The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County News: 1881

    The store and dwelling-house of Joseph Soloman, at Woodville, Jackson County, was totally destroyed by fire on the 25th, only a very few articles being saved. The loss is in the vicinity of $5,000; fully insured.
    Unimproved land in Jackson County, Or., is assessed at $1.25, improved land at $5.75 per acre, but the best lands could not be purchased for less than $30.
Sacramento Daily Union, January 28, 1881, page 4

    Mr. Neff, of Wagner Creek, Jackson County, Or., has raised the past season some 400 pounds of tobacco on his farm. It is of excellent quality and the yield was quite large.
"Pacific Coast Items," Sacramento Daily Union, January 31, 1881, page 2

    Jackson County raises one-third of all the corn raised in Oregon, with an average yield of twenty-three bushels to the acre.
"Pacific Coast Brevities," Stockton Daily Independent, Stockton, California, February 9, 1881, page 3

    A large number of beaver and other fur-bearing animals have recently been trapped in Jackson County, Oregon.
    After the late flood, farmers along Bear Creek, Jackson County, Oregon, were busy gathering up rails that had lodged in the willows. The rule is that all rails that are washed on a man's land are considered to be his property.
"Pacific Coast Items," Sacramento Daily Record-Union, February 19, 1881, page 8

    Orrin Armstrong, aged 16 years, was crushed to death in Jackson County, Oregon, on Sunday last by the fall of a tree.
"Pacific Coast," Daily Times, San Jose, California, March 2, 1881, page 2

    Several Jackson County farmers intend experimenting with tobacco this season.
    A bad boy at Ashland, who had to be placated with a shingle, went out, got a rifle and would have had a shot at his old teacher but for the interference of outsiders.
    Pat. McMahon drove into Jacksonville Tuesday evening a load of deer and bear skins, amounting in all to about 700 pounds. Most of them came from the Big Butte.
Vancouver Independent, Vancouver, Washington, March 31, 1881, page 4

An Exciting Scene at an Oregon Rodeo.
    Jacksonville (Oregon) Sentinel: A year or so since there was a "rodeo" out on Lost River, in Lake County. Ranchmen had gathered for a circuit of seventy-five miles to claim and brand their young cattle, and when a cordon of men had surrounded a large band, among which was a Spanish bull, a dispute arose about a "mallet head" or calf that had escaped the spring branding. The discussion grew warm, none of the stock-owners being able to set up a valid claim or establish an undoubted title. At last, in a spirit of bravado, a rancher proposed that whoever would ride the bull without saddle or halter should be declared owner of the calf. There was swell of approval but not a general stampede of volunteers, for taurus was in ill humor, and his foaming mouth and bloodshot eyes gave token that whoever rode him would have a ride as wild as Mazeppa's, and one that might not end so well. At last a "vaquero" named Fritz accepted the challenge, and the wild bull was immediately lassoed and held by a lariat round horn and hoof. Dismounting from his horse the vaquero fastened his long-roweled spurs securely, tied a handkerchief around his head, approached the infuriated animal, and, grasping the tail in his hands, sprang lightly on it, settling the spurs deeply in the flanks as he settled securely in his seat. The lariats were slackened; the bull gave a roar of rage and terror and flung his head to the ground; but the rider had his back to the horns and a firm grip on the tail, and kept his seat. Another roar that shook the ground, a wild plunge, and the now-maddened bull shot out across the sage plain with lightning speed, his plucky rider twisting the tail that to him was a sheet anchor until the bellowings were lost in the distance. For over a mile and a half the race continued, amid the excited cheers of the vaquero's comrades. Occasionally the bull gave a desperate plunge through a heavy clump of sage in the vain attempt to rid himself of his tormentor, but the long rowels only clung more firmly to his flanks. Sometimes the animal and rider were hidden by undulations in the ground, and bets were even made that Fritz would be thrown and gored; but at last the bull exhausted from sheer fright, fell, and [the] plucky vaquero, stepping lightly off, returned to claim his prize, which was unanimously awarded. This occurrence is related by a prominent cattle man in Lake County, who ventures the opinion that no one scene in a Spanish "bull-ring" was ever half so wild or exciting.
North Alabamian, Tuscumbia, Alabama, April 15, 1881, page 1

    CHANGES IN WATER LEVEL OF LAKES IN OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.--A letter to the editors from Mr. B. F. Dowell, of Jacksonville, Oregon, states that Goose Lake, 30 miles long and two-thirds of it in Oregon, the rest in California, was almost dry in 1853 and 1854, while in 1869 and 1870 there were 10 feet of water; its depth has been increasing since 1870, and there is a probability of its discharging, as at some former time, into Pit River. Clear Lake also, about two miles farther south, is 10 feet deeper than it was in 1853-4; and Tule Lake, in the same region (the locality of the lava beds where were the hiding places of the Modoc Indians) is 10 or 15 feet higher today than then.
Mining and Scientific Press, San Francisco, May 28, 1881, page 339

    Capt. Lafayette Allen, a veteran of the Mexican War, and a pioneer of Southern Oregon who fought in the early Indian wars, died at his home on the lower Applegate Creek, Jackson County, last week.
"News in Brief," 
Mining and Scientific Press, San Francisco, May 28, 1881, page 348

    Captain Lafayette Allen, a veteran of the Mexican War and a pioneer of Southern Oregon, died at his home in Jackson County last week.
"Scissors and Pen," Grass Valley Daily Union, Grass Valley, California, May 28, 1881, page 2

    H. Richardson, living in Jackson County, near Wagner Creek, was dangerously wounded on the 9th instant while drawing a derringer from his hip pocket.
"Oregon," Sacramento Daily Record-Union, June 13, 1881, page 1

An Oregon Pioneer.
    No man in Oregon has figured more conspicuously in the sphere in which he has acted for twenty-eight years than L. L. Williams, whose remains were recently conducted through this city from San Francisco on the way to Roseburg for interment. It was in 1861 that he first arrived in Southern Oregon. He came as a miner with the thousands of adventurous spirits who thronged to the coast during those early years. He was a leader of men by nature, and being possessed of a liberal education he was qualified for the duties of any position, no matter how exalted. Brave, generous, temperate in all things, and possessing executive ability of high order, he never failed in any enterprise which he undertook during the many years of his residence in Oregon. He took an active part in repelling the Indian outbreak of early days in the southern part of the state. During the latter part of 1851 he went in company with Major T'Vault and three others is to prospect the waters of the Coquille for gold. They descended the river in a canoe, and when near the mouth of that stream they landed in an Indian village. Captain Williams and another member of the party went ashore to reconnoiter, when they were attacked by the savages. The Captain's companion was instantly killed. The remainder of the party escaped in the canoe and he was left alone to contend with over fifty savages armed with guns and bows and arrows. Being a man in the prime of life and of almost Herculean strength, he succeeded in making his escape after killing five Indians with his clubbed rifle. But he was desperately wounded. Two flint arrow points had pierced into the cavity of his body, from which they were not extracted for more than a year after his escape, which he effected by making his way to Gardiner, near the mouth of the Umpqua River.--Portland Oregonian.
The Clinton Age, Clinton, Iowa, June 17, 1881, page 2

    Mrs. H. Bolt, of Applegate, Jackson County, was on the 18th attacked ferociously by a large eagle. Nothing daunted, she picked up a club and hit the bird a blow on the head, stunning it, and following up her advantage, soon dispatched it. The eagle measured over seven feet between the tips of the wings.
"Oregon," Sacramento Daily Union, July 21, 1881, page 3

    Flour is selling in Jacksonville at $10 per 1000.
    The Ashland district school is offered as follows: Principal L. F. Willits; first assistant Miss Kate Thornton; second assistant Mrs. L. F. Willits.
    Fifteen hundred dollars belonging to the estate of J. P. Baker, deceased, of Jackson County, was sent to the state treasurer last week by the administrator, John Ashpole, no heirs having been found.
    A large natural cave has been discovered at the head of Williams Creek, in Josephine County. It consists of a series of subterranean caverns or chambers, through which a person can walk for some 400 or 500 yards from the entrance, and there are still other chambers beyond, the entrances to which are too small to admit a person, but could be enlarged artificially, it is thought, by a little labor with pick and hammer.
    Sentinel: The so-called Dead Indian route from Ashland to Fort Klamath is between 30 to 35 miles shorter than that by way of Soda Springs and Linkville, and is a much better road. Last fall a number of the reservation Indians, who took this route to come into the valley to do their trading, cleared it of the fallen timbers, etc., that had obstructed it for the past few years. Since that time the road has been traveled extensively by people going from Jacksonville to the upper Klamath basin. The road leads through Lost Prairie, cutting that body of land right in two, leaving Lake of the Woods at the foot of snowy Mount Pitt to the left and striking Pelican Bay at the head of Lake Klamath. It is the nearest route to the fort and Crater Lake.
    The family of Rev. A. C. Howlett, who resides on the divide between the Little and Big Butte creeks, in Jackson County, is severely afflicted. All of his children, eight in number, were taken down with diphtheria some time since. Saturday a boy of 14, and on Monday another boy, died of this terrible disease, and a third was not expected to live when the messenger left. Among the 5 surviving children, only 3 seem to be showing any favorable symptoms.
"Southern Oregon," Oregonian, Portland, August 10, 1881, page 1

    A large natural cave has just been discovered at the head of Williams Creek, Josephine County. It consists of a series of subterranean caverns or chambers, through which a person can walk for some four hundred or five hundred yards from the entrance. There are still other chambers beyond, the entrance which are too small to admit a person, but could be enlarged sufficiently by a little labor. The cave has been visited by a great number of persons.
    Diphtheria is raging in some portions of Jackson County, many malignant cases being reported. The entire family of Rev. A. C. Howlett, consisting of eight members, are down with the scourge, and several are not expected to live.
"Oregon," Sacramento Daily Union, August 11, 1881, page 2

    THE ROAD LOCATED.--J. S. Howard, who is surveying a railroad line through the valley, passed through Jacksonville yesterday. He says that [illegible] distance from town he took a telescopic view of our courthouse and decided on running a line through the center of it, as it could then be used for a depot also. Upon closer examination, however, he found that the line run through Col. Ross' barn instead of the courthouse, and Howard now excuses himself by saying that he thought some improvements might have been made to our courthouse since his absence, sufficient to cause the mistake.
    THE R.R. SURVEY.--Howard's surveying party reached Conrad Mingus' farm on the stage road 3¼ miles southeast of Jacksonville. From here they took a northern course, which led them through Heber Grove, Mrs. Chambers' and Leever's farms, on toward Willow Springs. From the main line of survey at Mingus' field a line was run to Jacksonville. This line was brought through by Bellinger's and Ficke's land and Mrs. Bilger's orchard to the courthouse. The distance from the main line at Mingus' field to the courthouse is three miles and 660 feet, with a fall of 50 feet to the mile. This survey established the altitude of Jacksonville in front of the U.S. Hotel at 1640 feet. As we go to press the main line of survey is running via Willow Springs toward the Chavner bridge.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 13, 1881, page 3

A Ghastly Process.
    Jacksonville (Ore.) Sentinel: For the past week or ten days a number of Chinamen have been engaged in the Jacksonville Cemetery, exhuming the bones of dead Chinamen, preparatory to sending them to the Celestial empire. About fifty bodies that have been buried five or six years are being taken up and the bones of each placed in a separate sack, and labeled with the name of the deceased. These sacks are afterward placed in boxes, so many to a box, and then they are ready to be shipped to China.
Weekly Chillicothe Crisis, Chillicothe, Missouri, August 18, 1881, page 1

    THE O.&C.R.R. EXTENSION.--J. S. Howard's surveying party finished running one line this week, says the Jacksonville Times, and commenced another yesterday. The first named was continued from A. Davidson's place through the farms of C. Mingus, Jacob Ish, J. E. Ross, Mrs. Chambers, G. Sears, T. Wright and Jas. McDonough, penetrating Blackwell Gap and ending near Chavner's bridge. The new line was commenced at Hon. J. S. Herrin's place near town and will be run toward the mouth of Bear Creek, in the vicinity of Fort Lane, and from there down Rogue River, connecting with the other line at the bridge. Another of Hurlburt's parties is now coming up the river and will connect with Howard's survey, but where is not definitely known as yet.
Willamette Farmer, August 26, 1881, page 5

     ANOTHER PIONEER GONE.--J. N. Vannoy, of Rogue River, one of the oldest pioneers of Rogue River Valley, died at his residence last Saturday after a short illness at the age of 66 years. Deceased came to this coast from North Carolina in 1850 and has resided here since. He named and was the original owner of Vannoy's ferry crossing Rogue River and was universally respected by all who knew him. He leaves a family of [blank] children.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 10, 1881, page 3

Fatal Shooting at Jacksonville.
    JACKSONVILLE, Sept. 28.--An altercation took place here today at 12:30 between D. C. Courtenay and Mat Shannon, which resulted in the instant death of Shannon. There had been bad feeling between the two men, and the evidence at the inquest showed that Shannon made the attack. The affray took place in the doorway of Bilger & Maegly's store, where Courtenay and another man were seated. Shannon approached and after abusive language struck at Courtenay. While making the second blow he slipped and fell on Courtenay, who drew a self-cocking pistol and shot him twice rapidly, the first shot striking the abdomen and the second near the corner of the mouth, ranging upward into the brain. Death was instantaneous. Shannon was a blacksmith and leaves a family. Courtenay is in jail and will be examined tomorrow.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 29, 1881, page 1


    (This correspondence should have been published last week, but failed to arrive in time.)
ASHLAND, Or., September 24, 1881.
    The sad news that the great calamity which for eighty days had brooded over the entire world with its wings of sadness had at last culminated in the death of the nation's patient has paralyzed business for the week, even in this remote part of the great domain over which James A. Garfield had been called to preside as its chief magistrate. The news reached Jacksonville at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the 20th instant. All business was at once suspended. Stores, hotels and dwellings were festooned in mourning, and preparations for the final obsequies occupied everybody's time and thoughts.
    The undersigned had lectured on the previous evening, in presence of a large and respectful auditory, and had afterward been the recipient of a band serenade, which made a universal sensation until superseded by the startling, though not unexpected, announcement that the nation was in mourning.
    The city council called a meeting on Tuesday evening, and elected a committee of arrangements for the purpose of observing the obsequies on a large scale on the forthcoming funeral day. The women of Jacksonville then decided to hold a memorial service, or woman's condolence meeting, which convened on Wednesday evening in Holt's Hall, and was largely attended by the very best people. Mrs. N. A. Dowell, wife of Judge B. F. Dowell, founder of the Jacksonville Sentinel, presided at the meeting, and made the opening address. This lady frequently distinguished herself during her husband's absences from home while the Sentinel was in his possession by conducting that journal with the vigor and ability of an editor to the manor born. The paper was Republican in politics, and she is said to have proved herself able to "out-Herod Herod" in waging an aggressive campaign against the Democratic hosts that menaced her. Partisan strife is happily slumbering now, and Democrats and Republicans pass good-natured jokes at each other's expense over their former differences, and the result is harmony.
    Of the committee of ladies who managed the women's condolence meeting, and to whom, with Mrs. Dowell's aid as presiding officer, its success was attributable, are Mrs. J. McCully, Mrs. W. J. Plymale, Mrs. E. Kinney, Miss A. Ross, Mrs. Kubli, Auntie Ganung (a venerable lady in gray hair and snowy cap border whose years and grace rendered her conspicuous among the younger occupants of the platform), Mrs. J. A. Cardwell and daughters, Madame Holt, and many others, whose names we cannot now recall. Though unaccustomed to presiding over public assemblies, Mrs. Dowell proved equal to the occasion in every particular. Her address was characterized by appropriateness, feeling, and faultless diction, and would have reflected credit upon any famous woman of the East. Rev. B. J. Sharp, pastor of the M.E. church, officiated as chaplain, and the excellent brass band of Jacksonville, of which Professor Smith is an able and obliging leader, favored the meeting with funeral music, as sweet and sad as it was welcome and appropriate. The following resolutions, read by Miss Isa McCully, were unanimously adopted:
    WHEREAS, In times of a common calamity, women, equally with men, are interested in giving expression to the grief that on an occasion like the present involuntarily wells up from every overburdened heart; therefore,
    Resolved, That we, ladies of Jacksonville, though far removed from the funeral pageant that guards the body of our nation's dead, have hearts that beat in unison with the nation's woe, and our sighs are wafted from the land of the setting sun to the far-off shores of the Atlantic seas, where they mingle with the sobs of the millions of other mourners whose bereavement brings us together in the wail of a common lamentation, cementing us anew in one great family that knows no North or South or East or West or black or white or male or female, bond or free.
    WHEREAS, President James A. Garfield, the honored head of this mighty nation, has been stricken down by the red hand of an assassin whose name and character inspire every mother's heart with shuddering and horror; therefore,
    Resolved, That we will teach our sons to speak the cowardly murderer's name with contempt and loathing, and our daughters to contemplate his memory with scorn and disgust.
    Resolved, That our hearts have throbbed in pitying unison with the conjugal woes of the faithful wife of our martyred President during the long period of public suspense that has at last ended in the universal calamity that we have convened to mourn.
    Resolved, That we tender our sincerest condolence to the bereaved widow of the nation's honored dead, and point her with trembling fingers toward the Better Land, where murderers cannot enter, and where she may one day join her loving husband in a blessed reunion that no assassin's bullet can destroy.
    Resolved, That we remember with emulation the spirit of heroism that prompted the estimable mother of our martyred President to protect him and her three other helpless children through the long years of her lonely widowhood, bringing them up in the ways of usefulness by her own perseverance, and leading her illustrious son to fame through her own intelligent faithfulness.
    Resolved, That we tender sympathy and condolence to the President's venerable mother. May the Angel of Mercy speak peace to her anguish-stricken heart and the Angels of Love and Hope lead her safely on through the remainder of her journey toward her nearby haven of eternal rest.
    Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the wife and the mother of our martyred President.

    Your correspondent was then accorded an hour's hearing, of which we can only say that it came from the heart, and was received by the large assembly in a manner thoroughly satisfactory to ourself and friends. A funeral dirge concluded the exercises, and all retired to their homes profoundly impressed by the national calamity that has draped the world in mourning.
    Our own physical indisposition, added to the suspension of business and general grief attendant upon the death of the President, has hindered us much in the discharge of usual duties and retarded the dispatch of regular business, and we are obliged to leave Jacksonville for the present without having taken note of its different enterprises, as we hope to do on our return.
    Thursday, the 22nd, and we take the stage for Ashland. Our fellow passenger is Rev. Mr. Chapman, pastor of the M.E. church in Corvallis, in whom we are pleased to find a progressive thinker and courteous gentleman, awake to the intellectual demands of the age, and of course a consistent Christian. It was mainly through the efforts of this gentleman in securing subscriptions that the Ashland Academy became the property of the Conference and is now in a flourishing condition.
    We reached Ashland after a three hours' ride and took refuge in Houck's well-kept hotel, where Mrs. Houck, one of the most amiable of landladies, made us welcome by her cozy fireside. On the morrow we repaired to the hospitable home of Mr. and Mrs. J. Thompson, where we were taken in charge by the good wife, who proceeded at once to administer hygienic remedies with such success that when Saturday dawned we were able to assist the bright young girls of the beautiful town in draping the Presbyterian church for a woman's memorial service, which was held in the evening in the presence of a very large congregation. Mrs. J. McCall, wife of one of Ashland's leading merchants, presided at this meeting, and though, like Mrs. Dowell, she was wholly unused to taking such positions, her manner was that of a veteran in the service. Her address, though brief, was logical, telling, feeling and appropriate, and many eyes were bathed in tears as she depicted, in beautiful and impressive language, the sorrowful scenes in the sick chamber, the deathbed agonies of the assassinated President, and the heart-rending emotions of the faithful wife and aged mother of the nation's illustrious dead. Mr. Fraley officiated as chaplain, and a well-trained choir, under the supervision of Mr. Willits and Miss Scott, discoursed appropriate music, Miss Wagner presiding at the organ. Resolutions of condolence, analogous to those offered by the ladies of Jacksonville, were read by Miss Kate Thornton and unanimously adopted, after which came an hour's talk by the undersigned, which was received amidst the profoundest and most impressive silence. The choir sang "America," Rev. Mr. Royal pronounced the benediction, and the great congregation dispersed to their homes, while we repaired to our room at the hotel to write this letter and wrestle unsuccessfully with the fickle tyrant, sleep.
New Northwest, Portland, October 6, 1881, page 1

    Farmers of Southern Oregon went largely into the business of raising sorghum last season, and the results are represented to be very satisfactory.
The Clinton Public, Clinton, Illinois, November 11, 1881, page 2

    THE RAILROAD.--We had the pleasure of meeting John A. Hurlburt, of the. O.&C.R.R., this week, while on his way to the Siskiyou Divide, where he goes to locate and set grade stakes for the railroad. He informed us that six locating parties were now in the field, divided off into sections of about the same length, who are now engaged in staking out the road. Mr. Hurlburt and party will work from the divide to the Klamath River, and as soon as the chief of party arrives, J. S. and C. J. Howard will be employed in locating it from the divide this way. Just where the road will run is still unsettled, and, of course, is liable to vary some from the original survey, but we think it is settled that the road will run near Jacksonville. The report that men are now employed in grading from Roseburg this way is not true, but we are informed that work will soon be commenced and continued through the winter.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 5, 1881, page 3

    The government telegraph line from Ashland to Fort Klamath has been completed beyond Linkville but is not yet in working order on account of the non-arrival of the telegraphic instruments required. They are expected to arrive in a few days, when direct telegraphic communication can be had with Lake County.

"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 5, 1881, page 3

Last revised June 3, 2023