majority of them. While these are destroying the cents, the larger "varmints" that prey upon the young stock are destroying the dollars. In some parts of the county, it is a very difficult thing to raise colts on the public commons on account of the panther, cougar, etc., but if these were destroyed so that we could raise our colts on the range, the taxes on a few good horses would amount to enough to pay the bounty on several scalps, but it is not only the colts that they prey upon, but calves, hogs, sheep and in fact everything that we raise in the stock line suffers more or less.
    Take the hog interest for instance. Today it costs about one-half of the value of the pigs that we raise to pay for the feed and attention that is necessary to raise them so that they will be fit for market, and why is this? Is it on account of the scarcity of feed on the commons? No, by no means but simply because if the sow is left with her young pigs in the woods, the coyotes would catch the pigs, and if they are left in an enclosure the case is but little better, for they or the wildcats will steal into an enclosure and destroy all the young. The same may be said with respect to sheep. As it is now, the sheep men have to watch their flocks all the time, and still, with all their care, occasionally a few will stray off, and then some of them are sure to be caught. But if the sheep could run at large, especially in the winter when the ground is soft and the feed is scarce, and be protected from the ravages of the pests that are prowling over our county, we could raise at least double the amount of sheep and hogs. But as it is, a large amount of the revenue that would come into the county treasury in the shape of taxes is now devoured by these pests. If the County Court would offer a premium for their scalps, as Douglas County as done, young men who have but little to do, or to do with, would hunt them up and by that plan give the hunter lucrative employment, rid the country of a terrible pest and bring money into the county treasury.
    Let us hear from others on this subject, and if we can do no more we can get the citizens of this county to think of some plan for relief.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 9, 1880, page 1

The Sisson Suit.
    Complaint was filed in the Circuit Court for Jackson County on the 19th day of January, 1880, by Dowell & Neil, attorneys for plaintiff in the case of Augusta Sisson, heir at law of Dr. David Sisson, vs. A. D. Helman, John R. Helman, Mary Jane Helman, M .J. Helman, et al. This is a suit in equity to quiet title to real estate, and involving the title to property in the town of Ashland, valued at not less than $10,000. The complaint sets forth that Dr. David Sisson was owner of and in peaceable possession of a certain block of land in the town of Ashland, the title to which was based on a written contract for a deed for block No. 2 on the original plat of Ashland, given by A. D. Helman to Morris Howell and assigned to Sisson. It relates that Dr. Sisson had erected valuable buildings on said block including a hospital, that while residing on the same on the 5th day of April, 1868, when the plaintiff was only eight days old, he was shot and killed by an assassin, within sixty yards of A. D. Helman's front door, and that soon afterwards, the house in which Sisson was living at the time of his death, and also a house on the Sisson farm near Ashland, were burned by an incendiary who succeeded in burning the contract to Howell. Subsequently, the complaint alleges, the plat of Ashland was stolen from the Recorder's office, and a new plat filed having an additional block and on which block No. 2 (owned by Sisson) was changed to block No. 3, so as to destroy its identity and defraud the plaintiff out of lot No. 6 in said block which had been deeded to her by L. J. C. Duncan, who had purchased at sheriff's sale under an execution against the property of A. D. Helman. The complaint further sets forth that A. D. Helman, one of the defendants, filed a third plat of the town of Ashland on which block No. 2 (claimed by the plaintiff) is not laid down, with intention to defraud plaintiff and entirely destroy all evidence of her title. Plaintiff asks that certain deeds made by A. D. Helman to parties now in possession be declared void, so far as they conflict with her interest in the land, and he be compelled to make her a deed according to the contract made to Howell and assigned to Sisson. If the complaint be true it points to the commission of the blackest deed that was ever done in Jackson County, and if probed the fact would be disclosed that arson, larceny of a public record and forgery were used to cover it up, hide the murderer and rob an infant orphan of her property.--Jacksonville Sentinel.
Albany Register,
Albany, Oregon, February 6, 1880, page 1

    The Crescent City wagon road enterprise is again being agitated with the approach of spring, and the people are inclined to feel more hopeful than ever of its success. It will be of vast advantage to Northern California and Southern Oregon.
"Pacific Coast," Corvallis Gazette, March 19, 1880, page 2

    SHOOTING AFFRAY.--On Sunday afternoon an altercation took place between Jack Montgomery and John F. Earl, in which the former was dangerously, if not fatally, shot. It seems that an electioneering party went out to Rafael's wine cellar about half a mile north of town, and while there a political discussion arose between Earl and Montgomery, both having drunk considerable wine. Montgomery was angry and quite aggressive, wanting to pit a young man named Stevens from Josephine County against Earl in a fight. Earl, who is quite peaceable, begged off, saying that he was a stranger and desired no trouble with men whose names he did not even know. Decker and Lorraine, two bystanders, held Montgomery and advised Earl to leave, which he did immediately, but Stevens and Montgomery following closely. When about one hundred yards from the house and approaching him rapidly, Earl twice warned his pursuers to stop. Still advancing on him, Stevens drawing his coat, Earl fired with effect; but immediately firing again, Montgomery was struck a little to the left of the pit of the stomach and in the region of the lower lobe of the left lung. Stevens then retreated and Earl immediately came to town and gave himself up to Deputy Sheriff Caton, who committed him to jail. The wounded man was examined by Dr. Callendar, who pronounced his wound a mortal one. For several hours he spit up large quantities of blood and suffered much, but on Monday he was able to be removed to the county hospital. Earl was examined on Monday before Justice Huffer, and all the testimony being in his favor and showing that he acted purely in self-defense, he was discharged. It is almost needless to moralize on this affair, but one thing is certain, had there been no drinking, there would have been no bloodshed, and it is another argument against the bad practice of corrupting voters by the use of liquor, reprehensible in any party and a proper thing to stop.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, June 2, 1880, page 3

    A large number of new dwellings are being built in Jacksonville.
    Jacksonville's population is about 800, or 200 less than the general estimate.
    The precincts of Willow Springs, Manzanita, Table Rock and Rock Point, Jackson County, contain 1,700 inhabitants. But four deaths occurred in the precincts named during the year ending May 30th.
"News Items," The New Northwest, Portland, July 1, 1880, page 2

    The Crescent City wagon road company of Jackson County have just decided to incorporate. By the time the company is well organized, we will have our roads leading south in fine condition, and there will be no necessity for its proceeding further.
"Southern Oregon Notes," Douglas Independent, Roseburg, July 31, 1880, page 3

    The mania for quilts of many pieces is spreading. The latest victim of the craze is Miss Addie Langell, of Jacksonville, who has completed a quilt of 4,247 pieces. It is a pity that a woman of such great industry and application cannot find better use for her time than damaging her eyesight and testing her patience in such folly as cutting up cloth and sewing the scraps together.

The New Northwest, Portland, September 9, 1880, page 2

    A letter from a prominent gentleman of Southern Oregon states that hoodlumism was so rampant at Jacksonville that the citizens made no arrangements for any demonstration on the arrival of the Presidential party, fearing that the slums of the town would cause trouble and publicly insult the company. There was not even a committee appointed to receive the distinguished visitors, but it was necessary for the party to remain overnight, and in the evening a quiet reception was held. That the guests noticed the town's slight is shown by the fact that they mentioned the kind welcome accorded them at Ashland. It is enough to flush the face of every Oregonian to know that the only discourtesy shown the President on his tour was shortly after his arrival in our state. Brigadier General Thos. G. Reames, of the Oregon State Militia, is president of the town board of Jacksonville, and such a man could not be expected to rise above his level, even to welcome the Chief Executive of the nation. The respectable people of the place feel deeply humiliated that they could not venture to treat the President with the respect due his station.
The New Northwest, Portland, October 7, 1880, page 4

    An old miner named Charles Brown committed suicide on September 23rd on Birdseye Creek, Jackson County, Or. He took a good smoke and then blew his brains out with a rifle. He had been engaged in mining for 13 years in that county.

Mining and Scientific Press, San Francisco, October 9, 1880, page 232

    The editor of the Jacksonville Times is so ignorant of the intelligence of the women of Oregon as to hold the opinion that nineteen-twentieths of them don't want to vote, and thinks his "opinion" an argument against the woman movement. If ninety-nine of a hundred women opposed it, what of it? If ninety-nine men do not want to vote, should they have the power to say that a hundredth one ought to be disenfranchised? If two men want to "go on a drunk," shall they compel a third to do likewise? If two women want to vote, shall they force a third to join them in their wish? If two women don't want to vote, shall they keep a third from voting? The Democratic Times is not alive to the democratic principle that no person has the right to limit or define the rights of another person. We believe all persons were born free and equal, and, if this idea is wrong, the error should be pointed out and proved to us, that we may not grope on in darkness, when there is so much light in Southern Oregon.
The New Northwest, Portland, October 21, 1880, page 4

    The young man who does the heavy writing for the Jacksonville Times can prate about the "sphere" of women with the profound knowledge of a Bunsby. His answer to a request for a definition of the said "sphere" is on a par with the schoolboy's description of a goat, "It ain't a sheep." The Southern Oregon philosopher says "the exercise of the ballot does not constitute the sphere of woman." In proof of this statement, he might have cited the fact that one mother's sphere has been to rear a youth who thinks that his wisdom is necessary to prevent the women from ruining the country.
The New Northwest, Portland, October 21, 1880, page 4

    The Sentinel (Republican) and the Times (Democratic), of Jacksonville, are at present engaged in a squabble. Each is endeavoring to place the blame of the discourtesy shown the Presidential party on the shoulders of the political supporters of the other. From their muttering, it is quite clear that Thos. G. Reames is the individual on whom the censure should rest. As president of the town board, he not only lacked the sense to inaugurate a movement for the proper reception of the party, but was foolish enough to refuse when citizens asked and urged him to do so.
The New Northwest, Portland, October 21, 1880, page 4

    A Jacksonville correspondent enviously writes that "from some cause or combination of causes, Ashland has recently outgrown many other villages of Southern Oregon." The cause is that Ashland is without the class that makes Jacksonville a plague spot, and consequently has more than rivaled the town of eggs and effigies. Were the latter place rid of its demoralizing element, its good citizens would make it an honor to the state.
The New Northwest, Portland, December 9, 1880, page 4

Last revised February 25, 2021